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Cruise Ship Review
Royal Caribbean International

Vision of the Seas

Photo Tour

by Bart de Boer

[Editor: While the text of this "photo tour" should load very quickly, it may take several minutes for all of the graphics to load completely.]

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.

Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas docked in La Coruna
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.

Directly aft of the Centrum you will find the two-deck high Aquarius Dining Room with a seating capacity of 1,200 passengers. It's an impressive room done mostly in blue and orange, with some interesting artwork here and there. A grand staircase with an enormous chandelier connects the two levels, with a small bandstand at its base. As can be expected in such a large room, the sound level is quite high. On our cruise, there were no themed dinners anymore (Except from the Captain's Welcome and Farewell Dinners), there was only one waiters' parade left, and the Baked Alaska had mysteriously disappeared from the menu. All done, according to the Assistant Maitre d', to further enhance service and quality. And fair is fair, the food and service were VERY good. Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas Aquarius Dining Room

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.

Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas Promenade Deck
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!

Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas Masquerade Theater
Walking forward, you will pass the forward stairtower and two life-size sculptures of harlequins. Enter the two-deck high MASQUERADE THEATER! This is one of the most comfortable showrooms afloat, with individual leather seats that come with a built-in drink holders. Sightlines are generally good, and the two full-scale production shows ("Rhythm Nation" and "Rock on Broadway") that were performed during our 7-night cruise were sensational! The other entertainment was less interesting to my taste, being the traditional bunch of ventriloquists and magicians.

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.

Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas Showboat Lounge
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.

Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas Some Enchanted Evening Lounge
Vision of the Seas Some Enchanted Evening Lounge

On decks 7 (Commodore Deck) and 8 (Bridge Deck), you will find four quiet areas surrounding The Centrum. First, there's the CARD ROOM and the exquisite LIBRARY, both with sliding glass doors that lead to a small verandah. And on deck 8, you will find the EXPLORER'S COURT and CROWN AND ANCHOR STUDY. The latter is also used as an after-dinner cigar club and features heavy leather chairs, and beautiful models of the s.s. United States and the Vision of the Seas. Large monitors show the position and speed of the ship (the same can be seen on your cabin TV), and large watercolor paintings depict the Vision of the Seas in places like Gibraltar and Villefranche. Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas Crown and Anchor Study

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.

Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas Windjammer Cafe
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.

Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas Lido Deck
Vision of the Seas Lido Deck

Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas Solarium
Aft of The Centrum (we're still on deck 9), we come in the SOLARIUM. This area is unique to Royal Caribbean's Vision-class ships and is basically an indoor/outdoor pool area with a sliding glass roof, done in a specific style. On Vision of the Seas, the Solarium is done in a thrilling Aztek theme, with oversized marble sculptures, tapestries and intriguing mosaics everywhere. It's beautiful! A fairly large swimming pool, two jacuzzis, a bar and a snack bar (for hot dogs, hamburgers and pizzas) make up this great room.

Last but not least, we come to the VIKING CROWN LOUNGE, set high atop the vessel on deck 11. As on the other Vision-class ships, this is an observation lounge by day and a swinging disco by night. Glass is all around you, and you can't miss being captured by the views over the sea - it's spectacular! And at night numerous light effects and pulsating rhythms make this THE place for a party!
Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas Viking Crown Lounge

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!

All Photos by Bart de Boer

Bart de Boer lives in Amsterdam, Netherlands and can be reached for questions or comment at b.de.boer@tip.nl.


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