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Karen Bauer

Age: 39

Occupation:wine marketing

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Vision of the Seas

Sailing Date: March 19th, 2006

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
Vision of the Seas Cruise Review
Mexican Riviera

Karen Bauer

First, a little about me. I hope that this will give you a little perspective on where I'm coming from. I have a degree in Hotel and Restaurant management with a minor in music. I have worked in the hotel, travel and wine businesses for over 20 years. I am a foodie!

We arrived in Los Angeles and met the RCCL representative in baggage claim. Luckily we didn't check any bags. A number of the people on our flight had their luggage lost. These people didn't get their luggage for 3 days. TIP #1 – Bring a small carryon with some clothes and a swimsuit, your documents and medications and anything that you can't live without.

We waited for about an hour for the bus to arrive to transfer us to the ship. Once we arrived, our check in went smoothly because we had done the online check-in. TIP #2 – Do the online check-in. We went straight to our cabin to unpack and take a nap.

Overall impressions – don't come with high expectations.

1. Food – Better than Princess, and Carnival, but don't have high expectations. The food is average. The Windjammer Buffet is the exact same every day. The dining room food is average. Wine list – average. Don't expect balsamic vinaigrette because they don't have it.

2. Food Service – Our dining room headwaiter was in his fifth month at sea and it showed. He was very abrupt and not very friendly. He was training a new guy as an assistant waiter and he seemed stressed about it. The new guy was trying very hard and by the end of the cruise seemed to be enjoying himself.

3. Cabin Service – No problems. There's nothing better than someone making your bed for you three times a day if you want.

4. Cabin – We had an outside cabin on deck 2. If at all possible spend the extra money to stay more midship and higher up. We spent a lot of time in the cabin and wished that we had booked a balcony. The beds are not very comfortable and the pillows are even worse. TIP #3 – bring your own pillow.

5. Entertainment – Expect amusement park level of entertainment and you will not be disappointed. Really, the shows were not good. Of the 4 shows we went to, we left before intermission at 3 of them. The comedians were entertaining. I felt bad for the band in the lobby. Oh, if I had to play that music every night I would probably through myself off the ship.

6. Shore excursions – Our first shore excursion was Cabo San Lucas. TIP #4. If you want to go snorkeling do it in the morning. Our afternoon tour was cancelled because it was too windy. Mazatlan is a pit. Take a side trip into the countryside or just stay on the ship. Puerto Vallarta was a lot to do. We took a boat to Las Caletas (with Vallarta Adventures) for snorkeling. Little did we know so did about 75 other people. Why do people that get seasick take these trips? If you get seasick don't book this trip and spare the others on the trip of your misery. This trip is no relaxing time as it suggests. You are herded around like cattle from activity to activity. Everyone on the boat is confined to a small patch of beach where the tour leader yells the next activity about every 10 minutes. We were very disappointed because the snorkeling was useless – it was very cloudy and cold. The tour director is a clown and tries to make the trip back and forth entertaining. If you want to drink a lot and be entertained by the crew, this could be a good option. If you are looking for relaxation like we were, don't book this one. We did the LA side trip at the end and it was great. It's a fun way to see the city and to eat up some time if you have to wait for your flight. The highlights for me were seeing the Disney Symphony Hall and the Farmer's Market. I am now considering a weekend trip to LA.

TIP #5 – Before you book a cruise, ask yourself are you really a cruiser? We discovered that we really aren't cruisers. We didn't enjoy the food, the entertainment or the huge amount of people everywhere we went. Next time we'll stay on land and go where we want, when we want, and eat amazing food!

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