Royal Caribbean International - Cruisemates Reader's Cruise Reviews
CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

Voyager of the Seas
by Scarlett
Western Caribbean
February 3, 2008

Demographics
My husband and I are in our mid-twenties. We are very active, as we are both in the Army. This was our first cruise, but we both agreed it won't be our last! We like to have fun but don't usually overdo it.

Booking
We were originally booked for the Vision of the Seas in June, but we had to reschedule due to our vacation timing, and we changed to the Voyager of the Seas. I made the change because I liked the itinerary better, and we live about 8 hours from Galveston, so we were able to drive instead. We had an Owner's suite booked on the Vision (it's a less expensive cruise), but since we did not book this cruise until December, all that was available was the junior suite. We were booked for #9564, which is considered forward, but it was one of the last rooms in the "forward" section, so we were close to the center. As I mentioned, we decided to drive, so I booked a room through Choice Hotels at the Quality Inn.

We booked our excursions online through Royal Caribbean. I recommend this, as I heard people complaining that some excursions were booked up, and they were unaware that you could book them early online. If you are dead-set on a certain excursion, I think it's better to be safe than sorry. However, if you are more of a free-spirit and not too picky about what you do, then you may save money by waiting or getting an excursion in the port through a different company.

Drive to Galveston
We drove from southern Oklahoma to Galveston. It was about an 8 hour drive. The drive was nice and rather quick. We hit a little traffic in Dallas and a little more in Houston. We arrived in Galveston after 6 PM. We checked in to our hotel and ordered pizza. The hotel was clean and nice. I recommend it to anyone.

The Port
It took us maybe 20 minutes to get to the port. There were only two ships in Galveston then, the Voyager and the Carnival Conquest. I think this is why it was a rather painless process. The parking lot is across the street and down the road a little from the port. You really can't walk, as there are no sidewalks, but there are free shuttles. Parking was $70. Security was a breeze, as we are accustomed to airport security, which is much stricter. We could not board the ship right away, so we waited in the waiting area.

Boarding -- Day 1
I do not remember what time we did get to board. There are people trying to take your picture as you board, but no one overly pushy. We could not go into our rooms until 1PM, so we ate in the Windjammer, and looked around a little. We finally were able to go to our rooms, so we unpacked and got settled. I want to note that it took me an entire day before I found the hairdryer. It was in the drawer in front of the mirror in the room. It was not in the bathroom like in hotels. I took my own hair dryer, but I found theirs to be sufficient, and I am rather picky about hair dryers since I have thick hair that does not look good when it air dries.

The Ship
The Voyager is a beautiful, clean, and well-kept ship. She holds over 3,000 passengers, but even on sea days, it didn't seem like it. Since she sails out of Galveston, over 2,000 passengers were from Texas, which I didn't mind because generally people from Texas are very friendly. I would like to try other ships, but I would sail on the Voyager again. Since this was our first cruise, I have nothing to compare it to, but I was impressed. The ship is big, but easy to navigate. There are little maps everywhere in case you aren't sure what deck or end of the ship something is on.

Drinks
I ordered a whiskey sour from the Pig and Whistle, and they made it with Wild Turkey. This was not the case at all the bars but try to remember to specify which alcohol you want used or otherwise they will use the cheapest they have. The drink of the day is usually good, but weak. The martinis are very strong, yet expensive. I was feeling good after one.

Food
The food in the Windjammer was decent, but always the same. I thought the free pizza on the Promenade was good, but the cookies were hard. I thoroughly enjoyed the food in the dining room. I will elaborate more on the dining room in a separate section. We ate breakfast in the Windjammer every day except once I had room service. I recommend trying the room service at least once since it is free. The food was always the same in the Windjammer, but there was a lot of it and a lot of variety. They had fresh fruit every day, which I enjoyed. I must note that they did not have 2% milk. All they had was skim and whole.

Clothing
I attempted to pack light since I read most people pack too much for their first cruise. In doing so, I didn't pack enough IMO. I packed enough for the dining room, as we did follow the dress code, while it seems the vast majority did not. I packed two formal dresses (one long, one short), five nice tops, two pairs of slacks to mix and match with the tops, and one jacket that matched a pair of slacks for "smart casual" night. I took two pairs of heels for the formal nights, flip flops, two pairs of nice sandals, boots, and I wore my running shoes. I could have done without the boots and one pair of sandals. I packed two bathing suits but only used one, as it was not quite warm enough to me to swim, and we did not go on any water excursions. I did not pack enough shirts to wear during the day. I took two pairs of jeans when I only needed one. I recommend one pair of jeans or casual pants, and two or three pairs of shorts or capris. Our horseback riding excursion required long pants.

The Dining Room
Never had a bad time in the dining room. We ate there every evening and once for lunch. We ate second seating at 8 PM. At first I wanted early seating, but after reading recommendations on Cruisemates, I stuck with late. Even our waiter said late seating was more relaxed, particularly on port days because early seating was always rushed to dinner. If you get hungry before dinner, you can always grab a snack in the Windjammer or on the Promenade.

The first evening, we were the only ones at our 6-person table since it was Super Bowl night. Our waiter, Sunil, was awesome. I was highly tickled and impressed by the way he would put my napkin in my lap, and how he always took the ladies' orders first and always served us our food first before the men. Apparently chivalry is not dead!

As far as the food was, most of it was good. The food I did not enjoy was not the fault of the dining room but rather I just didn't like the food itself. I liked the appetizers and soups best. Sunil would give me "the look" if I did not order at least two starters. I do not like salad, but I do like soup. The first night I had chicken noodle soup and the cheese plate. I had prime rib for dinner, which I did not particularly like, but that is because I am not a huge prime rib fan.

The second night was the first formal night. The other two couples assigned to our table were there. I was nervous about eating with strangers, but I think they match you with people close to your age. We were with a couple from Ohio and a couple from Texas. The Ohio couple was awesome, and they were there every night after that. The TX couple only showed up that night and the next night. The second night I had lobster bisque and es cargo for appetizers. I have never had either before, and they were both good. I had duck for supper, but once again, I should not have ordered that as I was not a big fan.

After two nights of not enjoying my main course, I learned my lesson. The third night I had a very tasty pasta dish, although I could not remember what it was called to write it down.

The fourth night was Italian night. I had garlic soup and shrimp cocktail for appetizers. I love garlic, so I found this soup to be quite tasty. For supper I had garlic tiger shrimp, and it was also quite tasty. This evening, the wait staff sang us an Italian love song. It was very cute.

The fifth night was the second formal night, and (drum roll) LOBSTER NIGHT. I love lobster, so this was a good night. I had a duck soup and pineapple appetizer. I ordered the pineapple after getting "the look" from Sunil. It was good. I had two lobsters, as you can have as many as you want. Apparently the record is 16.

The sixth night the chef's special was Asian Duck. Sunil pretty much told us not to order the duck, however he brought our table one to try, and everyone who tried it said it was dry and not good. I ordered the angus steak. I forgot to mention there are about four entrees that are "alternative selections" that are there every night. There was angus steak, chicken, a pasta dish, and something else I cannot remember. So, if all else fails, you can order one of these dishes. I thought the steak was ok.

The last night we all had the Thai shrimp. I generally like oriental food, so I enjoyed this. Everyone else at the table did as well.

Entertainment
Every night at 7:30 is karaoke at the Pig and Whistle. We would stop by on our way to dinner and watch a few songs. This was absolutely hilarious. You would think it would be the young people singing karaoke. No, it's the old guys. One guy said it right. "No one cares what you do when you are old." They cracked me up!

We caught the end of the comedy show one night. The comedian, Jim Collition, was pretty funny. We managed to get tickets to the ice show. The Compass will tell you when you can get tickets. The ice show was very good, especially on the small rink. We missed the Love and Marriage game show, but we caught it on TV. Apparently this is one of their best shows, so I recommend trying to go. The only other show we caught was the finale show. It was decent. They did a cool black-light dance thing, and they had a show by a group from Argentina. I can't really describe it. I enjoyed the show. It's obviously not Broadway, but entertaining nonetheless.

Day 2 -- At Sea
My husband and I attempted to run on the track, but we only made it about a mile, as it was very windy. This was one of two days I believe the ice skating rink was open to everyone, so we checked it out. It was fun, but very small. We discovered that they play the shows from the theater on the TV later on, so we watched a little of the previous night's comedy show. Later on in the cruise we caught the Love and Marriage show, which was hilarious.

Day 3 -- At Sea
It was still too windy for outdoor running IMO, so I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill. The gym was decent but rather lacking for someone like me who works out a lot. The treadmills were very basic. They had no programs or even cup holders. I played bingo and won $78 (it was $19 to play). After dinner, there was a Mardi Gras parade in the Promenade and a party following in The Vault disco club. We actually visited the Vault I believe the night before, and hardly anyone was there, but this time, everyone sort of trickled there from the Promenade, so we danced a few songs there. We did not revisit the Vault anymore so I cannot tell you if it ever gained more popularity.

Day 4 -- Montego Bay, Jamaica
We did not shop any in Jamaica. From what I saw, Montego Bay is a beautiful but poor town. We signed up for the Chukka ATV safari. We have never ridden ATVs, and that was ok. I also liked this excursion because you have to be at least 16, so no kids. We had a great time, but we got a bit dirty, so if you do this then wear clothes you don't mind getting dirty. It rained a tiny bit on us as well. Also, our tickets said bring a pool towel, but we did not need them. As I mentioned, my husband and I had never ridden ATVs before. It took me a little while to get accustomed to controlling and steering it, but once I got comfortable, I was good to go. After our excursion we just went back to the ship. I noticed how empty the ship was, so if you aren't too interested in shopping or excursions, this is the perfect time to enjoy the ship. The pools were far less crowded, and I hear spa prices are cheaper on port days (we never used the spa).

Day 5 -- Georgetown, Cayman Islands
There were five other ships in port this day: the Carnival Conquest, the Carnival Victory, the Freedom of the Seas, the Celebrity Century, and an Oceana ship. This made the port EXTREMLY crowded. This was a tendered port, and I found tendering to be rather painless. We were booked for a Bicycle Tour excursion. Only one other couple was booked for this excursion, and the bus was not there on time, so they cancelled. We did not want to be the only ones on the tour, and I wanted to shop, so we cancelled as well. This turned out to be bittersweet. Apparently it poured rain, so that would not have been good. However, the shopping was absolutely horrendous. Due to there being six ships in port, you could hardly move in port. Our Ohio tablemates did a Jeep tour, and had a pretty good time, although they got soaked in the rain. We ended up hanging out on the ship and got in a good nap.

Day 6 -- Cozumel, Mexico
We were able to book two excursions in Cozumel. Our first one was horseback riding. Once again, my husband and I had never rode horses, but neither had many others on this tour, so that was ok. This tour was pretty nice, although there wasn't much to see other than a couple small Mayan caves. We never got off the horses to look around. Afterwards there were free Coronas, so obviously this was a good tour. Even though the tour started late because we docked a little late, we had plenty of time to get to our second excursion. Our second excursion was parasailing. We had never parasailed before either, so it was quite fun. You are only in the air for 6-8 minutes, but really it's plenty. I am pretty scared of heights, and I had no issues doing this.

Day 7 -- At Sea
Sadly this was our last full day. I played bingo for the jackpot, but of course did not win. I think my previous win of $78 jinxed me from winning the jackpot. We also went to the finale show, which I have covered in entertainment.

Debarkation
We were in the last group off the ship since we drove. We should have done the express debarkation, because we had to sit around for about two hours with nothing to do. You have to be out of your stateroom by 8, and the Windjammer closes at 8:30. Everything is pretty much closed, so you just sit around until your color is called. Immigration was pretty fast.

Overall
Overall we had a wonderful time, and want to cruise again. We definitely enjoy Royal Caribbean. Cruising is a great value vacation, and a great way to visit numerous places in one shot. At sea there are numerous activities. Sometimes it is hard to choose! In port, you can stay on the ship, shop in port, or enjoy tours and other excursions. There seems to be plenty to keep the kids busy as well. If you don't feel like doing a million things, you can order room service, go to the spa, or just lounge by the pool!