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Leo

Age: 37

Occupation:IT Management

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Vision of the Seas

Sailing Date: November 26th, 2006

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

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

Leo

First of all, I want to note that we had a great experience cruising with Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas. This was our third cruise, but the first one with the kids. We have 2 boys: 4 years old and 18 months old. We chose the cruise over all inclusive resort at Mexico or a condo in Hawaii for a number of reasons. They are mostly the same ones other people vote to go cruising: quality and variety of the food, room service, not being stuck at the same place for the whole week, activities on board and at the ports of calls, etc. And our cruise mostly exceeded our expectations.

We live in the Northern California and opted for a drive down to San Pedro with a few days spent with our friends’ place near Thousand Oaks. We arrived at the port around noon. Embarkation was a breeze. It’s all very well organized and managed. Parking, unloading the cargo, porters to take care of the luggage – everything was well orchestrated. We left our car at the ports’ parking, which was 2 minutes walk from the ship. It costs 12 dollars a day, but it was well worth it, due to convenience and security. We registered online a few days before the cruise. Getting our ship cards took less then 5 minutes.

Once on the ship, we found a registration table for kids. Royal Caribbean has various development programs tailored to different levels, depending on the kids age. It’s similar to the kids clubs in some resorts. Starting with kids about 3 years old, you can drop them off and pick them up at the club, depending on your schedule. Planning guides with the next day activities for your kid age group are included with the daily newsletter that your cabin attendant delivers in the evening. For the infants, Royal has playtimes, when parents and kids stay together, playing with the Fisher-Price toys. One of the children counselors told us that there were about three hundred kids on the cruise and the number was double of that for the Thanksgiving week.

After reading other folks reviews, I decided not to give any scores to the food on the ship. It’s a very subjective matter of opinion that depends on folks’ tastes, level of expectations and many other factors. I could only state that variety of the food at Windjammer Café and restaurant mostly satisfied our kids, who are picky eaters. Staff was very helpful and always ready to go an extra mile to make sure that we are happy. And that matters a lot, when you don’t have to look for a high chair or juice or a chicken broth that is not on the menu, but your little precious one just wants to have.

We stayed at the ocean view cabin with 2 twin beds and two bunk beds. We brought a play yard, which we used as a bed for our youngest child, so there was no concern that he may fall off the bed. Space is tight, but I can’t say there were any issues with that. Everything seemed to find its place and we did not spend much time, when we were awake in the cabin anyway.

Ports of call. We decided to stay on the ship, when it anchored at Cabo San Lucas. Passengers are tendered to the shore. Our kids take a nap during the day. It did not make sense for us to get to the shore for a few hours and then go back to the ship. At Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, where ship docks at the pier, we would hire a taxi to go to one of the modern resorts to stay on their beach for a half a day. Resorts happy to see cruise passengers, as a source of the additional revenue: tips and fees for food and service. The weather was wonderful, and we enjoyed warm ocean water, white sand on the beach and a good service at the resorts. We spent our time at the Royal Resort at Mazatlan and the Westin at Puerto Vallarta.

We thought we may get bored during the days at sea. I am happy to report that was not the case. Kids activities, exercising at the fitness club, relaxing at the spa or in the pool, concerts and games filled every minute of the day. Ship has modern fitness equipment and there were no waiting in line. There were Pilates and cycling classes offered for either free or very nominal fee.

Something to avoid. Like on other ships we cruised before, Vision offers arts auctions by the Park West gallery. Beware. Most art pieces are stereolithography's of the actual paintings. You are likely to pay many times more then you can get the same piece online. As with any other serious purchase, do a research, before you buy. If you like a piece they offer, go to eBay and there is a very high chance you’ll find the same product with the same certificate of authenticity and appraisal from the Park West, but at the fraction of the “great price” auctioneer is advertising. Remember that auction is not a game, and once you bid and win – you buy it. There is no satisfaction guarantee or your money back.




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