I realize that everyone had certain expectations from vacation. For those who have been cruising before, it is easy to compare the service, condition of the ship, and amenities. As for myself, I have been on Disney, Princess, Carnival, Celebrity, and Royal Caribbean. After sailing on the Oasis of the Seas on my last cruise, I knew that my next cruise would need to be on a mid-sized ship with less crowds (I also wanted the luxury of a ship that I didn't have to make an appointment for the different activities 3 months ahead of time). I was also looking for a good price on an Eastern Caribbean cruise (I am done with Mexico). As a result, I found the Adventure of the Seas sailing on April 13th out of Miami.
After doing the research and reading the reviews on the ship, I had an idea on what to expect. This was my partner's first experience on a cruise and did not know what to expect other than wanting to have a good time. We sailed on the first 7 day cruise after the ship went into dry dock. Yes...the ship is older which especially can be seen in the cabins with a balcony (we had room 7266). The balcony is "closed in" which is unlike the "open" balconies on the newer ships. There were some carpets that were not replaced and some of the curtains and bed covers could also be updated. It clear that during dry dock, they updated the technology in the ship including flat screen TVs in the cabins and video directional signage. From what I understand, they also spent time on the ships engine since it was having problems before going into dry dock.
When we arrived at the pier, we quickly made it through port security and checked in. While that went well, we ended up being in line for almost two hours to get onto the ship. Granted, the cruise line advertised that we would be able to board the ship at Noon and we were there at 10:30, but from my experience on other cruises, I was able to board the ship earlier than the advertised time. I do not blame the cruise line but it would have been nice to have the staff give us updates while standing in line. Once we got on the ship, everything else went fine. Our room steward was nice but we did not see a lot of him. He cleaned the room but rarely did anything above and beyond. Our dining waiter and assistant waiter were great and provided us great service. Food was ok in the Windjammer and good in the main dining room (we ate there mostly since we did not like the crowds up in the Windjammer). I have to admit we were disappointed with Giovanni's ... the food was average but the service was not great. It seemed like the staff was overwhelmed and that we kept having to get our waiter's attention).
St. Maartin was ok...we went to the Sunset bar to watch the airplanes take off and land. In Puerto Rico, we walked around old San Juan and check out the two forts. In Labadee, we rented jet skis and got massages on the ship. The jet skis were one of the highlights of the trip but the massages were average.
In the end, I believe that a trip is what you make of it. We realized that the ship was older. Yes, there were no robes, no chocolate on your pillows, and lacked some of the extras you find on an Oasis class ship (surf rider, etc). Knowing all of this, we had a really nice time. Would I recommend this ship...yes...as long as you know what you were getting (especially if you get a good price). That being said, we would probably be looking for a newer ship on a future cruise.