Embarkation: San Juan has two cruise ship locations, one near Old San Juan and one about 10 minute taxi ride from Old San Juan. The Adventure of the Seas (AoS) docked at the later, which is actually better because there is less traffic and closer to the airport (10 min taxi ride) and beach areas. I arrived around 10am the morning on the departure date and met friends to visit Old San Juan before boarding the ship. Since the ship didn’t depart until 8:30pm, I spent most of the day in and around Old San Juan. We boarded around 3pm. The AoS has a passenger capacity of around 3200, so expect to spend some time during embarkation. There were two lines, one to drop bags and the second to go through security and then check in. It took roughly one hour to complete the process. It may be a little longer if you go right at 1pm (start of embarkation) and shorter if you go later in the afternoon.
Food: The AoS had several options including traditional cruise dining, anytime dining, premium dining and the buffet. We selected traditional dining late seating. The food was good but not excellent. We ate at the premium restaurant, Portofino, one night and it cost $20 per person. Portofino had excellent food and lots of it. I recommend it for at least one night. The dinner buffet had theme nights. We ate breakfast and lunch at the buffet and dinner in the dining room. Overall the food was average for cruise food with a wide selection.
Cabin: I had an inside cabin, which was adequate. I would recommend a balcony cabin if you plan to spend time in your room. The cabin was clean and in good condition with good cabin service.
Ship: The AoS was about 95% booked (3000 passengers) but it never felt crowded, except finding a lounge chair around the pool during peak time. There were four buffet lines and lines were short even during peak time. The main dining room was spread over three levels with entrances on each level, so no waiting in line to get in. It had a nice fitness center and spa. There were several pools including an adult only next to the spa (Solarium). The AoS had a couple of unique features, the promenade and on board activity options. The promenade had a large open area mid-ship that was several levels high and covered half the length of the ship. Shops, bars and cafes lined the promenade, which was also used as a meeting area for entertainment. The on-board activity options were extensive and included an ice rink, climbing wall, in-line skating rink, miniature golf (we had two tournaments), large basketball/volleyball/soccer court and golf simulator. There were several bars and lounges with different themes including an Irish pub, wine bar, two story nightclub, champagne bar and sing-a-long bar.
Entertainment: The production shows were the standard variety and Vegas shows. The shows were slightly lower than average for a cruise. The ice skating show was good. The theme parties included a 70’s dance party in the promenade, and Caribbean Nights and Club Twenties parties outside on deck. There were welcome and farewell processions in the promenade on the first and last nights. They reminded me of the Lion King musical with the dancers dressed in costumes from around the World dancing and marching to music. The passenger participation Quest show and the Marriage show were also entertaining.
Port of Calls: I spend a little more time on this section (see port section). All the shore excursions mentioned below were arranged independent of the cruise. I always recommend taking a cruise shore excursion if you’re not familiar with the island or get concerned about missing the ship. You can save a few bucks negotiating an independent taxi tour, but be sure to reserve plenty of time before your ships departure time. We docked at all the ports and RCI did an excellent job getting everyone off the ship even with >3000 passengers. I was traveling with a group of nine and most had never visited the port of calls on this cruise. I have visited all the port of calls at least once if not more, so the itineraries mentioned were for first time visitors.
Disembarkation: It seemed to go smooth. I carried my luggage off so I could disembark at anytime. It took me 10 minutes to get off the ship and clear customs. A taxi to the airport and I was on my way to New Orleans and Mardi Gras.