As a cruising novice, you can sense my emotions when my cab arrived at the dock with the Royal Caribbean International's Adventure in the horizon, have never been close to a cruise ship before and my first reaction was wow.
When I got out of the cab there were large lines of people, from babies to mature ladies and gentlemen, the people in line were in good form and as I was travelling alone very friendly and welcoming. While in line there was some paper work to fill in to spend some time, fresh drinks were available if needed which i thought was a nice touch. At the end of the queue my luggage was taken and then i was screened, after that you went to the reception desk and then you got your sea pass which you sign for. Please remember there is no cash on board your sea port gains entry to your state room and also how you pay for everything on board, this initially frigtened me as I hate using my credit card abroad, I had nothing to fear as you can check your account on your state room at any time.
When I got on board I was informd my state room was not ready, so decided to go exploring, I decided to go for a coffee and get some food and as you can imagine it was free. have to say the ship was huge but on the first day they have an orientation of the ship and I would thorougly recommend it. When my stateroom was ready I went in to see what it was like, it was very spacious and as I had an outside cabin it was nice to see the world outside.
I was waiting a long time for my luggage to be delivered and as I was in my summer clothes I was dreading not having my luggage delivered before dinner, I went to the customer services desk who assured me that there was nothing to worry about and they even gave me an emergency toiletry kit with everything I needed, my stateroom attendant made himself known to me and a nicer friedlier person you could not meet.
By this time I decided to do two things one book a spot for dinner, i took out the my time dining option, simply put this means you choose the time you want to dine between 6.30 and 9.30 I decided to dine at eight, I was given the choice of dining solo or amongst others, I decided for the solo option, Have to say the staff are so nice and made me feel so welcome especially as i was on my own.
The second thing I did was to book my optinal trips at port, I booked them all the first day, my advice is you do not have to spend large amounts of money on these trips I did the best of on each island i went to
Anyhow back to my luggage story the luggage arrive at 7.00 pm, my advice in future have your evening clothes and toiletries packed in a smaller bag as they say you live and learn.
Back to the cruise itself, I found it wonderful, I ate in the windjammer every morning and also for lunch everything and anything is on offer and it was wonderful. I was very happy with the my time dining options and did not go to the speciality restaurants which have an extra charge. The alcohol prices were reasonable but be careful when signing the tip is included and they want you to tip again.
The entertainment on board was outstanding and there two carnivals on the first and last night of the cruise. Loads to see and do and great fun.
There was also a state of the art gym on board with aerobic studio, i worked out daily with all the food its a good idea to bring your sneakers and gym gear.
I would recommend a cruise to everyone and was so impressed I have booked two more Royal Caribbean trips one in January 2012 to the Canary Islands and then again in May 2012 to the Western Caribbean.
Cruising is a great way of exploring new territories and the good thing is if you do not like an island there is always another to explore, on my trip I was in Barbados. St. Lucia, Antigus, St Maartin and St Kitts.
All in all a wonderful trip and the best thing was coming back home so relaxed and refreshed and felt like I had a proper vacation.
I hope this gives you a taster of my trip.
All the best