Note - this page contains multiple reviews.
Name: Todd R Czaja
Occupation: Engineering Assistant
SailingDate: April 24-May 5
Itinerary: Acapulco to Hawaii
Submit: Submit Review
Date: 18 May 1999
Remote Name: proxy3.bms.com
This was our 2nd cruise overall, 1st being on Princess. Overall while Royal Caribbean was good, we liked Princess
better. Positives: Air/Sea - we paid extra to pick our own flights and it worked out terrific. RCCL took care of all
transfers wonderfully. This included transfers with an extra stay in Honolulu. This was probably the most seamless
traveling and transferring we've ever done, very impressive. The ship was beautiful and the Solarium a great place
to relax. Main courses in the Dining Room were good. The inside cabin we had was very adequate and our steward
very nice. Service on the ship was excellent especially in the Dining Room. Negatives: For 78000 ton ship, it moved
a lot. Also at times there was quite a bit of vibration. Soups, pastas & desserts in the Dining Room were only so/so.
Scheduling of activities wasn't very organized and most was planned while we were in port and off the ship. This was
upsetting because this cruise included 5 days at sea. The midnight buffets (there were only 4 on the whole 11 day
cruise) were a joke. Since they are cutting back on the buffets, they may as well cancel them completely and do as
Princess and go to a 24hr food court. Pool and hot tubs closed by 7PM and the Gym by 8PM - VERY
DISAPPOINTING! I will mention that the Masquerade Theater is one of the best I've seen and the shows were very
good. The celebrity entertainment consisted of Charro and Barry Williams (Greg Brady of the Brady Bunch). Hawaii
as you can imagine was absolutely breathtaking! Maui was our favorite. I recommend renting a car on your own at
each port since it is a US state. You see more for a lot less money.
Bottom line: We would do RCCL again but only if its a good deal and itinerary. Plan to go back on Princess next
Name: Philip Hayasaka
SailingDate: March 24, 1999
Itinerary: Panama Canal
Submit: Submit Review
Date: 25 May 1999
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Our cabin was a suite with veranda. It really made the trip a pleasure. Would sit outside in privacy and listen to the
water when on the seas, or look out on shore when in port. Was especially great going through the Panama Canal.
Definitely well worth the extra money.
The embarkation process was very disappointing to us. We were in a long line (according to the inital of our name)
when we discovered someone had started processing from the back of the line as well as the front. As we were in
the middle, we then became the last. Further, some had forms we did not have. Had to ask to get it. No info on how
to fill it out. In fact, we received very little (like none) information on what to do and when to do it. Very disorganized.
The disembarkation was also a no info process. It would really help if some one had given us some information on
what to expect, what to do and when to do it.
We had a pre cruise stay in San Juan, P.R. and a post cruise in Acapulco. The Condado Plaza in San Juan and the
Hyatt in Acapulco were both very good. Great views. The tour within the city at both places was interesting, but
somewhat depressing. A lot of poverty and security.
Shore excursion in Costa Rica was also disappointing. Took the shopping tour to Sarchi. The majority of time was
spent in the bus on narrow mountain roads, and very little time left to shop.
Overall, this was one terrific cruise. The ship, the staff, the food, the entertainment, all were just great. Enjoyed
ourselves and had a great time.
Name: Donna K.
Submit: Submit Review
Date: 20 Sep 1999
Remote Name: aeppp7.buffnet.net
August 1999 Trip to Alaska on Royal Caribbeans The Visions of the Sea
My husband Mark (42 yrs. old), son Stephen (11yrs. old), daughter Jessica (7 yrs. old) and I (Donna 39 yrs. old)
began our trip on August 13, 1999 (Friday) when we arrived in Vancouver, BC. We were told, and rightly so, that we
did not need to rent a car in Vancouver. We took a taxi to our hotel but I later learned we could have gotten a limo (or
at least a town car) for the same price. Although we didnt take a huge amount of luggage (2 large bags, 2 carry ons
and one duffle bag) the trunk door wouldnt close. Not to worry though, they tie it down. Suggestions for what to pack:
jeans, t-shirts, sweat shirt, rain slicker (I got nice ones at a local department store for $9.99 each (they are a must),
sneakers (if you have room bring two in case one pair gets wet), light gloves, binoculars (they are overpriced once you
get there), camera (I brought a digital camera which let us view the pictures immediately) and all the usual stuff. You
want to dress in layers so as the day warms up you can take off layers one at a time. We stayed at a brand new
Hampton Inn Downtown (1-800-426-7866) at 111 Robson St., Vancouver BC. The rates were $143.10 (Canadian) with
2 queen beds, microwave oven, small refrigerator and kitchen sink. They served a wonderful breakfast that was
included. They had a great whirlpool and exercise room (with brand new equipment) on the roof of the hotel. A free
shuttle to get you around downtown is also available (although it was not very reliable).
After we checked in we took a
walk to Gastown. This is a very nice little community with lots of shops and restaurants. On August 14 (Saturday) we
started out by taking the free shuttle to Stanley Park. This is a huge park with bike, roller blade and walking paths all
around the ocean and the park. The park also has a zoo, aquarium, nature trails, totem poles and flower gardens. We
rented bikes, right outside the park, at Spokes Bike Shop. They have all different sizes and styles of bikes and are
reasonably priced (four bikes for ˝ day for $60 Canadian). We rode our bikes a leisurely 12 miles. After lunch we went
to China Town and visited an authentic Chinese Garden. We spent most of the day walking around downtown. I felt
very comfortable walking around during the day. On August 15 (Sunday) we got ready to go on our cruise. We took
the free shuttle to the Ballantyne Pier where we prepared to board the Royal Caribbean ship The Vision of the Seas.
We arrived at port at 1:00 (later we learned we could have gotten on at 12:00). We gave our luggage to the attendant
and it was then delivered to our room by the time we ate lunch. I always take a carry on bag with swimsuits and a
change of clothes, in case we dont get our luggage as quick. We entered the terminal and waited in line for about 20
minutes to be checked in. From there we were sent to a large room, with chairs, given a number and asked to wait for
our number to be called before boarding the ship. I think they did this so there was not a long line on the gangway
while they took pictures of people boarding the ship (I hate this part). In any event we only had to wait about 10
When we entered the ship we were awe struck. It is very large, very clean and very
beautiful. This was the
beginning of the best cruise we had ever been on! We stayed in cabin number 7094. It was the perfect location. We
were steps away from the elevator and stairs. We went down to get to our dining room which means we didnt have to
wait for an elevator during busy times. We never seemed to have to walk very far to anything we wanted. Our room
was surprisingly big (in cruise ship terms). We had two single beds, a pull out sofa, a large closet and the best part of
all a balcony. I highly recommend a balcony for an Alaskan cruise. We used ours all the time. The balcony had an
overhang above, so we could sit outside even when it was raining. Our room was next to the card room, which was
very quiet. The card room had lots of board games, cards and a great balcony. If you do not get a room with a
balcony, I recommend using the card room balcony for viewing. The only things you wont have are chairs on the
balcony. After seeing our room we quickly went to the Windjammer Restaurant for lunch (the only place to eat the first
afternoon). If you wait too long to eat it gets very busy. Unfortunately, this first meal is always rushed (because
everyone is excited about being on the ship), unorganized (at least the guests are) and the food is just ok. This is my
least favorite meal of the entire trip.
After eating our food we unpacked and then headed to the pool/whirlpools. My
goal is always to eat, unpack and get in the whirlpool before the lifeboat drills. We were successful, a good sign! The
inside pool is in the beautiful Solarium. It had a very Greek look with columns, fountains and lots of tiles. There were
many lounge chairs, some overlooking the water, plenty of towels and a café (serving pizza, hot dogs and
hamburgers). I was told that the glass ceiling over the pool could be opened in nice weather. Next to the Solarium are
the Spa and ping-pong tables. You can get a locker in the Spa and change there. The only thing I didnt like with this is
that you had to walk back through the entrance to the Spa and past the ping-pong tables (always busy) to get to the
pool. While in the Spa make sure you stop in the quiet room, it has a lovely view, a fountain and is very peaceful. Also
walk upstairs and check out the exercise room. They have some fun equipment up there. You must be 18 years old or
accompanied by an adult to work out in the exercise room. They offer tours of the Spa the first day. At 4:30 we had the
lifeboat drill. It was handled very well. You go to your muster station with your life jacket. Everyone is accounted for
and they explain what to do in case of an emergency. The whole process only took about 20 minutes (this is very fast
compared to other boats). After the drill we got ready for our first dinner on the boat. I was not disappointed!! We had
a table for eight, which worked out nice because we were on the cruise with friends who brought their two children. The
dining room is gorgeous. Instead of having two dining rooms, it is a single dining room with a main floor and a balcony.
There is an elegant staircase in the middle. We were at table number 202, our waiters name was Alex (from Thailand)
and our bus boys name was Zamfir (from Turkey). They were both incredible!! The best we have had on or off a
cruise. The lunches and dinners offered in the dining room were tremendous. There was lots of variety and the
presentation was magnificent. If you want extra food, or something special, they accommodate you without making you
feel guilty. Thank goodness, the first dinner was a casual one. In case you are not aware, there is no extra charge for
soda pop at lunch and dinner. The first night my kids ordered chocolate milk and Sprite and my husband and I ordered
ice tea. Thereafter, shortly after we sat down to eat, our drinks arrived without having to order them. They were always
promptly refilled when empty. After dinner my kids always got hot cocoa too. They have a kids menu if your children
dont like whats on the regular menu.
After dinner I took my daughter to camp orientation. It was cute, but you can skip
it if you are tired. They discussed the forms you have to fill out, how kids get ship dollars every time you come to camp
and they how they can turn them in for prizes at the end of the cruise. They also let us know that during the time the
ship is in port there is no camp (useless you pay extra). I was surprised at the limited hours they did have. Most days it
was open 7 AM to 12 PM, then 3 PM to 5 PM and 7 PM to 10 PM. There was no camp during dinner on formal nights
(as on Carnival). The camp was also not very prompt on opening times. One afternoon they were an hour late. The
camp rooms are really nicely decorated, have lots of fun things to do and have very enthusiastic counselors. On
August 16 (Monday) I woke up at 5:30 AM (partly because I was excited about being on the cruise and partly because I
was still on east coast time). I quietly threw on my sweats and went out on the balcony. Within 10 minutes I saw an
eagle and then shortly thereafter saw the tail of a hump back wale. As you may have expected, I woke up my family.
After they were up we spotted porpoises and seals. At 7:30 we went to breakfast in the dining room, as we did almost
every morning. Most days they had open seating from 7:30 to 9:30 in the dining room (the Windjammer is also open
for more self serve food). You are seated at whatever tables are available.
You are promptly served juice and
pastries. The breakfast menu has more items than you can imagine. We had smoked salmon and bagels almost every
morning (you cant get smoked salmon in the Windjammer). The French toast and pancakes were also delicious.
Today was a sea day. Since it was a little chilly out we decided to go up to the Viking Lounge to sit. This is a totally
glassed in lounge on the 11th floor. You sit above all the other decks and can look down on the boat and out at the
sea. It is the most wonderful viewing place on the boat because you can see both sides. It doesnt get busy here until
after 11:00 AM. It really doesnt turn into a bar until 10:00 PM. One side of the lounge is smoking and the other side is
non-smoking. While my daughter was at camp, Mark, Stephen and I sat up there for hours watching the scenery go by.
The waiter came by once and asked us if we wanted a drink. When we told him no he put a napkin down on the end
table in front of us and then didnt ask us again.
There were people around us ordering coffee, which they had to pay
for. I took the elevator down several floors and brought coffee and juice up for my family, at no additional charge. This
evening was the Captains Gala Cocktail Party and the formal dinner (French cuisine). We went to both. At the cocktail
party we had free Champaign and my husband and daughter danced to several songs the band played. The dinner
was delightful, but I felt out of place all dressed up in Alaska. On August 17 (Tuesday) we ate breakfast in the dining
room and went up to the Viking Lounge again. At about 12:40 PM our ship slowed down and a small boat carrying US
rangers pulled up next to us and the rangers climbed onto our ship. The rangers would be giving us a narrated tour of
Glacier Bay. At 1:00 we entered the bay (and saw hump back whales jumping out of the water) and by 3:00 we were at
the two glaciers: Marjorie (very blue and beautiful) and Great Pacific (very dirty). It was quite foggy and rainy in Glacier
Bay, but when we got near the glaciers we could see them clearly and it actually cleared up a little. We tried viewing
this area from the Viking Lounge but it was much too busy in there.
To get the best view of each glacier, I recommend
starting out on the right side of the ship. As the boat gets very close to the glacier, the captain turns the ship to the
right so you get an excellent view from the left side of the ship. The captain then stops the boat and you drift. The
ranger describes the view. If you watch closely you will see the glacier calf and then you will hear what sounds like a
cannon ball going off. This sound is the sound of the iceberg hitting the water. Make sure on the way out of the Bay
you watch for whales. They like to hang out here. Tonight was Italian dinner night. Before we left for dinner we were
standing on our balcony, a pod of Orca whales went swimming along side the ship. After dinner the Captain had a
party for all those passengers who had sailed on Royal Caribbean before. My son and husband attend the gathering
that had free drinks and lots of great desserts (they brought me back chocolate covered strawberries). August 18
(Wednesday) was an exciting day because we were going to Skagway. It was very clear out, finally, and we saw many
huge snow covered mountains. Since they told us we could get off the ship at 8:00 we decided to eat a quick breakfast
at the Windjammer. By 7:45 we were off the boat (it pulls right up to the dock). We rented a car from Avis, ($68 for a
Camary for the day unlimited miles). You pick the car up at the Westmark Hotel, right in the main lobby. It is a pleasant
˝ mile walk into town. You have several options in Skagway; our friends took a train and bus ride. Unfortunately, they
only got to see a fraction of what we saw and paid about $320 for their excursion. I do not recommend taking
excursions through the cruise ship. Once you get off the boat and on the dock, there are always lots of people who
offer excursions that are much cheaper. We drove our car on the South Klondike Highway (the same way the train
The car rental place gave us a great map. We drove by spectacular waterfalls, huge
mountains caps with
glaciers, white water rapids, incredible lakes, and quaint towns. Of course we stopped where ever and when ever we
wanted and took many pictures. We drove from Alaska to British Columbia and then into the Yukon Territory (60.2
degrees north). At each boarder there are great signs to take pictures of. One of the towns we stopped in, in the
Yukon Territory, was Carcross (less than 100 people). There is a nice visitors center, gift shop and ice cream stand
here. We took a stroll over a bridge where some kids were fishing for herring, there were hundreds of fish swimming in
the water. Next we stopped at Cinnamon Cache Bakery & Coffee Shop (suggested by the lady at Avis) just beyond
Carcross. It was a wonderful little bakery in the middle of nowhere with the greatest variety of cinnamon buns. We ate
outside on the deck and watched some wild goats climb the mountain behind us. From there we headed further down
the Klondike Highway past the Carcross desert (the worlds smallest desert) and onto Emerald Lake. It was the most
incredible lake I have ever seen. Within this small lake there were a multitude of green colors. Some Native Americans
were selling bannock in the parking lot by the lake. Bannock is delicious bread made with raisins and apples. At this
point we were about 100 miles from the cruise ship and decided to turn around and head back.
As we were driving
back we detoured over to Tagish (a very small town of less than 20 people). There was nothing there to speak of but it
appears on all the maps. As we continued our drive back, we saw a male moose on the side of the road. We arrived
back in Skagway at 3:15 (the trip could have been much shorter if we didnt stop so often). After a little light shopping
in Skagway we walked back to the ship. We had missed the lunch on the boat but dinner was at 5:00. After dinner we
sat in the lobby and listened to the music that was being performed. Every evening there is live music here. It is so
relaxing and enjoyable. That evening we pulled into Hanes. We got off the ship and walked into town (about ˝ mile). It
is a cute Alaskan town, not too much to do. There is an eagle preserve outside of town, but we decided not to take a
tour because we were told we would see eagles everywhere. Our friends on the boat took a kayak and had a
wonderful time. They even saw bears along the bank. After we visited a few shops in town we walked back to our
cruise ship. On August 19 (Thursday) we went to the dining room for breakfast at 6:30 and were off the ship in Juneau
by 7:30 (we pulled right up to the dock). Unfortunately, nothing was open (shops open at 9:00). We decided to take a
stroll around the town even though everything was closed. This was actually quite enjoyable because it was not
crowded. By 9:00 we were back to the docks to pick up a bright blue school bus (MGT Tours) to the Mendenhall
Glacier. This bus will take you to the glacier and back $10 (adults) and $5 (kids). You purchase the tickets right at the
dock. You can also take a tour with a cab driver (Billie) for $25 and hour. I thought that sounded good. While we were
waiting for the bus, we saw an eagle sitting in the tree above us.
Once on the bus our driver stopped at a steam where
there were hundreds and hundreds of salmon spawning. Earlier in the morning they had seen a bear here, it was gone
when we arrived. When we were back on the road, the driver spotted an eagle and pulled off the road again so we
could take pictures. The driver then continued our ride and dropped us off right at the Mendenhall Glacier. The bus
picks up on the hour from the docks and returns from the glacier on the ˝ hour. The glacier is a spectacular blue with
a lake in front of it and a waterfall along its side. There are many trails in this area and a rangers station with
free-guided tours there. We took a 2˝-hour hike with a ranger in the area around the glacier. We crossed over a
stream with spawning salmon (and lots of dead ones too). It was a very fascinating and informative hike and our guide
answered every question we had. We took the 12:30 bus back to the boat. On the way back we drove past a salmon
hatchery. There were thousands of salmon trying to climb the ladder to get in the hatchery. We got back to the ship
and had lunch in the dining room at 1:00. If you are traveling with kids, I recommend bring walkie-talkies with you. We
brought our GE Walkie Talkies from WalMart ($52 each) with us. This allowed my 11-year-old son to come and go as
he pleased, on the ship. Also, he would take my daughter to camp and pick her up for us. With the walkie-talkies I was
always in contact with him. After lunch Mark and I decided to go back into Juneau and leave the kids in the room. We
brought our walkie-talkies and were in touch with them the whole time we shopped in the stores. There was a great
salmon shop in town that allowed you to watch them process the salmon. While we were gone, the kids got dessert
from room service. Speaking of room service, it is free of charge unless you order soda or alcohol. You can also get
the entire evenings dinner meal from room service. After the ship left port, we watched a couple that had missed the
boat. They came speeding out on a small boat, pulled along side our ship (which was at full speed), and climbed up a
sturdy rope ladder sent down to them. If you ever see this happen, you will never miss your ship! For dinner this
evening we had lobster tails. Our waiter was so wonderful, he brought over extra lobster tails after we finished our first
ones. Mark ended up having six tails. I am sure our waiter would have brought more if we wanted more.
Caribbean you are never made to feel guilty about ordering extra. After dinner Mark and I sat in the Viking and
watched an incredible sun set. Later that even Mark and Stephen went to the Broadway show. They said it was good.
The shows usually last about 45 minutes and it is not too difficult to get a seat. On August 20 (Friday) we pulled into
Ketchikan port about 8:00. Ketchikan is known for its rain so make sure you bring rain slickers. We ate in the dining
room about 7:00. You need to get a ticket to get onto the tender (the life boats) into Ketchikan. We were taking a tour
offered by Royal Caribbean and therefore received a ticket to get on first. By 8:15 we were on a very nice bus that
would take us on our tour. We chose to do the Orca Beach tour ($238 for all of us). We started out taking a ˝ hour
bus ride to a marina. From there we boarded a raft (pontoon) that took us out to Orca Beach, which was on an island.
On the way there we saw an eagle and its nest (it weighted about one ton). Once at the beach, guides discuss the
environment there and then we hiked on a boardwalk into the old growth forest (some trees were hundreds of years
old). It was fascinating. When we got back to the beach the guides had hot cocoa, crackers and smoked salmon for
us. At this point it started raining so we got our slickers on. The ride back in the raft was a little wet but it was still a lot
of fun. Once back to shore, the bus took us back to the cruise ship by 12:00. From there we decided to tour Ketchikan
on our own. If you walk up the street from where the Welcome to Ketchikan sign is, you will come to a small park with
several totem poles. From there you make a left and follow the street until you come to Creek Street. This is a lovely
part of town built on a boardwalk above a creek. There were salmon in the creek and lots of shop on the boardwalk
(this was once the red light district but is now a very nice part of town). We wanted to pan for gold so we found a shop
that sold the pans and bags of sand with gold in it. Then you are sent to another shop that has a trough behind the
store. In the trough you pan for gold with your sand. It was a lot of fun and we walked away with several flecks of gold.
Most of the towns we stopped in had gold panning. We headed back to the boat about 1:45 and were still able to get
lunch in the dining room (they were suppose to close at 1:30). After lunch we sat on our balcony (as we did every
morning and afternoon) and watched the extraordinary scenery go by.
That evening we went to the Misty Fjords. It
basically is a very deep river (over 2,000 feet) that goes through very high mountains with sheer cliffs. Unfortunately,
we entered the Misty Fjords at 6:00 (and were there for about one hour) and the formal dinner was at 6:30. We
decided to stay in our room on the balcony and not go to the dinner. I think we made the right choice. The fjord was
incredible. There were waterfalls, steep cliffs and snow-capped mountains everywhere. When we got to the end, the
captain did an amazing job turning the ship around in a very narrow space. While we were going through the fjord, my
son went to the Windjammer and brought us back cold shrimp and some other goodies to eat while we were on the
balcony. It was really quite nice. Afterwards, we went to the Windjammer for dinner. The food was ok; I really prefer the
dining room service and food. August 21 (Saturday) was our last full day on our cruise ship. We were very tired from
all the traveling, so we decided to take it easy and enjoy the boat. We had breakfast at 7:30 in the dining room. After
breakfast we decided to walk on the outdoor track that goes around the deck on the 10th floor. It was a gorgeous
sunny day, a bit windy, but perfect for exercising. We stopped once to play shuffleboard, which is on the side of the
track, and to watch some kids playing putt-putt. Lots of people were in the outdoor pool (which is heated) and in the
whirlpools. There was also an aerobics class going on in the exercise room. There were classes in there everyday.
From there we decided to take our own tour of the artwork on the ship. Every floor has many pieces of sculptures and
other unique pieces. Each piece is displayed beautifully. The artwork on this ship makes the entire boat have a very
classy feel. After our little tour we decided to go in the inside whirlpool. It was a bite wavy (nothing that would make you
sick) so the pool was closed. The waves in the pool were bouncing around like crazy. After lunch in the dining room
the kids camp had a talent show. All the kids received medals for participating. It was really cute. After the show the
kids got to buy stuff with the camp dollars that they earned by attending camp. My daughter Jessica had enough to
purchase a very nice Royal Caribbean t-shirt. My son got two key chains (he didnt go to camp much). At 3:30 we went
to the Windjammer for tea and cookies. It turned out that they had an ice cream bar, cakes, cookies, coffee and tea.
Apparently they offered this everyday but we just discovered it on the last day (thank goodness, we ate way too much
food the whole trip). Tonight at dinner was tipping night. All the waiters are very nervous about this. They recommend
that you tip your waiter and cabin steward $3.50 per person per day, the bus boy $2.00 per person per day and you
may tip the maitre de as you please. I read somewhere that kids were half price, but I dont know about your kids but
mine are more demanding than most adults. You leave your tip for the cabin steward in the room when you leave for
dinner. You give the waiter, bus boy and maitre de their tips after dinner.
We tipped our waiter and bus boy extra
because they were so great, we gave the maitre de $20 because he did lots of little special thing for my family to help
make our dining experience fun and exciting, and we gave our cabin steward a little extra because she was very
efficient. She didnt make any characters or animals out of towels but our room always looked great. After dinner I went
to the room to pack. They picked up the luggage between 7:00 PM and 11 PM. You just put it outside your door, and
the next time you see it is in the terminal after you get off the ship (if you purchased your airline tickets through Royal
Caribbean, the next time you see your luggage is when you get off your plane at home). You must fill out some custom
forms (one form per family). They are easy to fill out but if you have a problem they explain how to complete the form
on the TV. You will be given colored luggage tickets to put on your luggage. The color of your tickets lets you know
when to get off the ship. We had gray, which got off fairly early. Your cabin steward will give you a list of what each
color means (example: Gray is for people who are flying out of Seattle after 2:00 PM). If you end up with the wrong tag
color you can exchange them. While I was packing my family went to the juggling show. They had a great time (Mark
got called up on the stage). August 22 (Sunday) was a very sad day for us because we had to leave the ship. Back to
real life! We were up at 6:30, finished packing our carry ons and went to breakfast in the Windjammer at 8:00. We had
a leisurely breakfast and at about 9:00 we headed down to the deck that had the gangway. We hung out for about 10
minutes on the outside deck until they called our luggage tag color. We walked off the ship, past a customs agent and
into the terminal where we easily found out luggage (they put them in order of tag colors). We hopped into a cab and
headed into Vancouver to the Hertz Car Rental (1128 Seamore St). We rented a car for $84 a day and if you give
Hertz your cab receipt they reimburse you for the ride. The Hertz guy said that in about 20 minutes, there would be at
least a half hour wait in line for a car. Everyone would be heading in from the cruise ships. By 9:30 we were in our car
on our way to Seattle. We went through the U.S. / Canadian boarder with no problems. Later we were listening to the
radio and heard there was an hour wait at the boarder. It pays to get off the ship early. The ride from Vancouver to
Seattle was beautiful (about a 3 hour drive). There were lots of snow-covered mountains. Because it was such a clear
day we decided to go to Mount Rainer. It is about a 15,000-foot mountain with no other mountains around it. When you
see it, it calls for you to come closer. We drove up the mountain to about 6,000 feet. There was lots of snow here, so
we got out and threw snowballs. It took us about 4 hours to drive from Seattle, up the mountain and back to Seattle.
When we got back we checked into Embassy Suites Hotel (1-800-362-2779 or 425-227-8844) on 15920 W. Valley
Highway in Tukwila, Washington. The room was $119 a night for suite with 2 double beds and breakfast included. After
we checked in we went in the pool and whirlpool. On August 23 (Monday) we headed home. This was the end of the
most incredible vacation we have ever had. I know we will be returning to Alaska again. As for the Visions of the Sea,
we will probably take that ship when we visit Hawaii. Everything about this ship was wonderful
Name: Anne Goyer
Occupation: Convention Manager
Itinerary: Panama Canal
Submit: Submit Review
Date: 18 Oct 1999
Remote Name: port-48-3.access.one.net
Overall we had a great cruise. Because there were so many days at sea (five in all) we got to know alot of people
and made alot of friends on this cruise. We had some of the best times ever and this was our ninth cruise.
Our trip began with a special day at the Westin Las Brisas in Acapulco. Because we were delayed several years
ago and nearly missed a ship, we always travel to our departure city a day ahead of time now. We could have
stayed at Las Brisas for a lot longer!
Embarkation was quick and uneventful. We upgraded upon arrival because we had two twelve year olds with us. It
proved to be a smart move. Our Cat 2 cabin had a lot more room and a terrific veranda (in fact we've rebooked the
same room on another RCI cruise next year).
The cruise staff and our waiters were terrific. Our only complaint was the begging for high evaluation marks from
our waiters. We found the food to be average at best compared to our cruises (in fact the food a definitely a notch
below Princess and Celebrity)but our waiters were extremely upset when we discussed including this on our
evaluations for fear of retribution. We were appalled and wrote to RCI upon returning home. I've noticed from other
reviews that they still have waiters begging for good reviews. It's unnecessary and it gives the cruise line a false
sense of what's good and what needs improvement.
The itinerary was terrific and we'd recommend this experience to everyone. We spent a lot of time researching the
building of the canal before we left so we were very interested in seeing it. It's truly incredible to see. Our veranda
off the back of the ship provided a great viewing spot while transiting the canal.
We had been to all of the Caribbean islands before but enjoyed a return trip ... especially to St. John (we take the
ferry from St. Thomas and beach hop the north shores of St. John). We took 12 friends from the ship on our own
excursion to St. John and had the best day of all.
Our return from San Juan was uneventful. We took a rain forest excusion because we had an evening flight.....got
to eat some terrific Pueto Rican food, actually more memorable than the food on the ship!
And yes....when is RCI going to get rid of the "cardboard" they call pizza in the Solarium ?????
Really...it was a great trip and a great ship!
Name: Beverly Collings
Occupation: Executive Assistant
Itinerary: Panama Canal
Submit: Submit Review
Date: 11 Nov 1999
Remote Name: inetgw-a.supervalu.com
This was our 3rd cruise with RCCL, all on the new class of ships. The Vision was like going home again; everything in
the same place and very comfortable, only minor docking vibration on Desk 3. Since the mid-night buffets have been
virtually discontinued, I could not comment. The Gala Midnight Buffet displays were elegant and very creative,
especially the Eagles, Vision of the Seas Ship, and many floral and bread sculputes. We also heard the 'New Years
Eve' party buffet held on the pool deck was great, but never made it late that evening. Although we never found fault on
previous cruises, the Food selection in both the dining room and Windjammer cafe have improved considerably. As
Celebrity had been my first choice of cruise lines and since RCCL has aquired them, I can definetly sense an
improvement in both breakfast and luncheon buffet selections; omlet bar @ breakfast, carving station @lunch, more
variety in salads & fruits, deserts at buffet, too. Even tea time was an added treat. Many times we would skip lunch, but
needed a little something before our late dinner seating. It provide hot & cold refreshments including finger sandwiches,
party pastries, soft-serve ice cream. Desert selection after dinner in the dining room seems to have been reduced. No
offer of a desert menu; only two choices plus ice cream. Our waiter was very attentive to a table mate who loved Rum
Raisin Ice Cream, making sure he had it every evening. We enjoyed the open seating arrangements on most days for
breakfast & lunch in the dining room. Much more relaxed for timing and gave us an opportunity to meet many nice new
This is the first time we did a Cruise Only. Royal Caribbean would not guarantee the flights I wanted, even with paying a
deviation fee, would have charged a higher hotel rate than I received (more than double), and was charging a higher
flight cost. We extended one night extra in Acapulco. Also, in Curacuo, we took a taxi to Seaquarium Beach (Taxi @$12
each way, Entrance Fee $5, Chair $2.50) Pre-paid pass purchaed at the shore-excurision desk cost was $12 per
person plus taxi. We shared the taxi with friends and did not have to spend the extra $4.50 per person for a soda &
The cruise director, Gordon Watemen, and the entire entertainment package was the best of any cruises we have been
on. Even though many of the shows were early for the late seating guests, we tried to see them all. We thoroughly
enjoyed Kenney Roebuck, pianist, Tami and the trio at the Centrum, Brooks Paxton and his group and the Vision of the
Seas Orchestra. What a variety of music they played.
The Panama Canal was a once in a lifetime experience that we are so glad to have shared with about 1800
passengers. The only time you felt that many people were on board was at the outside rails for travel & viewing through
the 1st set of locks on the canal and at the disembarkation lecture and show. RCCL's check in procedures still need
some work. Princess has a good method. Each check in station is designated by assigned cabin numbers, when that
desk is available, they would usher in the next waiting guests to help move any lines along. Also, Celebrity has a special
desk for Captain's Club Members and Special Needs guests. RCCL should try something new; the roped line system
(once you are in the terminal) is very tedious to the waiting crowd. Cabins still need hair dryers and mini-refrigerators.
We will definetly cruise with Royal Caribbean again.
Name: Marlene Duhamel
Occupation: Medical Reviewing Officer
SailingDate: May 23 - 29, 1999
Itinerary: Inside Passage - Vanc to Vanc
Cabin: Commodore Deck
Submit: Submit Review
Date: 17 Nov 1999
Remote Name: proxy3.gvcl1.bc.wave.home.com
The cruise to Alaska was one cruise that I did not want to take because of the cost being so much more than the other
cruises even though I did not have to take an airplane. However, my mother turned 75 and asked for the Alaska cruise for
her birthday present. We chose Vision of the Seas because it gave us the best value for our money. The vision of the
seas is a new ship with old prices.
Promptness is very important to me and the Vision did not let me down. We left the dock at 5:00 sharp. The ship sailed
smoothly for seven days straight.
The ship was beautiful, clean and very tastefully decorated. The dining room was beautiful, the atrium spectacular and our
room was excellent. We had been upgraded to a room with a balcony. What a treat!!! Our room steward was very helpful
and treated my mother and myself very well. He was always there with a friendly smile and a helping hand.
The food was fine, however, I have had a better choice of food on some of the other ships that I have been on. The
Vision's shows were excellent, very talented young men and women. I felt that I didn't see the cruise staff a lot but certainly
did see the cruise director around the ship. He put a fine effort into making us feel very much at home.
When we arrived home, the organization for getting the 1800 passengers off that ship was spectacular. My mother and I
had no problem finding our suitcases and our way home. For a cruise that I had no desire to take, the Vision of the Seas
made it one of the cruises that I will remember. In fact, my husband and I are planning to return to Alaska on the Vision of
the Seas in the year 2000. Thank you Vision of the Seas for a wonderful cruise.
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