I am going to make two reviews for this cruise. One as an 'adult' couple travelling and the other one based on travelling with our children and grandchildren. Review 2 has already been published!
Two years ago we took a 5 night Mediterranean cruise with RCI out of Malaga on the Navigator of the Seas. This time we did a 4 night short cruise to Portugal on Adventure of the Seas. I have to say how sorry I am to see the drop in standards and quality in such a short period.
Embarkation was simple and well organised as last time and we were on board and having lunch in the Windjammer by 12.30. Ground staff at Mlaga port were very helpful. Disembarkation was equally good with my request for a later time being given with no problems at all.
Cabins were ready by the time we had finished lunch so we went down to start unpacking. The suitcase hadn't arrived by quite late and despite asking several people and I eventually had to go and find it. I did this because everyone else in the party had theirs and I thought mine may have been left behind. Happily it hadn't. The cabin was fine and very clean and was well looked after during the cruise by our attendant. On arrival the balcony was all wet and the chairs and little table had not been dried so you couldn't sit out there whilst waiting for the cases. I didn't take shampoo, body lotions etc as last time these were supplied in the cabin - sadly no longer! The cabin steward was very nice and found some for me the next day. There would have been no problem to take my own had I known about it before. Also shame we only got 'towel animals' one night - I really liked that touch on the last cruise.
The ship generally is in good condition and kept very clean. Lifts were always very busy so walked the stairs most of the time.
As we were with the family we didn't get to see the shows but the ice show, which we all went to, was excellent (missed that on Navigator).
Played in the casino one evening and broke even which was good.
Spent some time in the lobby bar and danced a bit to Azucar Band which we enjoyed.
Many of the areas on the ship are split into smoking on one side and no smoking on the other. This is something that some other reviewers may not be aware of. Whilst dancing on the no smoking area of the dance floor, two people with cigarettes in hand, came and started dancing. They were very quickly told by members of the band to move to the other section which was for smokers. I had no problems with cigarette smoke during the cruise (and I'm a very sensitive reformed non smoker!!) and it wasn't even too bad in the casino.
The Spanish people on the cruise were very nice and certainly not rude or pushy. In fact the only time I was pushed a bit was in the Windjammer by a British lady. There was certainly no pushing or shoving in the lifts or anywhere else that I saw. Bearing in mind it was a Spanish bank holiday weekend and Halloween, the majority of people on the ship were probably Spanish. I loved the fact that dress codes were adhered to and on Formal night there was some very beautifully dressed people walking around and lots of people in amazing Halloween costumes (and I'm not just talking children here!!)
For me the biggest disappointment was the food in the Main Dining Room.
2 years ago we came home raving about the food, how hot it always was, the quality, the choice, and the great service.
Sadly the same could not be said on this cruise. The food was generally tepid, bland and choices were more limited. Some evenings we struggled to find something to order and ended up with the good old Sirloin steak standby.
There was a beef dish each evening, which members of our table ordered on different evenings, which was basically the same dish with a different name. Very little fish options but must say the desserts were great. Did however miss the Baked Alaska on formal night dinner.
Our waiter was actually a bit sad. He seemed to have problems with whatever we wanted to order if it had even the slightest deviation from the menu item. I actually decided in the end that maybe he just didn't understand English very well. Constantly reminding him of my daughter's seafood allergy seemed to confuse him. She also doesn't eat nuts -â€" which we told him -â€" and when the cheese cake arrived covered in nuts we asked him 'Are those nuts on top?' His reply was yes and then he just walked away!! No, 'Is there a problem, would you like something else or one without nuts!' On the plus side, Oscar his assistant, did everything possible to help us within his limited capacity. We had a 7 bottle wine package booked but it always took quite a while to get the previous night's unfinished bottle - once the waiter finally understood there should be some left or to get a new bottle to the table. Also there was only a buffet option in the Main Dining Room at lunch time which is a shame as I really believe you need a proper alternative to the Windjammer buffet which was always crazy busy.
In the Windjammer the food was fairly standard buffet. Plenty of choice and nice desserts, but the floor staff were not very helpful and unless you wanted to buy drinks, didn't seemed very interested in anything you needed. On the disembarkation morning they had obviously run low on orange juice and actually served it watered down! Personally it would be better to have said 'sorry we've run out'. Last impressions, like first impressions are remembered.
In general I would say that there were not too many happy and smiling crew members on this cruise. Although the staff at Guest Relations were always helpful and smiling, as was our cabin steward.
Weather was lovely. General facilities and activities were plentiful with things to suite all ages and tastes.
Appreciated the Crown and Anchor discount voucher book.
We were docked overnight in Lisbon. The area where the ship docked was awful with no direction signs to the town centre. There was a RCI shuttle service into the centre which cost $6 each way, so if you were a family and wanted to go there both days...... There was a nicer docking area right near the main square (saw some other big ships there) and if RCI couldn't get docked there then the shuttle should either have been complimentary or at least 50% cheaper. It was also a long way away. We took a bus to the main square but decided to walk back and it took us 90 minutes! (just as well we like walking!). Our 3rd time back in Lisbon and have to say it's a very nice place visit.
Gibraltar was better. Well signed for directions to town and just a 15 minute walk away.
If this review sounds a bit negative it's because I believe if you're not honest the review serves no purpose. All in all, we had a really nice break away and I would not discount travelling on Adventure of the Seas again. Just that next time I would go with lower expectations.