Maiden Voyage from Southampton to Barcelona May 2, 1998
Vision of the Seas was delivered in April, 1998 by her builders Chantier de l'Atlantique in St. Nazaire, France as the sixth and final Vision-class ship for Royal Caribbean International. Other Royal Caribbean ships built at the same yard include the three Sovereign-class vessels (Sovereign of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas & Monarch of the Seas), Nordic Empress, Legend of the Seas, Splendour of the Seas, and Rhapsody of the Seas.
Near-sisters Grandeur of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas were built in Finland at Kvaerner MASA Yards, which is currently constructing the giant 143,000-ton Spirit of the Seas.
Vision of the Seas docked in La Coruna, Spain
Vision of the Seas measures 78,491 gross register tons, is 915.3 ft (279 metres) long, 105.6 ft (32.2 metres) wide and carries 2,000 passengers (based on double occupancy; the total number of berths is 2,435) and 765 crew members. She is registered in Monrovia, Liberia and cost $277 million to build.
Passengers come on board on Deck 4 (Main Deck), on the lowest level of the 7-deck high CENTRUM. This giant atrium is the heart of the ship. Huge expanses of marble, potted palms, small waterfalls, several nice sitting areas and walls of glass make this a truly elegant area, further emphasized by the beautiful stainless steel and neon sculpture depicting Ariel, the spirit from Shakespeare's "The Tempest". The Purser's Office, Shore Excursion Desk and Photo Gallery all open up to the Centrum, as does the main Dining Room, the shopping area and some other public rooms. Two glass elevators run between decks 1 and 11 and there's nearly always music of some sort flowing through the Centrum.
Automatic doors lead to the open promenade on deck 5 (aptly named Promenade Deck). Unfortunately, it's NOT a wrap-around deck. Still, it is wide and sheltered from the wind and is a great place to take a midnight stroll.
Vision of the Seas Promenade Deck
A large area on deck 5 is given over the the CASINO ROYALE, which is located midships and filled to the brim with flashing, beeping machinery. There's a Sports Bar aft, with numerous TV-screens to follow those important football matches!
We leave the Masquerade Theater from the balcony level (deck 6, Mariner Deck), and walk aft through the stone-and-marble passageway of the BOUTIQUES OF CENTRUM. Here, you have the illusion of walking through a town street - very cleverly done.
Further aft is the SCHOONER BAR, the typical Royal Caribbean piano bar. Filled with nautical memorabilia in glass cases, this room is like a seagoing maritime museum. There's a small bar, lots of intimate seating, a grand piano, floor to ceiling windows and that specific "tar"-like smell that lingers in every Schooner Bar. On port side, there's the the multi-functional SHOWBOAT LOUNGE, that can be divided into several smaller rooms by means of ingenious sliding walls. Here's where you will find the Foreign Currency Exchange, and it's also the place to open your SuperCharge account on sailing day.
Vision of the Seas Showboat Lounge
All the way aft on deck 6 is the Some Enchanted Evening Lounge, a large lounge that feels a lot more intimate than it actually is - the designers have used all sorts of different materials and colors to "break up" the size of this lounge, and very successfully so. The Some Enchanted Evening Lounge is used for everything from bingo, dancing and late-night parties (like 50's High School Reunions, and the Rock 'n Roll Night), to the Captain's Cocktail Party.
Vision of the Seas Some Enchanted Evening Lounge
All the way forward on Deck 9 (Sun Deck) is the WINDJAMMER CAFE, the casual eatery on Vision of the Seas. Unfortunately, there was no Windjammer At Night dinner service on our cruise. But breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea more than made up for that. Sitting here, it's difficult not to gaze over the wide ocean through floor-to-ceiling windows. There's light everywhere. Large glass cases with wooden models of sailing ships adorn this beautiful blue-and-green room, while two double buffet lines serve up the food. It was one of our favourite rooms on board, and not only because they served food here.
Vision of the Seas Windjammer Cafe
Next to the outdoor Pool Bar are two large mosaics depicting ocean liners. A beautiful stainless steel sculpture stands guard over the expansive Pool Deck, where you'll find the outdoor pool with four sheltered jacuzzis. The swimming pools on Vision of the Seas open between 7am and 7pm, and are saltwater pools. Towels are readily available poolside.
Vision of the Seas Lido Deck
All in all, Royal Caribbean have managed to come up with yet another beautiful, well-run ship. It has been great to sail on Vision of the Seas!
Bart de Boer lives in Amsterdam, Netherlands and can be reached for questions or comment at email@example.com.
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