34 Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas Transatlantic Cruise Reviews

Voyager's spring 2012 TA crossing was blessed by mostly good, if cool, weather. Lack of entertaining or informative lectures and few quality daytime activities were a disappointment. For example: Dance instruction by staff ... Read More
Voyager's spring 2012 TA crossing was blessed by mostly good, if cool, weather. Lack of entertaining or informative lectures and few quality daytime activities were a disappointment. For example: Dance instruction by staff decidedly subpar compared to fall Mariner TA. "Workshop" scrapbooking with minimally trained staff waste of time. We did feel insulted by the condition of the ship: We were appalled by the condition of the miniature golf course, then pleasantly surprised midcruise when it was refurbished. Cabin deck halls seemed to have obstructions such as carts and cleaning equipment an uncommon amount of time. Fitness center was warmer and stuffier than previous experience. Gamblers on board had no outlet for half the cruise; some had not been informed pre-cruise. For having only 2000 passengers, public spaces often seemed crowded. The smart cruisers were those who brought along their own means of entertainment. Food was good, a few times excellent in the MDR, but there seemed to be less variety and shortages which were not replenished in the Windjammer. On the positive side, staff were pleasant and helpful for the most part. Kudos to the staff at the port of Valencia. It was the first time we had people who actually knew something and were able to inform passengers. I was told the complimentary shuttle buses had been arranged just the previous night. It would be wonderful if such service and information were available at every stop. If this had been our first cruise, I'm not sure we would have wanted to repeat the experience. It wasn't awful, but it was just okay. Perhaps RC was asking too much of the crew to provide a quality experience amidst the on board disruptions. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise on the Voyager's Transatlantic. The ship is repositioning itself to cruise in Asia and continued after our transatlantic cruise to cruise through the Suez and on to Dubai, India and Singapore. The ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise on the Voyager's Transatlantic. The ship is repositioning itself to cruise in Asia and continued after our transatlantic cruise to cruise through the Suez and on to Dubai, India and Singapore. The ship was undergoing some renovation to the casino during the first 8 days, which was a negative for some on board, but to compensate, all passengers received a minimum of $100 which was much appreciated. Unless you were active on the cruise critic boards, it was likely this came as a surprise to many. The ship itself is showing some signs of wear, but nothing of any great concern and staff kept the ship spotless. I have to say that in general all the staff did an absolutely excellent job. Many were new and had been hired in anticipation of a greater number of Asian passengers being on board after the repositioning. We did hear some passengers complain that there were difficulties in being understood but we never encountered this. Our cabin steward, Marlo was the best we have had in 25 cruises - simply outstanding! Entertainment was fair to good in general but the ice skating show and the performer showcase shows were excellent and not to be missed. Food in the main dining room was good, we attended every night but mainly because we had wonderful dining companions who just made dinner a delight. Service was good, but sometimes distracted. The Windjammer buffet was good, with a variety of food choices and I have to say their dessert bar was one of the best we have experienced. A negative was seating availability; many times we had to sit outside due to lack of seating in the restaurant area. I have one major complaint, echoed by many on these boards and on the ship -- the library. Absolutely abysmal, as another reviewer commented, RCCL really needs to take some lessons from Holland America. I loaded up my Kindle, only to have it die two days into the cruise so I was at the mercy of what was available in the library -- given that I read two books a week, depending on the selection on board was not a good experience. Perhaps they are anticipating changing their selection for the benefit of anticipated Asian passengers. It was a bonus to leave from New Orleans - our first visit and what an amazing city. We were there during the French Quarter Festival and had so much fun: we will be back! On the cruise, the port we enjoyed the most was Ponte del Garda in the Azores - I have never seen a place that was so clean and maintained with such pride - simply beautiful. Other ports were Malaga, Cartagena and Valencia which were interesting but are quite large cities so it was a little difficult to get a sense of Spain. We did visit the little town of Mijas out of Malaga which was charming. We ended in Barcelona along with six other cruise ships so the port was insanely busy. Fortunately we had three days there so it got a bit better but since we have been to Barcelona twice before, many places we had already seen. We did make a trip to the zoo, which was interesting. We chose this crossing since it offered more ports along the way than any other cruise line, and we were certainly not disappointed. An excellent, all round experience - thank you RCCL Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
First time departure from New Orleans. Arrived two days early and enjoyed the City and French Quarter. Boarding was quick and smooth. Departure was changed from 5 pm to 10 pm which allowed everyone on board to enjoy fireworks along the ... Read More
First time departure from New Orleans. Arrived two days early and enjoyed the City and French Quarter. Boarding was quick and smooth. Departure was changed from 5 pm to 10 pm which allowed everyone on board to enjoy fireworks along the Riverfront area. We were notified that casino was under renovations prior to cruise and received $100 on-board credit for inconvenience during the first 7 days. I quickly notice that the quality and selection of food has declined over the last ten years. However, this is not just a RCI issue but an industry change. Service from Stateroom Attendant, Waiter, Assistant Waiter, and Maitre d' was excellent. Entertainment has declined but not just a RCI issue. Another industry cost saving issue. Captain and all staff were friendly and visible throughout voyage. Voyager was in good condition considering age. TV in rooms were being changed to flat screens during voyage. Third floor Dining Area was made available for card players during sea days. Coffee and refreshments provided for the players. Diamond and Diamond Plus passengers were treated very well. RCI's loyalty program is the best in the industry. I will always pick RCI or Celebrity cruises over others due to perks. I estimate that a cruise or itinerary from another cruise line MUST cost 25% less to equal perks of Diamond/Elite status. The biggest change over the last 10 years of long voyages is the dress code. Fewer people are choosing to dress up on formal nights and other sea nights. I am not being critical, just an observation of changes made by the industry.Cruise met all expectation for a crossing trip. Can't wait until next trip on RCI or Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
This has been a great cruise, good weather and interesting ports of call. The food service in the dining room has been efficiently professional and friendly particularly from Edwin and Kai at table 22 in the Magic Flute dining room. ... Read More
This has been a great cruise, good weather and interesting ports of call. The food service in the dining room has been efficiently professional and friendly particularly from Edwin and Kai at table 22 in the Magic Flute dining room. Nothing has been too much trouble for them and their attention to detail have been a great part of my enjoyment on board. All crew members have been friendly and helpful and I have nothing but praise for them all. The shows in La Scala have been very good, I was really impressed by some of the acts. There at a few points that I have to bring to your attention though. Food Hygiene. Many wine glasses have water spots on them which makes their appearance unpleasant. Perhaps the glass washing machine needs cleaning more often or an additive to the final rinse from Diversy or some such company would stop that. Wine glasses should be carried either on a tray or by their stems, not with fingers inside them as I have seen. Glassware and silverware should not be polished with a cloth which could transmit pathogens, again if a rinse agent was used there would be no need to wipe them. Sports on TV and the Sports Bar were very poorly presented. I expect to see current sports not a rerun of Boxing from 1975. Showing sports that have little interest to passengers must be reducing bar takings at the Sports Bar. Most of the passengers are North Americans who want to watch Hockey, Baseball, and Basketball and Northern Europeans who enjoy Soccer particularly this month when the finals and semi finals of the European Championship are played. Two Spanish, one English and one German team are playing this week and not to show the games is a missed opportunity for increasing passenger enjoyment and Sports Bar revenues. Friendly rivalry could be encouraged and would do a lot to fill the sports bar which do not seem too busy in the daytime when these games are on. I have brought this to the attention of the Cruise Director, Jimmy Rhodes, who acknowledged my note regarding the very important soccer games but did not follow it up. I really feel a full current sports program on TV would boost your revenues in the Sports Bar like the Karioke singing fills the Pig and Whistle Pub in the evenings. The Sports Bar is a great venue but needs better utilization. Lastly the Library, it was dismal. I recently sailed with Holland America's Veendam which had a superb library and permanent librarian. I recommend you check it out. For all of this though I felt I got good value for my money even as a single passenger and will cruise with you again. This is my second transatlantic cruise with you. I do not believe in criticism without suggestions and I hope that someone out there at least considers some of the ones I have made. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
When I read Sailorwoman's review of this cruise, I had to wonder if we were on the same ship. My wife and I found the cruise to be exactly what we expected. We travelled with another couple we have sailed with before and we were all ... Read More
When I read Sailorwoman's review of this cruise, I had to wonder if we were on the same ship. My wife and I found the cruise to be exactly what we expected. We travelled with another couple we have sailed with before and we were all very pleased. As to the bedbug allegation - I find it very hard to believe that a single cabin on a cruise ship would be infested with bedbugs. We found no indication of infestation in our cabins. As to the ship's condition, it is true that the varnish on the ship's railings was needed attention. The rest of the ship was in excellent condition. I saw no rust. No wear or tear in either our cabin or the ships common areas. Our balcony was ship-shape. Our cabin steward was above reproach. We found the wait staff (My TIme Dining) to be exceptional. Both the waiter and assistant were attentive and anticipated our needs very well. The selection of breads at dinner was varied. The entrees were excellent. We also found the various waiters and assistants who took care of use when we ate breakfast and lunch in the dining room equally skilled. The food in the Windjammer was also what we expected. It is a cafeteria and we generally don't care for cafeteria dining, but we did have lunch there a couple of times and could not complain. Johnny Rocket's is great fun and always a treat! While the entertainment is does not rise to the level of what we've seen on Norwegian ships, it was comparable to what we've experienced on prior Royal Caribbean cruises and the term "mediocre" is certainly not warranted in our estimation. Perhaps Sailorwoman could have pointed out that shore excursions on Tenerife, Canary Islands, were not available because the ship was not scheduled to land there. The itinerary called for a stop in the Azores but due to a severe storm the Captain elected to avoid that area, thus the Tenerife stop. All in all we enjoyed our time on the Voyager of the Seas thoroughly. We found nothing on the cruise that remotely resembled the excoriation leveled in Sailorwoman's review and hope that our opinion will provide some balance to those considering a cruise on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This was our fourth transatlantic,so we thought we knew what to expect weatherwise. Therefore we were surprised when our stop in the Azores was called off due to a huge storm. We stopped in Tenerife instead; however, no tours were ... Read More
This was our fourth transatlantic,so we thought we knew what to expect weatherwise. Therefore we were surprised when our stop in the Azores was called off due to a huge storm. We stopped in Tenerife instead; however, no tours were available, since the stop was unscheduled. Later in the trip we detoured around the Bahamas due to tropical storm Sean, adding several hundred more cruising miles. As a result of these two detours, the ship had to travel faster than planned. Because of the higher speed and the fact we were sailing into the wind, the apparent wind on deck was 45+ mph for much of the trip. Very uncomfortable... at times several decks were closed off with locked doors. Now the good news. The trip was excellent with regard to most traditional measures. Embarkation took less than 20 minutes from being dropped off by a cab to sitting in our cabin. Our cabin was spotless; the attendant performed all expected functions in a timely fashion and was always friendly and polite. The food in the dining room was as good as we ever had on Royal Caribbean and the Windjammer food was better that our previous 8 Royal Caribbean cruises. Our dining room servers were the best ever; the Windjammer attendants were almost too efficient, sometimes clearing dishes at our table that we were still eating from. The lecturers were interesting and usually made their presentations to an audience of 300+. Possibly the large audiences were due to poor conditions on deck. Entertainment was a mixed bag; several shows were either postponed or canceled, both in the theatre and the ice rink, due the rough seas. On the other hand there was a wild Halloween Party [over 500 guests brought costumes] The LSU vs Alabama football game was televised on two movie sized screens. There was a touching Veterans Day Memorial program on 11/11/11.Disembarkation was a mess, but it was mainly New Orleans fault, not Royal Caribbeans. The details aren't important, inasmuch as just about everything went wrong. This was the first Royal Caribbean arrival in New Orleans since before Katrina. Hopefully, they will solve their many problems soon. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Voyager of the Seas -â€" Comments after time to consider then make the following comments: Transatlantic Barcelona to New Orleans -â€" Pre-cruise: We used a travel agent and found that RCCL really didn't want us to ... Read More
Voyager of the Seas -â€" Comments after time to consider then make the following comments: Transatlantic Barcelona to New Orleans -â€" Pre-cruise: We used a travel agent and found that RCCL really didn't want us to communicate with them directly at all. Their customer service folks were often downright nasty when I called, both in providing information, or taking orders. Their web service was much the same. They had a really hard time providing information such as, "How many and when are the formal nights?" and "I need a medical provision in the room." It seemed, if I got a gal she was probably in the US and helpful, but if I got a guy he was somewhere at a call center in ????? or somewhere and basically nasty. Barcelona (Stay there at least a week -â€" much to see and experience -â€" three days weren't enough): Embarkation was a breeze. Even though we stayed at hotel of our choosing rather than a RCCL hotel we simply went back to the AirPort and used their service. It was fast, efficient, and we basically walked right on the ship from the bus. Everyone was pleasant and helpful shipside in Barcelona. We were on ship by 13:00 and had our luggage by 18:00. Cartagena: Neat port, would love to go back and see some more of it. Pillars of Hercules/Gibraltar Straight: The on line brochure made it sound like this 'passage' would be in the daylight and would be a cruise 'highlight.' It was daylight somewhere, but not when we went through at 02:00 in the morning. Couldn't even see the lighthouses on both sides which was disappointing. Cadiz: Really near port and nowhere near enough time to see it; will go back and see more. Cabin: We had an 'Inside Bay Window Cabin' (bay "overlooks" the inside Royal Promenade). The diagram on RCCL's website, makes it look like a real bay window, you can sit in. You can perch there, but the 'bay' part is all of 3-4" deep. Unless you have a really small head, don't expect to look up or down the promenade. There was virtually NO storage in the cabin; four tiny drawer (8X8" maybe) plus two tiny ones by the bed. On the plus side, the cabin was located above the sports bar where smoking was allowed. We never smelled smoke (Yea!) and rarely heard noise from below. They do provide body and shampoo in the bath as well as a hair dryer (conveniently located in a drawer under the mirror in the vanity in the cabin where my lady can sit and dry her hair leaving the bath open for my use. Good idea. However, I'd NEVER book another 'inside cabin' on RCCL overlooking the promenade (or anyone else for that matter) They did raise the head of the bed for me as I asked (acid reflux), but (here we are back at the call center; he really didn't want to take the request, then wrote it down wrong apparently). I'd asked for 3-5" rise, and when we walked into the stateroom, it was more like 30" high. (The risers would have made great chocks for a 747 to hold the wheels on the tarmac.) It was fixed by bedtime, but was a funny introduction to the room. Food: We ate in the dining room almost all the time. The food was uninspired, often arrived warm only (never hot), and the selection was minuscule at best. (Disclaimer: I normally cruise on HAL and their menus and food are Outstanding). Always two or three vegetarian meals; then only three real food meals offered. You CAN order a steak anytime; but mine arrived overcooked, tough, and cool. The buffet was A-OK. We only ate there for breakfast -â€" breakfast in the dining room is a S---L---O---W process - and (again even with a tiny audience) food arrives 'warm' only. Our table waiter was terrific and tried hard to please us. We were pleased; he could sail on HAL anytime and be considered a terrific waiter there too. Deserts were a disappointment too; no hard choices (ice cream several nights) there. Be sure to look at glasses, cups and silverware before using them. The dish washing machine is apparently not working just right. I found dirty silver several times and cups with cigarettes/garbage in them in the 'clean' rack in both the buffet and dining room. Ship Itself: Being used to HALs great promenade decks, the 'walk up stairs and then down' while taking a walk, was a disappointment. Worse, part of the time you can't use the foredeck walk area. Maintenance on this ship is an ongoing problem it appeared (felt) to me. There was a wet spot on the carpet in the hall all the time and the hall carpet was dirty on our deck. Every time we came back the warm tubs (not hot) or pool it was there, cold and wet. Apparently the water was leaking from someone's bath (hopefully the shower -â€" I did immediately wash my feet - after every hall walk. I reported it to the desk; reaction, "really?" I mentioned it in my feedback form; I've never heard back from RCCL on any of my comments. Class Society: RCCL is certainly within their right to treat frequent cruisers better and provide more perks than the rest of us. Starting dances with, 'only for gold card holders' the first hour, rather than everyone smacks me in the face -â€" hard! I totally understand having events and special times for frequent cruisers. But, segregating out dancing availability? None of the groups were great and they didn't play early either. Parts of the deck chairs are also 'reserved' only for the gold card crowd. No loss to me, I'm not working on a tan anytime, but it did seem petty. Spa: The equipment available is nice and well documented with placards explaining use. There was no attendant to assist you though. The huge hot tub in the spa had three (3) jets working in the entire (15" diameter?) tub. Pretty simple fix if they'd bother to fix it. The massage I got with reflexology was terrific. The floor in the men's side of the spa was slippery and dangerous. The showers seemed to have two temperatures: Too hot or too cold. Plenty of towels, soap, etc. Dirty showers (one of three broken down) don't improve the spa though. Great view off the bow of the ship from the spa too. Entertainment: So-so. The Broadway Musical Night show had two (2) songs my wife and I recognized (one from Chicago which I don't like). I wondered if anyone in RCCLs entertainment team had ever heard of any of the GREAT musicals, like South Pacific, Oklahoma, Hair or Hairspray for that matter. I enjoyed the magic show (I love those), but the rest was pretty much just so-so. They did have the NFL games on TV, and they did have FOX News as well (after the third day?), so we could stay current with the world. Summary: RCCL isn't what it used to be. It has become more of a mass - Carnival type cruise. Yes, it was a lovely ship (sorely in need of some maintenance), and it was at sea (God doesn't subtract days on a boat (ship) from your life time, I've read somewhere) , but all in all, I doubt we'll take another cruise on RCCL. Would we sail Transatlantic again? You bet'cha we would! It was everything I'd ever dreamed it would be. Days and days of lovely time to find a deck chair and just watch the ocean go by. We didn't see a single ship for days at an end (may have been on the wrong side) and that was impressive. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Was on the transatlantic cruise May 1st 2011. We were looking forward to the cruise for so long but we had a bad cruise. We are a family of 7 2 adults and 5 kids ages 2 to 11. Embarkation was fine on the ship within 30 Min's. Room was ... Read More
Was on the transatlantic cruise May 1st 2011. We were looking forward to the cruise for so long but we had a bad cruise. We are a family of 7 2 adults and 5 kids ages 2 to 11. Embarkation was fine on the ship within 30 Min's. Room was ready when we got on which was great, kids cups for drinks were in room so all seem good. We went straight to the pool and kids got in for a swim and we had a lovely drink. Weather was good what more could we want. WEATHER wasn't the best the next few days which doesn't work if u have 5 kids on board. The pools had to be emptied for 5 days which is very hard for kids. Very few kids on the ship so the pool is a big factor on this cruise. Kids club teacher didn't want to be there and every time a parent was picking up there kids the teacher just kept giving out about this or that. Only 32 kids on ship only 20 able for club i would hate to have seen when they were busy cause they couldn't be bother with the few kids that were there. With there being no pools we ask could we use the adult pool with the kids and were told no. We showed them the rccl book that said if the weather is bad kids can use the adult pool, We were told we could not and that my family were the only people looking to use it with kids, they said they would have half the ship giving out so he would rather have one unhappy family. Food in the windjammer was very poor and i have never seen it half opened on any other cruise before. The main dinning room was good but the selection very poor but food was nice . This cruise for us was a family holiday didn't get to go to night club etc so cant really rate. We did the same crossing 2 years and we had such a great time , rccl have made a lot of changes a lot of cut backs. I don't know if we will go with them again. This cruise should be for all ages but we didn't feel that way. We also got the Disc with the photo on and would you believe it the photos are only half there. We are home over 3 weeks and I'm getting nowhere with rccl on this matter. At first i was told they would sort it and now they are not answering my mails. The ship is lovely but if you have kids i would try and go bigger. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
My wife and I ( both over 65) took our second transatlantic cruise on the Voyager of the Seas in May 2011. We had previously taken the Navigator on the TA in 2011 and will be taking the Liberty of the Seas in April 2012. That cruise will ... Read More
My wife and I ( both over 65) took our second transatlantic cruise on the Voyager of the Seas in May 2011. We had previously taken the Navigator on the TA in 2011 and will be taking the Liberty of the Seas in April 2012. That cruise will be our 29th. We now live in Phoenix and flew the night before to Houston. We met up with 3 other Voyager couples and took a limo to the Galveston Port. The cruise was excellent. We had My Time Dining and love it. We enjoy all the sea days by relaxing, reading, taking part in some of the activites and using the Fitness Center. The Solarium is our favorite place to relax during the day. The food was excellent, the show good - the entertainers were somewhat old, but varied and many were very good. The ice show was excellent. We are Diamond Members and the nightly wine reception prior to dinner was excellent. We toured on our own in the Azores, used the ship for tours in Cartegena and Barcelona and used Spanish Day Tours for a trip to the Alhambra from Malaga. Embarkation and Disembarkation was swift and easy. Travel to the airport at the end of the cruise was very easy. We shared a ride with other Cruise Critic passengers. We love RCL, have taken our last 10 cruises with them and are very loyal to them. Walt and Beth - Phoenix, Arizona Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Pros: Massive size, plenty of privacy, 3 pools, 7 hot tubs, great promenade, outstanding waitress and head waiter in dining room, good sized casino, the most beautiful granite urinal I have ever seen - gotta experience this for ... Read More
Pros: Massive size, plenty of privacy, 3 pools, 7 hot tubs, great promenade, outstanding waitress and head waiter in dining room, good sized casino, the most beautiful granite urinal I have ever seen - gotta experience this for yourself...I'm not going to ruin it. Top notch gym and spa. Cons: 1 Pool and 1 hot tub are supposed to be open 24/7 but all were closed the first night - even in the atrium which is mostly protected from high winds. Staff could have done a much better job at keeping these open all nights. Food was OK - better in dining room, buffet was barely OK (same exact salads every day - little to no variation...little creativity), poor seating management in buffet. Night club (The Vault) was a mess: sticky uneven wood floors that were difficult to walk on - not to mention dance on, holes in flooring under carpet that would make you twist your ankle, poor visibility, bartender/waiters had zero personality, weird furniture that was more suitable for a pre-school. This night club needs to be gutted and completely redone - including staff. It is the only dated item on the ship. Stay away from balcony staterooms on deck 6 as they have no glass. They are metal up to the rail so visibility is limited when laying down and looking out. Elevators are poorly located and the one way in/out creates massive traffic jams. Very long lines at guest relations. A special party for past guests offered all sorts of expensive drinks (alcohol) for free but one could not even get a non-alcoholic beverage without paying for it. What's up with that? Really poor judgement. Same ole boring act in the pub in the promenade every night (great the first night but quickly got boring). This really needs to be switched up. Potential: The entire upper rear of the ship was mostly unused. Great space to create parties and reasons for guests to visit. The top level dance club would have rocked if a wide selection of music was offered. All-in-all, a great ship that I would definitely go on again. Despite the cons, you'll like this ship. It's good, but could be GREAT! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Because I don't want to struggle with luggage or porters, and because my cruises are typically portions of longer trips, I travel light and carry my own bags on and off a ship. I never carry a suit or even a jacket and tie, let alone ... Read More
Because I don't want to struggle with luggage or porters, and because my cruises are typically portions of longer trips, I travel light and carry my own bags on and off a ship. I never carry a suit or even a jacket and tie, let alone a tuxedo. I therefore appreciate Holland America's policy of serving in the cafeteria lobster or whatever else is served in the dining room on formal nights, so that people like me don't have to settle for an inferior meal. Norwegian Cruise Line's "free-style cruising" is even better for me: passengers need never dress up if they don't want to, and they may eat when they wish in any of the main dining rooms, no assigned times or tables, and I've found Norwegian's accommodations and food to be just as good as on Holland America and provided in a less formal atmosphere that I enjoy more. Not so with Royal Caribbean International, which is why my November 2010 trans-Atlantic cruise on its Voyager of the Seas was my first and last cruise on that line. Although I had paid, like every other passenger, for the lobster served in the dining room on a formal night, I had to settle for a distinctly inferior meal in the cafeteria because I chose not to dress up, which made me feel cheated. (A waiter told me that lobster was not served in the cafeteria because it is expensive and people would eat too much of it.) I am mostly a non-meat eater, and in the cafeteria on formal nights the chicken breasts were dried out and fish was not always available. One night a seafood paella was the only non-meat dish available, but it contained calamari, which I do not eat. Mashed potato was usually the best steam-table item available, but one night when I had to eat in the cafeteria it was so salty that I could not eat it. The quality of the food in the dining room on non-formal nights varied: it was not unusual for one or more persons at my table of eight to reject the entree that they had ordered (a substitute was always cheerfully provided). The emphasis seemed to be on presentation: grilled shrimp were beautiful and skilfully removed from their shells by the expert waiter, but they had the taste and consistency of cardboard. Eggs Benedict were not worth going to the dining room for: overcooked and loaded with salt. Breakfasts in the cafeteria were entirely adequate--and the made-to-order omelets were excellent--but the ship ran out of peanut butter, raisin bran, and bananas, staples in my diet. Desserts in both the dining room and cafeteria were excellent, the best food items that the ship provided. Seating in the dining rooms was at an early 5:30 or a late 8:30 p.m. Passengers could utilize the ship's "my time" option to dine at other times, but that required payment in advance of the full gratuities recommended for the cruise. These were "gratuities" in name only, as they were not voluntarily given or dependent upon service received, but required for "my time" dining. All passengers were urged every day to pay their full "gratuities" in advance. The Voyager's library was unattended and had no reference materials, not even a dictionary or atlas, and no non-fiction books, only novels. Unobstructed views of the screen in the poorly-designed movie theater were available only to those who sat in the front row, sat in aisle seats and leaned out, or sat on the floor in the aisle. The most outstanding feature of the much-touted ice show was that it was on a ship. My single-occupancy cabin was fine, but service only so-so. Access to the window was blocked by a large bed, and it took three requests to get it changed. Ditto for having the minibar emptied. The minibar would not keep water cold and the ship only provides ice water by the glass from room service, for which a tip is expected. A bucket of ice was left in my cabin most days, but the lid lacked a handle, requiring me to use my fingernails to remove it, and it was not replaced until I left a note about it. I removed the duvet from my bed each night, only to have the attendant replace it, until I left a note asking that he not do that. I tried unsuccessfully to hide the useless, purely decorative scarf placed on my bed each day. The last straw for me was right-wing Fox News as the only "news" available on the ship's TV after the fourth day of the cruise. The ship plainly could have provided CNN or CNN International if it had wanted to do so. This led me to conclude that Royal Caribbean caters to political conservatives, which leaves me out. This conclusion was reinforced by the fact that, though not personally important to me, both Holland America and Norwegian list LGBT get-togethers on their daily calendars, but Royal Caribbean does not. Most frustrating for me was the fact that because the cruise was an event for an RV organization that I belong to, I made my booking through their travel agent, instead of directly with the cruise line, and the travel agent then refused to sell me a transfer from the ship's pier in Galveston, Texas, to Houston's International Airport because I had not purchased a flight from Houston on arrival day but was going there to pick up a rental car, and Royal Caribbean insisted that they could not sell me a transfer because I had to go through my travel agent! The agent said that I could buy a transfer on the ship without the flight requirement, but Royal Caribbean told me that such a purchase might not be available on the ship, so I should buy it in advance, which I could not do! I had to find, for myself, on the Internet, a shuttle service from Galveston to Houston. Were my not having purchased air tickets and the fact that the cost of the shuttle was lower than that of Royal Caribbean's transfer the reason why neither the travel agent or Royal Caribbean told me about it? (I discovered on the shuttle bus that I was not the only passenger who had experienced this conundrum.) Additionally, Royal Caribbean does "nickle and dime" passengers: so-called soft-serve ice cream was free, but regular ice cream had to be purchased at premium prices; regular hamburgers were free in the cafeteria, but supposedly deluxe ones had to be purchased in the ship's extra-cost "diner." Wine that costs $6.00 per bottle cost $8.00 per glass in the dining room. A 15% "gratuity" was added automatically to the purchase of soft or alcoholic beverages, and passengers were encouraged to add an "additional gratuity for excellent service." As on Norwegian (less so on Holland America), the constant exhortations to buy and spend were very annoying. (A recent program on The Travel Channel revealed that cruise ships rely on on-board sales and charges to make their profit.) Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We wanted to cruise off-season with many days at sea, as those are the days we like most. So we chose this transatlantic cruise sailing from Barcelona: it was pretty easy for us to reach the pier, there were many days of navigation, and ... Read More
We wanted to cruise off-season with many days at sea, as those are the days we like most. So we chose this transatlantic cruise sailing from Barcelona: it was pretty easy for us to reach the pier, there were many days of navigation, and cruise stopped at some places we had never been before. The drawback of this type of cruise is the long flight back home. We discovered that in a west-bound transatlantic days are longer (clocks were set back times during the cruise), but, of course, the difference in hours is recovered suddenly with the return flight and you get jet-lag for a few days. The boarding in Barcelona was pretty chaotic and with a long wait. We had to queue in the terminal for half an hour to check in luggage and get our sea-pass cards, and then wait an hour and a half more until we could enter the boat. We found the ship impressively big (we compared to Azamara Journey); spaces are very large. The indoor promenade with shops and bars has a ceiling height of 4 stories and it really looks like a street. Our cabin (or stateroom, if you please) was a "oceanview with balcony" on deck 9, to the front, port side. If you want sun into your cabin then it is important to be on left side of the boat for this trip almost always sailing westward. In addition, we were looking for a quiet cabin in a high deck, away from any noise activity, and to the front of the ship away from the thump of the engines, as we do not mind to walk across the whole boat for the meals. The bed was huge, queen size, and very comfortable. The room also had a wardrobe, a sofa, individual control air conditioning, and digital combination safebox. A detail to rectify in the documentation provided by Royal Caribbean: all cabins do have at least one European type plug with 220 v AC, so you will not need a plug adapter. The balcony is big enough for two chairs and a table, but it could have fit tight two hammocks as well. Balconies are separated by opaque metal walls, much better for privacy. The bathroom is small but it has everything needed. The circular shower closes with two plastic sliding doors, and it has good pressure for both hot and cold water. We asked our cabin steward for bathrobes and got them with no problem, though we were told that those were supposed to be only for people in suites. Cleaning and housekeeping was very diligent and effective. We always found the room already done when returning from breakfast. Compared to other cabins we could peek into, interior cabins have the same size and distribution as ours, only without balcony nor any window. Junior suites are twice as big as our cabin, with two armchairs and a flat screen TV, bathroom has a bathtub, and their balcony is larger and has two hammocks. A detail to improve: non suite cabins, including ours, still have old CRT TVs. About food and drink, in general we found very good variety of food and excellent quality of most dishes. In particular, we liked burgers, guacamole, orange juice, Catalan cream (a pleasant surprise, just the right taste, with well caramelized sugar all over), and some dishes appearing only at the main dining room, such as the lobster and beef plate ("surf and turf"). It took a while to figure time scheduling for some items, like guacamole (only after 3 PM) or orange juice (only before 12 PM). Some missing items to improve: more variety of cheeses, varied olives, and true yogurt (so that tzatziki does not look like a clear soup). Some desserts have so much sugar that no flavour can be noticed. That seems a bit shocking in contrast with the insistence to include on menus desserts that are allegedly light or sugar free. We found it miserable that sparkling water is not included among free drinks. Free coffee is watered to the American taste, just what we expected to find. Espresso coffee and alcoholic drinks are always charged, as advertised. Wine prices are expensive. They have some superb wines, such as the Torres Celeste, Ribera de Duero, or Merlot and Cabernet Clos du Bois, California. We would have liked to be able to scan the wine list on the cabin TV. We had breakfast and lunch at the Windjammer buffet, which in practice is not closed from 7 AM until 9 PM. Normally we could choose a table without problem, although the tables by the stern windows were always more sought after. We missed an area outside to have breakfast in the sun, such as the one at the stern of Azamara. We had breakfast once in the main dining room but service was slow pace, so we preferred to stay in buffet. On landing in Galveston everyone appeared at the same time to have breakfast and Windjammer was a bit overcrowded. We had most of the dinners in the main dining room. The service is good and our waiters learned our habits right away (drinks with no ice, please). We had assigned seating and table, so we did not need to wait, but of course, we were seated with a party of strangers. Once we asked for a table just for two and we just waited for a few minutes to get it. Once we tried dinner in the specialty restaurant "Portofino", and we find it is not worth the difference. Service is excellent, but the food is not anything particularly exquisite, and not so Italian, really. We found the shows to be very good, within the limitations imposed by the boat. We really enjoyed the show on ice. Notice that the side balconies in the theater La Scala have some seats with half obstructed view by columns. Best seats for us are the ones in 1st floor balcony next to the stage. This is also the case with some columns on the sides of the ice rink. Here the best seats are in the center stands, not in the sides. We discovered that getting to the exterior passage on deck 4 (below the lifeboats) and climbing the stairs to the bow, you can get to the viewpoint at the very front of the ship on deck 5, where there is the heliport. The gym meets all expectations with fitness machines, static bikes, parquet floor, and saunas. There are several whirlpools and saltwater pools, including a quiet zone, for adults only, with no music. We missed an auto-laundry, those self-service washing facilities that were so useful to us on the Azamara. However, the laundry service works fast and returns clothes in not much more than 24 hours. We did not like some public areas closed because of private parties too often, music too loud in some places and times, and air conditioning too cold. During the cruise we often found several public spaces reserved for private parties (the loyalty clubs of the company), as bars in deck 14 and the club Cleopatra's Needle in deck 5. For this reason we were practically unable to use those. That was annoying, especially on navigation days when one would like to be able to move around. It's not acceptable to have simultaneously closed all bars in deck 14. Moreover, that information should be included in the daily program paper, and also at the entrance of each area the day before. We do not understand why the music is so loud in some common areas like the gym, the sport court (aft deck 13), and the common pool area at the center. It would be nice to have at least some hours of silence in the gym. Fortunately, at least you always have a quiet and silent refuge in the adults only pool area. We feel sorry for the occupants of the inside cabins with promenade view, because they have to endure with the noise and blaring music of the parades every few days. For our tastes, the air conditioning is too cold in most areas. For instance, in the main dining room dishes cool too quickly on table. At least that is no problem in cabins where you have individual control. The Aquarium Bar with tropical fish and water tanks, as described in advertising, does not exist. The atmosphere of the bar is fine, but the decoration is an assembly of plastic fish and concrete coral. The cruise stopped in these ports: Cartagena, Spain; Funchal, Madeira; Santa Cruz, La Palma, Canary Islands; Nassau, Bahamas; and Galveston, Texas, USA. In La Palma we did the hiking at the Teneguia volcano, which we recommend for active people. In Nassau, we did the snorkel tour, which is good, though the sea scooter is not worth the difference. The disembarkation at Galveston was slow and a complete traffic jam, but at least it was done in an orderly manner. We had a long wait at the theater (over an hour behind schedule). At the Galveston terminal we had to queue for half an hour to pass passport control. And then we took a boring two hour bus ride to the G. Bush Houston airport, to get the flight back home. We were told taxi fare from Galveston terminal to G. Bush Houston airport was $160. Summarizing, it was a good off-season experience. It's quite probable that we will cruise with RC again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We just returned from a great Trans-Atlantic voyage from Barcelona to Galveston on the Voyager of the Seas and wanted to share some of the high points, as well as a few low points about the experience. We had an online package deal that ... Read More
We just returned from a great Trans-Atlantic voyage from Barcelona to Galveston on the Voyager of the Seas and wanted to share some of the high points, as well as a few low points about the experience. We had an online package deal that included air transportation, a hotel for two nights and the cruise. The air portion from Houston was uncomfortable on a packed Lufthansa 747, but uneventful. The transfers were smooth and the hotel (H10 marina) was comfortable although the air conditioning had been turned off for the season a little prematurely. Embarkation on the ship was chaotic with the terminal seeming more like the Calcutta railway station than a cruise terminal. There was no discernable organization or prioritization, with passengers being assigned random boarding groups. Although we were diamond status in a junior suite, we were given priority 12, while some new cruisers were given priority one or two. Our boarding agent was clueless about any special waiting areas for Platinum and Diamond Crown and Anchor members, and directed us to a room that turned out to be the isolation ward for passengers suspected of having communicable diseases! We then beat a hasty retreat from the area and took refuge in a baggage holding area. After waiting for about an hour or so, we boarded but were not allowed in our cabins until 2 PM. The ship is about 137,000 tons and I conservatively estimate the 3,100 passengers' median weight at 250 lbs., without luggage, adding about another 400 tons to the ballast. The majority were from the U.S, U.K. and Canada. We met many new friends and found that almost all our shipmates were mature, friendly folks who had experienced successful careers and had led interesting lives. Except for two days of rough seas near Gibraltar, the weather was gorgeous. It was more like a Caribbean cruise, than an Atlantic voyage, with the temperatures consistently in the low 80s F. The ports of call were very nice and we particularly liked Madeira. We booked tours through the ship and thought they were well worth the money. Regarding food services, we mainly used the dining room for breakfast and dinner and grabbed sandwiches from the Windjammer or the Snack bar on deck 5. The Windjammer was so crowded, it was almost impossible to find a seat unless you went very early or very late. We had My Time dining and thought that the food was very good. Although you don't get to bond with the waiters as you do with fixed dining times, you get to meet a wide variety of fellow passengers. The entertainment was consistently good with the usual variety of cruise shows, and the vivacious Argentinean cruise director, Mercedes, did her best to keep us busy and happy. I found her somewhat fractured English to be utterly charming. Our junior suite cabin was roomy and well appointed and our cabin attendant (Faru) did a great job. The TV channels were disappointing, as there was no channel showing the present position or weather. Instead, there was a continuous loop of a guy explaining how to wash your hands. This got really old after two weeks. Beverage services were good, although they lost a half bottle of wine I had left over from the previous dinner, claiming I had drunk it all. After I had purchased another bottle, they finally found it so I had two open bottles. On the positive side, this was our first opportunity to enjoy the diamond level events and we enjoyed the nightly complimentary wine/champagne very much. There were lots of activities on board, including very interesting lectures on art, history and aviation. The Trans- Atlantic experience also provides a great opportunity to catch up on all those books that you have been meaning to read. Disembarking was quick and easy, especially for us who dragged our own luggage off the boat. The only negative was that they shut down the internet services that last morning so I was unable to use up my $30 credit from the package I had purchased (and I didn't want to wait in line at guest services behind all the thrifty Scots protesting their final bills). In summary, we had a wonderful time, despite a few glitches and would do the trip again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Jezebel's Master was spot on. I was expecting much more in the way of quality from what others had told me about this cruise line. The food was not as good as on my cruise with Carnival Spirit in September. The waiters were about the ... Read More
Jezebel's Master was spot on. I was expecting much more in the way of quality from what others had told me about this cruise line. The food was not as good as on my cruise with Carnival Spirit in September. The waiters were about the same. I've had much better food and service on NCL as recent as last year. I talked to many passengers who said the quality of this cruise had slipped considerably and these were seasoned Royal Caribbean cruisers of which several said this was there last time with this cruise line. About half of the evening entertainment was good but the rest was of lounge show quality not headliner type. This is compaired to NCL. Housekeeping sucked more than their vacuum cleaner. It was when I was going to start packing and pulled my suitcases out from under the bed that I found a 2euro coin just under the edge of the bed on the floor. Down on my hands and knees I found a tube of hand creme and hair and debris every where. Had I known how dirty is was I would have said something. Galveston shuttle was a little scary. We had purchased tickets on board with a exit time of 8:30-8:45. We were told we would be on the first or second bus and it would wait if we were late in getting off the boat. When we were finally released at 9:35 we had another long wait to go through customs. On other ships we have had customs on board ship to do the paperwork. By the time we made it to the shuttle area we were told that the bus had just left. They finally found another bus and we were the first ones on. We had to wait an hour until the bus filled. We were told by RCI that we could book a flight after 12 noon, ours was at 12:05. The bus people told me that it should be after 1:00. We finally arrived at the airport 14 minutes before take off. Since we were the first on the bus our luggage was buried. I had to throw out about 15 suit cases before I got to ours. Running into the terminal at full speed, the people at Southwest were wonderfull. They rushed us through but of course the gate was 2nd from the end of the building. They let us on without boarding passes and the door closed right behind us before we could find a seat. But we made it! We have cruised a dozen times in the last 9 years and plan to continue in the future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
After some time in Barcelona, a wonderfully exciting and interesting city, we took a taxi from our hotel to the pier. The embarkation was the easiest we have encountered. The ship was clean and already beginning to look a lot like ... Read More
After some time in Barcelona, a wonderfully exciting and interesting city, we took a taxi from our hotel to the pier. The embarkation was the easiest we have encountered. The ship was clean and already beginning to look a lot like Christmas, with the huge Christmas tree in the center of the Promenade Deck. Ports were interesting, sea days were great, and we enjoyed the shows. The Broadway Music by the ship's singers and dancers was terrific, ice show was good, and we adored the young musical impersonator, Sean O' Shay. He was totally captivating and his show was sooo enjoyable. We met so many old and new cruise friends. Food is always an issue with many people, but it is not our priority. We found it adequate to good, not superior. Of course, Portafino's and Johnny Rocket's are always nice alternatives. We love the RCI ships. They are pretty and their layout is easy with which to become acquainted. This was a totally wonderful cruise. Transatlantic cruises on a Voyager Class ships are the best! Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
We loved this cruise. The food was wonderful. Mike Szwajkowski was the CD and he was fantastic. Unlike other CD's we've had experience with, Mike was always visible not just at the show in the evening. He has a super personality ... Read More
We loved this cruise. The food was wonderful. Mike Szwajkowski was the CD and he was fantastic. Unlike other CD's we've had experience with, Mike was always visible not just at the show in the evening. He has a super personality and made everything fun. His staff was fantastic. With so many sea days, it was important to have a good CD and CD staff and these kids were just super. This cabin is on the starboard side on the aft end of the "hump" or bump out of the ship. It had a much larger than usual balcony with full bulkheads to the top making it very private. It was also in the wide part of the hallway and within easy access of the elevators and the library. Though a lot of people had to pass our cabin, the hallway was quiet. I wish I could get the same location on our next cruise. I thought the food was very good and especially enjoyed the little rib lamb chops which were unexpected. We had them twice! Our waiter was wonderful and our table mates were great folks whom we hope to cruise with again. The only thing that was wrong with this cruise was the fact that we are Platinum Crown & Anchor members and the ship had over 600 Diamond and Diamond+ members on board. Because of this large number of D a D+ members, the rest of the passengers lost an important venue and the ability to have a dance and a drink before dinner. There were so many of them that they took the Cleopatra's Needle over every day for drinks and dancing. There was staff at the door to "card" other guests so they could not get in. We didn't want their free drinks, and would have paid for our own beverages for the privilidge of being able to have a few dances before early dining. Towards the end of the cruise, they gave the early diners 15 minutes of music in the lounge on deck 14 but it was too little and too late. The Platinum members lost their luncheon, too, because of the number of D and D+. We need one more cruise to be Diamond, so we have cruised a lot on RCI and this is the first time that we felt unwelcome and unwanted because we weren't Diamond or Diamond Plus. Other than that, it was a great cruise with awesome weather and fantastic memories to treasure. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
We have heard of repositioning cruises for years. When we heard of this one and the great price we jumped on it. We spent two nights in Barcelona. We loved the city and will go back. We were some of the first to check in and we had to ... Read More
We have heard of repositioning cruises for years. When we heard of this one and the great price we jumped on it. We spent two nights in Barcelona. We loved the city and will go back. We were some of the first to check in and we had to stand in line before they would let us board. Once aboard we were not supposed to go to our cabins until 2pm. We did sneak in and dropped our stuff off. We went to the Windjammer which was not crowded. We made three ports of call before we headed across the Atlantic. All were enjoyable. We were six days on the open seas. The weather was great. We enjoyed the flying fish. We also enjoyed the forensic lectures. There wasn't much else to keep up busy so we got a little bored. We probably won't do another one of these until we get older. Our cabin steward and waiters were great. I'm not sure why we have to tip the head waiter. He was nice enough and dropped by our table every night but I didn't see him doing much else. We probably will not sail with Royal Caribbean again. I don't care for the two class system on their ships. If you are not double diamond or higher, i.e. first class, you get treated like second class citizens in certain situations, e.g. seating in the theater. We just completed our first cruise on Holland American in Sept. We felt like we were first class even though we were in one of the least expensive staterooms. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
This was our third westbound crossing on the Voyager so this review will mostly deal with the shipboard experience since we had been to all the ports before. I'll be glad to answer any questions about the ports from previous cruises. ... Read More
This was our third westbound crossing on the Voyager so this review will mostly deal with the shipboard experience since we had been to all the ports before. I'll be glad to answer any questions about the ports from previous cruises. We are in our mid-60's and have done over 30 cruises over the years. We flew in a day early and stayed at the Hotel Continental where many cruisers were staying both for our voyage and two or three other ships that were in port. While the hotel is certainly not the Four Seasons, it is clean, reasonably priced (95 euro), convenient (on Las Ramblas), easy to get to from the airport via a bus, free food, wine, beer, etc., and about a 17 euro taxi ride to the pier. The rooms are small with an elevator about the size of a telephone booth but it works. Decorating is inspired by hot pink and florals. They have a "sister" hotel a couple of blocks away from Las Ramblas that is a little nicer but is around 35 euro more. Embarkation was quick and easy. They have a duty free shop AFTER you put your carry-ons through the scanner which sells alcohol. I had heard that another check of bags would be made prior to getting on the ship but it wasn't in our case. CABIN-7250 We have been getting E1/E2 cabins for several cruises. While we prefer Deck 6 forward close to the elevators, this cabin was on Deck 7. Good was that our balcony has glass below the railing while on Deck 6, they are steel. The glass allows a little more light into the cabin. We prefer Deck 6 forward because it is only one deck straight down to the Promenade Cafe, Cleopatra's Needle, and the Promenade business. It is two decks straight down to the Schooner Bar, casino, and theater balcony. Hence, we can avoid using the elevators except to go up to the Windjammer and pool deck. I like being close to the theater because if I need to use Ladies after the show I can get to the cabin quickly via the stairs and not have to wait on an elevator. The downside is that you walk the length of the ship to get to the feeding troughs. Hopefully, it will walk off some calories. Being on Deck 7, I found I was using the elevators more. Going down, not a problem: but, if I was on Deck 4, then I would take them to get back up to Deck 7. We have never been disturbed by noise from the elevators or the passengers using them. While on the deck plan it looks like they are right in front of your door, they really are "around the corner." Our cabin steward, Ronaldo, introduced himself and I gave him my "punch" list of requests. Empty the refrigerator, give us two Compass a day, keep my thermo cooler in the shower iced down daily, and see if he could find an egg crate for us. All were fulfilled before we turned in for the night. Cabin was in pretty good shape. The sofa had been recovered which was good—you could have grown crops on the last one we had in the fall of 2008. There was a big gouge on the bathroom door which didn't bother us but I was mildly concerned they may think we had done it. Apparently not because Ronaldo had them repair it the second day. They gave it a band-aid treatment putting some paper over it. There were splatters of paint on the glass of our balcony but nothing too great. The balcony walls were solid on both sides. In the past, our balconies have been a wall up one side and a partition on the other side. I liked this because, as one of those horrible smokers, I felt it kept smoke from "drifting" over to the neighboring balconies a little bit. Still, I always look at the neighboring balconies before lighting up to make sure they are empty. The walls gave us a little more privacy as you really had to lean over the railing to see on the next balcony. Our cabin steward was one of the best we have had. The first week, if he saw us coming down the hall he would hustle to our door and open it for us which hasn't happened in the recent past on our cruises. The second week, though, this didn't happen. He always greeted us by name and asked if everything was o.k. The only "complaint" I had was that he would service the cabin and collect the ice bucket but not return it until around 1:30 when he was replacing all of them in the cabins. So, if we wanted to nap, we knew not to do it until he had returned our ice bucket because there would be a knock on the door. I guess we could have put the "do not disturb" sign out but then we would miss the ice refill as he would be going off duty for the afternoon. The main "complaint" I had about the cabin was that the bed lights were over the headboard rather than to the side of the bed which they have been on previous cruises so sometimes it was awkward to read in bed. I noticed there was no stationery or pens in the desk drawer. Cost cutting?? Maybe Ronaldo didn't replace them from the previous occupant. DINING We were at late seating in the Carmen dining room at a table for ten. Our Diamond Plus companion is solo, so we had an empty seat. Our dining companions were just great and we had a wonderful time with them. Our travel companion did not join us for dinner after the first night but ate in the Windjammer so we basically had a table of eight. Our waiter and assistant waiter were not the best we have had but far from the worst. They served us in a timely manner, the food was hot, what we ordered and how we ordered it. I was impressed that he took the women's orders first and served the women first. I haven't seen that in quite a few cruises. I felt like the portions were smaller than in the past but never left the table hungry. Sorry to say, the food has not improved. Selections are limited. If you like chicken, salmon, pasta, then you will be happy. They combine the "always available" with the entrees so it looks like you have more selection than you do since half of the choices are "always available." We ate breakfast every morning in the main dining room. They have an "express buffet" set up where they had basics like eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, fruit, Danish, cereal, cold cuts. Seated, they came around promptly with coffee and took juice orders then the waiter came to take the breakfast order. We would order any hot items we wanted like pancakes, French toast, eggs benedict, omelet, oatmeal (no waffles), and then go to the buffet for "starters" like cereal and fruit. By the time we finished that, the rest of the meal arrived. If you don't want to get your own cereal, etc., they would bring it to you. One thing I liked about Royal vs. other lines was that the bacon was crisp--not still going "oink"--and if you tried to get one or two strips, it all stuck together so you ended up with a plate full like on other lines. However, on this cruise, it wasn't always so. I would get my bacon at the buffet where I could "pick and choose" but still had a problem finding crisp and not a bunch of it stuck together, some crisp and most not. Even if I ordered it from the waiter and asked for crisp, it did not always come that way. We enjoyed meeting other people at our table and being served without having to run to different "stations" while one person guarded the table like you do in the Windjammer. If you are not a social person in the morning, there were tables for two available. As a Diamond member, we were told in our welcome letter we could be served in the Seville dining room where they had full service and upgraded coffee available for free. Not being a coffee drinker, this did not appeal to me but I did peek in there and it was not set up for dining—in fact had computer paper boxes stacked around the perimeter. So I asked where the Diamond dining was and told they set off a section in the MDR for it. I didn't investigate that so I can't comment on it. We ate all our lunches in the Windjammer. I am a soup, sandwich, dessert person; husband likes to hunker down with a plate full of pasta or ribs so this was a happy medium. We never had trouble getting a table and they were pretty good about cleaning them and getting drinks if you asked. My friend that ate dinners in the Windjammer said the selection there was not nearly as good as on past cruises in the evening. In the afternoons at 3:00 they had tea/snack time. Clotted cream, scones, sandwiches with the crust cut off, etc. for the tea sippers. In the back, husband was delighted to find nachos and tacos to tide him over until our late dinner seating. The Promenade Cafe is open 24 hours with pastries in the morning followed by sandwiches, pizza, cookies and desserts in the afternoon and evenings. The first couple of days there was no iced tea available there but I guess some Texans 'splained to them about the necessity of iced tea being available 24/7. The only other place to get iced tea would be the WJ which didn't put it out until 11:30 and closed at 9:00 p.m. Lemonade was, also, set up which hasn't been done on our previous cruises.. They had coffee, tea, hot chocolate there 24/7. However, the machines were leaking and it was constantly wet around them no matter how fast they mopped. I saw many near falls from people "skating" on the water. Hopefully, they have fixed it. We passed on Johnny Rockets since they took the BOGO coupon out of the booklet. We did not go to Portofino's this time either. They do not have a Chops on the Voyager. ENTERTAINMENT Our Cruise Direction was Mike Szwajkowaski (I learned how to spell it sure it would get me extra points on trivia—it didn't) and one of the best we have had. He was very approachable around the ship, hosted a Q&A session, and hosted the marathon trivia. I didn't feel like the entertainment was as good as we have had in the past. The production show had minimal sets—mostly projection backgrounds on a screen. We went to a few of them and nothing stands out as particularly great We did not do the ice show this time as we have seen it twice before. We discovered that seats in the balcony on the sides do not have a full view of the stage. We never had any problems finding a seat as the shows were not that crowded—even the production shows. We are trivia players and play just about every time they schedule one. Things I noticed this time were that the prizes were much better—not just the key chains, water wallets, and pens but umbrellas, caps, Ipod holders, passport holders, etc. They had a marathon trivia on sea days where the scores are cumulative. The first couple of days, they let us grade our own papers which kinda raised my eyebrows. Then we traded papers. The team that had high scores the first two days which raised even more suspicion still cleaned our clock after we traded papers. No doubt they were SMART!!!!!! They got comped a dinner at Portofino's from our CD Mike. For Bingo you could buy one card for $22 or three cards for $30+ (can't remember the exact amount). No hand helds were being rented so that sorta evened the playing field for those that wanted to play but didn't want to pay rental for them which was, on past cruises, twice the price with three or four times more "cards" to play. In the past, the prizes have been based on how many played. However, on this cruise they had set prizes like $100 for the first game, $110 for the second, etc (can't remember the exact numbers) which I believe I heard was because of low participation. Generally on port days, there were no activities scheduled on board after 10:30 until around 4:00 p.m. other than movies in the screening room. I did see in the Compass they had children's activities scheduled, though. ELEVATORS Many of the directional lights were out so you had to depend on "ding" for up and "ding ding" for down and guess which elevator was coming and missing a few when you guessed wrong. The lights for calling the elevator did not work on a few so you wondered if it was being called or not. Fortunately, you could look on the other side of the bank and if the light was on. Some lights did not light up inside of the elevator to indicate what floor you were on or behind a button you pushed for your floor. I felt like more elevators than usual were "out of order" off and on. Overall, there did not seem to be a long wait for them other than when you expect it around dinner time, show letting out, and disembarkation in port. Hint: When coming in from port, walk by the first bank of elevators and go to the far bank behind them. It looks like you are going into a crew area but you aren't and there is seldom a wait for one there. Elevators definitely need attention. CASINO Our cruise critic group scheduled a group slot pull. The fellow in charge of it spoke with the casino manager who was the most uncooperative one he has ever run into having set these up numerous times. We had $2,000 to gamble and we are talking 3:00 p.m.—not one of your high traffic times. He asked for some "giveaways" for the players. No. He asked if machines could be set aside for us so we wouldn't be blocking traffic and have room for everyone to watch the machine. No. Well we could if we wanted to pay the casino $6 for every $20 we were feeding into the machine or something like that. So, we divided up into five groups of 20 and gambled "on our own." Four groups lost all their money (but had good entertainment) and one group actually came out ahead. As a stockholder, I am a little miffed that the manager would not cooperate more to bring in $2,000 in revenue during a slow period. I am a big gambler. Penny slots. One penny at a time—100 pulls per dollar. In the past, I have taken my dollar down and played for an hour or so with it. Not this time. I was lucky to get 20 minutes for my dollar. I like the Luau one by the entrance to the Schooner Bar where you get 15 bonus pulls if you get three Tikis. I'd get enough to keep me going for an hour from it. This time, I wasn't getting three Tiki's very often. So, for the fun of it, I started counting how many pulls until I got the bonus. The first time it took 80 pulls and that was about average for the first week. Then, on the second week, more and more pulls needed until I got up to 350 pulls towards the end. Whereas in the past you have to bird dog a seat at the penny slots, this time there were empty ones a lot of time. I think other people came to the same realization I did that those machines were just not paying. I'd see people sit down, feed $20 into the machine, play 15 cents at a time and be pulling another $20 out in about ten minutes. In fact, I didn't see as many people as in the past playing the slots anywhere in the casino. The Black Jack table had a $6 minimum which I think is to encourage you to play $5 on the game and put $1 on the little circle that if you get black jack you can spin a wheel for more money. Those odds rank right up there with buying insurance when the dealer has an ace showing. It, also, might be to encourage you to bet two $5 chips instead of a $5 and a $1 to meet the minimum. What was interesting was in the Compass a couple of times there was a coupon for black jack for $5 match play yet the minimum was $6. I never investigated how that worked out but guess you put $6 plus the coupon down and if you won, the coupon was paid at $5. Usually the black jack $5 table was standing room only while the $10, $25 table dealers were picking their fingernails waiting for customers. There were three roulette tables but only one was in use most of the time and then with one or two players. I'm not sure if they had a craps table. If they did, they were mighty quiet and craps players aren't quiet (lol). In the past, on formal nights, the casino has been non-smoking but that was not done on this cruise. ODDS AND ENDS There was a multitude of hand sanitizers both going into the dining areas and around the ship. They had crew members stationed at the doors of the dining room and it was very difficult to get by them without getting a squirt. You were reminded often that hand washing with hot water was the best thing to do. However, I noticed in the public bathrooms, there wasn't hot water (lol). In the past, I never saw a hand sanitizer on the ship with the exception of one time when we were in port they squirted us reboarding. Later we heard that another ship in port had had a breakout of the virus and they thought we might have come in contact with them. When asked why there were no sanitizers around the ship, the Captain at a Q&A session on a previous sailing said it was because they weren't that effective, hand washing was the best solution, and people were not washing their hands before meals relying on the sanitizers. On the tables in the Windjammer was a little sign saying that card/game players were welcome to use the Magic Flute dining room for their games and to please not tie up tables in the Windjammer. Hence, I did not see tables being used for anything other than eating during the cruise. Good move, Royal Caribbean. Muster drill was held on deck but we did not have to take our life jackets. Good move, Royal Caribbean. We are Diamond but our traveling companion is Diamond Plus. He called our cabin to tell me that his welcome letter along with his CL key said that Diamonds were welcome in the CL which was located in Cloud Nine next to High Notes for happy hour. Our welcome letter did not state that and directed us to Cleopatra's for happy hour and we were not given a CL key. So, I told him to check it out that night and let me know which was correct. He went to the Concierge Lounge for happy hour and reported it was utter chaos. Only one person mixing drinks, no place to sit, very crowded, and the concierge blew him off when he asked if they could stock non-alcoholic beer saying it was "not on the list." However, the following night he reported that it was not crowded, very nice appetizers, more servers, and he got his non-alcoholic beer because a server went over to the High Notes bar and got it for him. He said that the server made sure there was his beer there every night for him. Goodbye tip to concierge, hello tips for the servers. We were wondering if some Diamonds "crashed" the first night having gotten the same message he conveyed to me from the Diamond Plus welcome letter. He said the concierge told him there were 120 Diamond Pluses on the ship. Our friend said about 40 or so were in the lounge in the evenings. There was a Diamond Lounge in Cleopatra's with free wine, champagne, soft drinks, 25% off other drinks, and music No appetizers, though. It was very lively and well attended. In fact, many Diamond + went down there in spite of having to pay for their drinks to be with their Diamond friends and saying it was more fun. Prior to this cruise, I had been on four trans-Atlantics as Platinum or better. However, this was the first time there was a luncheon for Platinum/Diamond members on a cruise I was on. In the past, it has been a special ice show. The luncheon was outstanding. The best food on the whole cruise along with plenty of wine. At our table was an officer in charge of inventory (non-food) so we had very interesting conversations going. For the first time, I noticed the library books were locked and only unlocked when the librarian was there. Then after a few days, they weren't locked up. The library is pretty worthless at best so bring your own reading material. If you get desperate, you can "dumpster dive" for returned books in the return box. I heard there was an exchange shelf set up somewhere in the library but didn't see it or look for it. We made an appointment with the Loyalty Ambassador to book a fall AOS trans-Atlantic for November 2010. Signing up in the appointment book has been like an appointment with the doctor—a license to wait. In hopes of avoiding a long wait past my appointment time, I signed up for the first appointment in the afternoon. We arrived 15 minutes early only to find the LA dealing with someone—most likely a walk up he thought would only take a short time. After waiting ½ an hour seeing that the present customer was not getting close to completing his business with each of his questions being answered bringing forth two more questions, it became necessary to reschedule as we had somewhere we needed to be at 2:00. I took the first appointment of the day and got there half an hour early to preclude anyone else getting in before me and was taken promptly. As I mentioned before, we did not do anything in the ports other than get off and find an internet cafe. In Tenerife, we met with some friends we have cruised with several times who were in port on a Celebrity ship. That was the highlight of our port adventures. A couple of times the port authority held us up and the Captain added time to our port stay to compensate for it. Another thing that Royal did that was new was have those with their excursions get off on a different gangplank than those without them. This really speeded things up for those that chose to go out on their own. Good move, Royal Caribbean! We did not get our invitation to the M&M in our cabin. I knew where and when and turned up. I got my favor (note pad) and a ticket for the raffle drawings--no win :(. I think the reason was because after I signed up, the list was deleted because we went from a lot being signed up to only 20 signed up overnight. There was a posting on the site that said if you had signed up, you didn't need to sign up again, they had a record. Guess not. The ever popular art auctions were there. This time, though, no free champagne every time. I don't go to them or buy from them so I can't comment any further. I heard the no champagne complaints from others. The worst part about trans-Atlantics is the lack of communication from the shore. We could be in WW3 and not know it. They had Fox butit was mostly repeats from days before with a little ticker across the bottom of the screen with current news--one word at a time--on a non-flat screen TV, I might add. As for sports, don't even think about it. A San Diego/Oakland football game from September was shown repeatedly. I was ready to go down to the sports bar and start taking Oakland and points. All the other sports being shown had long since been played. Lots of soccer. Very frustrating for college football fans when Alabama/Florida and Texas/Nebraska games were being played for conference championships. Husband wandered the Promenade the next morning looking for someone with a computer to find out how they turned out. Movies were past their prime, some waaaaaay past their prime. We enjoyed some classic John Wayne ones, though. This is especially frustrating since in a cost cutting measure they don't have the NY Times thingee anymore. DISEMBARKATION When I woke up and saw the fog, I said a silent prayer the ship was moving. It was, slowly. We self-disembarked which was to commence at 7:30. Because of the fog slightly delaying our arrival, it didn't start until about 8:00. Once it got going, though, it was quick even though there were people "cutting" in line from the sides rather than going to the end of the line. I was happy to see that employees inside the terminal directed those that were not self-disembarking passengers and got into the self-disembarkation line to step aside and let us off. They were identified by colored luggage tags on their carry-ons (tags issued for suitcases being taken off the ship) which were not given to those of us self-disembarking. The only "snag" was if you did not have "one hand free," you could not use the escalator and had to take an elevator to get down to the first floor. Needless to say, the elevator had a wait. There are steps to the left of the elevator which we took. We were through immigration and customs and outside the terminal by 8:20. Things did not go so well for others, though. There were not enough custom agents to handle the influx of Europeans traditionally on a trans-Atlantic as well as returning Americans so the back-up got pretty bad. I heard the last passenger got off the ship at 3:30. In the meantime, people were arriving to get on the ship. The terminal is not that great even if things go right as far as loading and unloading goes and this made it really bad. People couldn't park because parking spots were being taken up by people who hadn't left the ship. They couldn't process people on the ship until people were off the ship. The fog was as bad as it ever gets down here. Bottom line, the ship was in port until Tuesday afternoon due to the fog. Overall, a great cruise as usual and we're ready to do it again. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at whitlock@alumni.utexas.net. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Wow, how to summarize 14 days in just a few paragraphs? Note to self: thank the weather gods for their work--every day was beautiful! Three of us boarded VOS in BCN Nov 29th, bound for Galveston. Back in the day, ship's staff ... Read More
Wow, how to summarize 14 days in just a few paragraphs? Note to self: thank the weather gods for their work--every day was beautiful! Three of us boarded VOS in BCN Nov 29th, bound for Galveston. Back in the day, ship's staff and crew worked hard to accommodate special passenger requests on the spot. Now that the ship emails 'Miami' with every complaint and request, no one on board is responsible, and there is a lack of creative and on-the-spot problem solving. Accommodations: We lodged in a Junior Suite on Deck 9 just forward of the 'bulge,' an excellent location near the rear stairs providing quick access to all food and pools. A shout-out of thanks to Dennis, cabin steward, for working with us in overcoming RCI's limitations. A note here on sleeping arrangements: I was lucky to get one of the suite's broken-down, 10-year-old, twins. One of us ended up on the new 'sofa-bed,' just installed in April while the ship was dry-docked. Clearly, no one in Miami has ever sat upon, and certainly never slept upon, this new contraption. By day, the 'sofa' is about as comfortable as a seat on the Barcelona Metro. By night, a bed of nails would be more comfortable, as this 'bed' is nothing more than a sheet of plywood with 1" of cheap foam stapled on. The 'bed' is actually the back of the sofa, which folds down and forward to make a flat surface upon which the cabin steward places sheets and comforters. You think I'm kidding, I know--I still cannot believe it myself. Well, somewhere on the ship, two crew bunks were without mattresses, because they ended up on the floor in our Suite. Also, a note to future designers: the room is too big, in proportion to the bath. A split bath, with separate WC would be lovely. Dining: The food in the Magic Flute was good, a 7 or 8 most nights. Lobster, not so much. The service started off poor--disorganized--lacking any teamwork. Waiters and Assistant Waiters are not paired on the same tables; the resulting lack of service was laughable. Apparently, neither of our Waiters have ever dined in a quality restaurant. Service improved after some 'training' on day four, though by day twelve, it had slipped right back. Entertainment was provided by the trolleys: plastic and wire affairs (same as used at my carwash) laden with filth and garbage recently scraped from other tables in the room, piloted at breakneck speed by Assistant Waiters hell-bent on terminating the shift as quickly as possible. 'Miami' ended the old-fashioned and dangerous trays. The Windjammer was passable, and as others have commented, boring, same thing day after day. Seven days would have been about right; fourteen was too many. There is never a clean table waiting. Be prepared to bus your own table, get your own drinks, and you will be fine. Likewise room service: that the fruitplate was exactly the same all 13 mornings, right down to the one day over-ripe pineapple and one day under-ripe cantaloupe, was amazing. What was really missing was an outdoor venue. It was 78 degrees at lunch everyday, and everyday we were obliged to go inside to eat. Johnny Rockets (at sea) was a bitter disappointment. The burger was essentially the same as upstairs, as were the fries. We went for the chocolate malt (extra charge) and onion rings. The chocolate malt (delivered to the table not before, but after the food) was undrinkable through the tiny, thin straw, and the onion rings were like the old Burger King version: half-fried rounds of machine-extruded, frozen, onion-flavored dough. 'Miami' authorized the switch from fresh, breaded onions to this. Entertainment: We were blessed with a good CD, Mike S, just back from hiatus. Another poster said entertainment was geared to folk over 45. Well, we are aged 50-57, and we felt it was geared to folk older than us (though not so old as on HAL). Because the VOS band performs at just about every show, just about every show seems the same. How about giving the Salsa Band or the Classic music the showroom and giving the swing-band high-hat cymbals a night off? And a note on The Vault: why hire a homophobic DJ? Aren't the queers the ones up late, running up the big bar tabs? This DJ spun the same ten urban funk-rap-hip hop undanceable tracks all night, every night, to keep the gays and their friends from dancing. What do we care if two guys want to dance? And can't you get the multiple video screens to show the actual video spinning? Activities: Never have so few had so many, and we did them all, ice skating, inline skating, mini golf, rock climbing, basketball, gym and sauna. The only grip was the swimming pools--three, two large enough to swim laps in, but all heated to only 22 degrees (72). After much complaining and a meeting with Guest Relations, the heat was increased to 26 degrees (79). That might be enough for the Norwegians, but a bit chilly for the rest of us. 'Miami' limits the heat to 26 degrees. Fellow Passengers: Many really nice, friendly people. Due to the worthless dollar, more than half the passengers were non-US (I think the inside cabins were about 5 euro/pp). HOWEVER, what is with the behavior of some passengers? Shoving at the buffet? Shorts in the main dining room? And drinking like it was Carnival. Ugh! People, please, if you don't want to play nice, just stay home! RCI, if you have a sign and a policy, honor the other 3000 guests by enforcing it. No slacks=no food. Simple! Captain, you've got a brig on board--use it! 'Miami' wants everyone to have a good time. Debarkation: The worst!!!!! Port of Galveston and US Customs authorities were in part the cause. Though we arrived at 7:00 am, Carnival beat us to Galveston, so their 1800 passengers debarked while we 3000 passengers and 1100 crew waited. The first group was called about 9:30; our group was held until after 11:00. When we reached the baggage claim, the problem was obvious: a 2 1/2 hour line to speak with a customs agent. NO LIE: it was after 2:30 (no food, no drink) before we boarded the airport shuttle. Galveston--never again. Ft. Lauderdale and Los Angeles are staffed for large ships; Galveston is not. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Overall, we enjoyed the transatlantic cruise on the Voyager of the Seas very much and would do it again. In addition to the ships features and quality of service, we enjoyed traveling and sightseeing with passengers of a good range of ages ... Read More
Overall, we enjoyed the transatlantic cruise on the Voyager of the Seas very much and would do it again. In addition to the ships features and quality of service, we enjoyed traveling and sightseeing with passengers of a good range of ages (albeit skewed towards retirees), from a diverse group of backgrounds (ethnic, geographic, and political), and with a variety of family structures (couples with an elderly inlaw, newlyweds, and GLBT families alike).. A few areas for improvement are noted below. Embarkation Embarkation was smootheven better than our experience boarding the Majesty of the Seas at RC's homeport in Miami. The staff was friendly, the embarkation facility was comfortable, and the process was efficient. I especially appreciated that I wasn't feeling like the baggage handlers were pressuring passengers for a tipa situation that I felt when I embarked in Miami. All of our baggage arrived just a few hours later. Stateroom We did a guarantee rate, and was in an inside stateroom on deck six. The beds were comfortable and had enough blankets to keep us warm. Though we had requested that the beds be put together, we found it to be separated on our first day. We ended up rearranging the beds ourselves. Being relatively low and centered made the rocking less noticeable (good because I was prone to sea sickness). We packed light (considering it was a 15-night cruise) so there were adequate storage for both of us. However, some of the doors for the storage were beginning to get loose and sagged. It rarely felt crowded, even when we ordered room service. The cabin attendant was not as friendly as others we've had (though he wasn't unfriendly either), but he was responsive. When we asked for the clothes line to be replaced, it was done by the next time we were back. Also, when we asked him not to leave the lights on after making the bed, he made sure not to do so again. Shows We greatly enjoyed the performances by the ship's singers and dancers, as well as the performances by the ice skaters. The ice skaters were phenomenal and it was just amazing what they could do in such as small space (especially while the ship was rocking). We only wished that they had more musical reviews by the singers and dancers since they only did two. They did also perform during the parades, but it can be hard to see the performance because there usually were so many people in the Royal Promenade and the performers were usually on the bridge. Food As usual with Royal Caribbean, we liked the food on the ship. It wasn't the best that we've ever had, but it was very good for the price. And although we were on for 15 days, the food had enough variety that it didn't get old. We frequently indulged by having multiple desserts during dinner. On a typical day, we went to the Windjammer for breakfast and lunch, and then went to the dining room for dinner. We wished we knew how good the lunch options (especially the salad bar) was in the Carmen dining room sooner. The midnight buffet was not as impressive as past cruises I've been on (where they've done "chocolate extravaganzas"). However, I did appreciate that there were a lot of fruits, which made it healthier. One complaint is that the soft serve ice cream machines on deck twelve were frequently out of service (a significant problem since one of us has a sweet tooth for ice cream). Though we complained to the manager, he did not seem to really care and gave us a somewhat flippant response. During the 15-day cruise, the soft-serve ice cream was probably only available for a few days. We especially appreciated late night (up to 2 am) availability of the Cafe Promenade, which served pizza, sandwiches, fruit, and desserts. When we stayed up, this was a great place to get a small snack so we're not starving late at night. Activities Going on a transatlantic cruise, I thought that I may get boredI was wrong. There were plenty of activities on the ship and at the end of each day, we often wondered where all the time went. We worked out, played in the sports court, learned a dance, listened to lectures, ice skated, or mini-golfed when we were on the ship. As much as we can, we went to see Mimi (one of the lead singers) performshe just had such a great voice. Our one complaint would be the movies hosted in the screening roomthe facility was way too small and it was just too frequently packed. Though we tried a couple of times, we never were able to make it inside. It was surprising since the screening room was hard to find (just below La Scala). GLBT-Friendly Atmosphere There was a sizable contingent of GLBT passengers (and staff) who were all welcomed and made to feel at home on the ship. We were surprised how many passengers showed up for the FOD meetingsthere ended up being three different times to accommodate everyone's varying schedules and preferences. Other passengers were very welcoming and we had no problem presenting ourselves as a same-sex couple. Even during the dance lessons, we slow danced together and no one batted an eye. At Port We made a point to engage in sightseeing at each port. Not everyone does (we were guilty ourselves of having slept through a port on our last cruise). This time, we walked quite a bit around each of the cities (and helped burn off all the extra calories we were consuming). None of the ports were boring. The ship had ports of call in: Cartagena (Spain), Funchal (Madeira), Canary Islands, Nassau (Bahamas), Miami, and Galveston. Cartagena - a great city with very interesting old ruins. We highly recommend seeing the roman amphitheater and going to the old fort for great views of the city. A large family of peacocks also reside in the old forta nice treat if you've never seem peacocks. While docked, there was a renaissance fair going on, so we were also treated to medieval music and folks in period garb. Madeira - a great place to sample and buy Madeira. It was our first time trying Madeira and we found it to be robust and delicious. Well worth the time to sample and buy some to take home and enjoy. The honey cakes make for a good item to bring to the office. A little dry by the time we got back, but it was fine if you dunk it in a little coffee or milk. Canary Islands - We initially intended to the beaches, but we didn't end up spending too much time exploring the Canary Islands since it was somewhat rainy and cold. Here we found an interesting monastery that was celebrating its 500th anniversary by displaying art and antique instruments and tools. After a few hours, we went back to the ship and stayed (since there was a long walk back to the dock). Other guests told us later that the other side of the island was sunny and had amazing landscapes. I suppose we'll have to catch that next time we take this cruise. Nassau - We ended up visiting the straw market and snorkeling while in Nassau. We also recommend going up to the old fort, where you will be treated with a view Nassau's cruise docks. It's possible to walk to the fortplan for a 20 minute walk. Miami - Unfortunately, getting through customs was a big hassle and there was a lot of confusion because it was unclear if people who were staying on needed to fill out forms. We were givin conflicting instructions by members of the crew, but also saw customs officers giving conflicting instructions. Moreover, it was clear the two hadn't coordinated with each other. We were supposed to get off around 8:00 AM, but we didn't get out until 11:00 AM due to the confusion. Some friends of ours ended up being 4-hours delayed, so they stayed on. Galveston/Houston - We ended up signing up for the ship organized excursion for a tour of Galveston. During the excursion, we drove through parts of Galveston, saw the rocket center, and parts of Houston. Hurricane Ike had just hit a few months prior and it was clear that the community needed more help and had more work ahead of them to fully recover. At Sea Captain Patrick Dahlgren did a great job and made key decisions that made the 6-day voyage across the Atlantic more pleasant. A storm front in the northern Atlantic and we would have crossed through parts of it had we maintained our planned course. The Captain took us further south and because of that, we enjoyed relatively calm seas and warm weather that was conducive to relaxing on the ship's pools on deck 12. We definitely appreciate the Captain's decision for it made the cruise much more pleasurable. Activity-wise, I've explained what we ended up doing already. So I'll just leave this with a few suggestions: (1) participate in the Olympics - it was a good way to meet others and it's a lot of fun during the ocean crossing; (2) do the walk-a-mile - it's a nice workout, you get to enjoy the seascape, and you even get rewarded if you do it often enough; (3) wake up early - try to catch a sunrise and you'll be rewarded with a majestic view; and, (4) stay up late - go to the helipad in front of the ship late at night, and you can see so many stars. Also, note that during the ocean crossing, you'll gain an hour on most nights (at least going westward). So feel free to stay up a little, maybe go to the disco, and know that you'll get about an hour back anyway. Disembarkation Disembarkation was pretty easy, though expect to wait. Keep a book or a magazine with you to keep you entertained while you're waiting. And the airports are pretty far from Galveston so make arrangements for a shuttle ahead of time. Taxis can be very expensive. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
Overall, we enjoyed the transatlantic cruise on the Voyager of the Seas very much and would do it again. In addition to the ships features and quality of service, we enjoyed traveling and sightseeing with passengers of a good range of ... Read More
Overall, we enjoyed the transatlantic cruise on the Voyager of the Seas very much and would do it again. In addition to the ships features and quality of service, we enjoyed traveling and sightseeing with passengers of a good range of ages (albeit skewed towards retirees), from a diverse group of backgrounds (ethnic, geographic, and political), and with a variety of family structures (couples with an elderly inlaw, newlyweds, and GLBT families alike).. A few areas for improvement are noted below. Embarkation Embarkation was smootheven better than our experience boarding the Majesty of the Seas at RC's homeport in Miami. The staff was friendly, the embarkation facility was comfortable, and the process was efficient. I especially appreciated that I wasn't feeling like the baggage handlers were pressuring passengers for a tip situation that I felt when I embarked in Miami. All of our baggage arrived just a few hours later. Stateroom We did a guarantee rate, and was in an inside stateroom on deck six. The beds were comfortable and had enough blankets to keep us warm. Though we had requested that the beds be put together, we found it to be separated on our first day. We ended up rearranging the beds ourselves. Being relatively low and centered made the rocking less noticeable (good because I was prone to sea sickness). We packed light (considering it was a 15-night cruise) so there were adequate storage for both of us. However, some of the doors for the storage were beginning to get loose and sagged. It rarely felt crowded, even when we ordered room service. The cabin attendant was not as friendly as others we've had (though he wasn't unfriendly either), but he was responsive. When we asked for the clothes line to be replaced, it was done by the next time we were back. Also, when we asked him not to leave the lights on after making the bed, he made sure not to do so again. Shows We greatly enjoyed the performances by the ship's singers and dancers, as well as the performances by the ice skaters. The ice skaters were phenomenal and it was just amazing what they could do in such as small space (especially while the ship was rocking). We only wished that they had more musical reviews by the singers and dancers since they only did two. They did also perform during the parades, but it can be hard to see the performance because there usually were so many people in the Royal Promenade and the performers were usually on the bridge. Food As usual with Royal Caribbean, we liked the food on the ship. It wasn't the best that we've ever had, but it was very good for the price. And although we were on for 15 days, the food had enough variety that it didn't get old. We frequently indulged by having multiple desserts during dinner. On a typical day, we went to the Windjammer for breakfast and lunch, and then went to the dining room for dinner. We wished we knew how good the lunch options (especially the salad bar) was in the Carmen dining room sooner. The midnight buffet was not as impressive as past cruises I've been on (where they've done "chocolate extravaganzas"). However, I did appreciate that there were a lot of fruits, which made it healthier. One complaint is that the soft serve ice cream machines on deck twelve were frequently out of service (a significant problem since one of us has a sweet tooth for ice cream). Though we complained to the manager, he did not seem to really care and gave us a somewhat flippant response. During the 15-day cruise, the soft-serve ice cream was probably only available for a few days. We especially appreciated late night (up to 2 am) availability of the Cafe Promenade, which served pizza, sandwiches, fruit, and desserts. When we stayed up, this was a great place to get a small snack so we're not starving late at night. Activities Going on a transatlantic cruise, I thought that I may get boredI was wrong. There were plenty of activities on the ship and at the end of each day, we often wondered where all the time went. We worked out, played in the sports court, learned a dance, listened to lectures, ice skated, or mini-golfed when we were on the ship. As much as we can, we went to see Mimi (one of the lead singers) performshe just had such a great voice. Our one complaint would be the movies hosted in the screening roomthe facility was way too small and it was just too frequently packed. Though we tried a couple of times, we never were able to make it inside. It was surprising since the screening room was hard to find (just below La Scala). GLBT-Friendly Atmosphere There was a sizable contingent of GLBT passengers (and staff) who were all welcomed and made to feel at home on the ship. We were surprised how many passengers showed up for the FOD meetingsthere ended up being three different times to accommodate everyone's varying schedules and preferences. Other passengers were very welcoming and we had no problem presenting ourselves as a same-sex couple. Even during the dance lessons, we slow danced together and no one batted an eye. At Port We made a point to engage in sightseeing at each port. Not everyone does (we were guilty ourselves of having slept through a port on our last cruise). This time, we walked quite a bit around each of the cities (and helped burn off all the extra calories we were consuming). None of the ports were boring. The ship had ports of call in: Cartagena (Spain), Funchal (Madeira), Canary Islands, Nassau (Bahamas), Miami, and Galveston. Cartagena - a great city with very interesting old ruins. We highly recommend seeing the roman amphitheater and going to the old fort for great views of the city. A large family of peacocks also reside in the old forta nice treat if you've never seem peacocks. While docked, there was a renaissance fair going on, so we were also treated to medieval music and folks in period garb. Madeira - a great place to sample and buy Madeira. It was our first time trying Madeira and we found it to be robust and delicious. Well worth the time to sample and buy some to take home and enjoy. The honey cakes make for a good item to bring to the office. A little dry by the time we got back, but it was fine if you dunk it in a little coffee or milk. Canary Islands - We initially intended to the beaches, but we didn't end up spending too much time exploring the Canary Islands since it was somewhat rainy and cold. Here we found an interesting monastery that was celebrating its 500th anniversary by displaying art and antique instruments and tools. After a few hours, we went back to the ship and stayed (since there was a long walk back to the dock). Other guests told us later that the other side of the island was sunny and had amazing landscapes. I suppose we'll have to catch that next time we take this cruise. Nassau - We ended up visiting the straw market and snorkeling while in Nassau. We also recommend going up to the old fort, where you will be treated with a view Nassau's cruise docks. It's possible to walk to the fortplan for a 20 minute walk. Miami - Unfortunately, getting through customs was a big hassle and there was a lot of confusion because it was unclear if people who were staying on needed to fill out forms. We were givin conflicting instructions by members of the crew, but also saw customs officers giving conflicting instructions. Moreover, it was clear the two hadn't coordinated with each other. We were supposed to get off around 8:00 AM, but we didn't get out until 11:00 AM due to the confusion. Some friends of ours ended up being 4-hours delayed, so they stayed on. Galveston/Houston - We ended up signing up for the ship organized excursion for a tour of Galveston. During the excursion, we drove through parts of Galveston, saw the rocket center, and parts of Houston. Hurricane Ike had just hit a few months prior and it was clear that the community needed more help and had more work ahead of them to fully recover. At Sea Captain Patrick Dahlgren did a great job and made key decisions that made the 6-day voyage across the Atlantic more pleasant. A storm front in the northern Atlantic and we would have crossed through parts of it had we maintained our planned course. The Captain took us further south and because of that, we enjoyed relatively calm seas and warm weather that was conducive to relaxing on the ship's pools on deck 12. We definitely appreciate the Captain's decision for it made the cruise much more pleasurable. Activity-wise, I've explained what we ended up doing already. So I'll just leave this with a few suggestions: (1) participate in the Olympics - it was a good way to meet others and it's a lot of fun during the ocean crossing; (2) do the walk-a-mile - it's a nice workout, you get to enjoy the seascape, and you even get rewarded if you do it often enough; (3) wake up early - try to catch a sunrise and you'll be rewarded with a majestic view; and, (4) stay up late - go to the helipad in front of the ship late at night, and you can see so many stars. Also, note that during the ocean crossing, you'll gain an hour on most nights (at least going westward). So feel free to stay up a little, maybe go to the disco, and know that you'll get about an hour back anyway. Disembarkation Disembarkation was pretty easy, though expect to wait. Keep a book or a magazine with you to keep you entertained while you're waiting. And the airports are pretty far from Galveston so make arrangements for a shuttle ahead of time. Taxis can be very expensive. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
Houston Texas was the closest airport to our debarkation point of Galveston. This was our first experience with RCCL. Like with so many other cruise lines, the RCCL representative was not equipped with a megaphone to address the large ... Read More
Houston Texas was the closest airport to our debarkation point of Galveston. This was our first experience with RCCL. Like with so many other cruise lines, the RCCL representative was not equipped with a megaphone to address the large crowd assembled in the very noisy bus transfer point. A simple fix like a megaphone would have avoided a lot of confusion and people jostling for position to get information. The trip to Galveston Port was well over an hour. Our experience with Princess, Celebrity, and Holland America was one where we were greeted and escorted to our cabins. In past sailings personnel were on hand to give us information regarding any pre-sailing activities, available refreshments/snacks, and a schedule of activities. Additionally at that time we met our cabin steward. With this RCCL sailing absolutely no one greeted us after passing security nor after our finding our cabin. We could not locate our cabin steward and went off to find any place where we could grab a sandwich. We did find our steward later that afternoon. To our delight, she turned out to be a very positive, polite, and absolutely super person. The ship's main interior shops promenade layout, although dramatic, was not to our liking. Any time the area was used for activities, shows, events, etc., access to any of the shops would be blocked by crowds. Additionally, getting from one end of the ship to the other on that deck would be hindered. The overall appearance of the ship was good. Public rooms looked good, but some of the smaller niches looked worn and appeared to need refurbishment. Food on the voyager was fair to very good-depending on the dish. Cooking of steaks and chops was inconsistent. Cooked "medium" was served "very very rare", "medium rare" came out "very well done" etc. Other passengers seated with us had this problem several times. Our table waiters were superior and made up for the kitchen gaffes. All other cruises we had been on were 7 day to warmer climates and there were many high activity ship and shore activities available. This was our first transatlantic crossing. Age of passengers ranged from the late 20's to the 70's with a very heavy leaning towards the later age group. Most on board entertainment (except for the ice show) was disappointing when compared to our other cruise experiences. RCCL charged for any items they considered a specialty food item. Their Johnny Rocket Burger Grill (whose counter seats are only eight inches apart from each other) and ice cream parlor on the interior promenades are the two that come to mind. I felt I was "nickled and dimed" as these types of products were at no charge and available gratis on other lines. We will try RCCL one more time for a 7 day cruise one a smaller ship, from a different port. Hopefully that cruise will be an improvement. Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
After four Sundays of waving good-bye to the Voyager as she sailed from Galveston to Mexico, we finally boarded for the transatlantic. Fortunately, we live less than 20 blocks to the pier as I always forget something. This time it was the ... Read More
After four Sundays of waving good-bye to the Voyager as she sailed from Galveston to Mexico, we finally boarded for the transatlantic. Fortunately, we live less than 20 blocks to the pier as I always forget something. This time it was the formal wear in a hanging bag hung on the dining room door. A quick call to our neighbor saved the day. Had not yet boarded, so by the time clothes arrived no lines at 2:30. No problems boarding, less than 30 minutes and we were in our balcony cabin. Luggage was delivered shortly thereafter. A quick lunch in Windjammer stopped the hunger pains. After the obligatory drill, off we went to the bow, accessible through deck 4 to wave, to friends on the pier by the Elissa. They were the ones with the "Bon Voyage" sign. Ship was everything we expected as we have sailed RCCL before (this sailing made us platinum). Cabin was perfect with plenty of storage. Bed was extremely comfortable. our cabin steward always had the cabin ready and seemed to have a sixth ense when we would leave. Walked around the ship to acquaint ourselves with the layout. Impressed with the finishes and the ease to transverse the ship. We found the staff to always be friendly, though dining staff appears overworked and short staffed. We booked no shore excursions as we feel comfortable taking off on our own. In Miami, we took a taxi with three friends to South Beach for the evening. Taxied next morning to the mall. Not a great place, but nice weather, good lunch and good place to walk around. Big hassle returning on ship. TSA or whomever, are beyond rude. I did not take my driver license or passport as U.S. city and no mention made of taking one as we all had sea cards. Was told I could not board (me and several others) DH went aboard to get passport. After a very long wait, with absolutely no conversation with any of us, were told to follow this person to the ship. Of course, sea card proved who we all were. No comment, apology - nothing. This has nothing to do with the cruise ship but our government and these nasty people they hire. Similar circumstance on arrival in Newark on flight from Lisbon). Loved the sea days, though the weather was not always conducive to being at the pool. The Voyager Class ships should have the solarium pool enclosed as it is on Vision Class ships. I used both the gym and spa services. gym was always clean and equipment available. Enjoyed the spa services (massage, facial and Rasul) with no pressure to purchase any products. Thank you. Dining was okay. After 13 days the menu got old, both in dining room and Windjammer. Need more variety. Miss the hamburger/hot dogs served in the solarium. Liked the entertainment, not as good as on shorter cruises, but we went for the sea days, not to be entertained. The Promenade was a good people watching area and great place to meet friends. Enjoyed the ports, Punta Delgado (took a local bus across the island round trip - great excursion for two Euros each), Cartagena (Roman Ruins and Quay side). Planned to to tour Spain for a week before meeting friends in Portugal but heard of a great deal on inside cabin on Navigator of the Seas on Thursday prior to arriving in Barcelona (See NOS review). As we booked a B2B, out luggage was picked up Saturday morning before 10 am for transfer to VOS. Walked 150 yds in the cool rain to the next terminal for our next cruise. Overall, we would take this cruise again as this is the pace we enjoy. The price, timing and ports suited us. Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
This was my 16th cruise, first on Royal Caribbean; previously 10 on Carnival, 3 on NCL, 1 on Celebrity, 1 on Imperial Majesty (a freebie!!). I was traveling with my husband; this was his 10th cruise. We are both self employed; I am 47 and ... Read More
This was my 16th cruise, first on Royal Caribbean; previously 10 on Carnival, 3 on NCL, 1 on Celebrity, 1 on Imperial Majesty (a freebie!!). I was traveling with my husband; this was his 10th cruise. We are both self employed; I am 47 and dh is 56. Overall, we found the RC Voyager fine - a few things weren't our preferences and some others were disappointing, but nothing that would ruin the trip. Our loyalties still are with Carnival. The price was right tho. We booked throgh a TA and had the choice of an inside cabin for $450pp or balcony for $750pp. We also received a $100 OBC and both fuel supplements of $65 each were refunded to our ship account, which was a nice surprise. We are not big spenders and our bill to get off the ship was just under $400, which included 4 photos at $20 each, 2 watches (our anniversary gifts) and tips. We flew into Houston Hobby the night before, rented a car from Hertz ($80) and drove approximately one hour to Galveston. We stayed at the LaQuinta Galveston, 1402 Seawall Blvd. Older building and probably takes a beating from the sea; but the room, service and breakfast were fine. We loved watching the waves crash onto the beach from our hotel room. The Hertz location shows online that it is closed on Sundays, however it was open and provided a free shuttle to the ship. Call the location to confirm your travel day. Embarkation: After wandering a little on The Strand and waving to internet friends on the live webcam, we returned the car and headed for the ship. We arrived around 1pm and were in our room in about 45 minutes later. The security and check in lines were long, but we found fun people to chat with to pass the time. The Embarkation Staff were not as friendly as previous trips and the boarding photo background was weak. Cabin: We had a balcony cabin on the hump, #6312. We had no idea what that meant initially however discovered it means you are extended from the side of the ship. It did provide a great view when sailing. The room itself was smaller than previous balcony cabins, had 1/3 less closet space and a smaller couch (2 person vs 3). The small refrigerator also did not keep beverages cold. However, we loved the shower! The rounded door was much better than the flimsy curtains or awkward shower doors we have previously seen. Demographics: No, we didn't count heads or get an official count from the ship, but it seemed to be what we expected: the majority being retired folks, next 40-60's, followed by a smaller number of 20-30 somethings and even fewer children, maybe a dozen or two? The programs seemed to keep the kids occupied most of the time and we had very few issues with pools, hot tubs, running on stairs, etc. There were lots of Texans probably due to the proximity of the port and price, and many Europeans. Staff: Our Room Steward, Waiter and Assistant were awesome. We always had extra ice in our cabin; ice tea at dinner with a plate of lemon slices; coffee for my husband after dinner and a scoop of vanilla ice cream with my dessert. We tipped each extra in cash to show our appreciation. Food Service: We ate most breakfasts and lunches in the Windjammer buffet. The food and service was fine. They do have a beverage monitor who pre-fills orange and apple juice at breakfast and ice tea, lemonade and water at lunch. There was no fruit punch at any time, which is what we usually take back to our cabin. We ate dinner in the dining room every night except one. The food overall was ok, but something was lacking. There seemed to be the same steak, white fish, pork or chicken every night. I love seafood and was very disappointed in the meager shrimp, scallop and other seafood dinners. When they were offered, the seafood was certainly not a portion, just a garnish. Chocolate Midnight Buffet: was a joke and many of us waited in a very long line just to be disappointed. Most items seemed to be the same desserts offered at lunch or dinner. Cruise Director: Initial impressions were good - Eric was a young man from the US with a good sense of humor. However, we were surprised when the butt of several "jokes" became Carnival, and outright offended when the last "joke" we heard referred to Carnival guests as poor white trash. Few people in the full La Scala Theatre laughed and hopefully that got the point across. We have never experienced that on other lines. TA: a crossing was a great way for us to truly relax and rest. We slept in most mornings, barely made it to breakfast, only to land in a lounge chair in the sun for a couple of hours before it was time for lunch. Back to the cabin for a shower, to read, watch a movie or nap . . . and then up for the pre-dinner show, dinner and finally the casino, late night show, karaoke or dancing in The Vault, until midnight or 1am. The shows by the RC singers and dancers were the best; the others did not impress us and we actually skipped a couple of them. One exception was JC Fisher, described as a Romantic Tenor. Opera is not my fav, but I knew my dh would enjoy it, so we went. I was pleasantly surprised by his stage presence and wide range of songs performed. He has a website, check him out. Ship Activities: there seemed to be the normal amount of trivia, bingo, napkin folding and similar events. There was only Caribbean style music on the pool deck a couple of the first days; it would have been nice to also have that during the actual crossing. Granted, it was an older demographic, so maybe not popular with the majority. We did go to a couple of the art auctions for the free champagne and to browse. Ports: We stopped in Miami (overnight), Ponte Delgada Azores and Cartagena Spain. In Miami, we took the $5 shuttle to Bayside to wander thru the market. We have been to Miami before. In both other ports, we decide to just wander thru the cities. There was a shuttle bus from the ship to the main road in the Azores (rip off at $5 pp each way, we walked back). Those who took tours enjoyed seeing the landscape but overall weren't impressed with the actual tours. We found a quaint little Mexican restaurant and had a great lunch with beers for under 20 euro. Cartagena is a much larger city with plenty to see. Again we wandered and snacked our way thru with great pastries and other goodies. Here lies one of the disappointments. Other than a tv video that provided no useful DIY (do it yourself) information, there were no travel/port talks or walking maps provided for Ponte Delgada or Cartagena. We have never experienced that before; usually there is a copy provided in the newsletter for the day as well as on the gangway as you leave. We did spot a few people with maps later, but found out that they were area maps, nothing with actual streets that could be followed while walking with points of interest. After the Azores, we went to the guest services desk and asked if one would be provided for the next stop, the gal told us no because this was a one time only stop, which made very little sense to me. She did hand us a map of Cartagena, that again was useless. It did have some typed notes that gave some info, but again nothing like previous maps received. Look for a TI or Visitor Center for maps in port. Disembarking was "interesting" - have never seen the luggage come out on a turnstile before. We waited to leave the ship (about an hour after we were called) until it was about empty at 830am, and that turned out to be a good decision. Our luggage was off by then (Blue1) and easy to find. We heard that others waited up to an hour before their luggage was available. Quite different than other cruises when it is sorted in a warehouse type environment. The line for a taxi to our hotel took forever, much longer than the 10 minute, 15 euro ride to our hotel on Las Ramblas. There were plenty of taxis in line, security only allowed 4-5 to load at a time. This would be a great time to talk about packing. Pack light, plan to wear it twice. Everyone does and no one will notice. We brought one checked bag and one carryon each. Bring dress clothes that fold; any wrinkles will mostly drop after hanging up. We used the space bags for the first time and loved them! Don't bring the kitchen sink : ) We had made reservations at Aparthotel Citadines Ramblas, Ramblas 122, Barcelona, ES 08002. It was about 140 euro per night. It was located right on Las Ramblas and we were advised when making the reservation that there could be noise late in the evening due to the location, however we wanted to experience that cultural atmosphere. It turned out to be rainy, so that probably was not an issue. The staff, security room for luggage and reception area was very nice. We did not see the rooms tho as the hotel was overbooked, they said due to rain. With our permission and at their expense (taxi), they moved us to the Sunotel Central, Gran Via 570. Again, nice staff and reception area. There was a lift (at both hotels) and the room was fine. Very clean, comfy beds, nice tv, fridge and desk. One trick - you must slide your room key into a slot just inside the room by the light switches or the lights/electricity doesn't work! Gave us a good laugh afterwards. This location was just a few blocks from the far end of Las Ramblas and still convenient. We also had a balcony that overlooked Gran Via. We enjoyed the breeze and the noise from the street. We were also able to get a small bucket of ice!! Saturday was a rainy day in Barcelona, but being from the PNW, we were fine with the umbrella we brought. Our last visit to Barcelona was in June 2007 and after taking the HOHO bus for most of the day, we had little time to walk Las Ramblas - so that was to be our main focus this time. Of course, with the rain, it wasn't near as festive as before, but we did our necessary gift shopping and loved walking thru the fresh fruit, meat and fish market (the entrance is on the west side of the street). This is quite a sight to see! Later, we made plans to meet a couple we had met on the ship at the Hard Rock Café for dinner. While walking from our hotel to theirs (Hotel Jazz, also very nice) we did run into the protest that was taking place around 645pm which was interesting!! Loud but not violent, and plenty of police to monitor the situation. We found someone who spoke English to explain the protest issue to us. We just continued to walk briskly and stay out of the actual march : ) Regardless of what they were protesting (Catalonia vs Spain) it was nice to see people having the opportunity to make their point in a peaceful manner. Dinner at the Hard Rock was good; although the couple told us that they went back the next day and the service was not as good. Our favorite place to eat on Las Ramblas is Pastafiora, located on the west side of the market street, closer to the north end. Great Sangria, pizza, pasta and desserts! Sunday morning, we took a taxi to the airport for about 30 euro including tip for the 15-20 minute drive. We processed thru BCN with no problems; flew on time into Geneva and onto JFK via Swiss Air. The worst part was the irritating teens sitting in front of us on the flight to JFK (8hrs) and the parents who chose not to discipline them, and actually encouraged their behavior. Seriously. JFK was busy. While we had no problems with our 2 checked bags with Swiss, Delta said mine was overweight and we had to either pay $80 or remove some items. They said we could check a second bag each - while the email I received after booking and prior to traveling, clearly said only 1 checked bag each. I had also followed up with a phone call to confirm. Oh well. We had an extra bag and it worked fine. We did sit on the tarmac for 1.5 hrs before taking off. Something about adding standby passengers and they couldn't get the manifest to match. After a couple of roll calls, eventually we were in line for take off . . . and waited another 20 minutes. The personal tv screens kept us busy for most of the flight which was good. 25 hours after leaving our hotel, we did arrive home at 11pm - and went straight to bed!! And - even tho we took the stairs 99% of the time instead of the elevators on the ship and were disappointed with some of the menus, we still managed to be up about 6-7 pounds each. The dangers of cruising! Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
We booked our cruise in January via a British TA. The cost of BA flights from Manchester, an overnight stay at the Houston Renaissance Hotel and a Junior Suite on the ship (deck 7 aft) came to £1249. We were due to fly from Manchester ... Read More
We booked our cruise in January via a British TA. The cost of BA flights from Manchester, an overnight stay at the Houston Renaissance Hotel and a Junior Suite on the ship (deck 7 aft) came to £1249. We were due to fly from Manchester England with British Airways into the new Heathrow Terminal 5 the day before the cruise. The new terminal opened at the beginning of April and complete chaos ensued with mountains of luggage not making it onto planes. As the time of our cruise got nearer, Dean and I both started to become stressed about having to fly into T5, even though our Houston flight would depart from T4. We took the decision to enquire about flying out a day early with an extra night at the hotel. This cost us an additional £130 each, although I don't know why, as the hotel was only charging $70 per night per room. Anyway we decided it was worth it to alleviate the stress and we're so glad we did. Our flight from Manchester was delayed, giving us just under an hour to get the shuttle from T5 into T4. We were informed on the Houston flight that 2 out of our 3 suitcases had not made it onto the flight but would be put onto the first flight out the next morning. On arrival at Houston, we filed a report at the BA desk and were given 'compensation' of $100 or so we thought. This was via 2 credit cards, but when we went to use them the next day in an ATM the amount on the cards was actually $70 minus the $3 ATM charge. One of our main gripes is with the Royal Caribbean Reps at IAH airport. Many UK passengers travelling via Heathrow Terminal 5 experienced delayed or missing luggage. After reporting our lack of luggage to the BA desk at IAH, we found the RCI rep and explained to her that there were several Voyager passengers in a long line at the BA desk reporting their missing luggage and would therefore be delayed. She asked us to wait and get ourselves a coffee so we could all be shuttled together. We waited.....and waited...and waited. After about an hour I noticed the reps packing up to leave and I had to sprint across the terminal to catch up with her. Her response was, "Oh, are you still here?" We assumed we had possibly blinked and missed the other passengers so we joined the shuttle bus and headed for our hotel.By then we'd been travelling for 12 hours. The reps alighted the bus at the first hotel and left us to continue our journey to our hotel. Later that evening we ran into one of the other families who had been in the line reporting delayed luggage. By the time they had completed the paperwork, the RCI rep had left the airport and this family had to pay $60 for a cab to the hotel. The hotel was very nice but the only food available when we arrived was in an overpriced burger bar. Being English, we had to adjust to a 6 hour time difference and were wide awake the next morning at 4am. We hadn't thought to order room service for breakfast but at 05.30 we went to reception and asked if we would be ok to order breakfast and they happily obliged. We walked round to the nearby 24 hour Walgreens to stock up on toiletries and later on we walked to the Galleria to have a look round. We spent the afternoon by the swimming pool but by 5pm (24 hours after landing) our bags still had not arrived, so we took the decision to buy some essential items as our insurance would cover us for £100 each, so we headed for the Galleria to do some serious shopping. Our luggage was eventually delivered to our room at 10pm that evening. Our shuttle to the cruise terminal arrived at 09.15 on Sunday and we arrived at the Galveston terminal about 10.00. It was great to see the Harbor House Hotel in real life after having watched it on the webcam for several weeks prior to the cruise. Unfortunately it was pouring with rain. After standing around for ages, we were eventually allowed to start the checking in process. This was very efficient and we were on board the Voyager at exactly 11.30am. we were told we couldn't access our cabin until 13.00 We headed for the Windjammer restaurant but it was closed so we decided to take a peek at our suite. The cabin door was unlocked and there was nobody around so we hid our hand luggage in the wardrobe and decided to explore the ship. At 1pm we thought that people would be aiming for their cabins and that the Windjammer may be quiet so we headed down there and marvelled at the wonderful displays of food set out before us. There were queues for the hot buffet so we helped ourselves to a lovely salad selection, then headed back to our cabin. We expected to see a welcome card from our cabin steward but this did not appear till the next day so we had no idea who he was. There was an invitation to the Meet and Mingle, but the day, time and venue was left blank. Fortunately we'd found out these details via the website before we left home. We had an aft junior suite on deck 7, which in hindsight was a mistake. It was great to have the sunshine all afternoon and early evening, but the engine noise and application of the stabilizers made it very difficult for either of us to get a decent night's sleep for the entire cruise. The balcony was large enough for 2 lounge chairs, 3 chairs and 2 small tables however we were able to see the kitchen staff on deck 5 having their cigarette breaks, and often their smoke wafted into our cabin. It took us a few days to adjust to the time difference which was made worse by the midday time changes during sea days. We lost an hour a day over 6 days which made our days shorter. This was really annoying as it gave us less time to participate in events and activities. Surely a midnight time change would make more sense? If passengers want to go to bed early, they only have to set their clocks before they retire for the evening, it's not rocket science and reminders could be printed boldly on the front page of the Cruise News and announced in public areas. We booked a mud spa treatment which included mud packs and a sauna, but the spa staff forgot to switch the sauna on which meant we were sitting round covered in mud stuff freezing cold wondering what to do. In the end we had to wash off the lovely mud product so I could venture out of the room in my robe to inform the staff that the sauna wasn't working. She switched it on and gave us some more product to apply, but by the time we'd reapplied it, the staff were knocking on the door informing us that our time was up, so we couldn't use the sauna after all and had to wash all the stuff off again. we complained to the staff on our way out but were still billed for the full amount. We enjoyed room service many times and this was always delivered quickly and efficiently, however I would have preferred a more substantial menu or the opportunity to order whatever is being served in the Windjammer or restaurants. We were late sitting but were disappointed by the lack of flexible dining options. Dining so late is not healthy, but having to rush to get ready for 6pm could be stressful. Ok we could have dined in the Windjammer, but waiter service is a good part of the whole cruising experience. Our waiters were lovely boys (Murat and Edmund) and very helpful. The food wasn't as good as we expected though. We thought the steaks were a bit on the economical size and neither of us are big eaters. The menu wasn't very varied over the 13 nights and to be honest we both enjoyed the food on the Thomson Destiny more than we did on the VOS. Formal nights were interesting. Peoples' attire varied. Some women wore short shorts and one woman wore a huge billowing meringue ball gown in dayglo/neon lime-greeny yellow. It must have needed its own suitcase it was that big. We loved the Promenade, but felt it's ambience was spoilt by cigarette smoke. For the same reason, we avoided the Casino which smelt like a sack of ashtrays. There weren't many children on this voyage and those we met were extremely polite and well behaved. In Miami, we headed for South Beach as I'm a Dexter fan, we then walked around the area but it felt intimidating so we didn't stay long. The next day we did the Everglades tour which was excellent. Pity the ship couldn't have stopped at Bermuda on route. The Azores and Cartagena were pretty and we walked around for a few miles at each port. We passed the Straits of Gibraltar and viewed this from our balcony.The weather was cloudy and we couldn't see much but we could see dolphins playing in the wake behind the ship. We only attended 2 shows. The Ice Show was spectacular but we found The Quest to be tacky and cheap. We made inquiries about Future Cruises and the rep quoted us highly inflated prices in Pound Sterling. We were also informed that many of the perks offered to US and Canadian passengers are not available to UK residents. We were left feeling like second class citizens. We had arranged Pre Paid Gratuities assuming that we could distribute the vouchers at our discretion. This was not the case. The amounts and recipients were pre-set. Next time, we'll pay cash. We had hoped to air these views via the feedback form but were unable to do so because a Guest Survey was not delivered to our cabin on the last night. We had red luggage labels delivered which meant we would be amongst the first off the ship, but our flight wasn't due out till 15.25. We went to Guest relations and changed the labels for purple ones. We had a leisurely breakfast and said goodbye to Disembarkation at Barcelona was without problems and we were at the airport for 10.00. Check in was a fiasco as BA had failed to tell us that we would be flying to Heathrow with Iberia and not BA so we'd been standing in the wrong queue for over an hour. The Iberia flight had no TV and no complimentary food and drinks provided. After arriving at Heathrow T4 we caught a shuttle to T5 and had a 3 hour wait for our Manchester flight. The flight boarded on time and the captain announced that all luggage was on board and the doors were closed ready for take off. At this point I looked out of the window and recognized our three items of luggage amongst other luggage left on the tarmac. I reported this to the steward who told us that there was nothing we could do. At Manchester we queued to speak to the BA rep and met with several people who had been on our cruise and had lost luggage. There were several people who had not received their bags till Miami and one poor chap whose luggage never made it onto the cruise at all. We're so glad we decided to book that extra day. Our luggage was eventually delivered to my house 2 days after we arrived home. Carol Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
Voyager of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 2.0 3.5
Enrichment 2.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.2

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