At the time of its construction and maiden voyage in late 1999, cruise industry pundits said Voyager of the Seas would be the largest cruise ship ever built. What’s more, its owner and operator Royal Caribbean were convinced that the well established market in the Caribbean would be the only one stable enough to keep a ship of its size consistently full.
Fast forward to late 2012 and when the 3,800-passenger ship arrived in Australia, these same pundits said the Australian market had reached its ceiling and would have its work cut out for it to keep a ship the size of Voyager of the Seas visiting regularly and sailing full.
Now, five seasons later, not only is this vessel one of the firmest favourites among Aussie travellers, the ship has come back to spend the summer here every year since. And, proving the pundits wrong again, it turns out the ceiling had not been reached, as even bigger ships are now based in Sydney for extended periods of time.
As if further proof was needed, Voyager of the Seas has also been significantly renovated at least once in the five summer seasons it has spent here, including one particular noteworthy feature about its lowest-tiered stateroom category. There is a huge variety of cabins and spaces for you to rest your head at the end of each day. Let’s take a look at these here.
1. Interior Stateroom
Where are they? Decks 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 (Categories J, K, L, M, N, Q, VB).
Interior staterooms are, by their very position in the price chain, the most basic of the room categories available on Voyager of the Seas, these rooms are still very comfortable and well equipped with all of the modern conveniences you’d find across many higher categories. Each one comes with its own private ensuite and sitting area & accommodates up to two guests.
At nearly 15 square metres, these rooms are small but are quite popular as passengers can minimise the money they spend on simply getting onboard the ship and instead keep more aside to spend during their holiday. As many experienced cruisers will say, you’ll hardly spend any time in your cabin as there’s so much else going on all around you.
It’s important to note though that from the categories listed above, only ‘J’ reflects the photo and includes a Virtual Balcony – essentially a giant screen on one of the side walls beaming a live image taken by a camera housed within the bridge. There are many other price points – often cheaper – which will give you an inside room still with the same comforts, but with no virtual balcony to enjoy. Be careful to state what you want when talking to your travel agent.
2. Promenade Stateroom
Where are they? Decks 6, 7 and 8 (Category PR).
Identical in size to the Interior Stateroom and carrying the same amenities and features, the only difference with the Promenade Stateroom is that they offer a window overlooking the Royal Promenade – a central aisle running down the middle of the ship – which boasts a variety of boutique shopping and dining outlets and will be an area everyone will visit at least once during their cruise.
Often during the day and occasionally even at night, the Royal Promenade will be the setting for some of the ship’s entertainment – which may include bright or colourful lighting and loud music. Examples of this include Dreamworks character parades or musical performances. While Promenade Staterooms are well shielded from this noise through thick windows, you should keep this in mind in case you experience a little bit of disturbance.
On the flip side, you’ll have your own private viewing window for entertainment performed in this space that you do wish to see. A definite advantage in that.
3. Ocean View Stateroom
Where are they? Decks 2, 3, 6, 7, 8 and 9 (Categories F, FO, H, I).
Ocean View staterooms are often located on the lower decks of the ship, which can work well for travellers who don’t want to be too far from the indoor action of the ship, including the theatre, restaurants and the Royal Promenade.
These rooms come with a window (which doesn’t open) to allow you to see the ocean, with all amenities and features being the same as the categories below it. As the image indicates, these cabins will often see the beds placed along the back wall.
For a slight increase in price depending on the itinerary you’re doing, you can also book a variation of this room known as a Large Ocean View Stateroom. These rooms can house four people (two more on a sofa bed) and are nearly an extra five square metres in size.
4. Family Panoramic Ocean View Stateroom
Where are they? Deck 12 (Categories P1, P2, PF).
Considering the fact these rooms are priced similarly to Ocean View Staterooms, these enormous rooms are perfect for families with a fantastic view over the back of the ship and a separate bedroom fitted with bunk beds for kids.
There’s a clearly defined space for parents to occupy as their bedroom, and a lounge area with a swivelling television set to enable you to watch it in both rooms. To book the Family Panoramic Ocean View Stateroom, you’ll need a minimum of four people so it can only be booked through a travel agent or through the Royal Caribbean call centre.
If there are only two guests in the room not requiring the gluttony of space of a corner room, the regular Panoramic Ocean View is larger than the regular Ocean View, with the notable difference being that the window is located on the side of the cabin, not behind the bed.
5. Balcony Stateroom
Where are they? Decks 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 (Categories D1, D2, D3, E1, E2, E3).
The cabin category with the highest inventory, these are your run-of-the-mill balcony cabins. Only slightly larger than an Interior Stateroom within the room confines itself, the selling point for these cabins is the further 4.37 square metre balcony outside – your own private viewing area to the ocean below and the destinations you visit.
If space is a premium and would like just a little bit more room, you can upgrade from the Deluxe Balcony Stateroom to the Superior Balcony Stateroom, which gives you around an extra 1.6 square metres inside the room and 0.3 square metres more on the balcony. The accommodations themselves are the same, however some offer a sofa bed.
6. Junior Suite with Balcony
Where are they? Decks 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 (Category JS).
If you feel like splurging and upgrading yourself into the realm of the suites, the opening category you’ll encounter is the 25.73 square metre Junior Suite. And there’s plenty of them, catering to the many travelling parties who indeed do feel like that little extra bit of comfort.
A marked increase in available space from the staterooms below it, you’re looking at a minimum of nine square metres more than a regularly sized room – likely even more. Boasting a balcony, these suites still only accommodate two guests but it’s that extra space that you’re paying for and you don’t want to be filling it with more people.
In addition to a sofa, these suites also feature a comfortable sitting area featuring a comfortable chair and footrest. The television also swivels to face you if you’re in this chair or in bed – it’s up to you.
7. Grand Suite with Balcony
Where are they? Deck 10 (Category GS).
Stepping up further in size, an extra ten square metres is what you’ll enjoy by booking into a Grand Suite, plus a balcony double the size of a regular room. Effectively, everything is doubled or more in this category, with each one able to sleep five people and some of them even able to interconnect if you’d like to book two and have them link up.
Another notable improvement is the inclusion of Concierge Services and extra perks such as priority check-in and private departure lounge, VIP seating area at the pool and theatre, first access to tenders in ports where you use them, private seating area in select restaurants for breakfast and lunch (you won’t need this in the buffet). You’ll also get luggage valet and even a free ironing service for your tuxedo and formal evening wear to ensure you look your best.
This suite is over 35 square metres in size, with a balcony of nearly nine square metres.
8. Royal Family Suite with Balcony
Where are they? Decks 8 and 9 (Category FS).
Two separate bedrooms with two King beds (or twins depending on your request), there are even pull-down beds for a third and fourth guest in one room if needed. The master bedroom can be closed off with a sliding door. In the living room, a double sofa bed can also sleep up to two guests, so up to eight passengers can comfortably cruise in a Royal Family Suite.
Two bathrooms mean the kids can have one of their own without invading their parents’ space, while the living area offers plenty of seating either in couch form or around a small table in the centre of the room.
The balcony is another sight to behold, running the length of the entire suite and offering plenty of space for everybody to be out there at once without it feeling crowded.
9. Owner’s Suite with Balcony
Where are they? Deck 10 (Category OS).
Utterly enormous in size, the Owner’s Suite is about four times the size of a regular cabin with a jumbo sized balcony. These suites are well-located in the centre of the ship so you have minimal walking distance to access the rest of the ship. At nearly 52 square metres, you’re spoilt for space.
The bathroom offers a shower, bidet, separate bath and sink with even some space for a work of art hanging nicely on the wall.
There’s a lounge area with space to seat six and another dressing alongside the bedroom. Another small outdoor furniture set sits on the balcony itself. Anybody who says you don’t spend much time in your cabin when cruising never travelled in an Owner’s Suite. This suite category is also the highest level type that can be booked on the Royal Caribbean website.
10. Royal Suite with Balcony
Where are they? Deck 10 (Category RS).
For the ultimate in space and luxury for smaller groups, the Royal Suite lives up to its name, boasting a Baby Grand Piano in an elegantly laid out foyer area.
With the accommodations and master bathroom to one side of the piano-laden foyer, this side of the 100 square metre space offers a whirlpool bathtub and king-size bed in an enclosed bedroom. There’s also a walk-in closet with plenty of space to hang up your gear.
On the other side, a dining table, kitchenette and full living room also feature a sofa bed which can sleep two more. There’s a 42″ flatscreen television with stereo and home theatre system. This side also leads out to a 20 square metre balcony which itself is furnished with a hot tub and plenty of seating. It’s basically the lower level of a mansion, on a cruise ship.