Sampler cruises, a fun weekend gateway
We have sailed with Royal Caribbean‘s Voyager of the Seas a number of years ago for a 7 day cruise from Singapore to Hong Kong visiting Vietnam (Nah Trang) and Thailand (Pattaya and Chabang) and we loved it. As first time cruisers our expectations were all met hands down! We were impressed with our room and service, dining, entertainment and activities and shows on board, never a dull moment.
It’s nice to be back onboard a fresh looking Voyager of the Seas and boarding her from our home city of Sydney. A two night sampler cruise just to be out at sea for a break. Hoping to be spoilt by the crew and facilities onboard is what we had in mind, so how did this cruise unfold?
Check in: Overseas Passenger Terminal
It was not a smooth start I’m afraid, with confusion and crowds galore! I checked in online and confirmed to check in by 2:00 pm but when we got there, one of the somewhat unhelpful security staff demanded us to show the confirmation e-mail with a bar code. We didn’t receive one but we had the e-mail advising us of the 2:00 pm check in. Eventually she let us join the queue otherwise we would have been moved to a later time slot.
The queue towards the check in counter was very long. Plenty of kids, school was well and truly back so why so many… And of course the large groups of celebrators all dressed up in whimsical, funny for an hour or so, fashion. When we reached the check in counter, the process was quick and we were on our way to our stateroom.
State Room No. 9504
Deck 9 Category M (Spacious Oceanview Cabin)
I chose this room as it was very similar to our room on our first sailing, which was 9502 just a few doors away. The room looked fresh, tidy and well maintained with no faults that I could find. Twin beds that can be converted into a queen-size bed next to a 24 inch round window which gives a fascinating view over the ship’s bow and the horizon. Furnishings consisted of wardrobes, safe, hairdryer, phone, flat screen television, mini fridge and European round pin electric sockets. The bathroom was well laid out and functional with adequate space and storage.
Dining and options:
Although just a two night sampler, dining options still need to be planned if you intend to dine at one of the paid restaurants: Izumi, Chops Grille and Giovanni’s Table. If done during your booking then no problem, if not you will need to book once on board to enjoy these specialised cuisines, do this as early as you can or you may miss out. For us, we opted for the second dining sitting at 7:30 on level 3, Main Dining Hall for our evening meals.
The ever popular Windjammer caters for breakfast, lunch, dinner and has several food stations open throughout the day for a quick belly filler. Timing is highly recommended at the buffet, as it can be extremely difficult to find a table during the peak times. There are tables outside on the pool deck, weather pending, where you can take your food and enjoy the views.
We found the selection of food and wine didn’t disappoint this time around. Generous servings, well plated and flavoursome.
First night was packed with fun and thrilling activities like game shows, dancing under the stars pool party and bars are on full swing alongside daily evening entertainment. The Promenade area is where you will find a number of bars, shows, and retail therapy. You can find all the programs in the Cruise Compass which is distributed daily.
On board, there’s something for everyone! Daily activities include an early brisk walk/jog around the ship on one of the upper or lower deck’s walking circuits. Beauty, work out and spa is also a popular indulgence in the newly renovated fitness centre on Deck-13. Sadly for us, the steam and sauna rooms have gone, one aspect I was really looking forward to. For kids and the young at heart, there are number of sporty things to try like the rock wall, flowrider, water slides, basketball, mini golf and ping pong, even ice skating on the lower deck!
It was a shame it was only for two nights, as it is nice to settle in and plan what you want to do when you have longer to do so. Checking in early as possible is another good idea, maximising your ship time. I was amazed at how busy this short cruise was, it was heaving but the crew handled it with great professionalism.
We must comment on the quality of the main meal service, the speed of delivery, presentation and the portion sizes were the most generous out of any other cruise we have taken so far. Royal Caribbean really have got a great system in place here, it worked so well despite the huge numbers onboard this ship. It was really good to be back on the Voyager again, she is in fine shape, hopefully we can join her again for a longer sail.