Sail Date: April 2004
We're back from the 4/18-4/25 Sailing of the AOS and I'm finally caught up enough to post my review. Overall we had a fantastic time on this trip. This was a family trip with my wife, my three kids (6, 8 and 10) and my ... Read More
We're back from the 4/18-4/25 Sailing of the AOS and I'm finally caught up enough to post my review. Overall we had a fantastic time on this trip. This was a family trip with my wife, my three kids (6, 8 and 10) and my step-mother. After having planned it 11 months in advance I'm now in a serious post-cruise depression mood now. Anyway, here goes... Pre-trip: We flew in a day ahead of time from Boston and arrived in San Juan at about 4:30. We stayed in the San Juan Marriott. This was nice (if somewhat expensive) hotel for the night. We got there early enough so we could check in and the kids could swim for a bit before dinner. Had the buffet dinner at the hotel. It was fine but not particularly memorable. Embarkation: Had breakfast / brunch at the hotel buffet and hung out at the pool until about 1:00 and then got a cab to the pier. We got to the pier around 1:30 or so and the doors had not yet opened. This was a bit disappointing as we thought we'd be able to get on by then. Apparently they had trouble clearing the ship from the previous sailing. We were able to get rid of our luggage and the waiting area was covered but it was pretty hot. The line got pretty long by the time the doors finally opened. Amazingly, we were right behind the only person I really interacted with here before the cruise (hi coolseb); what are the odds of that? We only had to wait about half an hour or so though so it wasn't too bad. Once we got inside we were checked in and onto the ship in no time at all. We were in a suite but I couldn't really tell whether that made the check-in any faster or not; it was very well organized and I just went where they told me to go. For what it's worth to those who care, I brought two bottles of wine with me in my backpack and no one said a word. The Ship: I'm not sure what I can say about this ship that hasn't already been said. This was the third cruise for my wife and I, the first on a Voyager class. The ship is spectacular, clean and very friendly. We were in one of the Royal Family Suites on the aft of the ship on deck 10. The room was amazing - two separate bedrooms, two bathrooms, plus a living room and a huge balcony. I'm not sure how we'll ever go back to a "normal" room again. The meals in the dining room were great. Both the quality and presentation were good. I'd give the presentation an A and the quality a B+/A-. You can't really expect gourmet fare on a ship this big but I enjoyed every meal and the service was impeccable. Our wait staff went out of their way - particularly with my kids. Most of our breakfasts and lunches we did in the Windjammer. I'd give the food here a grade of B/B-. It was fine but standard buffet fare. We did Johnny Rockets a couple times for lunch and enjoyed it. Our favorite night spot on the ship was the Duck and Dog. We also spent quite a bit of time in the casino and were impressed with both it and its staff. As for shows, we saw the Velvet Rope, the Quest and the ice show. I was somewhat underwhelmed by the Velvet Rope, loved the ice show and laughed my a** off at the Quest. All of my kids used the kid's program to one extent or another. Their staff was great and the kids liked them all. The 6 and 8 year olds couldn't get enough off it. My ten year old daughter enjoyed it too but also liked hanging out with the grown-ups from time to time. Did the Rasul couples thing in the spa. This was fun; I highly recommend it. One suggestion here - bring clean clothes with you. You don't want to have to put dirty clothes back on when you're done (no one warned us about this). Aruba: I went on the two tank dive with the ship while everyone else did the submarine trip in Aruba. The sub was reported to be fantastic and the diving was good as well. After having lunch back on the ship we grabbed a cab to Baby Beach. For five of us for the afternoon it was $60 plus tip (we gave the driver $20). The traffic near the port was really bad so it took us a lot longer to get to the beach then I remembered from previous trips to the island. Once we got to the beach the driver told us the "back" part of the beach was better and less crowded. Unfortunately, the van got stuck in the sand when we got there. I spent a few minutes trying to help the driver then decided that it was his problem to solve so we went snorkeling. He was actually fine with this and went and found a friend to tow him out. The snorkeling was as good as I remembered it and the kids loved their first Caribbean snorkeling experience. Traffic was equally bad getting back to the ship but we had time to stop and buy a couple more bottles of wine which again we brought back without hiding and without questions. Curacao In Curacao we went to KonTiki beach on our own via taxi. I did a one tank dive with Toucan diving while everyone else hung out on the beach or snorkeled. The diving was fantastic, the snorkeling just ok. The beach was ok as well with chairs, food, drink and facilities all nearby. St Martin: In St Martin we all did the shipwreck cove snorkeling trip and enjoyed it. The visibility wasn't that great due to the recent weather but I bet it would be a great spot otherwise. Went back to the ship for lunch then the girls went shopping while I stayed on the ship. St Thomas: In St Thomas we went to Coki Beach / Coral World on our own. This was a bit of a PITA. The open-air buses/taxis wait until they are filled before leaving so we ended up wasting a lot of time waiting for it to be filled. This whole area of the pier seemed very disorganized and could definitely be improved. In any case, Coral World was very cool and everyone loved it. We had lunch at Coral World and then hit the beach and went snorkeling. The snorkeling here was the best of the trip. The beach itself was very good but not spectacular. Same problem with the Taxi on the return trip - had to wait for him to fill up. It was annoying but what can you do, these guys are just trying to make a living. We got back to the ship in plenty time anyway. Debarkation: We had a late flight but following the instructions of the concierge left the ship with the first group with no questions asked. We were off the ship by 9:30. Our luggage was easy to find and we breezed right through customs. Since we managed to get off the ship early, we went back to the Marriott and got a day room so we could spend the day at the pool. Left the hotel about 2:00 to get to the airport for our 5:18 flight. Airport check-in and security were no problem at this time of day so our experience with the SJ airport was very positive. If I had it to do again though, I'd probably take a flight home on Monday or an earlier flight on Sunday. We spent a lot of time and effort lugging around a lot of luggage on Sunday. Overall, this was a great trip. I'm sure it's something we'll all remember for a very long time. As has been said many times, there is just so much to do on this ship it's impossible to do it all. We never did make it to a parade or to a midnight buffet. Sorry for the length but I know some people (myself included) like to hear all the details. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2004
We sailed out of San Juan 3/14 and our itinerary included Aruba, Curacoa, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. This was my first cruise so I have nothing to compare it to. I had been trying to find reviews for this ship so I would know what to ... Read More
We sailed out of San Juan 3/14 and our itinerary included Aruba, Curacoa, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. This was my first cruise so I have nothing to compare it to. I had been trying to find reviews for this ship so I would know what to expect. Well, I have to say Royal Caribbean does an outstanding job of satisfying its passengers. They go above and beyond to make sure you are happy. The ship is absolutely beautiful and spotless, the staff is very accommodating and friendly and the entertainment was superb. I wanted to let other people know who have never cruised before was drinks cost on an average since that was something I wanted to know and could not find. I was drinking the tropical drinks and they ranged in price from 5.95 to 6.95 including gratuities. I did buy a few imports for people I was with and those were $3.75 each. Highlights of the cruise for me were the ice show and the caribbean pool party which included a midnight buffet. I have to say the food was good, both in the dining room and in Windjammers, but I do have to agree with another reviewer that it wasn't all that. Certain things arrived not hot and either over done or not done enough. I could have sent it back but I didn't. The dining staff WILL do everything they can to make you happy, but they work so hard as it is, I didn't want to complain. I imagine it is very difficult to cook and serve that many people in a small amount of time and do it well. Another tip I want to give it to pass on the shopping seminar and VIP passport book they try to get you to buy since it is nothing but useless coupons to receive a bunch of junk at the ports. At least in my humble opinion. Everyone talks about the fantastic deals on jewelry you can get, but in my opinion, I did not see any great deals. I will admit you can find things there that are not easy to find in jewelry stores here, such as clear Columbian emeralds, nice colored tanzanite, pink sapphires, platinum and so forth, but if you do your homework, I don't believe that there are any great deals that can't be found here. I sold jewelry retail from a reputable company and can tell you that they mark it up down there just to mark it down, just like anywhere else. So, buyer beware. Another tip I want to give is not to overpack!! I was quite surprised to see the cost of alcohol down there. The prices are amazing. Almost 50% less than in the states on some things. That is what I brought back!! I was not planning on it, and did not like lugging it, but it was worth it. More about the ship....Johnny Rockets was fun. The burgers were good old fashioned hand made and the onion rings were really tasty. The waiters and waitresses end up doing a dancing number for you that is really fun! The main pool area is large with several bars all over the place and staff walking around to serve you. There is an adult pool area that looks like a Venetian spa and is really nice. The only excursion we did was on St. Maarten. We took the island tour in the morning and the afternoon beach bash. The island tour was $23 and it consisted of a 2.5 hour tour of both sides of St. Maarten. They give you about 45 minutes to shop in the French town of Marigot and then they will drop you off in Philipsburg on the Dutch side or take you back to the ship. The beach bash was at the French beach called Orient Beach. It was really nice. All the ports were enjoyable in their own ways. It was nice to finally get to see places that I had wanted to see for so long. My favorite island was St. Thomas. It has a bit more commerce and perhaps the familiarity of a "Key West" feel. My sister did not care for it for that very reason! Oh well. I do want to comment on the airport at St. Juan. It was just plain crazy. There were an insane amount of people trying to fly out of there on Sunday and not enough places to sit to wait for your plane or anything. The lines to check in were extremely long and it was just a damper on a beautiful week. Needless to say, if I ever cruise again, I would not cruise out of San Juan. As far as tipping goes, I would absolutely say every one of the staff deserves AT LEAST the recommended amount, if not more. They work 10 hours a day / 7 days a week with no break and you would never know it. They are always smiling and ready to accommodate. The only other thing I can say is if you like to lay out by the pool, get out there early because despite what good intentions the ship tries to set, people still do put towels on the chairs and then go about their day, either eating breakfast, lunch, or what have you. There were several times I went out at around 10:30 or so and could not find anything close to the pool, only on the very top deck. All in all, it was nice, but I think I prefer all inclusive resorts, they seem to be the same type of thing and include all your drinks as well. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2004
We left Chicago vis Midway Airport at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 21, 2004. This meant getting up before three a.m. which was not that bad considering we were all pretty excited anyway. The flight was okay but they did not show a movie and ... Read More
We left Chicago vis Midway Airport at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 21, 2004. This meant getting up before three a.m. which was not that bad considering we were all pretty excited anyway. The flight was okay but they did not show a movie and it got long after three hours. We arrived a few minutes early to San Juan which I considered a good sign for the week. We picked up our bags quite quickly and waited in line to get a cab to take us to the pier, the cab system in San Juan is very good and a pleasure to deal with. I am going to assume that we beat the crowd by booking our own air and transportation because when we arrived at the pier we walked right through the only ones there. After having our picture taken we headed to our cabin (8612) a DB on the bump-out which my husband loved. It was a beautiful room and had ample storage space. The cabin was a little bit larger and better designed than the comparable cabin we had last year on the Sea Princess. Our room steward was Sondra and she was very capable and great with the towel animals. We changed into our shorts and slapped on some sunscreen to head out to explore the ship and get something to eat and drink. The Windjammer buffet was nice and we were more than satisfied. We ate most of our lunches there as well as several breakfasts. I might as well say now that we never had a reason to eat at Johnny Rockets but they were not charging to eat there an this trip. We also did not feel any desire to try Portofino's although it looked like a nice alternative if you needed one. We requested the main seating as I am a diabetic and the other was just too late. We ate in the Vivaldi Ding Room which is the bottom of the three tier room. We were at a table for four (with the other couple we went with) in the center but off to the right. Our waiter was Kamal from India and our asst. waiter was Sandor from Turkey they were very good and met our every need without any hesitation. Our waiter told us the ship was over capacity on this sailing with all the children along. The meals in the dining room were we felt very good and very much on par with Princess. We never once walked away hungry! The most enjoyable thing however was the beauty of this room and the music that played throughout dinner what a plus!! I did however feel sorry for the waiters as the toddlers and children wondered the dining room at will and I could tell the waiters were being extra careful. Please do not misunderstand I am not complaining about the children they sat a long time and overall we had no issue with them or the many teenagers on this trip. We very much wanted to catch the parade but did not make it we watched the sailaway and had a nightcap and went to bed early. We had two sea days on this trip that is why we chose it and we enjoyed them both. Just remember to keep applying the sunscreen. I missed a spot on my inner arm and am peeling as I write this review. The entertainment was good. We really enjoyed the ice show but our highlight was the comedians "Two Funny Guys" from the Venitian in Las Vegas. I would go and see them again if I went to Vegas. They were a not to miss good time. This is a huge ship and was full but we never felt overwhelmed except on the promenade trying to look at the shops. We hung out quite a bit at the Duck and Dog Pub there and enjoyed people watching. Our shore experiences were good but I would not do the trolley in Curaco again instead I would take a cab on my own. The best was however the Sand and Snorkel to Buck Island. We were thrilled with this trip and I would say it is a not to miss day. There were three couples on a sailboat called "Island Girl" it was a great day and the captain and his daughter met our every need. The snorkeling was beautiful and it was like we were alone in the world. Great Time!!! This was our sixth cruise and I will say that it was our best excursion ever. Customs in St. Thomas was every easy I do not know if we hit the time perfectly but it went smoothly and the line was moving constantly. The entire week was really wonderful and we enjoyed all the different areas on the ship (which were many). It was wonderful not to have a shower curtain, the hair dryer was fine. No cruise ever beats your first cruise but this one certainly could have. If you have any question s feel free to e-mail me. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2004
INTRODUCTION This was our eighth cruise and our fourth on Royal Caribbean. We were traveling with my parents and two other couples. While we were traveling from Atlanta, my parents were departing from Newark so we elected to spend the ... Read More
INTRODUCTION This was our eighth cruise and our fourth on Royal Caribbean. We were traveling with my parents and two other couples. While we were traveling from Atlanta, my parents were departing from Newark so we elected to spend the Saturday prior to sailing in San Juan to afford an extra day in case there were weather related travel delays. We arrived Saturday afternoon and spent the night at the Caribe Hilton. The hotel is a five-minute ride from the pier and is a primo resort facility. EMBARKATION We had transfers from the hotel and the shuttle picked up the passengers at 1:00 p.m. Our baggage was tagged and was picked up later by another vehicle. Without question, this was the fastest boarding any of us had ever experienced. In no time we had dropped off our carry on luggage in our rooms and were having lunch in the Windjammer by about 1:30. The other two couples that flew in that morning from New York City were on the ship at 11:30 a.m. The ship sailed out of San Juan and into the Atlantic at 10:00 p.m. with a very prominent escort from the U.S. Coast Guard to keep any bad guys away from us. THE SHIP WOW! We've sailed on the Radiance of the Seas twice, which is a pocket cruiser version of the Voyager class ships. The Radiance is 90,000 tons and the Adventure is 140,000 tons or better than 50% larger. We docked right behind Brilliance of the Seas (a Radiance class sized ship) in Aruba, and the size differential is very apparent. Up until five days earlier when the Queen Mary 2 sailed on its maiden voyage, the Adventure of the Seas shared the title with its sister ships as the largest cruise ship in the world. The ship absolutely gleams everywhere you look. A New York City Fireman, a NYC Policeman and their wives christened Adventure of the Seas in October of 2001. With all lower bunks filled, the ship's capacity is 3,500 passengers with 1,200 crewmen. Our cruise had 3,348 passengers or just about full. There was something like 50+ nationalities represented by the passengers with the vast majority from the U.S. Despite the number of passengers, we never experienced crowding. You could always get a seat or a lounge chair in any bar, pool area, theater, etc. There are more bars and lounges than you can experience in a week without a loved one signing you up for AA. If you were willing to explore, I wandered around the decks and found places where I could pull up a lounge chair and be the only passenger in sight. This year we are celebrating our 25th anniversary and we splurged on a deck 10 suite. Our cabin was port side number 1574, which was a "Grand Suite". It was in essence a double sized cabin with a large sitting area with a TV, DVD player, Stereo CD player and a bar. We had a concierge service that we never utilized. I think we were too busy to do so. The bathroom was huge for a ship and had twin sinks set in a granite counter and a full bathtub/shower. There was an enormous amount of storage space with three big closets and plenty of drawers and cabinets. Each day, the cabin elves delivered a tray of fruit, cookies, cheese, chocolate covered strawberries or other treats to nosh on. We hosted several cocktail parties in the room for our party of eight. Don't try this in a conventional sized cabin. The four story Royal Promenade is the focal point of the ship's interior. It is a marvelous invention with shops, lounges, bars and a coffee shop-snack bar. Two sets of elevator banks and two staircases at each end of the 400-foot long promenade keeps passengers flowing through the ship. The three-story dining room is spectacular with the dEcor matching the cuisine. Our waiter Viveck or "V" made our meals fun and entertaining. If ever you couldn't decide among appetizers, entrees or deserts, V would bring a plate of each of your top choices to try. THE ICE SHOW Don't miss it. There were performances on two nights during the cruise. You get to see former Olympic skaters do an "Ice Capades meets Cirque du Soleil" show in a very intimate setting 1/3rd the size of a conventional ice rink. You can also rent skates during the day and ice skate your way across the Caribbean. That is, if you're not too busy sunning, rock climbing, miniature golfing, in-line skating or working out in the superb fitness center. My mother loved the fact that Adventure of the Seas had soft ice cream machines located in the Royal Promenade, out at the pools as well as in the Windjammer. ARUBA We walked off the ship with the intention of getting an orientation tour of the island. For $15 each, we got a two-hour minibus tour of Aruba which included northeast coast with gold mine ruins and the natural arch and on to the California lighthouse and the beautiful western beaches. The island gets only around 20 inches of rain a year and is surprisingly desert-like. Something like 14 species of cactus populate the island and because it's so far south, Aruba doesn't get the hurricanes the more northern islands excite in. In Aruba you are about 13 miles off the coast of South America, which is visible on the horizon. After lunch, back on board, we wandered around Oranjestad browsing the shops and having a beer in Carlos'N Charlie's. Later that night, a beach party was in full force up on the pool deck when the ship sailed at 1:00 a.m. At the witching hour, lines were hauled in and 140 thousand tons of cruise ship glided silently back into the Caribbean for the short run to Curaçao. CURAÇAO This is another island where, like Aruba, you get the impression; tourism is not the islander's primary mission. We docked at the "Mega Pier" about a five or ten minute walk to the Pontoon Bridge that leads you into the picturesque town of Willemstad. We strolled around the colorful waterfront and the floating market, where fishermen from neighboring Venezuela ply fresh fish to the locals. In the afternoon we booked a snorkel excursion. The snorkel boat picked us up right at the dock and sailed about 40 minutes down the coast to a sheltered bay. The site featured a sunken tugboat, lots of colorful fish and corals in warm, crystal clear water. Even better, an 80 foot, twin-masted sailing ship anchored with us and released a school of sleek-profiled, thong-flossed beauties to snorkel with us. Afterwards, I mentioned to Joanne, that not all the shots I took with our disposable underwater camera were of the swim suit models. My parents joined us on our balcony to enjoy a sundowner and snacks as we left Willemstad and sailed down the coast of Curaçao to our sea day to St. Maarten. After we passed the eastern end of the island and hung a left northward, the lights of Bon Aire, the third of the ABC islands, passed by us to starboard. SEA DAY A good break in the action. There are no bridge tours, given security concerns. However, head forward on deck eleven, the pool deck, and check out the Peek-a-Boo Bridge. Windows allow you to look down on the bridge and watch the officers drive the boat. The captain's chair has a joystick in the armrest that appears to be all you need to steer the ship when the computers are disengaged. There are monitors up there that repeat the crew's navigation data so you can check out speed, course, position, etc. Today was our second formal night and was the Chef's lobster night extravaganza. Our waiter, "V", told the table that he once had a nineteen-year-old young man order and consume seventeen lobster tails at dinner. Given we had already had about six dining events so far that day, we we're not inclined to take up the challenge and kept ourselves to a limit of two tails each. ST. MAARTEN Damn! Philipsburg is full of super salesmen that know how to permanently hang jewelry around my wife's neck. The local economy benefited by our visit. We took a water taxi into town from the pier and besides visiting every jewelry store on the Dutch side of the island; we had a nice lunch overlooking the harbor. Sailing just before sunset, we cruised past the airport watched the last few arriving planes of the day catch the three wire, and snag a safe landing at Princess Juliana Airport. Sailing is definitely the low risk way risk way to enter and depart St. Maarten. There is a web site called airliners.net that is full of interesting aviation photographs from around the world. Fully 1/3rd of the pictures feature planes landing at Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten. Check it out and you'll see what I mean. ST. THOMAS Here is where we had the only problem with the cruise. Everyone on the ship was ordered to present themselves to U.S. Immigration authorities on board between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. There were exactly two inspectors to eyeball 3,500 passengers and 1,200 crewmen. We went down at 8:30 a.m. and couldn't find the end of the line, which extended from the main dining room on deck five at the stern and went forward through the Royal Promenade and down the forward staircases. An hour later, after breakfast, the line was no shorter and the crew was not to be found. After an hour on line, two customs officers thanked you for showing them that you possessed a Passport. I don't believe that any Al Qaeda were ferreted out that morning with the completely bogus security check. The crew at the purser's desk told me this was the usual Saturday ritual. Most passengers that had excursions booked for the morning, missed them. This was not a good way to spend your last morning aboard. Upon finally getting cleared, we caught a cab to Mountain Top to enjoy the view of Megan's Bay, the other Virgin Islands and taste the world's best banana daiquiri. The Queen Mary 2 was anchored out in the harbor about a mile away from the nearest ship or point of land. This was the ship's inaugural cruise, having sailed about ten days earlier from Southampton. It was the Queen's first day in U.S. waters and passengers tendered into Charlotte Amalie. All day long, four U.S. Coast Guard vessels ran a picket around the ship with a Blackhawk helicopter circling overhead for good measure. We watched small craft from the harbor, try to get close to the Queen, probably for photographs. One of the Coast Guard ships would move to intercept and if the intruder tried to evade, the Blackhawk descended to about six feet above the offending craft and "dusted" it with its rotor wash until it hove to. A Coast Guard warship would then inspect and send the boat on its sorry-ass way. A very good show to observe your tax dollars at work. When the Adventure of the Seas sailed that Saturday evening past the Queen, we gave the traditional three long blasts on the ship's horn which was answered with three by the Queen then one again by each of us. Very cool, and perhaps we participated in a piece of nautical history. The Queen Mary 2 sailed just behind us and quickly sped past us to starboard to arrive in Ft. Lauderdale on Monday morning under the escort of a U.S. Guided Missile Cruiser. Not a bad time considering most other ships take an additional day for that leg of a cruise of such length. DISEMBARKATION - SAN JUAN Very smooth. We had breakfast in the main dining room for the last time and waited in the ice rink venue to be called for departure. It was a quick wait and in no time we were ashore and sadly on our way to the airport and home. This was a great week with the exception of the immigration debacle the last day in St. Thomas. I noted this on my customer survey and also called the Royal Caribbean executive in charge of customer satisfaction upon my return. They need to get this problem fixed. Apart from that, take this cruise. The ship is beautiful, has plenty of room and visits some of the best islands in the Caribbean. Please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to answer any questions on the cruise that I can. Austin Kearney pepperdog@mindspring.com Read Less
Sail Date: January 2004
We flew into San Juan the day before the cruise. Coming from the Northeast in the middle of winter, this is always a good idea if possible. We stayed at the Comfort Inn in Condado. The rate was $116 per night. While not a great property, ... Read More
We flew into San Juan the day before the cruise. Coming from the Northeast in the middle of winter, this is always a good idea if possible. We stayed at the Comfort Inn in Condado. The rate was $116 per night. While not a great property, it was clean and the staff was very friendly. They were also one of the few hotels that did not require a 2 night minimum stay. The ship is now docked at a new pier area that is away from Old San Juan. Taxi fare from Condado was $12 plus .50 for each piece of luggage. We arrived at the dock around noon, and the porters took our luggage right away. You then go inside the building and get in line depending on which deck your cabin is located on. The computers were down when we arrived but came up in about 30 minutes. After you check in, which takes about 2 minutes, you are directed to chairs in the room if the ship has yet to totally empty out, or if the ship is empty, you proceed right on board. If you are not a US citizen, they will hold your passport until you arrive in St. Thomas. We boarded at about 1245. Cabins are not ready until 1:00, but there is lunch in the Windjammer lounge, and the bars are open up on the pool decks. At this time you can purchase soda packages. They were over $40 for adults and over $30 for children (plus the 15% gratuity) Seemed high to us so we did not get the packages. However, the wine packages are a very good deal. 7 bottles for $125 (including 15% gratuity). You have your choice of 8 different wines, plus an inexpensive champagne. My wife figures we saved over $50 based on our drinking habits. Our cabin was 7360, a verandah cabin, and i will never book and outside cabin again. Breakfast on the verandah every morning is very nice. The cabin is a good size, but there seems to be a lack of drawers, and the bathroom is a little tight for large people. Always had plenty of hot water, and our cabin steward kept the room spotless. The television had the usual shipboard information, and a couple of movie channels. CNN international and what i would call TV Land television. Lots of old shows. You can also purchase first run movies and adult films to view. The muster drill is done at 8:30 in the evening prior to sailing and is over very quickly. For dinner, there are 2 formal nights, 2 resort casual, and the rest are casual nights, including Caribbean night in Aruba when you can wear shorts in the dining room. We were very surprised by the number of tuxedos and long gowns being worn on this ship. We were expecting a little more casual group being Royal Caribbean, but everyone was dressed very nicely. ARUBA We rented a Jeep in Aruba and drove over to the Wild Side. This is a beautiful drive, and the Jeep ran us $60 from Hertz. Car rentals are available at the pier in Aruba. I suggest a hardtop Jeep due to the broiling sun, and bring liquids as there are not to many places to get any on the wild side. The Natural Bridge area is very busy and commercialized. They charge a quarter to use the restroom, and there is a $20 minimum in the junk store. In the evening we did the pub crawl shore excursion. JUST DO IT. It's a blast. Be sure to bring your camera. I didn't and i won't ever hear the end of it. CURACAO Spent the day just wandering around downtown. Great deals on linens (according to the boss) ST. MARTEN The ship docks out of the downtown area, and you need to take a water taxi to get into town. $5 all day per person. The stores don't open until 9-930, so don't rush in the morning. Did some shopping and picked up some Guava berry liquor and some mango liquor. Good prices on clothes also. From what we heard, the jewelry prices are better in St Marten then in St Thomas. Went on the Sunken ship snorkel tour. Very good and the guys working the boat are a hoot. ST.THOMAS Did the Buck Island snorkel tour in the morning, and it was the best snorkeling we have ever done. Turtles, stingrays, and a lot of coral and fish. Watch out for the "painkiller punch" on the way home. It's not painless after you've had a few. We've been downtown to many times to count, so we just did our booze run at the dock. Prices were good and if you shop by 230, they deliver to the ship. Upon arrival in St. Thomas, you need to clear immigration. People from outside the US go to one room and US citizens go to another. This was the ONLY time we ever saw a line up on this ship. Once you clear immigration, you are given a pass that allows you to get off the ship. NO more waiting for some guy who's hungover to come down and clear before everyone else is allowed off the ship. This was a great cruise. The service was great in all the restaurants. There was never a line up to wait for anything. The ship was clean. The food, while not up to Celebrity standards was very good. There was always someplace to sit, even though we had a full ship. 3500+ passengers. Our only complaint was the entertainment. One of the singers could have scared every cat within a 100 miles of her voice. Terrible. But don't miss the Adventure Quest, it's a riot. (adults Only). We'll book RCCL again, with no hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2004
We just returned from our trip on the Adventure. I have cruised eight times and this was simply the best cruise ever! Even though there were over 3000 people on the ship, the lines were very light. The food was great. The entire staff ... Read More
We just returned from our trip on the Adventure. I have cruised eight times and this was simply the best cruise ever! Even though there were over 3000 people on the ship, the lines were very light. The food was great. The entire staff including our cabin steward were excellent. The ship is a bit overwhelming at first. The shops and bars on the promenade deck were amazing. After a day or two, it was easy to navigate around the ship. The ports of call were a blast. In Aruba we hired a taxi to take the four of us around the island. It ran $40 per hour but the personalized service was worth it. Our driver dropped us off at Eagle beach and rented jet skis. The sun was hot and the drinks were cold. It rained a little in Curacao so we shopped and got a few great deals. St. Maartin is an awesome island. We were there last year and visited Orient beach and this year we decided on Dawn beach. It was peaceful and great for swimming. St. Thomas is a beautiful island. We went to Megan Bay for the second year in a row. It just doesn't get any better. The weather was picture and floating in the water was heavenly. I've cruise on Carnival and Royal. For us, it was definitely spending a little more to go on Royal. You will not be disappointed if you decide on this cruise. We hope to do the same cruise next year! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2003
ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS - 12/7/03 This was our first time on Royal Caribbean. We chose the AOS because of it's size and variety of things to do, as well as the itinerary, with an overnight stay in Aruba. The ship is amazing. When we ... Read More
ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS - 12/7/03 This was our first time on Royal Caribbean. We chose the AOS because of it's size and variety of things to do, as well as the itinerary, with an overnight stay in Aruba. The ship is amazing. When we first board, we like to walk around the whole ship, top to bottom. This took 2-3 hours. There are plenty of spaces and plenty of things to do onboard. During the entire 7 nights, we barely had time to "hang out" in all of the wonderful public spaces. The ship has wonderful decorating and is very clean. The public rooms are elegant and provide plenty of visual variety. Some of our favorite spaces to spend time were -- the Solarium (adult pool) and the Cafe Promenade (for getting coffee, croissants and ice water). We tried (but did not succeed) at having a drink at every bar on the ship! Our inside room was very well designed and comfortable. Every inch is used for storage space. Our cabin steward was friendly. The first day our room did not get cleaned, but because of our in-out times, our steward may have been thinking that we slept in the entire first day! Beyond that mis-read, his service was excellent. One thing to remember, it was a long walk from our stateroom to the staircases / elevators. It seemed like a long trip from our room, but our cabin position was not that bad. This is just a big ship. The food was good, but our dining experience the first few nights was not good. We had a table, but then were "bumped" to another table -- with some very obnoxious guests and not-very-good service. We had been thrilled with the original table, and don't know why we were bumped for no reason. We complained at the guest relations desk and to the Maitre D', who then re-seated us, fortunately, at a table with wonderful service and a wonderful couple. We got lucky on that. But our 2nd night of dining and getting the situation corrected was stressful. Also, we had to have our wine moved around from 3 tables, because of the shuffle. We did eat at Portofino's one night, which was very good. The desserts are by far the highlight of the Portofino's experience. It was a nice treat, but not a must-do. Actually we found ourselves eating so well and so often, that we had a day long mid-cruise fast (no breakfast or lunch, light dinner) in order to feel more comfortable. We were so full! Nightlife on the ship provides plenty of options. I liked Kareoke Idol, and the finals were very well done in Studio B. We saw a fight almost break out among 2 guests though (over Kareoke!) and that was a downer. We went to the Love and Marriage show, but saw the more aggressive guest from Kareoke there, and decided to leave. Also, we attended only one stage show, which I felt was mediocre. We left about 1/4 of the way through the show. Our favorite performers were the pub singer at the Duck and Dog (I think his name was Brian Kennedy). We also found the ice show to be entertaining -- although the guest acrobat was the star of the show. The skaters did a nice job overall. As for other onboard activities -- Dear Husband played virtual golf (OK, not great), we did mini-golf, saw one of the horse races, and Dear Husband played a little in the casino (won a little, lost a little). We had a couples massage, but the spa is very over-priced and next time, we'd choose to have spa treatments at home rather than on the ship. Jester's nightclub is a very cool place, but we did not find time to stay and dance. I wish we could have found more time for that! Overall, we loved the ship, had good food and great service. Unfortunately the down moments for us were the result of rude guests rather than any problems with the cruise line. The AOS is a beautiful ship and we enjoyed it very much. Ports of call were Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas. Because of tropical storm Odette (very rare in the S. Caribbean), the sand was stirred up and water was rough for snorkeling in Aruba. The most fun we had in Aruba was having beers at an outdoor cafe in town. In Curacao we went to the Seaquarium and went to a time-share presentation to get access to the time-share beach. The Seaquarium beach next door is also very pretty and has a small entrance fee. In St. Martin, we went to Orient beach and did some skinny dipping, which was actually very fun. The rest of the time we lazed under a rented umbrella at a beach bar. In St. Thomas, we took the ferry to St. John and visited Trunk Bay -- which was the MOST FANTASTIC HIGHLIGHT of our trip. It is gorgeous and we had wonderful beaching and snorkeling there. We met some of our fellow Cruise Critic posters at the CC party, and they are all very nice people. Hope this review is useful for your trip planning! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2003
This was the first time cruising for our group so we were quite skeptical but the prospect of seeing all the different ports was what made us decide to give it a try and maybe we just may like the ship part... Well, it went way beyond our ... Read More
This was the first time cruising for our group so we were quite skeptical but the prospect of seeing all the different ports was what made us decide to give it a try and maybe we just may like the ship part... Well, it went way beyond our expectations as we have another AOS cruise planned in January and the ship turned out to be just as good as the ports we visited. Overall the AOS was amazing top to bottom. The service was exceptional and the entertainment went way beyond what we imagined. Johnny Rocket's was rocking, do not miss a chance to eat here as the staff are quite entertaining! The service provided by the staff in general was exceptional as you could tell they were genuinely happy to be there and a pleasure to talk to. Also, the crowd on RCL AOS was a nice mix from young to old. The only slight downside to the cruise was the food wasn't quite as good as we expected so we'll give Portifino a try next time as we've heard lots of good things about it. The bigger disappointment was the smokers on the ship who ruined it for all the non-smokers. Non-smoking areas don't mean much when 5 feet away you can smoke. Since we couldn't wait for the Jan. cruise, we thought we'd try Princess and we gotta say although the brand new Sapphire was a nice ship, it didn't even compare to AOS. The food was 'terrible' and it was overall very boring. We came off thinking "Where we DON'T belong!!) We can't wait to GET OUT THERE again!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2003
After 16 cruises I have to say this was one of the best. We departed from San Juan and arrived a day early so we could relax and this was a good idea. The check in was not the greatest. We had to stand in line for about 1 hour in the sun ... Read More
After 16 cruises I have to say this was one of the best. We departed from San Juan and arrived a day early so we could relax and this was a good idea. The check in was not the greatest. We had to stand in line for about 1 hour in the sun with our bags just to hand them to the porters. After that it went little faster but I was rather disappointed concerning we did all our paper work online ahead of time. The ship was great. Really good waiter and bus boy. kept us entertained. and the food was The dining room is beautiful. We ate a couple of times at Jonny Rockets and enjoyed it mostly because you could eat outside. In Aruba we did the jeep tour and it was fun but someone in out party flipped her jeep as we were leaving the natural bridge. No Serious injuries but I have to say, some of the people in our tour were very rude. Only cared about getting to the beach and not being delayed. In the mean time, a girl was laying on the ground. Also the tour bus were taking pictures out of their windows as they were passing us. Very Rude. There are many beautiful beaches in Aruba and De Palm Island is not one of them. Lovely view of the oil refineries. Lunch was good though and the snorkeling was very goading Joes's is a great place for a drink before heading back to the ship. It's located across from dock and is a great place to people watch. At night don't miss Carlos' n Charlie's. St. Maarten we did Orient beach with lunch. I recommend this tour. The beach and waterare BEAUTIFUL and lunch was wonderful. We had our own little table nesseled under the shade on the beach. WE were back in town in time to do some shopping and walk around. Beer is cheep and you can carry the bottles with you as you walk. In St. Thomas we did the AM snorkel tour to St. John's. The ferry ride is pretty and the guide in St. John was interresting. It's a good way to see the island. Snorkeling was Beautiful. (TIP: Don't try to feed the fish, I brought dog biscuits and almost lost a finger, Stupid). We shopped in the afternoon. There's no need to go into Charlotte Amille. The shops at the mall by the ship are more then enough. Try to save time for the tramway to Paradise Point. You can walk there from the ship and the view is breath-taking. The speciality drink is the Bushwacker. Very tastey. Over all this was a great cruise. There were 8 of us and we all agree. Sometimes everything just clicks together. Good room good friends good waiters. This was one of those times. Read Less
Adventure of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 1.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.0

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