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Vision of the Seas

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Vision of the Seas, part of Royal Caribbean's Vision Class of ships, is known for its stunning glass exterior -- more than 2 acres of glass were incorporated in its construction back when it launched in 1998. Nowhere is this more breathtaking than in the ship's Centrum, which spans five decks. A glass-topped dome floods the space with bright sunshine.

While Royal Caribbean is known for some of the largest ships on the ocean today, Vision is midsized, holding about 2,500 at double capacity. Passengers seeking some of the bigger attractions found on the larger ships -- such as water slides, skating rinks and the like -- won't find them on Vision of the Seas. There are just two pools: one general pool and one adults-only Solarium. That said, even during peak spring break travel, it was rarely difficult to find a deck chair.

A ship that is more than two decades old is bound to show some wear and tear. We saw this in some of the staterooms, with some discolouration on the walls and well-worn carpeting and furniture. However, most of the public areas seemed clean, comfortable and well-maintained, and the glass gave the ship a bright glow throughout.

What Vision doesn't offer in bells and whistles or the latest-and-greatest thrills, it makes up for in an enthusiastic cruise director and crew and low-tech onboard entertainment, such as the wildly popular trivia sessions and evening game shows. Younger passengers and families seem to enjoy the opportunity to unplug and just have fun on this ship.

In general, Vision of the Seas provides a good value, and maybe a good entry into cruising for people who might be intimidated to try a larger ship. Its shorter itineraries will help give you a good sense for whether cruising is an ideal vacation for you. For travellers who don't mind making their own fun, getting involved in the low-tech onboard activities, there is more than enough to stay busy during a shorter sailing.

Daytime: During the day, swimsuits, cover-ups, shorts and tank tops are par for the course aboard Vision of the Seas.

Evening: The ship's shorter four- and five-night itineraries feature only one formal night in the main and speciality dining rooms, and the rest are deemed "casual." For the most part, people wear sundresses, long pants and casual or button-down shirts to dinner. Formal nights range from special occasion wear, like beaded dresses and suits, to sundresses -- and many passengers opt not dress up at all. There are typically a couple of theme nights, such as "1970s" and "Tropical," which are completely optional.

Not permitted: Shorts, tank tops and baseball caps are specifically not allowed, but we did observe a few passengers skirting these rules.

Theatre

Each night of the cruise features live entertainment in the Masquerade Theatre (Decks 5 and 6, forward), from comedians to Broadway-style shows featuring the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers. The Masquerade Theatre seats 870 people in tiered seats, which are comfortable, and have cup holders and few obstructions throughout the two decks. The space is fairly simply decorated in blue, green and tan hues.

On our cruise, shows included "Boogie Wonderland," a throwback to 1970s hits featuring singing and dancing, and several comedians. The main evening production is usually performed at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. to accommodate the two main dinner seatings, and there is often another late-night performance, as well, such as an adult comedian, or the "Love and Marriage Game Show." The comedians and audience interactive shows were popular, though it wasn't typically difficult to snag a seat or two.

On some sea days, the Masquerade Theatre hosts afternoon movies.

Daily Fun

You'll receive a paper schedule, dubbed the Cruise Compass, in your stateroom each night outlining the variety of activities scheduled for the next day.

The daily schedule usually begins with a variety of fitness and recreation activities in the morning, such as water aerobics or morning stretch, and a poolside movie. Later in the morning and into the afternoon, the cruise director's crew hosts several line dance classes, either poolside or in the Centrum. These activities are particularly popular with younger passengers and families.

Around lunchtime on sea days, there is usually a poolside event, such as the Men's International Belly Flop Contest or the World's Sexiest Man Competition. When there's not an event going on, you can usually hear live music poolside throughout the afternoon. Doesn't sound like your cup of tea? Head to the Solarium, where it's a whole lot quieter.

Some of the most well-attended activities during our cruise were the trivia and quiz games hosted in the Schooner Bar several times a day, typically in the morning, afternoon and evening. Families and groups traveling together really seemed to enjoy hanging out in this space, enjoying a cocktail and working together on games such as a Michael Jackson music quiz, blockbuster movie trivia and Harry Potter trivia.

Feel like staying inside? Check out the live string music played in the Centrum throughout the afternoon and evening. Daily trivia, sudoku, cards and board games are always available in the Book Nook (Deck 6), and there are usually a few open play card games scheduled in the Aquarius Dining Room. Bingo is frequently offered in the Some Enchanted Evening Lounge.

Passengers can attend classes on napkin folding, cooking or learning a new language. The spa and art gallery also hosts several talks promoting various services or upcoming events.

At Night

Besides the theatrical productions onboard Vision of the Seas, evening entertainment abounds throughout the ship. Before or after dinner, start out with a round of evening trivia in Schooner Bar, followed by a whirl around the dance floor in the Centrum to tunes from the live band performing there.

After that, consider taking in a poolside movie. Or join the cruise director staff for the latest wildly popular passenger-powered game, from "Finish That Lyric Game Show" to "The Quest Scavenger Hunt" to the "Love and Marriage Game Show."

Karaoke lovers will want to take their singing skills over to Some Enchanted Evening Lounge, where karaoke welcomes young and old each night. Microphones at the ready onstage and lyrics on the big screen, the dance floor is transformed into a place where adoring karaoke fans can join in on the chorus.

Casino Royale, a glitzy, star-themed casino, offers a range of gaming offerings, from roulette to craps, Texas Hold'em and dozens of slot machines. Complimentary gaming lessons are offered here regularly, as well as poker tournaments (check the Cruise Compass). There is a bar inside the casino and smoking is allowed.

Spa

The Vitality Spa (Deck 9), a light-filled sanctuary located at the ship's aft, at the back of the Solarium, is decorated in soothing cream and taupe colours and is generally open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The pre-Columbian motif of the Solarium carries through here, with stone statues, mosaics and soothing music.

You'll start your spa time with a brief stop in the Relaxation Room, with a large wall of windows facing the ocean while you sip hot tea or lemon-infused water. Treatment rooms feature warm massage tables and showers. A couples massage room features windows overlooking the ocean.

Treatment option specials onboard ranged from a 50-minute package with Swedish or deep tissue back, foot, neck and shoulder massage with eye collagen treatment for $129, or a 75-minute full-body massage with skin brushing and an Elemis facial for $149. There are also Botox, teeth whitening and other skin rejuvenating treatments from the medispa.

There is a separate salon space that also faces the ocean and offers manicures ($50), pedicures ($70) and hair services ($39 and up). There are speciality beard grooming treatments just for men (ranging from $45 to $95). Teens can enjoy specially formulated facials and pedicures, called YSpa treatments ($45 and up). Keep an eye out for regular spa specials offered throughout the cruise (particularly on the first day and port days), and you get a discount if you book three treatments at once.

Note that there is no thermal suite or pool in the spa. Everyone is welcome to use the locker room area, located within the spa, but at the base of the stairs to the gym. Here you'll find saunas, showers and changing areas. We actually preferred the showers here to our interior cabin -- the towels are fluffier and you have a bit more space to change.

Fitness

The Vitality Fitness Center (Deck 10) is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Located just above the Vitality Spa, it features a small number of weight machines, free weights and cardio equipment such as treadmills, exercise bikes and elliptical machines. These are stationed near the windows facing the ocean, while the weightlifting area is sectioned off by a mirrored wall.

There's also a space for classes. Throughout the day, there are usually a couple of complimentary fitness classes, such as Fab Abs or Vitality Stretch, but most of the classes such as yoga, Pilates, boot camp and indoor cycling are fee-based ($12 per class, or you can buy a pass for about $10 a day that covers all classes for the duration of your cruise).

Passengers must be at least 16 years old to use the gym, but parents or guardians may accompany a child 13 to 15 with a signed liability waiver.

We found the gym to be well-maintained and though there was a steady flow of fitness enthusiasts, it was never overcrowded. We also loved the amount of natural light in the space, much like the rest of the ship.

Just outside the gym, you'll find the walking/jogging track on Deck 10, where 4.3 laps equal 1 mile.

Glorious sea views can be had in the glittering seven-deck atrium, the hub of the ship. Indeed, the only place you won't find sea views on this ship is in the Boutiques of Centrum shopping area on Deck 6. There, passengers are clearly encouraged to feast their eyes instead on a wide range of fashion and logo goods, jewellery, perfume, and chinaware -- actually at quite reasonable prices. Also on Deck 6 are the art gallery (adjacent to Latte-tudes) and the photo gallery. Just below, on Deck 5, you will find the reception area and shore excursion desk.

Vision of the Seas is equipped with bow-to-stern Wi-Fi, although some service in some areas might be spotty. Internet can be found in the Royal Caribbean Online lounge (Deck 8), which offers access to the Web 24/7. You can pay as you go for 65 cents per minute or purchase one of the available packages: $35 for 60 minutes, $55 for 100 minutes, $75 for 150 minutes, $100 for 250 minutes or $150 for 500 minutes.

A peaceful haven is the ship's library, set opposite the Card Room on Deck 7. It's is a lovely room with highly polished, inlaid wood walls, deep leather sofas, nautical memorabilia and -- as a quirky touch -- a life-size figure of Pinocchio, carved (of course) from cherry wood. Conference rooms are located on Deck 4, and the medical facility can be found on Deck 1. Self-service laundry is not available.

Added during the refurb, the Concierge Club and Diamond Club are exclusive hangouts for top-tier loyalty program members. The Concierge Club (reserved for Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Crown and Anchor Society members, as well as select suite passengers) is accessible via the Viking Crown Lounge and Nightclub. Although spacious and surrounded by windows bringing the views in, the decor is not as impressive as that found in the new Diamond Club, located off the Some Enchanted Evening Lounge on Deck 6, exclusively for Diamond members (and higher).

Considering the ship's smaller size, Royal Caribbean really took advantage of the Diamond Club space. It's sleek, sophisticated and easy to move around. The decor is neutral -- from light woods and beige chairs to mahogany leather booths -- with pops of turquoise that complement the ocean. It's located just steps away from Giovanni's Table and the line's signature steakhouse, Chops Grill.

Vision of the Seas Bars and Lounges

R Bar (Deck 4, midship): This bar is located on the bottom floor of the Centrum. The granite-topped bar has just a handful of high-top chairs arranged in front of it but there is plentiful seating throughout this area, which comes alive in the evenings when the cruise director's team leads games, dance events and more. R Bar tends to stay busy during these times, but is quieter during the day.

Schooner Bar (Deck 6, aft): Your prime location for all things quiz- and trivia-related, this nautical-themed bar also hosts piano entertainment, and has several intimate tables and booths to cosy up in and enjoy a drink.

Solarium Bar (Deck 9, aft): Located at the Solarium pool, this bar continues the antiquities-themed decor of the rest of the Solarium and stays busy serving up ice cold beers, daiquiris and other frozen poolside creations.

Pool Bar (Deck 9, midship): The Pool Bar gets a lot of traffic during the peak hours of midday sun, serving cold drinks to all the sun worshippers.

Viking Crown Lounge (Deck 11, aft): Appointed in rich red and gold, this lounge is located near Izumi and goes basically unused during the day, so it's a great quiet place to curl up and read or enjoy a quiet conversation while overlooking the ship and ocean. At night, it's the hot place to dance and enjoy a cocktail.

Vision of the Seas Outside Recreation

Pools

There are two pool areas on Vision: the main pool and the Solarium. The main pool is the loudest and most popular of the two, since it's open to all ages, while the Solarium is for adults only.

The main pool features four hot tubs near the shallow ledge of the pool. There is no splash area, so this ledge is where most of the younger kids play. The deeper end of the pool is where passengers swim and occasionally play water volleyball. There are lounge chairs encircling all sides of the pool, as well as tables and chairs in the shade on both sides, and loungers on the upper deck. We never had a problem finding a lounge chair, though if we needed more than two together, it could be challenging at peak times.

The Solarium is a designated pool space for passengers ages 16 years old and up. The area is enclosed in glass, with a glass roof and decorated with faux pre-Columbian artefacts. The pool has soaking ledges on either side, and there are two hot tubs. The lounge chairs here are padded, and as with the main pool, it's usually quite easy to find a spot to sit.

Note that Royal Caribbean ships ask cruisers to sign out pool towels using their SeaPass card to avoid lost or stolen towels. There is only one station on Vision, located at the main pool area, which can be a little inconvenient if you're lounging at the Solarium.

Recreation

Passengers line up daily for a shot to get to the top of the rock climbing wall (Deck 10) aboard Vision of the Seas. The wall is 30 feet tall, and there are different levels of challenge. Climbers must be at least 6 years old, and a waiver is required.

There are several shuffleboard courts on Deck 10, and table tennis tables are near the main pool on Deck 9.

Stay tuned to the daily Cruise Compass printed schedule for programmed games of pool volleyball, line dance classes, balloon tennis and other fun outdoor games.

Sun Decks

Deck 10 features plentiful lounge chairs directly above the pool and also a few near the shuffleboard courts at the ship's forward. These tend to be quieter and less popular than the chairs closer to the pools.

Tip: If you want an even quieter space, head to the door just near the spa, on the starboard side. There are several lounge chairs there facing the ocean that we found to be a great spot for relaxing.

Vision of the Seas Services

Passenger services are mostly grouped together near the Centrum area on Decks 4, 5 and 6.

Starting at the Centrum on Deck 6, you'll find a few computer stations to connect to the internet. You can also sign up for VOOM Wi-Fi service onboard to allow you to access the internet on your mobile device (fees range from $13 to $20 per day, depending on which speed you choose).

Head over to the small Book Nook (Deck 6, midship), offering a minimal library (most of the books we saw were not in English), as well as cards and games available to borrow. In this same general area, you'll find the Photo Gallery and Art Gallery.

Continuing forward on the ship on Deck 6, you'll see a small collection of five shops -- these stores sell liquor, jewellery, sundries, clothing and souvenirs, and often offer special shopping events, discounts and raffles throughout the cruise.

Head down a level to Deck 5 and you'll see the Shore Excursion Desk and Guest Services Desk side by side. On Deck 4, behind R Bar, you'll find the NextCruise office, a small space staffed with sales agents to entice you to book your next cruise before you leave the ship.

Self-service laundry facilities are not available, but washing and pressing services are available -- ask your stateroom attendant for details and pricing.

The ship has three dedicated conference room facilities, ranging in size from 24- to 56-person in capacity; other public spaces are available for reservation by large groups as well.

You'll find fewer options for speciality dining aboard Vision of the Seas than on newer Royal Caribbean ships -- for example, no speciality pizza or hamburger restaurants. Your inclusive meal choices include the Aquarius Dining Room and Windjammer, in addition to two cafe-style options, and there are three fee-based restaurants, plus room service and an onboard ice cream shop.

Despite the lack of included choices, we had a wonderful experience dining in the Aquarius Dining Room. The food quality was above average, and the service was impeccable.

The fee-based restaurants were also above average and, though the food was good, the real draw was the experience of being in a quieter, romantic environment away from the crowds with generally the best dining views overlooking the ocean.

We actually ended up liking that the onboard dining options were more limited since there wasn't much opportunity for FOMO (fear of missing out) that sometimes happens on cruises. When we wanted to change up the routine, we simply visited one of the speciality restaurants onboard.

The weakest link of all the dining choices was the Windjammer. Though the crew tried mightily to direct traffic, clear dishes and provide table service (such as drink refills and small treats), the crowds during an at-capacity cruise can become nearly unbearable during peak breakfast and lunchtimes. The small variety of options and food quality here just weren't enough to make us want to endure those crowds often.

Free Dining

Aquarius Dining Room (Decks 4 and 5, aft): This two-level dining room, decorated in tan and blue, features a large crystal light fixture in the centre, a glass-walled upper level, winding staircase, large porthole windows overlooking the ocean, and artwork inspired by constellations, including a light-up twinkling Aquarius-themed mural that spans the wall of both decks.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served here most days (with the exception of port days, when there's no lunch). For dinner, passengers will either have fixed seating at 5:30 or 8 p.m., or flexible My Time Dining from 5:15 to 9 p.m. (you can avoid waiting for a table at peak times by calling in advance for a reservation).

Breakfast and lunch are first-come, first-served.

For breakfast, the menu includes a selection of fresh pastries, cold and hot cereals, pancakes, French toast, kippered herring, omelettes and traditional bacon-and-egg selections. There's also a kids' menu with banana pancakes, French toast fingers and the like.

Lunch in the Aquarius features Royal Caribbean's signature Tutti Salad! station, where a chef prepares a salad to your specifications, plus a made-to-order pasta station. Other entrees include chicken sliders, fattoush salad, harissa-charred tilapia, a beef burger and fusilli pasta. For dessert, you'll find options such as praline chocolate crunch, warm cherry custard crepes and almond polenta cake.

For dinner, baskets stocked with freshly baked bread are always on the table. You'll have your choice of starter, main course and dessert. Starter options might include roasted poblano pepper soup and arugula and radicchio salad. Baked French onion soup, Caesar salad, escargots and fruit salad are always available. Main courses might feature braised beef short ribs, creamy wild mushroom risotto and lasagna al forno. A fish of the day, chicken breast and New York strip steak are always on the menu -- and you can pay a fee to upgrade your entree to include a whole Maine lobster ($30), Chops Grille filet mignon ($17) or surf and turf ($35). The dessert menu might offer creme brulee, apple pie a la mode, chocolate cake or cheesecake. There's always a no-sugar-added option, ice cream of the day and artisanal cheese plate (which we loved).

The menu clearly lists vegetarian, lactose-free, gluten-free and no-sugar-added items, and the wait staff takes special care with passengers who have food allergies or sensitivities. A children's menu always has kid-friendly favourites like chicken fingers, spaghetti and cheeseburgers.

We were impressed with the delightful service during our mealtimes in the Aquarius Dining Room. One's experience is often dependent upon one's particular wait team, and we lucked out on our cruise. The first night our waiter asked us if we enjoyed Indian cuisine, and later in the cruise, he had the galley prepare a variety of off-menu shared plates just for our group. Our children were spoiled with nightly plates of fresh fruit and free pink lemonades with drink umbrellas waiting for them.

Windjammer (Deck 9, forward): The central dining hub for breakfasts, lunches and snacks on Vision is the cafeteria-style space known as the Windjammer. It's generally open for breakfast from about 7 to 11 a.m.; lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; an advertised "teatime," which is basically limited snacks from 3 to 4:30 p.m.; and dinner from 6 to 9 p.m.

This dining area, like many others on the ship, is filled with light streaming in from the windows. There's even a lovely skylight surrounded with glass flags of different countries in the central dining area.

There are buffet lines on both the port and starboard sides of the ship offering mostly identical items -- for breakfast: eggs, breakfast meats, fruits, cheeses. For lunch and dinner: salads, soup du jour, breads and fruit.

In the middle of the Windjammer, there's a made-to-order area where chefs prepare omelettes in the morning and dishes such as stir-fry chicken, fajitas and a meat-carving station later in the day. There's also a Grab-n-Go buffet line with prepared sandwiches, pizzas and burgers. A drink station is available here with water, iced tea, lemonade, coffee and milk.

Farther forward under the skylight is a cold buffet with more self-service items (cereal, doughnuts, yoghurt and pastries, for example).

Crew circulate through the Windjammer throughout the day with carts to refill drinks, clear dirty dishes or offer pastries. This was particularly helpful in the morning when we needed a coffee refill and the crowds were heavy.

Though the space is visually pleasing, we found the layout was not ideal for the large flow of traffic at peak times during breakfast and lunch, with passengers frequently bumping into each other and longer than average waits. The food left something to be desired here, too, both in terms of flavour and a lack of variety. We missed the variety of salad fixings we've had on other Royal Caribbean ships, for example.

It's worth mentioning the two self-serve ice cream machines located just outside the Windjammer near the main pool -- there is a soft-serve dispenser on both the port and starboard sides, usually with two different flavour combinations, and cones. Our kids enjoyed these immensely, and we usually had to make at least one stop each day.

Park Cafe (Deck 9, aft):If you're looking for a quieter and less crowded meal or snack option, check out this cute little cafe located within the Solarium. It's typically open for an early riser continental breakfast (as early as 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.), lunch (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and a late-night snack from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Breakfast items include yoghurt parfaits, fresh fruit cups, juice and milk; lunch and snack options are tuna salad and egg salad sandwiches, hot carved sandwiches, made-to-order salads and soups. A refrigerated case offers more grab-and-go selections perfect for enjoying poolside such as pasta salad, coleslaw, Greek wraps, three-cheese panini, Cuban panini, and cookies and other desserts like panna cotta and Jell-O.

There's a drink station here where you can fill your own glass up with ice water, lemonade, apple juice and flavoured water -- we loved that option for when we were relaxing at the Solarium pool.

Cafe Latte-tudes (Deck 6, midship): The complimentary snack options here are a bit of a hidden gem on the ship. Many passengers love the extra-fee speciality coffee here and the scoops of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, but they don't realize that they can also grab a quick snack for free. The selection is similar to -- though more limited than -- the Park Cafe. Examples include prepared croissant sandwiches, wraps and submarine sandwiches, Jell-O, cookies and slices of cake.

Room Service: There is a delivery fee for most room service items, but passengers can still get a complimentary continental breakfast delivered, limited to coffee, tea, juice, pastries and cold cereals.

Fee Dining

Chef's Table (Deck 4, aft); $85: This super-exclusive speciality dining experience is tucked away in a small wood-panelled room off the main dining room with a chandelier made out of silverware and a limited number of seats. Chef's Table is a multicourse dinner paired with wine that takes place most nights at 6:30 p.m., and participants are advised to plan for a two- to three-hour dinner. The prix fixe menu varies, but it might include scallop carpaccio, a smoked tomato soup, Maine lobster salad, roasted branzino and, for dessert, a Valrhona chocolate bar salted caramel with dulce de leche gelato.

Chops Grill (Deck 6, aft); $22 for lunch and $32 for dinner: This steak restaurant is open nightly for dinner and on select days for lunch. Passengers are encouraged to make advanced reservations for all of the speciality restaurants, but on our cruise, we didn't have a difficult time getting reservations.

Chops Grill is gold-toned with mirrored accents and feels very much like an exclusive, upscale dining experience. You'll start with a selection of soups and salads, such as a crispy goat cheese salad, lobster bisque or wild mushroom soup. Appetizers include charred beef carpaccio, grilled black pepper bacon and tuna tartare.

This is a great place to order a perfectly prepared steak -- choose from filet mignon, New York strip, bone-in ribeye -- or rack of lamb, grilled branzino, grilled Atlantic salmon or an organic half chicken, and pair with a selection of scrumptious sharable sides, such as Gruyere cheese Tater Tots, sauteed mushrooms, truffled French fries and mac 'n' cheese. Cap off your experience with a dessert from the freshly made selections: Mississippi mud pie, New York cheesecake, red velvet cake or warm apple pie a la mode, among others.

Giovanni's Table (Deck 6, aft); $15 for lunch and $30 for dinner: The warm wood tones, extensive wine list and Tuscan artwork transports you to Italy for the day or night. Giovanni's is open daily for dinner and on select days for lunch.

You're guaranteed not to walk away hungry, as there are several courses from which to choose, starting with appetizers and salads (examples: focaccia della casa, carpaccio di Manzo and insalata Caprese); soups such as seafood stew and lentil and vegetable soup; a pasta course, including gnocchi with baby lamb and root vegetable sauce, pappardelle pasta in radicchio cream and pancetta and baked ricotta and spinach crepes; entrees include grilled lamb chops, pan-seared sole fillets and veal tenderloin with porcini mushrooms; plus dessert, of course: cannoli, panna cotta and chocolate cake.

We loved watching the sunset during our dinner here while we savoured each course. Tip: Don't let the dessert cart pass you by without grabbing a serving of tiramisu.

Cafe Latte-tudes (Deck 6, midship); a la carte pricing: This speciality coffee shop is located near the Centrum internet cafe area and serves up various hot and cold espresso-based drinks like caramel macchiato ($3.75-$5), cafe Americano ($2.25-$3) and mocha frappe ($4.25).

Ben & Jerry's (Deck 6, midship); a la carte pricing: This beloved ice cream chain has a scoop shop right beside Cafe Latte-tudes. Check the board for daily flavours, which might include Chunky Monkey, Phish Food and Cherry Garcia, priced $2.50 for a small, $3.25 for a medium and $4 for a large, plus extra for toppings. You can also order a milkshake for $4.50.

Izumi (Deck 12, midship); a la carte pricing: Izumi is Royal Caribbean's Japanese restaurant brand, and on Vision of the Seas it's generally open for lunch and dinner with the same a la carte menu. It's located a few stairs up from Viking Crown Lounge and is decorated in a simple and elegant Asian motif.

You'll start your meal with a hot towel to cleanse your hands and a complimentary appetizer of edamame. Other appetizer options include pork gyoza dumplings, mixed poke taco and crispy rice spicy tuna. Salad selections are ahi and albacore tataki salad and tofu salad, among others. There are a variety of sushi rolls and nigiri (we ordered one of the chef's signature rolls, the truffle creamy lobster tempura, and thought it was fantastic). There's also a Hot Rock option, where you can order a steak or seafood and cook it over a hot rock at your table, with accompanying dipping sauces. Rolls were $12 to $15; entrees were $15 to $24.

This was a great lunch option on a day when we didn't want to deal with the crowds at the Windjammer. We brought our kids, who happily ate ramen and were treated to a behind-the-scenes sushi demonstration by the kind sushi chefs.

Room service: Passengers can order room service 24 hours a day, with a continental or American breakfast served from 6 to 11 a.m., and items such as chicken fingers, salads and sandwiches served the rest of the day. Royal Caribbean charges a $7.95 fee for all room service orders except continental breakfast.

Cabins aboard Vision of the Seas feature two twin beds, which can be combined into a king-sized bed (72.5 inches wide by 82 inches long), two bedside tables with drawers, two closets and a mirrored vanity/desk with drawers and chair. To each side of the mirror, doors open to reveal extra shelving. There's a flat-panel television featuring a variety of channels, a phone and a hair dryer. A set of shelves near the vanity includes a safe.

Conspicuously missing from the interior, oceanview and balcony rooms is a mini-refrigerator, which has become pretty much standard on most ships, but you can ask your stateroom attendant if you require one (such as for medication that must be refrigerated).

Each room includes a private bathroom with toilet, sink and shower. There are mounted dispensers in the shower with shampoo and soap (no conditioner).

There are accessible cabins in every category, as well as Ultra Spacious oceanview cabins suited for families since they include a separate bedroom with bunk beds (see Oceanview below).

The cabins appear to show more wear and tear than other areas of the ship, with well-worn bedding, carpeting and furnishings that have endured two decades of use. The interior cabins, starting at just 132 square feet, are small compared both to ships in RCI's and other cruise line fleets.

Interior: Ranging from 132 feet to 151 square feet, interior rooms are snug, especially for more than two passengers. Seating space in the smaller rooms is limited to just a single chair rather than a sofa, and there's a tiny round table that is not particularly useful. There is a larger closet space with upper and lower racks for hanging items, and a secondary closet space that is mainly used for life jacket storage. Bathrooms are about 17 square feet with a toilet, sink and curved shower with detachable shower head. On Deck 8 midship, you can find some larger interior cabins, at 174 square feet.

Oceanview: Vision offers Large Ocean View (154 square feet), Ultra Spacious Ocean View (233 square feet) and Panoramic Ocean View cabins (193 square feet) cabins, all with windows overlooking the ocean. In these cabins, you'll find a sleeper sofa that can accommodate two people. The Ultra Spacious Ocean View -- formerly called a Family Ocean View -- features a separate bedroom with bunk beds in addition to the main sleeping area. Panoramic Ocean View cabins offer floor-to-ceiling windows.

Balcony: Spacious Ocean View Balcony cabins (195 square feet) on Vision include a double sofa bed in addition to the main two beds, plus an optional pull-down bed to sleep up to five passengers. The balcony measures 35 square feet and includes two chairs and a small table.

Junior Suite: Junior suites (643 square feet) include a bedroom, small sitting area and a private balcony (66 square feet). The sitting area includes a double sofa sleeper bed. The bathroom includes a bathtub. Junior suites also include a mini-refrigerator.

Suites: There are three types of suites onboard Vision of the Seas and suite passengers have access to the Concierge Club onboard, as well as priority check-in and tendering, luggage valet services, luxury bathrobes, complimentary pressing service on formal nights and reserved seating during performances.

Grand Suite: You can choose from either a one-bedroom (353 square feet) or two-bedroom (509 square feet) Grand Suite, for four or eight people, respectively. You'll have a bedroom, living area with sofa bed and a 110-square-foot balcony. The larger option features two bedrooms, each with two twin beds that can convert to a king, and two bathrooms -- one with a shower and one with a tub -- along with a living area and sofa bed, but a smaller balcony at 56 square feet.

Owner's Suite: The one-bedroom Owner's Suite measures 523 square feet and sleeps up to five people, with a separate bedroom, living area and a private balcony that's 104 square feet.

Royal Suite: The ship's largest stateroom at 1,140 square feet, this suite sleeps up to four, with a king bed in the bedroom, a spacious dining area and a double sleeper sofa in the living room, where you'll also find a baby grand piano. The bathroom features a whirlpool tub. The balcony is 110 square feet.

Deck Seven
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Deck Eleven
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