We arrived in San Juan 2 days before our cruise. We had a wonderful stay at the Marriott Stellar is it is a beautiful hotel with an amazing view! We were in room 718 and had a partial view of the ocean. The the hotel restaurant La Vista Grill has a delicious but pricey buffet dinner. The food was so good that we would dine there again.
There is a Walgreen's on the corner across from the hotel with a mini grocery section in the back of the store where we were able to get some snacks, water & laundry soap and other last minute items for the ship.
Day 1-Embarkation Day: We arrived at the port at 1030. We waited for approx 1 hour outside in the line. We were in the first 50 to board the ship which meant we were able to sit in the terminal rather than out in the heat once they started letting us in for ID checks and issuing of sea pass cards. While we were waiting we met up with a couple from our meet & mingle board, whom we enjoyed chatting with along with others seated around us as we all excitedly waited to board the ship. Time passed rather quickly because we were keeping each other company.
Once on board we headed to the Windjammers for lunch. I had to have the Honey Stung Chicken, it is a boarding day tradition for us. Unfortunately it was very dry, good thing is that we ordered it room service one night during the cruise and it was delicious. The Windjammer definitely needs some improvement, the food during the week was just okay.
After lunch we toured the ship and went to find our cabin. Our cabin, 8330 was very comfortable & clean, we did not have any problems at all with our room. Our stateroom attendant was very nice and helpful,I can't remember how to spell his name, but he took great care of us during our stay. After unpacking our carry-on bags, DH took a nap and I headed to the pool area to meet up with the Meet & Mingle group from Cruise Critic. At 5:30 we were still waiting for one of our bags to arrive, 5:45pm we headed to the mandatory 6pm muster drill. Ours was held in the Mozart dining room. I was grossed out as I watched people at our table playing with the silverware and glasses that would later be used for dinner. After the drill we went back to our room to check for the delayed luggage. At 6:30pm the bag was located. Our My time dining reservation was for 6:30pm but due to the delayed luggage we didn't get there until 7:00pm.
We were seated in the same area we had been in for the muster drill but at a different table. Things in the dining room appeared to be somewhat chaotic at least in our area. I suspect it had to do with the muster drill pushing everyone dining time back. Our waiter, Lynnell, very warm and friendly, came over to greet us and gave us a menu to review. Approx. 15 minutes. went by before our assistant waiter came over to fill our glasses with water. Everyone in our section seemed to be experiencing a wait so we just took it in stride. We never got eye contact from any of the our wait staff and they seem to be so busy that we didn't ask for anything. We just hoped Tuesday would be better.
Day 2-St. Thomas (Formal Night): We did the Sapphire Beach tour offered through the ship. It was a nice and very relaxing day on the beach. The price included a lounge chair, snorkel gear and a drink. On the way back to the ship the driver took us on a scenic tour of the island, we were able to take stop to take pictures and purchase souvenirs from the vendors. Once back on board, I headed for my appointment at the Spa with Jennifer which was wonderful, will definitely do that again next cruise. This night was formal night.
Things went smoothly in the dining room. Although both DH & I feel that our assistant waiter is rather inattentive. We have to ask for refills on our drinks and for bread. We never had to do that on the Freedom of the Seas or Allure.
Day 3-St. Kitt: I got up early to hit the gym before we left to ship. We did not plan any excursions for this port, we decided to walk around, do a little shopping and had lunch at the restaurant on the dock. Afterwards we headed back to the ship to hang out by the pool. We had dinner at Portofino's with some of our Meet & Mingle friends from the Cruise Critic board. The service and the food were amazing & the company was fun and entertaining...a great time was had by all!
Day 4- Sea Day: I got up early and headed to the gym for a workout. I love the gym & sauna on Adventure! After my workout it was on to pick up DH and our gift for the Meet & Mingle. I think this was the biggest M&M group of our 3 sailings. Clare, our event hostess/director was wonderful, she is so Funny!!! I enjoyed spending time with all the people I'd been talking with for the past year. Tonight, our dinner in the main dining room went better, the staff didn't appear rushed. Our waiter Lynnell is warm and friendly and explains everything well. Still not sure about our assistant waiter, he's not attentive at all, no attention to detail.
Day5- Aruba: We booked the Sail Away Snorkel Adventure through the ship, the group is the Pelican Adventure Tour. It was GREAT!!! We snorkeled in 2 locations, had lunch at a restaurant of the pier at Palm Beach. Our tour guides were wonderful, we even had a chance to do some Salsa dancing on the ship while we sailed. If we get the chance to come back to Aruba we will do an excursion with them! After the trip we headed back to the ship to shower and rest a bit before heading out for dinner. I made reservations on line several months ago for Passions on the Beach. We caught the bus right outside the port for $2.30 one way, told the driver we wanted to go to Amsterdam Manor where the restaurant is located, no problem there is a bus stop right there. It was amazing...we got to experience a beautiful and breathtaking sunset as we dined on the beach. The view, service and food were wonderful!
Day 6-Curacao (Formal Night): We did not book any excursions for this port, we did some shopping and returned to the ship, and back to the pool area to relax. We went to the main dining room for dinner again. There are less people on our side tonight. Our assistant waiter spends a lot of time at the main station looking around, he doesn't make eye contact. As he passes to serve others just seated, I call out to him. Tonight things are really....off for us in the main dining room. We have to ask for butter for the table, for drink refills which were soda and lemonade, for more bread. During dinner I watched as our assistant waiter put a butter dish on a stained table cloth on the table next to us to cover the stain that was pointed out to him. I rolled my eyes & shook my head....you can cover a stain with butter but can't take care of your customer!?! I did note that there are no bar servers visible so the assistant waiter has to go get any drinks we have ordered. Our past 2 cruises the bar tenders would be walking around offering their services.
I ordered prime rib medium for dinner, when it arrived it was well done....not happy. When the assistant waiter is passing by I ask for the waiter, Lynnell. She comes over, I tell her of the problem with the food. I ask to have what my DH is having. I tell DH to eat before his food is cold as it takes a little bit for my plate to be delivered. After the main dish we leave...we don't want dessert. Kind of disgusted with the service.
Day 7- Sea Day: I received a call inviting me to try an Acupuncture Treatment at a 30% discount. I said yes...I'd always wanted to try acupuncture but just hadn't done so. John took great care of me! I do feel some relief from my neck and shoulder pain, just wish I had tried it sooner. We decided to stay away from the main dining room tonight, still frustrated by the night before. We had Johnny Rockets, it was good, great service...no problems!
Day 8-Disembark Day: We headed down to deck 2 Conference room at 0700. There were a lot of people already down there. It seemed to be rather chaotic. Once staff started checking our passports and customs form I thought that was it, but boy was I wrong...it was just the beginning. We were herded into 2 conference rooms where we waited for about an hour. From there we lined up again to exit the ship, there were a lot of stairs to go down, more than we expected and a long line again. Once we cleared customs we went to find the transportation we had contracted with Royal.
We found the people at the port to be very unhelpful and indifferent. We watched as other cruisers walked up to find their transportation. We asked a couple if they were taking Royals transportation to the airport, they said yes, so we followed them. I was afraid to put my carry-on in the trailer truck they had for the luggage for fear that it wouldn't arrive at the airport. We couldn't get a clear yes...from those at the port as to whether that was the correct trailer we were putting our luggage in. I figured that at least we'd have our carry-on with us.
All in all it was a great week of relaxation around the pool area and some fun ports. We met some wonderful people. The down side was the disembark,the less than satisfactory service by our assistant waiter, and pushing and shoving at the elevators. We will cruise again but not sure yet if it will be out of San Juan.