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Robert L. Kings

Age: 49

Occupation:Company Director

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Vision of the Seas

Sailing Date: September 8, 2002

Itinerary: Alaska

Robert L. Kings

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Sailing Date: September 8th, 2002

Being our second cruise, my wife and I were keen to compare RCI with Carnival - the line with which we first cruised.

We sailed from Vancouver BC and found the port very easily as a result of excellent directions from RCI. We chose to drive and the parking at the dock was relatively cheap and well organized.

We arrived at about 1.00 p.m. and even though the terminal was busy the embarkation process went very smoothly and we were on the ship within 45 minutes.

Upon entering the ship, there appeared to be no-one explaining where the cabins were and it took us a little while to find our inside deck 2 cabin. The cabin was much smaller than the one we had on the Carnival Elation but was comfortable and clean. Luggage storage was a problem particulary as we had to pack warm and cold clothing. The bathroom was small but functional and the water pressure in both the sink and shower was more than adequate. The shower was placed in the corner and was a little cramped. Hence I twice knocked the shampoo dispenser off the wall when I was turning around. There was no basket of toiletries similar to the one we received on Carnival and the towels were of a quality similar to Motel 6 and far less quantity than I would have liked.

We settled in and then went to the embarkation buffet. This was held in the Windjammer Restaurant. This really is a beautiful part of the ship with panoramic windows that give a wonderful 300 degree view of the ocean. Unfortunately, this is the best part of this restaurant. The food was cafeteria style and not very good at that. We ate most breakfasts and lunches here but often regretted not making the effort to go to the Aquarius formal restaurant. While we are talking about the food, the Aquarius served some good meals and the setting was very classy. The waiters were superb and the head waiter Erik went out of his way to help. This was a VERY good experience. In fact one of the MAJOR positive aspects of the whole cruise was the excellent service that we received from everyone on board. RCI do a really good job in training their staff.

The ship was very beautiful with an excellent theatre, formal dining room, lounge and many quiet places for escape.

The entertainment was quite good with an excellent comedian, dance review and comedy jugglers on the last night. We took part in a few of the quizzes etc but overall, I think the ship catered to a much older crowd than the Carnival Elation. Surprisingly, however, I found the crowd to be more boisterous than Carnival and many more smokers seemed to be on board.

Now for the bad bits.

We had chosen the main sitting for our meals which was over by about 7.45 p.m. I often like to snack late at night and on Carnival this was no problem. They had a good midnight buffet every night and a crepe buffet at 1.00 a.m. There was also 24 hour pizza, lemonade, ice cream and of course cabin service. I was most disappointed to find that on RCI there was ONLY ONE midnight buffet, lemonade only when the Windjammer was open and ice cream at odd hours of the day. The small solarium cafe was open until 2.00 am serving burgers, hot dogs and pizza BUT, THIS WAS THE WORST FOOD I HAVE EVER EATEN.

The pools on board were very inviting but the thermometers could not be working as they were nowhere near the 84 degrees temperature that they claimed to be.

DO NOT GO NEAR THE CASINO - YOU CAN EASILY LOSE YOUR SHIRT PLAYING THE SLOTS. I found no-one who had any luck. Why cruise lines continually do not give reasonable payouts is beyond me.

The ports of call in Alaska leave a lot to be desired and even though we signed up for the railroad trip in Skagway (which was excellent), I would suggest that cruisers wait until they set foot on terra ferma before they sign up. RCI seemed to overcharge big time for the excursions.

On the Sunday evening the main entertainment in the theatre was standing room only (literally) and I would suggest that RCI review the policy of only putting on one show on the first evening. The ship rocked & rolled a little on the Monday evening and my wife and I decided to have an early night in our cabin. The television in the cabin carried much better movies than Carnival and they changed every day. Many movies were still in the theatres.

Overall, we had a good time. The visit to the Hubbard Glacier proved remarkable, the weather was quite good and the scenery spectacular in parts.

Disembarkation seemed smooth and our vehicle was waiting portside upon arrival. We were on our way home less than three hours after we docked and less than 1.5 hours after finishing breakfast.

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