162 Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

My wife and I have been on six cruises on four cruise lines. RCL; Holland America; Carnival and Celebrity. On this cruise we left from New Orleans. We had not cruised from there since before Katrina and were impressed with the port. There ... Read More
My wife and I have been on six cruises on four cruise lines. RCL; Holland America; Carnival and Celebrity. On this cruise we left from New Orleans. We had not cruised from there since before Katrina and were impressed with the port. There are several hotels from which you can easily walk to the port with your luggage (if there is one suitcase and one carry on each). We stayed at the Drury Inn for two nights prior to the cruise and one night after. We enjoyed the hotel. There is a good breakfast each morning - I like the biscuits and gravy with sausage patties. There is also an evening meal - hot-dogs the night we tried it. The evening meal, while great for families who want to save some money, is poor fare compared to the many great restaurants within walking distance. The day of departure we did take a taxi to the port ($7.00 each) because of weather conditions. Our cruise did not start boarding until 1:00p because it need to be sanitized due to a gastrointestinal problem on the cruise prior to ours. This meant everyone wanted to get on at the same time which resulted in long lines, about 1 1/2 hours for us. This though is unusual and while inconvenient was understandable. We were in a junior suite, which isn't really a suite at all in the conventional sense. It was a very spacious room with a walk in closet and a nice balcony. The balcony was shielded from the wind for the most part while underway which was very nice. It also seemed more private than some we have seen. Our steward provided us with excellent service, always straightening the room in the short time we went to breakfast. I highly recommend this stateroom if cruising on this ship. This ship itself is larger than we are used to. Meals were not of the same quality we have had on all other cruises. This is not to say they weren't good they were, just not as good as usual. Smaller portions and fewer choices.Of course you can always ask for more. Entertainment in the evenings was great. Comedians, jugglers (better than it sounds), a great ice show, and of course the singers and dancers. I highly recommend the ice show, I enjoyed it very much. I had only gone because my wife wanted me to, I would have skipped it and am glad I did not. Shore excursions were the standard stuff. I would just as soon wander at any of these ports. Jamaica is pretty but very "touristy" and the cities are dirty, crowded and mostly uninteresting. We went fishing in Cozumel which was fun but then I always have fun fishing no matter where we are. The Caymans are great. If I was to spend a week in one place in this part of the world it would be the Caymans. We did the dolphin encounter and turtle farm. The encounter was a lot of fun, glad we did it but wouldn't spend the money for it again. The turtle farm was interesting at best - overpriced if paid for on it's own. There was one thing on the Voyager we were very disappointed in. The best seats for shows and a separate, very nice looking, dinning room at the buffet are reserved for high rollers. Always before on a cruise we had felt first class and noticed no difference in the treatment of inside cabin users and luxury suite users. We are not naive, there is a difference, but it has never been obvious. On this ship there is first class and then the rest of us. We opted for carrying our own luggage off the ship. We were told we would be getting off between 715 and 8 in the morning. We started getting off, per the announcement, at 715 and had walked the mile back to the Drury Inn by 8. Just as promised, how often does that happen? The Drury let us book in at 8 in the morning when we arrived even though check in was 3p. I thought we would just drop off our bags and wander the city until 3, it was a nice surprise. All in all we will avoid the Voyager on our next cruise. We will opt for a smaller ship weather RCL or another line. Perhaps the decrease in food options and quality is the new industry standard but we are hoping it was because of the much higher number of passengers on board. We are also hoping on a smaller ship there is no obvious distinction between first class and the rest of us. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
The New Orleans Voyager of the Seas departure was smooth & simple 12/3/2011. We easily parked at Fulton Place Parking Center http://fultonplaceparking.com on Convention Center Blvd. The parking structure takes up the whole block ... Read More
The New Orleans Voyager of the Seas departure was smooth & simple 12/3/2011. We easily parked at Fulton Place Parking Center http://fultonplaceparking.com on Convention Center Blvd. The parking structure takes up the whole block from Fulton to Convention & you can enter from a few sides. Cruise parking is $84 paid in advance & they accept credit cards. (Condo Parking Services, (504) 566-7275 was on our receipt.) After 11a, there are guys holding signs with a picture of the boat trying to direct you. You can park anywhere in New Orleans. I found the price reasonable for the week. They have shuttle service to the ship & guys to help with luggage, if needed. If you have special needs, this location is helpful. Fulton Place Parking is walking distance from the New Orleans port for a healthy person & kids. If you can't wait for all your cruise food, you can eat at Subway located in the parking structure. If you stay on Convention you can take a coffee break at Starbucks in the Marriott hotel. You'll walk down to Julia St. & head toward the biggest boat you can see. Guys on the street close to the boat will take your luggage. I hope you ordered your luggage tags in advance to properly I.D. your luggage. Hang on to your carry on with your necessary documents. Once you enter the terminal, you're almost there. I had read NOT to arrive early, but we were in the terminal before noon & after looking at the shop photos they take pre-boarding, others were onboard as early as 11:30a. The line moved steadily. The first check point checked I.D.s & the printed Set Sail Pass. You'll secure your Set Sail Pass after you do the online check in www.royalcaribbean.com > Before you Board > Online Check-in. Simply input your last name, reservation #, departure date & ship name. You don't need to have a username & password. That's something different. After the first check point, you'll go through what looks like airport security, only you can keep your shoes on & you won't be molested. I heard about water/liquids being confiscated. Still, I had a Monster Energy drink in my backpack. It wasn't confiscated & I noticed a number of other people with water bottles in their packs, too. Everything moved smoothly & quickly. Before check point #3, everyone is given a health survey. You're on the honor system to verify you're in good health & not a threat for spreading disease. You'll head to a big check in area, like the airport where it's one long desk with a ton of agents waiting to help you. This is where you present all your docs again & confirm your credit card information for you onboard purchases. You'll see security flyers about liquids & sharp objects, but there are no more security check points. By this time, if it hasn't been confiscated, you can keep it. One more stop, as you leave the port terminal they'll take your picture & create your Seapass card. This card will be your charge card & I.D. for the cruise. This is why they try to sell you lanyards with the plastic holder in the terminal. If you have one, bring it. If you don't, find a friend who frequents conventions. Definitely, keep your Seapass away from anything magnetic. I killed my card twice because my camera case seals with a magnet. I think this whole check in process took less than an hour. Once you've dropped off your carry on, head to the 5th floor Cafe Promenade where all coffee & desserts are included with your cruise. The Cafe is open 24/7. If you like your designer creamer, bring your own. I read about the Royal Caribbean Cruise Compass & was dying to look at one while I was doing my homework. Since I can't upload one, I'll do my best to describe it. This is the daily newsletter with important cruise details, trivia, the forecast, activities, shop hours of operation, the dining schedule & more. Your stateroom attendant will put one in your room each night he turns your bed down. You can also find a copy in the Windjammer entrance (11th floor) & by client services (5th floor). The front page has the Day (DAY 1, Saturday,Dec. 3, 2011) on the front which comes in handy about Day 3. I'm a planner & wanted to plan the whole trip before boarding. Not seeing this more than the night before will keep you spontaneous. Day 1 & 2 you'll want to take advantage of the Cruise Compass to insure you find the most fun for your time. Day 1, we changed our dinner time to 2nd seating, 8p. Your dinner time, dining room & table are noted on your Seapass card issued before boarding. La Boheme was our dining room & it was perfect. There are less people at 2nd seating & even less people in La Boheme. The other dining areas had seating for about 300 more people which lead to longer lines going in for dinner. We also set up our water & soda packages. I waited too long to do it online. Chad received a FREE no sweat cooler cup with the soda package. I did the smallest water package because I figured out I can bring h2o back from the ports. Chad & I drank so many bar drinks, we don't think he really took advantage of the soda package. I definitely drank all my water. Day 2, secure your tickets for the Ice Show. That's the only show requiring a tickets. We could only pick up tickets on Day 2 in the a.m. It was too windy on Day 2 for rock climbing. We earned a Gold Medal in the scavenger hunt. HINT: Knowing how to add was our edge. And, knowing what 'par' means would be helpful. Later on Day 2 we earned a Silver Medal in the pool relays. It would have been gold if I would have listened to the rules of the tie breaker. Shame on me. Tons of activities every day! napkin artistry, dodge ball, basketball, dance lessons, trivia, ice skating, roller blading, mini golf, art lessons, bingo, ice carving, & more. BE SURE TO TUNE IN. Every morning the cruise director does a morning show. He's very entertaining & informative. It's one or 2 channels from the main menu. Female comedian, Etta Mae, was on our ship. Sorry you missed her. She was the best show we saw. Being LSU fans, we were thrilled to watch the SEC Championship in the Theatre. Awesome! Thank you RC! The gym was well equipped & full to capacity with eager fitness dreams. Day two, it looked like a normal gym. Chad had the Thai Poultice massage & LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it. I had the Fire & Ice Pedicure & was VERY DISAPPOINTED. Our table mate had the pedicure earlier the same day from a different lady & had no complaints. I think I'm spoiled my local lady. Shame on me for having the same expectations for a process that cost 3x what I normally pay. Tips: Take the stairs if you can. Work out day 1 & 2 because odds aren't good that you will after that. Book your spa treatment for Day 6, that's when you'll need one. Pick up the daily Sudoku & Quiz in the library. Enjoy the drink of the day & the after dinner shot of the evening. Order what you want from the dining menu. If you want 2 entrees, order them. Tips are included in every onboard service transactions. The extra tip line on your receipt is for those people who go over & above. You can buy fun watches for $10 on the last day & other fun jewelry sales are regularly held on the Promenade. There's so much more I haven't noted. Jerry McLeod from The Times-Picayune has some great articles about the Voyager on NOLA.com. Click on my name to see if I figured out how to post my To do & to pack list. I also wrote about each port, Falmouth, Jamaica, Grand Cayman & Cozumel. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
So, the long awaited Venice cruise happened and Venice wasn't the highlight ! Flew into Marco Polo airport and had no problems finding the RCI staff who escorted us to the waiting coach and off we went. EMBARKATION : A bit of a ... Read More
So, the long awaited Venice cruise happened and Venice wasn't the highlight ! Flew into Marco Polo airport and had no problems finding the RCI staff who escorted us to the waiting coach and off we went. EMBARKATION : A bit of a scrum but was OK, no problems. We boarded just after noon I think and the cabins weren't quite ready so we headed off for some lunch. CABIN : We pretty much always go for an inside cabin, that way we can cruise again for the same money as if we had a balcony... 2 cruises for the price of one is how I see it. Plus we like insides, I mean its DARK in there people... perfect for sleep, either at night or an afternoon siesta ! Cabin was standard really, large double bed, sofa, TV, blah blah.. However, one thing that did annoy us big time was the fact that the shower had NO SHOWER GEL ! Our cabin steward told us they had run out 3 or 4 weeks previously, but we think that's a puny excuse by RCI, who treat us 'poor' inside folks like 2ND class citizens ! Our friends, in an outside, our friends in a balcony, ALL had shower gel and what is more, they had it replaced whilst cruising ! So, RCI : SORT YOURSELVES OUT, it's penny pinching at its worst. Good job I shave my head lol Also, we found some leftover rubbish in the cabin, a paper coffee cup plus receipts inside it from August... not exactly welcoming. One other thing, dont even think about making a phone call from your cabin..$7.95 per minute ! Overall, happy with the cabin. DINING : We don't really like traditional dining, I wear a suit all day at work and am damned if I am wearing one on holiday, or worse still a tuxedo ! Not a chance. So, we were slightly concerned that we wouldn't be allowed in the main dining room for our 6.30pm sitting. However, it wasn't a problem. On formal nights, most had tuxedos or suits, I had a long sleeve shirt and trousers. I did notice we had a poorly positioned table though, right at the entrance, wondering if that was because of our inside cabin ? Maybe a co-incidence. Now here is how traditional dining can be the best ever, or the worst ever. Our table was for 6. On the first evening there were ourselves and a fantastic couple from California, who became our friends and hopefully will remain so for life... cheers facebook ! No-one else. Same for nights 2, 3, on night 4 we were astonished to see a German couple there. Fine, new friends. However to say conversation was difficult would be an understatement. It was like going to the dentist and it ruined our dining experience. Suffice to say we avoided them on future evenings, and to be fair they avoided us, it was funny to us four that we bumped into them in the Windjammer buffet the evening after... we went there to avoid them and evidentally they felt the same ! Jonny Rockets has a cover charge of $4.95 per person, fair enough we thought we would give it a try. However, ON PRINCIPLE, we refused as when we got there ( and it was deserted ! ) we found out that drinks were extra, as were shakes. NO DRINKS in a diner ! Ridiculous. Dining, pretty good, was happy to get out of the main dining room though to get some 'real' food from time to time.. some of the meals were so posh I didn't know whether to eat them or frame them and have them mounted on my wall. SHIP : Yes, liked the ship. But if you have cruised before you will understand she is similar to a lot of ships these days. Plenty of retail opportunities for those who choose it, 2 storey theatre, Gym, Spa, etc etc. DRINKS : Oh my word. Some of the UK readers of this review may recall an advert on TV some time ago where a guy wanted to purchase something and he picked up the phone and called his bank manager to check he could afford it... well, he was on this cruise !!! Blimey, are drinks expensive or what !? That's not a question guys, trust me its the answer. For the UK drinker, alcohol is priced eye wateringly high. A Fosters 'oilcan', that's a pint to you and me, was about $9, including the outrageous 15% tip for the waiter to walk 100 yards and bring it to you. Now I can sink a pint in roughly 5 seconds when I want to...and it doesn't take a genius to work out that I didn't do so on this occasion. I simply cannot understand the logic of charging so much for drinks onboard, half the passengers weren't drinking anything at all and I reckon that was due to ridiculous cost. RCI, lower the prices, lower the gratuity, more people will booze and your profits will rise. Drinks, total extortion. EXCURSIONS : Continuing my theme of total extortion ( lol )... RCI should re-brand their tours ' Tours for Millionaires '. Or maybe a more realistic, ' over priced, short on time tours for the stinkingly stupid '.. yeah, that would work. Don't do them guys. As usual there are plenty of locals who work really hard to give you the day trip you deserve at half the price RCI want. If you are reading this then I assume you are quite familiar with the internet.. try a quick search. It's not hard ! Alternatively, wait til you dock, and grab someone standing there ! Cruise Critic doesn't list 2 of the places we visited so I will give a brief run down here. KOPER : We booked a SUPERB local guide online with fellow roll call members from this website. Graham, he is English, picked us up at the dock and took 8 of us on one of the best trips I have been on recently. First stop was Ljubljana, capital city of this small country. Stayed there for a while and had time to explore. Next up was Lake Bled, what a place, absolutely stunning. We visited the castle and took in the town. Then onto Vintgar gorge, wow was all I could think of this place. Some brave folks had made a walkway down the gorge that is literally hanging off the cliff ! Amazing. All in all the day was about 8 hours, back in good time for the ship. Thanks Graham ! RAVENNA : Ravenna is one of the few places I recommend cruisers to take the cruise line shuttle as it is a long way from port to town. The shuttle was $15. Nothing to do by port at all. Ravenna itself is home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites, namely the famous Mosaics from the Byzantine era. Very impressive. ENTERTAINMENT : Night one was an excellent Argentinian duo with drums, it doesn't sound much but they were fantastic. Production shows we thought were not so good, they never sang any songs anyone had heard of and on the odd occasion they did they did their own versions that were so unrecognisable we didn't even realise til they almost finished what they were. Poor. They had a Beach Boy tribute on and whilst not really my thing, I thought it was the best night of the cruise. Also that night was a fluorescent show, wow that was superb ! I was very hesitant about that initially but it turned out to be a real highlight. The entertainment staff were pretty good, Abel was the cruise director and he was great. SUMMARY : Enjoyed the cruise. But then again I have never NOT enjoyed a cruise. Would I cruise RCI again ? Well, we put down a deposit onboard with them for a future cruise so I guess that would say something. There are a few things I think RCI should change, namely extortionate drinks prices, extortionate shuttle prices ( $14 to Bari, we WALKED in 10-15 mins along a totally flat promenade ) and expensive excursions. But the savvy cruiser already knows that cruiselines do this and can take steps to avoid them. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
My husband and I were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. After a great deal of research on different destinations and cruiselines, we finally decided on the Western Mediterranean and RCCL. We have sailed RCCL before and really ... Read More
My husband and I were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. After a great deal of research on different destinations and cruiselines, we finally decided on the Western Mediterranean and RCCL. We have sailed RCCL before and really enjoyed it, but never on the Voyager of the Seas. The ship was very well taken care of, and the service was spectacular. Our waiter and assistant waiter (unfortunately I can not remember their names, but they were 2 gentleman from the Phillipines) were friendly, humorous and EXTREMELY ATTENTIVE. Our cabin steward was also EXCELLENT. The staff were so friendly and helpful everywhere we went on the ship. We enjoyed most of the shows, especially the Ice show. We had a balcony cabin, which we enjoyed ; however did not feel it was necessary since this was such a port intensive cruise and it was chilly in the mornings when we sailed into port. The itinerary was FANTASTIC. With that said, you must be able to manage uneven streets and climbing stairs. We did not think that Europe was for the handicapped or endurance challenged. Most places and sights did not seem to be handicapped accessible. This being our first time to Italy, Croatia, France and Spain, we were not daring enough to do trains in Italy on our own. Being there once now, we would definitely try Rome on our own next time. We stayed for 4 nights in Venice prior to our cruise. Even though we had seen most of Venice, sailing from Venice was spectacular. Our next port was Dubrovnik, Croatia, which is beautiful. It is a very easy port to do on your own (if you do reading and research ahead of time), and the views from the city walls are spectacular. Then we sailed to Naples after a day at Sea. Here we took a tour, from Rome in Limo (RIL) with a group of 4 couples formed on CC, of Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast which were amazing. I can't wait to go back to the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento and Positano and hope to have Raffeal from RIL if we do! Our next stop was Civitavecchia, where we took another RIL tour with CC mates to Rome. This was a whirlwind of a day to me. I knew it would be alot to see in a day, but I never expected this, and the crowds were overwhelming. If I was to do it again, I would allow a few days in Rome prior to the cruse to really see things. The sights in Rome are beautiful, but very spread out and the traffic is like most major cities in the US. Highly recommend a guide for the Vatican if you visit; it was well worth the extra money. We used Sarah from RIL and she was great. Our next stop was Livorno where we shared a tour with Tuscan Hearts with 5 other CC friends. Dany was an awesome driver/guide who took us to Pisa, Florence, Tuscan countryside and a winery. This tour was one of my favorites. Next day we sailed into La Seyne-Sur-mer/Toulon, France where we had planned a tour with Provence Wine Tours. This was a great relaxing enjoyable day, after 3 intensive ports, with time for Lunch and shopping in Cassis. Then we had a day at Sea which offered a fun filled time and good food on the ship. Our last port was Barcelona. We spent 3 nights post cruise after doing the Montserrat/City Center RCCL bus tour on the day of debarkation. Montserrat was beautiful. The only negative was constantly waiting for people on the bus tour; I guess we were spoiled with our private 6-8 people private tours. We enjoyed our stay in modern Barcelona; the food and Sangria were great. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This really was a lovely cruise. the itinerary was excellent as all the ports were interesting and there was plenty to learn and to do in each one. This was helped by having wonderful weather except for the last day in Venice. The ... Read More
This really was a lovely cruise. the itinerary was excellent as all the ports were interesting and there was plenty to learn and to do in each one. This was helped by having wonderful weather except for the last day in Venice. The ship i now about 12 years old but still looked lovely to me. My cabin was in very good condition, in fact, they changed the furniture during the course of the cruise although the items they took out still looked good to me. I was, as always with Royal Caribbean, very impressed with some of the crew members. My waitress, Laura from Romania, was particularly excellent. I am on a strict diet and she really went out of her way to make sure I got steamed vegetables with each meal and a fruit plate for dessert. This was so much better than my previous experience. All in all I heartily recommend this itinerary and ship. There was no option on the list for Koper or Ravenna so I will write about the 3 ports in this space. Port 1 was Koper and I took an excursion to Ljubljana. This was a delightful city with beautiful architecture and lovely outdoor cafes. It happened to be the day of their Medieval parade which was lovely and colourful. I then had time for a leisurely walk around Koper which was also charming but very small. The next port was Ravenna and I did an expensive but worthwhile excursion to Bologna and Ravenna. Both cities were very interesting and full of historical gems. In Bari itself I felt I made a mistake. I took the excursion to Alberobello which was an OK place but the excursion took up far too much of the day in relation to the interest leaving far too little time for Bari itself. I did have just enough time to have a wander around the old town and took a bicycle rickshaw which was excellent. In short I would not recommend an excursion in Bari and felt I cheated myself by wasting the time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
The ship was very impressive our room was larger than on other cruises we were on. we had a room with a Balcony which was a big plus. Even the bathroom wasn't a bad size. The food in the main restaurant in the evening was good but ... Read More
The ship was very impressive our room was larger than on other cruises we were on. we had a room with a Balcony which was a big plus. Even the bathroom wasn't a bad size. The food in the main restaurant in the evening was good but in the buffet one it was alway cold and the same menu every day no variety. The ports of calls were not great really enjoyed Kopei and Dubrovnik but should have stayed on board in Bari. It was not a very nice location especially the old town felt like we steped back in time but not for nice reason. It was like walking into a slum. The house were really run down and children tearing through the narrow streets on bike. The staff were very helpful on the ship until you had a problem. We returned to our room one day and the lad cleaning the room advised that the toilet was leaking and that he had reported it. We left the room and came back a few hours later to a flood. We rang maintenance 3 time and they kept saying they fixed it even though it was still flooding. Ended up going down to reception to complain and she got the same answer from maintenance. They promised to send up a man but a girl with a cloth to dry the floor arrive. She again had to ring before they believed us. Beware of buying watches etc on board. I bought a watch and when I got home it didn't work. Emailed them and they won't replace or refund as it was bought duty free on the sea. Its their rule if it is an expensive watch I would have to contact the maker no signs on board to this effect. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Arriving at Embarkation was easy but the walking starts immediately when you take the transfers. Your luggage is dumped at a warehouse and you proceed a nice walk to the check-in area. My check-in was a bit of a problem as my Sea Card was ... Read More
Arriving at Embarkation was easy but the walking starts immediately when you take the transfers. Your luggage is dumped at a warehouse and you proceed a nice walk to the check-in area. My check-in was a bit of a problem as my Sea Card was not on file and I waited over 30 minutes to get it before boarding. As noted by another passenger the rooms were not available until 1 or later and not knowing this I sought out the Hotel Manager to complain. Mr. Taggert, a Canadian who is a Saints Fan (I am from New Orleans), was extremely hospitable and offered me the opportunity to leave my carry-on luggage in his office while I familiarized myself with the ship and the Windjammer Restaurant. My experiences in the Windjammer were excellent. My experience in the dining room however were far from good starting on night one. Our Asst. waiter filled our water glasses and gave us bread and then disappeared. I talked to the Head Waiter and the following night the Asst. was not working our table. Scheduled for a 10 top I was disappointed when I sat at a 6top with only one couple and three empty chairs. The third night out our Asst. Waiter returns along with three new people. I asked the Head waiter why the Asst. was sent back and he said "He wanted a second chance." I said that was fine but not at our table (the Asst. waiter stayed the rest of the cruise much to my displeasure and caused the original couple at the table to leave and not return the rest of the trip). I had a room overlooking the Promenade and loved it. No noise at all (I was in the noise when it happened so it didn't bother my sleep). The room was large and the bed very comfortable and housekeeping outstanding. I took the shuttles into Dubrovnik(via a tour)and Ravenna. My concern was that anyone from the boat could get on the shuttle going back free as tickets were not checked. Koper, Ravenna and Bari are nice quaint old towns where you can get great pictures but little else. History is their main existence- beautiful cathedrals, basilicas and many statues. Venice was beautiful and I was told to wear a hat b/c of pigeon droppings. Fortunately when I was in the square many tourists were keeping the pigeons on the ground as they fed them so there were no pigeon bombs to avoid. Walking around Venice was wonderful, hot and at times confusing. I saw what I wanted to see and returned to the ship really happy but somewhat tired. As a Past Passenger I was afforded the opportunity to relax before dinner in a special lounge that had excellent service. But no one told me where it was and it took me 2 days to find it (Cloud Nine on Deck 14). The Ice Show was the best entertainment on the boat. All major productions were lip synced. The Beatles presentation was so loud people left well before it was done. I felt the Cruise Director, Mercedes from Argentina, was not good. The Lounge entertainment was excellent especially the gentlemen in the Schooner Bar and the Pig and Whistle Pub. The Promenade shows were good but the crowds were very selfish about allowing everyone to see comfortably. There was a group of children (about 8 of them) who ran uncontrolled throughout all parades colliding with people watching the parades. On the last night when people wanted and needed to get boarding passes, confirm reservations etc the computer system went down. But Customer Service allowed the passengers to use a computer at the front Desk to get any passes we needed. Disembarkation was a piece of cake as it usually is on cruise ships but Marco Polo airport is poorly marked for people checking luggage and getting to the right carrier and their ride home. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This was a 7 day Adriatic cruise leaving from Venice with stops in Koper, Slovenia, Bari, Italy, Ravenna, Italy, Dubrovnik, Croatia, a day at sea and an overnight in Venice. Dubrovnik and Venice are the highlights with the other ports as ... Read More
This was a 7 day Adriatic cruise leaving from Venice with stops in Koper, Slovenia, Bari, Italy, Ravenna, Italy, Dubrovnik, Croatia, a day at sea and an overnight in Venice. Dubrovnik and Venice are the highlights with the other ports as nice stops but in my opinion far less exciting that ports in Greece, Turkey, or Western Med like Italian ports on Western Italy or Spain. I enjoyed them, but for travelers not familiar with this region of the world, i would recommend other ports. Arrived into Venice by train into main station Santa Lucia, amazing view to walk out and the grand canal is there. BOOM-you are in Venice! Took a walk over to Piazza Roma, very doable if you are a walker, but had to carry baggage over the bridge and it is steps so you can't roll your bags, have to carry them. From the Piazza took the People Mover out to the port. It is 1 euro and drops you at the entrance to the port. Kind of confusing, but RCCL had reps to direct you to one building to drop luggage and another building to check in. Priority check in was a breeze, I had no line. However it is a very long distance to the pier for the RCCL ship for those with mobility problems. Again, for walkers or those who are active, flat and easy to do. Upon entrance to the ship, it was almost shocking how similar it was to the Mariner of the Seas that I had been on earlier this year. As with that ship, on first glance all looks good. Clean, sparkling, but on closer look, the ship is showing its age, and the maintenance has slipped. wood railings around the ship outside and on balconies were in poor repair, looking up you see rust on the ship and the carpet is soiled and linens stained. But it was build in 1999 and a rep said being scheduled for refurbishment. This is really a minor issue though as it was always clean. the ship was having plumbing problems during the cruise. Some public areas smelling, at one point water shut off in my cabin and other dinner mates on different floors, different days also reporting the same plumbing problems. All in our group though were flexible and made the best of it. General Observations: 1. Cruise prices are very low but they attempt to make up for the revenue in two ways. Cut backs and upcharging. As with other reviews, no lobster night, no midnight buffets, no chocolates on pillows, at return cruisers party, no waiters walking around with food to nosh on. One gets the feel of them pushing to sell things all the time. Price points are excessively high on many items such as drinks, wine, shuttles from port into the towns and excursion costs. For example, two ports were in easy walking distance from the ship, within eyesight when you pulled into port, but they were selling shuttle tickets for 14 or 15 USD per person. So people who bought the shuttle package early or the first day we boarded were totally ripped off. I am glad they offer it for those with ambulation difficulties, but for the average traveller a total waste. 2. Entertainment was consistent with other RCCL cruises. A couple of ship production shows, a couple of musical acts etc. 3. Activity staff was attentive, visible and offered a range of activities. It was actually the first cruise where I didn't feel that bingo was being shoved down my throat, which was appreciated. The married couples game show and Quest hosted by Mercedes were a good time. 4. Ice shows were excellent. Very talented skaters and plenty of open time for skating on the rink. 5. the upper tier party for cruisers of higher level membership was very nice. Generous with the drinks and food choices it really did feel like an appreciation for loyalty by the cruise line. 6. Cruise critic party was nice, but held many days into the cruise so it didn't give the meet and mingle goal much of a chance over the course of the cruise. 7. Port Tips: Koper was a nice little town. there on Sunday and most everything was closed. beautiful along the harbor, easy walk to main square from the ship. Ravenna, is a distance. Ship offered a shuttle to the city which was about 20 minutes away. Others took taxi, but not many there. Mosaics and the world heritage sights were fantastic. Nice city to wander, sit in outdoor cafe and see museums. Bari was also easy walk into town. My least favorite port, couple hours and felt I had seen all I was interested in seeing. Dubrovnik is a distance to the old walled city from the port. We took local bus for equivalent of 2USD. Must use local currency, but just outside port there was cambio/money change office and ATM for local currency. Once in the city, stores and vendors and restaurants took local currency, euros and US dollars. It is an amazing city, full of tourists which was its only distraction. Definitely want to come back and spend more time here. Venice had an overnight. Cruise ship offered a water shuttle right from the port to St. Mark's square. You could also use the people mover and then the Vaparettos. We did a side trip to Murano where the glass factories were and then back to Venice. Be prepared for crowds, high prices, but the views are mesmerizing. What a city. 8. The past guest cruise department had very limited hours. they had two people who work there, but very limited hours and often the flyers with information were gone. for example I wanted to put a deposit down to get an On board credit for next cruise and went several times and they were not there. the last day of cruise they were there only for two hours. I went back a few times and bumped into several guests also hoping to reserve a future cruise. Didn't make sense, the staff are on ship and people want to reserve so it would seem they should have the desks staffed to capture people's interests. 9. Long lines at guest services desk. 10. Cabin: I had booked a promenade room, the interior rooms that look down onto the main street. It was generally quiet, but if they were having one of the parties along the street it was very loud. I tend to be up late, so no problem but for people with kids or early to bed, would definately not recommend. 11. Dining staff and room attendant were very attentive, friendly and tried to accomodate in any way they could. 12. Guests were a mix from all over the world, most age groups represented and on the whole an affable group. Some could however benefit from instruction on what a queue or line is for! Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
We are regular cruisers with Princess and think they are fabulous but booked the Royal Caribbean (RCCL) as there were a party of 7 of us, myself & disabled hubby (in an electric wheelchair), 2 kids, 2 parents aged 70 & my 38 year ... Read More
We are regular cruisers with Princess and think they are fabulous but booked the Royal Caribbean (RCCL) as there were a party of 7 of us, myself & disabled hubby (in an electric wheelchair), 2 kids, 2 parents aged 70 & my 38 year old brother, and we got a great deal on the holiday. Now I wished Id stuck to Princess and paid extra!! we travelled from Edinburgh to Venice on Jet2.com (booked through RCCL). when we arrived at Edinburgh airport & went to check in with Jet2. we checked in as a party of 7, then after weighing the cases(all were under weight limit) and checking the passports we were told we would need to pay for our checked luggage. i explained that we booked a package through yourselves & RCCL and this was all part of our package. she didn't understand what i was meaning and she called over a supervisor who never listened to me and just kept repeating that the bags have got to be paid upfront before we check them on. I showed her our paperwork that we printed off and still no further forward. 40 mins later she made a phone call , came of the call and said to her supervisor that we had paid £10 for each cases online at jet2 and that we were free to go!!! This is something i obviously never done and Ive no idea where she got her information from. but she let us go through anyway. She also told us that the flight would be boarding at 6.50am but could we be at the gate for 6.30am so we could get on the plane first. We we at the gate for 6.25am and sat waiting until 7.00am!! the excuse they gave was that they could not find anyone "free" to escort us out to the plane.! they eventually found someone, they took us out to the tarmac and put us on a ambulance lift, then drove it out to the plane, meanwhile the man escorting us asked how far my hubby could walk, he said he cant walk, only a couple of steps with the aid of his crutches. the man then explained that he could not take his wheelchair on the plane and that he would have to sit on a regular seat. We explained that when booking the holiday we said that Tommy could not come out his wheelchair, and the travel agent said that wouldn't be a problem as his chair could go inside the plane & he could sit on it, they explained that couldn't happen and that he would have to sit in a regular seat. By this time we are at the door of the plane and the other passengers are boarding via the stairs, the man is talking to the air hostess who then goes into the cockpit and the pilot comes out. I'm invited on board and the pilot and air hostess are explaining that no way is a wheelchair allowed on board the aircraft and that it has to be dismantled and put in the hold. I explained that the chair doesn't fold down ( this was also explained at the time of booking and also on the health forms we had to fill in). the air hostess & the pilot were very nice and quite sympathetic but said they only way we could fly was to sit on a regular seat. by this time the plane was now full and my hubby was still sitting in his wheelchair on the ambulance lift. With great difficulty and in much pain he was shown to his seat in the 3rd row, while all the passengers looked on, some tutting and making comments as the flight was now late due to all the palaver. the air hostess explained that she requested that we were on board the aircraft first before the other passengers to avoid the embarrassment that was taking place. we told her that we had sat for 35 mins waiting for someone to collect us. both air hostess and the pilot were going to put in a complaint with the airport re the collection etc. they apologised profusely and asked about out return flight and said they would make a few phone calls so that this would not happen on the return journey. after hubby's excruciating flight we arrived in Venice and went to the RCCL rep, we showed her the letter that we had received from RCCL saying we have wheelchair assistance on both arrival and departure at both airports and also transfers to and from the ship. the RCCl rep said that we will need to get on a bus, I asked if it was wheelchair accessible and she said NO, that he would have to climb the stairs onto the bus. Then i just exploded!! told her that he CANNOT climb stairs due to the fractures in his spine and pelvis and offered to show her our doctors letter confirming this. She didn't want to see the letter. then I apologised for losing my cool and explained about all the hassle we had had at the airport & on the flight. She made a phone call and within 10 mins a wheelchair accessible people carrier arrived and got us into the car. he was a lovely man and very helpful, and wouldn't let me help him with the luggage etc, saying it was his job. When we arrived at the cruise terminal it was chaos, we went up to the desk and explained we needed wheelchair assistance, the lady pointed to another desk where we checked in and was given our cruise cards. Then she looked right past us and said "next please"!! I explained that we needed help getting on the ship with the wheelchair etc, she just shouted something in Italian and asked us to step aside that someone will be with us shortly. The ship itself is lovely and the wheelchair accessible cabin is great and a great size to manoeuvre the wheelchair around. after settling in we made our way to the Windjammer restaurant (self service), we knew it would be busy, as are most ships on the first day. there was no one around to help me with the wheelchair & plates etc. I eventually found someone and asked for help, he said he would be over in a couple of minutes & we never saw him again!! so we struggled on ourselves and hubby couldn't read the name plates for the food, as they were at the top of the glass panel, so i was reading everything out to him and people were getting really frustrated and telling us to hurry up! Not that there was even a queue it was just a free for all. Then when we finally managed to get a table, the tables were all too low for the wheelchair (the arm rest plates) to go under. So he had to eat his food with about a 10inch gap between him and the table. We only ate in the Windjammer twice throughout the whole holiday due to this and each time was exactly the same and no help whatsoever was offered. each time the food was cold, my parents and brother used the windjammer everyday for lunch and each day their food was cold too, there were so many people saying the same. But unless you want a burger, pizza or sandwich there was no other place to go for "hot" food. one the first day on board we went to the pursers desk to ask about tours etc and accessible buses. we were told there were none!! Not for even one of the ports of call. Bari in particular was one of the places we wanted to go, I asked about that at the desk the night before we docked. the girl behind the desk said it was only 1km away from the port and that we could walk it. We were delighted and all 7 of us looked forward to wandering around Bari. That night we decided that we would all get shuttle bus tickets to get into Bari (as my parents are both nearly 70 and that would have been quite a walk for them) and hubby would ride his electric wheelchair into town and meet us. i went down to the desk the morning we docked and bought 6 shuttle tickets at a cost of $14 each. while she was sorting this out I explained about the wheelchair etc and that hubby would meet us there, she asked who had told me it was only 1km away, i told her it was a girl from last night at the desk, she said it was more like 2km, maybe more! hubby's chair can only do 5km on one charge so we were a bit worried about that. When we got off the ship the RCCL Italian rep & bus driver confirmed it was more likely to be a min of 4km each way!! I was so angry at the conflicting information from each person I spoke too. and no one seemed to have correct information about anything. We never had a day in Bari in the end, or any other port for that matter, all we done was got off and had a walk along the harbour/marina & went back on board, very disappointed is an understatement!! After dinner that night I went to the pursers desk to explain how unhappy i was at purchasing these tickets etc and that we couldn't use them. the queue was huge as normal and when I was waiting in line an Officer approached the desk, he was hanging around waiting for someone and asked me how I was and if there was anything he could help , instead of waiting in the queue. I explained what happened, his unbelievable reply was "sometimes these things happen Mam" and walked away!!!! the guest services is a joke! they are not interested unless they are selling you something. I made sure that all was in place with a manager at the pursers desk for our return trip On our return trip to the airport, we had a car waiting for us, we arrived at the airport and check in went smoothly, then when we got to the xray machines etc, a member of staff come up to us and said that jet2 had requested hubby gets out his electric wheelchair and goes into a manual airport wheelchair. With 2.5hrs until we were due to fly, we asked if he was going to get an escort to push his chair until departure, as i had the 2 kids and our 4 pieces of hand luggage and hubby cant self propel a wheelchair. the man told him no, he would need to leave him there but he had to go in a manual chair. Again I blew my top and the man was very apologetic and said it wasn't his decision, it was a request from Jet2. he went on the phone and had an argument with whoever was on the other end and then said it was fine for hubby to remain in his own chair. all these things put a huge strain on my husband and the rest of us. the cabin staff were nice and kept the room clean etc, but every time you saw them they went on about how they get no wages and rely only on tips to make a living, this must have been mentioned at least 4 or 5 times, throughout the week. the maid in my parents cabin also gave them the same story. Whether its true or not, I don't want to be bullied into tipping. We did tip all the required people but I don't think it should be mentioned at every opportunity. the itinerary stated in the cruise Compass was never accurate, parades starting earlier or later than stated, and sales that stated they were on from 10am til 10pm when they were only on for an hour at 10pm. Most things just contradicting what was printed. The pig & whistle is a lovely quaint bar that both my parents & brother went too, but there are so many tables and chairs crammed into it that there is no room for a wheelchair. Ice show was fantastic & Beatles maniacs was very good, other than that the entertainment is rubbish!! being used to Princess entertainment which is fantastic, we we sorely disappointed. belly flop competitions! Mr & Mrs Quiz! Bingo etc, are we at a Butlins holiday camp??? the cruise director Mercedes, was never seen on the ship other that at the shows. She didn't mingle with guests like previous ships Ive been on. drinks are sooo over priced. Every opportunity they are trying to sell you something, whether it be photos or trips or whatever. One photographer looked at me in disgust when he interrupted our meal to take a photo, i told him to come back after our meal if he wanted to take one then. he never returned. kids enjoyed the kids club. Overall the holiday was a waste of money, there was no relaxing and enjoyment on mine or hubby's part, we were so uptight and angry most of the time that it completely spoiled it for us. RCCL are an American company who say they cater for disabled/wheelchair passengers, but in my opinion this ship does not cater for wheelchairs. What is the point in spending your money to go on a cruise, that have no accessible facilities for tours, no space in the pub to enjoy a drink and no room to sit eat lunch. we booked two cruises at the time and are due to cruise on the Grandeur of the seas at the end of July & I regret booking this too. my hubby doesn't want to go as he doesn't want the same hassle again and to be honest I'm dreading it too. I don't think anyone knows how difficult it is being a disabled wheelchair user or a carer and what struggles they encounter on a daily basis in everyday life, never mind the organisation and preparation put into a family holiday. hubby hates being in a wheelchair and has been trying very hard to accept it and he hates for a big fuss and hassle to be made over him, so when things have meant to be arranged and put in place and this doesn't happen, and you to have to fight for what has supposed to be put in place for him, is just embarrassing and very upsetting for us all, especially my husband. My husband was a perfectly healthy guy until 3 years ago, aged 38, when he was involved in a horrific crush accident at work. we aren't people who moan about the slightest thing, we just want to enjoy our holiday the same as everyone else. I think RCCL are the most disorganised, inconsiderate, unhelpful company we have ever travelled with and will not travel with them again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
My husband and I are both in our early fifties and this was our first European cruise. We flew from Chicago to Barcelona with a change in planes in Madrid. Royal Caribbean booked our flights for us and they did a wonderful job. Flights ... Read More
My husband and I are both in our early fifties and this was our first European cruise. We flew from Chicago to Barcelona with a change in planes in Madrid. Royal Caribbean booked our flights for us and they did a wonderful job. Flights were great. We flew in a day early and spent one night at the Hotel Diagonal in Barcelona. The hotel was beautiful and the room was spacious with a wonderful view. The only problem we had here was that the room should have been ready by 2:00 and we couldn't get in until about 3:30. We walked to the famous Sagrada Familia Church. It is a MUST see, the church is breathtaking. We didn't go inside but just looking at the outside is fantastic. Our pick-up time from RCCL was 10:15 the next morning and we were on the ship by 11:10 a.m. - very quick and easy. We didn't explore the ship too much because the Voyager class is our favorite class of ship and we have been on a few of them. The ship is beautiful but she is starting to show her age. The windows really needed to be cleaned and the glass on our balcony needed to be cleaned also. It could be that the ship had just come off of a transatlantic cruise - but still. She also needs to have some rust scraped and painted. The crew was very friendly. Doc at the pool bar was funny and Robert in the casino bar was wonderful. He is actually the type of employee that RCCL needs to have all over the ship. Our waiter was Nicholas and our assistant waiter was Andrew. Although they were friendly and a joy to talk to - the service was VERY slow and the head waiter only made things worse by screwing things up. Peter, the dining room bartender is a fun guy also. Food was good and the choices were good. We were a bit upset that we didn't have a "lobster night". We really missed it and we feel that RCCL has made a huge mistake by getting rid of it. We ate at Portofino's right when the ship was departing Barcelona - as usual - it was GREAT! The only other thing I wish RCCL would do is enforce the dining room dress code - it's amazing what some people will wear to dinner much less formal night! Wow! Entertainment on the ship was very good. Our headliner show was a group called the East Coast Boys. They are a Frankie Valli knock off and they are fantastic. Do not miss this show if it's offered. We also saw the ice show on board - it was wonderful - also not to be missed! The singer in the piano bar was good as well as the guy in the pub. I just wish they would get rid of the whole karaoke thing - it's getting old and most of the people cannot sing at all. Activities on the ship were good - they kept everyone busy, although with long touring days - they could of done some of the nighttime parties a bit earlier so you could enjoy them. Having to get up at 6:00 for a 10 hour tour, kind of makes you not want to go to a 70's street party at 11:30. We disembarked in Venice. RCCL took care of our transfers to our hotel. It was quick and easy and we were off the ship by 8:45 a.m., grabbed our luggage and breezed thru the customs booth. They basically just checked our passports and nodded us thru. We spent one night at the Hotel Carlton on the Grand Canal. This was a wonderful place to stay. Close to the water buses and taxis and gondola rides. Shopping was right across the canal along with many cafes to choose from. Just a fantastic and convenient place to stay. Breakfast was included so we ate well before being taken to the airport. The Venice airport has very long lines, so plan on standing in one for an hour or so. We flew from Venice to Frankfurt and then on to Chicago. Good flights. So in summary, it was a truly magical cruise on a great ship. Great service, smiling crew members and an all out enjoyable experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
I got so much info from these reviews on CC that made our cruise a great experience and vacation; I thought I should add mine as well to share. My wife and I arrived in Barcelona three days ahead of the sailing to acclimate and explore ... Read More
I got so much info from these reviews on CC that made our cruise a great experience and vacation; I thought I should add mine as well to share. My wife and I arrived in Barcelona three days ahead of the sailing to acclimate and explore Barcelona. As per recommendations, I got Euros in advance from my bank at home which made life a lot easier when I arrived. From the airport, we got on the Aerobus (6 Euros each) very easy. We got of at the last stop, Plaza Catalunya. From there it was a short walk to our Hotel Continental (recommended by many) on CC. While the location is spectacular, on Las Ramblas the hotel is a little old but I don't regret the choice at all. The balcony room is highly recommended. We took the HOHO (hop on hop off) bus two of the days. It does three different routes. We were reluctant to get off seeing the long lines waiting to get on. From our hotel that is nicely located in the Gothic area, we were able to stroll through this fascinating very old section of Barcelona. We took a cab from the hotel (12Euro) in the morning, and boarded Voyager quite easily. Waited for the buffet to open to have lunch and explored the ship. This was our sixth cruise and first in Europe. In general the entertainment was pretty nice and the cruise director Mercedes had a great attitude, was warm and funny. Service on the ship was very good, through out the ship. For our first port in Toulon, we went to Cassis, an old fishing village. It was a half day tour and we enjoyed it. Second port was Livorno where we also took a half day tour to Pisa where we enjoyed learning about the leaning tower. (I also enjoyed a street minstrel serenading my wife.) On day three we decided to do Rome on our own. We took the free shuttle to the town and then walked about ten blocks to the railroad that brought us to Rome. From there we took the Metro to the second stop the Colosseum. It truly is an amazing sight to see coming out of the Metro. We used the services of a tour guide there to get us in the Colloseum quickly (27 Euros each). I understand that tickets can be purchased a block away at Palentine Hill that is less expensive and will give easy entrance to the Colloseum. Exhausted, we headed back to the ship after this stop. We spoke to several travelers that took the ten hour tours and regretted the length of time. Next was our stop at Sicily where we took the Godfather Tour. It sounds a bit cheesy but was really quite impressive. True it was where the movie was filmed but there is a town there that dates back before the Inquisition. We toured that and another town up some very huge mountains. Finally when we arrived in Venice, we took the free shuttle bus to Pizzale Roma. From there it was a short walk to our Hotel Arlechino. It was a descent hotel that was convenient to the Vaporetto (water bus) that brought us all over Venice. The second day we purchased a 12 hour pass for the Vap. Every time you take mass transit in Italy, whether it's the train in Rome or the water taxi in Venice, you must validate your ticket (yellow machines) before you get on. It is recommended to get tickets to points of interest i.e. Doges Palace before you get there. From Pizzale Roma there is shuttle bus to Marco Polo airport. Great Trip!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
My husband and I recently returned from yet another great Royal Caribbean Cruise. We had previously cruised on Adventure of the Seas to the Caribbean on Royal Caribbean and anxiously awaited our first trip together to Europe on Voyager of ... Read More
My husband and I recently returned from yet another great Royal Caribbean Cruise. We had previously cruised on Adventure of the Seas to the Caribbean on Royal Caribbean and anxiously awaited our first trip together to Europe on Voyager of the Seas. Upon arriving at the port around 11:30 a.m., we were sent to the Suite line, since we were in a Grand Suite-1578. Once we checked in, we began walking towards the entrance to the ship. There were several people from the Soda Package group, Wine Package group, Portofinos and the My Time Dining people, waiting for us to sign up should we so wish. We were very happy about this as we had wanted to sign up for almost all of these things and RCL made it very convenient for us to do so. Once we were signed up, we then walked through another area that had a few duty free shops. We opted not to purchase anything and head for the ship. It was so wonderful stepping foot onto the ship. We knew that we wanted our next stop to be the Spa as we wanted to sign up for massages for our day at sea. When we got to the spa no one was at the front desk. We decided to head to the Windjammer for lunch and come back to the spa later. Since we had been on Adventure of the Seas, we knew where everything was on Voyager as they are sister ships. The Windjammer was set up exactly the same so we grabbed what we wanted, but were out of luck finding a seat. We walked around several times until finally a seat became empty. It was a little frustrating walking around with a plate of food and seeing people just sitting at tables not even eating. Anyway, once we were done with a great lunch, we went back to the spa. Again no one was the desk, we forgot the spa is 2 levels so we went upstairs and there was the person we needed. Our anniversary was the day at sea so we wanted to make sure we got to have a nice day. We each booked a massage for that day in the morning. By this time it was a little after 1pm and we were able to go to our room. The best room we had stayed in thus far was on Adventure of the Seas when we stayed in a Junior Suite so we were very excited to see our Grand Suite. We were not disappointed. We had our room decorated for our anniversary so it looked very festive but the room itself was really nice. Although we did not have the walk in closet we had in the Junior Suite there was ample room for our clothes in the closet provided. We had lots of drawer space and the bathroom with double sinks was wonderful. Our balcony was so nice and we got to enjoy it every day we were on the ship. We hung out in a room for a bit waiting for our luggage to arrive. In that time we got acquainted with the room and put away anything we could. Some of the stuff belonged in our safe so as we were trying to get stuff put away we found that the safe did not work. We immediately called maintenance and someone came to our room within 5 minutes and fixed it. Soon our luggage arrived so we unpacked and then went off to one of the many lounges for a drink of the day. We had a nice visit with the bartender there and then it was time to go back to our room for the muster drill. It had been 2 years since our last cruise and the life preservers are no longer needed during the muster drill, this we were happy about (although it was always fun to get a picture of). In any case, once the muster drill was done we explored the ship a bit more and then went to the Concierge room. The concierge was not there but we found the room to be very nice and looked forward to being able to enjoy it. At this point we then went to the Promenade and had a drink at the Pig and Whistle. It is a great spot to people watch and we enjoyed spending time there. We then went back to our room to get ready for dinner. We selected My Time Dining this time and we enjoyed it very much. It was great for us as we did not feel as tied down to a scheduled dinner as we had in the past. We went off to dinner and found that we were at a table for 2. We were fine with that but hoped to experience good conversation at dinner with others some of the other nights. We had a very nice waiter and Assistant waiter, both of whom were very attentive to us when we were at their table. After dinner we went to see the Welcome Aboard Show. In this regard we were very disappointed. On Adventure of the Seas the shows were 1st class on Voyager of the seas this was not the case. The singing was really sub par, just not the caliber you would expect on RCL. We made it through the show and decided to have a night cap at one of the lounges. Unfortunately the group that was supposed to perform chose not to, since we were only 1 of the 2 couples there. We had a drink but then decided to call it a night since we were still jet lagged from our long trip. The next morning was our day at sea and so we chose to order breakfast in. It was a little chilly outside but we still wanted to dine on the balcony. We had a lovely breakfast and it was a wonderful way to celebrate our anniversary day. We then got ready and went to the spa for our massages. We both enjoyed them and felt very relaxed and refreshed after them. We had been invited by the Concierge to a Bridge Tour. So, we went back to our room and showered and changed for it. Quite a few people attended the Bridge Tour and we enjoyed it very much. We then went to Johnny Rockets for lunch-sooo good, love their vanilla milkshakes. It was a rainy day so we decided to go up to one of the lounges and have a soda and relax. It was a very relaxing day and one that we needed as we were still very tired from our long trip. The day passed us by so quickly and soon it was time for dinner. Prior to dinner there was a meet up with our captain, Captain Bang. We were able to say hello and take a quick photo with him. Of all the cruises we have been on, he has so far been the nicest captain we have met. We had booked our dinner at Portofinos for our anniversary. We had been to Portofinos on our last cruise and looked forward to another evening of fine dining. The service was very good and so was the food but it was not as high a caliber of service as it had been the 1st time. It was not disappointing however and we were treated very well. After dinner we decided to go see the Production show. There was an auction prior to it to benefit the Make a Wish Foundation and it was a lot of fun. The show once again, was not that great but it was something to do. We saw Karaoke on the schedule and chose to go and watch it. Everyone did amazingly well and it was fun to watch. We had a tour scheduled for the morning so we went to bed after the show. The next day was our first port-Naples. We had a tour scheduled to go to Pompeii and Sorrento-please see Port Reviews for more info. Upon returning to the ship we decided to go to one of the bars where someone would be talking to us about our next port Rome. Unfortunately the person they selected, although very nice was not very knowledgeable so we just spent a short time there. We then got ready for dinner and upon arriving at the Magic Flute we were once again seated at a table for 2. It was great but again we really wanted to chat with other couples. After dinner we opted for an early night since we had an early tour scheduled in the morning. Day 4-Civitavechhia-We did the Rome on your own tour-please see more info in the Port Reviews. Once the we got back to the ship, we had dinner and then we had tickets to the ice show. The ice show was great as it had been on our previous cruise and we enjoyed it very much. We wanted to stay up for the Love and Marriage game show but we were so tired that we decided to call it a night. The next day we arrived in Livorno-please see Port Reviews. We had requested in the morning that our dining time be made a little later since we had a cocktail hour scheduled to meet with the Captains staff. At first we were told it would be difficult to move us but when we explained that we were o.k. not sitting at a table for 2, they were able to accommodate us. After a full day, we then went back to our room and got ready for the cocktail hour. It was very nice and we got to speak to quite a few people that we had already met in the Concierge room on other nights. It was soon time for us to go to dinner so we headed to our table for 6 in the Magic Flute. We were the first to arrive and soon were joined by a couple who were newlyweds and another couple who had been on too many cruises to count. They were both wonderful table mates and we had a very nice dinner chatting with them. After dinner we went to the Headliner show. This show was the best all week. It was a Bee Gees show and it was very good. Time for bed and our next day in Villfranche-please see Port Reviews. We had been invited to attend dinner with the Staff Captain on this night. We were very honored and accepted the invitation. We had been told dinner would be at 7pm. Surprisingly when we returned to our room at 5:30p.m. we received notice that the dinner was actually at 6pm. We quickly got ready to meet everyone at one of the lounges. Fortunately we were all able to get ready quickly. We were given a champagne toast and then escorted to the Staff Captains table. We had a very nice meal and good conversation. After dinner we chose to skip the show as we had, enough of them. Instead we had a night cap and off to bed we went. Our last day-Toulon. The last day is the worst, because you know that the next day you have to leave the ship. Please see Port Reviews for Toulon. We had a tour of St. Tropez/Port Grimaud scheduled. Upon returning to the ship we began packing. We selected the late check out-9a.m. and we would take our bags down ourselves. We were staying an extra day in Barcelona (Hotel Icaria) and were in no hurry to leave the ship. We then had our last dinner and were given a table for 8. We sat with some really great and interesting people and had a wonderful last nights dinner on the ship. We opted to go back to our room to get everything packed. It was good that we did as we had to figure out how and where to put all of the souvenirs. The next morning we had breakfast in the Windjammer and soon left the ship. We are looking forward to cruising on Royal Caribbean again in the near future. We cannot express highly enough how wonderful cruising with Royal Caribbean is. The food is great, the service is excellent (we had the best room attendant ever-Gracela) and just waking up each morning in a new port is spectacular. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Having sailed just two months previous with RCCL on Liberty of the Seas I had to book another one. This time we sailed the Mediterranean instead of the Caribbean. We arrived at the port at 11am and after a hassle-free check in and security ... Read More
Having sailed just two months previous with RCCL on Liberty of the Seas I had to book another one. This time we sailed the Mediterranean instead of the Caribbean. We arrived at the port at 11am and after a hassle-free check in and security check we were on board in no time. My boyfriend and another couple we were travelling with were first time cruisers, they were amazed at the size of the ship on arrival. We were not permitted to go to our staterooms until 1pm but this was fine as we had time to explore the ship and get some food in the Windjammer. We had been upgraded from an interior cabin to a promenade view. This was great as although it isn't a whole lot bigger but it felt more spacious with the bay window looking out onto the promenade. The pictures of the rooms on the RCCL website are quite dated as this is not the decor that is in the rooms anymore. The decor is exactly the same as the Liberty of the Seas pictures. I assume they redecorated during the Dry Dock last year. The food in the windjammer was good, there was a lot of variety and always plenty of food. Staff were always very efficient at cleaning tables. The frozen yogurt that is in the windjammer and the pool deck is gorgeous (and low fat :P!!!). We only ever ate breakfast and lunch in the windjammer but could not fault it. There was always plenty to choose from for breakfast. It finishes at 11am and lunch starts at 11.30am. We availed of room service on one morning and this was excellent. We dined in the formal restaurant every evening. The one mishap was the timing. We had requested a 9pm seating. It stated in our cruise docs that we were guaranteed this. However, on arrival we discovered we were allocated 9.30pm. Which is very late. When we rang guest relations about this they informed us that we would have to go speak to the headwaiter on another floor to see if he could give us a table. This was disappointing as we thought they may have been able to do this for us. In the end we stuck with the 9.30 seating. We had requested a table just for the four of us when booking however we were assigned to a table with two other couples. Having seen this we were going to change, however the laugh w3e had with the other people made the holiday and there was noway we were going to change table. We were usually the last table to leave the restaurant each night. They had also requested the 9pm dinging but had been allocated 9.30. It seems that the middle floor is 9.30 whereas the 1st and 3rd floor is 9pm. We availed of the gold wine package which included 5 bottles of wine,it is good value because to purchase individual bottles of wine each night is expensive. The staff throughout the whole ship were more than helpful. Raymond and Andre were our waiters and were superb, Raymond had a different trick to show us every night and was quite entertaining. Our stateroom attendant Celso was great, he was very accommodating, even though we did not leave our room until 1pm some days. He always remembered our names and we loved the towel animals he left us each evening. In comparison to the caribbean, I was quite disappointed with the ports we went to. They were mostly industrial ports and we were quite far away from the main areas. e.g. 90 mins from Rome and 70 mins from Florence. Nice was the only port that I was extremely impressed with. A lot of people have commented on the age of the ship in their reviews. We found it to be in great condition and did not notice any signs of aging, considering they have 3,000 guests getting on and off every week. The entertainment was good and the cruise director did her best to make everything enjoyable. The nightlife is very quite which is not the best for young couples like ourselves but we still made the most of it. However on one night the had a pool party and it was great (until it started raining). They played Latin music every night in the nightclub until 1.30 which was of no interest to us. Disembarkation was hassle free and we spent the day touring around Barcelona. Our friends opted for the late departure and had the day by the pool. Overall I would highly recommend RCCL and Voyager of the Seas! Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We were a little bit apprehensive as we didn't know what to expect and did wonder if some of the negative comments we had read would bother us - would the ship be too big, as non smokers would the smoking on board bother us, would ... Read More
We were a little bit apprehensive as we didn't know what to expect and did wonder if some of the negative comments we had read would bother us - would the ship be too big, as non smokers would the smoking on board bother us, would there be lots of children running riot? The answer to all these questions was a big resounding no. We couldn't fault the cruise in any way. We sailed with my two teenage sons, 14 and 19, who had the interior cabin directly opposite us and they really enjoyed the freedom of having their own space. We opted for My Time dining and never had a problem with getting a seat, despite there being very little choice of time available when I tried to pre-book on line a week before we sailed. We found that eating at 8.30 worked well for us as we tended to have long days off the ship, but then still had time for an hour's sunbathing and watching the sail away each evening before getting ready for dinner. We then spent the rest of the evening having a leisurely meal, and the fact that the dining room was a bit quieter by about 9.00 pm meant that our servers had a lot of time to spend looking after us and we didn't feel at all rushed. We ate breakfast in the Windjammer and never had a problem finding a table, except on the last day when the ship docked in Toulon and I think a lot of people decided to stay on the boat. As we were off the ship all day, Windjammer was usually closed by the time we returned (5.00 pm) but we ate Tapas in the Aquarius bar a couple of times and although there was a limited choice, it was enough to put us on until dinner time. Food was excellent in all cases, plenty of choice and well presented. Also good to see staff enforcing hand sanitization on entering the various eating places. Service from staff in all cases was excellent, nothing was too much trouble for anyone. The only show we attended was the Ice Show which was excellent, but there was plenty of choice of entertainment for anyone that wanted it. My sons didn't take part in any of the kids activities, although there seemed to be plenty to keep all ages occupied. The Cloud on the Horizon? - the DREADFUL weather we had in Florence - thunder, lightening, torrential rain, hail stones all afternoon. We got absolutely soaked and didn't see all that we wanted to because the weather was so bad - a good excuse to go back to this beautiful city. All in all, we had a fantastic time, and are now desperately saving up to go on another cruise for our Silver Wedding anniversary in 2011. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
7/3 - Barcelona - My wife and I arrived in Barcelona around 9:30 AM and took a taxi to our hotel, Hotel Claris on Pau du Claris. Our travel agent had secured this very nice hotel in Barcelona's Eixample neighborhood. As we ... Read More
7/3 - Barcelona - My wife and I arrived in Barcelona around 9:30 AM and took a taxi to our hotel, Hotel Claris on Pau du Claris. Our travel agent had secured this very nice hotel in Barcelona's Eixample neighborhood. As we weren't able to check in until around 1:00 PM, we had the hotel hold our bags and walked to several Gaudi buildings (Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila, and Casa Battlo) as well as exploring the area around our hotel. That evening we ate at a nice Tapas restaurant recommended by Rick Steves that is on La Ramblas and ate in their outdoor covered terrace. The food was good and the people watching from our table was great. 7/4 - Barcelona - We overslept (11:00 am) a bit as we were still recovering from jet lag but still had plenty of time to take a taxi to the port of Barcelona and board the ship by 1:00 PM. We only had to wait in line at the terminal where the Voyager was docked for about ½ hour, which was primarily due to having to go through port security. Once through security, we went right up to the check in counter for suites and were checked in quickly. I had done the pre-check in online, which is highly recommended. We went straight to our cabin, #1328, which is a Jr. suite on the starboard side of deck 10. Upon opening the cabin door, we were immediately surprised at the amount of space, nice sitting area, and especially storage and closet space. We went up the Windjammer, had a quick bite to eat, and then explored the ship. We have been on several cruises before and several with RCCL but Voyager of the Seas is the largest we have cruised on. We were both impressed with the amenities on this ship and space available to the passengers. One of my favorite places was the Royal Promenade and the Pig & Whistle pub. My wife says her favorite place turned out to be our balcony - hard to argue with that either. That evening we went to our first dinner in the La Boheme dining room, which is the middle level of the the three floor dining hall. We had opted for the late seating, which was at 9:00 PM each night, and were a bit worried about how late this seating was. But it quickly became apparent that we made the right choice with this port/excursion intensive cruise. We met our tablemates and were fortunate to be seated at a table with very nice people. Our table was diverse - a couple from Ireland, a couple from Spain, a family from Puerto Rico, and us from the U.S. We had a bit of a language barrier (my limited Mexican-Spanish didn't go too far) but the nice gentleman from Puerto Rico spoke both English and Spanish so he became our interpreter. We also met our wait staff, Alina, our waiter and Federico, our assistant waiter, who proved throughout the week to be very attentive, funny, and personable. Both waiters spoke English and Spanish and made sure to swap languages as necessary for our mixed language table. They definitely were a big factor in making our dining experience throughout the week very enjoyable, especially Alina who was quick witted and always cheerful. 7/5 - We had breakfast in our cabin with room service and enjoyed our balcony for the first of several breakfast meals. Personally, we prefer breakfast in our cabin - you can order as much as you want and all it costs is a tip to the wait staff that delivers your meal. If you have a balcony to eat on (although even if you don't) room service breakfast is a relaxing way to start your day. We then hit the pool deck for several hours until we felt a bit too cooked. The ship cruised between Corsica and Sardinia on our way to Naples which we watched from our balcony after running from the sun for a bit - we saw our first of many super yachts cruising by. We also saw several dolphins and sailboats again all from our balcony! The first formal dinner was nice and I was impressed that almost everyone in the dining hall was dressed up. There were several photo stations set up around prior to, between, and after the two dinner seatings although some of the photo lines were a bit long. We went to the late dance show after dinner, which started at 11 PM. It turned our to be many dance numbers based on movies and Broadway shows. They warned everyone that it was a bit risquE but was no more than PG-13. 7/6 - Naples - This was our first port of call and instead of taking a cruise tour, I had booked a private tour with AP tours, which came highly recommended on the cruise critic boards. My wife and I have wanted to vacation on the Amalfi coast so this tour was an opportunity to scope out the area for places to stay on our return to Italy. At 8:00 am, we met our tour guide, Vittorio who was was waiting right outside the cruise terminal. He turned out to be a nice young man, dressed in a suit (it was hot - we encouraged him to take off his coat and tie eventually) who escorted us right to a nice Mercedes sedan. Vittoria first took us directly to Pompeii and dropped us off right as it was opening (8:30 am). By getting there this early we were able to get many people free pictures before the crowds started showing up. At 10:30, we met Vittorio at the entrance gate and we began our drive down the Amalfi coast. He made several stops for pictures and then took us to Positano. We had 1 hr to walk around this town which turned out to be very nice. The shops were great with decent prices but the heat wave had hit and we were sweating too much to try anything on! The beach area around Positano looked great with many nice little hotels and restaurants. We left Positano and Vittorio drove us back around the coast to Sorrento. Vittorio lives in Sorrento so he was able to really give a good overview and knew where to stop for views, etc. He left us at a nice pizza/pasta restaurant and we had 2+45 hrs to eat and walk around the town. Much larger than Positano, Sorrento is still very picturesque. Vittorio got us back to the ship by 5 PM, which was in plenty of time. All in all a very enjoyable day of touring, despite the heat. Here are some costs: Pompeii entrance fee was 11€ each and audio guides were 10€ for 2. Lunch with 2 huge salads, large pizza, bottled water, 1 glass of wine (Greco de Tufo), and table service charge was 43€. Our splurge private tour was 340€ + tip. We figured we spent about 75€ to 100€ more than if we had done the cruise tour but we wouldn't have been able to get down to Positano and lets face it - a Mercedes sedan with a private driver is much better than the big tour buses. Yes, it was an expensive day but we felt well worth it. That night was 70's night on the ship. Before dinner we attended the show, which was a tribute act to Elton John (very believable as Elton- the entertainer's name is Jonathan Kane). After dinner, the cruise staff did a great 70's disco tribute on the catwalk over the middle of the Royal Promenade. We finished off this great day dancing in The Vault with our new friends from our dining table. 7/7 - Civitevecchio (port for Rome) - We slept in as our trip to Orvieto had been cancelled due to lack of purchasers. We have been to Rome so were curious about the medieval city of Orvieto but that didn't work out. A note here: we had two booked excursions cancelled on this cruise due to lack of participation. If you really have your heart set on visiting a place that isn't the "main" attraction of that day's port, you might want to just arrange some other type of tour or transportation to visit your choice. This day most people opted for some sort of Rome tour so the all day trip to Orvieto I had pre-booked didn't get enough interest and was cancelled by the tour operator. We were promptly reimbursed however, and opted instead for the Lake Bracciano viewing and wine tasting trip. This was a half day trip from 2-6 PM and it turned out to be a very fun excursion. We had a small group with a British born tour guide who had lived in Italy for over 20 yrs. She was humorous as well as informative. We first stopped for views of the Odescalchi castle near the lake - Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise were recently married here. As we left this sight, it started to rain very hard. This was unfortunate as we didn't get very good views of the lake which seemed nice. I braved the rain to get a few pictures. We stayed here for 30 minutes hoping the rain would stop but it didn't let up until we were heading to our next location. This turned out to be the Casale Cento Corvi winery where the staff were expecting us. They had set up a fine meat and cheese spread for us and we could taste/drink all of their wines. They had tables set up in their back greenery area and we spent an hour and a half there. The wines were all very good - my wife and I bought a bottle of their red wine Port and a bottle of their rare Giacche grape red wine. Another note: we had booked reservations at The Portofino restaurant for that evening as they had a wine tasting dinner event. We booked this on the first day of the cruise not realizing that our excursion plans would be changed. That would have been too much wine after our afternoon tour so I had cancelled the reservation prior to our tour. They were going to charge us a 50% cancellation fee because we were cancelling within 24 hours but I spoke with the Portofino manager, explained our cancelled tour situation, and she waived the cancellation fee. That evening, prior to dinner, we went to the Ice Odyssey show on the ship (at the ice rink called Studio B), which was very well done. The big event however that night was Spain vs. Germany in the semi finals of The World Cup. The cruise staff rearranged the performance schedule and at 8:30 PM, the La Scala theatre was packed with Spaniards (and some Germans, along with all sorts of other soccer fans) who skipped dinner to watch the match on the movie screen. My wife and I went to the beginning of the match, left for our 9:00 PM dinner (we were the only ones at our table as all of our other tablemates wanted to watch the event in La Scala). We finished dinner in time to see the last minute of the match and got to see the theatre erupt as Spain moved on to the finals. 7/8 - Livorno (port for Florence and Tuscany) - our half day to Lucca had been cancelled so we did the full day excursion to Lucca and Pisa. Lucca was a nice village with a medieval wall around the old town. We walked around the town, climbed a tower to gain some awesome views of Lucca and Tuscany and then waslked along some of the city wall. We would have liked more time in Lucca but that is the nature of cruise excursions. On to Pisa - our guide walked us into the walled memorial area where the tower, cathedral, baptistry, and two other buildings are located. We had a relaxing lunch near the tower and then toured the cathedral and baptistry (entrance cost for two buildings was 7€). It was very hot in the plaza and the crowds were close to oppressive but you can't complain about impressive architecture. That evening, we went to the Motown show, which was actually quite good. 7/9 - Villefranche - we did the whole day tour (prebooked online) of Nice, Eze, and Monte Carlo. Overall a very good tour but again the heatwave overwhelmed everyone. Nice looked like a good city to return to and Eze is a small walled village high over the Med. We ate a nice French meal in Eze that was included with our excursion and then headed over to Monaco and Monte Carlo. The money just oozed from Monte Carlo. Cars, boats, buildings - all very impressive and I took some great pictures of super sports cars and super yachts. We did not go into the Grand Casino (8€ just to enter) but walked around exploring and taking pictures. Note: This was the only tendered port of the cruise so if you didn't take an excursion, you had to plan to make the tenders by a certain time. This was the second formal night and again, everyone dressed up and looked very nice. 7/10 - Toulon (port for the Provence region of France) - This was the last port and we had decided not to take a tour. We took a 10€ roundtrip shuttle into Toulon where we went to the large open market (this was on a Saturday), ate lunch along the water, and then took a boat tour (10€ each) for an hour around the Toulon harbor. The French light nuclear carrier Charles DeGaulle was at the large naval base and we went right past the carrier as well as our ship for some great pictures. We were back on Voyager by 3:30 PM and packed up so as to set our bags out before we left for dinner. We went to the farewell show which was actually quite funny and good - cruise director Anthony Richards did a great job the whole cruise and we agreed that the onboard entertainment was overall very well done. After dinner, we stayed up late talking on deck with our new Irish friends. 7/11 - Barcelona (ported around 6:00 am) - We had a quick breakfast in the Windjammer and then went to the Starlight Theatre to wait for our disembark call at 8:35 am. Overall, the disembark process went very smooth and we were back at Hotel Claris by 10:15 am. We couldn't check in so we had them hold our bags and headed down to Playa de Catalunya for the hop on/hopoff tour bus. We took the bus on the western tour route which took us up to Montjuic and then into the financial district. In the afternoon we met our Irish friends at the Barcelona port and ate on the water at Tapas Tapas restaurant. Then we all headed back up La Ramblas to our hotel. As we walked along La Ramblas, crowds were gathering to watch the World Cup finals between Spain and The Netherlands. We ended up watching the whole soccer match up at the roof top bar of our hotel. Spain won (which I'm sure most people know) and the city went crazy with people in the streets, cars honking, fireworks and firecrackers. Good thing we were not on the streets after the match ended because it was crazy for awhile! 7/12 - Barcelona - This was our last full day in Spain. We relaxed in the morning, bought an extra piece of luggage "just in case" to avoid the overweight baggage fees, and then took a cab up to Parc Guell, which is a famous city park designed by Gaudi that overlooks the city. In the afternoon for a half day tour of Montseratt. We had purchase this tour the previous day at the TI at Playa de Catalunya for 40€ each and this turned out to be a great end to our vacation. The tour of the monastery and plaza on Montseratt and the views towards the Med and Barcelona from way up on this mountain were incredible. We finished our day with a nice Spanish meal at a restaurant across from Gaudi's Casa Battlo. Overall, this was a fantastic trip and just about everything went smoothly. Here is a recap of tips for future cruisers of this trip: 1) I purchased the Gold wine package for the cruise, which was 5 bottles for $130. Seemed like a decent deal although I found out later that they quickly ran out of some of the wines listed in our package. For instance, I wanted the one Malbec that was listed but it was not available by the 3nd night of the cruise. I complained to the waiter and then the head waiter, who went to the head sommelier, and finally was allowed to get a bottle off of the diamond or platinum lists. If you do one of these wine packages, ask what your options are if they cannot get you a bottle on your specific list. The head waiter explained that it was hard to determine how many bottles to stock, which I understand, but it shouldn't have been such a hassle to get a similar substitute. (I ended up getting a very good Tempranillo off of the platinum list - so guess I shouldn't complain too much). 2) As noted above, if you have your heart set on an excursion that is not the "focus" city or area of the specific port (such as Rome or Florence), you might want to book a private tour. We had two tours cancelled due to lack of participation. For the popular excursions, prebook online as we did note that some of them sold out (some of the Rome excursions for example). 3) If you can afford it...get a balcony cabin...and then order room service and enjoy that balcony! 4) We traveled without kids but from a port intensive perspective, the late seating (9:00 PM) was much better for this cruise. Most of the excursions got back on board between 5:30 and 6:00 PM, which cut it very close for the early dinner seating of 6:30 PM. We didn't try the My Time Dining option - this could be another way to go if you bring the kids. 5) Above all, don't try to do too much. We liked our long day tours but one of our favorite excursions was the half day Lake Bracciano / wine tasting trip. Take some down time and enjoy this beautiful ship and all of the great amenities on board. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
My daughter (age 16) and I (54), a single mom, went on this cruise together. I wanted to introduce her to Europe and thought that this would be a great way to do so. This was my daughter's 7th cruise and my 13th. This was our second ... Read More
My daughter (age 16) and I (54), a single mom, went on this cruise together. I wanted to introduce her to Europe and thought that this would be a great way to do so. This was my daughter's 7th cruise and my 13th. This was our second RC cruise. The ship sailed on Sunday, July 11th, so we arived in Barcelona late Friday afternoon. I never like to chance "missing the boat". We stayed in a fantastic hotel, The Hotel Constanza, in Barcelona. Friendly and a great location. We took a segway tour with http://www.barcelonasegwayglides.com . What a fun and awesome experience. I highly recommend it! We arrived at the port in Barcelona around 11:30 and were on the ship in less than 1/2 hour. The process was very smooth. First, let me tell you that of all my cruises, this was the most beautiful ship that I have sailed on. It is very "glitzy" and I love that. Every lounge, showroom, restaurant, elveator and walkway sparkles with decor. The main prominade was beautiful. I truely loved walking around this ship. OK, the ports. This was a port intensive cruise. Only one at sea day and lots of traveling in the ports. The first port was Naples. We did the Capri/Sorrento/Pompeii tour with RC. Doing tours with RC are more expensive tha with a private tour, but they are very organized, well planned and first class. The motorcoaches used were new and very comfortable. I think that they are worth the price and I know that the ship will not sail without us if the motorcoach should break down or if something unforseen should happen. Pompeii is very interesting. It was very hot walking around, but we both enjoyed it. The short stop to the Cameo factory was interesting and the drive to Sorrento had beautiful scenery. Lunch was good. Capri had a lovely view from the top. Lots of shopping, if you like that. A long, but nice day. Rome: We did the Eternal City tour with RC. Another hot day, but wonderful. We picked up a local tour guide on the way and she was amazing. We visited the Vatical museum, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica and the Colosseum. What can I say. There was so much beauty to be seen that day. Wow. In Florence/Pisa, we did the RC "on your own" tour. They provided the transportation and information and we ventured out on our own. It was perfect for us. On day four, we ventured to Monaco on our own by train. A beautiful place to visit. We watched the changing of the guards at the palace and strolled around town, shopped and had lunch. We took the train back to the port and took a dip in the Meditteranean. There is a beach within 5 minutes walking distance to the ship's tender. By the fifth touring day, we were pretty tired and, as recommended by the head waiter in the dining room, we walked (about 20 minutes) to a small town called Seyne sur le Mer. A cute town to kill some time and we returned to the ship. The food: The Windjammmer cafe was good to very good. I can't say it was delicious, but for a buffet, I enjoyed the food. A huge selection of breakfast food- anything you could want. Good selection for lunch. The dining room had wonderful service and the food was very good to excellent. I didn't have a bad meal. We made a reservation for Portofino's for the last night on the ship. Amazing! The food was absolutely fantastic! Well worth the $20/pp charge. Don't miss it. The staff all over the ship were very friendly from the room attendants to the purser's desk. All very helpful. Because of the long days in port, we were very tired and couldn't really take full advantage of the ship's activities and entertainment. We went to 3/7 shows and enjoyed them. Not fantastic, but entertaining. It suited us just fine. All in all, we had a wonderful cruise and we love Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Very amazing cruise once again with Royal Caribbean, we cruised on the maiden voyage of Voyager of the Seas and returned once again to the ship once again to cruise the Med! The crew on the ship are very happy at the moment and moral ... Read More
Very amazing cruise once again with Royal Caribbean, we cruised on the maiden voyage of Voyager of the Seas and returned once again to the ship once again to cruise the Med! The crew on the ship are very happy at the moment and moral seems high, the ship is still in good condition. Dining was good and once again we had a great dining team with Royal Caribbean who attended to us well. Entertainment was good but rather disappointing compared to other ships, from the view of Production Shows, only had one as it was a new cast and the first time the cast performed it, also, didn't have the farewell song which we love! Another high point was the fact that we bided a rather large amount for a sail away bridge tour with Captain Frank was provided a great insight into the running of the ship! Overall, another good cruise from Royal Caribbean and looking forward to our Panama cruise which is already booked! Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
This cruise was one of the best experiences of my life. I'm going to be honest about the minor bumps it had, but in no way think I had a bad time or wouldn't do the same trip over. I booked my 7 night Mediterranean cruise on ... Read More
This cruise was one of the best experiences of my life. I'm going to be honest about the minor bumps it had, but in no way think I had a bad time or wouldn't do the same trip over. I booked my 7 night Mediterranean cruise on Voyager of the Seas through a TA. I used an agent because I wanted everything handled and I used this because my parents used them for a cruise they took a few months before mine. Using an agent was a waste of time. No matter what I asked her, she never had an answer besides "I'll call Royal Caribbean" or "look online". Now if I wanted to do leg work for this trip I wouldn't have used an agent, and I could have called RC myself. I expected a travel agent to be able to provide me with expert advice on a hotel for before my stay, but she referred me to the internet. The one tip she gave me was that the RC sponsored hotel I chose was supposed closer to everything than the other RC hotel I was looking at, which turned out to be wrong. She also didn't know that I could buy a post cruise transfer after I did my own airfare and when I called to ask her she had to call the cruiseline. This agency specializes in cruises, how could she not know? Better yet, why couldn't anyone in her office tell her? In the end, when my final documents didn't appear, I called the agency to find out she no longer worked there (no surprise though a call from them to inform me would have been nice) and that RC no longer mailed documents as they were all online. The last time I spoke to my agent she told me to look for them in the mail so there was another thing she didn't know. All I can say is that with RC's easy to use website and the uselessness of the agent I had I would book my next cruise myself instead of via "remote" control the way I did this time. The hotel: The hotel I spent 2 nights at pre-cruise was the Hotel Gran Havana in Barcelona. As I did my own air (saving $300 over RC's air) I had to get myself to the hotel. My friend the Spanish teacher assured me taxis were fine so that's what I took. I have some rusty Spanish under my belt (I was nearly fluent once) so it didn't bother me that the cabbies only speak Spanish, but the people behind me weren't so lucky. Be warned if you decide to use a taxi and don't speak Spanish. As the Havana is a hotel RC suggests for this cruise, I'll mention its highs and lows. The Hotel Gran Havana was clean and nicely decorated. The lobby did look a little worn, but my room was in good shape. In a shocking turn of events, my flight arrived so after my unairconditioned taxi ride, I arrived at my hotel at 8:30 a.m. (the time I was supposed to land) feeling rather grungy. I didn't expect a room, but I thought they'd give me some place to clean up and change. No. They stowed my bags and told me to come back at 3:00! Jetlagged and dazed I stumbled out into Barcelona and roamed around for 3 hours until my sanity began to return and I realized I smelled, I hadn't seen a bathroom in about 5 hours and my feet were now bright red and twice their normal size. I went back to the hotel to relax in the lobby and whether a room freed up early or they gave me someone else's to get me out of the lobby, they gave me a room by 11:30 a.m. Breakfast is included for RC guests, but get there early or it gets picked over. I'll also note that this hotel isn't that close to sights or food. Had I gone with one on Passeig de Gracia there would have been fancy and casual places to eat everywhere. The Havana was nearish to a few fancy places that I wasn't comfortable walking to in the dark as I was a woman traveling alone. The bad travel agent strikes again. This was a nice place to stay, but at least two blocks to the right would have been a better location. If I had it to do over, I wouldn't stay there again simply because everything was too far. There was an RC agent at the hotel for a few hours a day, but they mostly were there to push excursions. I was interested in taking one, but none of them met at the hotel or anywhere near it. To do one I would have had to figure out how to get myself to the meeting place and then how to get back to the hotel. No thanks. Transfer: The transfer from the hotel to the ship was perfection. Bags by the door by 9:40 and meet in the lobby at 10:40. My bag was at my door by 9:20 and it was picked up immediately. Ten of us met in the lobby at 10:30 and were put on a huge, mostly empty, well air conditioned bus with 4 other people. We were on our way to the ship by 10:35. At the terminal things started out organized as you checked in via deck level line, but once you did that, no one knew where to go. There was a herd of people to my right so I went over and wasn't sure if they were the waiting to board herd or a herd trying to get a beverage from a slushy guy. As I couldn't get near his table and I wasn't sure if they were free or not, I hung back and waited until the herd began moving forward to board and slowly became a line. Lots of stops and starts along the way, but it didn't take as long as I thought because by 12:05 I was on the ship, had eaten lunch and was sitting up on deck. First day and a half Barcelona harbor and the ocean: They told us rooms were ready at 1:00, but as a previous cruise had shown me what management announces and what housekeeping does are 2 different things, I waited until 1:30 to go to my room and still found the entire hallway of rooms being cleaned. Once I could I put my bag in my room I did and went up on deck not to return until 5:00 when I wanted to use the bathroom before the 5:15 muster drill. Thus began my dance with housekeeping. As I walked back to my room, I saw suitcases outside doors, but mine hadn't arrived yet. Within 5 minutes of entering my room, someone was knocking. It was my attendant with my bag. She shoved past me into my room and proceeded to inform me of her name and hours. She also told me to use the "please clean" or "do not disturb" cards regularly. To my way of thinking, if I was in my room for 5 minutes I didn't need the card nor would I need it if I was in there when she wasn't working. Turns out, to her way of thinking, she could barge in whenever she wanted if I didn't put the "do not" card in the door. Didn't matter if I literally ducked in to drop off a purchase or was reading on my balcony during her "off" hours, she was bugging me. I booked a balcony to avoid what happened on my last cruise where every time I sat on deck I was bombarded by "Bahama Mama" waiters. This time I was basically chased out of my pricey room and it's not like I was in there that much, after our one and only day at sea I was on excursions every day. I'm still not sure why my bag was brought into my room while I was in there when everyone else around me had their bag left outside their door. And I know she wasn't in there cleaning because that first day the carpet was stained and covered in what looked like bits of dry flowers. Based on past experience and the looping video telling a muster drill began with the sounding of the alarm, even though I knew it began at 5:15, I wasn't going to go to my station until I heard the horn blast. So imagine my surprise when the same attendant was literally BANGING on my door 10 minutes after the bag arrived demanding to know why I hadn't left for the drill. First of all the captain hadn't sounded the alarm yet and second of all it was 5:10 and the drill was at 5:15. After the drill I decided to investigate the water plan. I was paying 2 Euro (about $3) for half liter bottles of water at the hotel vending machine in Spain, so $28 for 8 one liter bottles sounded like a good deal, but here is where RC is sneaky. They don't tell you they slap the EU's VAT tax on top of that price so the charge on my bill was for $35. Not such a good deal. On land in the EU, the tax is already in the price not added on later and in the states they don't tax food (or at least not in my state) so that was a nasty surprise. I really felt misled. I then returned to my room to clean up for dinner and no sooner did the door close and the attendant was up my butt again to give me my newsletter. That couldn't wait until I left for dinner? She wasn't even supposed to start working for another 2 hours. After that I started putting the card in my door even to sleep because I feared she'd barge in at 7:00 a.m. while I was sleeping if I didn't. Dinner was another trial. I spent 2 nights sitting alone at a table for 6 and all the 3 waiters serving me would say was "I'm sure they'll be here tomorrow". I made jokes about it to all 3 of them and thought they'd catch on and move me to the table next to me that had 2 empty seats, but there's a policy that you have sit alone and be both embarrassed and put at risk (since it announced I was a woman traveling alone to like 1500 people) before they'll move you. In fact, they didn't suggest a move until I got up on night 2 to report them to guest services. If I were with my boyfriend I could see making us wait 2 nights as we would have at least had each other, but as I was totally alone they should have had more sensitivity. Night 3 I was moved and the people I was with were great. I found the entrees in the main dining room varied and very good. The desserts were horrid every night and the other people at my table agreed. The sitting alone thing aside, the wait staff did prove very personable. As there were 3 teens at my new table, I got to see how the waiters interacted with kids and they really did a fabulous job, even the parents commented. Don't be afraid to ask for a kids menu, it's the same every night, but it has staples that the teens at my table were very happy to pick from instead of the adult food on the main menu. I did one breakfast and one lunch at Windjammers. Lunch was ok, but breakfast seemed really dried out. The milk was awful. Then I found the Cafe Promenade and was hooked. On excursion days when I had to eat before 7 a.m., it was my only option, but as I prefer pastry and tea for breakfast I was fine. Cinnamon Danish were great. Also went there for lunch when I was on board for that meal. While other reviews bash the pizza, it wasn't the worst I've had and tons of people were eating it happily. On the last day of the trip when the butter and tea bags all different looking, the pizza looked and tasted just like Pizza Hut. They also had fresh made three bite sandwiches for lunch that varied in ingredients daily. I would eat a sandwich at noon and then get a slice of pizza around 4:00 since dinner was at 7:00 and I was starving well before then. I came back from lunch on the first day to find items that weren't mine in my room. As the cleaning staff at work is forever leaving personal items on our desks, I assumed the gum and headband I found were the attendant's and left them on top the TV for her when I went to dinner. She put them back with my stuff. So the next day before I left for my excursion I left her a note saying they weren't mine. It wasn't until I left the ship that I thought to worry someone had been in my room. After a 9 hour excursion with over 2 miles of walking, I hurried off to dinner and then hurried back to my room as I was exhausted and had to be up early the next day for an excursion. So I was really annoyed when the attendant cornered me at my door for 10 minutes to explain she hadn't cleaned my room well enough before I got in it the first day and the proof was the mystery items she found behind my TV and thought were mine. If I reported her she'd get in trouble. That explained the dingy carpet, which was suddenly cleaner after she knew she was busted. She then proceeded to scold me for being in my room too much after I spent 11 hours out of it that day and had booked a balcony to have privacy. All in all, she managed to annoy me in every possible way during this trip. It never occurred to me to go to guest relations about the mystery items, but I really should have as this dingbat later charged my room a $9.75 minibar charge because in her inattention to detail before my arrival she didn't check to see what the previous guests used. Guest relations tried to shrug it off by saying maybe she saw my water plan bottle in the trash and thought I took one from the bar, but the ones in the bar are smaller so that wasn't it. They also tried the "we'll look into it" method to get out of removing the charge until I went off about credit card fraud, then said they'd fix it. However I couldn't view my bill on the TV for 2 days to make sure. Had I reported her for not cleaning enough, I could have cited it when I said I suspected what happened with the charge. With everything that works off the seapass card, why doesn't opening the mini bar require a swipe of it? It would prove if a guest ever opened it or not. The room was comfortable and had enough room, but things did look worn. Carpet needed to be replaced and the bedding had tears. However the mattress was thick and I slept great. No hall noise like on my last cruise either. I spent little time on the ship once we hit the ports, but this cruise is about the ports. I had a blast the entire time. All the excursions I did were booked online via RC's site and they weren't the horrors I was warned of. Most had 30 people or less and all the buses were tour buses like we have in the US with great a/c on them. The ports: Barcelona: This wasn't really a port of call on this cruise, it was the embarkation point, that you didn't get to see unless you went over early or your flight landed early before boarding. As I did Barcelona through RC I'll give it a mention. Two days was about enough time to see everything. Things are mostly walkable if you want to see a couple Gaudi buildings and shop. Other stuff will require a taxi (expensive) or the metro (confusing). I stuck to what I could walk to and between my roaming and the bus ride to the ship felt I saw a lot, Barcelona is very pretty and set up to be a walking friendly city. The end of July is their "sale" month and the Catalan word for it is Rebaixes, see that on a window and look out, it's like a feeding frenzy inside the store. However, while they say the stores open at 9:30 or 10:00 all over Europe, in all 3 countries I visited, that translated as about 10:10 and nothing anywhere is open on a Sunday. As in all the cities I visited, street signs are few, tiny and up so high you won't notice them unless you're using stilts so use a map and count the number of blocks you need to walk. There are also panhandlers, I felt really bad for them, BUT the scam is to see where you take money out of so their partner can take your wallet. This is not the time to give the benefit of the doubt to anyone you don't know. Keep walking if asked for money, directions or you're told there's something on your clothing, and if they persist, make a scene it scares them off. I didn't have any trouble, but I carried a zippered, locked purse cross-body and forgot the term good Samaritan existed. Naples: Today was the first port day and the second full day of the trip. I did the Amalfi Drive and Pompeii tour, and of my 5 excursions this was my favorite, a 9 out of 10. You definitely need a sun hat to see anything as the sun is blinding and sunglasses aren't enough. They give you a free bottle of water in Pompeii, but I drank it plus a bottle from the trip so bring extra if visiting in the summer. Make sure you bring Euros as there are 4 shopping stops before Pompeii that give you a discount for cash. Also don't sit on the driver side of the bus or you'll have a stunning view of rock the whole time. Amalfi is gorgeous and unlike those who took the boat tour, we had several stops to buy inlaid wood products, ceramics and varied objects before lunch at a hotel. The first 2 stops had clean, free (they charge for the bathroom in Europe) places to use the bathroom. Lunch was good if a little heavy for the middle of a hot day. More coast views until we reached Pompeii. We stopped at a cameo factory first. There wasn't enough time to really look and thought I bought, I felt their prices were a little high for their talk of a "discount". I also learned here that sellers in Italy are high pressure. You can't look. The first thing you pick up is what they want to rush you to the register with. I might have bought a $500 item if I could have made my way to the back of the shop to find it instead of being pressured to buy the $200 one I looked at when I walked in. I left several stores in Italy because it was the only way to get away from the salespeople. Pompeii wasn't what I expected. Worth a see, but mostly ruins and little art. I was confused as everyone says it's nearly perfect and I've seen art on TV that I didn't see there. Our guide, who I enjoyed, claimed we saw it all but the arena, however when I got home and looked online I saw we looped the forum about 3 times and didn't see any of the intact houses or temples. That is why this day is a 9 instead of a 10. Citavecchia: Most people do Rome on this day, but I did Tarquinia as the Rome tours were all about the Vatican and that didn't interest me. They talk up the Etruscan angle of Tarquinia, but the tour doesn't show you anything about them. Instead you walk through a medieval village that is still lived in and what isn't lived in is infested by pigeons and their poop. The first part of the tour is a waste and you again need a sun hat. Then you get an hour of free time before a hurried gelato tasting. I paid 6 Euro to view the Etruscan museum. It's hot, the stairs were made for horses so going up them is like going up hill and going down you feel like you are going to fall on your face, and all the signs (what few there are) are in Italian so navigation is hard. I did find the winged horses, which are stunning, but I was expecting a floor to ceiling statue and they were about the size of a large TV as they came off a temple's exterior. Really this tour should be about the museum and not about walking around the town. The gelato was wonderful, like nothing we have at home. You pick 3 flavors, which you don't have much time to look at first. My favorite was the tiramisu. Then they make 2 flavors fresh in front of you. Ours were cherry and a dairy-free cantaloupe. I hate cherries, but loved the gelato with it in. I was still wishing I had done Rome (I changed my mind about what tour I wanted too late) until I got to dinner and heard nothing but complaints of crowding, being rushed and the dangerous traffic. Also I spent the next day with people I met on the Tarquinia trip so it worked out. This would have been my least favorite day if not for the waste of time in Nice and Eze, so that ranks this day as 4th. Livorno: Today I did the Pisa and Florence on your own excursion. Basically you pay $99 to be bused to Pisa and then to Florence. On the bus a guide tells you what to see in the towns, but you do what you want once you arrive. It was my third favorite day. We did Pisa first and while I'm glad I saw it, it wasn't the stunner I expected. Don't plan a day around it as the area is small and infested with street vendors. The first ones meet your bus in the parking lot (which is a half mile from Pisa) and follow after you until you leave the lot. The rest have booths along the Field of Miracles. It began to thunder while we were there and no sooner were we back on the bus and it poured. Sideways rain, wind and an electrical storm plagued us for almost the whole hour drive to Florence. What I didn't like was the hard sell to buy a listening tour of Florence or some other tour product for once we reached our destination. They passed out a brochure, which didn't list prices and made us watch a video of the products. No one bought and the guide commented that maybe she wasn't a good seller and maybe she would lose her job. I really liked her until then, but as we paid more than those getting a guided tour for this excursion, why pay more to make it sort of guided anyway? The listening tour should have been part of the price whether we decided to use it or not, not extra. Florence is full of narrow streets (that flood terribly) that don't go in a straight line so it's hard to navigate. It was designed to be so to fool invaders, but none of the maps they gave us on the ship or the bus reflected the twists. Written directions, like "turn left when you see a statue of a man on a horse", would have been nice instead of pictures that didn't match what you saw on land. We had about 10 minutes before the rain started and 10 minutes after that the lightning started. Of our 3 hours and 45 mins in Florence, we spent 30 hiding under an overhang and 45 eating lunch to escape the storm. I had the best tiramisu of my life there. I did get some gold shopping down on the Ponte Vecchio and in town. I found all the leather overpriced and most felt like cardboard. Call me crazy, but if the leather is made in Italy, why isn't "made in Italy" written in Italian? I only found one of the RC recommended leather shops and it was closed, but their gold store was WAY overpriced and didn't have anything I couldn't find at home. It also had 14kt gold mixed in with the traditional 18kt Italian gold to trip up anyone who doesn't know 18kt is stamped 750 in Europe. Villefranche: Welcome to France! The view out my balcony of the harbor town was breathtaking. My excursion to Nice and Eze wasn't until the afternoon so I roamed the ship and then took the tender ship over. I walked around the harbor a little and then met my tour. The guide was awful. Not only did she mumble, but she rarely shut up. A few minutes of quiet would have been nice particularly since she said nothing of importance. I could never find the stuff we were supposed to see out the bus window because she talked about it a mile before we got to it and never pointed it out once we reached it. Our driving tour of Nice was basically, "there's a building, there another building, Princess Grace honeymooned here, isn't France great". I'm serious. She made a big deal about using our ear sets once we got off the bus for the walking tour portion. We got off the bus and walked down several streets and around several corners all waiting to hear what she had to say through our ear sets. For as much as she rambled on the bus, she barely said a word in the ear sets. Rather, she barely said a word to us. When she spoke, she carried on a personal conversation in French with the bus driver and the rest of the time all we heard was her breathing. We reached an arch and she told us to our left was a flower market and to our right was shopping. Our meeting spot would be...where we left the bus and not this central location we could easily find. The flower market was a couple picnic tables with common plants on it. Nothing I couldn't buy at home, not that I could take them back on the ship. The shops were full of tourist T-shirts and magnets. Back on the bus, they tried to sell us overpriced water and soda. I saw Samantha Brown's episode on Eze and really wanted to see it for myself. Maybe there's another Eze, because I didn't see what they showed on TV. More horse stairs made slippery by the rain. A woman at my dinner table got her arm scraped up in a fall on these stairs and it's not like she had any walking difficulties either so be careful. Thing about Europe is they don't have a disability act or many safety codes so for those of us used to everything being easy access or marked as "watch your step" because an injury will result in a lawsuit, it's tricky. I can't tell you how many step-ups I missed or a huge step-down I almost broke my ankle on. None are marked. Knowing a lot of Americans are on this cruise, RC should at least give you a heads-up in their daily newsletter that every store's entrance is like running the gauntlet. Or at least have the guides mention it since every excursion I took was through RC. It was cool outside as it was rainy and we were in the mountains, but the shops (all Eze is, is a series of stores) were abominably hot and so small 3 people could barely fit in them. Our guide insisted on the ear sets again and yet again didn't use them. Our tour consisted of walking up some stairs to a church, going in the church and then being told to walk around as we couldn't get lost there's only one way down. Those who went to the top had to pay 5 Euro if they wanted to see the garden, which should have been included in our tour price. The highlight of the day was being trapped on the dock on the way back to the ship because Madonna, yes that Madonna, was filming in the harbor and our tender ships made too much noise. We did get to see a scene being filmed and I did get one too far away picture of Madonna. Do yourself a favor and take a tour that goes to Monaco or explore Villefranche town on your own instead of doing this tour. Least favorite of the trip and I wasn't the only one saying that. Marseilles: Interesting thing is that the waiters didn't find out we weren't going to Toulon until the night before. When I booked the trip and my excursion it said Marseilles so I wasn't surprised. This was a port I had no expectations for and it wound up being my second favorite day. I picked to visit Cassis and almost changed it to a Marseilles city tour. Thank god I didn't. Marseilles, as I saw from the bus, was another art nouveau European city, Cassis was a wonderful fishing village where they only spoke French. First we went to a national park overlooking the village. We were the first tour in weeks to get up there as it was closed for fear of fire. I smelled the pine, felt the wind and heard the cicadas they are so thrilled about that every shop has soap, toys and sculptures of them for sale. The bus took us back down and a tiny electric train took us from the parking area to the town as they limit vehicles. My only regret is that I didn't think to walk down to the ocean instead of just taking pictures of the beach. It is a topless beach, so parents be warned. We had two hours to explore and I used every minute. This was a great final day for the cruise. When we got back to the ship, several tiny stalls of goods had opened next to it. While some had tourist junk, one had actual paintings of ocean and landscapes for 10 Euros. So imagine my surprise, after all the shopping I told you about, that my dinner companions complained they never got to shop on this cruise. There was always a chance to buy non-tourist goods and tourist junk. I really can't say how they missed everything including the tiny shops right next to the ship. Now we come to the transfer to the airport to go home. As my flight was at 10:35 a.m. I was in the first group to leave. It was supposed to be off at 6:45, but it was 7:00 when we were called. Because my parents were delayed getting to the airport after their cruise when their luggage was sent to the wrong side of the terminal, they told me to carry my own bags with my short time before my flight to hedge my bets. I did and it was useless. I was put on a bus to wait until all the slowpokes who don't know what "on time" means got their bags out of the terminal and dragged themselves to the bus. I really wished I hadn't done the transfer and had used a taxi, I would have left 30 minutes sooner. When I got to the airport the lines were long and I didn't have time to search for the VAT office to get my tax free coupons stamped. Best tip I can give is, the taxis in Barcelona are perfectly safe, use them. Cost will be about $45, but RC's transfer was $30 and I'd pay an extra $15 to just get going. RC made it sound like the customs officer that stamped us out of Barcelona would stamp the VAT vouchers. No. There is a separate office that is only mentioned on the back of the form the store gives you. I was the only person who knew what to do, but I wasn't the only person the EU screwed over because I couldn't find the right office. No one could. The office isn't marked and everyone tells you it's somewhere else. Once I got through security and went to the info desk, the guy smugly told me it was before security. My choice was to eat the money or leave the airport and come back in. As they over sold my flight and interrogated me about my bag before I checked in, I wasn't risking it; plus RC cost me a lot of time with the wait to leave the parking lot. I thought the customs officer stamping me out would help, but I got another smug smile. They want to keep our tax money, don't believe the "it's easy" hype. If you don't have the stamped form mailed back within 21 days of the purchase date they put the tax and an unspecified fee on your credit card. Pay in cash as the stores don't have to report that they left the tax off on cash transactions like they do with credit cards and if a form isn't involved they can't tack it onto your credit card because they don't have it. I think a call to my credit card company has this little scam taken care of, but we'll see. Also don't waste your money on the ship's internet to check into your flight for a better zone. Not only did my gate agent check me in again making the zone 3 I paid $8 in net fees for a zone 9, but they board by row in Barcelona and it's a long process as they grill everyone for a second time about your bag's path to the airport. I had a great time, I told you what to look out for so it sounds a bit negative, but they are things that had I known would have made my total trip a 10 out of 10 instead of a 9 out of 10. I really did love this trip as the 618 pictures I took prove. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Embarkation was smooth and efficient. Tables with wine and soda packages and Portofino reservations were all available at the end of the embarkation hall which made a lot of sense. We had our Portofino reservations and wine package sorted ... Read More
Embarkation was smooth and efficient. Tables with wine and soda packages and Portofino reservations were all available at the end of the embarkation hall which made a lot of sense. We had our Portofino reservations and wine package sorted before we even boarded the ship. Interestingly the wine package didn't come in the usual format of Gold, Platinum and Diamond. Instead we were offered only one package and when we checked it against the previous list it seemed we were offered wines from the Diamond package at the Platinum price - which seemed like a good deal to us! Cabin: We had a E1 balcony mid hump on deck 8. First time we'd not travelled in a JS but found ample storage space for our needs and mid hump was a great location. A few things didn't work - interactive TV, announcement channel, but not a big deal for us. Guests: The ship had a real mix of nationalities and consequently a really cosmopolitan feel, which we really liked. I didn't hear the statistics but would say there were roughly the same number of Spanish, American and British/Irish onboard and then a whole range of other nationalities. Announcements were in English and Spanish and the CD switched deftly between the 2 languages. There were many many children of all ages onboard but we saw very few incidences of poor behaviour and most of those were from the same family of 3 very young girls who seemed to be allowed to run around wherever they pleased - not good in a crowded dining room! Entertainment onboard was very good - they managed to fit in 2 production shows, 3 guest shows and ice show and Battle of the Sexes, Love & Marriage and Quest all into a 1-week cruise, which was pretty impressive. The'Beatles' were particularly good, the 'Motown' show didn't quite do it for me, they tried to be all things to all people instead of just sticking with Motown. They even managed the usual pool games and a paella cook-off and a cocktail competition, which is also pretty good for a port-intensive cruise. Ports: We like to do our own thing in port - MUCH less expensive and more flexible than ship's excursions and having taken this cruise before (with one port difference) we knew what to expect and what we wanted to see. In Naples we travelled via local train and visited Herculaneum - highly recommended and you must do the audio tour. Having been to Rome for several days in the past we decided just to wander around Civitavecchia. It's a nice little town and we discovered a wonderful local market which takes place every day except Sunday. Our plan in Livorno was to visit Pisa, having visited on our last Voyager cruise when it rained all day, we wanted to experience it in the sun. This plan was thwarted when we saw the weather forecast and decided to stay onboard! We watched the most spectacular and prolonged thunderstorm from the Viking Crown lounge and congratulated ourselves on checking the weather forecast first!! Villefranche meant a trip by train into Monaco where we visited the Palace and took the Petit Train tour before returning back to Villefranche for a pleasant stroll along the promenade. When we first booked the cruise we were due to dock in Marseille but had a letter informing us we would be docking in Toulon (which we then discovered was actually La Seyne sur Mer). I found a very nice beach and instructions on how to get there and had a nice day planned, only to discover (once onboard) that we Voyager would be docking in Marseille for the first time this season. (It will now alternative between the two ports). With no plan of what to do in Marseille (and a $10pp shuttle charge just to get into town) we decided to stay onboard and soak up the last day's sun. Indeed the day felt more like a sea day as most people seemed to have decided to do the same - presumably after several tiring days sightseeing. I feel I have to make a point here about shuttle buses. In the ports of Livorno and Marseilles which are big industrial ports the only way to get out of port is via a shuttle bus. RCL charged $7 each way to get into the town of Livorno and $10 return for Marseilles. For a family of 4 that would have meant $56 dollars just to get into Livorno, before even taking a train anywhere. No doubt this is a way to ensure guests book the ship excursions but just seems a bit too greedy to me. Dining: We chose MTD as we like to be flexible and wanted to eat on a table for 2. This is our second time with MTD and it did not disappoint. In our opinion the quality and presentation of the MDR food was the best we'd had on a RCL cruise. The menu is the same fleetwide but we've now sailed on 4 different ships in the last few years and have really noticed a difference in the presentation and preparation between ships. We felt proud when they introduced the Chef and his assistants and heard they were British. The same can't be said of the Windjammer - the same old tired dishes, and, considering we were in the Med, very little evidence of Mediterranean food. I really can't understand how they can produce such tasty and imaginative salads on the (one) day they have a salad bar in the MDR and yet churn out the same boring 'salad' every day in the Windjammer. Thank goodness for the freshly made sandwiches from the Promenade cafe. We also ate in Portofino on the last night, which was excellent as ever and well worth the extra charge. This cruise was the least formal of any of the cruises we've been on. There were some tuxedos and long dresses on display on the formal nights but they were definitely in the minority, although the majority wore smarter clothes on formal nights. We saw lots of shorts in the dining room on the non-formal nights. This may be due to the number of families onboard, who came with a more relaxed attitude. Interestingly the Compass said hats and vests were not allowed in the MDR but made no mention of shorts not being allowed. Diamond Lounge: This was our first cruise as Diamond members and we really enjoyed taking advantage of the Diamond Lounge which was held in Cloud 9. There were only 3 Diamond plus members (who presumably went to the Concierge Lounge) and 8 Diamond members onboard - marked contrast to the cruises from the US where apparently the lounges are packed with people. Gym: On the few times we visited the gym was busy. I like to use the exercise classes but was disappointed in the choices on offer and the times they were offered. On our only port day there were 2 free classes at 7.30 and 8.00 am and the remainder of the day was taken up with paid classes and 'seminars' - i.e. another way to part you with money. I felt that a bit more effort could have been made here but that the people running the gym really only wanted to sell you products and services. Casino: The casino was quiet for the first few days but then seemed to get busier as the week went on. There was a really good atmosphere, partly helped by the fact that a lot of people seemed to be first time gamblers and took part for fun, rather than high rollers who can sometimes make the whole experience a bit off-putting. Disembarkation: What a contrast to when we arrived. The scene outside was chaos. No signs for the port bus or taxi with the consequence that people were waiting in one line for ages for a taxi before they discovered they were in the bus line. We waited around 20 mins for a port bus to arrive to discover that there were 2 lines who both believed they were the right line and the bus was mobbed with people and many who had stood in line for over 30 mins didn't get to board the bus. We've had exactly the same experience in Cape Liberty and in Rome at the end of a cruise. It really wouldn't take too much personnel or effort to put up a large sign and set up a queuing system. It's the last experience some people have of their cruise and leaves a bad impression which can be summed up as bye bye, you're on your own now! All in all a very enjoyable cruise with a great mix of people onboard and very happy and helpful crew and staff. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
We got on the ship in Barcelona after having had our flights and transfers arranged by RC. All went smoothly and we were so excited to see the ship as we got off the transfer coach. The check in to get onto the ship was quick and very ... Read More
We got on the ship in Barcelona after having had our flights and transfers arranged by RC. All went smoothly and we were so excited to see the ship as we got off the transfer coach. The check in to get onto the ship was quick and very efficient. Soon we went to our stateroom - there were plenty staff to guide you should you need it on the ship. Our stateroom, even though it was only the basic one was absolutely fantastic. The beds and proper sprung beds with nice pillows and there was a settee, hairdryer and everything you need really. There is shampoo and conditioner (all in one) provided. We took our hairdryer but did not need it as the ship one was powerful. The sockets are both europe and american connections. We were on the ship by 1pm. Our luggage arrived by 5pm and we were pleased to meet our room attendant who made it plain that anything we needed to just phone him. That proved to be true of all the RC staff - nothing was too much trouble. We were first time cruisers and were very concerned prior to the trip that everything would be ok and more so, would we like cruising? We absolutely loved it. The staff were second to none, food sumptuous and clientelle good. We dined in the Magic Flute. Fazal was our waiter and he was assisted by Christian they honestly did 110% to make sure all the guests were happy and in the corridors as you walked around the ship the staff passed the time of day with you and were on hand should you need them. I hope you find this write up as useful as I have had reading others. You will not regret picking Royal Caribbean, they really see to your every need. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Our cruise was from Sunday the 13 of June 2010. Our taxi cost €35 with tip from the Airport to the Port and took 20 minutes. We saw the Voyager from the plane, because we flew over the port before we landed. The check-in was speedy, ... Read More
Our cruise was from Sunday the 13 of June 2010. Our taxi cost €35 with tip from the Airport to the Port and took 20 minutes. We saw the Voyager from the plane, because we flew over the port before we landed. The check-in was speedy, the porters took our luggage immediately once we approached the gate, as we had already put the tags on our luggage at the airport. We checked in half an hour before the scheduled check-in time. After the check-in we received our SeaPass Cards (you can check your account in your cabin, on the TV screen). Right next to the check-in desks, there is an area where we ordered our water package (we were told, that we are not allowed to bring water to the ship), they were delivered to the cabin the next day. Within 5 metres we saw bottled water in the Duty Free shop and the shop-assistant said, we can take them to the cabin(!) A little confusing. The cabin was ready at 1 p.m., we were in by 1.15 p.m. Until then we had lunch in the Windjammer. The food was OK. We went there again about 5 o`clock, but now we were sitting in the Island Grill at the back of the ship by the window. We think the selection is slightly superior here. The chicken was really delicious. The staff take the dirty plates away quite quickly. Our cabin was an outside cabin, on Deck 2, which is big enough and well equipped. There are lots of hangers in the wardrobe and little storage places hiding where you don`t expect them. Our cabin attendant, Carlos, was very helpful. When we left the cabin for a meal, he tidied it up again. We had a Boat Drill at 5.15 p.m. I was pleased that we didin`t have to wear our life jackets to the Muster Station. The ship departure was due to be 7 p.m., but there was a fuel delay and didn`t leave port until 8 p.m. We ordered breakfast from the Room Service for 8-8.30, it was in the room at 8.10. Don`t try to order Room Service on the day of a trip, go to the Windjammer instead. The cabin number and the required breakfast time is not really visible, they are on the front of the order slip. We slept very well, no noise from the neighbourhood. We received the Departure Questionnaire on the 2nd day. There is a possibility to choose an Express Departure - 6.30-7.00 a.m. and Late Departure as well on the last day of the Cruise. On the evening of the 6th day, in Villefranche, the weather conditions became poor and the doors to the docks were all sealed. Next day the weather still was very windy, so the doors were closed for the night. The sea was even more rough. We had an evening meal in the Magic Flute dining room, our waiter was very helpful,he gave me a green apple, which is good against feeling seasick Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We are a very active couple in our late 50's and have 10 cruises under our belts with 2 previous on RCCL. In he last two years we have done 4 great cruises on NCL, Princess, Celebrity and this one on RCCL. We had planned 2 days ... Read More
We are a very active couple in our late 50's and have 10 cruises under our belts with 2 previous on RCCL. In he last two years we have done 4 great cruises on NCL, Princess, Celebrity and this one on RCCL. We had planned 2 days before and 3 days after in Barcelona but weather problems caused us to lose a day in arriving. We made it one day late but our traveling friends took every bit of 3 days and made the ship with 30 minutes to spare. We stayed at Hotel Universal Barcelona which is a short walk from the lower end of La Rambla near the port. Great hotel with 24 hour front desk and a pool on the top level. Very reasonable, large bed/room, marble bath and room service should you wish to use it. I would stay again and highly recommend it. Embarcation: We arrived at the peak arrival time and despite a long line we were on within 30 minutes. A++ to the embarkation team-they really had it together, although it was hot until we entered the building. Voyager: What can I say-the ship is amazing! This was the largest we have been on and definitely the most elaborate. Loved the promenade with the 34 hour cafe for drinks and snacks(they change to fit the hour from sandwiches to snacks or breakfast pastries. Coffee always available). All areas were clean but some seating and flooring showed a little ware. BEWARE, they clean with bleach and do not always wipe it dry, several people had clothes ruined by brushing up against elevators, handles, and glass. They really need to address this as it made for some very unhappy travelers. Lots of lounges, the ship does not feel crowded except during some hours on the promenade deck, the pool(the solarium adult pool is full but not overly crowded compared to the main pool) and naturally the dining areas. Stateroom: A little smaller than the other lines but easily acceptable. Our attendant was somewhat lacking as he seemed to be around a lot less than other attendants on the other lines. As long as he got his job done it would not be a problem, but our ice bucket constantly disappeared, we were missing soap and shorted towels several times. The room was not made up if we missed his morning round until late that night. He also failed in getting our cruise compass a couple of times and missed other paperwork that caused some minor inconveniences. We missed the cruise critic get together and we had 4 requests for our luggage tags when disembarking. We also signed up for late disembarkation and he failed to turn that paperwork in so we were being paged on disembarkation day as we failed to get off the ship with everyone else. Nothing major just a lot of little things. Dining: Another BEWARE- dining is 7 & 9PM. We chose the late seating as we usually do but we did not get finished until 11:15-11:30. There were large lapses between courses and our waiters seemed to vanish for long periods at times. Perhaps it was because if you ordered a cappuccino they would have to go the deck 5 cafe to get it as I observed while ordering a milk shake one day. They did try and please everyone and were very friendly. One of our tablemates finally had them "trained" so his drink would be filled as he got near the end of the previous one. I think it became a game between them. The quality of the meals were a little lacking compared the the other 3 cruise lines and no dessert really appealed to my wife(the dessert queen). As a result I do not think we really gained any weight. The meals did not reflect the ports we were arriving at or visiting. No meals were bad ,just not great. The windjammer again was ok but was basically cafeteria food. I did miss the outside dining in the Windjammer as it is completely enclosed. Activities: Great for families and kids but we are past that now. The parades and parties are for viewing only and are very crowded. I did not understand why they had a tribute to Inca/Mayan culture on a Mediterranean cruise. I know they do Mexico during winter months but just because you have the equipment does not mean you have to use it. Anyway lots of activities for the youngsters. Service: While everyone was friendly they seemed to lack organization and knowledge. I felt it was not the crews fault but a lack of management. Again, nothing major but a lot, I mean a lot of little things compared to the competition. Entertainment: Here is the sore spot. The shows were sub par so we decided to not attend. We love to dance and while there were 3 main venues, there were problems that I attribute to management. There is the Vault, which is disco style DJ music. Why do the DJ'S always go to rap when no-one dances. When they play something else people would dance, when they go back to the rap everyone sits. Do they not get the hint! Another was Nefertiti's. The problem here was the band played a mix of music and were rather good, but, they would not start until 8:30 or 9:30 or 10 depending on the night. So we were either at dinner if you had late seating or we would miss out. They played until midnight but often knocked off early, started late and one night took a 45 minute break the night we skipped our seating to go dance. On the second formal night there was NO dancing except at 11PM in the deck 14 lounge. Who planned that! There was no continuity as the time always changed and some nights the band would play, stop, clear out the lounge for a game show, then come back 60-90 minutes later. Several times the entertainment would be posted and when you went there no-one was there. Passengers would look in and walk away. NO liquor sales happens there. This was the first cruise I have ever been on where the dance/entertainment venues were so chopped up it would cause passengers to show up and leave. Most have set times at each lounge each night. You would have live entertainment in lounges for dinners guests whether they had early or late seating. The entertainment might change but the lounge would have someone there at the same time every night. On one occasion the cruise director popped in when the band was supposed to be there and was not and he just walked back out. They showed up 30 minutes later to an empty room(the 2 of us and 2 other people-at least 50 to 100 walked in and back out during that stretch). The 3rd venue was the only consistent one. The deck 14 Salsa /Latin band from 11/11;30 to 1 or 1:30. They were the only dance venue on the second formal night. There is a but coming. The schedule called for a Salsa party on the ice rink which never happened. No sign, no notice just an empty room. A told several Spanish speakers that showed up with a puzzled look, "NADA"! As a result the passengers that showed up for the MC Salsa party ventured up to the deck 14 lounge and turned the nice rather formal Latin dancing into a party with games and an MC with microphone, on formal night! There were 2 other small listening lounges on board but again they had a chopped up schedule that changed daily. Sorry for the long rant but they really dropped the ball here. Carnival did a better job. Ports: What can I say. This is why we chose this cruise. The Amalfi coast is gorgeous, Rome is Rome and Florence interesting. We had private tours at each with bestoursofitaly.com(massimo). I would highly recommend them. IF there are 3 people or more it is cheaper than the cruise tours and you have new mercedes vehicles and small groups. (we had 4) The driver knew his stuff, gave us great advise and we ate at an unbelievable local restaurants in Positano and Florence.(my wife actually took pictures from the bathroom in Positano). Basila!!! We had great entertainment there, fantastic view, 2 bottles of wine, 8 appetizers, 4 pastas for the main course, dessert, and limoncello for 100 euros for 4 people. Florence was 60 euros. We did not do any tours in France as we rested up from 3 very hectic days in Italy. In Rome we saw the Colosseum, circus maximus, Spanish steps, center of the universe and the Vatican(the line was 3-4 hrs long but Massimo arranged a set time with an archaeologist as a guide, so we went right in)and many ruins. Side note:in Toulon when exiting the ship, look to your left, go through the white gates and there is a free bus that leaves every 15 minutes that takes you into the local town where they have an open market about 1/2 mile long. Very nice and low budget. We took the train to Monte Carlo from Villefranche and was disappointed as it was just another city. The local fishing village was much nicer. Disembarkment: We chose to stay on the ship for $35 each which gave us until 4PM . That is where our steward failed to turn in our request so we were paged. A nice option if you are staying in Barcelona after the cruise or you have a late flight. We just walked off about 3PM. Summary: A good cruise, great ports, great time though a little disappointed in RCCL. I would rate them #4 behind NCL, Princess & Celebrity. The ship was above expectations, the crew great but the food, entertainment and lack of the little things dropped them down. They seem to be becoming Carnival. I would recommend them to the under 35 crowd or someone with children. If you like the finer aspects for cruising I would go to the other lines for higher quality. A little note. One of our dinner partners told us early on his wife was recently retired, he was a computer consultant and they were on their 5th straight week of cruising. Later he stated he worked for cruise critic. Who knows. Hello "G" Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We sailed on the Voyager of the Seas June 20-27 from Barcelona to Naples, Rome, Florence, Cannes, Toulon and return to Barcelona. As a point of reference we are experienced cruisers having sailed on RCCL (5x), Princess (5x), NCL (3x), ... Read More
We sailed on the Voyager of the Seas June 20-27 from Barcelona to Naples, Rome, Florence, Cannes, Toulon and return to Barcelona. As a point of reference we are experienced cruisers having sailed on RCCL (5x), Princess (5x), NCL (3x), Carnival (1x) and Holland America (1x). The couple that joined us on this voyage have also cruised extensively and are Platinum level passengers on RCCL. In fact they had sailed on Voyager shortly after its launch so this was their second experience with the ship. We booked the Voyager because of its reputation and the relatively good fares we were able to find. The itinerary was not new for us as we had sailed on Ruby Princess in August 2009 to many of the same ports. I'll set the tone for this review by saying that of all the cruises we've taken, only 2 were rated anything other than a great experience. This trip ranked 2nd from the bottom, just slightly above our shipboard experience on Holland America's MS Ryndam (affectionately known by our friends as the "Cruise From Hell"). On the positive side, there is much to like about Voyager. Despite its age the public spaces of the ship are well-maintained and the Promenade still is impressive. While it lacks a few of the "wow" features of the Freedom of the Seas (which we had been on several years ago), the variety of venues and things to do are still quite good. The cabins are decent size, well laid out and had comfortable beds, but overall were starting to show their age in terms of look and feel. We found the food in the main Dining Room to be on par, more or less, with the other mass-market cruise lines. The friendliness and helpfulness of the staff was hit or miss. On the negative side...starting with the cabins. We had booked the lowest inside category and our friends booked the lowest balcony category. If you are an experienced Mediterranean cruiser you know that you primarily use the ship for a hotel-- sleeping, shower and meals-- since as you are on the go from early morning until returning to the ship generally around 6 PM in time for dinner. We opted to book an inside so that we could use the savings over a balcony to contract with private drivers in several of the ports. We were pleasantly surprised to find that we were upgraded to a Promenade view cabin and our friends to a significantly higher balcony category. Once on board we found out that the upgrades were not the "gift" they appeared to be. The Promenade cabin is one of those things that looks great from a design standpoint but in actuality is pretty useless. The curtains need to be drawn anytime you don't want to be on display to anyone on the Promenade (which is most of the time you are in the cabin on a trip like this). In addition the windows are not soundproofed glass so you can clearly hear every activity held below. We particularly "enjoyed" the Disco Party and the Parade from the comfort of our bed, all held later than normal due to the World Cup daily game being broadcast on the big screen in the Promenade. This might not be as irritating on a Caribbean cruise where passengers tend to stay up later but on a shore-intensive cruise like this we looked forward to a good night's rest before getting going early the next morning. Our friends' balcony cabin was more like a steel enclosed porch with a large rectangular porthole. In order to even see the ocean you had to hang out of the "porthole". Two separate times we had issues where the toilet did not work (our friends on the same deck but much further forward also had a non-working toilet as well as a steam leak). A call to Maintenance was answered with a response that they thought the toilets should be working shortly. A day later we received a personally addressed note in our mail reminding us that we should be careful with what we put in the toilet...as if we had caused the blockage. Quite frankly we were pretty insulted that an obvious system problem was portrayed as something we created. The single most disappointing issue was the Windjammer Cafe. In all of the cruises we've taken I have never seen a more abysmal selection of food or as unpleasant a dining experience. Buffet restaurants on ships are not noted for their "fine dining experience" but generally still provide a decent selection of food and snacks and appear to be of as good quality as the other dining venues on the ship. This definitely wasn't the case on Voyager. It was a stretch to find something that even looked appetizing in the Windjammer. It looked like they decided to cut back not only on selection of items but also the amount. Even the shipboard staples of grilled hamburgers, hot dogs or chicken (which Princess and NCL do very well) were terrible. Not only was there no outside grill, no chicken or hot dogs/sausages but the burgers they offered on the buffet were gray pre-cooked patties sitting in a steam tray of juice. Totally unappetizing. Not that RCCL cares because I believe they don't offer a grill to force you to visit Johnny Rockets and pay $5.00 for the ability to have a basic (good) burger and fries. On Freedom of the Seas we received 2 certificates for a free visit to Johnny Rockets as part of our past passenger booklet. Not on Voyager. The Windjammer is also showing its age from a decor and layout standpoint. In addition the dining area seemed absolutely packed with tables and chairs and filled with passengers jockeying for a spot during normal meal times. Voyager does not provide an outdoor eating area like some other ship designs forcing you to fight for a spot in the main seating area. Our dining room experience was marred by the efficiency of the staff. The first time we were seated in Anytime Dining we requested a table for four...and shown to a table for 8. The second time we were taken to a table for 8 where they added additional chairs to shoehorn in 10! Finally we made reservations for a table for 4 for a specific time...only to be told on arrival that they didn't have a table for 4 for us. After some protest they seated the 4 of us by ourselves at a table set for 6. I will say that the head waiter did come by and offer us a complimentary cocktail to make up for it. But overall it left a bad impression on us. All in all there were enough problems to make the shipboard portion of our trip less than pleasant. And it was particularly noticeable when contrasted with our similar trip on the Ruby Princess a year earlier. Ruby Princess (a brand new ship at that time) offered the traditional level of service we've come to expect from Princess plus excellent accommodations and excellent quality/choice of food. I think in Voyager's case RCCL is hoping the ship will draw passengers based on its past reputation as the first and best known of the mega-ships and not on its current level of passenger treatment. We've always considered RCCL and Princess to be on a similar level of experience and accomodation. If RCCL is providing a similar experience across its fleet I think we need to reconsider sailing with them again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Well, I think it is time to stop procrastinating and get a review written on our fabulous cruise. My DW Marie and I spent a week (May 2-9) on the Voyager of the Seas experiencing the trip of a lifetime. OK, where do I start? I guess at the ... Read More
Well, I think it is time to stop procrastinating and get a review written on our fabulous cruise. My DW Marie and I spent a week (May 2-9) on the Voyager of the Seas experiencing the trip of a lifetime. OK, where do I start? I guess at the beginning. Flying over - We decided to fly to Barcelona several days before the cruise to have the opportunity to explore this beautiful city. Flying from Seattle to Barcelona via JFK was mostly uneventful. We were delayed a few hours at JFK due to high winds and a runway shutdown. For the past year I have been chatting with three couples on Cruise Critic and we set up private tours for all the ports. Well in JFK Marie and I met up with one of the three couples, Brett and Bill, two great guys from Florida and someone I feel will be friends for life. Barcelona day one - Once we landed we grabbed our bags and head off to Hotel Continental where we will be staying the next two days. I was told that the hotel was a quirky little place and that it was. If you stay here you better like pink ?. It is on the La Ramblas just south of Placa de Catalunya so it's all about location. We also stayed here one night after the cruise which we did not enjoy as much as we were a floor closer to the street and there was considerable noise late into the night (fireworks/music/crowd noise). But our pre-cruise stay was great, we had a balcony room and could sit and watch the fun of the street entertainers on the La Ramblas. To get adjusted to the time zone we decided to just get out and see some of the city right away since it was still mid day. It was a beautiful day (about 70 degrees) so we used the hop on/hop off for the rest of the day to see some sights. We picked up the blue line bus at Placa de Catalunya (which we explore all of before getting on the bus). This route allows you to see some of Antoni Gaudí's most famous architecture: Sagrada Familia, Park Guell. Other sites along the way are Tibidabo (we didn't go up) and the Barcelona Football Club. Wish we could have done more but fatigue was setting in. We wanted paella for dinner so we asked at the hotel desk and the young lady directed us to a small restaurant about 8 blocks north. Sorry to say we do not remember the name of the place though we did eat there both before and after the cruise. The seafood paella was fantastic with langoustine shrimp, mussels, and squid. Delicious, with a pitcher of sangria to wash it down. Now that is Spain! Barcelona day two - It was Saturday May 1st which was Labor Day and a national holiday. So that limited what we could see today. Picasso museum was closed, so was the market La Boqueria and many stores. But once again the weather was pleasant so we headed out on foot. We headed to the Barcelona cathedral which was something Marie wanted to see. There was a huge labor demonstration going on in front of the cathedral that we watch for a short while before exploring all around and inside the cathedral. It is another building with renovations in progress on the outside. Such a beautiful old church. We moved on to explore some of the gothic quarter then much of La Ramblas. It was there that we had a minor incident. I failed to lock Marie's backpack so when I was taking pictures of a street entertainer she felt a slight tug on the pack and that was it. A pickpocket got a debit card and about 100 euros. I had the bank on the cell phone speed dial and shut the card off but there went some spending money. Sad thing was I was warned La Ramblas is one of the worst places for thieves, sigh. The definitely did not let that ruin our day as we continued to walk around and explore. That evening we were going to meet at a tapas bar with the rest of the couples who we would be touring the ports with. It was great to meet everyone before we embarked on 8 hours a day tours in close quarters. The six of them had done a cruise together in 2009 so Marie and I were the new kids. I was a little apprehensive as chatting online is one thing, but meeting in person may not work as well but I had nothing to be concerned about. What a great group of people, by the end of the evening I felt we had been friends forever. The food at the tapas bar was great, such a variety. It was Marie's birthday and I managed to smuggle a card and present (small blown glass rose) into her backpack for a nice surprise later in the evening. We sat outside and there was some light rain, but the table umbrellas worked well to keep the evening festive. Off to Voyager day three/four - The next morning we slept in after a late night and then I took Marie over to the cathedral one last time since it was Sunday. Then it was off to embark on the Voyager of the Seas. During the summer in Seattle I can see the cruise ships from my office window and the size is impressive. But not nearly as much as when standing next to one. I was in the Navy and the aircraft carrier I was on was not as big as this ship. Amazing. After dropping our bags and clearing security was got in the suite check in line. We were in the suite line thanks to the great advice of the people here on CC who told us to check every day for price drops. We had paid for a D1 balcony but about a month after final payment the price of the junior suites began to drop so we switched. Well the price on the JS dropped two more times. So for our payment of a D1 we ended up with a JS and $850 OBC. Nice way to start a trip, thanks everyone for that tip. Once we had sea passes in hand we got the embarking photo out of the way and headed onboard. It was already late enough that we could go check out our stateroom. Seeing the happy birthday sign on the door told me the decorations I ordered were there. Marie loved them! We then headed to the dining room to see where our table was. The dining room is three decks high and we were on the middle deck towards the middle of the room. Great location to see out the window and to be able to see the sights of the dining room. We headed up to Windjammer to get something to eat. My apologies to those advocates of the honey stung chicken, but it stunk. It was dry and flavorless. For the next week, except for the underway day, we ate breakfast in windjammer as we were off on tours as soon as the ship moored. For breakfast I would put it a little above Denny's for food quality but I would not have expecting anything more for a buffet anyway. The food was always well stocked and the table service from the waiting staff was great. Many would ask about our plans for the day and at least seemed genuinely interested. We had the 6:30 seating in main dining so we were eating at sail away. We had a table for four couples but unfortunately two of the couple rather showed up. Other than one night in Portofinos we ate all our dinners at main dining with the one couple that did show up, Mavis and Sandy from Northern Ireland. Those two made up for the lack of diners at our table as they were very friendly and a delight to spend dinner with. We even exchanged addresses in hopes of communicating again in the future (at least Christmas cards). The quality of the meals were on average very good. Cooking for that many people can be a challenge so I did not have high expectations. Quality of the food actually varied dish to dish. Some were exceptional some were not. What made the difference was the wait staff. Sorry I am always bad with names and I forgot to write down the names of the two young men who waited on us, but they made dining a joy. The way they attend to our needs, whether it was swapping out dishes we didn't like, my glass of ice tea each night after we sat, or just conversing about what we did that day, they did a fantastic job of making dining relaxing and enjoyable. Later that evening we went to the welcome show in the La Scala theater and after that watched the parade on the promenade. Fun things to do to get us into the atmosphere of shipboard life. At sea day was something of a blur. We ate breakfast in main dining where I got Eggs Benedict even though they were not on the menu. We then spent much of the day exploring. Went to the ice skating show in the afternoon. The ship is in remarkable shape for being almost 11 years old. It is obvious the staff is proud of the ship by how well they maintain the general areas. Also we were warmly greeted by crew members throughout the day making us feel welcome. By afternoon Marie found the casino and started her ritual of feeding $10 a day to the slot machine gods. On a good day that could last a half hour or more, on a bad day not so long. Surprisingly on the last night she played a half hour and came away $16 dollars up. The underway night was formal dress at dining. I had rented a tux through the ship as I didn't want to haul anything. It didn't fit the best but I really didn't care. Marie had brought several dresses/sweaters and accessories to look exceptionally beautiful on both the formal night. We had our picture taken with all the different backdrops they offered. Remember that $850 OBC I mentioned earlier, yup about $400 went towards shipboard pictures. Actually Marie was more restraint than I expected, but they still add up fast. It was a delight to see so many people dressed for the occasion, there were very few men not in a tux or suit. Naples - As soon as the ship docked we were off on our tour. Eight of us had a tour set up with RomeinLimo. Once again I forget the driver's name (this will be a reoccurring theme) but he was terrific. The two best points of the private tour was they get you out ahead of the big crowds of the ship's tour and they are much less in cost than the ship's tours. The other benefits are more personalized service, moving more quickly from one place to another, the opportunity to chance up the schedule. These companies live and die with the cruise ship industries so we never worried about getting back late. For those of you that are concerned they will not get back in time, my advice is don't leave the ship. ? We drove straight out of Naples and over to Pompeii. We spent several hours exploring these amazing ruins before heading out to Sorrento. In Sorrento we had the opportunity to explore/shop before having lunch. Enjoyed the market, I bought a bottle of lemoncello to smuggle back to the ship. There were a few raindrops but not enough to even warrant an umbrella (Seattle bred here). Lunch for Marie was pasta and clams but for me it was what I wanted to eat in Naples, pizza. Margherita to be precise, just mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. Topped off with a local beer and I was in heaven. They even gave us a shot of lemoncello after the meal. Now I need to figure out how to stay awake for the afternoon. After lunch it was a drive along the Amalfi Coast to the town of Positano. What a beautiful scenic drive, the water, the cliffs and buildings. We stopped above Positano for a photo op, it is wild to see how the buildings are essentially in areas just carved out of the hillside. In many cases, you are almost mountain climbing to get to a neighbor. How do you get groceries home? We walked down through the town to shop and explore ending at a beautiful cathedral down by the water. It was quite a climb back up to the van but here was a cart selling little cups lemon slushies close by the van that helped. After that there stop it was the drive back to Naples in time to get ready for dinner. What a great first port visit. Civitavecchia (Rome), - Next day we arrived in Rome, with 10 other cruise ships ?. We that scary prospect we head off the ship to catch our van. Our driver was already there so off we go ahead of the buses on the drive to Rome. On the drive our driver gave a history of Rome to get us ready for the city. He had an amplified headset that allowed all of us in the van to hear. All our tours had the same setup and except for Toulon, the drivers were very personable and knowledgeable on their cities/countries. Rome in the morning was a whirlwind, we made it to the Colosseum, Circus Maximus, Roman Forum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Wedding Cake, and the Spanish Steps (just a drive by for the steps). Some much history in so little time, it was overwhelming. We stopped in a deli to each sandwiches for lunch before it was time to meet with our tour guide for our trip through the Vatican. Sarah (with an "h") from RomeinLimos was our guide and that girl was amazing. Throughout the museum she demonstrated her wealth of knowledge on all the art found there. The biggest plus was she took control of our group (not and easy thing to do) and kept us moving so we would be able to see all the sights. She even allotted our group shoppers 2 minutes to buy rosaries and such. It was just amazing to see all the works of art the church has procured/found/stolen over the centuries. Of all the things we saw at the Vatican I have to say the Sistine Chapel was the most disappointing. I think it was a combination of such a mass of people in the chapel combine with the dim lighting and the guards constant hissing and "no photos" that detracted from the beauty of that room. Also the properly lit museum and St Peter's Basilica were a visual overload that the chapel seemed a little blah in comparison. I am still happy that I had the chance to experience it. After the Vatican it was the long ride back to the port for another fun evening aboard Voyager. Livorno (Pisa/Florence) - The driver was a little late in arriving at the pier and I was getting cold as Marie forgot her jacket so I was in shirt sleeves. When the van did get there we realized he was on time and we were early. Oops could have gone back on board for a jacket, oh well. Our day started with a drive through Liverno and a stop in Pisa at the Field of Miracles. First thing I did was buy an Italia sweatshirt jacket for Marie and retrieved mine. One again we were ahead of the crowd so part of our group had the opportunity to head right up the leaning tower. My knees were not going to let me make it up the 300 odds step to Marie and I headed over to the baptistry instead. What a beautiful building and the acoustics inside were astonishing. The Duomo was not going to open until 10am so we missed seeing the inside but it was interesting to see how the Duomo and Baptistry also lean, though not as much as the tower. We left Pisa for a drive through the Tuscan countryside, stopping at a small olive oil factory that also made its own. We continued on to Florence stopping at Michelangelo Square for a great photo op. There is a bronze statue of David in that square that is currently green due to weathering so our driver referred to it as the "Martian David". The city of Florence is amazing and beautiful, I wish I could spend a week there. Throughout the day we were able to see Santa Croce, The Accademia galleries (I snuck a good picture of David), The Duomo and the Piazza della Signoria. The Duomo was beautiful with so many opportunities for photos. It is astounding how well maintained many of the building are considering there age, not just in Italy but in France and Spain as well. Looking at structures that in some cases are a thousand years old (or older) and thinking about what was in Seattle back then (trees). Sorry to say I could not make it to the Uffizi galleries, the best I would have done was 45 minutes there and it just would not have done it justice. That is one of the many reasons I would love to spend a week in Florence. Somewhere in there our driver took us to a lovely little restaurant where I had some pesto lasagna. Some rustic bread, a glass of wine and this was a perfect meal. There was shopping galore in this city for Marie to do, from cashmere/silk shawls to a beautiful white gold bracelet from a gold shop near Santa Croce. There was a much larger selection of gold on Ponte Vecchio but because of the higher rent to have a shop on such a tourist trap, the prices were just unreasonable. The drive back to the port was extremely wet, a lot of rain. But we were in the van so who cares. I have to say that this was my favorite stop in the entire trip. Everything has been grand, but this stop will always be special. Villefranche - This was the only port where we had to anchor out and take boats into the port. We being the early risers had no problem catching the first boat, no tickets/passes, just hopped on and off we went. Our driver was there, I do not remember the company we used, sorry I didn't set up the tours. Another great driver, knowledgeable and well versed in English with very little accent. That has been important for me as I am a little hard of hearing (ok, I'll admit it) so the more clearly the drivers speak English, the easier for me to hear. Our first stop was Nice and the marketplace/waterfront. It was great to see the fresh fish, produce, flowers, all the things you expect to see in a farmer's market. I particularly like the spice seller, the smells were delicious. We then drove through Nice the medieval town of St. Paul de Vence in what I understand is the beginning foothills of the alps. This is a beautiful little town which is known for its artists. There were many shops and galleries to explore along with the beauty of the old buildings and cobblestone road. I think this was the first day we had where we had blue skies all day and it could not have happened at a more opportune time. The views from the town where stunning. One of the photographers of our group was into doors and there was a large variety to choose, from simple to ornate. Next stop was Monaco for more shopping and lunch. Not wanting to spend too much time at lunch, we grabbed fresh grilled panini sandwiches at a little deli in the market. A cold beer to wash it down and I was ready to go. After a little more shopping/sightseeing we hopped in the van and headed for a lap around the track at Monte Carlo. The race is coming up soon, so not only were the lines on the roads, the grandstands were up and guard rails in place. A little revving of the engine and off we went. Almost like be in the race, not really but it was fun. We then hit the casino at Monte Carlo and actually won. OK, we played the slot machines in the side casino and won 5 euros. But I am did win in Monte Carlo and I am sticking with that store. After a few photo ops in front of the casino with all the super expensive cars, we piled in the van for one last stop, the village of Eze. Eze is another mountaintop medieval village close to Nice. The difference here is the fantastic panoramic views of the coastline and water you can get from the village. We could even see the ship anchored out in the harbor. It was a beautiful clear day, just right for taking in the breathtaking view. Course it may have been the climb up that took away my breath, either way the view was something worth experiencing. After that it was a quiet drive back to the harbor and a quick boat ride out to Voyager. Plenty of time to rest up before getting ready for our second formal night in main dining. Toulon - Our last port before heading back to Spain found us in the port of Toulon. I would like to tell you all about this port but as soon as we got on the van we were heading out of town to Marseille. I found that kind of amusing as when I first booked this cruise this stop was suppose to be at Marseille, not Toulon. A few months back RCCL change the port, I can only speculate this may be a cheaper port to dock in. Either way, off to Marseille we headed on what would be the wettest day of the trip. It drizzled off and on through out the day, not really enough for an umbrella. Except later in the afternoon when we had a deluge that rivaled anything I had seen in the tropics during my navy days. Once in Marseille we headed to Notre-Dame de la Garde, a basilica located high on a hill in Marseille. This is evidently the highest natural point in Marseille. Once again a great panoramic view of the city/water though a bit grey today due to the weather. The view and the church were a great photo op with a beautiful golden statue at the top of the church which I assume was the " Lady of the Guard". We then traveled to a small market though there was not much there to shop for, may have been too early. We then stopped at the museum of natural history for a photo op at their huge fountain (seemed to be the theme today) before heading out of town for a ride in the French countryside. This was a little disappointing as the weather was not cooperating, rainy and misty. Our drive in the country end at Aix-en-Provence, a beautiful city about 30 km north of Marseille. We had the chance to explore for about an hour and spent most of that time on the Cours Mirabeau, the main thoroughfare of the city. I was looking for Deux Garcons, a famous brasserie but we just didn't have the opportunity to walk that far. Many famous people frequented this restaurant include Émile Zola and Ernest Hemingway. So it was now back on the van and braving what were now becoming torrential rains, we head to the coast and the town of Cassis. It is about 20km east of Marseille and very beautiful with its small cliffs and harbor. We found a nice restaurant at the harbor for lunch. We sat down and the first thing we found was the young waiter for our table did not speak any English. So they brought out an older gentleman, not sure if he was the owner, who took our orders. But once again, throughout the meal it was the young waiter who served us and actually looked to be getting frustrated that we weren't learning French on the spot. It was hilarious him trying to communicate and we are mostly just shoulder shrugging since we did not have a clue what he was saying. It all worked out though and we had a great meal. I started with a delicious fish soup and followed that with poached sea bream. Once again the wine really topped off the meal in style. Loved it. So for one last time it was back on the van for a short trip back to Toulon. This was our shortest tour, we were back at the ship about 3pm. It was nice to have the afternoon onboard to unwind before getting ready for dinner. We packed so much into the past week that by this time I felt I needed a vacation from my vacation. We got our bags packed so we could get them in the hallway by 11pm for pick up. We arrived we 2 checked bags and tow carryon but we ended up with a third checked bag by the end of the cruise, guess we bought a few things. Barcelona/Montserrat - Once again we were up bright and early to start another busy day. We booked our only ship tour for the cruise in Barcelona. We were going on a 4 hour tour up in the mountains to Montserrat. There is a monastery up there and a Black Madonna which Marie wanted to see. Some of the people we were touring with went on this tour last year and said it was a nice relaxing way to end the trip. If our trip had ended that way I would have agreed, more on that later. First, before we left the parking lot we almost had a serious mishap. I thought for these tours the ship loaded your checked bags onto the bus and we would get them at the conclusion of the tour. If I had read the paperwork they gave us the day before it said to pick up bags and take them to the bus. Anyway, the driver is starting to close up the storage area on the bus and Marie mentions she did not see our bags. I re-read the paper and see "pick up your bags". So I tell the tour guide we blew it and hurry back inside, grab the bags and haul them out to the bus. By this time half the buses have left so I may have not made any friends on our bus. Oops. Things went better after that, the drive into the mountains was relaxing and scenic. When we first arrived up in Montserrat there was considerable fog but it began to burn off shortly after we arrived, actually made for some nice pictures. In the center of the square at the monastery there was a large group of people dressed in older traditional outfits. We were told this was a village the came up to the mountains for a celebration but we never did find out what the celebration was for. However, the dancing and music was very entertaining so I guess we could make up whatever theme we like for the celebration. We did go inside to see the Virgin of Montserrat or Black Madonna which they actually allow you to touch as you pass by. On the trip back down much of the fog had lifted allowing us to see the unusual rock formations which the area is noted for. Some of the formations are suppose to look like the shapes of animals though I did not see any like that. There was one that kind of looked like Elvis (just kidding). Evidently it is a very popular pilgrimage site for Catalan Catholics and it showed as there were a tremendous number of people there. So we journeyed back to Barcelona where the bus dropped us off at Placa de Catalunya, just a half block from our hotel. So we headed to the hotel, checked in and then headed out for lunch. Marie was determine to go to Hard Rock Cafe as she gets jackets from the various cafes so we went ahead and ate lunch there. I know, burgers in Spain just don't make sense but we did it anyway. We then went on a farewell strolled down the La Rambas all the way down to the waterfront. We then found outdoor tables at a cafe in the gothic quarter for drinks and olives. Did I tell you I love Spanish olives? Well I do. We went back to the hotel to relax then it was back to the restaurant we went to the first night in Europe for more paella and sangria. Figured it would be a great way to end the trip as we were flying out the next morning. Little did we know. The trip home - The next morning we get up and the first thing I find is a voicemail on my cell phone letting is know our American Airlines flight from Barcelona to JFK was cancelled. The Icelandic volcano has reared its ugly head. The plane never left JKF so of course there is nothing to fly back. I call AA and after dealing with three different agents (the first 2 weren't very helpful so I kept calling back) they got us booked on a Delta flight to JFK leaving about 10:30am. Off to the airport to check in which turns out to not be a simply matter. I do not know if it is inherent of the Barcelona airport, Europe or the system in general, but Delta has to get a manual ticket from American before they can issue us a ticket. Thankfully that just takes about 30 extra minutes so we are off the gate. The flight is boarding late (about an hour) but still seems ok. Well we finally board and the plane is getting moved away from the gate then stops. The cart that moves the plane is stuck on the front wheel. So it takes maintenance about an hour to get that loose and now we still sit as we need to wait for another time slot to leave the airport. To gage how long we have been on the plane, about 20 minutes after we get on the plane, they turned on the individual seat movies. I have watched most of Avatar when they finally announce we are not going anywhere today. So it is back off the plane, back through immigration and we are picking up our bags to find a hotel. After getting settled in a hotel close to the airport I finally get through to Delta (they now have our leg to JFK). They book us on a 6:50am Air France flight to Paris with a connecting to JFK. So bright and early (5am) we are back in the airport ready to fly. Remember the situation yesterday about the need to issue a manual ticket to pass to the other airline? Yup, same thing today only compounded. We now need American to give Delta a ticket so Delta can give Air France a ticket before they will give us a real ticket. The guy at the Air France desk was great and tried everything he could to get us in the system but no go. Well the Delta desk opens at 7am and the American at 7:30am. 6:50 Air France flight, no more, 7:50 flight? Not happening either. When the Delta desk opened we were third in line and hoping for miracles. When we got to the desk we didn't get miracles but we did get a guy that worked his butt off to get us on a flight that day. I felt bad because the line was getting long and only two agents were working but we wanted out of Spain and were not giving up till we did. So after 30 minutes at the desk and two trips by the agent back to the AA desk, we finally had a manual ticket for a 10:30 Air France flight to carry over to that ticket counter. At 5am there was nobody at the Air France ticket counter. At 9am, half of Barcelona was there. So we resigned ourselves to get in line and just wait it out. Our luck began to turn as the agent that waited on us at 5am was still there and recognized us. When he finished with his current customer he wave us up to the front of the line and saved us what was probably an hour of agony. At this point he tells us that somebody must like us as our ticket from Paris to JFK has been bumped to business class. Looks like our luck is really turning. So we headed through security and out to the gate. Boarding time came and went and we were still there. Little warning bells began going off in my head, we did not want to miss the connecting from Paris to JFK. OK Bill, calm down there should still be time. Well we finally board and the captain come on the line to tell us we will be sitting awhile longer as there is limited airspace into Paris. Bigger bells begin to ring. After what seems like days, we finally pull away and get in the air. Estimates have us at the terminal just before the gate closes on the connecting flight, but we still need to clear immigration as Paris is our last stop in the EU. More bells. Paris to JFK After an agonizing hour and 20 minutes we land and get off the plane. There is an Air France person waiting with a sign as it turns out there are 27 of us trying to make the connecting flight to JFK. That bodes well as they are more likely to hold a flight for such a large group. Once the agent has all of us rounded up it is a mad dash through the terminal to and empty immigration desk where our passports are hurriedly stamps and we are ushered onto a bus for a painfully slow ride to another terminal where our flight is located. Then it is up a flight of stairs and another mad dash across this terminal (why couldn't the bus drop us on the side our flight was on, sigh). As we approach the gate I see a sea of people so I slow my pace. If they have not finished loading, no reason to run anymore. Marie and I get in the business class line and things are looking up. Right until we get to the agent and she refuses to scan the ticket. The original manual ticket is attached and she sees the code was changed (written over) from 'Y' for economy to the business code. She has us step aside and goes to confer with the other agents. She returns and asks whether our ticket should be economy or business. No being born a fool I answer obliquely, "it's a business ticket" . Back to the agent conference as we sweat out whether we are going to get on the flight. Finally she returns, scans the ticket and smiles. We smile too and head onboard. Wow, don't need anymore of those stress points! Well, we get onboard and once again we get the announcement that due to limited airspace (we now have to fly north and around Iceland) we will be delayed taking off. Remember Marie and I are from Seattle? Well all this work is just getting us as far as JFK in New York. We still have a ticket that American Airlines controls that is suppose to get us from JFK to Seattle leaving about 7:30pm New York time. If we had got on the original 6:50 Air France flight we would have arrived about 1pm, an ungodly long layover but we would take it. This new connection flight would now get us into JFK about 3:45pm, much more manageable layover. But it was leaving late AND it was flying longer to get around Iceland. Oops. So by the time we take off, they estimate we will arrive at the gate in JFK about 7pm. Let me see, get off the plane, clear immigration, get bags, clear customs, take train to another terminal to check in, blah blah blah. It's not going to happen. But for the first time in the past day and a half I don't care. We will be on the right side of the pond and that is a major leap forward. So the two of us sat back and enjoyed 8 hours of pampering in Air France business class. Sweet. The Big Apple Let's fast forward to the east coast of the US. We are getting ready to land and sure enough it will be 7pm, too late to connect. As we get off the plane I called American Airlines and they tell us don't leave Air France area as they need to protect our ticket. By the way did you know in JFK you cannot use your cell phone in the customs baggage claim area? I do now (putting away my phone before the little old man with the gun decides to pistol whip me). Ok, so we get our bags, go to Air France only to be told Delta wrote the ticket so we need to see Delta (the next desk over). We go wait in that line, finally get to counter only to be told by the agent there that Air France flew us in, it's their responsibility. Now the two agents start yelling at each other. I actually found it entertaining, I was going to suggest they step in the back room and fight it out. I think the old Delta Agent wouldn't have stood a chance. The woman from Air France would have kicked his butt. Finally after a few minutes of high volume discussion, they look over my ticket and decide neither of them are responsible. They determine it is not a conjunctive ticket (whatever that is) and it falls on American Airlines to get us home. So we pack up our belongings and head to the train to get over to the AA terminal. Once there, the AA agent say sure we will get you home, on tomorrow nights 7:30pm flight (its now only 10pm). After asking if she could do any better she says not in this airport but if we are willing to head to LaGuardia we could get on a 6am flight to Seattle that connects in Chicago but gets us home at 11am. Sold! Well while we are at the ticket counter a large group of AA passengers that just got in from Barcelona show up having missed their connnectings. Two of them were Gregg and Max, part of our touring group in all the ports. The end up shifting airports as well so we share a cab to LaGuardia. By the time we get there it is 11:30pm and since we can check in to the flight about 4am we decide to just find chairs in the airport by the AA check in desk. So did about 30-40 others. So we hunker down for a few hours, me with my Kindle to do some reading and Marie under the Air France blanket I "borrowed" from the flight (who says I don't think ahead). About 20 minutes later airport maintenance shows up to do duct work in the hallway by where we are sitting/sleeping. For the next 1 ½ hours, as I sat there attempting to read I watched three "gentlemen" do there darnedest to make as much noise as possible. They dropped everything just to hear it clang off the floor, their tools, the ducting, the scaffolding. If their butts had been made of metal they probably would have drop them to just to make noise. So in went the earplugs and I began to read. Well, the rest of this journey ended up being thankfully uneventful. We got on that 6am flight, made the connecting in Chicago and got to Seattle at 11am. Thirty-nine hours after we had arrives at the Barcelona airport. And as much fun as we had on the cruise and our stay in Barcelona, we would do it all again. In a heartbeat. For those of you still here at the end of this story, I hope you enjoyed our trip as much as we did. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
First mistake was booking through an Internet agency. They said they could not give us flight details until they had deposits and cruise was booked - well we found out why. Birmingham to Barcelona became Birmingham to Barcelona via Munich ... Read More
First mistake was booking through an Internet agency. They said they could not give us flight details until they had deposits and cruise was booked - well we found out why. Birmingham to Barcelona became Birmingham to Barcelona via Munich going and via Dusseldorf on return with 2 - 4 hrs wait in between. In hindsight I would have rather cancelled and lost deposit. On arrival in Barcelona found my luggage was " astray " and it remained so for 3 days. Wasted a lot of time queueing at about 3 different places to report this. Was first taste of ships reception staff - and I appreciate they have a difficult job and some customers you will never please - but sorry they were just rude and lied time after time. Endless promises were not kept and 3 days into cruise my suitcase just appeared in cabin - battered but there - hurrah - clean clothes. I should have realised what I was up against when I first waited in line and some poor lady was trying to explain that she and her 2 children had to leave because her mother in law had just fallen on ship and broken hip - and all the reception staff was interested in was closing account ! I was part of a group of 8 ( 4 couples ) - aged from 50 to 70 and we all had problems checking in - we all got told conflicting information regarding our accounts because no one really seemed to know what they were doing. Formal night came and passed - lost interest when I had to borrow dress and shoes but was nice to see most people made the effort and looked lovely - and appreciate why they wanted pictures taken . However I did not appreciate being accosted at every opportunity by someone dressed up wanting me to have pic taken with him ( same clothes every time too !! ) or staff trying to flog outrageously priced bottles of water and orange juice. This brings me to my biggest gripe - prices - unless you are well off or don't drink - this isn't the ship for you. The cheapest bottle of wine was around $30 plus gratuity plus tax. Entertainment - well we were expecting flamboyant shows - dancers- comedians - that kind of thing - as shown in brochures - but no - a beautiful theatre - what a shame. Stateroom - yes this was good - probably the best I have stayed in - big comfy bed - and clean - lovely. Food - evening meal was good but Windjammer very poor . Staff - bar staff - Francis and Carmen - dining room staff - Paul and Mathew - brill - really nice people. Cabin staff too were very amenable. We organised our own trips - a lot cheaper and got to go where we wanted to. Our flight home was at 12.30pm but had to leave ship at 7.15 am . We got stopped on way off because they said we owed money on our accounts - another cock up - they owed us ! All in all - we made the best of our week but Royal Caribbean - we wont be back. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Voyager of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.5 4.2
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates N/A 4.2

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