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KD Kneeburg

Age: 47

Occupation:Retired

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Vision of the Seas

Sailing Date: August 25th, 2006

Itinerary: Alaska

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
Vision of the Seas Cruise Review
Alaska

KD Kneeburg

We just returned from a seven-day cruise up the Inside Passage on Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas.

This is our third cruise on RC and by far the nicest ship we’ve been on. Vision of the Seas has the same Windjammer Café and the rock-climbing wall as the other ships we’ve been on but also has a solarium. This is a pool and Jacuzzi area, which is covered so if the weather is crummy, you can still enjoy swimming and/or soaking. The best part is that it’s adults only although they do allow kids in there during inclement weather. We were disappointed that during nice weather, the staff didn’t seem to enforce the “adults only” rule. It would have been nice to have a quite place to be away from kids although we didn’t complain because there weren’t many kids on our cruise and those in the solarium were pretty well behaved.

In addition to the Windjammer, the ship’s solarium has a little café where you can get pizza, burgers & French fries. This was great for us because we are vegetarians and the Solarium Café actually had vegetarian burgers! There was also a table across from the café, which always had fresh fruit and plates of cookies!

One of the best things we found on Vision of the Seas was the “Relaxation Room”. This is a room off of the Spa in the very back of the ship. It has comfortable chairs lined up in front of the windows and a nice, soothing water fountain in the back of the room. We would often go there for the perfect view and a quiet place. There was a table in the back of the room with coffee, tea, and fresh fruit.

The Vision’s staff seemed to have been trained to “know your name”. This was nice. Not only did our waiter, assistant waiter and headwaiter know our name, but also our cabin attendant. It felt good. A nice touch. We were impressed with this…that’s a lot of people’s names to memorize every 7 days!

The cruise itself was nice. The first day is a bit rough because they actually travel in open sea on the way up so bring your Dramamine! After that, all calm waters. I can’t comment on any excursions because we didn’t do any since we’ve been to Alaska (not cruising) twice before. This trip for us was about relaxing & eating!

The food was very good in the dining room, both breakfast and dinner. Our waiter and headwaiter catered to our requests since we are vegetarians and asked for some specific dishes. The desserts were awesome! The Windjammer food is good but consistent with the other cruises we’ve been on…tasty but just not hot enough.

There was a chocolate buffet one night where every darn thing was chocolate! Chocolate margaritas, chocolate croissants, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! It was fabulous! After pigging out at dinner, we just couldn’t eat anymore that night (the buffet was at 10:45 pm or so), so I took some stuff off in a napkin and saved it for the next day. My husband was rolling his eyes at me and I told him, “you’ll be happy I did this come tomorrow”. The next day we docked at Hoonah and we had a picnic lunch on the beach. It was a beautiful, clear, blue skied day and after our lunch, I whipped out all the chocolate “goodies” I took from the night before and yes, my husband was grateful I did! The chocolate croissants, & cookies were just as good the next day!

The Crown & Anchor Party the ship throws for it’s members also had a fabulous spread….a huge table with the RC logo carved out of ice as it’s centerpiece. The table was filled with a gorgeous display of fruit and “goodies”…yum, yum yum. Also, free drinks. A nice thing to do for repeat guests.

The shows on our cruise were just ok. The comedians were good but the RC Singers & Dancers & the house band that backs them up were not too good. Being a musician, I know what’s out there in terms of talent and although I’m sure cruise gigs aren’t the highest paying jobs, Royal Caribbean can do better by hiring better quality people. It would have helped the RC Singers & Dancers had they had access to a better choreographer.

The Love & Marriage Game Show is a hoot as always and we enjoyed the Quest Game but they need to change it up a bit. If you’ve cruised before, the questions are too much the same.

One horrible, horrible story to share with everyone is the problem our “dinner buddies” had. We were seated at a table set for four and the first two nights, we ate alone. No other guests. We figured the cruise wasn’t sold out and that there just wasn’t anyone else assigned to our table. The third night, we were surprised to be joined by two older gentlemen. We, of course, asked them where they had been. They told us the awful story of how they left Orlando, Florida via Alaska Airlines and were scheduled to arrive in Seattle by 11:00 am (in plenty of time for the 5:00 pm sail time). Apparently the pilot got sick and they had to make an emergency landing in Arkansas. It took Alaska Airlines 7 hours to replace the pilot and flight crew therefore getting these folks to Seattle after the sailing time. So, Alaska Airlines flew them up to Juneau where they joined us on the ship. At this point they missed two nights of the cruise. The story gets worse. The night before our last night one guy says to the other guy, “So, I guess this is our last supper”. I said, “What do you mean…we still have tomorrow night”. They proceeded to tell us about “the Jones Act”. For some reason, they were required to get off the ship in Victoria, Canada and take a ferry back to Seattle where they would find their flight home. None of us could figure out the reasoning behind this since Seattle is in the U.S. and so is Juneau (where they boarded the ship). It was some sort of law, we think, pertaining to U.S. immigration. They said RC would be fined $350.00 per person if they didn’t get off the ship. Maybe if RC has a certain number of people on board in Seattle and has more upon its return, U.S. immigration fines them? We don’t know. At any rate, they weren’t going to take the chance that Alaska Airlines would foot the bill for the fine RC would have passed on to them. So, these poor folks paid for a 7 day cruise and only got 4 days. Plus, they had to pay for hotel and ferry service from Victoria to Seattle. Their plan was to get Alaska Airlines to re-imbrues them for all these costs and possibly pay for an entire future cruise. One of the guys e-mailed me with an update and so far all Alaska Airlines has offered them is $175.00. That doesn’t even pay for their out of pocket costs.

The reason to share this story is: When taking a cruise, either book your flight through the cruise line OR if you are making arrangements on your own (we always do), be sure to arrive at least one day early before any cruise. It’s not the cruise line’s fault if you arrive late. It’s not the cruise line’s fault about the immigration laws. Apparently, the airlines don’t care if they get you to your destination on time or not (I would have demanded Alaska Airlines put me on another airline and get me to Seattle by departure time!).

I would definitely cruise with Royal Caribbean again and found Vision of the Seas to be a really nice ship.





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