Wonderful Cruise on Vision of the Seas to the A-B-C's!
Vision of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean - Southern
Sail Date: November 30, 2015
Ship: Vision of the Seas
Cabin Type: Oceanview
Cabin Number: 8543
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 1 year ago
Sailed on Vision to a 10 night southern itinerary to the A-B-C Islands and Key West and Grand Cayman the first week of December 2015 out of Tampa.
Vision is an older and smaller ship but has had some nice additions with the recent refurbishment. There is a Park Cafe, Izumi, Giovanni's Table and Chef's Table as well as Chops Steakhouse. We had dinner at Izumi one evening and it was very good and the lunch at Chops was good also. The food in the MDR was disappointing and not up to normal RCI standards. It was only good at best and the time to get it was painfully slow. Our servers however did an excellent job.
There were only 2 production shows, which is surprising for a 10 night cruise. The headliner shows were good, but there was no late night comedy at all and not much entertainment after 11pm. The Quest game show was fun as always.
Enjoyed the movies on the big screen. Would like to see popcorn and blankets and hot chocolate offered (like some other cruiselines).
Really enjoyed the ports of call we'd not visited before: Bonaire, Aruba and Curacao. Key West was a short stop and Grand Cayman was fun even though we'd been there several times before.
Overall Vision is a very beautiful ship with lots of nice public spaces.
The Ports of Call. I will focus on the A-B-C Islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.
Aruba: "One Happy Island” We did an excursion with Trikes Aruba. We had the orange bike and after a short driving lesson, we set off on the roads of Aruba. (Que the Steppenwolf music.....) Our tour took us to about 75% of the island and 95% of the highlights. We stopped at the California Lighthouse. We then drove to the Alto Vista Chapel where there was a Pina Colada (made with fresh coconut and pineapple juice) food truck set up. On the way to the Gold Mill Ruins, we drove along the west coast and past several beaches including Eagle, Palm and Arashi (which we planned to take transport back to once the Trikes tour was over). At the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins, we saw hundreds of cairns (man-made rock formations) on the beach. There were also some very rough waves crashing onto the rocks. Not safe for swimming although our tour guide told us that some (crazy) locals do partake in the challenge. This was the only area that the Trikes were able to drive off road. Here we saw the ATV’s and jeep tours stopping as well to visit the ruins. There was also a food truck set up here selling beverages and snacks. The last stop was the Casaberi Rock Formation. From the top, there is a breathtaking view of Aruba although it is very windy. Our Trikes were the highlight of stop at the Casaberi Rock Formation. Guests on other tours were coming over and taking pictures of the Trikes. We felt like rock stars when they found out that we were riding them! It was an experience we will never forget.
Bonaire: The Woodwind crew of Dee, the captain, underwater photographer and assistant snorkler were fantastic. The provided us with caps and shirts and wetsuits to wear. They also had a full face over mask that allowed me to breath from my nose and mouth and also had an attached snorkel. We went to 2 snorkel spots in the Bonaire Marine Park and spent approximately 45 minutes “drift” snorkeling at each site. We saw turtles and some amazing schools of fish. When we were finished with snorkeling, we were served a wonderful Thai recipe lunch of noodles, chicken and vegetables along with beverages of our choice including beer and rum punch. We were even served dessert. One of the BEST excursions we have ever done. Definitely the BEST snorkeling!!!
Curacao: We reserved a private tour with Gaby of Sand & Stilettos. She sent us a brief questionnaire so that she could build a tour based on our interests. As a local she knew the best places to see which we would not have seen or been able to spend as much time as we did had we been on a cruise ship tour. We visited the northern most tip of Curacao at Shete Boka National Park. We saw amazing crashing waves and a very cool cave and there were hundreds of man-made rock formations called cairns all over the place! We stopped for a photo op at Playa Kenepa - the most photographed beaches in Curacao. Gaby then took us to the Karakter Curacao Restaurant for lunch. We had the daily special which was a whole lionfish! It was fantastic and served with seasonal veggies. The Karakter was right on the beach and there were seating areas under papalas on the beach and also in the open air restaurant. The water was a bit rough and rocky so make sure to have water shoes! On the drive back to Willemstad, we drove over the Queen Juliana Bridge (apparently the highest in the Caribbean) which divides Willemstad into the Punda and Otrobanda districts. We were dropped off in downtown Willemstad near the Riff Fort which has shops and restaurants and we had to walk through it to get back to the ship. Before heading back however, we walked across the Queen Emma pontoon bridge (which swings open sideways to let ships pass) to the Punda district. It was late in the day, so many of shops were closing. We did get to see the floating market where ships make the trip from Venezuela, bringing fresh fruit and produce to the island for locals and tourists. We ended our day in Curcao with drinks and dinner at the Gouverneur. We sat outside on the balcony and had a fantastic view of the Punda and the Queen Emma Bridge as night fell on the beautiful island of Curacao. Gaby gave us a great first impression of her beautiful and friendly island and we can't wait to come back again someday soon!
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Hidden Gem: Visit Park Cafe on embarkation day and it it's generally not as crowded as the Windjammer. They also have great late night snacks of fruit, soups and salads, etc. They also have chips and cookies. Book one of the Panorama OV's they are priced below and are larger than a balcony!