This floating playground is every kid's dream, writes Tiana Templeman
Voyager of the Seas has always been a hit with parents and their kids and this looks set to continue with a US$97 million renovation making it one of the region's most impressive family-friendly ships. With refreshed cabins and loads of new features, including The Perfect Storm duo of racer waterslides, a brand new Vitality Spa, Battle for Planet Z laser tag, redesigned kids and teens spaces, and a new nursery for babies and tots, our family discovered plenty of fun to be had onboard.
• Premium - Cruise holidays: How to save money with the latest deals
• Premium - Cruise holidays: Luxury cruising with kids
• Cruise holidays: Explore Papua New Guinea by ship
• Cruising: What you need to know for your next holiday
Royal Caribbean has spent up big on the brand new children's spaces on Voyager of the Seas and it shows. The whimsical Adventure Ocean for kids aged 3 to 12 encourages imagination and has plenty of room for free play. Children can also see each other, even if they're in different age groups. The Living Room teen's area is accessed via a "secret" staircase beside the FlowRider and includes an appealing outdoor lounge, dedicated gaming area and plenty of hangout spots. The Royal Babies and Tots Nursery is bright and cheery and costs $6 per child per hour for daytime services and $8 per child after 6pm.
While our son was hanging out in The Living Room, his Dad and I looked around the Vitality Spa and Fitness Centre. Everything at this purpose-built pampering and relaxation area at the aft of the ship is brand new, including the gym, which looked so good we worked out for the first time in years.
After a much-needed massage the following day, the couches in the spa's floaty relaxation area were the perfect place to find our Zen, resting our aching muscles and agreeing to skip the gym for the rest of the trip. From then on, we got our exercise racing our teen on The Perfect Storm racer slides. A FlowRider surf simulator, rock-climbing wall and (renovated) mini-golf area, round out the ship's action-packed offerings.
When passengers weren't chasing down aliens and robots during Battle for Planet Z, the multi-purpose Studio B on deck three was transformed into an ice skating rink for skate sessions and a thrilling high-energy ice show packed with music, colour and action.
While it might not be as exciting as laser tag, we were surprised Royal Caribbean didn't create more fanfare around the appealing new design of Windjammer Marketplace. New banquettes and different table configurations have eased the overcrowding that has previously been a challenge in this venue. The new seating makes the buffet look more upmarket too.
The existing cabins on Voyager of the Seas have been fitted with new carpet and curtains and are looking fresher. To snag a brand new cabin at no additional cost, book one of the newly added staterooms on Deck 11 or a new internal cabin on Deck 12, all of which are located in the forward section of the ship.
If you were wondering whether it was worth upgrading to a suite prior to getting onboard, you won't be after you see the attractive new Suite Lounge. Located next to the Viking Crown Lounge, this lounge has deep crimson furnishings, tasteful jewel colour accents, floor-to-ceiling windows and a cushy outdoor seating area, which looked perfect for reading, relaxing and enjoying sunset cocktails.