Best For People Who Want
Plenty of windows for ocean view inthe public rooms and dining
Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
Balcony cabins; mega-ship sports facilities, huge casinos.
The last of what are now called the Vision-class ships, also
including Legend, Splendour, Enchantment, Grandeur, and Rhapsody of
the Seas. These ships are all nearly identical with many things in
common, the only difference being that each iteration gets a little
bigger and carries more passengers. The all have the distinctive
Royal Caribbean "Centrum", seven decks high on these ships, atop of
which one finds the Viking Crown Lounge. The decor is light and
contemporary, and mostly in good shape because the Royal Caribbean
keeps it that way, though it isn't unusual to see some wear and
tear in pockets.
All of the ships of the class have public rooms full of large
expanses of glass to let in glorious sunshine and sea views. She
was hailed in her day as a large ship that still preserved the
sense of being at sea. Today, she's an older ship, and actually
considered small, but still elegant and classy enough to attract a
younger clientele looking for sea escapes and action at night.
You'll find the Champagne Terrace at the bottom of the the
Centrum, where live palm trees and a string embellish the ambiance
of brass, marble & glass. This is also the shopping area, where
three large duty-free stores offer plenty of browse time. There are
light woods and marble set fountains throughout the ship, which
along with the live foliage and open expanses of outside windows,
give the entire ship a feeling of aliveness.
High atop the Centrum, on deck 11, is the ever popular Viking
Crown Lounge, perfect for watching the scenery go by (a near 360
degree field of vision near the very top of the ship) in Alaska or
the Panama Canal. It is also the place to be at night when it
becomes the ship's late-night disco. There's more dancing in the
evening in the Anchor's Aweigh Lounge, albeit at a less frenetic
pace, while another popular bar is the nautically-inclined
Schooner's. Vegas-style floor shows are presented in the That's
Entertainment Theatre with generally good sight lines from all
seats. And as if all that is not enough, Casino Royale has all the
table games and slots a non-professional gambler could ever
There is a library as well as The Crown and Anchor Study, with
computer assisted visual aids to show the ship's position and more
information from the bridge. Nearby is a card room and conference
Breakfast in the Windjammer Lido cafe includes cooked to order
omelets, or scrambled eggs at the buffet, but fried eggs are not
available. Lunch in the Lido is equally pleasing albeit a simple
selection. Mosre interesting is the afternoon tea bread pudding or
cobbler along with sandwiches, cakes, cookies and ice cream.
Overall, passenger satisfaction ratings for the dining room meals
are good, as well as for the Windjammer buffets for lunch and and
afternoon teas. The option for a late night snack seems to vary on
The two-story restaurant, amidships, with great views, features
a raised platform for pianist or small ensemble. While large enough
to handle a thousand people per seating, tables are far enough
apart to preclude a feeling of crowdedness. The Windjammer, forward
end of Deck 9, also has floor-to-ceiling windows.
It's obvious that the multinational staff and crew enjoy
watching their passengers enjoy themselves. They're uniformly
cheerful, knowledgeable, and eager to help. The wait staff in every
restaurant is noticeably solicitous and conscientious.
Cabin service staff is efficient but unobtrusive. The purser's
desk is notably responsive, especially in view of how much
troubleshooting they must have to do on a ship this size. Room
service, though, can be pretty slow.
Royal Caribbean suggests a per person per day gratuity of $3.50
for the stateroom attendant ($5.75 if sailing in a suite); $3.50
for the waiter; $2.50 for the Assistant Waiter; .75 Head Waiter.
These gratuities may be paid in cash or charged to your onboard
account. For children sailing as third or fourth passenger in the
stateroom, tipping is at the parents' discretion.
A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all beverage
tabs. Gratuities for room service, spa, casino and other staff are
at your discretion.
Royal Caribbean is one of the few cruise lines to offer "name"
performers, and comedians. Lounge performers are also seasoned and
Vision's cabins are cleverly designed to make them feel larger
than they actually are; even the smallest feature a small sitting
area, and there's a lot more storage space than you'd have any
right to expect. Inside cabins start at a tiny 135 sq.ft up to 172
sq.ft. while Oceanview staterooms measure 154 sq. ft.. Family Ocean
View Staterooms (237 sq.ft.) can accommodate up to six people.
Standard amenities include TV with pay-per-view movies, CNN, safe,
lighted vanity, individual temperature control, hair dryer;
bathrooms have showers and medicine cabinets; minibars and tubs are
found in the highest category stateroom.
Superior Oceanview with private balcony are 195 sq. feet plus a
41 sq.ft. balcony. The five categories of suites include the Junior
Suite (241 sq. ft. 64 sq.ft. balcony) and the Royal Family Suite,
accommodating up to eight people, with two bedrooms and two
bathrooms (463 sq. ft., balcony 55 sq. ft.).
The gym's awfully small for a ship this size. The main pool on
Sun Deck is adjacent to the Solarium, a stunning glass- enclosed
second pool with whirlpools and comfortable lounge chairs. In the
"ShipShape" fitness center, you'll find a spa operated by Steiner's
of London (they of the notoriously pushy staff). A rock-climbing
wall has also been added to Vision.
In addition to separate play areas for kids aged three to 12,
there is also a teen lounge that converts to a disco, making Vision
an excellent choice for families with children of many different
vintages. The "Adventure Ocean" youth program has age-specific
facilities and programs supervised by youth counselors for
Aquanauts (age 3-5, must be toilet trained), Explorers (age 6-8),
Voyagers (age 9-11), Navigators (age 12-14) and Teens (age 15-17).
The program runs year-round in the Caribbean, Bermuda, Bahamas,
Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska. Parents can leave their children at
Adventure Ocean while they take shore excursions. For this purpose,
the facilities open 30 minutes ahead of morning shore excursion
departures. Otherwise, organized activities are offered from 10
a.m. to 10 p.m., with group babysitting from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. for
a fee. Teen centers are now open past 2 a.m. Teens will find their
own private coffee house and disco.
A new program for infants and toddlers 6 months to 3 years, in
partnership with toy maker Fisher-Price, offers 45-minute
playgroups for children accompanied by an adult, involving
storytelling, creative arts, music and a variety of Fisher-Price
learning toys and games. Aqua Babies are six months to 18 months
old while Aqua Tots are 18 months to three years old.
Private babysitting is offered from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.,
provided sitters are available, for children from one year old. The
rate is usually between $8.00 and $10 per hour depending on the
number of children in the family. Cash payment is made directly to
the sitter. Arrange through Guest Services at least 24 hours in
There are two formal nights per cruise. Maybe it's this ship's
particularly festive reputation that induced most men to don
tuxedos for formal nights, even though a dark suit would work fine.
In general, though, this ship offers so much to do that you're
likely to see fellow passengers dressed every which way.