Year Started: 1969
Ships in Fleet: 23
Summary: The largest and most technically impressive cruise ships in the world. Great for kids, families and adventurous adults. A large fleet, but Oasis and Brilliance are often cited as favorites
Good for: Families. Overall Service. Seniors.
Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean, Mediterranean
Good for: Families. Overall Service. Value for Money.
Regions:Caribbean, Canada, Transatlantic
Good for: Seniors. Group. Families.
Regions:Bermuda, Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean
Good for: Seniors. Group. Families.
Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean
Good for: Families. Seniors. Group.
Regions:Bermuda, Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:Western Caribbean, Eastern Caribbean
Good for: Children`s Programs. Group. Families.
Regions:Western Caribbean, Eastbound Transatlantic
Good for: Children`s Programs. Families. Teens.
Good for: Teens. Group. Families.
Regions:Eastern Mediterranean, Caribbean, Eastbound Transatlantic
Good for: Seniors. Families. Overall Service.
Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean
Good for: Families. Value for Money. Teens.
Regions:China (as of May 2015)
Good for: First-time Cruisers. Overall Service. Value for Money.
Regions:Alaska, Hawaii, Tasmania
Good for: Children`s Programs. Seniors. Families.
Regions:Western Caribbean, Suez Canal, Bahamas, Dubai
Good for: Children`s Programs. Seniors. Families.
Regions:Brazil, Western Mediterranean, Greek Isles
Good for: Seniors. Families. Singles.
Regions:Norwegian Fjords, British Isles, Scan Russia, Southern Caribbean
Good for: Children`s Programs. Group. Families.
Regions:UK, Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda
Good for: Disabled Travelers. Group. Families.
Regions:Bahamas, Southern Caribbean
Good for: Families. Children`s Programs. Seniors.
Regions:Western Caribbean, Southern Caribbean
Good for: Families. Overall Service. Teens.
Regions:Western Mediterranean, Panama Canal
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Seniors.
Regions:Singapore, Malaysia, Phuket & Port Kelang,
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:Hawaii, Alaska, South Pacific
Good for: Families. Group. Overall Service.
Regions:Toyko To Taipei, Australia, Asia
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.
If you're reading this then you may be debating whether or not to take this cruise. Sea Dawg says you should because of the Holy Land itinerary - not because of the ship. Or you may have already booked and now you might be wondering whether or not you messed up. Sea Dawg says you done alright. Or you might be hoping to learn a few things from a salty dawg. Sea Dawg will try to do just that. Is Sea Dawg critical? You betcha. I call it like I see it. Criticism should not be equated with dislike of cruises.
Arrival: We flew into Marco Polo Airport, Venice, Italy and rode the city bus (3 Euros) to Piazza Roma hub - about a ten minute walk to the port.
Embarkation: We arrived and witnessed the Royal Caribbean port terminal in chaos. Advanced printout of our SetSail Pass and completed information failed to speed up processing. Though advertisements trumpet express check-in, hospitality room and priority boarding for Platinum & Diamond members - we found we weren't the only Platinum dawgs denied this "perk". Human error? Maybe - but there are no consequencesto those that made the error. It was "hurry up and wait" - we sat on a bare concrete floor with luggage waiting for our group number to be called for processing aboard - the first group began at 1:00. We were finally allowed aboard at 2:15. Sea Dawg rates Royal Caribbean embarkation all growls. Those who waited until 3:30 "breezed" through check-in.
Photographs: Photographers will greet you throughout the cruise. You should know in advance that these photographs are not complimentary or cheap. But you are not obligated to buy. If interested, stop and pose. If not, say, "no thanks" and be on your way. Sea Dawg has experienced a few times when photos go on sale or can be bargained down in price near the end of the cruise.
Welcome Aboard: Vision of the Seas, (1998), older and next to smallest class (78,000 tons; 915' length) than others in the RCCL fleet, is scheduled for an overhaul - and it really shows. Some salty dawgs familiar with mega-ships found Vision disappointing, but others found her a good size. Sea Dawg's experience has been bigger is not always better. You may have learned that sodas, bottled water, fruit juices, beer and alcoholic drinks are available for a price. Unless you can be content with free coffee, tea, lemonade and tap water, you may want to purchase a soda package. If you are keeping track - shore excursion expenses and soda packages are adding to the cost of this cruise you thought you had already paid for - and Vision hasn't left the port yet! If you aren't careful, RCCL will nickel & dime dawgs at every turn.
Cabin: Ours was an inside stateroom on Deck 7, forward. We found it convenient to everything. We are not ones to spend much time in the stateroom anyway. Our stateroom was quite small but efficient. Carpet, furnishings and bathroom were showing their age and heavy use. Two people had to choreograph moves to navigate the tiny floor space. One person standing in front of the closet could be caged in if another opened the bathroom door. The bathroom was something like an airplane restroom with a tight don't-drop-the-soap shower. Sorry, no bathtub except in luxury suites. Sea Dawg says it is a good idea to pack your own won't-fall-through-cracks soap and specialty shampoo. Be forewarned - our hot water was either scalding or lukewarm. We find that we keep a small stateroom neater than a larger one - have to or else the accumulated clutter immobilizes us. I think we would have felt less ship motion in a cabin more in the center of Deck 7.
A Day 1 Cruise Compass listing all the ongoing activities, information and suggestions was on the bed. The lifeboat muster stations are on your SeaPass card. We did not have to wear life jackets to the mandatory muster drill. Muts be warned not to skip drill because staff is checking your name on their roll.
Around the Ship: We had time to explore the ship. If you have time try to locate places where events happen. My advice is start at the top and work down using the stairs. You should at least know where the medical facility is (Deck 1). You might want to inquire if your medical insurance covers you - in most cases it won't.
We encountered faint musty odors and sewery smells wafting down the hallways on Decks 2 & 3. To us this indicates chronic plumbing problems hard to fix. If this might be an issue with you, book staterooms on higher decks.
Aquarius, the main dining room, has two levels on Decks 4 & 5. We met the Maitre 'd and got information on our table seating, attire and meals. At this time of year, the sun goes down before early dinner begins so there's not much advantage to getting a window seat. Windjammers only sometimes offered the same entrée as the main dining rooms at dinnertime. Windjammers is the buffet restaurant where one can spot chow hounds loading plates like they're about to be stranded on a deserted island for a month - only to eat half of it. And few appreciate line crashing hyenas who snatch away all the remaining servings forcing those whose mothers taught them better to wait until another tray arrives from the kitchen. Deck 4 is also home to the Centrum floor.
Deck 5 is where Guest Relations, Casino and Masquerade Theatre are located. By far the largest cash intake comes from the gaming in the Casino. House odds are higher than at Las Vegas. In other words, there are greater odds you will lose. So consider money lost gambling the cost of entertainment. To that end there are free gaming lessons offered. Be careful, the ATM machine is here, too.
Deck 6 has the onboard shopping. Think of the pricey little shops at upscale hotels and you'll have the right idea. Resist the temptation and don't pay "retail" just yet. There will be "sales" throughout the cruise and a few good values might be found. Deck 6 also has the Schooner Bar and Some Enchanted Evening Lounge.
Decks 7 & 8 are cabin decks. Deck 9 is home to Windjammers, the Main Pool, the Solarium (sheltered adult pool) and the Spa. Deck 10 is home to the jogging track, Fitness Center, and Ocean Adventure. Deck 11 houses the Viking Lounge.
Our cruise was not fully booked, so we were pleased few experienced long waits for an elevator. Even so, we found the stairs quicker at peak times. There were quite a few organized Holy Land tour groups aboard, notably from South Korea. The majority of passengers were mature dawgs 50 years up. There weren't many pups aboard and no frisky college canines. Not to worry, we had our share of incredibly loud and rude, line crashing, seat saving, argumentative Russian hounds aboard.
Dinner: We met our fellow tablemates - all new to us, about the same age and cruise experience, and truly enjoyable company. Kudos to RCCL table assignments.
I've read some reviews from Pedigrees complaining about dinners and I have to reply that it is completely unrealistic to expect 5-star dinners at RCCL's moderate prices. Sea Dawg found the quality and quantity of the prepared food consistently very good. No, it's not the best culinary offerings the cruise industry has to offer. - and RCCL no longer serves lobster. Pedigrees who want 5-star cuisine should book luxury cruiselines and pay their premium prices. For the rest of us, this is a chance to sample cuisine we don't often enjoy. If it's not to your liking, your waiter will bring you something else. Big dawgs can order a second entrée if they like. No, we weren't offered filet mignon or whole boiled lobster. But duck, lamb, veal and tiger prawns were. And, yes, you could order steak every night. Vegetarian, "lite" and Asian offerings were usually available.
Dinners are an event that shouldn't be rushed. If you are in a hurry, do your tablemates and waiters a favor and eat at Windjammers. If you want to know the chef's secrets, you can purchase the recipes.
Waiters come from all over the world. Their English proficiency varies but is generally merely functional. Most try very hard to please you and really do earn their tips. Wit and humor were in ample supply at our table and any pretense of formality fortunately disappeared the first night. Dinnertime became an enjoyable highlight of this cruise.
Dancing Under the Stars: Romantic sounding isn't it? Fortunately, on this cruise there were many opportunities for romantic dancing. Never learned how to dance? There are free ballroom dance classes available.
Day 1 - Venice If you've never seen Venice don't miss this opportunity.
Days 2 - 3 - 4 At Sea Vision has a long way to go and a short time to get there. Seas were moderate and the realized wind topside was about 40 knots. In order to make speed, the stabilizers didn't seem to be deployed. Vision maintained a slow undulation punctuated by jerks and vibrations. Seasick bags were hung on stair landings, and seasick pills were available at the Guest Services Desk for green dawgs. It serves as a warning. Dawgs prone to motion sickness are well-advised to be prepared to medicate. In rough seas Vision will definitely rock-n-roll.
The Shows: The Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers productions were a notch above theme park shows. To their credit, the shows were performed live to music provided by a live band. Special kudos go to Tim, the sound tech - who kept the sound from becoming loud and distorted.
Headliner Guests were hit and miss. Our best performers were singer Bruce Parker and pianist Naki Ataman. Your cruise will probably feature different entertainers. Most of the others had show dawgs heading out the exits.
Day 5 - Haifa, Isreal This is the port for excursions to Nazareth, the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee. The city itself features the famous Baha'i Gardens. For those who plan to walk into Haifa, be forewarned to be met by taxi drivers promising the moon for a bargain but most will take you for a ride and demand more than you thought you agreed to pay. A word about shopping: make your shopping list before you leave home. Too often dawgs purchase items on a cruise destined for a yard sale. Record the local or internet price so you'll know whether you are getting a bargain. Bone up on U.S. Custom limitations before you leave or you might find yourself in the dawghouse.
Day 6 - Ashdod, Isreal This is the port for excursions to Jerusalem and area. Hopefully you took advantage of the free travel talks that should prepare you for what you will see. For most, it isn't like anything they pictured. The Jerusalem walking tours are strenuous. Many group tours throughout this cruise rush here and there with limited site visitation time and greatly restricted opportunity to purchase merchandise along the way. At the end of the tour you will be taken shopping at a "trusted and approved" but overpriced store. Be aware that the merchant gives a percentage of sales to the tour guide and to the cruise line. Many of the same items are sold for less in shops near the port. Also be aware that Jerusalem is not a good place to attempt to tour on your own.
Days 7 & 8 - Alexandria, Egypt This is the gateway to ancient Egypt and you will find a good variety of excursions to match your interests and budget. There are a few rules to remember here: (1) Nothing is free. (2) Bargain for everything. (3) If you make a counteroffer, the merchant understands you are serious about buying. (4) Stay with and in your pack. This is a place dawgs should consider risky to attempt to tour on your own.
Day 9 - At Sea After four straight days of excursions most welcome a restful day at sea. The seas were glassy calm and the weather delightfully sunny and warm. So why was Vision still jerking and vibrating, especially aftwards? Most salty dawgs suspected the engine room.
Day 10 - Kusadasi, Turkey This is the port to catch excursions to the amazing ruins of Ephesus. Kusadasi has a maze of shops at the port entrance worth investigating.
Days 11 & 12 - At Sea The weather turned windy and rainy, with moderate seas as Vision steamed back to Venice. As before, Vision rolled, jerked and vibrated as she had to average 17 knots and the stabilizers were probably not deployed. The seasick bags reappeared and attendance in the main dining room dropped considerably. Salty dawgs feasted on abundant quantities of truly giant shrimp.
There is a lot going on aboard as RCCL makes an all-out final effort to part dawgs from their money. Bingo jackpot's gotta go! Items in shops go on close-out sale! Book your next RCCL cruise now and get onboard credit! Haven't climbed the Rock Wall yet? Well "get out there!" while you still have the opportunity!
You'll have received your envelopes to stash your cash for tips to your cabin steward, waiter, assistant waiter and head waiter. RCCL's suggests tip guidelines for all of the above persons per passenger.
You'll receive a comment card. My thinking is that if you mark everything "excellent" then RCCL will have no incentive to improve anything. But what most want RCCL to improve is not even on the comment card. You'll have to write in comments like "enforce your rules", "need more crew checking SeaPasses and attending the Guest Relations Desk", etc. yourself.
Check your SeaPass account for charges and accuracy at Guest Relations today before the crowd forms a long line. You should get a statement of account in your stateroom tonight. That's when many discover their bar tab, purchases, casino gaming and excursions cost more than the stateroom!
We had a early flight out and only had carry-on luggage so we signed up for express departure.
Departure: We ate a final breakfast in Windjammers then got our luggage from our stateroom.
Departure went well. There were the usual rude line-breakers trying to beat the system and too few crew members assigned to stop them. I can't figure out why line-breakers think they're the only ones in a hurry or why they are more important than anyone else in the scheme of things. This is one area I fault RCCL - too few personnel assigned to handle so many passengers. This should be an "all available hands on deck" situation. There were handicapped passengers needing more assistance than they received. There were people who didn't know which line to get in (one went to Guest Relations - not the exit). Nor do I comprehend why everyone must pass through one and only one exit. (FYI - those who booked the grandest staterooms receive special treatment. The old First Class and Steerage Class steamship system can still be witnessed.)
Given the recent bad press RCCL has received regarding poor security and crime coverup, we thought we might see more security patrolling the decks and enforcing the rules during the cruise. Not so. Know what you are getting into. You are taking certain legal risks on a cruise. U.S. law does not apply on the high seas. That is to say, you don't have Constitutional rights once you leave US territorial waters. Maritime law applies and by signing your ticket, dawgs waive many legal rights. From what I have experienced, RCCL security is all about minimizing RCCL liabilities and protecting their interests (and casino profits) and not protecting passengers or their belongings.
We used express departure - and rolled our own luggage off the ship. Sea Dawg has learned there are many advantages to packing light.
Should You Take This Cruise?
Cruise lines would have you believe cruising is for everyone. It's not! Are you willing toeat and converse with people you have never met? tolerate long, slow lines to most everything? Line-breakers? listen to loud music and noisy, rude, often drunk people? tolerate unsupervised teens running about the ship? be herded like cattle here and there? accept you're getting ripped off paying high prices for sodas, juice and alcohol? be comfortable in cramped quarters? Do you like seeing new places and doing new things? Do you function well in crowds? If so, then cruising may be for you. If not, then it wouldn't take much to ruin your vacation. As for us, we are ready to go again - but not on Royal Caribbean. I have a question for the "Nation of Why Not?"; Why not treat your Platinum and Diamond members better?
This was a great cruise. The ship is in great shape, the food was great and the staff and crew were wonderful.
Our stateroom was always clean and the our stateroom attendant Nadine was was a dream. The weather was excellent and "Thomas" did very little to spoil out fun. The shows that we went to were OK, the the 4 Seasons show was the best of all. The casino, welllllll what can I say this is how they make money, the slots are VERY tight.
The ports, labadee was OK, the beach was clean and nice, the ship brings a BBQ to shore and everyone eats. Samana, this is not the best port they can pick, this was a very LOW BUDGET port I don't want to go back there again. St. Thmas was great we went to St. Johns for the day them shopping in St. T. St. Kitts was beeter then I thought it would be, the beaches aren't so great but the island is very pretty with lots for trees etc. We hired a local man, Christian with Tangernie tours, for 25 each he touk uson a 5 hr tour of the island complete with Booze. The shoopng off right off the boat is very good and the casono in town paid more then the ships LOL.
All in all a great cruise, great fun and we will do it again on the Explorer of the Sea.
After waiting for just over two years we finally went on our Oasis cruise. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale early on Friday morning and spent the day at the Lago Mar resort. It was a great hotel located on the beach.
We checked out at 10:30 a.m. and caught a taxi to the port. We checked in and were on the ship in about twenty minutes. After checking out the various areas on the ship we ate in the windjammer and spent the rest of the day familiarizing ourselves with the layout of the ship. The muster drill was much improved, the stations are located in various venues onboard instead of outside on a hot deck. Ours was in the Champagne lounge and went very well. An added benefit to this is that the outside deck on deck 5 where the lifeboats are is much smaller and really only has room for the two lane jogging track with a couple feet on either side. This allowed for more room for the interior, RCCL was very smart with that improvement.
We were very impressed with the amount of thought that went into thelayout of this beautiful ship. There are so many things to look at and do and they are spread out around the ship. With this layout no one area ever looked crowded and it was hard to believe that there were over 6000 people onboard. We also liked the interactive tv screens near the elevators you could do everything from finding your way around, to seeing what activities were available, and the best feature the restaurant indicator that would tell you how crowded the restaurants were at any given moment. These were also available on the stateroom tv’s.
We did go off the ship in each of the ports of call, however it would have been nice to have had more time in Nassau (only there until 2:00p.m.) Even the locals there were complaining at the early departure of both the Oasis and the Carnival Dream that was also in port that day.
We made pre-reservations for the shows we wanted to see and was very impressed with the ice show, Aqua theater show and the Up in the Air show. We also went to the comedy show, the first comedian wasn’t that great but the second was funny.
My husband and teenage boys really liked the flowrider and spent quite a bit of time on it. It was nice having two of them so one could have stand-up surfing while the other had boogie boarding. They also signed up for the boot camp classes in the fitness center and even though the workouts were hard they enjoyed them. I used the regular fitness equipment and never had a problem with anything. The location was a bit different as we are used to the fitness center being on the top deck with full length windows. It is located on deck 6 with porthole windows on either side.
The Zip line was an absolutely incredible experience, a word of advice is to do the Zip on one of the first few days onboard as the lines get longer on the last two days at sea. My 17 year old son and I rode the Zip as my hubby and 15 year old were to scared. It was so much fun, only wished they had made it longer.
We stayed in an Owners Suite and was impressed with both the layout and size of the room and bathroom. Having two tv’s was also an improvement over the Owner’s suite we stayed in on the Explorer. The balcony was also large with both upgraded table and chairs as well as two lounge chairs. We also had pool towels in our room and they were exchanged for clean ones by our stateroom attendant as needed.
We tried out some of the various restaurants onboard, Johnny Rockets, Seafood Shack, Chops as well as the MDR, Windjammer, Sorentos, Izumi’s and Promenade Café. All were great food, with Chops being our favorite.
We also enjoyed the casino and even though the machines weren’t being friendly it is nice having half the casino as smoke-free (my hubby had pretty good luck on the roulette wheel). A lot of our evenings we spent with the kids playing either mini golf or ping-pong. Both very well laid out towards the back of deck 15. The ping pong tables are in an enclosed area which is great to both keep the wind out and the balls in. There are two areas with 3 tables each.
Overall the Oasis much exceeded our expectations the size of the ship (it is enormous especially when looking at her when walking off in port) and the very well thought out layout, nothing was ever crowded. The only disappointments were in some of the artwork in the stairwells, some of the chromograph pictures were not the most professional looking and didn’t seem to match up to what you would expect to see on such an exceptional ship. Also the lack of some of the people onboard to be able to put there golf clubs and balls away as well as the ping pong balls and paddles. I mean come on its not that hard to put your stuff away, and the amount of ping pong balls being stepped on and squished seemed very disrespectful.
Getting off the ship took longer than we expected. We were able to stay in our room and leave it at our leisure. We had earlier numbered luggage but decided to sleep in and leave whenever we were ready. There were problems with the ramps from the ship to the terminal so the lines were long to get off. It took an hour until we were out of the terminal and in a taxi. I don’t think it normally takes that long though.
I had read previous reviews so had a good idea what to expect on board Grandeur of the Seas. Embarkation was smooth and swift, the only down side being the rude and unpleasant port police officers shouting at us as we went through the check-point at the entrance to Port Everglades. First our cabin, we had an inside cabin (the cheapest) I really liked the cabin and thought it was cosy. It does look older but in our cabin everything worked and it was clean. I don’t really understand other reviewers’ complaints about the TV being small; do cruisers really spend 5 days cruising the seas expecting to watch films on big widescreen TVs? ? Regarding the shower which some reviewers commented on, I found that it was possible to get good water pressure and nice and hot if you played around a bit with the water control knob. Our cabin was quiet, we heard no noise. Our cabin steward wasn’t very friendly or chatty but kept the cabin clean. The bedding was good quality but the mattress hard and uncomfortable.
Next, the dining. As my wife pointed out, the menuin the main dining room was re-hashed every night so there didn’t seem to be much real variety. The service to our table of 8 was poor to average. The waiters seemed confused and people’s meals arrived with large time gaps. The quality of the food was fine but as already mentioned the menu lacked imagination. Dining in the Windjammer buffet was good in my opinion although my wife mentioned that she felt the variety and quality could have been better
Next, the entertainment. Both my wife and I enjoyed all of the entertainment on board. We both agreed that everything on offer was really professional and very impressive.
Next, the staff. None of the staff was very bad, but none was very good either. The word mediocre sums it up for me. The one exception to this was a barman whose name I no longer recall who had a really cheeky sense of humour and was very good at his job.
Next, the fellow cruisers. There were no real complaints in this regard from my wife or me; the other guests were pretty sedate. We didn’t see any unsavoury children running about screaming although there were a small number of loud drunks in some of the bars.
Next, the ship in general. We were quite disappointed with the décor, which we felt didn’t offer much attractive to look at. Some parts of the ship were very much showing signs of wear and overall the ship does feel as though she really could do with a major refit. It was true, I’m afraid to say, that sewage could be smelled in the atrium at certain times of day! The air conditioning on this ship did not appear as efficient as it could be, it felt a bit hot and stuffy at certain times. Having said all this, we paid a very inexpensive price for our cruise and felt that the cruise was priced in accordance with the condition of the ship. The indoor pool was really nice, as were the whirlpools and the sauna. The Seattle’s Best Coffee Bar was fabulous, wonderful iced coffees and cookies. We really enjoyed the table tennis tables on deck.
To sum up, a good cruise for the price paid but if you want posh then pay a bit more for something more up market. My wife and I did enjoy the cruise despite the negative points but next time we will probably try to save up a bit more money to go on a posher ship.
This was our 9th cruise on Royal Caribbean and 3rd cruise on a Voyager Class Ship. This cruise was a 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise on the Voyager of the Seas sailing out of Barcelona, Spain.
Pre-Cruise Stay We flew into Barcelona, Spain arriving on Saturday morning. We stayed for one night at the Renaissance Barcelona Airport Hotel. We took a taxi tour of the tourist parts of the city, including Sigrada Familia and the Las Ramblas area.
Embarkation We caught the hotel shuttle to the Port for 10 Euros per person at about noon, and arrived at the pier in about 20 minutes. Since we are platinum members of the Crown and Anchor Society, we did not have to wait in the long check-in line, and we were through and onto the ship very quickly. Our cabin was ready at 1pm, so we had a nice lunch in the Windjammer and then went to our cabin.
The Ship The Voyager of the Seas was launched in 1999, and was the largest cruise ship afloat at that time. Although she has since been surpassed as the largest cruise ship, she still maintains a huge presence.This beautiful ship doesn’t show any age or wear at all. The crew has done a spectacular job of keeping her immaculate and clean. The ship has 2 main pools and 4 hot tubs in the main pool area, and an adult’s only area just forward of the main pool with its own pool and 2 large hot tubs. There is also a hot tub in the spa as well. There is a Royal Promenade with shops and a pub. The sports deck has a 9-hole mini golf course, a roller blade track, a climbing wall and an enclosed basketball/volleyball court. Studio B on deck 3 has an ice rink, and the ship sports 2 specialty restaurants; Johnny Rockets and Portofino’s.
The Cabin We had a category D1 balcony on deck 10, aft. Our cabin is what I would call a “secret cabin” on this class of ships. Our cabin was on the starboard side aft in the corner. This meant a slightly larger room and balcony due to the curve of the ship. We had a nice queen size bed with a pillow top mattress, plenty of closet space and the standard size bathroom and shower.
The Staff The staff was again the highlight of the cruise with their service. Our room steward and wait staff were great, and all the crew and staff did a good job.
Dining We enjoyed the food, the dining room food was good and plentiful, and we really enjoyed the Windjammer and Island Grill buffet. The best food we found was at Portofino’s specialty restaurant. The food and service in Portofino’s was spectacular! Mere words cannot do Portofino’s justice.
Ports-of-Call This was a very port intensive cruise. After our sea day, the 1st stop was Naples, Italy. In Naples we saw some sights in the city including the 13th century castle next to the port. We also had some pizza for lunch and after some shopping, met our afternoon excursion to see the ruins of Pompeii. The 2nd stop was Rome, and we took a full day excursion called “Imperial Rome”. We visited numerous ruins including the Roman Forum and the Coliseum in the morning. In the afternoon, we visited Vatican City. The 3rd stop was Livorno, Italy where we took a full day excursion to Florence to see the city and its renaissance art. We also visited Pisa on our way back and saw the famous leaning tower. The next stop was Villefrance, France where we went on a morning excursion to Monaco and Monte Carlo. We saw the Palace of Prince Albert the 2nd as well as the Grand Casino. Our last stop was in Toulon, France where we opted to just visit the city of Toulon on our own for some French dining, shopping and visited a French Naval Museum.
Entertainment We didn’t take in too many shows or entertainment venues this cruise. We saw the 2 production shows and the Welcome Aboard show, that was all. For the 1st cruise ever, there were no comedians at all in any of the shows. We liked the productions shows, the singers and dancers were very good.
Disembarkation We decided to use the self-disembarkation for this cruise since we only had 1 piece of luggage for both of us. It was very easy; we left our cabin at 8am with our luggage, ate in the open seating dining room, and then walked off the ship with no delays or problems.
Overall I would rate this cruise a 9 out of 10. We really enjoyed the ship, the ports-of-call, the food and staff was great. I wish we could’ve seen and used more venues on the ship, but the ports-of-call kept us very busy and tired us out almost every day. We loved this cruise, our favorite so far!
Just took the Ultimate Alaska, end-of-season run, and this is my 13th time on Radiance. The ship is getting older and experiencing some pains, especially the plumbing which seems to have never worked properly. I have no doubt the system is abused by passengers but it is still a problem area. The highlight, as always, is a fantastic crew who are always pleasant and professional. Even our head waiter added to our overall enjoyable cruise. Everything has been reduced except the workload for the crew. It is so noticable and makes it hard to feel you have gotten value for your dollar. I would rather pay a bit more and see them bring back an expanded menu for the longer itineraries.
This class of ship is very well thought out and the nice itinerary along with the great crew made this a nice cruise overall. Perfect? Not even close.
Just got back from cruise. DON'T GO ON THIS SHIP!! We went on this ship to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary with our family. What a mistake, Food both in dining room and the windjammer cafe was cold or lukewarm never hot. Surprized didn't get food poisoning. Have had better and taster food in hospital.
Went to see cake decorating competion between cruise director and head chef. Head chef sneezed into his hand never washed it and proceeded to decorate cake which was later offered to onlookers to taste. Just 1 example of lack of cleanliness on ship. Only had purrell at the diningroom entrances but not near elevators or stairways so you could kill germs on your hands.
3 days into cruise had to pick up something that had went under bed and found slippers that weren't ours
Wrote letter to hotel mamager outlining our complaints and never heard from him while on cruise
On positive side Ice Show was great!
Other people we met told us not to judge line by this ship said others are much better or maybe the line is falling down as a whole.
This review will get right to the point. The Oasis is hugh, at 225,000 tons, and carries up to 6200 passengers. But it is a wonderful ship and we had a great time!! The Oasis is a family-oriented vessel, with more to do and experience than you will have time to on one trip. The neighborhood design is outstanding, and getting around is not bad as some might indicate. My BW and I are in our 60s'and found the ship organized and well thought out.
The food and entertainment were above average, as was the service.
The Oasis might not be for every cruiser, but don't avoid it just because of its' size. The Oasis is an experience all cruisers should try at least once.
The cruise was amazing for me and my wife both in thirties. But let me start from the air flight, which was a nightmare delivered by American Airlines:
1. Flight from JFK to Madrid was delayed for 5 hours. As a result we missed our connection flight to Malaga
2. Of course baggage was delayed and delivered only next morning about an hour before we were leaving to the sea port. So here is the conclusion: arrive to the embarkation port at least 1-2 days before the cruise starts.
3. Our flight back to US was late too. And again same story and even worse: last flight cancelled no meal/accommodations from AA and delayed baggage again. No excuse and nothing reimburse from AA.
Luckily as it was so bad in the air, it was extremely good in the sea: only pros:
1. Embarkation/disembarkation smooth and fast.
2. I was surprised but shore excursions were great and not pricey at all. E.g $50 per person for 4 hours Palma de Majorca City tour. I can compare because we also took a separate tour in Toledo from different tour operator: much worse and expensive. Tour was probablydesigned for American teens: a lot of useless entertainment, lack of historical information etc.
3. Food was great, European style. Windjammer café was crowded sometimes, but it does not really matter because you can take food to your stateroom.
4. We had a balcony cabin, which was great. Everything worked fine. That's a big plus to me, since I still remember Carnival cruise on Imagination we took 3 years ago with no working air conditioner in the cabin.
5. Maybe entertainment was not as good as expected, but it pertains only to production shows. Ice show was superb.
We arrived at the port where we were shuffled into what looks like an endless line of people checking in. My advice is, if you have the opportunity to stay at an RCCI recommended hotel the night before, do so. You can check in at the hotel and avoid this mess. We waited in line for about an hour to get on the ship.
When you walk on the ship you will be impressed. The Centrum area is beautiful, glass and lights from the 4th deck to the 10th deck. From here you will be directed to the elevators to go to your respective floors. When you get off the elevator there will be two attendants to give you your keys to your cabin. From here, just drop your stuff off and head to the Windjammer for the luncheon buffet. I found the food at the Windjammer to be fine. You have to keep in mind that this is a buffet and it is as good as buffet food can get. Breakfast at the Windjammer is the same everyday; they always have two kinds of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage,French toast or pancakes, grits, cereal, omelets, fresh fruit and breads. You can get eggs to order here and toast if you go to the bar at the back center of the dining area. We did not notice this until halfway through the cruise.
After you refuel, it is a good time to explore or get ready for your lifeboat drill (depending on what time you arrive on ship). We were lucky, we received our luggage right away and used this time to unpack. We had a category K interior stateroom on the 7th deck. Some of you may feel a room with a port hole or veranda is a must, but we hardly ever spent any time in our room and found the extra money spent on the exterior rooms would have been wasted. The room was small, but large enough for the two of us. There is plenty of storage, drawer and closet space. After the lifeboat drill, get yourself a cocktail and get ready to sail out of Miami!
Make sure you fill out the shore excursion request form in your cabin as soon as possible so you can get the excursions you are interested in. You put the form in a box by the shore excursion desk and receive your tickets in your room the very first night. Each day you will receive a newsletter called the Compass. This will tell you the dress for dinner each evening, activities on the ship, tours in ports, what time each restaurant/bar is open until.
The My Fair Lady Dining room is beautiful. We were on the lower level in a small room right off the entrance. At first I wasn't too pleased, but after hearing the noise from the main dining area, we realized it was actually pleasant. Our waiter was Joe Fernandes from India and his assistant, Aldrin, was from India also. Joe was an excellent waiter. He took very good care of our table. It was so nice to have someone take your lobster tail out of the shell for you or cut the duck off the bone for you! If you get Joe, you will not be disappointed. His personality matched his service. He was very enjoyable and entertaining. A few nights your waitstaff will sing and dance for you so bring your cameras! Aldrin, the assistant waiter was very nice and entertaining too, some of you might be lucky enough to have him as your waiter, as he was promoted to waiter at the end of our cruise.
The food in the main dining room was very good. I can say no one at our table was ever disappointed in any meal we ate. Each night had a theme and you are offered a choice of either a pasta, seafood, red meat, chicken or vegetarian dish. The meals are just enough, not too small or too much. Some nights at our table we would all order a different dessert and pass them around the table so we could try everything. We were lucky, our tablemates were very nice.
Next would be what to do at night. There are 9 different bars on board. Each with their own special ambiences. The Schooner bar had an excellent piano player and was a great place to relax and sit back and enjoy the music. The Carousel lounge was where the house band, Private Stock, played. Here you could dance or just sit back and relax in the comfortable, tiered seating. I can't tell you about the Fascinating Rhythm Lounge, as there was never anything going on at night here. This is where they held the art auctions every day. The Champagne Terrace had a wonderful trio play here and the atmosphere was relaxing. You could sit here and look all the way up the Centrum area, which is beautiful. There were also bars located by the two pools, the Casino and the Orpheum Theater. The last is the Viking Crown Lounge. They play disco music at night but during the day it is quiet and beautiful place to take in the views. Just beware, the drinking age is 18 on the ship and the 18 year olds do drink a lot and act like any other 18 year old would when drinking.
The Orpheum Theater is where you see all your headliner shows. The shows would include the comedians, the jugglers, the singers and Wave Revue dancers and singers. We enjoyed all the entertainment. Each night was something different. Make sure you don't miss seeing the Not-So-Newlywed Game. This was very funny! Other activities aboard the ship are the toga party, horse racing (lots of fun), dance lessons, shipshape spa, art auctions, shuffleboard, ping pong, putting greens and of course there is Bingo Richie! He is the assistant cruise director and he is very funny! Ken Rush was the cruise director and he does an excellent job at it. He captures your attention and gets involved with many of the activities himself. There is so much to do that you can't do everything.
The pool areas are nice. We spent most of our time at the Solarium pool as this is where the little kids didn't hang out. Getting chairs on the deck areas was never a problem. There are plenty to go around. The only days that were tough were the at sea days. There were chairs but you would have to look for them. The best area is on the 10th deck, not many people running around and there was always a good breeze. Ports of Call: Key West, Florida - This was a fun little town. There is plenty to keep you busy during the time you are here. We went to Margaritaville, Sloppy Joe's and did some shopping. Everything is on Duvall Street. There is a Trolley and Conch Train Tour to take you around town. You definitely could use more time here then they give you. We docked right at the pier. We did not have to tender in here. There were shuttles from the pier to downtown and back so you don't have to worry about the walk.
Cozumel, Mexico - The water here is crystal clear turquoise blue. You can see right to the bottom. Here we rented a scooter and headed to Chankanaub Park (not on the ship's tour list). This is the best place for inexperienced snorkelers to go. Here there is plenty of snorkeling area, a beach with beach chairs, showers, lockers and a nature garden to wander through. This area is well worth the $7.00 they charge to get in. Of course make sure you save time for downtown Cozumel. The shopping here is cheap. Mexican Blankets for $4.00! Here we docked right at the pier.
Ochos Rios, Jamaica - Here we were lucky and got to dock at the nice pier. I was told by someone at the shore excursion desk that they usually dock at the James Bond Pier which an industrial pier with fencing around. There was a big tanker docked there when we arrived. I don't know why they don't dock at the nice pier all the time. It is right near a public beach, which you can use for $1.50. We went to the beach and then downtown for some shopping. Everyone wants to braid your hair. If you want some bargains, don't go the shopping plazas. Head to the crafters markets where you can barter and as long as you say no and keep walking, no one will bother you.
Georgetown, Grand Cayman - This island was beautiful. Very expensive though! Here you have to tender off the ship to the dock, a very short ride. Here we took the Atlantis Submarine tour. This takes you to the bottom of the sea where you see such beautiful amazing sights. From here we took a cab to Seven-Mile Beach. You can just walk on the beach plop yourself anywhere as long as you do not try to use the hotel chairs. This is the softest beach sand you have ever felt. We did some snorkeling here also.
We would definitely sail with Royal Caribbean again. We are even thinking of sailing the Enchantment on the Eastern Caribbean route next time. You would never know there were 2,400 passengers and 700 crewmembers aboard. Everything is so smoothly run and planned that you don't notice. As for the vibration, it depends where you are. The lower decks felt it more than the upper decks. It wasn't annoying at all. As for you honeymooners, we felt for us, it was the ultimate honeymoon. They even have a special honeymooners party where you get free champagne served with chocolate covered strawberries! Walks on the upper decks at night are very romantic! We made sure we did this every night (especially to walk off dinner too)! You can't miss with a honeymoon cruise.
Overall our impression of the Enchantment of the Seas is beautiful. The service, the atmosphere and the little extras made the cruise very enjoyable. This was the best vacation I have ever taken. The staff and crew made the vacation an enjoyable experience.