Number of Cruises: First Cruise
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Voyager of the Seas
Sailing Date: January 12, 2002
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Sailing Date: January 12th, 2002
This was Patti and my first cruise so we
have nothing to compare it with. I am 47 and work as a Network Engineer and
Patti is 43 and is a Domestic Goddess. I spent months on these boards learning
anything I could about the ship, ports of call and activities. When we got back
I felt I owed this review to the board.
Day 1 Embarkation
We had visited family in Tampa and had an early flight to Miami. We arrived in Miami at 9:30 as we were approaching Miami Airport I could see the ship in dock. Oh what a sight to see. There were several ships in port but were dwarfed in size compared to the Voyager. We got off the plane got our luggage and found a Taxi. On the way to the pier I asked the driver to find a grocery store so that Patti and I could stock up on soda and water. He took us to a Wynn Dixie in a not so great section of town I got in there and got out of there as fast as possible.
We arrived at the pier around 10:30. There was so much activity going on it was a bit overwhelming. A porter found us got our luggage and pointed us in the right direction. We proceeded into the terminal and up the escalator to the first of many rooms but from there we could see the ship and the people getting off. The anticipation was building. There were 2 ladies’ there with funny hats directing the flow of people coming in. They told us that the ship was still clearing customs and we should be boarding sometime around 12:30. It seemed like an eternity. Finally we were told to go to another room where we checked in and were given our sea passes. We went to another room and as we entered we were given a piece of paper saying we were in group 1.
Around 12:00 group 1 was called we got up and followed the masses onto the ship. All’s I can say is wow!!! All the pictures we had seen did not prepare us for what we were seeing for the first time in person. We found our way to the elevator and went to our room to drop off our carry on luggage. We received a letter telling us the room would not be ready until 1:00 but when we got there the room was ready. We dropped our bags and ran to the balcony. We had a corner aft balcony category DA it was huge and the view oh my. There were 2 loungers and 2 chairs with a table. We got a lot of use out of that balcony.
Then it was off to the pool and the first of many frozen froo froo drinks Patti and I ordered BBC’s. We walked around checking out the ship. We had been posting on the boards with about 25 or 30 people and had arranged to meet at the pool bar at 4:00. It was so great putting faces to the names you had been talking to for months. Bonnie brought leis and I got to lei everybody who came. We all sat around getting to know each other as the band played. Then it was off to our stateroom to get ready for dinner. Our luggage had not arrived yet but Patti and I packed clothes in our carry on for dinner. Just as we were leaving for dinner some of our luggage had started to arrive. Don’t ask me what we had for dinner as I don’t remember but I had read reviews that the food was not that good. Patti and I didn’t have the same problem. Everything I ate was well prepared and delicious although it could have been served warmer. It was not cold just my preference. Our waiter was Shalom and he was marvelous. He could not do enough to please anyone at our table. At times Patti would want iceburg lettuce and tomatos and cucumbers and he would not let her cut them up. I just can’t say enough about the service. On one of the boards I had read about pre-tipping the waiter and asst. so Patti had made nice thank you cards telling them that this was our first cruise and we appreciated the effort they would be putting in to make it perfect. Maybe this had something to do with the wonderful service we received all week from them. We went to the “Welcome Aboard “ show and had a great time. After the show we walked around the Promenade then went back to our cabin. At about 10:35 we decided to go see the Welcome parade but we could get nowhere near the Promenade to see it. One thing we learned was if you wanted to see the parades you have to get there early. We went to High Notes and had a nightcap then returned to the cabin. We sat out on our balcony star gazing and looking at the almost full moon. Perfect ending to the first day.
At 7:00 A.M. the phone rang it was the server wanting to know if she could come with our coffee. The night before I had filled out a card and put it on the door. Every morning they came with coffee tea and a tray of Danish and croissants. It was so nice to sit on the balcony in the morning watching the wake of the ship enjoying our wake up coffee and tea.
We then proceeded to go to the Windjammer for breakfast. Anything you can ever imagine is there for the taking. It is standard Buffet. The only problem I had with the food here was that it is just warm never hot. We went back down to the room and changed, headed up to the pool deck it was around 9:00A.M. The chair hoarders were in full force. Empty chairs everywhere with towels hanging over them. Oh well. Not going to get into a fight over a lounge chair. Before we left there was a post running on the board about comebacks to chair hoarders and I was going to take chairs I wanted and just say I put my towel on it at 4:00A.M. so I was here first but figured it just wasn’t worth the effort.
There are still plenty of chairs just all the good locations are gone. Patti and I walked to the Solarium pool and found plenty of chairs in the sun there plus they were much more comfortable. We layed out in the warm sun until around 12:00 then decided to get something to eat. We went to Johnny Rockets but there was a long line so we went to the Windjammer again.
The afternoon was spent by the main pool in the chairs under cover. We watched the Belly flop competition and horse racing. At around 3:00 we headed off to high notes for the cruise critic party. We never got the invitation but I had gone to guest relations earlier in the day to find out about it. I guess my invitation wasn’t the only one that didn’t get delivered because out of 87 people who had signed up for the party only 11 had shown up. It was still nice. They raffled off a couple of dinners at portiffinos and a couple of drink cards. The loyalty ambassador spoke to us and they talked about future cruises.
It was a nice relaxing day. We headed back to our room to change for dinner, first formal night. I got into my Tux, which I had rented, and Patti had bought a dress but I was not allowed to see until tonight. All’s I can say was WOW!!!!!. We went off to have our pictures taken.
Get your pictures taken at different locations. We didn’t know they were using different formats for the pictures so we were quite surprised to find the pictures the next day but we didn’t like how they inserted onto a background we didn’t like. We went to dinner Filet Mignon. It was so tender. I ate 2 entrees. Service was again unbelievable. We then finished dinner and headed for La scala theater. The show was Dreamscape. The cast was great, they were so talented but I just had a hard time following the show, as it seems to go round and round with no apparent story line. JMHO.
After the show we took a walk on the Promenade and had a drink at the Pig & Whistle. We sat at one of the outside tables and people watched. What a great place to do this. Patti and her sisters went to the vault to dance I went back to the room and sat on the balcony watching the stars. Another great day.
Woke up to the telephone ringing asking if it was OK to bring us our coffee and tea. Of course it was OK!. We sat on the Balcony as we cruised along the shore of Haiti. The country was beautiful and it was very warm.
After coffee and wake up showers we headed up to the Island Grill for Breakfast. I discovered that here they make Omelets to order. I had booked the Wave runner excursion and needed to get off pretty early to make the excursion.
We went back to the room packed up our stuff for the day and headed down to deck 1 to catch a tender. You would think that after 2 years of doing this itinerary 50 weeks a year it would have been semi organized, but it was mass confusion. We were herded up 1 corridor then another then back to the first one. Oh well we just went with the flow.
Finally we got on a tender and made our way to Labadee. The place itself was really nice. I followed the signs to the wave runners. I checked in, signed a waiver and waited for them to call our group. When we were called we went into a small room and watched a video about how to operate the wave runners and safety. Then over to a parked wave runner where everything was pointed out. Then down to get a life jacket and onto the wave runners. It was great. We went up the coast in a line and stopped at different coves along the way. At each stop our guide would tell us about the history of Haiti, the living conditions and other really interesting tidbits. The tour lasted about an hour.
We made our way back to the dock. Patti waited at the beach by the dock for me. At this time her 2 sisters had joined her. We decided to go find a better beach. So we pack everything up and start our trek for the perfect beach. After going from beach to beach to beach and wondering around for what seemed like an eternity I decided I had enough walking. I told them I was heading back to the ship. I dropped all the things I had been schlepping and walked back to the tenders got on and went back to the ship.
Best decision I made all day. The ship was empty. Plenty of deck chairs. I found the perfect lounger and laid out. Walked to the pool and actually swam. There were 2 or 3 people in the pool. I walked over to the hot tubs, which were empty and soaked in one for around 30 min. I went to Johnny Rockets and walked in to find maybe 15 or 20 people total.
Service was great. I had chili fries a St. Louis Burger and a Chocolate shake. It was terrific. After I finished eating I went back to the pool and napped in my lounger. About 3:00P.M. The ship started to fill up again. I made my way down to our cabin and started to get ready for dinner.
When we got to deck 4 we noticed that the dinning room doors were still closed so we went to the Champagne bar and had a drink and sat while we waited for the doors to open. Patti told me that they had finally found the perfect beach and I told her how I had spent the day relaxing.
The doors to the dining room opened and we grabbed our drinks and made our way to table 410. I don’t remember what was on the menu that night but it was good. After Dinner we took a stroll on the outside of deck 4 and was heading up to the observation deck on deck 5 but just after we climbed the stairs there was a chain across the entrance telling us that the area was closed. So we made our way back down to where we started and walked the Royal Promenade. We headed for the Theater for the Headliner show. It was very entertaining. Then it was off to the Vault. The girls danced and I drank.
Then it was time to make our way back to our cabin. We sat out on the balcony and stargazed. The moon was almost full. Another perfect ending to another great day.3
At 7:00 A.M. we got a usual wake up call. We sat on the balcony watching the Jamaican shoreline unfold before us while drinking our coffee and tea. We headed up to the Island Grill and had breakfast.
We had booked a tour of Dunn’s River Falls and Countryside with Ionee Mcbeam and she was going to meet us at the dock around 9:30 so we had arranged for everyone who was coming with us to meet there around 9:00. We all got together and left the ship. Ionee was there in the parking lot with a sign in her hand to meet us.
We got into the van and left. We drove to Dunn’s River Falls first. We were the first group there. They combined us with Pete Taylor’s group who arrived at just about the same time.
We walked down to the beginning and started the climb. Oh the water was cold. We had a ball climbing. After we were done we went back down to the beach and hung around. We were to meet Ionee at 11:30 in the parking lot so we had some time to spare.
The beach was really nice. We made our way back to the top to exit. I remember reading somewhere about exiting without going thru the marketplace but could not remember which way to go so when we got to the top we ended in the middle of the market. The vendors are very aggressive but I just kept my eyes on the ground and never broke pace. When I was confronted I just said “No Thank You” and never broke stride. It was quick and painless. We got out to the parking lot and Ionee was there waiting for us.
We got in I had a Red Stripe and we were off. As part of the price Ionee provides Beer, Soda and water. Next we went to Fern Gully. Along the way she told us about the school system, living conditions and other information. Everywhere you looked you could see the poverty, which was very sad. We stopped at a roadside vendor and she had a problem with the van, it wouldn’t turn over. She called her husband and he came with their other van and we switched. Then we went up another hill where you could see the town of Ocho Rios and the ship. Along the way were beautiful houses with large security fences. Ionee told us that the local politicians and judges lived in these houses. Hmmmmmmm Kind of like America huh? Politicians and Judges seem to live in the best houses everywhere.
Next we decided to go someplace for lunch. She took us to a place called Bibibips. All my tablemates chickened out and had Hamburgers and such but not for me. I wanted the Jerk Chicken. It was very good and spicy. No one complained about the food but the service was kind of slow. The prices were very high I thought though $8.00 for a hamburger.
We then went to a shopping mall for the ladies. Soni’s I believe was the name of the place. Unfortunately I forgot my Visa on the ship (dam lol) so Patti and I just kind of strolled around looking.
After everyone was done with their shopping we returned to the ship.
It was about 4:00 when we returned to the ship and I felt a nap was in order so we layed down. We got up and got ready for dinner. We went to the champagne bar and ordered drinks while we waited for the dinning room doors to open. Again all the food during the week was a blur but I don’t remember anything being bad. We had tickets to the 9:00 Ice show so we strolled along the Promenade and sat at the Pig & Whistle people watching until it was time to get in line for the Ice Show. About the Ice Show don’t miss it. It was spectacular to put it mildly. I don’t think I will ever figure out how they change costumes so fast. Then it was off to the LaScala Theater for the Love & Marriage show. Patti and I decided we would audition for the show so when it was our turn I did the most outrageous thing I could think of and we got on stage. We didn’t win as a matter of fact I think we only matched once but we had a blast. They run the show continuously on the ship television and we couldn’t go anywhere without being recognized after that. Of course Patti had some great answers also that helped me gain notoriety for the rest of the week. One of the crewmembers told me that they couldn’t wait for Wednesday night for the show. They said we were one of the funniest on in some time.
We then headed up to the pool deck for
dancing and partying under the stars. Some of the people that we had been
corresponding with on the boards who didn’t make it for the pool party or the
cruise critic party came up and introduced themselves to us. I guess after they
show it was easy to figure out whom we were. One of the other couples on the
show had said the strangest places they had made whoopee was on the top deck so
Patti and I went for a walk to see if we could find a place that private. We
never found a place on the top deck where we would have done it. We looked at
the buffet danced for a while then called it night. Back down to our balcony to
Again the 7:00 A.M. call and coffee and tea out on the balcony. I could really get used to this. Then it was off to the Island Grill for breakfast. Today we were going to swim with the stingrays. We eat then go back to the room to get our stuff and then down to deck 1 to get a tender. This time things were very organized and we get on the tender in a couple of minutes. We get to shore and get into the line to get into town. While in this line some people start turning around and head back to the ship. We learned that the ship had cancelled all trips that had anything to do with the water. I was bummed I figured if the ship was canceling their tours then our tour was probably canceled also. We walked the two blocks up the street to Capt Bryans. We went in and to my delight our tour was still a go they were just waiting for the tide to go out so the time was pushed back 2 hours. Great time to go shopping. We went, we looked but decided to buy when we got back from the tour so everything wouldn’t get wet. We went back to Capt Bryans and waited until it was time to leave. We loaded into the van and drove to the Yacht club. There we boarded the boat and in no time we were off. The seas were a little choppy we sat in the front in this rope thingy we got soaked. Every time the boat would hit a wave we would get soaked. We got to the first stop and got a quick snorkeling lesson and into the water. Mmmmm salt water tasted good lol. Obviously I needed more than the 1, three-minute snorkeling lesson but in no time at all I was snorkeling like a pro. After about 20 or 30 minutes they called us back onto the boat and we headed off to Stingray sandbar. The water was around waist high and you could see these brownish things in the water everywhere. Our guide gave us a lesson on stingrays and safety. There were only 5 boats out there that I could count. We got into the water it was so cool. The Stingrays were everywhere brushing up against you I had one swim right through my legs. I went and got a piece of squid and put it in my hand and put my hand underwater. All of a sudden one came along and sucked up the squid but then there were around 12 more still looking for that piece of squid. They were on my back around me everywhere. I though it was so cool. I looked at Patti and she had them all over her too. After around another 30 or so minutes we were called back to the boat. We got on and headed back to shore. The crew put the sail up and played the music and I got up and danced a little.
What a great day. When we got back to
shore it was around 2:30 so we piled into the van and headed back to town. We
got dropped off right at the ship. Patti was bumming as there was no time left
to shop. I wasn’t. We got on the tender and headed back to the ship. We went
back to the room changed and went up to the pool deck and hung out till it was
time to get ready for dinner. As it got close to dinnertime we headed down to
our cabin changed and headed out for dinner. Second formal night. This time we
went to different photographers to have our pictures taken while we were all
duded up. As usual dinner and service were great. We told Shalom we may not make
it to dinner on Friday as we had a very late excursion planned and probably
wouldn’t be back to late. He said for us to come to dinner anytime when we got
back and he would take care of us. He then told us if we wanted to we could come
to second seating he would make room for us. We went to the Pig & Whistle and
people watched for a while. Then all of a sudden the wall hit. Everything just
caught up. By 10:00 Patti and I both were out like a light.
Since we were not going to pull into Cozumel until 10:00 A.M and we didn’t need to get to the Dolphin place until around 2:00 it was decided we would sleep in and we did. I forgot to put the little card on the door so there was no wake up coffee this morning. I awoke around 8:00 and Patti was still sound asleep so I found my sweats and quietly got dressed and made my way up to the Windjammer. Needed coffee bad. I downed the first then downed 2 OJ’s got another coffee and made my way back to the room. Patti was awake. I sat on the balcony while Patti got ready. It was overcast and cool today and very windy then we both made our way up to the Island Grill for breakfast. While we were eating breakfast the ship activities people were making announcements about excursions that were cancelled because of the weather. When we heard the ships Dolphin encounter was cancelled my heart skipped a beat but then we figured like yesterday we would just go to the park and if it was cancelled oh well. We must have pulled into dock while we were eating because when we got back downstairs we were docked next to the Rhapsody of the Seas. Pretty ship. We got dressed and made our way downstairs to go to town shopping. There was just no getting out of it this time. Before we left Patti made sure I had plenty of plastic. No forgetting it in the room this time. We made our way to the taxi’s had him take us Downtown. Patti was in her element. One store to the next to the next and me handing my Visa from one clerk to the next lol. I think Patti just took me along to schlep everything and for my Visa. After what seemed like an eternity we went back to the ship to eat lunch and to change for what was for me the highlight of the week. We ate at Johnny Rockets I really loved those burger and shakes. McDonalds will just never be the same for me. We ate and then headed back to the room to change for what was to me the highlight of the week. We were going to go swim with Dolphins. I had booked this excursion back in September direct with Dolphin Discovery. Other people we had talked to had also tried to book this but were disappointed to find out it was already filled. We got there and found out we were still going to go. We went into a room and met the Life Guard, and Trainers. They explained what it was we were going to be doing and how and where to touch the Dolphins. Then it was off to the Dolphin area. God it was cold out here but once we got into the water it was so warm. This was one of the best moments of my life. I had always wanted to swim with Dolphins since Flipper anyway. We swam with Apollo (male) and America (female) It was the best. This was something I will never forget. I think I’ve watched the video everyday this week. By the time we were finished and Patti had time to check out the stores it was close to 6:00 P.M. and we needed to be back on the ship by 6:30. Cozumel is an hour behind the ships time. So we rushed to the taxis and got back to the ship with time to spare, 5 minutes I think lol. We got changed and headed for the dinning room. Shalom was so happy to see that we made it. Besides he had watched the Love & Marriage show and wanted to make sure he had the chance to give us a hard time about some of our answers. We never made it to the show that night but we did sit at the Pig & Whistle and people watch and watched the Krooz Comics. We again headed up to deck 12 to see if we could find that elusive private spot. We never did.
Last night the ship was rocking and rolling from the wind. I can only imagine what it would have felt like on a much smaller ship. We attempted to have coffee and tea out on the Balcony but the weather would just not cooperate. It was rainy and very windy. We got dressed and headed up for breakfast. I was getting depressed because I knew this was going to be the last day. You could feel the ship moving today. After breakfast we went down to the Promenade so Patti could do some more shopping. I found this cool crystal Dolphin figurine on sale for $24.00 and bought it under the pretense it was for Patti but it was really for me. We walked and just took everything in for the last time. The sun came out but it staid cool and windy. We went up to the pool deck hey there were chairs available everywhere. Lol. We went back to our room and started the packing process. Then it was time for lunch. We ate where else but at the Island Grill. After lunch I decided that a nap was in order so off to our room to take 40 winks. We awoke and dressed for dinner. Even though we had tipped everyone the minimum tips on the first night I prepared the envelopes for everyone with a little extra in each one. They all went out of their way to make sure we enjoyed our first cruise and they were all successful. I have never had a vacation like this one. It was the best time of my life. They all worked so hard they deserved it. We had dinner and again it was very good Prime Rib if I’m not mistaken cause I had 2. We all said our goodbye. And headed off to the Pig & Whistle for a drink and then the Farewell show. They showed the video and there we were Patti and I. They cut to her one answer that I kept hearing all week since the show. Everyone had to remind me about that answer and now I was going to have it on video to cherish forever. The question you ask? She was asked what I do to put her in the mood? Her answer: I kiss her ass. Even in Cozumel while walking down the street people would point me out as the ass kisser lol. It was very funny. We got back to our room put out our bags and then headed off to watch the Karaoke Finals. Some of them were very good. Then off to do some dancing to the rock band and then to our room.
We had to get up early if we were going to shower, get dressed and have time to get breakfast. No room service today. We went to the dinning room for breakfast today first time. The food was good but I think the server just wanted to get rid of us as quickly as possible. We had turquoise tags (the last group to be called) but we were in no rush. Our flight wasn’t scheduled to leave Miami until 3:45. Although it was cool we went up to the pool deck and sat in the sun until our color was called. Somewhere around 12:00. It was great to just lay up there but a coffee or 2 would have been nice. Everything on the ship closes at 8:00 so there is nowhere get get a coffee. We left went thru customs and found a cab and off to the airport we were.
1- If you don’t like crowds this ship is not for you. There were 3400 passengers on board. Most of the time things went smoothly but there were lines for most tings.
2- Bring the over the door organizer. It was great. Could always find what I was looking for.
3- Never leave you room without your camera. Guilty of this a few times missed a few good shots.
4- Join in on the activity’s you will never see these people again so who cares.
5- Don’t let little things bother you. Make the best of the situation.
6- Go with the attitude of “I am going to have a great time” and you will.
This was the best vacation I have ever taken. I did not think I would like to cruise. No where to go nothing to do but boy was I wrong. In fact we enjoyed it so much when we got home we called the travel agent and booked ourselves on the Mariner for next year. I think this will become our yearly vacation.
If you have any questions about anything I
will be more than happy to answer. E-Mail me at J_Sullivan@charter.net
Happy Cruising to all of you!