Vision of the Seas
Updated: Jul 15, 2019
Vision of the Seas
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Sail Date: 20th August- 1st September 2015
Ship Capacity: 2416
Route: Barcelona-Cannes-Livorno (Florence/Pisa)-Civitavecchia (Rome)-At Sea-At Sea-Piraeus (Athens)-Kusadasi (Ephesus)-Santorini-At Sea- Salerno (Amalfi Coast)-At Sea-Barcelona
Why We Chose This Ship: If you have read our review on the Serenade of the Seas, you may notice that this voyage has the exact same itinerary. This is because there were many things we didn’t get a chance to do on the previous route, so wanted to complete it again while all our research on attractions, public transport etc. was still (reasonably) fresh in our minds. For example, last time in the port of Livorno we visited Pisa whereas on this trip we visited Florence. However, it was not just the route that made us pick this cruise; we had really liked the size of the Serenade and whilst the Vision is in a different class of ship, it is very similar in capacity. The Vision is a relatively old ship, with its maiden voyage in 1998, but it had been renovated in 2013 so has many of the modern enhancement people have come to expect of Royal Caribbean. This includes a redesigned Centrum, allowing for spectacular aerial shows, an outdoor movie screen and rock-climbing wall (which again we didn’t get a chance to try due to our busy schedule!). The ship has a nightclub, called the Viking Crown Lounge, plus a variety of other places to sit and have a drink, such as the lively R Bar or Some Enchanted Evening Lounge, which held a variety of events night and day.
Onboard Activities: The entertainment team onboard this cruise were of a particularly high standard. As well as excellent singers and dancers, the company also performed various aerial shows in the Centrum during evenings, which were highly impressive. Another nice touch was making the rehearsals for the aerial shows open to the passengers; it was really interesting to see how the mechanics of the show worked before watching the full performance.
Quite a few of the evening shows in the Masquerade theatre were performed by the singers/dancers but there were a variety of other acts. These included solo singers, a comedian and an impressionist but the best was undoubtedly the magic show. The act was called ‘Hector Is Magic’, performed by a young illusionist named, you’ve guessed it, Hector. We don’t want to give away too much of the act so all we’ll say is that it was not only visually fantastic (lots of sleight of hand, shown on screens for those sat further back) but also had some beautiful, poignant moments of story to it. For those who want to get more involved with evening activities, there are a variety of options throughout the cruise. Royal Caribbean’s notorious ‘Love and Marriage’ game show is great for newlyweds, but the chances are you’ll loose out to those who’ve had decades of wedded bliss! Karaoke was also a big feature on this ship, taking place in the ‘Some Enchanted Evening Lounge but don’t expect the usual holiday caterwauling; while it was really fun to watch, the singers tend to actually be good, especially ones who enter the specific competition nights rather than open mic sessions. Winners go on to subsequent rounds (one of which is accompanied by a live band) then a grand final on the last evening, a very popular event. A highlight of the evening entertainment was definitely the Captain’s reception, whereby Captain Lis Lauritzen introduces herself to guests; everyone is invited into the Centrum and glasses of champagne are provided during the speech, after which guests can briefly meet the Captain for a hello and a handshake.
During the day, there is an abundance of indoor activities, from Bingo to quizzes (we’re pleased to announce we won the musical theatre quiz again and this time were gifted with a Royal Caribbean baseball cap!). The pool area is also a popular place for daytime activities and on this cruise there seemed to be a focus on challenge type games. For example, there was a traditional scavenger hunt (contestants must acquire various items from nearby watchers), which was really fun to watch but was managed well so didn’t go on for too long. If you’re after complete R&R during the day, the back of the ship is great for quiet sunbathing and there are many deckchairs positioned around the deck. We found these great for the times we wanted to be outdoors but not in the sun (certain places are shaded by decks above), where we could sit and play cards or just look out to sea. The Vision also has the adults only Solarium, a particular favourite of ours during at sea days; the salt water pool is hugely refreshing and as it is covered by a glass ceiling, it creates a lovely humidity within the Solarium even on the breeziest of days.
Dining: The Visions main dining room is called Aquarius, located on deck 4 and 5, and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. We had our evening meals here almost every night bar one and were very impressed. In particular, our waiters were highly attentive and very knowledgeable about the dishes, recommended ones we might not otherwise have tried. Often our waiter would bring out an extra dish he thought to be particularly tasty, a nice, personal touch to the service. Food was always hot and fresh and we highly recommend any Asian dishes on the menu, which were particularly flavorsome and had a good kick to them.
Royal Caribbean’s signature buffet is also onboard, the Windjammer. We had breakfast and lunch here most days but with so many options, we never had the same thing twice. In the morning, a popular feature is the omelette station, whereby chefs cook them fresh as requested, with a variety of meat and vegetarian ingredients. If you have more of a sweet tooth, there is a huge variety of pastries, waffles and pancakes but for the health conscious cruisers there is plenty of fruit and cereals. For lunch, we found the Windjammer’s curries to be particularly tasty; our favourite was the Butter Chicken, complimented with a variety of sides such as naan bread and poppadum’s. While some cruises have their ice-cream machines positioned inside the Windjammer, the Vision ‘s was located just outside the entrance doors. We preferred this, as it meant you could go straight from your sunbed to the machine, rather than getting dressed in order to go into the restaurant.
The Park Café was great for snacks, especially late night ones such as nachos, fries and burgers. In the day, a variety of salads and sandwiches were served, some of which were provided in plastic packaging; this encouraged passengers to take out food items with them on day excursions, a nice touch by Royal Caribbean.
On our final night, we sampled our first Royal Caribbean specialty restaurant, Giovanni’s table. This Italian restaurant can be found on many of the ships and comes highly recommended by the two of us. The room is reasonably small but tables are well spaced, creating an intimate and romantic style of dining. The menu is full of traditional Italian dishes and guests are encouraged to have share large starters, a pasta dish then have a main course each. Our pasta dish was exquisite and the steak we both had for main was cooked to perfection, with mine butterflied to ensure it was well done all the way through. Most unusually, the two of us were too full for desert so we’ll be sure to go back and sample some of the gorgeous sounding sweet treats on offer.
Accommodation: On this cruise, we had chosen a guarantee interior stateroom, and after booking we were allocated a cabin on deck 3. As standard on Royal Caribbean, there was plenty of storage space but the cupboards and wardrobes didn’t overwhelm the room. There is still space for a sofa and dresser, with multiple mirrors and a variety of lighting to aid getting ready. The bathroom had adequate space and a small selection of complimentary toiletries. Our stateroom attendant was very friendly, tidying and turning down the room meticulously. During this cruise, we sampled the room service on one occasion and were firstly impressed by the variety available, with more items then you would find on a standard hotel room service menu. The food was very hot when it arrived and was well presented, in a style visually similar to dishes in the main dining room. Should you find yourself with time to spare in your cabin, the TV provided has a variety of channels, including one that plays recordings of shows performed in the theatre that day.
Overall: With extremely friendly and helpful staff in all areas, the Vision is a highly welcoming ship, which really puts its passengers at ease. Embarkation and disembarkation was highly efficient, as was the security process when returning to the ship. After this cruise, we also really recommend the Q&A session with the senior crew (an activity on many sailings) as it is a very interesting talk that taught us a lot about staff roles onboard. The artwork throughout the ship was excellent, creating a consistent style throughout public areas and cabin corridors. Finally, the shopping onboard this sailing was particularly good, with some fantastic offers on jewelry especially; should you want to treat your other half while at sea, the Vision’s shops are certainly the place to go.