Length: 1,020 ft
Registry: BahamasBest For People Who Want
A bigger-than-life cruise experience with nearly unlimited activities; the feeling of being in a city-at-sea; family members of many ages to have a grand time; non-stop nightlifeShould Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
A small ship with lots of quiet; large inside/outside standard cabins; single, open seating or intimate dining; a close-to-the-sea cruise.Onboard Experience
When Voyager of the Seas, first of the Voyager class of ships (Voyager, Explorer, Adventure, Mariner and Navigator), entered service in 1999 as the largest cruise ship in the world, many observers predicted that such of her features as an ice skating rink, rock-climbing wall, in-line skating track, horizontal atrium, and inside cabins with promenade view would change the face of cruising forever. One thing is for sure: the 3,114-passenger ship appeals to people of all ages but is especially suited for the younger and more active set.
Oldsters can still enjoy people-watching but its the youngsters who really benefit from the 40-foot-high rock-climbing wall, ice-skating, miniature golf, volleyball and basketball and rollerblading on the sports deck.
Deck three features "Studio B," an incongruously named ice rink for recreational skating as well as for Ice Capades-type shows. The ship offers one of the biggest casinos at sea, a tiny movie theater, a library, and an internet cafe.
There are a full three miles of public corridors, but the hallways are occasionally "jiggered" so you don't get a sense of the full distance, plus excellent signage precludes anyone getting too grievously lost. There is a severe shortage of elevators, with but two banks of four to service 3400 people over 14 decks. Wait times can be excruciating.
A simple "let's go see the ship!" comment on day one leads you out the door, and by the time you return to your cabin you will feel like Marco Polo. The 500-foot-long, four-deck-high Royal Promenade, all too evocative of an onshore mall, is like a real street, with a cherry-red British Morgan car parked outside the faux English Pub. The promenades are lined with cafes, a 24-hour eatery for pizza, pastries and sandwiches. Shops, including souvenirs, liquor and cigarettes, display their wares outside on days at sea.
There is a $4.25-per-scoop Ben & Jerry's. Pay-per-view in-cabin movies are $11.95, and there's a $3.95 per person service charge to Johnny Rockets (although the burgers are free, and worth every cent). There's a $20 surcharge for the small alternative restaurants Portofino which serves great a la minute meals but are a little overly crowded.Decor
Clean, simple and tasteful, featuring a lot of Art Nouveau influence, seems just right for a ship this size. The atrium boasts a beautiful fiber optic sculpture rising several stories. The ship's well-placed art is surprisingly sophisticated. Particularly notable are the Georgian-style dining rooms, a stunning tucked-away lounge for smokers called the Connoisseur Cigar Club (to which you'll have to ask directions); and the elegant Champagne Bar, with curvaceous champagne-colored leather banquettes.Public Rooms
The breathtaking Royal Promenade -- four decks high, longer than a football field, wider than three lanes of traffic -- has no windows, but is always dazzlingly illuminated, as only befits a venue for Mardi Gras-style parades complete with stilt walkers, a swaying inflatable dancer, streamers and confetti.
The enormous Casino Royale, through which passengers must pass to get to the main show lounge, is gilded to within an inch of its life, with nearly 300 slots and tables for blackjack, craps, roulette and Caribbean Stud Poker. The disco pulses into the wee hours. Floor-to-ceiling seawater tanks teeming with Day-Glo tropical fish flank the Aquarium Bar. The well-stocked library, which feels like an urban bookshop, provides seating along its glass wall for an overview of the Royal Promenade. The Viking Crown Lounge is perched 14 decks above the ocean. You can get married in port in the ship's Wedding Chapel, bringing up to 60 of your closest friends and families.
The gorgeous La Scala Theater, a state-of-the-art 1,350-seat show lounge, features such decorative elements as a Murano glass chandelier and a jewel-bedecked velvet stage curtain.
That ice rink you hear so much about is a two decks below the atrium and right in the middle of the ship, which means some fancy footwork is sometimes required to get to other public areas. In fact, the great and spacious interior of the ship is almost completely surrounded by private cabins, so to get any look at the ocean at all you'll have to head for the cluster of lounges on the upper decks or outside on the decks themselves.
Amply decked out with recliners, the pool areas bustle with activity and also are the staging area for fashion shows and planned games. The real action takes place on the sports deck, where fitness fans work up a sweat playing ping-pong, basketball or rock-climbing. Families flock to the open-air 9-hole miniature golf course. There is inline skating on a well-padded track.
The best spots for being alone with a book during days at sea are the sea view Seven of Hearts card room and Cloud Nine Lounge on Deck 14. Serious misanthropes can retreat all the way up the curving stairway to Deck 15's Skylight Chapel, where no one ever ventures, and where no music is piped in.Cuisine
Mouthwatering descriptions on the menus notwithstanding, you probably won't hear people raving about the food. Particularly annoying are misleading descriptions of food items, a notable one being a dessert called "chocolate fondue" which evokes a plate of fruit and marshmallows for dipping into a bowl of hot, molten cocoa-laden chocolate. What arrives is a refrigerated bowl of congealed white pudding with a few berries stuck to the bottom. The immediate response is, "Huh? What is this?" It turns out the description says "white chocolate" and as for the word "fondue," - well, it just isn't one.
These ships have changed their dining room menus, limiting the number of courses. While most ships list appetizers, soups, salads and entrees separately, there are now but two categories, starters and entrees, with a single type of salad offered as a separate option. The result is people getting different items (soup, salad, appetizers) all at different times. Entrees will all arrive at once, however. Beef is the best bet - fish is unpredictable. In addition to entree selections that vary nightly, the menu always offers salmon, chicken breast, steak or pasta. These are often the best choices on the menu.
Particularly problematic is the bar and wine service. There are no dedicated sommeliers so don't be surprised if your white wine arrives at room temperature and no ice bucket if you order a bottle. Wine by the glass is three fingers in the smallest wine glass made, and costs over $7.00. Royal Caribbean does not offer to keep unfinished bottles in their cellar for their guests, but you can cork it and take it with you at the end of the dinner.
Specialty coffees like espresso or cappuccino with dessert, with or without liquor, have to be ordered from bar service which can be tortuously slow. Try to order these well ahead of dessert or you will likely be served after your meal is finished.
Cabin service staff is efficient but unobtrusive. The purser's desk tries hard to be responsive, especially in view of how much troubleshooting they must do on a ship this size. Room service, though, can be pretty slow.Restaurants
The ship's elegant main restaurant features a crystal chandelier a grand, two deck staircase. The three decks it spans are separately named for famous operas; Carmen, La Boheme and the Magic Flute. The ship's second most popular dining venue (though it is more of a lunching venue) is Johnny Rockets, which carries a $3.95 per person service charge (soda fountain drinks are extra), and in which you might have to wait to be seated. The vast Lido deck restaurant for casual buffet-style meals is cleverly designed to look like two individual eateries, minimizing the sense of size and crowds. Portofino, the alternative Italian restaurant, is a lovely intimately-lit venue, though you might, if you're not attentive, realize you've got your fork in an adjacent diner's salad; the tables are that close together.Service
with a smile is the style here, and room stewards work especially hard. While these ships started out working quite well, certain challenges arrive with age. The laundry facilities don't seem to be up to the challenge of a ship this size, so towels are worn out and odors have settled into the seat cushions. The drainage systems are not as clear as they used to be and showers may back up. The front desk does its best to help but unfortunately they have to deal with a very large crew that often can't deliver what they try to promise.Tipping
Royal Caribbean suggests a per person per day gratuity of $3.50 for the stateroom attendant ($5.75 if sailing in a suite); $3.50 for the waiter; $2.50 for the Assistant Waiter; .75 Head Waiter. These gratuities may be paid in cash or charged to your onboard account. For children sailing as third or fourth passenger in the stateroom, tipping is at the parents' discretion.
An 18 percent gratuity is automatically added to all beverage tabs. Gratuities for room service, spa, casino and other staff are at your discretion.Entertainment
The Vegas-style production shows, especially clever in their special effects, rival Carnival's for the best at sea. The ship's musicians are adequately entertaining, with the best bet being the solo folk guitarist in the English themed pub serving several British ales on tap. Late night parties like the 70s Disco Show or Karaoke are held in the Connoisseur Club nightly. Daytime the is a minimal reggae band playing by the pool or in the Royal Promenade. A jazz trio heats up the Viking Crown Lounge at night.Cabins
Royal Caribbean is known for small cabins, inside cabins are just about big enough to turn around in. Hats off to Royal Caribbean, though, for not skimping on balcony cabins. Actually, cabins are roomier than elsewhere in RCI's fleet. Inside cabins do measure a stingy 160 sq. ft; but outside cabins range from 180 to 265 sq. ft. and suites from 610 to 1188 sq. ft. Moreover, there's lots of storage, especially nice for a ship that essentially goes nowhere. Standard amenities include color TV with CNN and movies; a safe; individual temperature controls; and RCI's first hair dryers. There are tubs only in the highest category staterooms' bathrooms; most have just showers (though unexpectedly large ones) with medicine cabinets.
If you book an interior cabin, be aware that the cabins come with twin beds, one against each wall. If you attempt to put them together for a single king-size bed you will not have enough room to get around the corners of the bed.Fitness/Spa
The ship's well-equipped gym still draws serious fitness buffs with its full range of state-of-the-art machines. The two-level Steiner Spa, with its winding staircase, looks more like the lobby of a boutique hotel, albeit with a Greek motif. It houses a small attractive thalassotherapy-like pool in an airy glass-enclosed but private semi-circular room. The Solarium's serene outdoor pool area nestles behind the spa; you're surrounded there by fountains, foliage, and statues, with a retractable glass ceiling overhead.Children's Facilities
Royal Caribbean has made a number of improvements to youth and teen programming. One new program is Adventure Theater, developed by Camp Broadway in New York City to give kids an immersion into the performing arts. On each RCI sailing, teens and kids can learn acting fundamentals, vocalization, and dance techniques during a series of three 45-minute Adventure Theater sessions.
Another innovative program is Scratch DJ101 classes, which are available to all ages, along with special two-hour sessions just for teens on Liberty of the Seas. After their lessons, teens can showcase their music mixing knowledge in a graduation performance that friends and family can attend.
RCI has added new activities for those three to five years old in conjunction with Fisher-Price. Some of the new themes include Chefs on Deck, which involves role playing for pre-schoolers; Dino Adventure; and Train-O-Mania.
Lastly, RCI unveiled a Youth Loyalty Program this summer. Children and teens can now also enjoy Crown & Anchor Society repeat passenger benefits. Rewards for youngsters on their second or more RCI cruise include Crayola Twistable crayons or a Royal Caribbean bag. All repeating youth receive a Youth Ultimate Value Booklet with coloring pages, games and discounts for onboard amenities such as Ben & Jerry's, Airbrush Tattoo, and arcade games. Parents can enroll their children (if they have already cruised with RCI) via the line's website: www.royalcaribbean.com/youth.
Private babysitting is offered from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., provided sitters are available, for children from one year old. The rate is usually between $8.00 and $10 per per hour depending on the number of children in the family. Cash payment is made directly to the sitter. Arrange through Guest Services at least 24 hours in advance.Attire
There are two formal nights per cruise. Maybe it's this ship's particularly festive reputation that induced most men onboard our sailing to don actual tuxedos for formal nights. A dark suit is just as appropriate. In general, though, this ship offers so much to do onboard that passengers don't all dress alike.
Cruise started in Tianjin, China south of Beijing. Had to get to there on our own as Royal Caribbean ("RC") had no bus to get you to the port. Found RC to be very disorganized and information on there web site to be incorrect. On the ship, service was good except for customer service which was extremely poor. At the end of the cruise in Singapore we were told we would be dropped off at our hotel even though it was not listed so we paid the fee. When we got to the bus they told us no, we would only be taken to the hotel indicated on the bus. As a result we had to then get a cab to our hotel.
The food on the ship was marginal and the speciality restaurant was certainly not worth the extra $20 per person. Some of the ports we visited were not memorable, could have been a better selection of ports on the front end of the trip, Fukuoka (Japan), Jeju (Korea), and Xiamen (China). Would have been better to have had the overnight in Hong Kong instead of Bangkok.Seems like everyone we talked with on the ship had the same impression.
Will never cruise on RC again they left that bad of an impression on us.
Royal Carribean is awful - 4 months before my trip with airfare puchased I get an email saying my cruise has been charted and my trip is canceled. The only way the will reimbursement for any expenses lost is if I cruise with them again. Why would I give them a second time to ruin my vacation. This is a trip I've been planning since Oct. 2011, I got a great flight to China - $750 roundtrip - of all the cruise lines don't cruise them as I'm a repeat cruiser and it doesn't matter at all to them. They are a joke.
This was our 9th cruise on Royal Caribbean and 3rd cruise on a Voyager Class Ship. This cruise was a 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise on the Voyager of the Seas sailing out of Barcelona, Spain.
Pre-Cruise Stay We flew into Barcelona, Spain arriving on Saturday morning. We stayed for one night at the Renaissance Barcelona Airport Hotel. We took a taxi tour of the tourist parts of the city, including Sigrada Familia and the Las Ramblas area.
Embarkation We caught the hotel shuttle to the Port for 10 Euros per person at about noon, and arrived at the pier in about 20 minutes. Since we are platinum members of the Crown and Anchor Society, we did not have to wait in the long check-in line, and we were through and onto the ship very quickly. Our cabin was ready at 1pm, so we had a nice lunch in the Windjammer and then went to our cabin.
The Ship The Voyager of the Seas was launched in 1999, and was the largest cruise ship afloat at that time. Although she has since been surpassed as the largest cruise ship, she still maintains a huge presence.This beautiful ship doesn’t show any age or wear at all. The crew has done a spectacular job of keeping her immaculate and clean. The ship has 2 main pools and 4 hot tubs in the main pool area, and an adult’s only area just forward of the main pool with its own pool and 2 large hot tubs. There is also a hot tub in the spa as well. There is a Royal Promenade with shops and a pub. The sports deck has a 9-hole mini golf course, a roller blade track, a climbing wall and an enclosed basketball/volleyball court. Studio B on deck 3 has an ice rink, and the ship sports 2 specialty restaurants; Johnny Rockets and Portofino’s.
The Cabin We had a category D1 balcony on deck 10, aft. Our cabin is what I would call a “secret cabin” on this class of ships. Our cabin was on the starboard side aft in the corner. This meant a slightly larger room and balcony due to the curve of the ship. We had a nice queen size bed with a pillow top mattress, plenty of closet space and the standard size bathroom and shower.
The Staff The staff was again the highlight of the cruise with their service. Our room steward and wait staff were great, and all the crew and staff did a good job.
Dining We enjoyed the food, the dining room food was good and plentiful, and we really enjoyed the Windjammer and Island Grill buffet. The best food we found was at Portofino’s specialty restaurant. The food and service in Portofino’s was spectacular! Mere words cannot do Portofino’s justice.
Ports-of-Call This was a very port intensive cruise. After our sea day, the 1st stop was Naples, Italy. In Naples we saw some sights in the city including the 13th century castle next to the port. We also had some pizza for lunch and after some shopping, met our afternoon excursion to see the ruins of Pompeii. The 2nd stop was Rome, and we took a full day excursion called “Imperial Rome”. We visited numerous ruins including the Roman Forum and the Coliseum in the morning. In the afternoon, we visited Vatican City. The 3rd stop was Livorno, Italy where we took a full day excursion to Florence to see the city and its renaissance art. We also visited Pisa on our way back and saw the famous leaning tower. The next stop was Villefrance, France where we went on a morning excursion to Monaco and Monte Carlo. We saw the Palace of Prince Albert the 2nd as well as the Grand Casino. Our last stop was in Toulon, France where we opted to just visit the city of Toulon on our own for some French dining, shopping and visited a French Naval Museum.
Entertainment We didn’t take in too many shows or entertainment venues this cruise. We saw the 2 production shows and the Welcome Aboard show, that was all. For the 1st cruise ever, there were no comedians at all in any of the shows. We liked the productions shows, the singers and dancers were very good.
Disembarkation We decided to use the self-disembarkation for this cruise since we only had 1 piece of luggage for both of us. It was very easy; we left our cabin at 8am with our luggage, ate in the open seating dining room, and then walked off the ship with no delays or problems.
Overall I would rate this cruise a 9 out of 10. We really enjoyed the ship, the ports-of-call, the food and staff was great. I wish we could’ve seen and used more venues on the ship, but the ports-of-call kept us very busy and tired us out almost every day. We loved this cruise, our favorite so far!