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Jim & Joanne Marchetto

Age: 28

Occupation:Social Services

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Voyager of the Seas

Sailing Date: May 30th, 2004

Itinerary: Canada


I know this site states that the longer the review the better, I don't feel it necessary to repeat the exceptional review Rich & Jeri left from the same itinerary on May 16th. (See that review for excellent information). Here is what I have to add:
- Yes, Cape Liberty is baron area. I did read that RCCL is planning on making a full cruise terminal and Bayonne politicians are doing their thing to improve the area too. Our transfer from Allentown (PA) airport (ABE) was by bus and even the bus driver joked ("Do you want to stop for snacks somewhere or go right to the port?" Because he warned us there was NOTHING to eat or drink at the port.

I was traveling with a party of 8 (all family). The bus transfer ran $65/person. Initially we were told the bus was going to leave ABE at 11:00 AM and that we would get lunch onboard the ship, but when we confirmed the bus the week before, we found out due to security reasons, nobody could be even at the port early and boarding would not start until 6pm. So our bus departure was rescheduled for 5pm. We arrived at Cape Liberty at 7pm. The lines were long, but they kept moving. The security force kept asking the lines if anyone had any clothes irons in their pack. I thought this was weird (RCCL does not allow irons, but a lot of guest break that rule with little or no consequence). Not this time, guests who did not voluntarily surrender their irons had their irons confiscated if the X-Ray caught them. There were 2 six foot tables in my line that were piled with irons… some small/travel, some full size & expensive. I later asked a security officer why the zero tolerance on the irons. He informed me on the previous cruise someone left an iron on in their room and it started a small fire (once on bard you could smell the post smoke smell near the one end of the promenade). [NOTE: I did not see any reports of this fire on rccl.com or google]. I wonder if the fire cleanup was the reason for the “security delay” that began our day?

My party of 8 had 3 rooms, all on deck 9. Two were quads with balconies near the aft and our room was an interior (9235) close to the front elevators. Our room attendant, Susan from Jamaica, was excellent. She kept a cooler I had always full of ice and she always offered a friendly smile and good conversion. We had plenty of storage in our room for the two of us. The bed was comfortable (but you could feel it was 2 twins pushed together, the middle was not a good spot to sleep on).

The weather was colder than I expected. This kept the decks & pools vacant most of the voyage. The hot tubs saw a lot of use, although they could have been warmer (comparing them to our one at home that is a comfortable 102).

The entertainment was good. We were the first on-board group to see the new “Vibology” show on Tuesday. It was great going through the years from the music that was played. For a first show, it was top notch. My only complaint about this show was they didn’t moonwalk anytime during the Michael Jackson segment, which in my opinion is like not drinking while listening to Jimmy Buffet. The ice show entry was a MESS, just like the May 16th review reported. We had tickets, but nobody checked for tickets, so again a lot of ticket holders were left without seats. I gave up my seat to a man and his son b/c the crowd atmosphere was frustrating me so much. The Coasters were on board for Wednesday night, but since only one was an original member (and he was a back-up singer) I didn’t bother with that show. As for the cruise director and staff. Apparently, our cruise director, James from Australia, was new to this ship (based on not being the same listed on the May 16th review). Compared to my previous cruise, I thought James was too elusive and there was never any chance to socialize with him. Ken from the 6/2000 cruise on this same ship was the complete opposite, he constantly struck up conversations in all the public areas and felt more like part of our party. James was rarely seen and just seemed to rigid. His sidekick, Becky, the Asst. Cruise Director [ACD] (also from Australia) made up for James’ shortcomings. Her overhead announcements were always fun and she was a blast while calling BINGO. We didn’t get to meet her in person either though.

The casino was fun, although the progressive jackpot display & coin drops on the Caribbean Stud table was broken. Maybe that is why I didn’t get a royal flush to win the 20+k. Actually I spend a lot of hours at & around those tables and I only saw one bonus payout for a flush the entire cruise (so maybe the extra buck per round is not worth it). IT always feels were at the tables on a cruise ship when you still have to pay for your drinks (unlike land casinos which typically give you free drinks).

The food was impeccable. The service in the dining room was top notch. We were at table 573 on deck 5 (Magic Flute). Ilker was our waiter; he was very classy and knowledgeable with all the dishes. As busy as he was he still took time to chat with us each evening. The maitre'd offered extra food and didn’t deliver his promises, I was tempted on pulling his tip, but I didn’t. My other complaint with the dining room is we had table at an outside corner which should have provided beautiful sunsets and views of the vast Atlantic. However, the mechanical curtains were inoperable and there is no manual override for them, so we stared at curtains all 5 nights. What a disappointment.

The other food areas were very good. I ate in the Windjammer every morning and even the roaming wait staff remembered my drink order and the need for green apples [Note: the pectin in green apples, like Granny Smith (not unripend red apples), helps your body with its equilibrium. The crew eats green apples when the rocking gets to them instead of using medication or the patch. This natural remedy does work.] The bars were also great service & selection, although I didn’t like paying over $3 for two straight cranberry juices that are free at non-bar locations.

Room service was good when we placed a breakfast order the night before, but on 2 of 2 occasions we ordered juice to our room (between 9pm – 11pm), it took over an hour. That is unacceptable.

We paid for the Moosehead Brewery tour excursion in St. Johns. It was well worth the cost. The tour guide was in authentic loyalist dress and really knew all the points of interest in the community. The actual brewery tour was a bit of a let down… B/c they export so much to the USA, the Office of Homeland Security prohibits them to allow the general public in the production areas. This meant that instead of seeing the beer being made & bottled, we were shown a glass case with the various Moosehead products, an inoperable kettle area, and small jars of hops & other beer ingredients. This change was NOT listed in the RCCL excursion guide or on the TV. (I personally feel that RCCL withheld this from us, b/c you can not tell me that with May 16th being the first Voyager cruise to St. Johns that they didn’t have a chance to get the TV excursion listing accurate (b/c I’d imagine the Homeland security rules have been in effect for a lot longer then 3 weeks).

In Halifax my wife & I took to the streets and made our way around town to do our own shopping. We had a good time and the quick lunch we bought at a deli was very delicious. We paid for a cart ride back to the ship, which was a bit pricey, but we enjoyed it (and the guy looked like he was college age, and I know how much money that costs).

The midnight buffet on Wednesday night was amazing. I wasn’t very hungry, but I did throw down several chocolate dipped strawberries. I remember the buffet from my 2000 cruise and the chefs really take pride in the display. It is a must see.

Our Thursday at sea resulted in spending most of the afternoon enveloped in fog. You could not see one end of the ship from the other. The bridge kept using the fog horn which produce a very unique, ominous sound that could even be heard in the promenade (I thought this was neat). The highlight of the afternoon was during the 7k final BINGO round when Becky was calling the balls all of a sudden over the La Scala theaters awesome sound system it sounded like someone was pouring a drink. At first I thought it was a ploy to get more people to use the bar, but quickly realized the people on stage did not know the origin of the sound. Then it hit us all… The guy who was “in training” to be an ACD accidentally took the wireless mic to the washroom. The entire staff & audience lost it with laughter. When he returned and everyone was cheering him, he played along, until Becky told him what he did. I never saw someone turn so red before! He quickly left the stage in embarrassment. The whole fiasco was really funny. The BINGO eventually continued and 2 guests split the 7k pot.

Departing on Friday morning was uneventful. It seemed to take a long time to clear the ship, but that was made up for once the colors started to get called. I was impressed how fast everyone cleared customs.

Overall I would have to say for several reasons, as listed, the cruise I had in June 2000 on this same ship exceeded this one (and that is not playing favorites to the weather). I will still consider going on another RCCL cruise, but I feel I am more apt to try out other cruise lines now as well (b/c RCCL doesn’t seem a perfect as they were in June ’00).

I hope this review helps you make your choice. You may contact me at j{no}marchetto{spam}@rcn.com [remove the brackets & no spam]

ENJOY YOUR CRUISE!

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