Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Voyager of the Seas
Sailing Date: September 24th, 2004
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
This was my first cruise. My husband surprised me for my 35th birthday. It was a 9 night cruise that was supposed to be going to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Labadee and the Bahamas. Because of the damage from the hurricanes, we went to Labadee, Puerto Rico, St. Martin and St. Thomas. Accompanying my husband and I was our 13 year old daughter and my 14 year old brother. My husband chose the Voyager of the Seas based on the recommendation of the travel agent. She told him that it is an active ship with lots to do. We were supposed to be at the port, Hoboken, NJ at 2:30pm. We arrived at 12:30pm. There were no lines at all and we were on the ship within 15 minutes. The ship was huge and absolutely beautiful.
ROOM- Our room, on the other hand, was clean but extremely small. I was prepared for this by research on the internet. We had an interior stateroom with 4 bunk beds. I must say, the beds were extremely comfortable. The shower was not. I am not a big person, luckily, but I could not shave and had a hard time reaching my feet in there. Oh, FYI, the toilet water is salt water. (a little info given by the cruise director..haha) They also supply a small refrigerator stocked with soda and water (NOT free), a small sofa, coffee table and TV. There is also a vanity with drawers and the lighting is the best. We had 6 huge suitcases that all fit under the bed after we unpacked. The closet was plenty big enough. The coffee table took up too much room so our stateroom attendant removed it. He was the best! We were not the neatest and he always had our room sparkling.
POOLS- The ship had 3 pools on deck 11; 2 main pools and an adult pool. There were also a number of hot tubs. There is a kids pool on deck 12. The water is salt water, which I was also prepared for. The temperature was perfect in each pool and hot tub. I was not prepared for the amount of wind the entire trip. It was constantly very windy. I did not mind as it would have been too hot without it. As for pool chairs, we always found a chair with no problem. Even though there were many people on board, we rarely felt crowded. They supplied plenty of pool chairs. There were 2 bars by the pools and bar service was given by plenty of waiters walking around.
DRINKS- They are expensive and they tack on a 15% gratuity for every drink. They charge for soda and bottled water as well. I purchased soda cards for my husband and myself and the 2 kids. It was $4.00 for the kids and $6.00 a day for us. I think it should be the other way around since kids tend to drink more but that's what it was. They also tacked on a 15% gratuity for the cards. With these soda cards, you get bottle pored soda. If you buy it individually, you get a can of soda. Getting these cards was worth it for the kids but not for us. I did not drink $6.00 worth of soda per day. (I also brought my own bottled water aboard and stored it in my room refrigerator). They only serve Evian spring water and it is expensive. All of the mixed and frozen drinks were excellent and they were NOT cheap on the amount of booze in them.
FOOD- The first day, we ate at the Windjammer- buffet style. The food was like eating at the Old Country Buffet. It wasn't the best. We decided to try the dining room for dinner. It was awesome. You can order as much as you want and the service was fast. You did not have to wait long between each course. (our family hates to sit around long in a restaurant). Our table companions were 2 foreign couples who eventually asked to be seated elsewhere since they did not speak English, and another English speaking couple who were near our age. We enjoyed their company in and out of the dining room. The kids NEVER came to the dining room with us the entire trip. They ate with friends that they made every night, usually at Johnny Rockets. Johnny Rockets was excellent. They had the best onion rings I have ever had. Great chili fries too. You have to pay for shakes but not for apple pie ala mode. You also cannot use your soda card in there. The Island Grill was in the back of the Windjammer. It was buffet too. They served lunch and dinner. It was delicious. You could often find the same food that they served in the dining rooms but buffet style. We ate breakfast every day at the buffets. (Windjammer-Island Grill) It was all good. Sometimes some of the food was not piping hot but you have to remember that it is buffet and they are serving over 3,000 people. I was pleased with the coffee. It was a tad too strong but a splash of hot water made it good. One thing I did not like was the creamers. They use the individual kind. The tops were always wet so it was hard to peel back the paper to pour them in (no big deal). Lobster night was my favorite. The tails were huge and it also came with garlic shrimp. All the deserts were fabulous. The Crème Brule is a must have. They had a couple of midnight buffets but we had the late dinner seating (8:30) so we were never hungry for them. They sure looked beautiful. They also have room service which my daughter used consistently and they have the Cafe Promenade with 24 hour sandwiches, pizza, cookies and deserts. They have a free ice-cream machine but also sell Ben and Jerrys. (Come on now.) Then, you have Portfinos which you have to pay extra for but the service was excellent as was the decor and the food. Overall, food is plentiful and quite good. I was pleased with it.
SHOPPING- They had a few on-board stores. They were overpriced compared to the islands we visited but good if you did not leave the boat. They had specials on jewelry but it was all cheap stuff- 18k overlay and gaudy rings. The last day at sea is the best time to buy anything. I bought a couple T-shirts that were 2 for $20. Photographers were set up outside of each dining room (it is one huge dining room 3 stories high with an entrance on deck 3, 4 and 5.) There were also photographers set up outside of the ship for each island we visited. The 8x10 was $20 and a 5x7 was $10. You can go broke buying photos but they do a nice job. DO NOT waste your money buying the video or dvd of your 'Cruise week'. I paid $30 for the DVD and it was about 20 minutes long. No sound, only corny music focusing mainly on the ship decor. Very little of the actual people on board. It reminded me of an infomercial.
Last, there is art.. and art.. and art. They have art auctions and art set up all over. Now I know why they don't keep fish in the aquarium bar. They cover up all the tanks with art for sale. If you like art, buy it here. The prices are good.
GAMBLING- I am not a gambler but my husband played a little in the casino. He lost but our dinner friends won $700. I did get in on the last game of bingo. ($35 for a six pack of cards, $15 for the jackpot card.) I watched some lady win over $11,000. I think she hospitalized her grey haired mother. hehe
SERVICE- It's funny. Some of the employees were so awesome, helpful and over the top. They loved their jobs and had fun doing them. Other employees acted like they were being tortured. No one was ever rude but you could tell they did not want to be there. Oh well. I did not let that bother me at all. I used to be a waitress so I can understand that some people can make you nuts. ;)
ENTERTAINMENT- I absolutely loved it. The cruise director is so funny yet professional and you can tell he loves what he does (also, check him out by the pool.. great body on him..hehe). Anyway, all the shows were great. We saw the Platters and some excellent comedians. The ice show is a MUST SEE. The Love and Marriage game is a riot and so is THE QUEST. I happened to participate in Karaoke and made it to the finals where we preformed in the ice skating rink in front of 650 people. Ahhhh! They also had lots of pool entertainment like the belly flop contest, volley ball games, dancing, etc. You never get bored.
FITNESS- Great workout equipment but only did it once. I pulled a calf muscle. haha. They had classes too and they have a spa but it was expensive.
INTERNET- Forget about it. Slower than slow at 50 cents a minute. Read a book instead in the free library.
KIDS- I was not bothered by any little kids on this trip. My two stayed in the adventure program all the time as did most. They have lots of planned activities for all ages. It is great! My 14 year old brother made a girlfriend and even shed a tear when we left. (hahahaha)
BARS- There are so many I can't even list them all. The sports bar was great and I liked the Pig and Whistle.. great Stout and bottled hard cider. Grab a chair in front of the pub and people watch on the Promenade. The disco was also awesome for late nighters.
PORTS OF CALL- Do yourself a favor. Don't book any of the ship excursions. You can do what you want for half the price once you get on the island. There are taxis (mini-buses and vans) outside on every island waiting for to take you on tours. Find a few people who want to do the same thing as you and the price gets lower for the more people you find. Make Labadee your beach day. And bring a blow up water mat in your suitcase so you don't have to pay $10 to rent one. St. Martin- Go shopping and then take the taxi to Orient beach. It is great!! (booze is the best price here). We got 3 bottles Absolute, 1 Jose Cuervo, 1 Myers Rum, 1 Vanilla Sky Vodka, 1 Captain Morgans for $50.00 total. WE HAD NO PROBLEM WITH CUSTOMS. St. Thomas- We did the Kon-tiki party boat (ship excursion) $137 for the 4 of us. The boat was fun but they took us to the worst beach in St. Thomas. My brother got stung by a jelly fish too. Puerto Rico- Do the Rain Forest by Taxi. get a group together- cost us $32. It is 1 hour and 20 minutes away but worth it!
PICTURES OF THE VOYAGER OF THE SEAS- www.tecknikhomepc.com/voyager.htm
DEPARTURE- Was long. They go by color of luggage tag. We were last. Eat a big breakfast. We got off at around 2:30pm. They started letting people off at 11:30pm. You have to be out of your room at 11:00am. Just prepare yourself in case you have to wait. It isn't a big deal if you have some patience. They have to do it this way because of customs, etc. Better to be safe than sorry.
OVERALL- It was an excellent vacation. We spent a total of $1467 on our ship charge card (seapass card) and $700 cash (to me, that is a lot in addition to the ship cost). But hey, it is vacation and we had a great time. I think it would be even more fun to go with a group of friends or family although we met some fun people too. Go for it! You only live once! Cheers to Voyager of the Seas!