Royal Caribbean International, with 18 ships in service and more on the immediate horizon,
has emerged as an industry leader with a long, sparkling history of innovation. Founded by
three Norwegian shipping companies in 1969, Royal Caribbean’s initial ship, Song of Norway,
entered service in 1970 as the first passenger vessel purpose-built for warm weather cruising
instead of point-to-point transport. Song of Norway also was the first with a cocktail lounge
cantilevered from its smokestack, launching the Viking Crown Lounge as a hallmark of every
Royal Caribbean vessel. In 1988, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line merged with Admiral Cruises,
spawning growth marked by unveiling of the 2,350-passenger Sovereign of the Seas’ dazzling
five-deck atrium. Going public in 1993, while bringing more glittering atrium-style ships
into service, the line in 1997 changed its name to Royal Caribbean International, reflecting
global scope and itineraries. In 1999, RCI hit what even competitors admitted was a “home run”
with introduction of Voyager of the Seas, boasting the first rock climbing wall at sea.
In 2004, RCI continues its “get out there” campaign touting “way more than a cruise” with
new options in the Gulf of Mexico, expanded adventures in Alaska, and more itineraries in Europe.
True to its name, RCI also has 15 Royal Caribbean ships sailing the Caribbean, with itineraries
often including either of two private islands CocoCay in the Bahamas or Labadee in Haiti.
In 2004, 10 of those ships will sail the Caribbean throughout the year, departing from seven
ports: Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, Tampa, New Orleans, Galveston and San Juan.
Apart from the rock-climbing wall, Voyager-class vessels, starting with Voyager of the Seas
boast an extensive line-up of industry firsts including skating rinks, triple-tier dining rooms,
huge casinos, nine-hole miniature golf courses, and regulation-sized basketball courts.
Voyager of the Seas also has a Skylight Wedding Chapel, three swimming pools, and an
eye-popping bar with an aquarium, plus a show-stopping Royal Promenade.
Recommended gratuities are at $7.50 per guest, per day, and a 15 percent tip is
automatically added to bar checks. Tips can be offered in person or charged to
the shipboard account.
Royal Caribbean’s progressive accessibility program – Accessible Seas – strives to make
travel more convenient, enjoyable and hassle-free for all guests, and Mariner of the Seas
leads the industry in providing accessibility to guests with disabilities. Braille menus
and stairwell banister deck numbers, automatic doors, hydraulic pool/Jacuzzi lifts,
extra-wide corridors, public bathroom facilities and special devices for the hearing
and visually impaired are on board. Mariner also has 26 staterooms with a variety of
accessibility features such as roll-in showers and pull-down closet rods.
As with all Voyager-class vessels (including Adventure, Explorer, Mariner and Navigator
of the Seas), Voyager of the Seas’ guests can enjoy ice-skating, rock-climbing, miniature golf,
and basketball along with enhanced staterooms, expanded dining options, and great entertainment.
Despite megaship status, Voyager design lends itself to easy navigation for 3,000 or so
passengers moving between cabins and public spaces.
Voyager of the Seas cabins range from interior staterooms to ocean view staterooms,
larger ocean view staterooms, family ocean view staterooms (for up to six),
atrium staterooms (with window views of the Royal Promenade), superior ocean
view staterooms (with private balcony and refrigerator), superior ocean view
suites (with private balcony, refrigerator and bathtub), and royal family suites
(with two bedrooms, two baths for up to eight).
All staterooms have closed-circuit TV, radio, phone, private bath, vanity and mini-bar.
Kid & Teen Stuff
A professional staff is onboard to provide a stellar experience for young cruisers,
and the Adventure Ocean program entertains ages 3 to 17. Kids can enjoy Karaoke,
sports, painting, talent shows, a computer lab, video arcades, special menus at
meal times, and more. Children can stay at Adventure Ocean while adults head out
on shore excursions, and baby sitting, including group sitting and in-cabin sitting,
is available. Teen centers remain open well past midnight.
Apart from an elegant, triple-tiered main dining room serving five-course meals,
alternative venues include Chop’s Grille, Portofino Restaurant, and Johnny Rocket’s,
a ‘50s diner with red Naugahyde booths, Formica counters and a juke box. Wine and
dine packages provide a bottle of wine for each evening, and soda packages provide
unlimited fountain sodas. ShipShape menus highlight health-oriented options, Kosher
selections are available upon request, and there is 24-hour room service.
Sports / Health / Fitness
A signature 200-foot rock-climbing wall is designed to challenge experts as well as beginners.
With one of the largest fitness and spa complexes at sea, Spa packages for men and women
combine facials, cleansing massages, aroma stone therapy and more. A small-scale nine-hole
golf course is near the basketball court for adults and children. The Golf Ahoy! program
has scheduled golfing in the Caribbean along with the Bahamas, Bermuda, Hawaii and Mexico.
The Royal Promenade, lined with shops and bars, soars four-stories and serves as the heart
of the ship. Studio B, a 900-seat ice skating and entertainment venue, hosts ice shows,
fashion advisories game shows and occasional live broadcasts. The1,350-seat, quintuple-deck
Savoy Theater presents dazzling production shows. For days at sea, guests can sign up for
the Academy at Sea, which offers one-hour informal classes on a variety of topics.
Among the largest gaming areas at sea, Voyager’s casino are slots,
roulette, dice, blackjack and poker.
Apart from RCI’s signature Viking Crown Lounge cantilevered from its smokestack,
Voyager of the Seas has a multitude of bars including the Aquarium Bar with more
than 50 tons of saltwater for its eye-catching tropical fish and the Scoreboard
sports bar with events worldwide via satellite.