July 2014 - Vision of the Seas to Caribbean - Western
For the most part, this cruise was a blast. It was my boyfriend's first cruise and he was really impressed with the quality of the food and service. To mention a few specific highlights: -We LOVED the staff in the Schooner Bar. We spent a lot of time in there and Norman and Alan called us by name after meeting us on the first day. They were fast, efficient, and made great drinks. Both were extremely knowledgeable and answered questions about the various types of alcohol. We were extremely impressed. -We had a great time at the evening activities. We loved "Finish That Lyric", The Thriller dance, and Battle of the Sexes.
-We enjoyed the poolside activities. The belly flop competition and world's sexiest man had us laughing out loud
-The Viking Crown Lounge has a great DJ and everyone we met would look forward to going there every single night. They keep an upbeat, lively atmosphere and it's nice that it is adult only. My boyfriend hates dancing and he even had fun. One complaint I heard others making is that there should be a smoking area in the lounge since it is adult-only. However, that didn't really affect us personally.
-The food was mostly great. We enjoyed the breakfast buffet and were always able to find something we liked for lunch as well. Here are the things we found disappointing:
-The activities were really weirdly scheduled. Especially on the days at sea. For example, on the last day there was nearly nothing interesting between 10am and 5pm. There was weird stuff like napkin folding, but nothing very exciting. Then, as soon as 5pm hit it was like back to back activities arranged so closely together that we barely found time for dinner. Also, it happened to be raining our last day at sea and so the bars and restaurants all ended up really crowded because of the lack of fun activities. I think that Royal Caribbean could easily just schedule a few more activities throughout the day without severely straining the staff. We would have loved another trivia or even live music.
-The entertainment was not our favorite. There was a musical impersonator, a 70's themed variety show, and a comedy show. Although none of them were bad, we were not hugely impressed. My boyfriend enjoyed the adult comedy show pretty well, but the others definitely left something to be desired. -We LOVE trivia. We had fun playing with our friends, but we felt that the entertainment staff seemed uninterested and lacking investment in leading the activities. On other cruises, we've built excellent relationships with the activity directors and we felt that the Vision of the Seas staff lacked that personal touch. -The dessert menu in the main dining room left something to be desired. Usually, this is my favorite part of cruises. For one, I really didn't like that the creme brulee is banana flavored. Why mess with a classic? It seemed like there was more emphasis on serving "original" or "unique" meals rather than just serving delicious well-made classics. However, for the most part I'd still rate the dining experience above average. Staff and atmosphere were great. -We definitely missed a pool side snack bar. On many cruises, there is a hot dog/hamburger spot or other type of snack bar. This cruise has a cafe of healthy snacks like soup and salad in the solarium which is open basically 24 hours. It is good, but it didn't compare to a snack bar in our eyes. They do stir fry on the pool deck during the middle of the day. If that was replaced with something more casual then that would be perfect. I think poolside food should be something that you can eat easily without a fork and knife and there really were no options like that. Also, the pizza at the solarium is AWFUL. Seriously, it's BAD. But, I guess you would expect that from food that sits under a heat lamp all day. Plus, who goes on a cruise for pizza, right? Overall, we really did enjoy ourselves. The few small downfalls were definitely outweighed by the better parts. With a bit of tweaking to the activities staff and the food, we would be more than happy. Even the entertainment was not a huge downfall. To be honest, it seemed that maybe it just wasn't geared towards our age group (we are 25 and 27), but it seemed like older folks were loving it. I would definitely recommend this cruise. The price is on point and the amenities are great. Everyone we met seemed to have a great trip.