Many people have asked questions about features of my cabin or the ship or cruising. This post may answer some of those questions. If you have other questions I have not covered, please leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them.
The Vision of the Seas is a Royal Caribbean ship registered at the port of Nassau, sailing under the Bahamian flag. Its keel was laid in 1996 and the vessel was completed in 1998 by Chantiers de l‘Atlantique, a very large ship building company in Saint-Nazaire, France. The ship is 278.94 meters long and 32.2 meters wide, with gross tonnage of 78,717 tons. There are about 790 crew members from more than 50 countries, and up to 2320 passengers. This is a small cruise ship. As a comparison, in April 2018, the same ship building company, Chantiers de l’Atlantique, completed Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas, weighing 228,081 tons with about 2200 crew and about 6000 passengers. While the Vision has 10 decks, the Symphony of the Seas, currently the largest cruise ship in the world, has 18.
I took this photo of the Vision of the Seas in the port of Piraeus, Greece. The lifeboats (those white and orange bumps along the middle of the ship) are above deck 5, the promenade deck. My cabin on the last cruise was on deck 3 (count two rows of portholes). This cruise I am on deck 4. Both cabins are identical in layout. Both are inside cabins (that means no window/porthole nor balcony). Inside cabins are snug but not uncomfortable. Here is my cabin, photographed from the door:
The bed is two twin beds pushed together. There is a 17” wide 2-drawer bed table on either side of the bed. The room can be configured to have the beds split to twins. There are bunk beds that pull down from either side of the ceiling, so, technically, the cabin could sleep 4 people. This would require some patient choreography on the part of the occupants, because there’s one bathroom and not a lot of extra floor space. To the right in the photograph are the dresser and desk, with three larger drawers, three small drawers, and a cupboard over the flat screen TV that includes 2 shelves and a safe. Above the desk are two mirrored small side cupboards large enough for bottles of water, cans of soda, and such.
The desk is the primary place to charge electronics, with two 110-volt, US style outlets and two 220-volt European style outlets. Opposite the desk is a half-couch. Other furnishings include a full-length mirror, a small round table, and a trash can.
On the other side of the wall from the couch is the bathroom, with a sink, a commode, and a shower. The bathroom also has a large over-sink mirror and an under-sink shelf.
Next to the sink there is a narrow column of shelves for toiletries, and below them one small shallow drawer and one narrow, shallow cabinet. The shower is behind the irovy-colored curtain and is small. All the comedians joke about how small the shower is.
Opposite the bathroom, as you walk in the door, is a closet with folding doors. Having sailed on other cruise lines and spend many weeks in camper vans, I can say this cabin has an amazing amount of storage, and plenty of space for one or two people – just as long as they don’t both want to work at the desk at the same time.
Other ship features include towel animals, such as this pup who came to be wearing my sunglasses. Towel animals appear every other day, approximately, usually on the bed. They are typically rabbits or dogs, but I have had a towel-bat hung from the ceiling – wearing my sunglasses. (Towel animals must have sensitive eyes.)
The ship’s theater is used for lectures, bingo, concerts and shows, and yesterday was used for Catholic Sunday Mass. Our celebrant was Father Vincent Houst, a retired priest from the St Augustine, Florida, archdiocese, who is accredited through the Apostleship of the Seas. He says Mass daily for us. On sea days we have an enrichment lecturer at the theater who gives talks about forensic science and solving cold cases.
The main dining room (MDR) is situated on decks 4 and 5, with the upper deck of the dining room designated as “My Time Dining” and the lower deck designated at “Traditional Dining”. I was reserved for My Time dining, meaning that I could (in theory) make a reservation for any time from 6:30 to 9PM. However, Royal changed me to the late seating of Traditional Dining. On the last cruise, Traditional Dining seating times were 6PM (early seating) and 8:30PM (late seating.) At Traditional Dining you are assigned a table and have the same dining partners every night. Depending on the size of your table, dinner can last from one to two hours, with a starter course, main course and dessert course served by very elegant and attentive waitstaff. The My Time section of the main dining room is in the photograph below.
The ship has two salt-water pools, an indoor one and an outdoor one. The indoor pool is in the Solarium, which is roofed and walled in glass and includes many lounge chairs, tables and chairs and a small eatery called the Park Café that serves sandwiches, cookies, salads, soup, tea, coffee and water. There is also a bar in the Solarium, and two hot tubs. The Solarium pool is for adults only and ranges from 5’1” deep to 5’6” deep. It is not large enough to be a lap pool but is great for deep water running.
The outdoor pool is larger, with many more deck chairs around it, and is open to kids as well as adults. There is gigantic movie screen on one side of the pool area for showing movies and videos. There’s also space for a band to play, a bar for drinks, a pool towel pick-up and return stand, and lots of tables and chairs.
Inside the ship, the central atrium, called The Centrum, has a bandstand with a grand piano, a marble dance floor, a grand staircase, and seating along the on the 4th deck, plus seating and open balconies looking down from decks 5 through 8. The Centrum is a performance space, dance floor, exercise room, chorus rehearsal hall and more. There is usually some kind of activity there, except for very late in the evening.
On Sunday in the Centrum, Steve Davis, the cruise director, interviewed Derek McKnight, the Food and Beverage director for the ship’s TV station, asking about his responsibilities and about the staff working for him. More than half the staff of the ship’s crew – about 400 people – for under him. The work day of a ship’s officer (such as Steve or Derek) is very long (7AM to as late as midnight, and always on call).
Derek is from Cork, Ireland. He trained as an executive chef, was chef of several major restaurants, and has been with Royal for 10 years as Food and Beverage director. Being a ship’s officer means spending most holidays on board, including the last 10 Christmases, so officers try to take their families on board during the holidays. Derek has three kids. His oldest, a daughter, is studying to be a ship’s captain, so someday she could be his boss!