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Vision of The Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, Empress of the Seas.....do you recommend?


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We just got back from a holiday cruise on Explorer (which was awesome), and we wanted to book the same cruise next year, but unfortunately it leaves on a day I can’t get off work. As we are looking for an 8-12 day cruise and my departure days are very limited, I’m not left with a pile of options. One itinerary that came up for me was an 11 night from Ft. Lauderdale  on Vision of the Seas. After looking up this boat I’m a little underwhelmed and wondering if I might end up disappointed. Two others are on either the Empress or Enchantment. I’m looking for anyone who has any sort of input positive or negative. I loved the size of the Explorer. Not too big, but not so small either.  The entertainment was a little lacklustre, but not terrible. I will be travelling with two older teens as well. 

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We were on Enchantment in 2018 for our honeymoon, didn’t hate it but didn’t love it either.  She is definitely showing her age and lacks the restaurant choices some of the other ships have as there is only Chops Grille for specialty (I believe Vision has Chops and Giovannis) and then the MDR and WJ.  All of these ships are smaller than Explorer, with Vision and Enchantment being roughly the same size and are in the same class, Empress is the smallest in the fleet.  We enjoyed the entertainment on Enchantment but we also didn’t go into the trip hoping for great broadway shows either.  We enjoyed the pool deck and solarium.  The staff we interacted with were great.  I guess it really depends on what is important to you with the trip, we were only on a short 4 night cruise on Enchantment and I don’t know that I would want to do a longer 7+ night trip on her, but that’s just me.

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Thanks Geoff, that’s actually really helpful. The cruise I’m looking at for Vision is an 11 day, so if that’s one of the smallest ships we really might run out of stuff to do. Enchantment is a 7 day, so that might get a little rough then too. Really wish the Explorer was leaving one day later.

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3 minutes ago, Cam044 said:

Thanks Geoff, that’s actually really helpful. The cruise I’m looking at for Vision is an 11 day, so if that’s one of the smallest ships we really might run out of stuff to do. Enchantment is a 7 day, so that might get a little rough then too. Really wish the Explorer was leaving one day later.

I’ve never been on Vision, but it is on the smaller side, I’d wait until some of the more seasoned cruisers weigh in with their insights.  Even on the smaller ships there is a lot to do, maybe just not as much as Explorer.

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I've been on explorer and the smaller ships which you talk of.

 

vison, rhapsody, grandeur and enchantment are all of the same class. Enchantment is a little longer and has a few extra bars etc.

i'm on vision in Novemeber doing a great itinery and its more for that and not the ship. saying that I like big and small ships alike.

you just have to know what to expect. for me all I need is a pool-bar and some music.

All ships have that … ooo and some good food. yes smaller ships have less options but how many options do you really need?

 

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9 hours ago, Cam044 said:

We just got back from a holiday cruise on Explorer (which was awesome), and we wanted to book the same cruise next year, but unfortunately it leaves on a day I can’t get off work. As we are looking for an 8-12 day cruise and my departure days are very limited, I’m not left with a pile of options. One itinerary that came up for me was an 11 night from Ft. Lauderdale  on Vision of the Seas. After looking up this boat I’m a little underwhelmed and wondering if I might end up disappointed. Two others are on either the Empress or Enchantment. I’m looking for anyone who has any sort of input positive or negative. I loved the size of the Explorer. Not too big, but not so small either.  The entertainment was a little lacklustre, but not terrible. I will be travelling with two older teens as well. 

I just did a B2B on Vision of the Seas  over Christmas and New Years and I can tell you that it was AWESOME !!! I had the Aft Balcony 7652 which wraps around the side of ship and was extremely happy with that cabin.

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Is the vacation about the ship or about the cruise ports? It sounds like on a longer cruise you would be hitting many ports so if you found the ship a little lacking, lots to do on your stops.

 

As for the smaller ships, still very enjoyable and still lots to do, just not on the same scale as the Freedom class ships. I don't think Explorer has had an AMP yet? So you wouldn't be missing out  that much on a smaller ship really..no promenade but...

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Vision class ships and Empress are fine ships.  Little Empress is one of my favorite ships.  However in terms of things to do for your family you can't beat Voyager class (Explorer for example).  

It really depends what level of activity your family is looking for.  I just did a 16 night cruise on Vision through the Panama Canal and she was perfect for my needs.  I've booked another cruise on her that includes Columbia and Costa Rica which are more exotic destinations for Royal.  That will be my 3rd cruise on her so there is nothing wrong with Vision as a ship. 

If you want to spend quality time with your kids hanging out together Vision class is great for that.   If you are seeking something where your kids can go off and be entertained by water slides or ice skating type activities you are better to stick with Voyager class or newer.  

When Empress was brought back in 2016 for Cuba she received a new "Show Girl" type main theater show.  That show is very good and on par with the AMPED Voyager class ships.

Explorer is getting AMPED very soon if I recall.  March of this year.

If you do continue to think about Vision class I'd suggest bringing the kids into the decision making process.  Let them know it's not like Explorer, it's smaller and older, no slides, no ice skating.  Let them know what they are getting into so they can set expectations accordingly.  

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@Cam044 I really enjoyed Vision of the Seas.  I was a bit apprehensive at first but the ship was fantastic and we had a great time.  The staff were great and because it was a smaller ship you got to see many of the same passengers over and over.  After 5 days I felt like we were in a small town, people saying hello, no one i a mad rush to get anywhere.  I felt I knew the ship very well and even the staff.

I had thought after 5 days I could do a transatlantic on her but, after a few days of sea days at the end of a 12 night cruise, I decided I could not do 11 sea days because I could only relax so much.  The ship was great for port intensive cruise like the med, as well other destinations.  If you have anymore that 2 seadays in a row you do need a ship that does offer a little more.  I have been looking for other Itineraries on the Vision that I can do because I really did like the ship.  Possibly looking at Rhapsody as well.

The staff really made the ship and the staff seem to like her smaller size as well. 

If you are in ports just about everyday then your teens may be ok with the ship.  The ship does not have water slides and some of the stuff other bigger ships have it may be a hard sell to them.  I guess it depends what they like to do.

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42 minutes ago, twangster said:

Vision class ships and Empress are fine ships.  Little Empress is one of my favorite ships.  However in terms of things to do for your family you can't beat Voyager class (Explorer for example).  

It really depends what level of activity your family is looking for.  I just did a 16 night cruise on Vision through the Panama Canal and she was perfect for my needs.  I've booked another cruise on her that includes Columbia and Costa Rica which are more exotic destinations for Royal.  That will be my 3rd cruise on her so there is nothing wrong with Vision as a ship. 

If you want to spend quality time with your kids hanging out together Vision class is great for that.   If you are seeking something where your kids can go off and be entertained by water slides or ice skating type activities you are better to stick with Voyager class or newer.  

When Empress was brought back in 2016 for Cuba she received a new "Show Girl" type main theater show.  That show is very good and on par with the AMPED Voyager class ships.

Explorer is getting AMPED very soon if I recall.  March of this year.

If you do continue to think about Vision class I'd suggest bringing the kids into the decision making process.  Let them know it's not like Explorer, it's smaller and older, no slides, no ice skating.  Let them know what they are getting into so they can set expectations accordingly.  

is that this year?! November?

 

the vision cruise I mean

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15 hours ago, Cam044 said:

We just got back from a holiday cruise on Explorer (which was awesome), and we wanted to book the same cruise next year, but unfortunately it leaves on a day I can’t get off work. As we are looking for an 8-12 day cruise and my departure days are very limited, I’m not left with a pile of options. One itinerary that came up for me was an 11 night from Ft. Lauderdale  on Vision of the Seas. After looking up this boat I’m a little underwhelmed and wondering if I might end up disappointed. Two others are on either the Empress or Enchantment. I’m looking for anyone who has any sort of input positive or negative. I loved the size of the Explorer. Not too big, but not so small either.  The entertainment was a little lacklustre, but not terrible. I will be travelling with two older teens as well. 

At Royal's site for Vision, there is a video that explains a little about the ship. You might want to check it out or explore the deck plans.

https://www.royalcaribbean.com/cruise-ships/vision-of-the-seas

Whatever you choose, have a great cruise.

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I've sailed Enchantment probably 5 times, because I live in Florida and for a long time she was going out of Port Canaveral, so it was an easy, value-for-the-money vacation to do frequently. So I definitely have a soft spot for her, and it's a thoroughly enjoyable cruise. That being said, I have found that the quality of the live entertainment shows *generally* corresponds to ship size. However, most of the shows are entertaining and worth watching.

The only shows on Enchantment that I can't enjoy are the headliner juggling acts, which at one point they started cleverly referring to as "Action Comedy." I won't even go to those shows anymore, because (personal preference) they are utterly boring to me, and we had one performer who acted completely disgruntled with the audience and part of his show was quite vulgar, during the early show when kids are present. 

Chances are, you would enjoy an Enchantment cruise, unless you have very particular goals that would be better met by a larger ship.

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On 1/10/2020 at 4:39 AM, J_Keeble said:

I've been on explorer and the smaller ships which you talk of.

 

vison, rhapsody, grandeur and enchantment are all of the same class. Enchantment is a little longer and has a few extra bars etc.

i'm on vision in Novemeber doing a great itinery and its more for that and not the ship. saying that I like big and small ships alike.

you just have to know what to expect. for me all I need is a pool-bar and some music.

All ships have that … ooo and some good food. yes smaller ships have less options but how many options do you really need?

 

A major appeal of the smaller ships for me is less crowds. I typically tend to eat as many meals as possible in the MDR, and run to the promenade or buffet if I need some sort of snack, so a huge selection isn’t that important. As long as the food is good I’m happy! Itinerary is my #1 though for sure. 

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On 1/10/2020 at 7:04 AM, princevaliantus said:

I just did a B2B on Vision of the Seas  over Christmas and New Years and I can tell you that it was AWESOME !!! I had the Aft Balcony 7652 which wraps around the side of ship and was extremely happy with that cabin.

That’s really reassuring to hear, thank you!

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On 1/10/2020 at 8:36 AM, monctonguy said:

Is the vacation about the ship or about the cruise ports? It sounds like on a longer cruise you would be hitting many ports so if you found the ship a little lacking, lots to do on your stops.

 

As for the smaller ships, still very enjoyable and still lots to do, just not on the same scale as the Freedom class ships. I don't think Explorer has had an AMP yet? So you wouldn't be missing out  that much on a smaller ship really..no promenade but...

Vacation is about the ports when it comes right down to it. I guess the ship is more important when a lot of as sea day come into play. Explorer hadn’t been amped yet when we were on it, and it was still awesome. Honestly my teens favourite part (and really ours too) was that we were a floor above the promenade, and could just hang out in seats looking out over all that was happening, without going right down into it. Not having the promenade worries me.

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On 1/10/2020 at 10:14 AM, twangster said:

Vision class ships and Empress are fine ships.  Little Empress is one of my favorite ships.  However in terms of things to do for your family you can't beat Voyager class (Explorer for example).  

It really depends what level of activity your family is looking for.  I just did a 16 night cruise on Vision through the Panama Canal and she was perfect for my needs.  I've booked another cruise on her that includes Columbia and Costa Rica which are more exotic destinations for Royal.  That will be my 3rd cruise on her so there is nothing wrong with Vision as a ship. 

If you want to spend quality time with your kids hanging out together Vision class is great for that.   If you are seeking something where your kids can go off and be entertained by water slides or ice skating type activities you are better to stick with Voyager class or newer.  

When Empress was brought back in 2016 for Cuba she received a new "Show Girl" type main theater show.  That show is very good and on par with the AMPED Voyager class ships.

Explorer is getting AMPED very soon if I recall.  March of this year.

If you do continue to think about Vision class I'd suggest bringing the kids into the decision making process.  Let them know it's not like Explorer, it's smaller and older, no slides, no ice skating.  Let them know what they are getting into so they can set expectations accordingly.  

OK, it sounds like you are about to do the one I am debating doing, just maybe a different date. The 11 night Vision  leaving from Ft. Laud with stops in Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Aruba, and Haiti? I’m looking at the Dec 24th date, but the 3 at sea days are a little worrisome.

Only one of my kids wants to come and she’ll be 16. She loves having the promenade and places to hangout. She’s definitely going to be who helps me make my final decision. Basically what it comes down to is longer cruise with a smaller boat or a shorter cruise with a larger boat. 

It’s great to hear all the positive experiences on vision and the smaller ships, even though I know one person’s positive might be another’s negative. 

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On 1/10/2020 at 10:44 AM, KenCP said:

@Cam044 I really enjoyed Vision of the Seas.  I was a bit apprehensive at first but the ship was fantastic and we had a great time.  The staff were great and because it was a smaller ship you got to see many of the same passengers over and over.  After 5 days I felt like we were in a small town, people saying hello, no one i a mad rush to get anywhere.  I felt I knew the ship very well and even the staff.

I had thought after 5 days I could do a transatlantic on her but, after a few days of sea days at the end of a 12 night cruise, I decided I could not do 11 sea days because I could only relax so much.  The ship was great for port intensive cruise like the med, as well other destinations.  If you have anymore that 2 seadays in a row you do need a ship that does offer a little more.  I have been looking for other Itineraries on the Vision that I can do because I really did like the ship.  Possibly looking at Rhapsody as well.

The staff really made the ship and the staff seem to like her smaller size as well. 

If you are in ports just about everyday then your teens may be ok with the ship.  The ship does not have water slides and some of the stuff other bigger ships have it may be a hard sell to them.  I guess it depends what they like to do.

That more personal experience definitely appeals to me as does the not being in a mad rush. I’m on vacation, it don’t want it to feel stressful. 

The cruise I’m looking at has 3 sea days, but spread out so maybe that would be ok. I guess it’s time to go through videos of the ship with her and see if she’d like it. Thanks for your input!

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4 minutes ago, Cam044 said:

OK, it sounds like you are about to do the one I am debating doing, just maybe a different date. The 11 night Vision  leaving from Ft. Laud with stops in Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Aruba, and Haiti? I’m looking at the Dec 24th date, but the 3 at sea days are a little worrisome.

Only one of my kids wants to come and she’ll be 16. She loves having the promenade and places to hangout. She’s definitely going to be who helps me make my final decision. Basically what it comes down to is longer cruise with a smaller boat or a shorter cruise with a larger boat. 

It’s great to hear all the positive experiences on vision and the smaller ships, even though I know one person’s positive might be another’s negative. 

Columbia is a port that I was really blown away by.  It's not a common port of call for Royal.  As you bring the kids into the process do inform them it's not a destination you may be able to reach often and they can add South America to their resume of destinations.  Costa Rica is pretty nice too and you should seriously look at an excursion that includes the Panama Canal while in Panama.  That's a huge history lesson and a man made wonder with a scope that will likely will never be repeated again.  Bucket list destinations.  

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