This was only our second sailing with RCI although we have done several Med cruises from Southampton with other lines. The embarkation was the smoothest I have ever encountered, there were plenty of staff around to help and the queue was non-existent, before we knew it we were boarding the ship.
We were told our rooms would be ready at about 2pm so we grabbed a snack from the Windjammer and enjoyed a peaceful hour sat near the pool people watching. The announcement about the rooms being available came earlier than the predicted 2pm which was a nice surprise.
We had originally booked a Grand suite as our teenage son was going to be sharing with us and I knew I would find an ordinary balcony stateroom too small but at the last minute his older sister decided to join us so they ended up with an inside stateroom along the corridor and all of a sudden my husband and I had the luxury of a Grand suite all to ourselves! Our cabin was obviously very spacious although the balcony was much smaller than is offered with a GS on IOS. However I liked the fact that it was enclosed and private even though it was smaller although having one sunbed did seem a bit odd. Unfortunately, although our stateroom was clean it was obviously in need of a refurb. One of the sinks leaked badly in to the cupboard underneath, something I didn't discover until my toiletries were all soaked. On closer inspection I realised that the back of the cupboard was quite rotten so it had obviously been a problem for a while. The air-conditioning in the bathroom also leaked so we had to keep towels on the floor to prevent accidental slips. The kettle would only work if we stood there holding the button in all the time and opening and closing the drawers required muscles of steel and was so noisy I felt sorry for anyone underneath us. On top of this the soft furnishings and headboard were badly stained and there were a few nicks out of the furniture.
The inside stateroom occupied by my children was actually in a much better state of repair but I was surprised to see that although they had a kettle they had no coffee maker or instant coffee and the only toiletries they had were a cheap, thin bar of soap and a shampoo/showergel combination.
Our room steward was not very attentive. I think we are easy to look after guests, we are tidy and put everything away and usually make no requests. However by the third day I had to ask for teabags, to have the menu sheets changed in the folder, to have the glasses replaced that we had used on the first day etc. I think that these are basic roles and I should not have had to go and find him to ask for them, he never even actually introduced himself. The room steward for my children however was an absolute star, friendly and helpful as well as being extremely efficient.
We had opted for My time dining and asked for a table for 4 which was always accommodated. We had the same staff every night, Whyte and Nareem who were brilliant. They remembered everyones preferences and were friendly without being over the top. Most of the food we had was very nice although I felt there was sometimes too much shellfish on the menu and it was a bit repetitive. On two occasions we had problems with our meal (cold meatballs and extremely undercooked chicken) and Nareem was there as soon as he spotted that we weren't enjoying our meals.
We took our other meals in the Windjammer where we found there was a good selection of food although some of it could have done with being hotter. The staff were always friendly and helpful and would help you look for a seat if needed. I really don't think there is enough seating here for the size of the ship and breakfast on port days and lunch on seadays could get very hectic.
We found the Cruise Director, Clo, and her staff very friendly and approachable. We enjoy quizzes and loved the fact that there were several every day and the staff were always happy to engage with their audience and made a good atmosphere.
We enjoy going to the theatre in the evenings and on the whole we enjoyed most of the performances. We thought the iceshow was great too and we were surprised to find that we quite enjoyed watching the gameshows as well even though I wouldn't have said they were my thing! We found the evening flowed really well and there was always something we wanted to do. We are not drinkers and don't enjoy spending our evening just sat in a bar so we found that there was always something to entertain us on the Adventure. There were several musical combos on board including one duo where the guy was brilliant and the girl had the worst diction and stage presence that I have ever come across!
My son and daughter both had a go at the rock climbing and the inline skating. As we had found on the IOS the staff were all chatty and helpful and were not at all condescending and really wanted to make sure people enjoyed their activities. The ice-skating times were very restrictive and were only available towards the end of the cruise and in the evenings which tended to coincide with meal times. My son tried one session but although he can skate well he said it was rowdy and there were people skating in opposite directions and he thought it was getting dangerous on such a small rink so didn't go again.
The biggest disappointment on the cruise was actually the ports. I had chosen the itinerary as there were several ports that I hadn't been to before and it also included Barcelona which was on my bucket list. Another port that caught my eye was Malaga as I knew RCI ran excursions to Alhambra palace which I was desperate to see. However most of the ports were industrial and a long way from the towns, this is pretty inevitable but at $15 each for a shuttle bus this could get quite expensive. Luckily we had researched most ports and knew of local buses and shuttles that ran and were much cheaper but I feel that the cruise company almost hide this information for every port except Barcelona. We took a Gaudi tour in Barcelona which we really enjoyed although I felt it was a bit rushed. The problem with the rest of the ports was that they were all very similar, there was not much to do locally without taking excursions and since they all have the same history they have pretty much the same architecture and town layout as each other. Usually our itineraries have included an Italian port or maybe La Rochelle or Guernsey so there is more diversity than was available on this trip. When I studied the excursions from Malaga I found that they were not running one to Alhambra as the ship wasn't docked long enough, I was very disappointed when I found this out.
Although I have mentioned that I felt our stateroom was rather tired I felt that the majority of ship looked in excellent condition and was always spotlessly clean. The only obvious signs of wear were on the seats in the Schooner and the Imperial lounge which were sometimes a little fragile!
The lower deck area around the pool seemed to get very busy and the pool attendants did not do a very good job of policing their chair-hogging rule. One day we were on our sunbeds at 9am on a seaday. The 4 beds in front of us had towels and a few possessions on them already. Throughout the day we swapped and changed our beds with our children whilst we were in the pool or they were grabbing a meal etc. Over the course of the next 6 hours no-one came near the beds and only a little while later did we actually see the pool attendant decide to move the peoples stuff. The top deck usually had sunbeds available although it was quite breezy up there on some days.
Overall we enjoyed our time on Adventure. I think she is the perfect size of ship for us and I really hope to sail on her again after she had been through dry-dock but I feel that RCI have left the refurb a little late and for the money that I spent on our Staterooms I feel that I should have had a better standard of accommodation.