We are going to go on the VOS next Jan (western) with 10 first time cruisers. This will be our 4th cruise, but first to the Western Caribbean. Since I am the cruise planner I am getting nervous that I have picked the right cruise--should we do eastern instead--We wanted to try Western this time, but I want it to be fun for all. 8 of 10 are in 30's and early 40's with 2 in early 60s
Is this ship too big, should I go with the smaller class ships?
We did the Western last year (husband and I, 50 & 42) with three of our kids (10, 12 & 15). We had a great time. So much fun we're doing it again in April 2005. I've never been on the Voyager but have heard nothing but good. I'm sure you'll all have a good time.
Celebrity Century 1/09
Carnival Destiny 10/07
Carnival Destiny 9/06
Monarch of the Seas 3/06
Carnival Inspiration 8/05
Carnival Miracle 4/05
Carnival Inspiration 4/04
Sovereign of the Seas 4/03
I think you picked a wonderful cruise and ship for a group like you are cruising with. There will be lots of activities for everyone to either do or not do, thats the great thing about cruising, you have that option.
Don't worry, be happy. The Voyager is an amazing ship. Few ship even compare to it. The western route IMHO is the best and most fun route. You will have a blast. The ship is not too big. I can't say enough good things about this ship. If you have any questions feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org Bon Voyage
You chose fine. I have been on Eastern & Western several times and Western is great! The waters in Grand Caymen are unreal. Renting a jeep in Cozumel is one of our favorite excursions. Great bar at the point with hammocks on the beach!
We (9 people -- ranging from 50something down to 13) took the Western itinerary on the Explorer of the Seas January 31, 2004. All of us had cruise before and we were still impressed by the sheer size (and beauty) of the Explorer. I would enjoy seeing the faces of your "first time cruisers" as you approach the pier and as they look around the Royal Promenade (this looks like a city block, not a ship!!!).
If your western ports of call are the same, here is what we did:
Labadee -- Beach day!!! Tender to the "private island" and enjoy the beach. Get a bucket of beer (the beach bartenders and staff are from the ship so you may recognize faces already!!!) and enjoy the provided BBQ.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica -- Took a "rum boat" tour over to Dunns River Falls. All 9 took the boat ride but only 5 climbed the falls while the other 4 watched from the dry steps that run along the falls. Drinking and dancing on the boat for the ride back. The boat stopped close to the ship and we had less than an hour of beach time a a very nice beach behind a hotel. I swam with my daughter (13) while others remained on the beach and yet others remained with the rum!!!
Grand Cayman -- My hubby and our kids (15 & 13) took the Cockatoo Catamaran out to feed and swim with the stingrays. This was the great excursion I've ever done. There are larger vessels that go to Stingray City but the Cockatoo and her staff are top-notch. I didn't want to get out of the water. I fed about a dozen stingrays and petted many more!!!
Others from our party tendered into town and shopped. Others remained on the ship and enjoyed the balcony and other activities.
Cozumel -- All 9 of us took The Fury catamaran excursion. First they took us to a beautiful snorkeling area. Then it was beer and margaritas and sailed to a fabulous beach where no locals pestered you. We swam, played volleyball, kayaked, floated on mats, laid in hammocks and didn't want to return to our ship. Another top-notch staff and excursion. My son especially enjoyed that day. Beer and margaritas all the way back to the ship!!!
The ship itself is gorgeous. Entertainment and food everywhere. Loved the Cruz Comics (a troupe of 4 that entertain before shows and in the Promenade). Mini golf, rollerblading, rockclimbing wall, ice rink (free skates -- take advantage), Johnny Rockets (50s diner -- fun!!!! delicious!!!!).
Yes, the ship is huge. We had an aft balcony cabin on Deck 10 (almost too big!!!!!) and the walk was very long down the hall but certainly worth it.
The only other draw back was trying to find a table that would hold 9 in the Windjammer or buffet areas if we wanted to eat together. Most tables seem to hold only 6 people. I do recommend eating breakfast or lunch in the dining room instead of the buffet sometimes because there will be no problem getting a table to fit your group and you sit with strangers and meet people from all over.
I hope this helps. Contact me if you need more information.
Its usually "open" seating in the dining rooms for breakfast and lunch. IF you all go together, you can get a table together. There is also the buffet for breakfast and lunch and you find your own seats. Breakfast and lunch in the dining room, they will seat you as you come in, and you can tell them if you are eating with your group or whatever you want.
You did just fine, and remember, if none of them have cruised they have nothing to compare it with. I happen to like each itinerary for different reasons: Snorkeling can't be beat on the Western Caribbean and shopping is much better on the Eastern itineraries. Then, there is the Southern that have the nicest island in my opinion and usually the best prices, but it's so inconvenient to get to San Juan from many locations throughout the country.
You did a good job and everyone will have a wonderful time. Now, relax!@!
Voyager is a great ship (as are all in the class). My only warning is that there are likely to be quite a few families on board (read as: children :-). These ships are typically 1/3 full with children. I've never really notice this to be a problem at all other than at the ice cream machines on the Promenade, but then I have 2 children of my own :-) If you want to go on a cruise with less children I would recommend the Radiance class. For me, the Voyager-class ships are tops! My favorite parts for the Caribbean are in order: Southern, Western, Eastern. Southern is difficult for some because most leave out of San Juan, PR. Eastern has too many sea days for me, and some of the ports can be cool in the winter.