With our trip originating in San Diego, we availed ourselves of RCL's Air/Sea program. We were traveling with another couple from the San Diego area. Upon meeting them at the airport and checking our cruise voucher booklets we discovered that we had been booked into different hotels for our stay in Miami the night before the cruise. We anticipated that this error would be taken care of by RCL personnel when we landed. Unfortunately, we were unable to get them to rebook us in the same hotel and aren't sure to this day who made the mistake, RCL or our travel agent.
We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Miami and the hotel was nice. We had dinner in the hotel restaurant that evening and the food and service was average. The next morning we were preboarded at the hotel by RCL staff. This included issuing us our SuperCharge card/cabin key. The process went quickly and we were pleasantly surprised that we would not have a long wait in line at the terminal as we have experienced with past cruises. However, the wait for the buses used to transfer guests from the hotel to the terminal was unbearably long. It appeared that RCL did not have enough busses ready to board what seemed to be a couple of hundred people or more.
Having sailed previously on two of RCL's ships, we were expecting a lot. Upon arrival at the terminal and seeing Voyager in person for the first time we were awed by its size. The Enchantment was in port that day as well and it appeared to be dwarfed by Voyager's gigantic presence. Since we were preboarded at the hotel,we went through the security check and proceeded to an escalator to the second floor of the terminal to board the ship. With dozens of passengers on a narrow escalator carrying suitcases, etc. it seemed like an accident waiting to happen, and it did. So many people were arriving at the top of the escalator at once that the ones coming up behind them were forced to push people over like dominos. Security had to stop the escalator to avoid any serious injuries. This very serious safety issue needs to be resolved by terminal authorities before someone is badly injured. Other than the escalator incident,the new terminal is beautifully designed, very open and airy and seems to be laid out very efficiently. The boarding process in general was a good experience.
Once aboard, we were awed by this vessel. The Grand Promenade is spectacular and the shops excellent. The exercise equipment on board is all state of the art (although we never found the time to use it). The three tiered dining room takes your breath away and the La Scala theatre is magnificent. Actually everything aboard this ship is state of the art. They even have thier own radio and TV studio!
Our cabin was aft and was very nice. It has a huge balcony,one of several to the rear of the ship. From our balcony we were able to see both the port and starboard sides of the ship when we were sailing or in port. This was a nice touch and the cabin was the nicest we have had to date.
We were seated at second seating in the Carmen dining room. Our table waiter Emme from Hungary was very good although not as good as the ones were had on previous cruises. His assistant from Rumania was good also. However,the head waiter was truly a dissapointment. He introduced himself briefly on the first night and we really never saw him again until the night before gratuities were to be extended. On that night he was overly attentive and pleasant,although you could see it was an act. We deduced that he may have been "fishing" for a larger tip.
The food was average at best and not up to RCL's usual fare. One thing that we sorely missed were the flaming deserts and all the fanfare that goes along with them. This ship had none. The food on the rest of the ship ranged from below average to average and although we could not classify any of it as poor, it did come close at times. A real dissapointment was room service. We ordered breakfast one morning using the menu that you place on your cabin door knob. When breakfast didn't arrive for almost 45 minutes past the time we had indicated I called down to find out what was wrong. I was told they had too many other passengers to serve. After another 15 minutes I called again, this time I was told they had lost our order and would take a new one over the phone. About 15 minutes later our breakfast arrived but it was cold and so was the coffee. Five minutes later someone was knocking at our cabin door. We opened it to find a second breakfast order had been delivered. This one was a least hotter than the first one had been.
Another dissapointment was our cabin attendant. When we arrived on board we found that our cabin had not yet been cleaned completely and had to wait to put our things away until she finished cleaning it. On previous cruises our cabin attendants always did cute things with towels and pillows on our bed but on this cruise our cabin attendant did nothing. It was very difficult to find her to get a bucket of ice and we had to wait, wait, wait, for everything. One day we needed towels and couldn't find her. We noticed that the linen storage area was just across the hall from our cabin and the door was slightly ajar so we went to help ourselves. When we opened the door there was our cabin attendant curled up at the bottom of the closet trying to sleep. We woke her up, she did apologize.
Many of the 'features and amenities' RCL uses to attract passengers to the Voyager are extra cost items. You will pay to use the ice skating rink, the rock climbing wall, even the miniature golf course. In addition, if you choose to dine at the Portofino restaurant it will cost you an additional $8 a person. While RCL wants you to feel you are getting more on this ship you will also be paying for everything you decide to use.
The ports of call were fun, especially Jamaica. Since I had been to the island eleven times in the past, I knew where to go. So, we rented a large spacious van and the four of us drove to Montego Bay and had lunch at the Half Moon. It was a very pleasant day. In Labadee,everyone spends the day at the beach and it is a very relaxing affair. However, I must warn you not to even go near the few shops and the vendors on the so called "private island". To say that the vendors are agressive is an understatement. You start at one end of this large building and you walk through a gauntlet of the most discusting, vile, and agressive vendors I have ever experienced. The smell in there is horrendous. RCL should be more careful about who they allow to sell in this area. Absolutely one of the most nauseating experiences I have ever had and I have visited several third world countries. I just kept trying to convince myself that these are poor people trying to make a meager living and I was able to brush it off as an experience. Cozumel was very nice and we decided to go shopping for a piece of diamond jewelry. We were told by the ship's staff that this was one of the best Caribbean ports to buy gemstones. We found that none of the shopkeepers would answer our questions about diamonds. We couldn't get a straight answer about the grading of the stones,certification, etc. Needless to say we left without buying any gemstones.
In summation, the Voyager is a very nice ship and it is one that every cruiser should experience at least once. Would we go again, possibly, if the price and timing were right. However, we missed the intimacy that a smaller ship provides and came away from the whole experience feeling somewhat cold. We felt the ship was way too big and took away much of the crusing experience for us. We plan on booking our next cruise on a smaller ship that delivers better food and better service. Will it be on an RCL ship? There is a very good possiblity of that since RCL has always provided excellent service and food on past cruises.