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Age: 30

Occupation:at home business

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Vision of the Seas

Sailing Date: May 8th, 2005

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

I sailed with my husband and 3-year old boy, along with my parents and didn’t at first realize that the first day of arrival would be Mother’s Day! I was pleasantly surprised and couldn’t wait to start our vacation. I thought there might be something special going on our first day because of Mother’s Day but there really wasn’t anything going on that day. Oh well. We arrived a bit late at 3:30 pm (long story) but I really do recommend arriving to the cruise ship early, maybe 11:30am. This way you start your vacation right away instead of wasting a whole day. Also, fill out all required forms of at least 4 days before your trip by going on as this will speed things up. Checking in went fairly smoothly. We got on the ship and there was music playing I lounge area on deck 4. My three year old was so excited he started dancing. When we arrived to our room, we had a brief chance to look around before our room attendant came to our door and basically showed us around there and explained everything to us. He took good care of us during our stay. There was always ice in our ice bucket without us having to ask and of course the mints and towel animals found our bed was always nice. The room was really nice, although it is showing its age a little bit.

We had a late seating for dinner which I intended to change to an early seating. When I booked our cruise the late seating were the only ones left but I was told if you spoke with the head waiter he may be able to change us to the early 6:00pm seating. When I booked the cruise, the seating available for dinner were 6:30pm or 8:30pm. But when we got on board the daily calendar reads 6:00pm and 8:45pm. The first night we had dinner my son was practically falling asleep at the table. It was 10pm when we just finished our dinner. The next day I set out to change to an early dinner seating and my headwaiter switched us to table 19 (up stairs) for the 6pm seating. I left satisfied. Little did I know how lucky we truly were to sit at the table we were assigned. Our waiter Amit, and assistant waiter Rosaria were extraordinary! My husband and I have been to all kinds of fine restaurants in our days and have never received the magnitude of excellent service as we did the 7 nights we dined in the dining room. Our head waiter was amazing as well, always asking how our dinner is going, making paper frogs for my son to play with, and even cutting up some of his food for him! My son ordered apple juice (his favorite drink) that first night. From then on, when ever we would arrive for dinner to our table, I glass of apple juice was waiting for him on the table near his plate, as well as his booster seat, which was always in place. This was the work of our assistant waiter who is such a sweet gal. Our three waiters made us all (especially our son) feel truly special and we really appreciated that. Our waiter never made us feel rushed, answered all our questions, even chatted with us about what life on a cruise ship was like. One night in particular, my son became fussy toward the end of dinner. Amit noticed this right away and quickly ran down to the kitchen to get my son his favorite sherbet dessert. He came just in time and my son mellowed down instantly at the sight of the brightly colored sherbet with a wafer cookie in it.. After our trip, we left a tip over the suggested amount and mentioned our waiters names in the guest satisfaction review card.

By the way, the dinner in the main dining room was wonderful. The menu always varied and there were even low fat and low sugar alternatives. My husband ordered the heart healthy meals and said they were great. The desserts were yummy and even the sugar free desserts are worth ordering. The buffet wasn’t bad. Definitely enough food to eat. Over all, I miss the pizza and French fries (located in the solarium), the ceaser salad, the shrimp scampi and tiramisu (on Italian night), the lobster and the soups as well. Don’t forget that during the day, if you order the drink of the day you get to keep the glass. One particular day we ordered the special and the glasses were so nice, we were happy to take it home as a souvenir (however, we were told by other guests that you can ask the waiters or bartenders to put what ever drink you’d like in the glasses that you can keep).

The ship is just beautiful. I loved all the bars and lounge areas. We loved the live band music in the main lounge every night after dinner. The shows were great, although the comedy act they had one night right before the comedian really wasn’t worth seeing. The comedian though was really funny. We never went to the adult comedy show at midnight that was offered, but perhaps it was meant to be as we had heard from other guests that the adult only stand up comedy was too vulgar.

For one hour my son went to the kids club which was, as my son put it “good, but not really good.” That’s ok because he had such a fun time with us on the ship and at the different ports that “adequate fun” was really not an issue for him because he got plenty of it!

We didn’t bother with any of the tours that were offered. Instead, we hit the resorts at two of the different ports for some swimming and sun at their pools and beach (lots of resorts accept cruisers for the day to use their pools and beach). I recommend the Melia San Lucas hotel when you get off the Cabos San Lucas port. It was great! Wonderful pool, waiters that serve drinks and food on the beach and pool area, and nice restaurants too. Bring your own towels though, it’s just easier that way. We really loved Cabos. As soon as we got off the ship, we first did a little shopping and headed to the MargaritaVilla restaurant which was really good. Excellent Daquiries to drink and good food, outside seating available, and a band that comes to your table to sing. Truly a lovely day.

The next stop was Mazatlan, which was fun too. Again, we went to a resort that accepts cruisers for a day. We had a good time. By the way, don’t bother with anybody trying to convince you that they will take you to a resort to use their facilities, will give you free lunch and transportation back---these are timeshare people who want an hour and a half of your time to sell you their condos.

Puerto Vallarta wasn’t as nice as the other two places but we did have a late start that day and only had time to do a little shopping, have some lunch at the Casa de Tequila (which was really nice, had a patio setting and nice food presentation), and spent about one hour on the beach before we decided to head back. Next time, I think I would have went to a resort instead of going to the beach, but we ran out of time.

We were very much impressed with how lively and fun the ship is. The Viking Room (night club) was great. It was dark, had lively music with plenty of people out on the dance floor and bartenders carrying around glow in the dark drinks (alcohol jello in shot glasses).

This was my husband’s first cruise and he can’t wait to come back again. My parents, who have cruises three times loved it as well. Highly recommended! Have Fun!!

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