Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas
January 6, 2007
This is our first time sailing with Royal Caribbean (RC) and we were curious as to how RC compared with Princess. The photos that follow will tell a 'picture" story as a comparison between Royal Caribbean and Princess.
This is the atrium deck (7). At this point in time there is nobody in the "street."
If you look closely you will see that there are three decks above the walking level. This is the main thoroughfare from the front to the back of the ship when the activities are in progress. We found that our feeling of being crowded came from our having to shove our way through a crowd as we attempted to navigate from the front to the rear of the ship. Imagine having sales stands down the middle of this corridor, plus chairs and tables emanating from the bars and restaurants on the sides of the corridor. Things get pretty tight.
Although it is intended to give the illusion of a big space, we found that we felt we had to elbow our way through crowds i.e. closeness or crowdedness
On this ship, Voyager of the Seas, there is only one theater. The second venue is the 40' x 60' ice skating rink. Consequently, there is only one entertainment show except for one scheduled occasion when they do an ice skating show.
The musical shows and comedy shows are excellent. We found it strange that the performers largely were dressed in black with a black background. It just lacked a bit of pizzazz from what we have become accustomed to with Princess.
This performer was a drummer and did an amazing act with bolos. Again, a black costume with a black background.
This couple were real acrobats. They were working crew members who did two shows. The scenes that follow are "held" poses i.e. the positions are held for 5 seconds or more versus captures of a person in motion. They were astounding.
The finale featured all of the entertainment crew and cook staff. Notice how dark the black background makes everything appear.
One of the fun things we enjoyed was the artistic way our room steward left our room each night. By twisting towels and washrags he was able to create some interesting creatures.
During spring break we took a second cruise to the Caribbean with our son and her husband. Since we had experienced cruising on the one of the largest ships with Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas, we found it interesting how different the Grand Princess was with respect to spaciousness, theater etc.
During a part of the voyage there was an ice sculpting demonstration on deck.
Later, while in port Lynn decided to take a photo tour of the ship as most of the passengers were ashore.
At the rear of the ship is a rather private swimming pool for adults. One deck above is another for those under 13 years of age when accompanied by a parent.
Even though most of the people were ashore, there were still a number of people enjoying the pool. The pool shown in one of those located near the middle of the ship.
As we near the front of the ship there is another pool that features "Movies Under The Stars."
If you want to get away from the noise of the crowd and the kids, there is a place called "The Sanctuary" located at the front of the ship. Nobody under the age of 18 is allowed into the Sanctuary.
Entrance to the Sanctuary comes with a nominal fee. I don't remember but it is in the neighborhood of five bucks. Note the tent structure in the above photo. A person or couple can actually reserve the tent for their own private getaway.
During the day, when people are not ashore, the upper decks bustle with activity.
Where the Royal Caribbean ships funnel people through a space on a single deck that is open for three decks above, Princess handles the traffic is a different manner.
Traffic Flow Inside
Princess also uses three decks of open space for the atrium. However, the traffic is directed around the open space making it less crowded. The lower deck of the atrium is used for entertainment and dancing during the evening hours as well as tour and ship information plus a number of lounges that are tucked away outside of the "travel" area. In all, there is a greater feeling of opulence and openness.
The dark glass on the right of the photo above is actually a glass enclosure for one of the elevators facing into the atrium.
Theater and Entertainment
While most Princess ship offer a theater plus a show lounge, the Grand Princess offers a theater plus four lounges. The single thing that stood out for the theater performances was the use of color. The Royal Caribbean had a stage with a black backdrop curtain and almost all of the performers wore black with the exception of some who wore white. The following photos illustrate how the use of color is used for theater productions.
Our kids, Jan and Phil, really enjoyed the cruise experience. This is a photo taken (above left) during one of the gymnastic performances in one of the lounges.
When it came to the theater productions, the shows were fantastic. (In all fairness, Royal Caribbean productions were equally good except for the lack of color.) In addition to songs and dancing there were a variety of acts that both cruise lines feature.
The photos are taken with available light as no flash is allowed. The stage color comes from filters and lenses used with the floodlights.
We had the opportunity to take a backstage tour of the theater. It was eye opening to learn what goes on behind the scenes.
In the upper floor darkness of the stage is the show director who controls the timing and production of the show.
The costume rack shown on the left is actually a moving clothes rack that travels upward to the upper reaches of the stage, As the costumes are needed, they are called similar to a dry cleaning establishment.
In addition, there are cases and racks of different hats that are worn by the performers.
This is a view on the stage looking at the empty theater that holds upwards of 1,200 people. In the front of the stage floor there is a sound system that provides feedback to the performers. As they perform they can't see the audience as the lights are very bright. We were intrigued at how the sound is directed into the audience so that there are no "blind spots" of sound.
At the end of the cruise we had a day at sea. One of the offerings was a cooking demonstration on stage plus a tour of the kitchen. We had hoped to tour the bridge but learned that those tours were stopped when a smart aleck teenager, as a joke, announced during a bridge tour that he was carrying a bomb. Thus, because of one individual, there are no more bridge tours. (Come to think of it, I don't recall the opportunity to participate in a kitchen tour on Royal Caribbean.)
All surfaces in the kitchen stainless steel. As we continued with the tour, during the cleanup period between meals, we were impressed with the organization of the kitchen.
Each cooking area is for a specific purpose i.e. salads, deserts, drinks, cooking etc.
Toward the end of the tour in the kitchen we passed the artistic section. The ship above is made out of pastry and chocolate.
Melon carving is an art as is butter sculpting.
The above is a view of one of the main dining rooms.
One of the subtle dining difference we noted was how they handled dinner rolls. On Royal Caribbean the waiters would come to each table, let you select the roll you wanted and then left with them. If you wanted another, you had to ask. On Princess, the rolls are on the table when you arrive and the basket is refilled as needed without asking. Also, the waiters on Princess were far more attentive to the passengers they served. While we enjoyed the experience cruising with both Royal Caribbean and Princess, we feel that Princess will be our cruise line of choice for some time to come.
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