I am an avid cruiser and booked this trip for our honeymoon. I read all of the positive and not-so-positive reviews ahead of time, so wasn't sure what to expect. Overall, we had an amazing time and will definitely sail RCCL again. However, I have some suggestions that I'd love to share with RCCL.
First, the ship was lovely, embarkation was smooth. This was the highest class RCCL ship we've been on and we loved the look of the promenade and the library/internet cafe areas that enable one to watch what's happening without being in the thick of things. The balcony was wonderful, and I'm now spoiled!
We booked several excursions -- including the Ferry to St. John's, Snorkeling in Aruba, the Rain Forest Hike in Puerto Rico. Our walking tour of Curacao was cancelled due to rain, so we walked it anyway once the rain has passed. We also booked the Murder Mystery Dinner in Portofino prior to setting sail, and it was loads of fun. In St. Kitts, we opted to take a public ferry to Nevis and enjoyed the 2.5 hours we spent there before heading back. I've posted several destination reviews on Trip Advisor. Further, we each booked a spa massage, which was great -- never got to the fitness center.
With regard to dining, we had a great experience. This was my first cruise needing gluten-free food, and I was needlessly concerned. When I checked in at the dining room after embarkation, they already had my information and I was treated like royalty all week. George was our head waiter and always made sure I was happy. I hate feeling "high maintenance" in restaurants back home, and not once did I feel uncomfortable. Santoso and Richard were our assistants and by the end of the week, felt like family.
I have two feedback items that I'm hoping will be addressed somehow. This may be a result of the transition of cruise directors, but I doubt it. First, we never found "our spot" on the ship, which was a first for me. In all my cruising, I've always found my favorite bar, dance spot, nook to relax in, and so on... and never found it on this ship. I think it's because they multi-task their areas so much to squeeze in as many activities as possible. There was always something going on, just about everywhere. For example, we love to dance. The first night, we popped into Jester's and the crowd was a bunch of young folks and club-style music... not our thing. A couple of nights later, Jesters was 70's night and there were about 8 of us dancing. The next night, it was empty. Not sure where all the young folks went, but we never found "our dance spot". I would have preferred that they had one spot for old folks, one for middle-aged dancers and one for the young ones so we could've enjoyed the space, other guests our age, and the staff.
The other dynamic is that the promenade was often uncomfortably crowded, again, in my opinion, because they tried to squeeze too many activities into one space. For example, the music from the salsa band bled into the piano bar guy which made that very unsatisfying. At the same time, when the evening shows ended, the musicians up one level were often on a break, so we weren't drawn to a particular spot to hang out and instead just wandered around. There were supposedly 31 teen girls celebrating their Quinceanera throughout the week, which also added to the crowds on that same deck. Perhaps if they'd been invited to use a separate lounge, their families and friends could have enjoyed the celebration a bit more. In a similar way, we stopped by the Ben and Jerry's counter a few times during the week for ice cream, but all of the tables on the promenade were filled with people waiting for the next activity to begin, so we couldn't linger over our ice cream. The English pub had interesting performers, but again you could barely hear the guy over music and conversation happening right outside the entrance.
Many of the criticisms have previously been about too many locals on the ship -- and we had no issues with that at all. I think it really comes down to the fact that the entertainment seems to try to be all things to all people... all the time... which ultimately created some chaos throughout the promenade area. If RCCL can stagger their musicians better and cut back a little bit on how they cram many activities into that particular area, it would have been even better. I still highly recommend the Adventure of the Seas for its beauty and destinations. Perhaps the new cruise director will have the ability to make some adjustments to spread things out a bit. Happy sailing! I can't wait for the next one...