Voyager of the Seas
by Anne Azak
September 16, 2006
My husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary and booked a one week Med cruise aboard Voyager of the Seas with Royal Carribean. The ship is undeniably stunning and decor on-board stunning. Sports facilities for the fitness fanatic were excellent and children's play areas fun-filled with kids' happy faces. Entertainment programme was good and special praise must be given to the spectacular ice show.
However, from the moment cruisers board the ship, they are bombarded with pleas and demands for tips and gratuities. Royal Caribbean include the begging in every media available - the cabin video, the daily newsletter, the Captain's presentation, the bingo caller not to mention the staff themselves. We are regular tippers however by the end of the week we were fed up and not just a little bit offended. Incidentally, although the level of service was generally satisfactory, on occasion it was not so. Examples include room attendant unwilling to iron a shirt, barmen unable to serve correct drinks order, pushy waiter coercing me into accepting an unwanted escargot dish instead of the desired scallops on order.
We took advantage of the wide range of treatments available at the Health and Beauty Spa onboard but felt sorely stung when the bill did not reflect the advertised prices as 16% tax was added along with ....service charge.
The ports of call included Ville de France and Bay of Naples which were both splendidly picturesque and easily accessible (we plan to return in the future). However on the other hand Marseilles, Livorno and Rome were industrial harbours which required an expensive taxi ride or long train journey to visit the tourist centres. Royal Carribean take advantage of this by offering a good range of bus tours which are unfortunately overpriced and (according to other fellow cruisers) not value for money.
The mother of all gripes occured on day 6 of our holiday when my husband felt unwell and we decided to seek medical advice from the ship's doctor. After a 30 min examination, he diagnosed heartburn (wrong as less than 8 hours later it transpired to be a virus as he battled a soaring temperature). It was me then who nearly fainted when the medical bill arrived - a whopping 1266 US dollars!
Our holiday was not the holiday from hell but a disappointing cruising experience. On a lighter note, the highlight of our trip was the time spent with our six fabulous dining companions who made the cruise worthwhile. We will probably cruise again but definitely not with Royal Carribean.