Sail Date: Jan. 27, 2013
Ship: Adventure of the Seas
Cabin: Junior Suite - 9318
Dining: 6:00 PM - Table 329
Itinerary: San Juan, St. Croix, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, San Juan
It was a chilly 27F when we left North Carolina, so the 88F in San Juan felt wonderful! We flew in two days prior to the cruise so we could take a full day to tour Old San Juan. We stayed at the Old San Juan Sheraton Hotel and Casino. The hotel was great and offered some amazing views.
The day after we arrived, we got up early and ate breakfast at the Sheraton Buffet. The food was excellent but the cost was $20 per person. After recovering from sticker shock we then hopped on the free trolley and toured the entire Old San Juan district. I highly recommend doing this if you have the time. We toured both forts ($5 entrance fee includes both forts) and they were in excellent condition. There were also some other very interesting historical sites along the way. If you're interested in history, this is a must do.
That night we ate at Barrachina's Restaurant and saw the Flaminco Show. The food was okay but the show was excellent! It was based on traditional Puerto Rican music and dance.
We left the hotel at 10:20am and got to the dock at 10:35. It was surprisingly not crowded. However, there were no porters at the taxi drop off point. We did the bag drag for about 100 feet before someone asked if we needed help. Once our luggage was taken, we immediately entered the check-in area and there were no lines at all. Check-in took all of 3 minutes and we were promptly led to the priority boarding section and seated by 10:45. The boarding gates opened up at 11:45 and we were on the ship before noon. Word of caution: I talked with a couple of people who arrived at the terminal at 2:30pm and they said it was a nightmare ... very long lines for porters and check-in.
I was pretty confused about some comments I had read in reviews and posts on Cruise Critic about how worn out Adventure was. Folks, I didn't notice any wear and tear. The ship was in very good shape.
Our stateroom and all the public areas were clean and immaculate. She's a beautiful ship! BTW ... there's brand new balcony furniture in JS's and above. They didn't have the new loungers yet but our cabin attendant provided one of the old one's ... like they use at the pools.
The Main Dining Room was absolutely spectacular! Our table (329) was right next to the Captains table. A perfect location. Our waiters were always on top of everything and remembered our preferences every night. Kudo's to Burton and Elroy! They both got "WOW Cards".
Though the name sounds exotic, it was the most run down port I've ever been to. Some others we talked to said the snorkeling at Buck Island was good, but it appeared that the highlight of this port was the 'beer drinking pigs'. We made a beach day out it. We got two lounge chairs and an umbrella for $10 at the beach just to the left of the dock (the name of the beach escapes me).
A beautiful island! We took a private tour from "Bernard's Tours". Our driver / tour guides name was Timo. He was very knowledgeable and did an outstanding job. The highlight was going to Maho Beach where I had the opportunity to take a video of a 747 coming in for a landing. (You have to see this video. Link posted at end of review.) I highly recommend Bernard's Tours!!!
Another beautiful island! We did the RCI sponsored 'Ocean Racing Experience". Geez ... was it ever an experience! I had no idea that WE would be the ones rigging the masts and doing re-riggings after re-riggings. I am thoroughly convinced that I will never own a sail boat. It was fun though.
This was the best of them all due in no small part to "Cosul Tours". We were fortunate to get Francis Cosul as our guide. We had food at every stop and plenty of drinks in our tour van. The entire tour was outstanding with the highlight being the Pitons.
The only hiccup of the cruise was here. We booked "The Cave Experience" through 'Facilitators Unlimited'. They took our deposit 6 months ago but didn't put us on their list. We waited at appointed place and they never showed up. We found a very nice lady who called them for us and while I was talking to Wayne (owner) he immediately blamed his wife. All I did was sigh. After an hour, he called someone else to take us but because he messed up, it ruined the schedule and the entire tour was modified. We did't get to half the places that we were supposed to go. We did make it to "Harrisons Caves" which were great! Do not book with "Facilitators Unlimited" ... very unprofessional group. The tour guide we ended up with, "CJ's Tours", did the best he could.
Again, contrary to the nightmares that I've read about, our debarkation process was very smooth. We were called for debark and left the deck 5 MDR at 10:15am. We went to baggage claim and found our luggage, hired a porter, waited for customs for about 20 minutes and grabbed a taxi to the airport. Once at the airport, there were no lines anywhere except for a short one at security. The longest line we had was for customs at the cruise terminal. We were at our gate at 11:30am. The San Juan airport was a breeze!
Our Cruise Critic Roll Call and Meet & Mingle
This was the most active roll calls that I've ever been a part of! Over 4300 posts leading up to the cruise! It was good chatting and exchanging information. We had 104 people sign-up for the M&M.
We had a pre-M&M on boarding day at 3pm at the Sky Bar. It was great to finally meet everyone.
The RCI sponsored M&M was hosted by Jerome (activities manager). He did a great job. They had food and drinks prepared and held a good raffle. The big prize was a bottle of wine.
RCI, in typical fashion, exceeded all expectations! It was a great cruise!
Link to photos (see sub folders) ... http://s218.beta.photobucket.com/user/GaryMelillo/library/Cruise%202013%20-%20AOS