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lv2trvl

Age: 29

Occupation:n/a

Number of Cruises: 9

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Voyager of the Seas

Sailing Date: January 19th, 2003

Itinerary: West Caribbean

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Sailing Date: January 19th, 2003


TRIP REVIEW

Just back from the Voyager (1/19/03-1/26/03). These thoughts are going to be in complete random order.

Ship – the ship itself, as everyone has mentioned, is amazing. Our cabin was a D6 (balcony), which was very nice. It was very similar to a balcony suite on our Silversea cruise (without the huge walk-in closet and huge marble bath with a soaking tub). But I have to point out that I did like the way they had the shower set up with the rounded door instead of a shower curtain. I would have preferred to be on a deck 7 or higher, because the balcony has glass instead of metal. The location of our cabin (6678) was really nice because it was on the back part of the ship, which was close to everything, the dining rooms, the front desk, take the elevator straight up to the Viking crown, windjammer, etc.

Service – ok, this was the one part of our trip that totally exceeded my expectations. We took a Silversea cruise in May, and they are known for their exceptional service and almost 1 to 1 ratio of staff to passenger. Of course, they are a MUCH higher line than RCI and you expect that from what you pay for the cruise. I can honestly say that this cruise that we just took, the service was VERY close to that which we received on Silversea. And it was consistent, from the time we sat down for our first drink, to our last breakfast in the windjammer. Every single staff member we came in contact with (Virgilio in the Champaign bar), the scoreboard bartender, the casino bartender, the pool bartender, the Viking crown bartender and servers, the servers in the casino, our head and assistant waiter, the front desk, our server at Johnnie Rockets, etc, etc, etc, were absolutely outstanding. And it wasn’t forced. These people were actually having a good time and really wanted to get to know you. The guys at the 24 hour snack bar would always see us at 3:00 in the morning after the Vault when we were desperate for food, and would automatically know who wanted which kind of pizza or cookie. Our room steward saw that we ordered a bottle of wine through room service and would replenish our wine glasses until the bottle was finished. Virgilio at the Champaign bar would go out of his way to get us stuff, even if he had to walk over to another bar, because they didn’t carry things like cranberry juice or coke. The dealers in the casino were all very nice.

Food – The food was always good to excellent with a few exceptions. We eat out two to four times a week and at least two to three times a month at a gourmet restaurant (which you will find a lot of in the DC area). I wouldn’t say that I ever had a meal that was absolutely gourmet, but the presentation and the service compensated for that. And I already knew to expect this and this was not an important factor for me anyway. Most of the nights, the food was outstanding. The only meal I didn’t care for was the first night, we ordered steak (which was on the alternative menu). Three steaks were ordered three different ways, I ordered mine medium rare. All three came out completely overdone and though. But it wasn’t a big deal, nobody sent anything back. The seafood pasta one night was just ok. Other then that, the filet, the lobster tails, the duck pate, shrimp and saffron rice, etc was great. Johnnie Rockets – great burgers, fries and onion rings. Windjammer – breakfast buffet was alright. Great omelets, salmon lox, fruit, bagels and pastries, potatoes were not good at all (very dry). We never had a chance to eat in the dining room for lunch or breakfast. 24 hour snack bar had good sandwiches, cookies, and great pizzas (at 3:00 in the morning!). The chocolate covered strawberries at the Champaign bar were awesome. Desserts were generally really good. Ice cream cones were great.

Islands – Haiti was ok. They had a nice little set up with food, chairs, a little shopping area, volley ball, hammocks, bars, etc. When we first got there, we went on the side of the island that was opposite of the ship. The water was very choppy and it was very windy. It wasn’t until near the end that we moved to the other side, which was MUCH better. The shops were alright, nothing that I would have really wanted to buy. The people were pretty aggressive. The food which was set up for lunch was pretty nice. Lots of flies though.

Jamaica, we didn’t have any excursions set up for this island because we weren’t interested in Duns River falls, and that seemed like the only cool thing to do. We got off the boat and walked around the main shopping area for a little bit. This is ONLY my opinion, but I really didn’t care for this area. It reminded me of Southeast DC, with the bars on the windows, the poverty on the streets, the shops really didn’t sell anything interesting. We walked around for about 15-20 minutes. Then we tried to find out where Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville was. I asked two people and they just pointed to this place that looked like it was an outside private barbeque by someone living in the condos or hotel or whatever that was in the corner. I thought to myself that this couldn’t be it. Maybe it just wasn’t right because it was a little rainy out and normally things would be set up nicely outside. So we just decided to go back to the ship and we really enjoyed having a nice, quiet relaxing day. The island itself looked beautiful (from the ship!)

Caymen, VERY beautiful island. I’d have to say that it would be in between Bermuda and Aruba in my book. So far, in MY OPINION, nothing holds a candle to Bermuda, but this island, with it’s downtown shopping area and the kind people and cleanliness, was somewhat similar to Aruba and Bermuda. Maybe a little nicer (more lush and tropical) then Aruba, but not as nice as Bermuda. We did the Stingray City tour, of course!! Very freaky, but I’m glad I did it. I just wish we had more time. OK, I have to give this plug for Captain Bryan. Before going, I could hardly find any feedback on this company, and was worried. I couldn’t get a booking with Captain Marvin (which is recommended a lot on this board) or Nativeway, because they were both full. I can say now that I’m SO SO glad we ended up with Captain Bryan. We had maybe 12 people total in our group, a large beautiful catamaran which you could lay out on, water, ice. We say the other boats, and they were all mostly double Decker boats with sitting room only, filled to the max. The price we paid for our tour ($30.00) was worth just the ride out and back on the boat. It was so beautiful and relaxing to lay out and enjoy the scenery. Our tour guides were VERY nice and even made fun of us when we were too freaked out to get in. I really liked Cayman Island, but I wished we had more time there. Especially because of the tender and the long lines, we basically only had time to have lunch (which was pretty expensive) and just a little shopping. I wouldn’t mind it if the ship decided not to stop in Jamaica and spend two days in Cayman.

Cozumel, this actually turned out to be my absolute FAVORITE stop on this trip. We got off the boat, went through the shops and on the other side, there are people standing trying to get you to rent a car or a scooter. We decided to do a scooter ($45.00 includes gas and taxes) for two people. Someone had suggested the state park ($10.00 per person admission). We were planning on doing this, but wanted to get some riding time out of the scooters first, so we drove around for a while and took in the island. We saw lots of beautiful resorts and then we came to a sign that said Mr. Sancho’s Fee Admission. We decided “what the hell, let’s see what it’s like”. This was probably the best decision we made the whole trip and I definitely have the give a BIG HUGE plug for this place. We drove in on our scooters, parked and walked in. They had four or five little shops set up, and as you walked down, the most beautiful beachfront, a wonderful bar with (get this) swings as bar stools, lots of tables and chairs right on the beach, a huge covered dining area with a grill, a little pool on the side and bathrooms and showers. We had service immediately, margaritas of course. The drinks were awesome, the food was excellent, the beach was beautiful, Mexican music in the background, it was exactly what I wanted from this stop. The thing that made our time so enjoyable at this place was one very important factor, the place was AMAZINGLY clean!!!! The bathrooms, the showers, the pool, the beach, the bar, the kitchen. It was like we snuck into a five star resort on the island. The service was also similar to what you would get at a five star island resort. The merchants at the shops were very pleasant and not pushy at ALL!! I made it a point to find the manager and complement him on his place, I was so impressed. We had margaritas (very strong) two or three rounds, three rounds of Mexican beer, four lunches with one appetizer and our bill came out to $100.00!! We were there for about five hours. I would have been fine if the boat left me there for good!!!
http://www.mrsanchos.com/

Overall – We had a wonderful trip. The lines and crowd was not nearly as bad as I expected. In fact, there were times when there were absolutely no problems with lines. Our cruise was full to the absolute max. There was a problem with the Nordic Empress and the had to move a large amount of their passengers to our ship. Plus, there was like 10 weddings going on. Getting on the ship was a bit of a pain. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t worry about getting there early for an upgrade or anything. I’d just get there at 2:00 and walk right on. Getting off the ship, we purposely requested the last color, enjoyed a nice breakfast, laid around (and fell asleep from being up late the night before) around the pool and when our color was called, we had a very short wait. The only complaint I have about this whole trip was the luggage situation. And I know that there is hardly anything that can be done about this, because they have to go through almost 10,000 pieces of luggage, but we didn’t get ours until 8:30 the first night. I guess that’s just the way it is on a ship with so many passengers. I think that if the cruise line didn’t try to squeeze every last bit of profit out of their vacations, and left a one day cushion in between cruises, the whole embarkation, debarkation, luggage ordeal would be so much more enjoyable. It’s kind of a pain to have to endure that in order to enjoy a cruise vacation. We just started to get into cruising, but have traveled extensively to the islands and it’s so nice to be able to relax and start enjoying your vacation as soon as you step off of the plane. Just an opinion. OH, one more thing I can't believe I forgot to mention MOVEMENT. I expected almost no movement on this ship. Especially after going on two other very small ships. It must have been the weather or something, because this boat was a 'ROCKING!!!!! BIG TIME!!!!!!!! I was zigzagging thought the all ways (no, that wasn't the Martinis ), we could hear the hangers clanking together in the middle of the night, that big pengilum (SP) thing in the atrium was shaking like crazy.

All in all, it was a wonderful cruise, an amazing ship, some wonderful islands, and over the top service. I believe the service is what really made this vacation for us. So thank you to all of the wonderful people on the Voyager.

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