Life aboard Visions of the Sea, a 900 ft+ Royal Caribbean cruise ship sailing the “Love Boat Route” from San Diego California to Puerto Vallarta Mexico, seems like a week-long fantasy!
Our cabin was a short elevator ride right below the “Windjammer Cafe”, the ship’s alternative smorgasbord. For breakfast, Betty just rode up the elevator and returned to our cabin in minutes with fruit, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, pancakes and a Belgian waffle. The Windjammer was a circular restaurant with a grand view over the bow of the ship. Large beautiful models of classic windjammer sailing ships graced the entrance.
For dinner, we sat near the spiral staircase in the two-story main dining room, the Aquarius. Many, if not most of the waiters appeared to be from the Middle East or India. Our waiter was Ismael from Turkey. The live dinner music close to our table alternated between a string trio and David, the piano player who caught our attention with old favorites of our time — romantic music by Mancini.
Imagine sitting down in a 5 star hotel restaurant with a menu of International cuisine. Gourmet appetizers of fruit, salads, soups both hot and cold, topped by entrees that were both unusually elegant, and elegantly served. You can order anything, as much as you want. Betty asked our waiter if they had papaya — “yes,” he could get it. He brought a saucer with two long slices of papaya; obviously from a “watermelon” papaya, from its appearance and taste. We ended up with a saucer of 4 slices of papaya waiting at our places for a pre-appetizer every night.
I read the exotic entrees, and then spotted the Ala Carte “always available” section — broiled Norwegian salmon, baked or mashed potatoes, and Caesar salad. That’s what I had most nights except the night I had a Burrito as well, and the trout almandine. The meals were always delicious! Macadamia nut and butter pecan ice cream were impossible to resist!
One of the fun things we enjoyed doing that enhanced our cruise experiences was to get acquainted with crew members. We met some interesting people. A lady playing piano bar was a retired music teacher, “playing” her way around the world by playing on cruise ships. Our cabin housekeeper was from San Salvador. He said he could work two years, and then be able to take care of his family. The executive chef was from Croatia, and was a career cruise crewman. We actually saw him on another cruise where he was promoted to Maitre ‘de. His plan was to work on board for twenty years, and then he and his family would get a sailboat and cruise on their own.