We took this cruise to celebrate our 30th anniversary and went with my brother and his wife who were celebrating their 40th. We had previously sailed on the Serenade of the Seas and had a wonderful time. This cruise, while nice, just felt lacking in a few areas.
The ship itself was nice but felt small and closed in due to most of the "action" being on or near the promenade. Everything was in a centralized location so there wasn't much fun in exploring the ship to find those "out of the way" or "unknown" clubs/bars/areas. The promenade was filled with people most of the time and it made us feel like there were just too many people. The pool areas were also right next to each other so they were always full of people and almost impossible to get a chair (mostly due to people "reserving" them with towels even thought that is supposed to be prohibited). The solarium was not enclosed like we were used to, so when it rained (which it did) there were even less chairs to choose from. I'm not a big "sun" person and enjoyed having a solarium that was sheltered from the sun on the Serenade of the Seas.
The dining room was a good size an we didn't feel like it was too congested once everyone was seated; but while waiting for our dining time to begin there was a huge crowd waiting to get in the doors..it paid off to show up just a bit late. The food in the dining room was good. It didn't really impress me as much as past cruises but it was okay. There were a couple of nights that we weren't interested in anything on the menu at all, which is rare with the four of us. We didn't try the Windjammer for dinner but breakfast and lunch were adequate. I wasn't really impressed by lunch at all. The best part of breakfast was the omelet station. You had to bypass the first area of serving lines to head towards the back to even find it though. We were surprised that there were many hours when the Windjammer was closed, dining rooms were closed and the only place to get anything to eat was in the Promenade Cafe, which is as small as it sounds. They serve mainly pizza and a few pre-made sandwiches. As you can imagine, the line was extremely long! It always seemed to happen when people were coming back from their morning excursions, too late for lunch and too early for dinner. We tried Johnny Rockets, which is an additional charge, and it was good but expensive for a hamburger (milkshakes were extra).
The service was, for the most part, extremely well done. Our two dining room wait staff were excellent. The Head Waiter in our dining room was a complete waste of time, effort and pay. We questioned him one night about why people were dressed in t-shirts and shorts on formal night in the formal dining room and he basically said that there was nothing he could do and then he avoided our table the rest of the cruise. I really don't understand his purpose in the dining room...hopefully he does actually do something useful. The service in all the bars, the cafe and the casino was really wonderful. Our room steward was very gregarious (perhaps a bit too gregarious) but a nice enough young man. He did a good job.
The entertainment on board was abysmal. We were all extremely disappointed. There's a very unique club called Jester's but apparently is never really used. We went one night for rock and roll tunes. The played "pop" rock from the 80's for one hour and then it was done. The music was mostly from the 70's and 80's all over the ship. Variety is the spice of life and a great enjoyment on cruises...this one didn't have any variety. There was even an overdone 70's disco on the promenade one night, which was fun but then you heard the same music over and over and over for a whole week. The "broadway type shows" that we saw were laughable. We would have walked out but felt it would be rude. They had two "gauchos" one night that was so unbelievably cheesy that my husband and I were laughing to each other about it and wondering if it was supposed to be a serious performance. The casino didn't pay out at all. I know cruises are notorious for this but on previous ships you could win a little bit to keep your interest for a day or two but this one was so tight that we only played once and said "forget it." We did enjoy hanging out in the british pub, the Duck and Dog or is it the Dog and Duck? The wait staff were so friendly and they played some pretty good recorded music, but when their lounge singer took the stage we took a hike.
One of my favorite things on cruises has always been the art that they have on display and the opportunity to go to an auction and hear about the artists and their pieces. I'm not wealthy enough to bid on the high dollar pieces but I truly love to hear about them and the artist. I was really looking forward to this art auction but was extremely disappointed. Their "art expert" was a complete and total snob. The "art expert" started the auction with a piece that started out at $1 just to get the "crowd" (I use the term loosely because there were probably only 20 people there) involved. I think the piece went for $60. They advertise that there is art available that is affordable for all different pocket books. Well, the next pieces he showed were starting bids of $1800 and up and up and up. He talked a bit about maybe two artists and then got so disgusted that no one was bidding that he started insulting all of us. He said that this wasn't the art that we buy at K-Mart. It only got worse from there. He said he was ending the auction early because no one was bidding. It was truly a horrible experience.
The excursions we chose were a lot of fun. We enjoyed them immensely. The day trip snorkeling with a bbq lunch in Aruba was our favorite.
I doubt if I would ever sail on the Adventure of the Seas again, in fact we may try going back to Princess Cruise lines or perhaps trying Celebrity Cruises next. I wouldn't recommend this ship to anyone.