David D. Meltzer
Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Voyager of the Seas
Sailing Date: August 22nd, 2004
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
This was the second cruise for my wife and myself. This time, we also brought our eleven year daughter along. We are please to say that this cruise exceeded our expectations:
Embarkation: The embarkation procedure went fairly smoothly. Parking is alongside the pier and costs $12 per day. Note: If you are coming from Brooklyn, it is best to go through Staten Island, as opposed to the directions through the Lincoln Tunnel. The lines inside the terminal moved rapidly, and we were onboard in no time.
The Ship : An amazing display of naval architecture. The sea was calm, and the ship moved smoothly through the water. Although a huge ship, there were plenty of quiet areas. One down side was the wait for the elevators. Most commonly, we used the stairs. We loved that at least one pool and one hot tub were always open. My daughter loved our standard "midnight swim". Our cabin was somewhat on the small side, but usually did not feel cramped. The balcony was a great place for a peaceful read. The bathroom was well organized and did not flood when someone showered. Our daughter loved the pullman bed that descended from the ceiling of the cabin. All beds were comfortable. We asked for robes and they were provided immediately. We only wish that we could take "Mac", our steward, home with us. In short, the ship was beautiful and clean. A first class operation.
Cruise Life: There is so much to do that my daughter rarely said "I'm bored". For kids, the Adventure Ocean" program was wonderful. Our girl had good times and let my wife and me have some private moments.
There were two shows that we saw. The first was wonderful. The second was a medly of Broadway hits done to a disco beat. We did not see any of the ice shows but heard that they were great. The cruise director was exceptional.
There are many sporting oportunities including full court basketball, mini golf, ping pong, rock climing and ice and in line skating. Honestly, there is so much to do that we did not miss not doing the rock climbing wall or the ice skating.
One fine feature is an adults only pool. The Solarium was a nice place to visit for a quiet hot tub session and some comfortable lounging. There is an adjoining excersize area that was well equipped. OK, I'll admit it, my wife used the equipment when I only took to the sauna and steam room.
Food: To begin with, we were apprehensive. We have previously cruised with Norwegian [the Sun] and found the food to be substandard. The reviews on this boat were mixed. We were both pleasantly surprised with the food in the dining room. First, the room itself was beautiful. The food was nicely prepared and nicely presented. I would put it on a par with a good, not great, restaurant. But then, I'm a spoiled New Yorker.
Outside of the dining room, the food was not up to snuff. The Windjammer cafe was essentially a "dorm food" type of experience. The 24 hour Cafe Promenade was similarly lackluster. We did not try the Portofino Restaurant, but our tablemates found it wonderful. We did use Johnny Rockets, especially for milk shakes and malteds after a late night swim. This was a good option. Of course, the midnight buffet was a sight to be seen. In short, when we ate in the dining room, we ate continually well.
Ports: If you want excitement, go to Alaska. St. Johns is a sleepy sort of town with not much going on. Halifax is somewhat more cosmopolitan. I took a fantastic bike tour of the sea coast. The trip was strenuous, despite what the brochure stated. It appears that the original trail was wiped out by Hurricane Juan, and this trail was more hilly. A visit to a Halifax microbrewery was a perfect end to a great ride.
Summation: This was a fantastic cruise. A comfortable cabin aboard a grand ship. Food was plentiful and tasty. Of course, after reading reviews on this and other sites, I can only add that many people have differing opinions. Go cruising, see what you think for yourself.