Embarkation: Arriving at Cape Liberty about 11:30 AM, the check-in process was quick and painless. We were onboard the ship by 12:50 PM and in our stateroom by 1:05 PM. Lunch was being served in the Windjammer Cafe on deck 11. Our luggage arrived by 3:30 PM. The mandatory muster drill at 4:30 went quickly, and, Voyager pulled away from the pier just after 5 PM.
Life Onboard: We were in stateroom #6383 on deck six, aft. A long walk from the elevators, yet, we got used to the walk during the week. We had the main dinner seating at 6 PM in the La Boheme dining room, table 460. The ship never seemed crowded. At times parts of the ship seemed deserted. The Royal Promenade, the heart of the ship, teemed with life, as people watched the baseball playoffs and football games. The shows at both La Scala Theatre and Studio B Center Ice were great! Not to be missed are "Dreamscape", "Ice Jammin'" and "Vibeology" - a salute to the legends of Rock and Roll. Be sure to check your daily compass each day, as there is always something going on! We went to a Pilates class in the ShipShape Center on deck 11 one morning during the cruise. A tip for the "Ice Jammin'" show, get down to Studio B early when tickets are handed out-the best show times go fast. We saw the show Monday evening at 9 PM. We also went to the "Karaoke Idol" show 2 nights (one of which was the finals). A member of our group won the male singer category!
There was a good amount of ship motion during the 3 nights at sea from Cape Liberty (we were moving at an average speed of 19-20 knots). It's understandable, as we had a lot of sea to cross to get from New Jersey to Labadee in 2 and a half days! Personally, I never got sick, but a few passengers did. The weather was great the whole cruise!
Ports Of Call: There was an Itinerary change. Casa De Campo, Dominican Republic was substituted for Phillipsburg, St. Maarten. So, the port lineup was Labadee, Haiti (Monday), Casa De Campo, Dominican Republic (Tuesday), San Juan, Puerto Rico (Wednesday), and Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas U.S. Virgin Islands (Thursday).
Shore Excursions: Labadee was a nice beach day. A barbeque lunch is served at 3 locations at Labadee. (Tip, pass by the first location. The other two are far less crowded). We didn't go into the local market. Some in our group mentioned that the vendors were very aggressive, as many on this message board have said.
Casa De Campo was a new port for Voyager. It was also the longest port call from 12 Noon to 11 PM. Unfortunately, there was not a lot to do there. By the time we decided to get off the ship, there were many, many passengers returning to Voyager (with no shopping bags-not a good sign!) Many of them told us not to waste our time. We didn't. We got back on the ship. Basically, there were shuttle buses that would take you to a nearby marina and shopping district. One member of our group, who purchased a shore excursion, ended up at a place where roosters are trained for cock fights. She was not too happy about that!
San Juan - Everyone on onboard had to present themselves to US Customs whether or not you planned to stay onboard. So, although we arrived at 10 AM, the ship was not cleared until after 12 noon. Navigator Of The Seas was parked next to us. We did a shore excursion to El Yungue National Rain Forest. That was really enjoyable. Our tour guide bought little sugar bananas for everyone on the bus to enjoy. We got back to Voyager just before 6 PM.
St. Thomas - The most beautiful of all the ports of call in my opinion! Our shore excursion was an island tour and a visit to Coral World Ocean Park-a small but enjoyable aquarium. I was surprised to learn that people drive on the left in St. Thomas. Flying around those sharp, hilly cliffs was an adventure in itself. Voyager was the only cruise ship in port that day.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
Is Voyager showing her age?
To be honest, there are some signs of wear and tear. For instance, in our stateroom, there was a large grease spot on one of the sofa cushions. Also, the sea foam green fabric borders along the wall by the bed had a small tear in it. There was also what appeared to be a spot of hardened nail polish on the glass coffee table. But, we didn't feel these things were significant enough to fuss about. Our stateroom was clean and neat otherwise. The ship in general is in very good shape for a vessel in use 50 weeks of the year!
How is the food?
I only had a problem with the beef and lamb dishes at dinner. For some reason, mine was always dry and tough. Others at my table did not have that problem. The desserts were very good. A personal favorite were the coconut cookies at Cafe Promenade. One complaint, the coffee, Seattle's Best, was the worst coffee I've ever had. Only adding water made it drinkable, yet, that washed away any coffee flavor. I especially enjoyed the Lipton Green Tea with Orange, Passion fruit and Jasmine.
How is Johnny Rockets?
Personally, the burgers are no better than the ones served downstairs at Windjammer and Island Grill. The onion rings and milk shakes are the real winners at JR.
How accommodating is the staff onboard?
I have nothing but praise for the staff of Voyager. Everyone was friendly and very helpful. For example, on our last full day onboard, a strong wind gust blew my cap off my head. It ended up in a limited access part of the ship. Staff from both security and the facilities staff saw to it that my cap was retrieved. They wouldn't even accept a thank you tip for their troubles. Our stateroom attendant Shawn, our dining room attendants Irfan, Jose' and Dave were all the best. My group of about 60 were celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of one of the couples in the group. Our table staff brought them a plate with "Happy 50th Anniversary" written in chocolate (let them keep the plate!).
How was the debarkation process?
We arrived back to Cape Liberty at 10 AM on the 17th. The first color, white, was called about 11:45. My color, purple (along with pink) were the last 2 colors to be called about 2:15 PM. Inside the terminal, there was general chaos with people rushing to the colored sections to retrieve their luggage. This process will hopefully improve.
In summary I had a great time, and, I'm already looking into Bermuda for next summer! This was my first cruise, but, it won't be my last!
Voyager Of The Seas-10/04
Post Edited (10-26-04 13:41)