My husband and I chose this itinerary for our seventh cruise with Royal Carribean. We enjoy our time on the ship but usually look for interesting port stops. We flew into Southampton airport from Dublin. It is a only a one hour flight. The transfer to the ship by RCI was quick and efficient.
We boarded Adventure of the Seas early around 11.30am. The boarding was easy and quick. Despite the fact Adventure is due a make over next year it still looks great. Much of the ship felt very familiar as we have sailed on Indy a number of times and there are not too many difference. There is no Flowrider, Sorrentos or Chops Grill.
Our cabin - 6316 -was on the hump on deck 6. As comfortable and clean as always. Unfortunately it took three days to get the air conditioning working. The stateroom attendant told us he had got maintenance to look at it but it was not fixed until we went to Guest Services and they made sure it was checked.
We were on early seating in the MDR. At the time of booking this was 6pm but on the ship the time had been changed without warning to 5.30pm. This was too for many, it could be inconvenient on port days and clashed with some sailaways.
In Reykjavik we took an independent tour out to see the puffins in the harbour. There are a lot of independent puffin and whale watch providers situated in the old harbour. Despite the weather being wet and windy seeing these hardy little birds in large numbers up close was an adventure. The next day we took a ship excursion, Jewels of the North, from Akureyri to see the spectacularly different landscape of Iceland, a waterfall, lava field, boiling mud pots and steam vents. The most wonderful part of this visit to the port of Akureyi was experiencing the midnight sun. We did not depart the port until 11.30pm and as it was June 5th and we had crossed into the Arctic Circle for a few hours, the sun did not set. Standing on the deck looking at the sun shining at midnight was an extraordinary experience.
Although we were enjoying our cruise there were some problems on the ship. So many people wanted to use the Windjammer that it was overflowing at meal times. A problem which was exacerbated occasionally by some areas being cordoned off and out of use. The Cruise Compass had a lot of errors in it even advertising entertainers who were not on board!
We don't normally allow glitches to bother us but this time the one thing which did take some of the pleasure out of the cruise was the poor food in the MDR. The RCI menus have changed in recent times. The new dishes read very well on the menu but on the table it is a different story. They were bland, the portions were small and the vegetables repetitive. There appeared to be little seasoning or attention to taste. An example of this was having "oxtail and potato" soup one night and "double duck soup" on another finding that they tasted almost the same. The lowest point was ordering "Chicken Marsala" the meat described on the menu as "sauteed chicken scaloppine" (I found the definition of "scoloppine" online as " a thinly sliced cut of meat"). What arrived on my plate was not a cut of meat it was a quarter inch thick, coated, pressed portion of reconstituted chicken. I would never have expected any decent restaurant to serve reconstituted chicken! and definitely never had it served to me in the previous six cruises by RCI.
My husband and I have noticed a deterioration in the MDR food over our various RCI cruises since 2009 but this cruise was the first time it made us think of changing to another cruise line next time.
The second half of the cruise was our Norway Fjords. Apart from one sunny day in Olden the weather was foggy and damp but we still enjoyed it all. One word of warning about Norway - it is expensive!! A can of coke in a supermarket cost me 30 kr (nearly $5). Our assistant waitress in the MDR told us she had paid $9 for a coffee which was not a surprise. When we were not on excursions we returned to the ship for lunch the local costs were outside our budget.
We found the people in Norway very friendly and helpful and all we met spoke good English.
Molde would probably have been good had the weather been sunny but a wet Sunday in a small town where all the shops were shut was not a lot of fun. It is famous for it's roses but none were in bloom. Olden, on the other hand, was worth the cost of the trip all by itself. We reached Olden through a 160 km fjord which took 4 hours to navigate, beautiful scenery of high snow capped mountains on each side and waterfalls falling down to the fjord. We docked right in the town (more a village). It was all a wonderful experience (a bonus was seeing a whale in the entrance to the fjord). Olden has a little toy town type sightseeing train which departs from the dock and costs 150 kr pp (about $25). It last about 70 minutes a 70 min with a good commentary in English and includes a stop for photographs. It takes you around the beautiful lake, past tumbling streams and chocolate box meadows. We took this trip in the morning as our organised excursion was not until afternoon. I would recommend this to everyone if you have time. After lunch we took the ship's excursion to one of the glaciers - amazing! There are open top glacier shuttle buses on the dock but as we did not know of their existence we had booked the ships tour. The evening sail away from Olden along the sun bathed fjord was unforgettable.
All the staff and crew on Adventure were pleasant and helpful. The Cruise Director Clo was very good. We enjoyed the shows we saw, particularly the singer Paul Hughes who was excellent. The ice show was "Cool Art Hot Ice" it was excellent.
I would recommend a cruise to Iceland and Norway particularly if you are interested in spectacular scenery, unusual geology and seeing somewhere a bit different. But sadly unless the food in the MDR is improved soon, I would find it hard to suggest you do this itinerary on the Adventure.