I was with a group of five people, we had three separate cabins on board the Adventure of the Seas and returned from the cruise December 18, 2011. We were all looking forward to this cruise for close to a year.
This was the worst cruise experience we have ever had. This was our first with Royal Caribbean and this presented an incredibly bad first impression.
The boarding process was the worst I've ever experienced, waiting in line as long as 2.75 hours. A really bad start to a vacation.
Dina Dumitrescu (concierge), Ann Marie Ottey (suite steward), Somboon (waiter), and Rohan Miller (Johnny Rocket's waiter) were the highlights. Without them the entire trip would have been an incredible waste of money. These people should be cloned. I told Dina, when I travel, I always stay at Four Seasons Resorts and Hotels around the world, and her level of service is right up there with the Four Seasons, which I use as a benchmark.
There was a lack of available water. The tap water in the suite smelled bad, and I was not certain it was drinkable. Others in our group addressed this issue, how the water was discolored. I have a problem with RC charging for bottled water, I feel this is way out of bounds. Without question, staff should offer bottled water to guests on the sun deck and when returning from shore excursions free of charge. They keep offering mixed drinks, and when a glass of water is asked for it is either ignored or met with a stern look on the waiter/waitresses face because it means "no tip", and I feel very uncomfortable with that. Also, there should be water bottle refilling stations around the ship.
The heating elements in the Windjammer restaurant were not keeping food hot. Cold omelets, chicken, other food that needed to be kept hot was cold. (Health department issue)
Advise guests about predominance of kids and locals on that particular sailing. That absolutely should have been addressed when this was booked. Staff and crew on board knew about it, why wasn't this communicated?
Have a "suite passengers only" dining room for lunch and dinner whereby the suite passengers can bring guests.
Televisions in the staterooms would lose signal frequently.
The catamaran sunset cruise in Aruba was VERY nice, while the kayak adventure shore excursion in Aruba was in a bad industrial area next to an oil refinery with a dirty beach and wild dogs. I've been to Aruba before and I know they have some of the best beaches in the world. Why we went to this area is beyond me.
Suggestion: reduce the amount of passengers by 1000 and increase staff by 1000. Have Somboon train all of the waiters. Increase cruise fares for an exceptional experience, rather than an annoying, frustrating experience.
Order room service frequently to avoid the rude crowds in the Windjammer. If you have "My Time" dining, which I would recommend, ask for Samboon to be your waiter. He's amazing. Try out the specialty restaurant, it was really nice.
In a conversation with a couple from Scotland in the Concierge Lounge, who had been on board since the beginning of November, I asked them "what is your favorite cruise line and favorite ship". They have been on dozens of cruises, various lines and ships. The lady replied, "this ship and this cruise line is our favorite. Except this week. This is absolutely terrible, the worst we've ever been on! There are too many rude, inconsiderate people and too many kids."