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Age: 30

Occupation:Pricing Specialist

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Voyager of the Seas

Sailing Date: March 28th, 2004

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

My boyfriend and I just returned from our first cruise.

Bottom line: If you are not terribly active, you enjoy having activities and entertainment pre-planned for you, or if you are traveling with a family with kids, cruising may be just the thing for you. If you are looking for a fun, romantic, active, couples’ vacation: FORGET IT.

We booked with Royal Caribbean (RC), on the Voyager of the Seas, knowing that it was one of the biggest ships out there with the most amenities. We thought there would be plenty of things to do on this ship. The climbing wall was one of the major attractions for us. We are avid rock climbers.

On our first day RC published in daily activities flier that the climbing wall would be open from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM. At three we showed up with climbing shoes in hand at a quarter to three. We were told to come back in about half an hour because at three they were going to shoot a promotional video. So we did. We were then told it would be about another fifteen minutes. This went on until 4:30 when we gave up. When we complained we got no apology. Customer service just told us the scheduled hours for the following day.

The following day when we did get to climb the climbing wall employees were extremely rude, condescending and generally treated us like we were interrupting their day, so much so that we didn’t go back to the climbing wall again.

Luckily, in order for us to be a little bit active, the workout center was free and available for most of the day. It was beautiful, and the equipment was decent. We also took the stairs everywhere, hoping to burn off all of the food that is constantly available.

The spa was also very nice. I enjoyed my massage and pedicure very much, but the thing that upset me was that after my treatments they tried to sell me a bunch of over-priced products that I would never use.

The most fun activity we participated in was bingo. The emcee was 10 times funnier than the "Comedian" that was performing the night before. We walked out during the "comedy" show, along with many others. We had waited for the "adult" version that started at midnight. It was very G rated and un-funny. I suppose we can’t expect TOO much from a cruise ship entertainer, but you’d think they could find someone that would actually make people laugh.

The adults-only pool was small compared to the common pool. It was about a quarter the size of the main pool, very nice and quiet. Another beef of ours was that parents were bringing kids into the "Adults Only" pool. When there were enough kids running around being kids to make it unpleasant we asked one of the employees about it. We were brushed off as if we were the mean people that didn’t like kids and nothing was done about it.

On the upside, the ship itself was beautiful. Our room was small but very nice. They made really good use of the limited space available. We had an inside cabin, so no windows, but that did not bother us. I am glad we did not pay extra money for a window, although I think a balcony might have been nice. Our room was the only place we could go for peace and quiet.

The itinerary we chose was okay. Our first stop was not at Haiti as originally planned (not a complaint).

Our second stop was in Ocho Rios. This was our favorite, by far. We pre-booked a shore excursion of kayaking and a hike of Dunns River Falls. Our guides were very nice, as most people in Jamaica were. We did not want to get back on the boat! We would definitely go back, but we’d probably do the all-inclusive resort, which, it turned out, would’ve cost the same as our cruise.

Our next day was Grand Cayman, which we hated. It is a very small island, and very Americanized. There were EIGHT cruise ships tendered at Grand Cayman that day. Crowded doesn’t describe what we experienced. It was hot, noisy and chaotic. Our pre-booked excursion was to Stingray City. An 11:00 am excursion with standing around with several hundred other people, the bus ride, the standing on the dock waiting for the boat and the half hour boat ride gets you in the water with stingrays about an hour and a half later. We were on a boat out to the ocean with about 100 other people. When we got to the sandbar there were about 13 other boats there. The water was paved with people. I am glad we had the experience of feeding stingrays, but the crowds were unbelievable. With the trip back that was our whole day in Grand Cayman. We were actually happy to get back on the boat that day.

Our last stop was Cozumel, and I think we did the smartest thing we could have at that point: we rented a car and drove to the other side of the island. It was quiet, peaceful, and extremely beautiful. We had beers and fajitas at Playa La Bonita, and for the first time this trip, we were able to relax completely.

All in all, I am glad we made the trip, because now we know that cruising is not for us. We also have an idea of where we would like to plan our next vacation.

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