Year Started: 1969
Ships in Fleet: 23
Summary: The largest and most technically impressive cruise ships in the world. Great for kids, families and adventurous adults. A large fleet, but Oasis and Brilliance are often cited as favorites
Good for: Families. Overall Service. Seniors.
Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean, Mediterranean
Good for: Families. Overall Service. Value for Money.
Regions:Caribbean, Canada, Transatlantic
Good for: Families. Overall Service. Seniors.
Regions:Bermuda, Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean
Good for: Seniors. Group. Families.
Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean
Good for: Families. Seniors. Group.
Regions:Bermuda, Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:Western Caribbean, Eastern Caribbean
Good for: Children`s Programs. Group. Families.
Regions:Western Caribbean, Eastbound Transatlantic
Good for: Children`s Programs. Families. Teens.
Good for: Teens. Group. Families.
Regions:Eastern Mediterranean, Caribbean, Eastbound Transatlantic
Good for: Seniors. Families. Overall Service.
Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean
Good for: Families. Value for Money. Teens.
Regions:China (as of May 2015)
Good for: First-time Cruisers. Overall Service. Value for Money.
Regions:Alaska, Hawaii, Tasmania
Good for: Children`s Programs. Seniors. Families.
Regions:Western Caribbean, Suez Canal, Bahamas, Dubai
Good for: Children`s Programs. Seniors. Families.
Regions:Brazil, Western Mediterranean, Greek Isles
Good for: Seniors. Families. Singles.
Regions:Norwegian Fjords, British Isles, Scan Russia, Southern Caribbean
Good for: Children`s Programs. Group. Families.
Regions:UK, Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda
Good for: Group. Families. Children`s Programs.
Regions:Bahamas, Southern Caribbean
Good for: Families. Children`s Programs. Seniors.
Regions:Western Caribbean, Southern Caribbean
Good for: Families. Overall Service. Teens.
Regions:Western Mediterranean, Panama Canal
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Seniors.
Regions:Singapore, Malaysia, Phuket & Port Kelang,
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:Hawaii, Alaska, South Pacific
Good for: Families. Group. Overall Service.
Regions:Toyko To Taipei, Australia, Asia
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.
This was our first time leaving out of New Jersey. The port is not near where the ports are in Miami and arriving there it looks like a deserted dump, with vacant boarded up buildings. There were no porters in sight and we were told to just leave our bags sitting there under the tent and get in line to check in. After checking in and getting Sea Pass pictures taken, you have to board a bus to the ship. Once on the ship it didn't matter how you got there, the ship was beautiful as expected. Leaving from Jersey has some good points. You can see the Statue of Liberty from the ship and when leaving you pass under a bridge that is definately worth braving the cold weather in order to see.
The first day at sea, as well as the last, it was rather rough and a bit cool. On the last day it was very rough seas and the outside decks were closed due to the gale force winds. This just added to the experience and was cool to watch from the window in our room.
Wehad an Owners' Suite (1300) which was a first for us, since we brought our 13 and 15 year olds. The cabin was very nice, roomy and had a huge bathroom with a jacuzzi tub and separate shower and the shampoo, conditioner, and lotion provided were of good quality. The couch was pretty worn and the stateroom attendant put a board under the pull-out couch bed at night for the kids. The bed for us was very comfortable as usual.
We have been to Labadee before and didn't book any excursions this time. We just spent the day at the beach, and it was a great beach day. Just remember that the sun is very strong there and use sunscreen. Water shoes are also highly recommended as the water has a very rocky bottom.
The second port was Samana DR. I was a bit worried about this stop because of what I had read on the threads. We booked an excursion to go to Cayo Levantado Beach and this was the most beautiful beach we had ever been to. It was a short tender ride and you can see the ship from the beach. White sand beach, crystal clear water and palm trees everywhere, it was paradise. There is also a barbecue on the beach and the food was reasonably priced and very good. The vendors there are very nice too, not too pushy (unlike Labadee where they harrass you so much it scared a lot of people away). They sell the usual souvenirs, but check out the Larimar jewelry, a light blue stone found only in the DR. It is very nice and a necklace and earrings only cost me $20.
I had been to St. Thomas before, so we decided to take an excursion to St. Johns which is a very nice island about a half hour ferry ride away. Went snorkeling at Trunk Bay. It's a nice place, but not the best snorkeling we have had and we only had an hour and a half there. I wish it would have been longer. Next time we will just stay in St. Thomas and find a beach on our own to spend the day. The port is nice and there is usually more than one ship there. There are a lot of huge yachts there too, which were quite a site to see. Shopping is right off the ship, within walking distance or you can take a taxi to the downtown area to shop.
We left St. Thomas and went right to San Juan, arriving there that night. Originally we were scheduled to be in San Juan from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., but this was changed to 10:30 p.m. after being in St. Thomas all day, and leaving the next morning at 11:30.
We had a letter in our room the first day stating that the ship is traveling at reduced speeds and that the times in port had been reduced by an hour each except for San Juan. Weird hours and because we aren't late night people, we didn't go out to see San Juan until the morning. We left the kids on the ship to sleep in and walked around and did some shopping. We wanted to tour the old forts but didn't have much time to venture too far from the ship.
We had been on the Voyager class ships before and really like the set up. The Explorer only has Portofinos and it is a definite do not miss. The food is excellent and worth the cover charge. Johnny Rockets is worth a try also if you have never been. We did eat at the Windjammer for dinner a lot more on this cruise and the food was very good, with create your own pizza bar, noodle bar, create your own pasta bar and a mongolian stir fry. Very good food and we wanted a change from the dining room. The Windjammer is very quiet for dinner and only the back is open and the lights are dimmed. The breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer is okay, but the menu doesn't change much and it gets a bit repetitive eating the same things for nine days straight.
Overall this was an incredible cruise, with great ports and plenty to do. We didn't go to many of the shows, but the ice show was great. Do not miss it. We also saw a hilarious ventiloquist act (Ronn Lucas). It was nice to have the extra two days compared to the usual 7 night cruises we have been on, and this was the perfect length of time.
This was our 3rd family cruise and over all, it was a terrific vacation. The cruise staff was wonderful and the ship was fantastic. This is a review of the Shore Excursion, Chukka 4x4 Adventure in Montego Bay, Jamaica. After viewing the in-room excursion videos and reading the provided excursion guides, my family decided on the Chukka 4x4 Adventure in Montego Bay, Jamaica. This excursion appeared to be a safari exploration with some education and physical activity.
The initial shore side welcome went as expected; we promptly met our guide who escorted the party to the Land Cruiser vehicles. The vehicles were well kept and in working order, however not Land Rover vehicles as described in the brochure.
Upon departure our guide provided commentary on Montego Bay landmarks such as the police station, the jail, petrol storage, and KFC. Further into the tour, our guide exited the highway to a parallel road that was the former thru-way. This old road apparently was difficult to maintain due to the natural springs that wash out the road surface. The guide pointed out that natives utilize these pools on the road to launder clothes, wash cars,and collect water for home use.
Now 40 minutes into the tour, we entered an undeveloped residential property that was gated. The property provided a great view of Montego Bay, but to gain access to this property, our guide gave the gatekeeper a bottle of rum punch and two other individuals were given monetary tips or bribes. At this point of the tour our guide spent at least 20 minutes on her cell phone while the party was pacified with rum punch poured from a used milk jug.
Now 70 minutes into the tour, we continued on paved roads and briefly stopped at an old plantation property and church. For 15-20 minutes the party walked around the property and took some pictures while the guide again talked on her cell phone. From the plantation property, we entered an orange grove via a gravel road. We continued on the gravel road thru the orange grove and stopped so the guide could pick a few oranges, peel them with a rusty knife and offer samples to the party.
Two-plus hours into the tour, we continued on the gravel road thru the orange grove and stopped at the "jungle river." The river was nice; however it was far from a jungle experience. It was merely a river running thru an orange grove that is accessible via any car or bus -- no 4x4 required. Three-plus hours into the tour, we tracked back thru the grove to a waterfall, which was actually a man-made water supply and filtration plant.
Next and final stop was the outpost where you could purchase souvenirs, chicken, rum punch, and beer. The in-room video excursion guide indicated a beach to relax, but we never saw a beach and never relaxed. Instead, we were hassled to purchase their over-priced junk that was made in china.
There was a one-hour ride back that was very uncomfortable because of the gas fumes and heavy dust in the open vehicle on the gravel road. The guide picked up an individual on the way back from the roadside in a bad area that made us feel unsafe. Finally back, covered in dirt and dust, this trip was not described as is. We never would have chosen to spend our money or more importantly, our vacation in the manner. A positive perspective is that we had the opportunity to see the real Jamaica, a real dump, a true welfare state with gross corruption. I expressed my dissatisfaction to Royal Caribbean and they provided a 10% refund on the $344 tour for four. My recommendation, stay on the boat when visiting Montego Bay.
This was our third cruise with Royal Caribbean and the one we liked the least. Upon arrival at the port the porters were not very helpful at all (even with tip in hand). I was very glad that I made my own baggage tickets ahead of time so that I did not have to wait for them to give me a baggage tag. My parents, who were traveling with my husband and I, had to wait until someone finally came around to give them a tag, but then had to borrow a pen from me to fill it out.
We made it to our rooms and unloaded our carry-on bag and went to the Windjammer for lunch. As usual, it was a mob scene and one of my least favorite places on the ship. Some people can be so rude and this is a good place to see it first hand.
After a quick bite to eat, we met up with my brother, his wife, and three children. This was their first cruise and they were so excited and happy. We walked around and explored the ship and it wasa lot of fun.
My husband and I noticed that this ship, compared to the others we had been on in 2006 and 2007, was in need of repair and upgrades. The carpeting, and towels and bedding in our room was rather worn and needed to be replaced. The room was clean however.
The food in the main dining room was rather poor compared to the other two cruises we were on. It usually came cold or room temp and there was nothing really special about it. We also noticed that the portions seemed much smaller. We left hungry most nights. The service was horrible. The main server was very moody and seemed unhappy. His assistant was about the same but did try and show the kids some interesting little tricks.
Overall the crew seemed tired and not very helpful. Even the cruise director, Paul, just seemed plain tired and rather boring!!
We took an excursion in Grand Cayman called the Reef and Wreck Snorkel. We were supposed to be met at the pier at 12 noon, but they were about 30 minutes late. We finally loaded a bus that took us about a block away. We boarded a boat and went to the wreck part of the excursion (you can actually see from the pier). We stayed there for about 30 minutes and traveled just a short distance to the reef part and stayed about another 30 minutes (the crew of the boat threw bread in the water to attract the fish). The boat took us back to where the bus dropped us off, but we had to walk back to the pier. The excursion was suppose to be 2-1/2 hours, but we lost 1/2 hour because they were late and we did not get much snorkel time at all.
In Jamaica we walked off the ship just to shop in a little "village," but no sooner than we walked off the ship, we were accosted by people who wanted to bring us to "see Jamaica." Every couple of feet someone came up to us offering to take us somewhere. We just kept saying no thanks. In the shop the clerks did not seem happy to see us, but rather the opposite. We felt very unwelcomed and almost a little hated. My brother even had to come to the rescue of a young lady who was walking by herself and was being followed by several men who were really bothering her. She was almost in tears and could not thank us enough for helping her. Jamaica was very unpleasant, to say the least.
Overall Our experience overall was fair to poor. I am glad this was not our first cruise because I don't know if I would go on another one after experiencing some of the negative things with this one. Our other two cruises were top notch! On a scale of one to 10 (10 being the best) I would give this cruise a 4.5!
I am extremely disappointed with the experience we had on this cruise. It started out at the port when we had to chase down a porter to get our luggage tags, who didn't even have a pen for us to use in order to fill out the tag information.
The ship in general was in need of some major overhaul (soiled and worn carpets, linen, etc.)
The staff -- from the room attendent to the wait staff in the dining area -- were not very friendly or helpful. The tables in the Windjammer were never cleaned very well to the point that my placemat actually stuck to the table.
The entertainment left a lot to be desired. The two headliners were good, but the rest of the entertainment was not what we have come to expect from a previous cruise.
The diving excursion was a half hour late, so we were rushed through that whole experience.
I would not recommend taking a cabin on the 10th deck aft, as I was awakened every morning by the sound of carts being wheeled on the deck above us to service the Windjammer dining area.
Thistrip has caused me to have serious doubts about sailing with Royal Caribbean again.
We were on The Rhapsody of The Seas on the 14 night trip from Sydney around the 2 islands of New Zealand and back to Sydney. For us the trip was just too long. We have sailed several times before, but this was our longest trip. There are 2 days at sea in the beginning of the trip and 2 days at the end, but there are also two other days at sea, one when cruising the Sounds and the other cruising White Volcano Island. There were a lot of people complaining of catching a cold and coughing in the passages and lifts. It is just too unnatural to live in an air-conditioned environment for so long. The fact that the weather was quite chilly resulted in most people staying inside the ship.
The ship, although an old ship, was very well maintained. The entertainment in the theatre was outstanding, the best we had ever seen on a Royal Caribbean ship. The waiters in the dining room were very good and friendly -- actually the whole staff on the ship was extremely friendly and helpful. The food was fine, butone could see there were cut downs on very luxury foods like crayfish, etc., but on the whole it was good.
Please try to avoid the medical facility on the ship, because it is day light robbery! My husband went to the doctor with a nasal drip and sore throat. He drew blood before making a decision what to prescribe! He also wanted to take X-rays, but my husband refused. The drawing of blood and the results thereof amounted to $180; the total of the visit was $298! He gave him a few antibiotic tablets costing $10. Imagine what the bill would have been if he took the X-rays?
After leaving Sydney on the evening of the 10th of February we were in a storm at sea. It was really scary. The ship creaked, things slammed and our TV was rolling in and out on its rails the whole night. The ship rocked and rolled for two days. People fell in the passages and for the first time on a cruise I noticed that vomiting bags were placed on all staircases and other strategic places. The swells were about 8 meters high and the wind about 40 knots. On the 5th deck water came through the sliding doors and soaked the carpets in the lobby. A window was apparently also broken in the Windjammer. It was a blessing when we woke-up the third morning and were cruising in the calm waters of the Sounds.
We arrived at Milford Sound about 6.30 am and it was absolutely awesome! The sun was slowly rising behind the majestic snow capped mountains. A nice place to be is on deck 5 as you can walk through to the other side and see the Sound from both sides. We had a perfectly clear day cruising the Sounds and it was really breathtaking.
When taking excursions try to avoid the Panoramic tours. They are a total waste of time, because they just drive through all the places with only a few photo stops. There is no time to just browse around the city or do some shopping. If you want to stay behind you will have to make your own way back to the ship. Most of the docking harbours are about 7 to 15 kilometers from the actual city. There are shuttle busses, but at a cost.
New Zealand is a beautiful country with lots of water, hills and coves. I particularly liked Christchurch with the Avon river flowing through the city. At Auckland we unfortunately did not even bother to leave the ship as it was pouring rain, with a strong wind and a thick fog hanging over the city.
After the last two boring days at sea we could not wait to be back on terra firma.
Back in Sydney we stayed at the Marriott Harbour Hotel at Circular Quay for another two days. We had a deluxe room with views of the Opera House on the 26th floor. The hotel is really recommended, with a very friendly staff and it is very centrally situated.
When taking a tour of the Opera House, just make sure that the Opera House itself is open for viewing. After we bought our tickets and climbed several stairs to get to the foyer, the guide told us that we will not be able to view the Opera House as they were busy with a rehearsal. The funny part is that we were allowed to enter the concert hall while a rehearsal was going on, but not in the opera house which was the actual reason for taking this tour.
My opinion of this cruise is that it was too long and apart from Sydney, nothing was really outstanding except for the Sounds.
I read online when I did a Google search for cruise ships that had pool tables on them that the Royal Caribean Cruise Line had the first gyro pool table as of 2002.
That is not so. We took a cruise down the Amazon River in December of 2000 on the Olympic Voyager Cruise Line, and it had a pool table onboard.
Our cruise on the Royal Olympic Voyager took place two years before Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas was even built.
I just wanted to correct this inaccuracy.
We just completed our third cruise with Royal Caribbean. This was our least favorite of the three.
The cruise director was obnoxious and annoying. The entertainment in the evening shows lacked the quality of the previous cruises. Two nights we actually got up and left during the show.
The cleanliness of the tables in the Windjammer was very poor. They were always streaked, looking like they had been wiped with a dirty cloth.
We were in a group of 16. Some of us experienced soiled linens and stained towels.
The food in the dining room was average, at best. The portions seemed much smaller than previous cruises.
The prices for alcohol were also more expensive.
All in all, it was disappointing, and we will definitely consider another cruise line for our next vacation.
I was disappointed in this cruise overall.
I concur with the review written by "RCL victim" as well.
The food on this ship is cafeteria quality, and the service was fair at best.
We finally went to the premium restaurants toward the end of the cruise and wish we had earlier. They were well worth the extra $25 after enduring a week of the mediocre dining room fare.
I agree with the previous reviews stating that RCL takes many oppurtunities to capitalize.
What a great cruise we had.
The food was great. I had lobster, filet minion, ribs, halibut, salmon, and shrimp until it was coming out my ears. I even tried escargot. I ate all of the evening meals in dining room, breakfasts and lunches in both the dining room and the buffet. All of it was great. The waiter and waiter assistant were right there whenever you need something. And if you didn't get enough just ask and they will bring you more.
The cabin we had was the size of most motel rooms, but we had a handicap cabin that was two times bigger that most cabins. There was never an unmade bed, and the cabin attendant always made little animals out of the towels.
My wife brought a book along, but didn't get a chance to read a page. There are so many things to do on the ship that you have a hard time fitting everything in.
We took the tequila town and country excursion in Puerto Vallarta. And it was ok. But I think hiring a taxi driver to show you the sites is better. It is cheaperand you can have him stop whenever you want him to.
The only problem we had was getting to the viking lounge on the 11th floor. I'm in a wheelchair and after 10:00 PM the won't let the elevator go to the 11th floor.
Just the Facts Ship: Voyager of the Seas Date: January 11-January 18, 2009 Captain: Patrik Dahlgren Entertainment Director: Eric Dowis Ports: Galveston -- Cozumel -- Roatan -- Costa Maya -- Galveston Weather: Poor all week
This was my 11th Royal Caribbean cruise and 3rd cruise on the Voyager of the Seas. We are cruising and traveling with my Sister & BIL and meeting good friends who we have sailed with previously.
Day One -- Sunday -- Embarkation The Voyager had major embarkation problems due to fog (5+ hours late) the previous weekend so that was our major pre-cruise concern. We were actually pleased when a small cold front came through central Texas on Saturday. We would gladly trade the cooler weather for the assurance of no fog and thus a delay. The front reached Galveston late Saturday so the weather was clear, and colder than normal at embarkation, but no fog.
We left the Ranch at 6:00 a.m. BIL drove and I navigated and enjoyed following with the very nice GPS system. The GPS system took us the exact same route we usually take. We had a nice and easy drive to Galveston. Houstontraffic was fine. We arrived early enough to drop our bags at Cruise Terminal #2 before automobile traffic became heavy. I drove over and parked at EZ Cruise parking and then walked over to the ship terminal. I highly recommend EZ Cruise parking and they have shuttles, but I prefer walking. By the time I got back to the terminal our party had reached the front of the first security ID check. They had a priority/VIP line for the 2nd security check point that we used and then went to Priority check-in desk. We had just settled in with our complimentary glass of champagne when they announced they would begin boarding. Nice group in the priority area and no mad rush to the door. The ship's staff were extremely friendly, everyone welcomed us on board ship and offered help or guidance. We went to the Windjammer and were ahead of most of the arriving passengers. With fewer people there we could appreciate the three beautiful ice carvings and the fruit displays. The roast beef was very good as was the salad and the desserts.
We went to our cabin shortly after 1:00 p.m. when cabins became available to guests. Our luggage arrived about 1:30 p.m. so we were unpacked right away. I promised DD that we would go down to the Promenade deck and wave at the web cam at 2:00 so we did (she later reported that she saw us) and then stopped at the Pig & Whistle for a cocktail and cokes. The Promenade deck was packed as the cool weather kept passengers off the outdoor decks and inside the ship. The Grand Promenade is a very good people watching spot and I saw several friends and acquaintances. It was busy early due to the cool weather. The sports bar was packed with people watching the NFL football playoffs that were also shown on cabin TV. We later finished unpacking and explored more of the ship. It was quite chilly for muster drill.
The Welcome Aboard Show for both dinner settings featured comedian Keith McGill, Eric Dowis the Cruise Director, and the Voyager of the Seas Singers and Dancers. It was a good show and a good start to the cruise. Dinner was scheduled for 30 minutes later than usual as is sometimes common on embarkation day. Friends and family are all at the same table as requested in the La Boheme dining room. The Vidalia onion tart and Tomatillo (spicy) soup were very good. I also had the Prime Rib (with fresh horseradish) as an entree and Savrin for desert. After a busy day and dinner we retired to the cabin for the evening.
Day Two -- Monday -- At Sea Warmer today than it was yesterday, but still cool and cloudy most of the day. I slept very well and a little late. I went up to the Windjammer and it was packed so I had a very nice breakfast in the Carmen (main) dining room. After breakfast I picked up tickets for the Ice Skating Show for our group. The Captain gave his midday report and announced that there would be a delay in arriving in Cozumel, not sure why. We had lunch in the Windjammer. They had roast pork at the carving station and the specialty station had "prepared to order" pasta. There was a wide selection of items in the buffet. The chocolate peanut butter pie was fantastic as were the egg custard and tutti-frutti, some of my favorite desserts. A short nap before we went to the 4:00 ice show, Ice Odyssey. It was an excellent show and not to be missed. The Captain's reception was held in the Grand Promenade. He introduced his senior staff from a bridge above and across the promenade. Dinner tonight was at the usual 8:00 pm in the dining room. Escargot, Shrimp Cocktail, Beef Filet, Sea Bass, and Grand Mariner Soufflé were my selections. The headwaiter brought me a plate of sliced Hearts of Palm (one of my favorites) that were fantastic. This was my favorite dinner of the week. The Hughes Brothers were the featured entertainers this evening, but we skipped having seen them previously. Another early cabin night.
Day Three -- Tuesday -- Cozumel Weather was cloudy and moist today. Midday temperatures around 80°. I had breakfast in the Carmen dining room. A very good breakfast: tomato juice, grapefruit, fried eggs, bacon, hash brown potatoes, and toast. We arrived three hours late in Cozumel docking after 10:30 am. The cause was stated as weather and water currents early after leaving Texas although I think we have been traveling on only one screw since we left Galveston. There were four ships in Cozumel, two at the International pier (Voyager & Grandeur) and two next door at Puerto Maya (Carnival Fantasy & a Costa ship). We were the last to arrive. Because of the late arrival and on again and off again showers we didn't do any excursions or island tours as originally discussed and we just took a taxi into San Miguel. Our first stop was the Mayan Pearl owned by our friend Nelly. I had a much needed haircut at Antonio's barber shop. Martin has been cutting my hair for over three years. We did some shopping at Ron Jon's and our favorite store La Cinco Soles. We had arranged to meet our friends at La Candela and we all arrived there about 2:00 p.m. Lunch here was fantastic and it is a very attractive and clean restaurant. They set up tables for our group of eight on the lower patio next to the little waterfall. The owner is Cuban so there is a nice selection of Mexican and Caribbean (Cuban) dishes. Our group ordered a wide selection of items from the menu and ALL were very good including the fresh Seafood dishes, Shrimp dishes, Soups, Mexican & Guacamole dishes, and the unique house Salsa. They also have a full bar and very good service. A little shower again fell, but we were protected on our little patio. After lunch we visited the Havana Blue cigar bar as rumor was that they are serving mojitos from there although the main bar is still closed. Our group drank all the mojitos that could be made as they ran out of the 'makings' so we were offered some samples of various Cuban premium rums.
We headed back up the Malecon to the main square and then taxid back to the ship. As we have done on previous cruises our group likes to meet on deck four over the gangway just before sail away. It's fun to watch the late arrivals and their condition as they return to the ship. At Cozumel there were some lucky people even though they were late. There was a large ship tour from the mainland that was very late so no one would be left at the dock. We sailed about 45 minutes late. The feature production show this evening in the LaScala Theater was Music in Motion. The show is very enjoyable although we skipped having seen it twice and having had such a busy day. DW & I stopped by the Concierge Club for a cocktail before dinner. Dinner was good. DW had a very good vegetarian entrée: a multi colored pasta cooked in a blue cheese sauce which is their best vegetarian entrée in her opinion. I had the Maryland Crab cake, Soup, Grilled double sliced Pork Steak and a Black Angus Sirloin Steak, with a Mango parfait type dish for dessert. The Pork Steak was very good. This evening the Country & Western night/Texas Party was held in Cleopatra's Needle. They had a western band and did line dancing directed by the cruise staff.
Day Four -- Wednesday -- Roatan The Voyager arrived around 9:30 a.m. and the weather is overcast with showers. You can't see the mainland today. Temperature is very humid 82-84° with showers. I again had a very nice breakfast in the Carmen dining room. Due to the weather we all changed plans from a trip to the West End/Tabyana beach. DS & BIL took an island tour by taxi and our friends went to the Fins & Flippers located in Coxen Hole, the same harbor as the cruise terminal. We watched a movie in the cabin and then had lunch in the Windjammer. Each of us had great salads. I also had roast beef and baked potato. Dessert was a very good Lemon Merengue pie. We decided to take a walk after lunch just around the pier area. They have now completed the construction of the three new buildings at the Coxen Hole Cruise Terminal, and they look very nice -- a sort of old colonial warehouse style architecture. They will eventually house shops and services. There is already a Diamonds International opened, some may say that is progress, others not so much. Although still cloudy and an occasional shower we decided to take the tender over to the Fins & Flippers to see what it was like at this new resort. We got there about 2:00 pm and found our friends on the beach and in the water snorkeling. They said the snorkeling was wonderful. We stayed and had a bucket of the local beers, Salva Vida and Port Royal, until the rains really came down about 3:30. Fortunately it was a warm rain. The tender took us from the small island directly to the cruise ship pier. That allowed us to avoid the crowded walk back and was very convenient. At Sail Away we had a fantastic impromptu sail away party. The deck four gangway party merged to our large aft balcony for cocktails and fun as we put the view of the island of Roatan and sunset behind us. We even ordered a dozen Fruit & Cheese plates for a nice snack.
A lighter dinner, just having a steak as an entrée, but the waiter again brought a plate of sliced hearts of palm (one of my favorites) that we shared with the table. The Love and Marriage game show hosted by Eric was held this evening in the La Scala Theater.
Day Five -- Thursday -- Costa Maya We docked very early this morning and it was pouring down rain. Also docked at the newly reopened pier is the MSC Lyrica and the P&O Oceania. The Lyrica is the ship we hope will be sailing from Bayport (Houston) Texas soon. We watched the Love & Marriage show on the cabin TV this morning and Eric Dowis is amazing. A great ad-libber and he makes the now standard cruise show very humorous. I met our group for breakfast in the Windjammer and the plan for the day is to sit out the rain until afternoon. Team GangwayRay/Mohahual were the Voyager of the Seas Team Trivia Champions for Thursday. The question that we answered that put us over the top as no other team got it was: Who was Robert LeRoy Parker better known as? The weather slacked a bit about noon so a group of us headed over to Costa Maya and Mahahual. It was still sprinkling, but gradually stopped although still very overcast. This is my first visit since they recently reopened the port. It had been closed since Hurricane Dean in August of 2007. The modern village has been completely restored and is very nice. All the shops, bars, and restaurants are open and it is very clean and convenient to the ships. We decided to go on to the old former fishing village. The ticket/transport area has been moved further south, but allows more room on the outside for loading. The cost of transportation to Mahahual either by bus, taxi, or van is $3 per person.
Mahahual: They have developed a Malecon with a nice walkway along the waterfront. They will now only have permanent structures on the shore side although they will have palpas, umbrellas, etc. along the beach side of the walkway. Several restaurants are building nice structures on the shore side with a nice beach area for guests. We stopped at the El Faro beach area first and had a few beers, very good guacamole & pico de gallo, and enjoyed a large mariachi band, but showers moved us into their patio across the street. To be honest their permanent building lacks the charm of their former location. They do have good toilets in the building, but it will not be my favorite place in the new Mahahual. Pez Quatro has the most impressive structure so far, but I do not recommend them. The beer is $3 per beer which is $1+ more than other beach locations. The real sin was the nachos that are made with canned processed cheese and canned nachos. Basically the same as the ballpark nachos you would get at Ranger stadium, just dressed up a bit. They may be acceptable for the people off the Lyrica, Oceania, or 30% of the passengers of the Voyager, but that's not real nachos. After having so much fun here in previous years I was very disappointed with Mahahual this time. After returning to the cabin I enjoyed watching everyone return to the ship and the sail away of the Lyrica. The entertainment this evening in the La Scala Theatre was Merrill Osmond, lead singer of the famous Osmond Brothers family. He had a great multimedia show and sang many Osmond hits. This was one of the better shows we have seen on a cruise ship. This was Italian night in the dining room. My selections for dinner were the Scallops Risotto, Minestrone soup, Chicken Marsala, Sponge Cake with strawberries, and Tiramisù. The waiters ended Italian night by singing O Solo Mio (kind of ironic because of the weather -- no sun).
This evening the Quest was held in Studio B, but I met friends in the High Notes Lounge to listen to Synergy, a jazz/pop group who did a variety of music. The female vocalist was great.
Day Six -- Friday -- At Sea It is a cloudy & very windy day today, but a bit nicer on the aft balcony. I was up early today so made my way up to the Island Grill to get my first omelette. It was very good. The lines have been longer at the omelette station this cruise as many more people have discovered it. Corned beef hash, bacon, tomato juice, and milk completed breakfast. We entered the Team Trivia contest again and tied for 1st, but lost the tie breaker: What book did John Hinckley have on him when he shot President Reagan? I tried my luck in the casino with the free slot pulls that come with our C&A booklet and won some credits. We watched a movie on cabin TV and then went to the Windjammer for a light lunch. The green salads are very good and I also had some Schnitzel and potato salad. I took a nap after lunch and then tried some more trivia but we again lost out to the same team. I did discover that they read this simple blog though, so they are obviously 'intelligent' folks (wink). The second production show for our cruise was before dinner. Broadway Rhythm & Rhyme featured the singers and dancers in a Broadway style review show featuring popular songs from Broadway shows. It was an excellent show. Tonight is the second formal evening and dinner was again good. My selections were the Baked Ziti, Garden Salad, Fisherman's Platter (Lobster & shrimp) and the assorted dessert selection with ice crème. The Karaoke Superstars was following dinner, but we went to the Big Band Swing show by the Voyager of the Seas Orchestra that was held in Cleopatias Needle. After the show we stopped to check some of Derrick Lewis' Kamikaze Karaoke at the Pig & Whistle Pub. Derick has his own group of followers that have sailed with him many times previously from Galveston on the Rhapsody and now the Voyager.
Day Seven -- Saturday -- At Sea Partly cloudy and sun this morning. Best weather of the cruise on the last sea day. We tried to sleep in this morning as we have ordered room service breakfast for the balcony. I filled out an application for a future cruise booking and left it with the Loyalty Ambassador this morning. He seemed very nice. We were invited to the luncheon for Platinum and Diamond guests at noon. It was in the Magic Flute and it was well attended. We were able to eat with friends from a previous cruise as well as DS & BIL and met some new friends and fellow ranchers from the Granbury area. They served two starters, Duck Pate, and a Potato Soup with flaky biscuit. The wine served was very good. We had a choice of entrees. I had the Filet Mignon that was excellent and they prepared some vegetables for DW. The dessert was a very, very rich Chocolate Cake. After lunch I used a C&A coupon to try a Mango Lava Flow from the Aquarium bar and it was very nice. I leave a tip when using a coupon and the bartenders seem to appreciate it. If you wait until after 2:30 pm on the final sea day and purchase liquor from the General Store you can take it with you to your cabin. I purchased two bottles of Bacardi rum ($21) and the price gets better the more you purchase, but Texas has a legal limit of one liter per person. The weather finally improved enough that passengers used the pool deck this afternoon. The band played and the pool bars were finally busy. We took our first stroll of the cruise along the decks about 4:00 pm. We did sneak in a visit to Johnny Rockets this afternoon and did catch a dance from the waiters. DW & I had cocktails in the Concierge Club and visited with friends. We skipped the Farewell entertainment show, but watched it on the cabin TV later while packing.
Dinner was again very good. I had the Cesar salad, New York Strip Steak, French Onion Soup, and Key Lime Pie for dessert. All selections were very good. After dinner was the Island Frenzy Parade in the Royal Promenade.
Day Eight -- Sunday -- Debarkation No room service on debarkation morning, but a full breakfast menu in the dining room. Of course today we had the best weather of the week. The Voyager arrived early and we were docked by 6:30 a.m. They have a new debarkation system. They make no announcements at all, everyone is allowed to select their own departure time earlier in the week and are assigned a meeting spot for that time. The staff then goes to each location at the appropriate time and escorts them to the gangway. I think this will work well. They started allowing the self-debarkation people off about 7:00 a.m. thirty minutes before scheduled. It was really fairly smooth considering how many people are using it. We debarked, went through U.S. Customs, rolled our bags across the street, loaded the truck, and were off the island at 7:50 am. Gasoline was $1.68 in Galveston. We made our stop at Ama's in Hearne Texas for migas, picked up the dogs in Waco, and arrived home in fine shape about 1:30 p.m.
Ship This was my 4th time on a Voyager class ship. I am still very impressed with these magnificent vessels. There are good and bad things about the size. The elevators can be busy or full and I recommend taking the stairs when possible. The additional size also means that there is room for the photo gallery, casino, bars, etc. without any one of them dominating an entire deck. On this particular cruise, because of a lot of cool and wet weather, the additional interior spaces was needed and utilized. The Aquarium Bar and Champagne Bar are very impressive as are the Studio B, the Theater, and other public spaces. The Grand Promenade is very impressive indeed and must be experienced. The ship was very clean and the public rooms were always spotless. They replaced the carpet on deck seven aft during the week so they are still making repairs even though they have a dry dock scheduled soon.
Crew The staff and crew are very good. The staff are very friendly. I guess they have really adjusted to Texas and the friendly crowd. We had our third different Captain on the Voyager and he did keep us informed of the weather for better or worse. Our waiter and assistant waiter were excellent. The bar staff all were very friendly. Even the maintenance crew would greet you. Very impressed.
Cabin We have cabin 7688, an aft wrap balcony on deck seven. It is an average sized cabin, but a very nice balcony and quiet location. Our cabin steward was excellent. He did keep my small cooler full of ice and the cabin in good shape. The cabin was very clean when we boarded and cleaned very well during the week. He also kept the balcony neat and clean. The safe has a button keypad. Air conditioning worked very well. You can check the status of your on board account using the RC-TV. The cabin refrigerator was well stocked, but we never used it. The toilet paper had been downgraded to an industrial quality. Also no mints on your bed at turn down, but some nice towel animals most nights.
Food We had second or late seating for dinner. Our dining room was the La Boheme, deck four (middle level) of the 3 level restaurant. It was an eight top table and had a perfect view of the beautiful main chandelier. Our waiter, Reynaldo from India is very good. The assistant waiter, Dennis from Romania, is also very good. The headwaiter Betty from India came by several times to check our table and arranged for the hearts-of-palm. We enjoyed all the dinners in the dining room. Johnny Rockets is a good alternative for lunch or an afternoon snack. Lunch in the dining room has the same menu each day with one special item that does change daily. All the bread selections are very good on board. The Windjammer had a daily pasta bar and a carving station for nice meat selections. We enjoyed the green salads and specialty items. The desserts are very good. There are several ice cream machines with strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate flavors. We do use Room Service more when we have a balcony cabin. You can order room service on the RC-TV, but I recommend calling room service. DW used it for light breakfast every morning. We also used it a few times in the afternoon for Fruit plates & Cheese plates and twice for sail away parties. Service was good when used.
Weather This was the worse weather I have ever experienced on a seven-day cruise. No severe weather, but it was just consistently cloudy, windy and rainy. A majority of the shore excursions in all three ports were canceled. The weather also created longer lines and people in the Windjammer or Johnny Rockets as it was too wet for the food usually served on the pool deck. I know many were disappointed they could not use the pools and other outdoor activities.
Cruise Highlights We 'appreciate' CD Eric Dowis, the fantastic Ice show Ice Odyssey, the Broadway style Rhythm & Rhyme production show, and Merrill Osmond. Our favorite port this time was Roatan.
Comments This was our first cruise as C&A Diamond members so we are learning the advantages of that level of membership and we did enjoy the Concierge Club. The weather really affected the overall atmosphere of this cruise. We made the best of what opportunities we had to make our own fun when we could. Traveling with friends helped a lot in this situation. We had a good cruise, but it would have been much more enjoyable with better weather.