We recently had the opportunity to take a 5 night cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas for a 5 night cruise to Roatan, Honduras and Cozumel, Mexico. The Vision of the Seas is a 78,000 gross ton ship that can hold a little over 2,000 passengers. The ship was renovated in the fall of 2013 and was given much needed Oasis Class upgrades.
The layout of the Vision made it easy to learn your way around the ship on embarkation day. The ship never seemed crowded unless you happened to walk by show or dinner when it was getting out. Embarkation was the quickest we have ever experienced and we were on the ship by 10:45 a.m.
The staff on the Vision of the Seas was friendly and helpful at all times. The service provided by the assistant maitre d’ Alex was absolutely phenomenal in the Windjammer Cafe. He always stopped by every table, asking them how they were doing and if they needed anything. He has a bright future ahead with Royal Caribbean.
The staff also took an interest in my last name asking about my nationality and where I was from. I have never had so many ask about it on a cruise, it was a nice personal touch. Any issues we had with our cabin were quickly resolved after speaking with our room steward. Overall, the crew on the Vision of the Seas did a great job.
Bar service was slow as there never seemed to have enough bartenders on duty. We purchased the Royal Replenish package ($20 per day) giving us unlimited non alcoholic drinks for the cruise. Even though Passion Papaya was one of the featured drinks, it was always made a different way. Some used ice, some crushed iced, and others made it as a smoothie. Since Royal Caribbean is offering this package, it would also be really helpful to have a menu or list of “mocktails” available like other cruise lines do.
Food can be extremely subjective, everyone has different likes, tastes, and opinions. The only disappointment about the Vision of the Seas are the hours when food is available. Room service is available 24/7 so you can get something to eat if you are hungry at all timea. However, the Windjammer Cafe had somewhat limited hours.
The Windjammer (main buffet) closed at 3 p.m. each day and didn’t reopen until 6:30 p.m. for dinner. After a long day in port, it is nice to grab a quick bite to eat to carry you over until dinner, especially if you have the late seating at 8:00 p.m. The only option in the late afternoon was the small Park Cafe in the Solarium.
Since the Park Cafe was the only place open during this time, there was a bit of a line but they did have salads, sandwiches, and pizza. The Park Cafe was also the only option after 9 p.m. with limited options.
Aquarius, the main dining room, was open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The 2nd floor is used for guests who have My Time Dining and the lower floor is for guests with traditional dining. The service provided by the staff was superb and I highly recommend making reservations if you have My Time Dining.
There are several specialty options that were added during the renovations in 2013. Giovanni’s Table is open for lunch ($15 per person) and dinner ($20 per person). Chops Grille ($35 per person) is the steakhouse onboard the Vision. For those who enjoy Asian-inspired cuisine, Izumi has a a la carte menu and comes with a great view.
Video Tour of the Vision of the Seas
The Masquerade Theatre hosted most of the main entertainment in the evenings. Some of the shows only had 1 showtime, although finding a seat was never an issue as the theatre was never more than 75% full on any given night on our cruise.
There was the typical Broadway style shows found on all cruise ships with “Broadway Rhythm and Rhyme” and “Boogie Wonderland”. One night featured the music and comedy of Rick Corso and another was the Man of 1,000 Voices, Paul Boland. The last night featured Luis Dalton, a 4th generation from a family of circus acts. Passengers raved after his show telling him that he belonged at Caesars in Las Vegas.
The Renaissance Aerial Spectacular took place in the renovated Centrum and was followed by the International Parade of Flags. If you would like a good seat, plan on arriving approximately 1 hour before the show is scheduled to start. It is definitely worth the wait to have an unobstructed view for the aerial show.
The main lido deck has one large pool and 4 hot tubs. The recent addition of the large LED TV screen was used to show movies, sporting events, and events going on around the ship. While movies and sporting events were shown at night, there was no options for food or drinks as everything was closed during these times. There were plenty of loungers around the pool deck, especially on the upper deck.
The Solarium is an adults only area that is covered and located near the Vitality Day Spa. There is a pool, 2 hot tubs, and a bar. In the evenings, the Solarium was basically a ghost town and you can enjoy this area basically all to yourself. Some nights, the pool and hot tubs closed early for cleaning but were open most evenings. This was one of our favorite spots on the ship.
Our oceanview stateroom was typical of what you would expect on an older cruise ship. Royal Caribbean did update the cabins with flatscreen TVs and new sinks and cabinets. There was ample closet space for our clothes and the bed was comfortable.
There was no mini fridge in our room but there were two power outlets by the desk. The cabin also had a small couch and coffee table. You can watch a short 2 minute video of our cabin below.
Odds and Ends
The promenade was a great place to take an evening stroll or to find a quiet seat on a sea day. The promenade goes around the entire ship except by the bow. This is also one of the main smoking areas besides the lido deck and casino.
The casino was small and it seemed as though Royal Caribbean tried to squeeze in as many slot machines as possible. They offered table games such as blackjack, roulette, and craps. They also had a video poker table. When the casino was open, there wasn’t any place to get away from the smell of smoke.
There is a rock climbing wall in the aft of the ship that was open during select hours. However, there is no basketball court on the Vision.
The internet onboard was faster than other cruise ships I have been on, but still not on par with typical broadband speeds that we are accustomed to at home. They did offer an unlimited package for the entire cruise for only $99.
The Some Enchanted Evening Lounge, located in the aft of the ship with great wake views, was usually completely empty unless there was an activity going on in there. If you are looking for a quiet place for your group to gather at, this is the best spot as there will be plenty of chairs and you will likely be the only ones in there.