Voyager of the Seas Review - March 2002

What can I say about the ship that hasn't been said in countless other reviews. She is huge, she is gorgeous. It was a perfect vacation. I had one or two tiny (and I mean tiny) quibbles. So, at the moment, I am not going to try and do a review.

I do have some scans of all the daily compasses and kids activity guides that you may find useful and/or interesting. I also have pictures of the ship (including the Deck 11 men's room waterfall) and various excursions . (edited 7/20/2006...I have made this page somewhat easier on the eyes. The pictures and scans will be organized and prettified in the next couple of days.)

In completely random order, however, I will list various observations that occurred to me over the course of our week:

  • sun tan lotion - here in Maryland (where we have no sun) finding high SPF suntan lotion is a breeze. However, neither the boat, Jamaica, nor on Grand Cayman was anything higher than SPF 10 available (it may have been somewhere, but nowhere easy to find). It wasn't until Cozumel that I found SPF 30 -45. I recommend bringing at least 1 bottle of suntan lotion per day. Spray lotion is easier than cream

  • Crowds - We had a full house (3698 with a reported 1200-1300 being kids). Honest to goodness, I never felt like there were that many. At no time. There were, of course, lines for the usual suspects...formal portraits, meeting the captain...but it didn't feel like they were that much bigger than similar events on other ships. The biggest crowds I saw were for the parades (not unexpectedly) and at the sports bar on Final Four night (mind you, they could have watched the same game from their cabins, but I guess it was the herd mentality at work). And as for the kids..there was an occasional rash of all the elevator buttons being pushed, but they all seemed very well behaved (Unlike on Princess, apparently. One of my daughter's cruise buddies was IMing with one of her friends on a Princess ship and was being told that all the teens over there were getting wasted.)

  • wine menu - the menu that they were showing us for the wine package was poorly photocopied 8.5 x 11 piece of paper. This is not the time to be vain about reading glasses. (this was one of my tiny quibbles,)

  • boarding - everybody talks about how quickly one gets on the ship, but nobody talks about the process. We arrived somewhat earlier than planned (9:45). At that time, there were still a large number of outward bound passengers and their luggage. We were briefly somewhat confused about what to do, but one of the many porters immediately took us in hand and kept an eye on us. It was kind of neat, though, to talk to all the departing passengers.

    Eventually (10 a.m.), the go-ahead is given for the porters to take the luggage to whatever mystic bowel they take it to and we get sent upstairs to a large room with not many chairs to wait a little longer. When we are allowed to leave this room for the actual check-in site, there is a huge jumble and it doesn't matter if you were the first person to arrive, you can still wind up back at the pack. I think that this bit could be handled better. However, everything else was handled very efficiently and we were on the ship by 11:00. I dunno if it was because we were on so early, but all of our luggage actually turned up at 4p.m.

  • Tendering is a remarkably smooth process. The lines are far less daunting than they look.

  • Labadee - oh, how pretty it is there. Dragon's lookout is way cool and if you stand at just the right spot (can't describe where, unfortunately) you can hear the dragon snoring. BRING WATER SHOES. I cannot stress this highly enough . Do not bring K-Mart $5 specials (you get what you pay for, I discovered and you will be needing to rely on these shoes). There are sea urchins that in the water that can sting (I know this for a fact) when you are snorkeling and there are rocky trails and beaches.
    Lunch is good. The pink liquid is better than the brown, this might be a good time to actually buy a can of soda or water to bring with you.

  • Ocho Rios - We did a ship excursion here - the Best of Ochos Rios.
    • The Ruins - very pretty. Friendly worker-bees. Nice samples of stuff halfway - jerk spiced vegetables VERY HOT.
    • Dunn's River Falls - extraordinarily crowded. Did much better climbing when I managed to ditch the guide who was hellbent to just drag the group up full-speed. The first time I climbed (25 years ago), I loved it. I will probably never do this again, however.
    • The Island Village - new shopping center being constructed from scratch. It looks like it will be very nice when finished and occupation is higher. This is where Margaritaville (Jimmy Buffet's restaurant) is. Had lunch there. Very good.

  • Dining Room - I have very mixed feelings about our dining room experience. because of (I am guessing) the high occupancy of this trip, the little side dining rooms were brought into play and we were assigned seating in the Seville. There were a grand total of maybe 10-12 tables in here, a quarter of which never seemed to have their occupants turn up. My feelings see-sawed between deep regret and appreciation for this for the entire trip. One felt incredibly segregated from the rest of the world in these rooms. My two guys actually had tuxes and we felt left out from the finery in the main dining rooms. On the other hand, the main dining room always seemed busier and noisier and it was always much calmer feeling in the Seville and our waiter (Brent) and assistant waiter (Cecil) were wonderful. I also made friends with another table's assistant waiter which probably wouldn't have happened in the main dining room

  • Portofino's - Yep, I ate there. Will I do it again next time? No. I mean, it was fine. It was a nice intimate space. But, truthfully I found neither the service nor (with the exception of the desserts) the food to be all that much superior to the regular dining room. But, it was certainly pleasant. (edited 7/20/2006...allright, I probably will. sailing on Explorer in Sept. 06.)

  • Grand Cayman - Captain Marvin's ( ) tour was fantastic. There were about 30 people from Voyager, Carnivals' Victory and Inspiration. We went out on a cabin cruiser and it was so nice to just sit on the top of the front (can you tell I don't know from boats?) and watch the scenery and ocean pass (sun tan lotion is a must for this excursion). We took the 3 hour tour which stopped at
    • The Water Gardens - eh. it was ...nice, but not terribly inspiring snorkeling.
    • Sting Ray City - not at all like I imagined it, but quite cool. Got to pet and hold sting-rays. Got a super-hickey on my hand from being slightly off when feeding one a squid piece.
    • The Barrier Reef - wowsers. I could spend the rest of my life snorkeling there. It was gorgeous.

  • Entertainment -
    • Rhyme & Rhythm - this is a celebration of Broadway show tunes. I am a huge, huge lover of Broadway show tunes. I hated this show or at least most of it. If one is not as familiar with the music, it would probably not irritate you to death. Mind you, I am talking about the scoring, adaptation and arrangement, NOT the performance which was out standing. They have phenomenal main singers on this ship.
    • Dreamscape - was a very stream of consciousness show. Very enjoyable.
    • First night introductory show - I remember it as enjoyable, but not many details
    • Kenny James (the singing headliner) does a fabulous show and I don't say this because he called on me and my hubby to be his back-up singers. He's got a great voice and an abundance of energy.
    • The two comedians who performed were both very good, but I thing Bobby Collins edged out Phil Palisoul by a nose (and the poor captain, not only did both comedians rag on his speaking style, but so did the cruise director (a very personable Jeffrey Arpin))
    • Nightime entertainment - I would really liked to have found a good piano bar. The two piano choices were Vern Nussbaum in the Schooner Lounge (high energy, but leaned towards a lot of boogie beat..really nice guy, but I would have liked a lot more variety of music) and Nelson Lucier in a couple of different places (strictly there for twinkling background music, no vocals,no glad-handing the passengers, but he had a nice variety of music, but all played in a 21-strings kind of way). Pete Wickersham in the Pig and Whistle was quite good, although he used a guitar, but the place was always hopping around him and his music.
    • Ice Jammin' - It is amazing what those skaters can do on a rink about a third to half regulation size. The guest skaters were phenomenal. One of the house skaters had absolutely no business wearing the costume she was in, there was a little bit too much of her for it.

  • Internet - The charges for Internet access add up quickly, so you need to keep a stern eye on the clock. Be careful time aolmail decided to be peculiar and look like it was loading when in reality had gone bye-bye...a remarkable number of people sat there waiting for it to come back and racked up the minutes. There seemed to be Internet cafes everywhere in the ports we stopped at, but I didn't try one until Cozumel...much cheaper than the ship although it was interesting figuring out a spanish keyboard.

  • Bingo - fun. got expensive when daughter got hooked on it (kids can play, but a parent has to be there to buy them a card and to turn it in if the kid wins). Only jumbo cards will get you into the various raffles they do during the session. I missed the Snow Ball jackpot at the last session by ONE number.

  • Margarine is 100% soy

  • Cozumel - had to cancel our Cozumel plans because son had gotten mild sun poisoning on back of neck (see sun tan lotion advisory above) so daughter and I just wandered around the shops there at the port. You can get lovely parejos for $10 and engage in spirited negotiations for silver and chess sets in quite a number of shops. THe ATM machine in port was busted and honestly looked like it had been that way for awhile, so make sure you bring plenty of cash or a credit card (most won't take AmEx) (the broken ATM actually got me a really good deal on a silver fish my son wanted because she didn't believe me that I was going to come back with money from the ship and wasn't going to let me out without selling me the darn thing).

  • Didn't need duct tape, wrinkle release, or power strip (edited 7/20/2006...suspect will need power strip this next time in Sept. on Explorer.)

  • wish I had taken post-it notes

  • Breakfast - actually preferred breakfast in Windjammer/Island Grill (if Island Grill is open, go back there...same food, shorter lines. If it's not open, go on the left side in the Windjammer...same reasons) to the dining room (the one morning I was up to try it). There was a good variety and I love to just have a little of whatever strikes my fancy.

  • ship movement - let's not kid ourselves. This is a ship and you do feel movement. However, you don't feel a lot, mostly you notice it if you are sitting still watching a show or something. Also felt it a little more on the final sea day when we were heading back to Miami. Note that we had perfect weather this entire time.

  • There is good handicapped access. Two large wheel chairs can fit with room to spare in the centrum elevators. The corridors are plenty wide enough and all the bathrooms have good-sized stalls.

  • Speaking of which, the bathrooms on deck 4 across from LaScala are singles. This caused much confusion several times.

  • Drinks
    • I never had a problem with the coke cards or drink cards being accepted in accordance with the rules on the back of the card.
    • that being said, drink cards are not accepted for the 2-for-1 specials
    • the drinks with the drink cards were all (mine anyway) served in the same size glasses and at the same strength (which they don't stint on) as non-drink card drinks (edited 7/20/2006...the alcoholic drink cards were, apparently and sadly, discontinued shortly after this cruise.)
    • Coke cards are good for Shirley Temples
And, there you have it. My impressions of the Voyager of the Seas. It says something about our experience, that we have rebooked another cruise on her for January 2003, less than a year from the first. My kids had a ball and so did we.

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