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 Vision of the Seas

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PostSubject: Vision of the Seas   Vision of the Seas Icon_minitimeMon Jan 14, 2008 8:54 pm

Cruise Review
Vision of the Seas
Back to Back
Dec. 23, 2007 and Dec. 30, 2007



I recently returned from back to back cruises onboard the Vision of the Seas for Christmas and New Year’s.



These cruises were my 5th and 6th sailings onboard the Vision, my first having been during her inaugural season in 1998 and the most recent being in March of 2007.



Embarkation: We arrived at the pier around 10:45am and went directly to the Platinum/Diamond Check-In Desk and had our Seapass cards and Priority embarkation tickets in hand within minutes. No sooner had we walked into the Diamond/Platinum Lounge when we were called to board the ship. Actually we didn’t even have enough time to drop our bags and grab a cup of coffee. We were escorted by an RCI Rep to the Security line and were literally onboard within 20 mins of arriving at the pier. Cabins were not ready until 1pm, however we did manage to walk to our cabin and drop our carry on bags before heading to the Windjammer for lunch.



Cabin: We had to change cabins from one week to the next, however this was not a problem at all considering we moved from an ocean view on Deck 4 to a balcony on Deck 7. On the first week, we had a Cat. G, ocean view, cabin 4030 which was plenty big for the two of us and 2 weeks worth of clothes. The cabin had plenty of storage in terms of closet and drawer space, however there was no refrigerator as only the Cat. D1 and higher cabins have this amenity. The cabin was in good shape with very little wear and tear. The furniture had been recovered during her latest drydock and the new bedding was as comfortable as ever. Our cabin attendant, Maitland was adequate, but not overly friendly or eager to accommodate simple requests such as extra towels etc. We’re very low maintenance people so our requests were kept to a minimum. On the second week, we moved to a Cat. D1 balcony, cabin 7040 and were served by a much more accommodating and friendly attendant, Cesar from the Philippines. This cabin did have a refrigerator in attention to all the standard amenities and was also in excellent condition. The balcony had 2 chairs and a fairly large table, suitable for eating room service on the balcony. During the end of the first week, I had gone upstairs to introduce myself to our attendant for the second week and I explained that we would be doing back to back cruises and therefore would be moving ourselves into this cabin on the last morning of the first cruise. To our surprise when we began to move our clothes upstairs, the cabin was already cleaned and ready to move in at 830am! Very nice job on the part of Cesar to make sure our new home for the second week was ready for our arrival so early in the morning. This allowed us to completely unpack and settle in before leaving the ship to clear Customs.



Ship: The Vision is a lovely ship with plenty of glass. The views are plentiful from just about any public room onboard and the 12 deck high Centrum is flooded with natural light during the day. For a ship nearing 10 years old, there is very little wear and tear and the crew kept her spotless throughout both weeks we were onboard. Is she in perfect condition? No, but then again what ship is?!



There are a variety of lounges and plenty of quite places to read, relax and look at the ocean on the various levels of the Centrum. There is a Seattle’s Best/Ben and Jerry’s kiosk, however there is not a specialty restaurant or Concierge Lounge and quite frankly neither of these were missed on these cruises.



The Vision has a fully enclosed Solarium with glass roof that was not opened during each of our 2 weeks onboard. The Solarium is designated “adult’s only” and was patrolled by uniformed crew to make sure this rule was followed.



The main pool was open to families and with the water heated to 86 degrees was more than comfortable for swimming day or night.



Dining Room/Food Service: During our first week onboard, we were assigned Table 156 on Deck 4. This was a 10 top near the back of the dining room and after the first night, when a Spanish speaking family was re-assigned we only had 8 of us there for the remainder of the week. Our waitress Rose from the Philippines and Asst. Waiter Clifford from India were an excellent team. Our Headwaiter, Rocket also from the Philippines was hilarious and these 3 crew members made dinner a fun event each night. During the second week, we were assigned Table 133 on Deck 5 and per our request had Rose as our waitress, however our Asst. waiter was Tracey from Jamaica who was also excellent. To our dismay, we did not keep Rocket as our Headwaiter and instead were assigned Marleeza who was phony and only came around during tip night.

This table is not one I would request as it was at the balcony rail, directly over where the piano and Rosario Strings play and the music made it a bit loud to have a normal conversation.



Oddly enough the main dining room food during the first week was much better than the second week. Same Chef but the second week everything tended to be very salty and over cooked. This is a prime example of how subjective the food can be from one sailing to another. We did have a few “special” menus for Christmas and New Year’s but other than that the standard RCI menus prevailed. One nice thing was we requested to have a repeat of the lobster dinner on the last night of the cruise as a surprise for one of our table mates birthday. Our request was gladly fulfilled and we enjoyed an excellent lobster dinner on the last night of the cruise instead of being forced to order off the standard “leftover” menu. Others seated around us didn’t seem too pleased however J



The Solarium Café offers, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, French fries and pizza until 3am which were adequate and convenient for a quick snack.



The only drawback to the Vision is the Windjammer Café. The set up here is the long, cafeteria type buffet rather than the island concept found on the newer ships. Because of this, the traffic flow is congested and the offerings are limited. Please Note: The Windjammer is scheduled to be updated with the more friendly islands concept during the next drydock at the beginning of 2009. The food for breakfast was basically the same each day, but always hot and fresh. The most disappointing to us was the lunch offerings which were very limited an quite frankly not very appealing. The snack service in the afternoon had far more appeal and as such we ate most lunches off the ship or in the main dining room and only frequented the Windjammer for a late afternoon snack of tacos or sandwiches.



Entertainment: This was the only disappointment of the entire cruise. Cruise Director John Blair and his wife Katrina are the absolute worst!! Their entertainment line up was horrendous. My only guess is they were saving their entertainment budget in favor of a big year end bonus. The RCI singers and dancers were horrible and after suffering through one production show we opted not to return. The guest entertainers were also very weak and my guess is they wouldn’t have lasted on the Gong Show without getting sent off the stage. That being said, the bar staff provided more than enough entertainment and the pool band was excellent so it wasn’t a total loss.



Staff and Crew: The crew onboard Vision is very friendly and couldn’t do enough to ensure we had a great vacation. The bar staff provided plenty of entertainment in the way of jokes and tricks to make up for the lack of entertainment in the show room. Everywhere you went on this ship, you were met with a smile and hello from passing staff and crew.



Ports: As we’ve sailed this itinerary many times, the ports weren’t important to us at all. We mainly stayed on the ship in Cabo. Went to Stone Island in Mazatlan and took a snorkeling excursion in Pto. Vallarta. The main reason for this cruise was to take a relaxing cruise for the holidays and that’s exactly what we did. I could have never left the ship and been perfectly happy.



Debarkation: As we were remaining onboard for the New Year’s cruise, we were in no hurry to leave the ship. For the record, the started calling tags around 730am and the ship was totally cleared by 10am. We moved our things into our new cabin for the 2nd cruise and left the ship to clear Customs at 9:30am. We didn’t return to re-board until 2:30pm as I had offered to take some of the crew out shopping between cruises. Re-boarding was a breeze and as we had already settled into the new cabin prior to debarking the first cruise we didn’t have to worry about a thing until sail away.





Summary: All in all this was a great 2 weeks and a wonderful way to spend the holidays. The Vision will always hold a special place in my heart and I will miss having her here when she repositions to Santo Domingo at the end of 2008. The Mexican Riviera is a nice itinerary, but what really makes this cruise special is the fantastic crew onboard this lovely ship.



If anyone has any questions, please feel free to email me at bobd@worldviewtravel.com
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