2,277 Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas Cruise Reviews

Maiden Voyage Wyndham & Dock We left Houston 11/18/01 at 4:30 a.m. arrived in Puerto Rico at 6:00 (by way of Newark). We felt security was wonderful in Houston, Newark and San Juan. We found [our friend] Felix easily at the ... Read More
Maiden Voyage Wyndham & Dock We left Houston 11/18/01 at 4:30 a.m. arrived in Puerto Rico at 6:00 (by way of Newark). We felt security was wonderful in Houston, Newark and San Juan. We found [our friend] Felix easily at the Wyndham Old San Juan since he was wearing the hat he had printed A.O.S. 11/18/01 "God Bless America". We enjoyed Felix and Kim's company while having beer on the balcony. We noticed the Adventure right across the street (a easy walk). My husband woke in the middle of the night only to find the Adventure was gone. In talking with some of the local people we found that the Adventure went out for a one night cruise. When she returned, they docked her at the new port (too far to walk). We met Felix and Kim the next morning (11:00) and took a taxi to the new port ($6.00 per person). The Wyndham was a wonderful hotel for the $99.00 rate we were charged. We booked it for $158.00. Check-In RCCL met us at the door, where we dropped off our luggage and told to take a seat close to the front with our carry-ons. RCCL called three rows at a time. We were the second group to check in. The check in went very smooth. We inquired about an upgrade, but by that time all rooms were sold. From that point, we were allowed to board the ship (12:15) and went through security. Again RCCL met us once we stepped foot on the ship to direct us to our rooms. Very organized. Upgrades/Room We originally had a DA category but we were upgraded to a C category before we left home. The room was wonderful - lots of space with a walk in closet and a bathtub with shower. This was the first cruise that we didn't fill all the drawers. The balcony was small, but nice. We have been getting the rooms of the back of the ship where the balconies are huge. "Dog & Duck", Windjammer Cafe We again met up with Felix and Kim to see their owner's suite. It was truly gorgeous!! We decided to try to find the "Palace Arms" (since that was our meeting place). We were surprised to find that it had been renamed to the "Dog and Duck". We stopped by the Cafe Promenade for a quick sandwich (shrimp). We proceeded to the Windjammer Cafe. The food was as good as any other cruise I've been on (this was my 9th). Cruise Critic Group We met up with the "Cruise Critic" group at the Dog and Duck prior to dinner. Everyone was so excited to meet each other. We felt we already knew most of the group! It was truly a delight to be with everyone. What a great group!! We met again after the muster drill (10:00 - 10:20) at the Viking Crown Lounge to watch the ship sail away. Dinner First Night/Meals We wore shorts to dinner the first night, which was fine since most had not received their luggage. We had ours before dinner. Dinner was wonderful-baked cod was my choice. Our table of eight was two away from the captain's table. Two of the wives didn't speak English, but we all tried to communicate. The husbands translated. One couple never showed up for dinner. Our waitress and assistant waitress were wonderful. She always remembered what we liked to drink with our meals. The headwaiter was the best we ever had. He came by every night to see how we were and what we needed. Some of the meals included: Filet, New York Strip, Shrimp Scampi, Lobster Tail, Turkey. Ports Aruba I love Aruba! We took the Sailing and Snorkeling Tour (9:00 a.m.) We had a wonderful time, met a couple that we drank rum punches with once we completed the snorkeling. We had a quick lunch at the great Johnny Rockets on the ship and went back out and did some shopping (walked) to the Harley Davidson Shop. Curacao For those of you who have never been (like me) you are in for a treat! This is a wonderful little island. We took the Curacao Snorkeling Tour (1:00 p.m.) and were surprised to have Corey and Barbara join us. Don't forget about the dolphins we all saw. The snorkeling was better here than Aruba. It may because it was later in the day. We enjoyed Corey and Barbara's company and the rum punch (or rum and Coke or should I say rum and rum). We returned to the ship changed clothes and went shopping in Curacao crossing the floating bridge. The shops were quaint and prices were good. We saw Shirley shopping while Russ was scuba diving!! St. Maarten We were there last year, so we didn't venture to the French side (topless beaches). We stayed on the Dutch side where we did some shopping with Felix and Kim. Prices are good and make sure you see the Jimmy Buffet shop. Beer is $.50 - $1.00 in most places. A small bottle of wine is $1.25. St. Thomas We had to get up early to go through US Immigrations. All family members must attend. We joined Corey and Barbara for yet another snorkeling tour at 9:00 a.m. for (Captain Nautica's Power Raft Snorkeling Tour). We all felt the Curacao snorkeling was much better. We also thought the St. John stop was much better than the first stop. The crew of two young guys were very nice and well informed. We were disappointed to find out that it was a non-alcoholic excursion, but they served shrimp cocktail (which was very good). Once back on the ship we changed clothes and met Felix and Kim (and a couple from their dinner table) at Gladys' in St. Thomas for a pretty good lunch and drinks. After lunch, Dave & I went shopping. St. Thomas is one of my favorite shopping ports - duty free, no taxes. Theme Nights Formal nights: Day Two and Day Five (Note this could be different since Day 5 was Thanksgiving for us). Day Three - Caribbean Colors< Day Four - Latin Night Day Six - 50's-80's Day Seven - Red, White and Blue Sorry no toga parties. Ice Skating Shows It is free, but you must have a ticket. Get it early since they book quick. It is a must see!! Shows are 9:00 p.m. Tues and 7:00 p.m. Wed. Shows Went to Can't Stop the Rock. We didn't feel it was worth our time. My husband went to Gary Puckett. He thoroughly enjoyed it (I was sick and didn't go). Library I went the first day and checked out The Painted House for the entire week. Library has a great selection with wonderful leather chairs. Solarium Pool Even though there is a "no child" rule, it was not enforced. The pools were salt water. The chairs are more comfortable than the others and the towels were thick and soft. Cafe Promenade As stated earlier, serves sandwiches, pizza (cheese, pepperoni, veggie), cookies, brownies, cakes, coffee, tea and hot chocolate. This is a wonderful place for a quick bite to eat or coffee/hot chocolate before bedtime. Johnny Rockets A must do! The hamburgers, cheese/chili fries, milkshakes (charge for this) were all great. That is what blew my diet!! Ice Skating I didn't make it this trip, but did on the Voyager. It is really fun. The ice is in fairly good condition considering you are on a ship out in the middle of the ocean! Golf I didn't make it this trip, but did on the Voyager. It is a little windy and hard to put the ball where you want it. Not for the serious golfer. This is something that you may want to do after a couple of drinks. Rock Climbing Wall We didn't do, but Kim and Felix did and enjoyed it!! Alcohol OK, now for the sticky subject. We purchased alcohol on board. There was a $9.50 charge to take it back to our room. We felt it was still a better deal than purchasing it at home and packing it (the heavy stuff). We packed in our luggage our favorite bottle of wine and some smaller bottles. None were taken from us. At just about every port, we purchased a bottle of something. None of it was taken from us when we entered the ship. They were taking the bottles that were boxed. We walked on with beer in a bottle - no problem. Look for: Curacao orange peel liqueur (blue) and Curacao chocolate. There are plenty of samples right off the ship in Curacao. We found the best prices were closest to the ship. Room Service We ordered room service for breakfast almost every day. They call you before knocking on your door. It is a wonderful service with a great selection. Always good before the 9:00 a.m. shore excursions. Parties Felix and Kim had a wonderful "last night" party in their owner's suite. Look for Felix and Kim's photos. Sorry we didn't find that suitcase big enough for the TV, Felix. We never really said goodbye to anyone, because I think deep down in we feel we are all going to meet again. Disembarkation We were staying two extra days after the cruise so, we were last on their list to leave the ship. We waited in the library since it was the closest to our 9th floor room and the most comfortable. When they stopped calling out flight numbers, we decided to venture our way down to the 4th floor to exit the ship. RCCL claimed that after awhile it was a "free for all" and had given up on their disembarkment procedure. Since we waited, we exited easily. We found a taxi without hassle (easier than Miami or Ft. Lauderdale). Caribe Hilton Taxi from the pier is $11.00. The hotel is very remote. It is a very nice hotel in which we received concierge service (free drinks and food), but we preferred the Wyndham Old San Juan. Caribe does not have a casino or one nearby. There are no restaurants other than the ones at the hotel. It has a beach and a wonderful pool area, no real shopping in the area. Barcardi Factory This is a wonderful tour that we did from our hotel. Do this from the ship's excursion since it is much cheaper. There is a gift shop there where we purchased a bottle of Ron Bacardi Reserve (you can't purchase it in the US). San Juan Shopping All shopping is in the Old San Juan area ($7.00 from Caribe Hilton). There local coffee is one of the three best in the world - Blue Mountain (Jamaica), Kona (Hawaii) and Alton Grande (Puerto Rico). We found 7 oz for $13.50. I'm sure you can find it cheaper! There is also a Coach shop. Remember no tax and no duty!! Friends The best thing we acquired from Cruise Critic is all the great friends we met on the ship! We thoroughly enjoyed our vacation because of all of you!! We can only hope to meet again on another cruise or somewhere else.... Felix, Kim, Corey, Barbara, Terry, Sharon, Shirley, Russ, Sharon, Ron, Sandy, Dennis, Jackson and Becky. We had a blast! Final Note: If you are afraid to do what we did (meet people you don't know), don't be afraid! Life is short. Enjoy it! Meet everyone you can because you may be missing an opportunity of a lifetime!dwoodson@Houston.rr.comDecember 2001 Read Less
Adventure of the Seas - December 2, 2001 Let me start by saying that we had a great time! I know this review is more information than any of you want, but maybe bits and pieces will be helpful to you all. It's very long, but ... Read More
Adventure of the Seas - December 2, 2001 Let me start by saying that we had a great time! I know this review is more information than any of you want, but maybe bits and pieces will be helpful to you all. It's very long, but there's a lot to tell, so here goes... Sunday- Getting to San Juan and the Ship We arranged our own air. We flew American Airlines from New Orleans to San Juan (through Miami). On our flight from Miami to San Juan, we were upgraded to first class, which was wonderful! There was so much leg room (I had to get out of my seat to reach the magazines in the seat in front of me!), not to mention each seat had a TV with remote for games, an automatic leg rest, a reading 'flashlight' - needless to say, we were spoiled! It was hard going back to coach, but all our flights were fine. Security was quick and efficient in San Juan and New Orleans, but seemed a little disorganized in Miami. When we arrived in San Juan, it did take a LONG time for our bags to arrive at baggage claim, but when we did finally get them, it was very easy to arrange for a taxi. Directly across from baggage claim, there is a booth for 'Ground Transportation'. Let them know where you are going and how many bags and they give you a ticket for the cab. Including extra charge for bags and tip, its about $20 to the pier. At the pier, the porters take your bags and you enter the terminal. There are about 20 rows of chairs and someone will direct you where to sit. Each row is called one by one and you are lead to the check in stations. From the time we sat down to the time we finished checking in was about 15 minutes! It was great! RC does a great job of crowd management. Although there were nearly 3,000 passengers onboard, we hardly ever had to wait in line for anything (food, guest relations, reboarding ship...). We were in a cabin category D9. There is plenty of closet and drawer space, and all of our luggage fit under our bed. There was a telephone with a small clock, a small hairdryer, a small safe, and the interactive TV. The TV allowed you to order excursions, Portofino, spa and other reservations, check your balance, plus had RCTV and movies running all day in addition to a few cable stations. At dinner the first night, we were disappointed to find that we had been assigned to a table for 2 because we had actually requested a large table. However, we spoke to the Maitre'D and were able to change to a great table right near the captain's table. Monday - Day at Sea We started our day at Sea with breakfast at Windjammer/Island Grill (same food, four buffet lines). We were able to find chairs right by the main pools at 9:30, but the good chairs do fill up fast. As the day went on and the pool became more crowded, we moved to the Solarium pool, which was a little quieter and more room in the pool itself. We ate lunch at Johnny Rockets at about 12:30 and there was no wait at all. There are booths outside with great views of the water. As you know, sodas and shakes/malts are extra, but fries, onion rings, burgers, etc are all free of charge. Tuesday- Aruba We rented a jeep on our own. We had reserved a Suzuki Jimny online through Avis for $46. All the rental car places are right there as you walk out of the cruise terminal. In addition to Avis, Thrifty and several other local companies had booths there. Aruba was easy to get around, but the traffic signs are quite different from here in the states, so be careful. We drove to the California lighthouse, Alto Vista Chapel, and the Natural Bridge. We returned to the ship for lunch and were able to park the jeep in a lot close by the terminal. After lunch, we drove to Baby Beach and when we finally got there, we were quite disappointed with what we found. The beach is very remote and isolated (the only thing close by in the jail), and the beach was covered with driftwood and debris. We decided to head back toward the ship and go to Eagle/Palm Beach. These beaches near the hotels are great - they have everything you could want: crystal blue water, white sand, places to rent chairs and floats, bars, restaurants...we wish we had gone there earlier in the day. You can access the beach from any of the hotels. After dinner, we went to Carlos and Charlie's. It was fun, but not nearly as crazy as the one in Cozumel. Wednesday- Curacao We booked the Animal Encounter Excursion at the Seaquarium through the cruise line. We had so much fun; I highly recommend it to anyone even if you don't dive (you don't have to be certified). After a brief training session, we went diving in an enclosed cove with stingray and fish of every size imaginable. Then we swam to two areas that had sharks and sea turtles behind plexiglass walls. You were able to feed them through small holes in the plexiglass. It was quite an amazing experience, and one you don't have the opportunity to do too often! After we walked around the Seaquarium, we walked to the Seaquarium Beach. Admission was $3 pp and chairs were $2.50 each. The beach was beautiful and had everything you could want including a snack bar, gift shops, clean bathrooms, several bars, lockers...it was pretty close to heaven! We stayed there all day and hated to leave. The cab ride back was about $12. Thursday- Day at Sea Another day by the pool. There are plenty on chairs, but get the ones in the best locations go fast, so get there early. If the main pools get too crowded and loud as the day goes on, try the Solarium pool - its very nice. Friday- St. Maarten We did the Orient Beach Rendezvous Excursion through the ship, but if you want to do the beach, I recommend you just go on your own. Cab fare is about $20 for 2 to Orient Beach, you can easily rent a chair and umbrella, and you can eat at any beach restaurant you want (Kakao was just OK). Also, we didn't think the tour allowed us enough time at the beach, so we ended up not going back with the tour bus and caught a cab back to town on our own. A few warnings: Orient Beach is clothing optional and you will see more body parts than you want to see! And the water is pretty, but can be very rough. Be careful of the waves, they can be deceiving. There's not that much shopping in St Maarten (basically only one street), so you can spend all day at the beach and still hit the stores later. Be sure to stop by the Guavaberry House at the end of Front Street (closest to the ship) and try a Guavaberry Colada. Yum! St Maarten has built a new cruise ship pier, but it is a pretty decent walk to the shopping area downtown. If you don't want to walk, you can easily catch a cab or take the water taxi for $3 per person (RT, I think). Saturday - St Thomas We spent the day at Magens Bay. National Geographic once named it as one of the top 10 beaches in the world, supposedly the beach has been neglected over the years, but it was just as beautiful as I remembered it. Cab fare from the ship was $6 per person, admission to the beach $3 pp, chairs $5 (plus $5 deposit). There's also a snack bar, bar, gift shop, sail/paddle boat rental, bathrooms and changing areas. We thought the beach was wonderful, and it filled up quite fast as the day went on (there were 3 cruise ships in port). Be sure to stop by Udder Delight at the St Thomas Dairy just outside the entrance to Magens Bay. They make the best shakes, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. One of St Thomas' best-kept secrets!! With the exception of Havensight Mall, the shopping is in Charlotte Amalie, which is a pretty long walk from the pier. You can easily catch a cab from the ship for a ride to town for $3 per person. Sunday- Leaving the Ship We left our cabin at about 8:00 am expecting to have plenty of time for sit-down breakfast in the dining room. But, by 8:25 am they were announcing the first flights for disembarkation. We were trying to get on stand by for a 10:45 flight, so we decided to skip breakfast and leave the ship. Getting off was fast and easy, and after we located our bags, we caught a cab to the airport. We made the 10:45 flight with plenty of time to spare. The Ship The Adventure of the Seas is a beautiful ship and she still had that "new ship" smell! Even though she's 140,000 tons and carries 3,000 passengers, it never felt crowded or hard to get around. RC does a good job of placing detailed maps in good locations i.e. at elevators, entrance to dining rooms and theaters. The Promenade runs about ½ the length of the ship on Floor 5 with atrium rooms looking down from Floors 6, 7, and 8. The Promenade includes Explorations (shore excursion desk), Guest Relations desk, Logo Store, General Store, Perfume Store as well as a few others, plus the Promenade Cafe for 24-hour snacks, the Duck and the Dog Pub, Gravity Sports Bar, and Sprinkles Ice Cream Stand. Be sure to visit Paul at the Duck and the Dog, and listen to Pete play! The usual Viking Crown lounge is called the Blue Moon, Jesters is the nightclub (very cool), Schooner Bar (still smells like new teak wood), and of course there are the Pool Bars. The Casino has a Hollywood theme and a very cool entrance you must check out, even if you don't want to stop in and lose some money! The gym looked very nice, although I must admit I didn't work out at all. Passed by the Internet cafe, Concierge Club, Library and Card Room and all looked very nice as well. We didn't try the Rock Climbing or skating, but they looked fun. The Food I really was impressed by the food! There is only so much you can do with breakfast, but the Windjammer/Island Grill had it all, and we never had to wait in line. For lunch, there was always a wide variety of choices from sweet and sour pork, burgers and hot dogs, pizza, salads, desserts, and everything in between. I enjoyed every dinner I had, too. Some of my favorites were lobster (of course), shrimp scampi, and chicken cordon blue. Small sandwiches, pizza, and desserts were available 24 hours at the Cafe Promenade at no charge. Don't forget to try lunch at Johnny Rockets at least once. A quick side note: When we asked to move tables, we absolutely lucked out with our tablemates! Ken, the CD, says cruising is about meeting people, and he's right. We had a great time getting to know our tablemates, had some great laughs (and cries?), went to a shows together, and toured each other's cabins! But we feel very fortunate to have met a bunch of great people. Service No complaints here! We had a great cabin steward (he made cool towel animals!) and a great waiter/assistant waiter. He didn't take my lobster out of the shell for me, but he did peel my shrimp scampi! Entertainment All the shows we saw were great! Can't Stop the Rock and the Ice Show were excellent. The lead female singer at the shows (I think her name was Tressa) was amazing! The Ice Shows were on Tuesday and Wednesday, but you need to pick up tickets in advance. Also, the farewell show was fun; they had a great comedian, an amazing balancing act, and more great singing and dancing. Get to the shows about 20 minutes early to get good seats. We found the best seats to be on the center balcony about 3 rows up. A few "issues" we had Unlike other ships we've sailed before (including RCCL), we were disappointed by the lack of availability of free beverages (tea, lemonade). They were only available at the Windjammer/Island Grill during open hours. At any other time or place, you could only get tea/lemonade for a charge. So if you were thirsty (or let's say having a midnight snack at the Cafe Promenade), you're choices were coffee or purchase a drink from the bar. RC's way of cutting costs perhaps, but a little disappointing. Also, let me state the FACT that the majority of the people onboard spoke Spanish. Not knowing a word of Spanish, it did become a little aggravating to us. Unfortunately, some customs and mannerisms of particular passengers were not what we were used to back home in the "50 states", and this became pretty annoying. Not that I expect all people to act like me, but I do expect basic courtesy and respect from and for people around you. But enough about that... Wheeewww.... that's a lot of information! It's hard to put 7 days of fun into a short summary! I'm sorry this is so long, but I think its all the information I would have liked to have known before I sailed. If I missed answering any of you specific questions, please fell free to ask me. You all will have a wonderful time!December 2001 Read Less
My husband and I flew into San Juan on 12/2 from Fort Lauderdale, FL on Spirit Airlines. Things went smoothly at the Fort Lauderdale airport, went through security with a bottle of water and they made me take a drink before I could pass ... Read More
My husband and I flew into San Juan on 12/2 from Fort Lauderdale, FL on Spirit Airlines. Things went smoothly at the Fort Lauderdale airport, went through security with a bottle of water and they made me take a drink before I could pass through. They hand checked my backpack and we were through the security check in 5 minutes. This was at 8:30am on a Sunday. Our flight left Fort Lauderdale at 10:50pm and arrived in San Juan at 2:30pm (local time). Taxis are easy to find and we paid $20 (including tip) for the ride to the pier. I think we arrived at the pier at a very crowded time (around 3:30pm). No one came to help us with our luggage and we had no idea with whom to leave it with. I finally found a Royal Caribbean representative who told me I needed to leave my luggage with the appropriate porter, according to what deck my cabin was on. I think I talked to 3 different porters before I was actually able to find the correct one to leave my luggage with. No one offered to help carry the luggage even though I had tip money in my hand. In my opinion this was very disorganized compared to the terminal in Miami. Once inside the terminal we followed the crowd and were seated in chairs. We were told that if we had already filled out all of the forms we didn't need to sit in the chairs, just proceed to the check in counter. This line moved very fast and we were soon on our way up the gangway! They took our pictures for our Super Charge cards and then we were on the Adventure. All I can say is WOW! She is a beautiful ship and still had the "new" ship smell! We went to our cabin to put down our carry-on luggage. We had a balcony room on deck 7, starboard, aft. The cabin had a connecting door, so I was afraid that we might hear a lot of noise from the cabin next door, but we never heard a word. This was our first balcony cabin and we thought the room was very spacious. We loved having a balcony! Lots of closet and drawer space and plenty of room under the beds to store your luggage. We then went to the Island Grill for lunch. Lunch was served until 5pm(only on embarkation day). The layout of the Windjammer and Island Grill is very nice. DEcor was uplifting and light with lots of tables and pretty views from the floor to ceiling windows. Tables were cleared promptly and the staff was very helpful and friendly. Lots of food choices to choose from and some of the best desserts I have ever tasted (I love chocolate!). We then took a tour of the ship. Everything was so amazing! The Royal Promenade was incredible! How I wish I was back on board right now! We returned to our cabin at 6pm to find our luggage had already been delivered and was inside our cabin. We met our cabin steward, Martin, and he took very good care of us throughout the week. We had 2nd seating for dinner at a table for 2 in the Vivaldi dinning room. Our waiter was Jaroslaw from Poland and our assistant waiter was Charlie from the Philippines. They were both wonderful! There was always a coke waiting for me when I walked into the dinning room and replaced with another one before I finished the first. My glass of milk and my husband's cup of coffee always arrived with dessert. We didn't have to ask for anything. The service was superb! Our favorite dishes were the filet mignon, lobster tails, chicken cordon blue, shrimp scampi, and prime rib. I ordered 2 desserts on the first night because I just couldn't make up my mind and from then on Jaroslaw knew I loved chocolate and would always bring me an array of desserts! Hmmm....can I blame him for the 5 pounds I gained during the cruise? The shows in The Lyric were very good. I couldn't stop laughing during the performance by Ronn Lucas, Ventriloquist (this was his last show on board the Adventure). Don't miss the show with "Rain." They look and sound just like the Beatles! Can't stop the Rock and Velvet Rope by the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers was also very good. The ice show, Cool Art/Hot Ice, was incredible! You could pick up tickets beginning on Monday for the 4 shows, 2 on Wednesday and 2 on Thursday. The announced the distribution of tickets several times, so you will definitely know when they become available. About the ports Aruba We rented an automatic jeep with air-conditioning from Avis at the pier. There is a parking lot right next to the pier where you can park the jeep and hop back onboard for lunch or a quick nap. We went to the California Lighthouse and then went to Arashi Beach and did a little snorkeling. This beach is very pretty with small grass huts for shade and nice soft sand. There were only about 6 other people on the beach with us. We stopped off at the ship for a quick bite to eat and then went to see the Natural Bride. Our final stop was at Baby Beach. The beach was pretty crowded and there was not any shade to be found. The sand is hard and the beach is not pretty like Arashi Beach. On the other hand the snorkeling at this beach is wonderful! If you head out towards the rocks to the left of the beach, past the inlet, you will see a lot of coral and all kinds of fish. This was the best snorkeling we have ever done! Curacao We walked into town for a little shopping, but the weather was extremely hot....so we quickly returned to the ship. After lunch we took the Snorkeling Excursion offered from RCCL. The boat departed from the pier for a 30min ride to our snorkeling destination. We snorkeled by a sunken tugboat surrounded by lots of fish. They gave us bread to feed the fish and they would eat right out of our hands! On the way back to the pier they served rum punch, rum and coke, or soda. We enjoyed the trip! St. Martin Shopping, shopping, and more shopping. Make sure to stop at the Guavaberry Emporium for a taste of their Guavaberry Colada! I bought a bottle of Guavaberry Liqueur and I am ready to make some coladas and try to pretend I am back on board the Adventure! St. Thomas We did the 9am Captain Nautica Snorkeling offered through the ship. This excursion was a lot of fun! We boarded a power raft for a fun and thrilling ride to our first snorkeling destination. The ride is very bumpy, so if you have neck or back problems this is not the tour for you. After the fist snorkeling stop we had fresh fruit and beverages (coke, diet coke, sprite, water). The second stop was on St. John in the National Park. We saw a lot of fish and coral and were able to swim up to Honeymoon Beach. This beach looked like a postcard! We had some shrimp cocktail and beverages on the way back to the pier. This was a wonderful excursion and I would highly recommend it! Sea Days There were always a lot of chairs available, but the ones closest to the pool fill up fast. We watched the belly flop contest, played miniature golf, went ice-skating, and my husband went rock climbing. There was something for everyone on this ship! Don't forget to check out the peek-a-boo bridge and the bow with the helipad! The gym looked great! Lots of equipment (free weights and machines), separate saunas for men and women, and a whirlpool that was always empty. We only went in here to weigh ourselves! Ironic, don't you think?? The solarium was also very nice with a nice size pool and 2 large hot tubs. The chairs in the solarium were padded and very comfy. If you want a to get away from all of the partying on the pool deck, go to the solarium pool. The formal nights were on the days at sea, Monday and Thursday. Formal portraits were available at multiple locations in the Centrum. The Gala Buffet was on Thursday. Viewing was from 11:30-12:30am and then the buffet was open from 12:30-1:30am. We did not try Portofino, but heard it was excellent. Jester's nightclub was really neat! Make sure to take a look inside even if you don't like the "dance club" atmosphere. Debarkation began around 8:30am when they started calling flight numbers. Our flight did not leave until 3:40pm, so we left the ship around 11am even though our tag color had not been called. We took a taxi to the Crown and Anchor in Old San Juan for $11. We left our luggage there and went to check out El Morro fort. After that it was off to the airport (by taxi $16) and home to Florida. This was a wonderful cruise and I can't wait to return to the sea! If you are planning on taking a cruise on the Adventure I am sure you will have a wonderful time! December 2001 Read Less
ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS Southern Caribbean December 9 - 16, 2001 By Mary & Vincent Finelli OVERVIEW Since we have sailed on both the Voyager and the Explorer of the Seas, we thought that sailing on their sister ship would just ... Read More
ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS Southern Caribbean December 9 - 16, 2001 By Mary & Vincent Finelli OVERVIEW Since we have sailed on both the Voyager and the Explorer of the Seas, we thought that sailing on their sister ship would just be deja` vu; however, the Adventure of the Seas is unique due to the exquisite decor and refinement of her interiors, all enhanced by beautiful holiday decorations.  This was our 22nd cruise in the past five years and our 11th on RCI, so we are Diamond members of the Crown & Anchor Society. The Adventure was built by the Kvaerner Masa Shipyards in Turku, Finland and had her inaugural voyage from San Juan, Puerto Rico on November 18, 2001.  She looks just like her sisters, all white with aqua/green glass on her upper decks, a blue stripe above her yellow life boats and the same awesome size which could be seen from everywhere in San Juan.   Her length is 1,020 ft. and beam is 157.5 ft.; gross tonnage is 142,000 tons with a draft of only 29 ft.  She has 15 decks, a cruising speed of  22 knots and a crew of  1,185 with guest capacity of 3,114, and 26 of her cabins, in various categories, are wheelchair accessible.  This is not just a ship, she is the largest resort afloat! Captain Arnolf  Remo (Norway) is a grand seasoned mariner, whose charm was evident at welcome aboard ceremonies, dinners and receptions.  He comes from a long line of sea  captains (father, grandfather and great grandfather).  He graduated from the Naval Academy and Captain's School in his hometown of Alesund, Norway and he is an excellent representative of  RCI who exudes competence.  Most of this review will center on descriptions of  this elegant new vessel; she certainly merits it. EMBARKATION Normally we sail out of Miami or Ft. Lauderdale, but this itinerary and the attraction of a new ship moved us to fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Through RCI we had purchased transfers from the airport to the ship, but American Airlines made us claim our luggage and accompany it personally across the street to unmarked trucks, which delivered it to the ship.  Needless to say, Mary was steamed by the time she had dragged the luggage and pushed the wheelchair so far.  This was an unnecessary hassle, since after checking with other cruisers, we found out that only American Airlines required passengers to first claim their bags, all other lines allowed the luggage to be transferred directly to the ship. We arrived at the port about 12:30 pm and found long lines, but as soon as Migdalia de Leon,  RCI Terminal Manager, saw the wheelchair, she took us personally in hand, did our check-in and assigned a crew member to take us aboard.  In less than ten minutes, we were onboard checking on our table assignment, all was in order and we were in our cabin by 1:00 pm. The welcome aboard buffet was nicely displayed, fresh and crisp looking with plenty of variety and we enjoyed it, with the help of wait staff, who were attentive. THE SHIP'S PUBLIC AREAS The center for many activities is a 394 ft. long Royal Promenade, located on Deck 5, between the front and aft Centrums.  It is reminiscent of a quaint European town.  This four deck high mall area hosts the Captain's Champagne Reception as well as carnival like parades with street jugglers, dancers, jesters, etc.   Passengers may stroll, shop, or sit at the Duck & Dog Pub, or in the Sports Bar with a cold brew, while their children help themselves to ice cream, cookies, pizza or sandwiches at the Cafe` Promenade, where Seattle's Best coffee and tea are always available. In the aft Centrum starboard are located the Guest Relations and Explorations Desks, while on the port side is the Champagne Bar (with two sculptures by the American artist Helaine Blumenfeld: "Cleopatra" and "Frieze").  This  Centrum is dominated by a four deck tall art work entitled "The Dive" by Lawrence P. Kirkland (America): depicting a diver's view when looking up from the sea bottom; the blue and silver tubes represent a school of  silvery fish once seen at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, CA.  To us it looked like a water spout or tornado funnel.  Very interesting, especially since it is a big improvement over the less inspiring art work in the Centrums of the Explorer of the Seas.  Another attraction of the Royal Promenade is the 1939 Citroen Roadster (purple and beige with roll and tuck leather interior and rumble seat) restored by Bent Bowitz (Norway). Deck 2 forward has the Entertainment Complex, Conference Center and La Marquis with screening room -- plus cabins. Deck 3 forward has the Lyric Theatre, where live performances are held every evening, and the Entertainment Complex featuring Studio B, a two deck high skating rink and a Hi-Tech multipurpose TV Studio.  Also here is the entrance to the Jester's Club (a disco for 18 and over) marvelously decorated with beautiful stained glass and gothic heraldic furnishings. On Deck 3 aft is found the Vivaldi Dining Room, the first floor of the three tier restaurant connected by a grand staircase and elegantly lit by the opulent central Crystal Chandelier (very impressive after the missing chandelier on the Explorer). Deck 4 forward has the second level of the Lyric Theatre with its beautiful Peacock Curtain in blue and green with shimmering lights.  Toward aft is the Schooner Bar with the characteristic odor of old ships' ropes, and four huge portholes overlooking the starboard side outdoor promenade; on the opposite side are four matching porthole shaped artistic compositions with nautical collages titled "Romance At Sea" by Janice Ebbing (Norway) utilizing ropes, textiles, sails and ceramic figures, very nice! The upper deck entrance to Jester's is flanked by two cannons, miniaturized replicas of 19th century maritime artillery, "La Joelette" and the "Brillante," with two description plates erroneously switched, but very interesting anyway.  There is also a model of  the "Kalmar Nyckel," Capt. Peter Minuit's ship; Minuet is famous for purchasing Manhattan from the Indians for 60 Dutch guilders ($24.) Farther along aft is the Casino Royale, which RCI claims is the largest afloat.  This Las Vegas style Casino has a glitzy  Hollywood Theme that enticed us into making our usual donation.  Next is the Aquarium Bar with fishes swimming in and out of  its walls of coral formations.   However, the aquariums on this ship were not as well stocked with aquatic life as those on the Explorer.  Still though watching them relaxes the pulse and brings down the blood pressure. Aft on Deck 4 is the middle level of the restaurant, the Strauss Dining Room:  Each level has 12 large, elegant round crystal lights and numerous other crystal lights on poles evoking an Austrian theme. Deck 5 has the Royal Promenade and forward is the Imperial Lounge with a Chinese motif.  Bronze like lions guard the entrance flanked by huge Chinese porcelain vases from Wah Tung China Ltd.  Copies of paintings of "Chinese Warriors"  and "Yunan Chinese Beauties" are on all four walls interspersed with huge floral panels.  Most notable in this lounge entrance are two exact copies of  the Terra Cotta Guards from the burial site of Chinese Emperor Qin, famous for the unification of China and initiating construction of the Great Wall (2nd century B.C.).   In this archeological site have been found about 50,000 terra cotta warriors surrounding the Emperor's tomb. To go to the elusive prow of the ship and the outdoor observation deck, take the starboard exit door either from this lounge or from the adjacent Connoisseur's Club (cigar smoking atmosphere and lots of leather seating). On Deck 5 aft is the Mozart Dining Room, the top tier of the Restaurant.  It is a truly glorious sight looking down from the laurel and ribbon festooned balconies.   At the entrance of each dining room are two glass cases displaying 18th century costumes designed for "The Virtuosos" by Patrizia Zappaterra (Italy); these are masterpieces of needle work and quite stunning. Deck 6 is mostly cabins.  The Business Services area, adorned with several models of RCI ships, is between the aft stairways, facing the Centrum and the Royal Promenade. Deck 7 is mostly cabins.  Facing the aft Centrum and the Royal Promenade is the library (well stocked). Deck 8 is mostly cabins and "RC On Line" with 19 internet stations (IBM).  Vincent accessed his e-mail for only $5.00 -- not bad. Deck 9 is almost all cabins and the Concierge Club, most capably managed by Marise Gagnon: She made many things simple for us. Deck 10 has suites and Superior Staterooms.  The views from the two Centrum Balconies are really nice from up here.  Suspended in the aft Centrum is Austdahl's (Norway) "Free Sculpture of the Solar System" which is light and space evoking, but try as we may, we never saw the ninth planet.  You must see this.  Suspended in the forward Centrum is a sort of wooden helix or something, a modern sculpture, uninteresting to us. Deck 11 has the Fitness Center & Spa, the Solarium Pool (sea water), Whirlpools and Bar.  In the morning, between 8 am and 9 am this is deserted and wonderfully peaceful.  The Venetian Theme in this area is carried out with 15 bronze murals "Scenes of Venetian Life" by Gianni Arico (Italy) and three larger than life bronze figures titled "Meeting at the Redotto," by Philip Jackson (America).  The beauty of this area is enhanced by laurel and boxwood topiaries, while two giant Gondoliers survey it all from above.  Next is the Portofino, an upscale restaurant, the Windjammer Cafe and the Island Grill. Deck 12 has the Spa, Club Ocean, Video Arcade, Johnny Rockets (50's style diner), Adventure Beach and the Jogging track. Deck 13 has Rock Climbing, a full size basketball court, Adventure Dunes Golf and in-line skating. Deck 14 has the Viking Crown Lounge which is divided into Crow's Nest, Blue Note Jazz Club and the 19th Hole Sports Bar.  On the port side there are the Seven Hearts game room and the Cloud Nine Lounge. Deck 15 has the Skylight Chapel which can accommodate 60 people and this is the highest point on the ship.  There is a stained glass skylight and the Chapel can be accessed by the handicapped through a special motorized chair lift. The Adventure of the Seas is truly a destination in itself considering all it has to offer in activities. FOOD AND SERVICE Hotel Director Martin Rissley oversees the service aboard, which is top notch.  Martin is friendly and extremely competent.  He took time to answer our questions and supplied us with many interesting bits of information.  Chief Purser Michelle McGregor was efficient and very helpful.  Gary Davies and Bob Tavadia are the nexus of the RCI Start-up Team for new ships coming on line and they are superb (more about Gary later).  This ship runs like a well oiled machine considering she is so new. . . . smooth sailing! Executive Chef is Helga Finnsdottir, unfortunately we did not speak to her personally, but her food spoke for her.  We found the food good with flashes of excellent.  The menu is eclectic with something to please everyone (Prime rib and salads were superb).   Our waiters in the Mozart Dining Room were very efficient and friendly: Waiter Cengiz Coskus (Turkey), Asst. Waiter Cyrus Engineer (India).  The Head Waiter Juan Gay-Frontal (Spain) was a kindly gentleman with whom we enjoyed conversing.  By far, the best dessert was the Warm Chocolate Cake served with slices of pears on a lake of melted chocolate. We dined at the Portofino ($20 per person).  The service was first rate under Manager Alex Listuzzi.  We felt the appetizers were good and the bread not so good (fresh breadsticks and crispy Italian or French bread would be better).  The Risotto with prawns was excellent and the sole was wonderful (a huge fish served table side, light and succulent).  However, RCI needs an Italian Chef if it wants to serve true Italian specialties.  The Cacciucco Livornese tasted more like a cabbage soup than a fish stew. Especially at the Portofino, meals should be prepared with authentic Italian recipes, otherwise change the names on the menu.  In addition, in such a small restaurant the pastas should be cooked to order, not parboiled without salt and held until served.  These simple changes could result in a truly exceptional restaurant, as exceptional as their desserts, such as the Tiramisu` and Zabaione with wild berries.  Our expectation for Italian food is quite high, since as Italians we have traveled throughout Italy from top to bottom and know the various regional cuisines;  there is no surprise that we were disappointed again at the Portofino as we were a year ago on the Explorer. We found Johnny Rockets to be a great trip down memory lane.  The 50's atmosphere was created by red vinyl booths and stainless steel everywhere: juke box music, peppy service and line dancing by the servers ("YMCA" and "Staying Alive") added a fun atmosphere.  They serve the best hamburgers on board (try the St. Louis with bacon, swiss cheese, sautEed onions and pickles, or a mega caloric "Shake of the Day" like the "Elvis" made with peanut butter, bananas, vanilla ice cream, soda and a cup of whipped cream on top, "Don't Be Cruel!").  The Asst. Manager Stefania Murariu (Romania) keeps the staff hopping and our waiter Pablo Antunez (Spain via Uruguay) made our three visits there fun. Thanks! We found Room Service excellent.  We ordered a full breakfast every morning with omelets, bacon, hash browns, rolls,  juice and coffee.  It was always on time and hot.  There is good food all over this ship and ice cream machines on the Royal Promenade and at the Windjammer. Our most memorable meal was at Captain Remo's table with his lovely wife Tove and their son Fredrik and friends; the company was great and the food delizioso. CABIN We had booked Cabin #7600 wheelchair access with balcony and it was spacious and airy, but we were only in it for an hour or so when Chief Purser Gary Davies called to welcome us aboard.  He gave us an upgrade to an owner's suite, "The Himalayan," on Deck 10 (these suites are all named after famous mountains).  This was the first upgrade we ever had in 22 cruises; thanks to Gary we spent a fabulous week. This suite has a separate bedroom with a king size bed, five mirrored armoires and a vanity/desk.  The full living room has a gold sectional sofa, two chairs and oversized coffee table, a dining area with a glass table and a full bar with refrigerator, not to mention the 48" flat screen swivel TV; the balcony has a mosaic table, two chairs and chaise lounge.  The bathroom had green granite counters (as did the rest of the suite), two sinks, Jacuzzi tub, separate shower, bidet and mosaics on the wall and floor.  The color scheme is maroon, beige and gold with oak wood all around.  If this is how the other half lives, then there is no problem in acclimating. Our cabin stewardess was Amelia and she was stupendous.  Needless to say this became one of our best cruises. ENTERTAINMENT Cruise Director Ken Rush was a welcome sight, we had cruised with him before and enjoy his friendliness and natural warmth.  The Director sets the tone for the passengers and he made us want to experience every show aboard. We felt the highlight of the cruise was Studio B's "Cool Art, Hot Ice" show.  The international skating cast was "Olympic Class" and Emmanuelle Balmori (Canada) did breathtaking aerial routines to standing ovations. The shows in the Lyric Theatre were entertaining and we especially enjoyed Tressa Thomas; she has a beautiful voice and wowed the audience.  If you get a chance, sit in the Duck and Dog Pub and listen to Pete Wickersham (guitar and vocal). You'll enjoy him.  There are plenty of activities aboard from Bingo to Art Auctions and many different levels of entertainment for the young:  Aquanauts Ages 3 to 5; Explorers ages 6 to 8; Voyagers ages 9 to 11; Navigators ages 12 to 14 and Guests ages 15 to 17 (movies, talent shows, special dinners, tournaments, dances, relay races, etc.) ACTIVITIES AND PORTS Depart San Juan, Puerto Rico Sunday 10:30 pm. ORANJESTAD, ARUBA, Tuesday arrive 8 am, depart 6 pm. We took the Town and Country Tour ($32) which is a bus drive through the capital with stops at the Casibari Rock Formations, The Natural Bridge etc., very nice.  Also available are Snorkeling Tours ($37), Atlantis Submarine ($79) and Sea and Island ($48). WILLIAMSTAD, CURACAO, Wednesday arrive 8 am, depart 6 pm. There is a Williamstad Trolley Tour ($28) which is a nice way to see this new, for us, port.  There is also a Discover Curacao Hato Caves ($36) with stalagmites, etc. and a Canoe Safari ($60). PHILIPSBURG, ST. MAARTEN, Friday arrive 8 am, depart 6 pm. There is an Island Tour ($21) an America's Cup Regatta ($78) , a Snorkel Tour ($35) and other physical activities like biking. CHARLOTTE AMALIE, ST. THOMAS, USVI,  Saturday arrive 8 am, depart 6 pm. We have been here so many times that we do it on our own; however, there are good tours like the Sail and Snorkel ($46) and the Kon Tiki Party Raft ($34)  Don't forget Mr. Tablecloth, Mary's favorite store with great bargains. SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO, Sunday arrive 8 am. We took the Old and New San Juan Tour ($23)  We started from the port and our luggage was brought with us and we were left off at the airport at noon.  We had a nice guide, Alex, who was informative.  We spent time at Fort San Cristobal (by wheelchair).  There is a steep entrance going up to the fort, but it was all down hill from there.  Interesting.  We had booked the El Yunque Rain Forest Tour ($28) but had to cancel it due to a change in the airline schedule. . . next time! SUGGESTIONS Although we had a great cruise on this beautiful vessel, we can think of a few suggestions to further improve it, aiming for perfection. A strong chlorine odor is present in the water and ice cubes in the dining rooms and cabins.  It is recommended that purifying filters be used at the serving stations for drinking water and ice makers.  There are very effective and inexpensive filtering systems which can be utilized by RCI. If RCI wants to maintain the Portofino as an Italian style restaurant on some of its ships, it should redesign the recipes on the menu to better reflect true Italian taste.  Now that RCI may merge with Princess, it will be possible to share information between the two lines, and RCI may learn from Princess something good about Italian cuisine.  Princess has some great Italian chefs.  We know Executive Chef Antonio Cereda, who does marvels with Italian dishes and bread.  We had the fortune of meeting him on the Grand Princess and the Golden Princess and we loved his pasta sauces. RCI should try to arrange with American Airlines a better direct transfer of luggage from San Juan Airport to the ship without involving passengers.  At the airport the RCI staff gave us contradicting information regarding the retrieval of the luggage and inadequate wheelchair assistance.  There is a definite need for improvement in airport transfer assistance. Overall, this was a great cruise on a new ship.  We enjoy sailing with RCI and seeing old friends while making new ones!  In fact we enjoy new ships so much that we are sailing on Carnival Pride's inaugural cruise, December 30, 2001.  Look for our next review early in 2002.  Happy Holidays! VNFinelli@mindspring.cmJanuary 2002 Read Less
First, my apologies for not getting this written sooner. It has been crazy since my return. If I fail to cover anything in this review that you may have a question about, please feel free to email me at bill.kennedy@fmr.com. Having said ... Read More
First, my apologies for not getting this written sooner. It has been crazy since my return. If I fail to cover anything in this review that you may have a question about, please feel free to email me at bill.kennedy@fmr.com. Having said that....on to my review... This was our family's first cruise. I had wanted to go on a cruise for years and finally convinced all those in my family that lack sea legs that it was a good idea. What a way to start my vacation, I tripped over my own suitcase trying to get out of the house and landed on the concrete, scrapping my face and popping the lenses out of my glasses...LOL We departed out of Boston on a 6:50 a.m. flight on Saturday. This is where I met the Boston contingency of our Cruise Critic Group. What a great group of people. We had an awesome time with them all week. Thanks Tony, Nancy, Jim, Maria, Costas, Lou, Vin, Gail, Carolyn, Buster, Reina, Mike, Ben and all the rest of that crazy bunch. You really made the week for us. We had such a good time. We arrived in San Juan a day early and stayed at the Ritz Carlton. The hotel was beautiful and the service was excellent. They also have the largest casino on Puerto Rico with a 25 x 25-foot television screen that made the Patriot's win over Pittsburgh that much sweeter! The only drawback of the hotel (if you see it that way, which it didn't bother me) is that the hotel is directly across the street from the airport runway, so a plane takes off every 5 minutes or so. But for me, there is nothing that a Pina Colada can't overcome. We arrived at the ship at 12:40 p.m. even though it stated boarding could not take place until 2:00 p.m. I think it was smart to get there early because they were boarding the ship already. We were in line for about 20 minutes and then herded into the terminal where you sit in chairs placed in rows. They move 1 row at a time into the main part of the terminal for check-in. There is a small duty-free shop inside the terminal, but I found the prices to be just o.k. Worth waiting until you are on the ship or in a port. That being said, we were on the ship at 1:30 p.m. I heard that people who arrived after 2:00 p.m. had waits from an hour to two and half-hours, so if you can get there early, it's worth it. Once on the ship, it is absolutely beautiful. Everything everyone has said about the ship is true and no need to rehash the same info here. The ship also still smells new, especially in the Schooner Bar, you can smell the beautiful wood. We immediately went to the cabin to drop our bags and begin exploring. We had a family stateroom (cabin # 8200). The room was awesome. It fit all 5 of us great. This particular room, because of it's location on the ship has a little more room than other family staterooms, so if you are booking a family stateroom try to get room 8200. When we walked in there was a sofa and 2 chairs. A separate room with a curtain had a queen size bed and another room with a closing door, contained 2 bunk beds for the kids. The bathroom amazed me. How they could fit so much in such a small space. Each of the 3 rooms had a full closet with shelves, so there was more than enough room for all our stuff. The height under the bed was also great. It allowed up to easily fit all of our roller luggage underneath it. Our room steward Nathalie arrived immediately and introduced herself. SHE WAS AWESOME! She took such great care of us all week. We had a stomach bug run through the cabin and hit each of us for 2 days on the cruise. Nathalie would coordinate when to clean the room that was best for us. She really made the week for us. I commended her to Martin the Hotel Director. Martin, I know you are watching, so make sure you go thank Nathalie for us,. You promised!!! The first things we did were check out our table location in the dining room and sent my sister-in-law to make all our spa appointments. This is key since the spa appointments fill up, especially on sea days. Next, I was off to find my partners in crime....Reina, Mike and Ben. I called them on the phone. I went to meet them in their Owner's Suite...It was beautiful. We then ventured out for lunch at the Windjammer together. The food was very good for a buffet with an excellent selection. What other's have said though is true...the food can be lukewarm sometimes and by the time you get to your table and through all the selections on the buffet it can be cold. Best idea, get your hot selections last right before you sit down. The first night we went to dinner (first seating) and it was done at 5:30 p.m. to accommodate the muster drill at 10:00 p.m. Our tablemates were great. We really had a nice time with them all week. They had sailed on Voyager last year. It was two couples and a single guy from Cleveland (they guys had all been college roommates) If they are reading this, hello to Tom, Tony, Julie, Wendy and Jim ! Dinner in the dining room was "good". I am a food snob, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. Never did we have a bad meal. It was always good with a good selection. Our waiter Zafer and assistant waiter Cornel were great. Thank you guys for a great week.! You have to understand when they are making 5,000 Filet Mignons for an evening, you can't grill them. They need to be done in a convection oven, so you loose that "grilled" taste. I like my meat rare and everytime I ordered it rare it came out rare. Great job kitchen, that is not an easy feet. We were at table 349, which was along the windows. It was a great location. There were 2 tables of 10 or 12 across the aisle from us. It contained 3 sets of parents in total and all the kids were under 10. These kids were so obnoxious, fighting, climbing under the tables (including ours) and running around constantly. These parents did not do a thing. The third morning, I complained to the headwaiter, saying that I was afraid a waiter might get hurt with these kids under foot. He promised to do something, but nothing was ever done. That is why there was no tip for him at the end of the week. These people and their kids were a pain in the butt. The women in the group sat at the blackjack table the first night at sea and did nothing but bitch. The husbands looked like they were going out to change the oil in the car on the formal nights in the Dining Room. They arrived in short sleeve shirts and shorts on Formal Night's. The headwaiters should really turn people away when they show up on a formal night like this. These families (especially the adults) just totally lacked any respect or class the whole week. And by the looks of the diamonds on the wives hands, they could afford it, they just lacked respect.... Just after we departed San Juan on Sunday night, the ship started rocking. Not bad by my standards, but my wife and daughter were having a hard time with it. We had 30 mile an hour winds and choppy seas all night and thru the first day at sea. My daughter took Bonnine, but the first day at sea, I bought her the bracelets in the General Store on board. Neither worked 100% for her. I think it was a little psychological for her and she was starting to get that bug that went through the cabin. On the sea day, I decided to lean how to play blackjack. Bad idea....Lost my shirt this week. Great dealers all week. Especially, Samantha from the U.K. She was hysterical. We laughed our butt off with her. Now to talk about the ports of call. I will not bore you with every detail. I will try to tell you some good hints here and things that helped. First, all ports are docking ports. AOS does not tender at any of these ports. Additionally, I found in each port close to the dock an Internet Cafe (I didn't get to go at each port though). Save your money on the ship. Internet access is $.50 per minute on the ship. The Internet cafe in Aruba was $3.00 for a half-hour. I did not do the cyber cabin option, so I can't help anyone there. Aruba We did the Atlantis Submarine in the morning, which was really fun, especially if you have kids. We did the sunset catamaran cruise late in the day, which was great too. I had decided since we were going to be in Aruba until 1:00 a.m., we would go for dinner off the ship. I had made reservations at El Gaucho over the Internet a few weeks before we left. It was AWESOME. El Gaucho is an Argentinean beef restaurant. I had the best Filet Mignon I have ever had in my life. It was huge. The price for dinner including tip for 5 of us was $137. Very reasonable. Take a cab there from the dock. You can walk it, but it's a little bit of a hike. Curacao We did the snorkel trip here. It was great. Huge fish and a great tug wreck you swim over. Other than that, we had a lazy day in Curacao because we had the Cruise Critic party at 3:30 p.m. Thanks again Reina and Mike for coordinating the party. It was great. And a huge thanks to Captain Remo for his great hospitality. As Reina has stated already, the entire executive staff was there. Their presence at the party showed how important it is to the Captain and executive crew that people have a wonderful time and report back about what a great vacation they had. The issues posted here are watched closely by the Captain and his staff (Hello again Martin !!!) As I have stated already, Martin and the Captain always made sure to greet me the remainder of the week. It really made you feel special to constantly be asked how everything was going or if they could do any more for you. They couldn't, I was having too much fun!!! St. Maarten I was ill this day so I had to forgo the excursions. The rest of our crew went on the island tour and horseback riding on the beach. Horseback riding was pretty good, but the island tour was not. Our group was on an overflow bus and the tour guide never showed up, so $80 for a bus ride we could have done for $1.50! I complained to the excursion desk on board but never heard anything back about getting my money refunded. Martin, if your watching could you have someone from the Excursion Desk email me at the above listed address? I would really appreciate it! This is where to do your duty free shopping! Don't go to the first shop off the ship though, there are tons in town that really compete with each other. Examples: Cigarettes - $10.99 per carton (usually $50.00 per carton here in Boston). 1 liter bottle of Grand Marnier - $16.95 (usually $38-$42 at home). Both these prices beat the ship store by a lot. St. Thomas Was planning on going to St. John to Trunk Bay but still being sick I stuck close to the ship. Just walked to town. LONG WALK. It took me about 45 minutes and it was hot as hell. Took a cab back. Take a cab to town here folks. You can bargain price the cab drivers here. DO NOT PAY MORE THAN $2.50 each way to town. They will try to quote you $3.00 and up, but tell them someone else quoted you $2.50 and start to walk away. They will come down in price. Well, that about does it for my review. Again, if I missed anything, please email me at the above email address and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have. My thanks go out to everyone who uses Cruise Critic's message boards. Everyone has provided great information for me as a first time cruiser. I hope that my review here can help others as well. To my Cruise Critic boat mates, thank you for making this an awesome vacation for my family and me. Most of all, thank you to Captain Remo, his beautiful wife Tovo, Martin, Kirk, Darin and all the staff aboard AOS for making this the best vacation on earth. We will definitely sail on this beautiful vessel again. Bon Voyage for now ! bill.kennedy@fmr.comJanuary 2002 Read Less
I'm going to go into great detail with this review, just like I did on the last one. Please keep in mind that this is the largest cruise ship in the world if my review appears too run a little long . My husband Brian and I are in ... Read More
I'm going to go into great detail with this review, just like I did on the last one. Please keep in mind that this is the largest cruise ship in the world if my review appears too run a little long . My husband Brian and I are in our mid-thirties and this was our fifth cruise together and the second one of which I have written a review. 12/09/01 ----- San Juan, Puerto Rico We just returned to San Juan from a 7 day cruise on Carnival Destiny so you may see me make a lot of comparisons in my review. We left the boat when our color tag was called at about 10:30. We were hoping to hang out for awhile longer since we would not be able to board Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas until 2pm. We got off the ship and took a cab to Barrachino's restaurant where we had been told by the cruise director on Carnival that they would store our luggage for a few hours (we tipped $5). That was very nice because it would have been really difficult to walk around Old San Juan with 5 pieces of luggage. The sidewalks were barely wide enough for 2 people to pass each other let alone drag luggage without it falling off the curb into traffic. Then we were at a loss for things to do. We had already explored Old San Juan the week before when we arrived in Puerto Rico. We were really tired because we had stayed up really late the night of the 8th because it was our last night on the Carnival Destiny and we had put off packing as long as possible. So we just walked around. We walked down to the gates of the governor's mansion. The street leading to the entrance gate was all decorated for Christmas and the house itself had a very large wreath and many pretty decorations as well. We were getting a little hungry so we stopped into a McDonald's to eat. Since we just got done with a 7 day cruise, we were used to eating like every 2 hours so we couldn't wait to get on the Adventure of Seas to eat! I can't remember what we ordered, but the kid working the counter didn't get it right and it was doubtful that he spoke any English. He was getting very frustrated with us and finally his supervisor who hardly spoke any English came over and straightened it out. The frustration with us for speaking English and not Spanish ticked us off a little bit. I mean we are after all still in a territory of the United States, right? Are the children in Puerto Rico not taught to speak English in School? And what happened to being polite to customers instead of getting mad at them? But hey, we could be a little crabby too from lack of sleep. After our less than satisfying lunch we walked back to Barrachino's to pick up our luggage and call a cab. The cab took us to the new Royal Caribbean terminal, which we are told is the largest and newest cruise terminal in the world. He pulled right up to a porter and gave our bags directly to him ( On Carnival, we had to lug our bags with us for the 2 hours it took to get to the security point). So already we were thinking, this was great and happily we got into a line that wasn't too large and was let inside the terminal (we didn't have to wait outside at all). Once inside, we followed the crowd to many rows of chairs and this is where the process got a little confusing. There wasn't any one directing traffic so no one really knew where to go, so we all just took some seats. Then we observed a line that was moving directly to the left of the chairs. So we all got up and joined the line which promptly stopped. Another line was now forming on the right side of the chairs and now it was moving. So we weren't sure if we were where we were supposed to be or not. The other line kept moving while ours moved a little. While we waited in line, a couple of people dressed in bright orange jumpsuits came through the line cooling people off with fans and misting people down with spray bottles and being extremely funny. We found out later that they were the Royal Caribbean "Krooz Komics" who were a big highlight of the cruise we were about to take. But even with this amusing distraction our line still was not going anywhere fast. We all observed people that were just coming into the terminal get into that other line and move right on through. When we finally got close to the front row of chairs, we saw someone directing people from the other line to sit in the front row of chairs. She would then wait for the line of people she just let through to get a little smaller, then she would tell those people sitting down to get up and go through ahead of us. Then she took more people from that other line on the right of the chairs. We were all getting pretty disgusted by this and finally someone spoke up and wanted to know why our line to the left wasn't moving. She got pretty snippy saying that we weren't in the right line and blah blah blah. Well if someone would have directed us instead of just ignoring the mile long line that had formed, maybe we all wouldn't have been so upset. Finally she let us through and we never did figure out what all the rows of chairs were for. Once we got past that, the line went fairly fast to the check in counter. We got our super charge cards and were then directed to another line to talk to a supervisor. Brian had asked what the cost and possibility of a room upgrade would be and we were directed to a supervisor. There was a small line formed there and apparently we weren't the only ones that had that in mind. When we got up to her, we asked and she looked at our super charge card and said, "but you are already in a category D7 balcony room" We said we were wondering about upgrading to a suite. She said it would be $1000 more each. Oh, ok - never mind! It never hurts to try, right? So we proceeded along and boarded the wondrous Adventure of the Seas. 12/09/01 ----- Day 1 ---- Afternoon aboard the Adventure of the Seas The moment we set foot on the Adventure of the Seas, we were awestruck. Only the words "WOW" would come out of either of our mouths. And this was just within walking a few feet onto Deck 4 of the boat and looking at an elevator area and over a banister into a bar (It was the Schooner Bar, but I didn't know it then). We used the stairs to begin the journey to our room. The stairs are more spread out and not as steep as Carnival's and easier to take even up many flights. The entire ship right down to the carpeting was brand new, beautiful and cushy. Everywhere we turned, we saw a piece of artwork and this is just on the way to our room! We were surprised that artwork was even displayed on the very hallways to the cabins. There were many millions of dollars worth of art pieces and displays on this ship. Our room was located on deck 7 at the aft of the ship just down the hall from a beautiful library facility. The library was designed with dark woods and warm colors and extremely comfortable furniture. It was 3 stories with the Internet cafe on the upper floor and a sort of cruise consultant office with models ships of the Royal Caribbean fleet on the deck below. This library was open 24 hours and was very large with the most incredible selection of books written both in English and Spanish. By comparison, Carnival's libraries are open maybe an hour or two everyday and are quite small. I liked it in there a lot and always wished I could spend time in it every time I passed it to and from our room. But it seemed like we were always doing something and I didn't pick up a book during the entire cruise. When we got to our room we found that the door was propped open. It looked ready so we went in but didn't want to get comfortable just in case. I found our cabin steward Teodore down the hall and he wasn't upset that we just let ourselves in but said he wasn't quite ready. We said that was okay, and that we were going to just drop off our carry on bag and begin exploring the ship. Our exploration took a great deal of time because this boat is 140,000 tons of non stop beauty. Carnival's largest ship the Destiny that we just got off of was 101,000 tons by comparison. The attractive color scheme on this ship along the hallways to the cabins and in the cabins themselves was in mostly blues and peaches. It was SO different from any of the Carnival ships that we have been on that it is hard to describe because the differences are like night and day. At either end on The Adventure of the Seas on many of the decks, we could gaze down onto the Promenade Deck. The Promenade was a wondrous street with shops and bars and cafes running alongside complete with lamp posts. There was a restored purple and beige 1939 Citroen Roadster with leather interior in front of the Gravity Sports Bar (that was a sports bar with TV's obviously) and many little tables with chairs right outside the pubs and cafes so you could sit on the "street" and have your drink or whatever. Many of the interior cabins had windows that looked down on the promenade - so I'm sure it was like looking down on a street. I hope you can picture this from my description because it was quite amazing. We stopped at the Duck and Dog Pub, an English type pub for a Guinness. We were happy to find Royal Caribbean also had Guinness, but like Carnival, they didn't have any other beer I liked except Amstel. There was a little stairway that led from the Promenade street down to the largest casino at sea. The Casino Royale Hollywood was really nice and had a classic early Hollywood theme to it. At the entrance, there was a hole in the floor enclosed with glass that you could walk on. In the hole was Hollywood memorabilia (ruby red slippers, etc), gambling tokens, film reels, old time newspapers and stuff like that. Many of the slot machines had TV or movie related themes, like the I Dream of Jeanie, the Munsters, Pink Panther and those kind of things. The roulette wheels had pewter like tops with Marilyn Monroe on one and King Kong on another. We tried to see everything this first day, but it was just impossible. The many bars and lounges we walked through that first day were really nice. Another difference between the Adventure of the Seas and carnival was that Carnival's lounges are all like rooms off to the sides while on this ship they were so open. The bars weren't in separate rooms, but were just there when you came down or up a flight of stairs or out of the elevators. It is very hard to explain, but it made it all seem so roomy and nice because there were not many walls and doors separating areas. The Schooner Bar was probably the nicest in my opinion. It was located just outside the casino and had a sailing motif with really dark wood and boat type decorations. It smelled so good - you know - that nice wood smell. Most of the bars had no smoking sections too which was really nice. Brian's favorite, the Champagne Bar was completely non smoking and was decorated with tubes that had bubbles in it to look like champagne. At this bar you could order a bottle of champagne or wine and if you didn't finish it, they would cork it and keep it for you until another day. Then we came across Studio B which was the ice rink. It is too cool to have an ice rink on a cruise ship! And it isn't just a rink, it is a showroom with many seats. They have professional ice skaters on this cruise that put on a fantastic show. Then we found the Lyric Theater where they will have all the other shows. They have a peacock curtain on the stage that is just beautiful. The seating is just like movie theater seating is which was for us a lot better than Carnival because there are very few things to obstruct your view. They also have drink holders on the chair's arms rather than tables so there is room for a lot more seats than what Carnival has. By this time several hours had passed and we haven't even gone back to our room to see if our bags had arrived to unpack yet! On the Promenade deck, there were guys dressed like fools stopping people to talk to them. No, really they were dressed in medieval jester garb. They were from the restaurant Portofino's which is an alternative dining experience located on deck 12 that cost $20 per person. It came highly recommended by most of the reviews we had read, so we decided to make a reservation. We asked him if he knew which night that the main dining room wasn't serving anything real interesting and he said that Tuesday night was Caribbean night. That sounds like a night we wouldn't mind missing, so that was when we reserved to go to Portofino's. Next we made a quick tour of the magnificent three story dining room to check on our table assignment before heading off to explore the upper decks. There are 15 decks on the Adventure of the Seas compared to 12 on the Destiny. On deck 11 we checked out the spa and gym where we would spend a lot of time through out the week to come. Outside from the spa is the Solarium Pool area which is an adults only area. It has one pool and two large hot tubs. There was also a larger main pool area for everyone that was very large with 2 pools and 4 hot tubs (I think - don't remember for sure). Also on deck 11 we found the Island Grill and Windjammer Cafe which were the buffet style dining options on the ship. There were floor to ceiling windows looking out so it was really bright and cheery. There were more areas to get food at and though I never thought the food was quite as good as Carnival's, there was more of a selection. The tables did not have silverware settings like Carnival so we always had to remember to get silverware. We only ate here a couple of times for lunch and I will tell you why later. Can you say Johnny Rockets??? We continued up and up and found the Sky Chapel on deck 15. It was a very nice little chapel for anyone who would like to get married on the ship. There wasn't an elevator that went all the way to the top, but the stairs were set up to take people who were in wheelchairs or who couldn't walk up stairs to the top. One deck down from the Sky Chapel (deck 14) were a couple of more bars, the Blue Moon Piano - Jazz bar had floor to ceiling windows that overlooked the pool areas which were on deck 11 and the jogging track which was on deck 12 below us. On the other side of the Blue Moon is the Hole in One Bar (golfing decor) that overlooks the Sports Deck. This bar has a contraption that is enclosed in glass that has a bunch of golf balls that go through a series of pulleys and chains that depending how the ball hits goes on in whatever direction and goes through loops and other maze type things until it reaches the bottom where it starts all over again. It is really hard to describe but tons of fun to watch. Also on this deck is the High Note Piano Lounge and the Seven of Hearts Card room. This particular piano lounge was pretty much just a room with a piano in it and we missed any activity that took place here. The card room had all sorts of board games and a couple of tables to sit down and play. Then we went down to deck 13 which is the most incredible deck you would ever expect to see on a cruise ship. The Sports Deck has a basketball/volleyball court, in-line skating rink, a 9 hole miniature golf course, a golf driving simulator AND a rock climbing wall! We decided to play a game of putt golf right away. I kicked Brian's butt. We continued our tour by returning to deck 12 where we found the arcade. It was very nice and much larger than any we had seen before on previous cruises. Just outside the arcade, we found our favorite place to eat and indulge in sinfully delicious milkshakes. Johnny Rockets is a 50's style diner complete with the nickel juke boxes on the tables. The terrific old 50's - 70's rock music was blaring when we walked in and the entire staff turned to us and hollered some very cheerful "hellos". We were seated in a booth and fries and onion rings with ranch dressing were brought to the table. This is great! All the food is free but the shakes and drinks are not. But boy are they GOOD! We decided to have the shake of the day which was the Orange Creamsicle flavor and it was to die for. Brian ordered one of the many specialty burgers and I had a BLT. They were both very good and the shake filled us up to the top. We knew we would definitely be coming back to this place - and we did so every single day. It was time to head back to the room and see if the luggage was there yet. It was so we spent the next hour unpacking. The room was very roomy and only slightly smaller than the room we had on the Destiny. It was a lot nicer. The bed was an actual queen size bed, not two twins pushed together. The bedding was very pretty and the bed was decorated with throw pillows that Teodore, our cabin steward had arranged in a different way each day. There was a very comfortable couch and a little glass coffee table. The bathroom was very small but the shower was so cool! It was circular and had a shower door instead of a curtain! There was plenty of closet and drawer space and the suitcases fit under the bed. The balcony was wider than the one on the Destiny and much more private. The door to the balcony was a sliding glass door instead of a regular open and close - which the wind always seemed to grab and slam - on the Destiny. It was just a nicer room in every aspect. Also we were happy to see that the Adventure of the Seas had laundry service so we got together everything we wanted pressed and set it out. 12/09/01 ----- Day 1 ---- Early evening aboard the Adventure of the Seas Before supper, we went to the Promenade street for the World of Adventure Parade. People lined the outer edges of the street while the staff closed off the middle with a rope that they had guests hold up. Then the parade began. Our cruise director, Ken Rush and 2 singers appeared on the bridge above the street. They entertained with music while Ken announced who was coming down the street in the parade. The Krooz Komics came through on stilts dancing and waving and having a grand old time. It is amazing how good they were on those stilts! The parade had some kind of "world" theme with crew and entertainers dressed in outfits depicting different parts and sport like activities from around the world. We had never seen anything like it before and it was pretty cool. It was hard to see unless you had a view from right up front. But at least everyone got to see the Krooz Komics because they were on stilts and I thought the best part anyway. Then we headed to supper in the Mozart Dining room. There were three dining rooms making up three floors of this beautiful, gigantic and absolutely breathtaking room. Piano and cello music was played during dining from the second floor. I wish we were on a lower floor because the gorgeous chandelier was not visible from our level on the third floor. This time we got the table for two that we requested (we didn't on Carnival which was fine because we completely enjoyed visiting with our table companions) Our Waiter's name was Moses and he was from Jamaica. Our Assistant Waiter, Mustafa was from Turkey and our Head Waiter's name was Jasper from Romania. We dined at the late seating on this cruise which was at 8:30. We had the early seating on the Destiny at 5:45 so it was kind of difficult to get used to the new schedule. We wanted to try both to see which seating we liked better. They both have their pros and cons, but I personally like the earlier seating a little better because it takes so long to eat all the courses. At the earlier seating, you can be done eating by 7:15 or so and have the rest of the night ahead of you to digest. At the late seating, when we finally finished sometimes barely before 10:00, it was hard to conjure up the energy to do anything but go to bed and let the fat settle onto our bodies. We finished eating with just enough time to head back to our rooms, grab our life jackets and head to our muster station for the boat drill. This is always the crummiest part of any cruise, but it usually only lasts a few minutes. This one, however; seemed to go on longer than usual. They finally let us go after 25 minutes by announcing that we were pulling away from San Juan. I know this is a very necessary thing to do, but who likes to think of emergencies when they are on vacation?! We then headed to the casino for complementary gaming lessons. We wanted to learn how to play craps. The girl who taught us, bless her heart, was extremely patient with us and went over many things again and again. We finally grasped a very basic understanding and played for awhile. It was it was a bit more than we could concentrate on and when we finally got to a point where we broke even, we called it quits. We decided to stick to the less stressful games that we totally understand and feel more comfortable playing. I didn't note it, but Brian says we won $65 the first night. Then exhausted from this very long day we decided to return to our cabin and call it a night. 12/10/01 --- Adventure of the Seas ----- Day at Sea ------ Formal night At 7:30 we were up and off to the Ship Shape Center. It was the best fitness facility I have ever been in (which isn't very many sadly). I immediately fell in love with a machine that you step on and jog and work your arms at the same time. They had about 12 of them and I never had any problem getting one all week. After a little bit of a work out, we headed outside to the Solarium Pool. This was one of our favorite places. The pool had a couple of lion head fountains spraying a stream of water into the pool and there was also a hidden fountain that would spray lines of water on us at different intervals. We had a good time trying to figure out when the water would start again to try to avoid it. We had the pool and the entire Solarium all to ourselves for awhile. We sat in one of the two large hot tubs and then relaxed on the comfortably padded deck loungers against the floor to ceiling window that the sun was shining brilliantly through. Ahhhhh, it was so nice. The hot tubs were actually heated and hot tubs are supposed to be heated, but the Destiny's didn't seem to be. The deck was completely surrounded with windows (the area above the pool was exposed to the sun) so there were no wooden railings or anything to obstruct the view. We went to Johnny Rockets for shakes. The shake of the day was the "Elvis" - which was peanut butter and banana of course! It was excellent! We spent the day doing numerous things, mostly exploring areas we missed yesterday. Up near the bow was a peek-a-boo window where we could look in on the captain's bridge and there was also a helicopter pad at the very front of the ship. I would like to see a helicopter land there. I'm sure it couldn't be done too easily, but it would still be a cool thing to see if we weren't moving of course. In front of the pad is the bow where we did the "Titanic - King of the world" thing. That was extremely cool. It is hard to explain the feeling of the ocean spread out in front of you while this 140,000 ton ship is propelling you forward from behind you. It was such a beautiful sunny day. The wind whipped through our hair and well.... Wow. Then we explored the outer areas of some decks and found shuffleboard! Oh for fun. Brian and I played a few games making up our own rules and I kicked his behind once again. I may be no match for him in many sports but apparently I'm pretty good at miniature golf and shuffleboard! There were many activities we could have joined in on throughout the day. Royal Caribbean has the belly flop competitions and other silly things just like Carnival, but of course they also have the entire sports deck and ice rink to play on. We didn't go out there this day because we thought it would be jammed packed with people since we were not at a port. I was very happy to just play shuffleboard. We headed inside, went to the casino and played black jack on and off through out the day. Just about every time we were in the vicinity of the casino, we stopped in for a few hands. The blackjack shoes are different than any I have seen before. Carnival has 6 deck shoes and they shuffle when they come to the card they insert about 3/4 of the way through the decks. On Royal Caribbean, the dealer would insert the discarded cards after a couple of hands right back into an automated shuffling machine and I guess it shuffles randomly. This cuts down on time when the dealer would be shuffling instead of taking your money. I like seeing the dealer shuffle. Then I know all the cards are there and it is easy to set a time when to quit. Usually we would play one or two shoes. Now we had to set a definite time when to quit. We won a little over $100 through out the day. Ken, the cruise director made an announcement that there was going to be a bingo game in the Imperial Lounge for a room upgrade to an owners' suite. We don't play bingo on cruises unless we are really bored, but this sounded better than a cash prize to us. So we decided to go. The Imperial Lounge had an Japanese motif that was really cool. It cost $30 to play bingo which we thought was pretty ridiculous once we found out that the room upgrade game wasn't going to be played until later that day anyway, so we decided not to play. I wonder who won and what the room was like. That would have been awesome - but we were very happy with our balcony room. And since I didn't see the room that was given away, I don't know what we missed out on. We went to a wine tasting in the dining room. We have been to these before, but this one was a little different in that for the $6.00 fee, you get a very little cup thing on a chain to drink your wine out of. It was also supposed to be your souvenir. This was pretty silly because it was so shallow that when the waiters came around to fill it, many times it overflowed onto the tablecloth. We ate a lot of cheese and tried to listen to the speaker that was trying to educate us on the wines, but even though we really didn't get that much wine, by the time we were half way through the wines, all the tables were talking amongst themselves and having a good time. So we didn't learn anything, but it was enjoyable. We listened to the music of the Rosario Strings at the lobby Aquarium bar where I also had an awesome banana daiquiri. The band consisted of a piano, cello and a violin player. They played the prettiest relaxing melodies I have ever heard. The Aquarium Bar was a bar that had a couple of large aquariums. There were not very many fish though. We were kind of disappointed in that one because we had pictured it quite differently from what we had read about it. But THAT was no big deal. It was still a really nice and quiet bar with comfortable furniture. We had Filet Mignon at supper that night. I ordered my steak medium and it was well done. I can eat medium well, but I don't like well done too much. Moses had no problem taking it back for another one. I cut into it and it wasn't much better, but I wasn't going to complain again. I don't like being a pain in the butt so I was just going to eat it. But Moses appeared from behind me and whisked it away muttering that it was way too done! The third steak was perfect. Brian told me later that Moses was right behind me waiting for me to cut into it looking to make sure it was right. That was really nice. Moses, Mustafa and Jasper showed up with a birthday cake for Brian even though it wasn't his birthday. It had coconut in the frosting. Nummm. >From here we went to the "Can't Stop the Rock" show in the Lyric Theatre. It was incredible and by far the best show we have ever seen on a cruise. There were four vocalists and lots of dancers. One girl sang "I will always love you" that gave Whitney a run for her money (of course I have always liked Dolly's version better). They sang and danced to songs from classic movies like "Where the Boys Are", "All that Jazz", "The Graduate", "Valley of the Dolls", "The Rose" and modern ones like "She's All That" The crowd gave them a standing ovation. Next we went to Jester's Night Club. This was a two story disco with a fantastic medieval motif. They were playing 80s stuff when we got there so we were like "hey cool - let's dance!" Almost immediately, the music changed to the modern dance stuff. Darn it anyway. But we danced a little bit anyway. It was fun and we felt young again for a little while anyway. We decided to call it quits and went back to our room around midnight. We slept really good with the balcony door open letting the sound of the ocean put us to sleep. 12/11/01 ----- Day 3 ----- Aruba We were up at 7am again. We went to the Solarium for a swim. I was determined to get a little bit of a work out since we did not go to the gym. I am not a very good swimmer, so it didn't take very long to wear me out. We sat in a hot tub and relaxed. Again we had the Solarium area to ourselves. The early mornings are a great time to take advantage of the solitude. We didn't notice the day before that there were shower stalls right next to the hot tubs. That was a nice thing to have. Next we went to breakfast in the Island Grill or maybe it was the Windjammer Cafe. The Adventure had their buffet style dining set up split into two restaurants. They were right next to each other and from what we could see they both served about the same buffet. I don't know why they didn't just give it one name. It was the usual buffet style breakfast, so Brian had an omelet. I had cereal, fruit, part of Brian's omelet and of course coffee. We were docked in Aruba, but we did not get off the ship. We were just there the previous Friday on the Carnival Destiny and did a terrific excursion that covered the whole island. We also bought some edam and gouda cheeses at a local grocery store that was currently being kept chilled in the fridge in our room. One of these days when we are not so full, we plan to snack on them. Like we are ever going to actually be hungry on this cruise. I would have liked to have gone snorkeling at Baby Beach since many people have said that was the best snorkeling they have ever done. Oh well, maybe next time since of course there will be a next time! We spent a few hours just relaxing on our balcony and enjoying the quiet time. We had good intentions of going up to the sports deck, but never got around to it. That day, Brian and I did something that we have never done before. We decided to pamper ourselves and get massages. We were both pretty shy about the whole thing, but it turned out to be a wonderful experience. For $85, we were rubbed down and had all our stresses - which were not many - away. I didn't want the hour to end. Who would have thought that a person could be so relaxed. When it was over, the girl left me to get dressed and came back with products that she believed I needed to continue my "treatment". I didn't have a massage for continued treatments. I just wanted the treat part. It was difficult to decline the products because I was in such a relaxed state that just about everything she said to me I could only manage a nod through a euphoric daze. Brian who is so much better at turning down sales solicitations that he doesn't need than I am, came out with $100 worth of lotions. I guess he was in a deeper daze than me. The pitch that nailed him was the girl telling him that after each shower, his "wife" should rub the lotion into his back. Yeah, in your dreams buddy. The next day when we eventually came down from our relaxed state, he decided he would have rather spent that money on yet another massage. Oh well, live and learn. The rest of the day we walked around on a cloud. I don't think much of anything would have annoyed us that day. We wondered from bar to bar just relaxing and having a drink here and there. We didn't even talk that much. We would once in a while just sigh and comment on what a nice day it was. I wish I could be in that state all the time. We had a reservation for the fine Italian restaurant, Portofino's that night. There is a $20 cover charge per person to dine here. We ate a lot of food and drank a bottle of wine. We had shrimp appetizer, Caesar salads, scallops and a really good Tiramisu for dessert. It was good. We certainly wouldn't think twice about spending more than $20 off the ship in a fine restaurant and we have, but we didn't necessarily find Portofino's to be as fine as we expected or that much better than the food and presentation in our dining room. The wait staff was good, but they were very busy. There was a lot of down time between courses. But since we were still in our "relaxed state of mind from the massages" it didn't bother us too much. It was a nice dining experience and we're glad we did it. After we finally finished eating we headed to the casino, where we promptly lost $200 playing black jack - oops! We must have been a little too relaxed and not cautious enough. Then we went to the Love and Marriage Game Show in the Lyric Theatre. Ken, the cruise director picked 3 couples from the audience. One newlyweds, one married for awhile and the other married the longest - 51 years. They had the spouses leave while Ken asked silly questions that the spouses that stayed on stage had to figure out what their other halves would answer. It was really funny. We enjoyed it very much. We would not have done very well with the questions they asked, like "what is the sexiest piece of clothing that your wife owns" or "where is the weirdest place you have ever - you know" We played along with each other and always had completely different answers. At 11:30, there was a deck party at the pool which we decided to check it out. It was windy and somewhat rainy and crowded by the pools, but it was quiet at the Solarium pools. We decided to get into our swimsuits and sit in a hot tub for the second time today. We could still hear the music, and it was quiet and nice. We watched our 1am departure from Aruba while sitting on our balcony and then went to bed. 12/12/01 ----- Day 4 --- Wednesday ------ Curacao On this day we slept in until 9am, grabbed a quick bite in the Island Grill and made our way back to the room to relax on the balcony with some coffee. >From our balcony, we looked down upon the town of Willemstad, Curacao at the brightly colored Dutch colonial houses and shops. The Queen Juliana Bridge that connected the two sides of the town loomed largely in the background. Curacao which is the largest of the Netherlands Antilles located 39 miles off the coast of Venezuela between Aruba and Bonaire, was a beautiful port with a landscape that appeared to be similar to Aruba's. Since we had not been to Curacao before, we decided to get off the Adventure of the Seas and walk around. This was the first time we had been off the ship since we boarded on Sunday so it was the first time we saw the expanse of it. It went on forever - just amazing. We tried taking pictures with the whole ship in view and had to keep going further and further away from it. The shopping district was on the other side of the Queen Emma pontoon bridge. We started to cross it and realized that it was moving to allow a boat to pass by. When we reached the other end, we waited for the bridge to return to the land and we stepped off. We went shopping and found the stores and stands were very much the same as elsewhere, but all the touristy trinket type stuff was pretty cheap. So we bought a couple of items and I bought a hot pink short outfit for $10. If it shrinks or falls apart in the wash, I'm not out that much. Venezuelan vendors set up a fish and produce along the floating market which is along the waterside where they tie up their boats. I didn't recognize some of the produce and I definitely couldn't tell you what kind of fish we saw, but it was interesting to look at. We were going to do a trolley town tour, but the guide didn't have change for a $50 bill. I guess it would have been wiser to schedule the excursion from the ship even though it would have cost more. But we had not planned on doing this tour until we saw the trolley. We read up on both Aruba and Curacao prior to doing the cruises and came to the conclusion that they were similar. We did a fantastic excursion of Aruba on the Destiny the week before so we don't feel like we missed out on anything in Curacao. It was getting pretty warm, so we decided to head back to the ship. We went for a swim in the solarium pool, relaxed for awhile and then headed to Johnny Rockets for lunch. We had burgers and a strawberry shake. Oh, strawberry is my absolute favorite and I can't tell you enough about how good those shakes were. You are going to just have to get one yourself when you sail on this cruise ship! If the shakes aren't enough of an incentive to book this cruise, I don't know what could be. The staff at Johnny Rockets danced to "Old Time Rock and Roll" They were so much fun to watch. After leaving Johnny Rockets feeling like the blobs we were, we went to the Ship Shape Center and each did a steam. There was a steam room and a sauna in the changing rooms. But of course they were gender segregated, so Brian and I couldn't do a steam together, just at the same time. This is the first steam I had done and I liked it better than a sauna because I didn't get too hot. Later that afternoon, I had an appointment to get my hair permed. I have gotten a perm about every two years my entire life, but have never used the salon services on a cruise before. According to the booklet they had of prices, a perm for my length of hair was cheaper at $85 than what I usually pay. Since we were not spending much time off the ship at the ports, I decided to take the time and get a perm. My appointment was at 4:30 and we had tickets to see the ice show at 7:00. I didn't think my appointment would take over 2 hours since it never has in the past, but I checked ahead of time anyway to make sure my hair would be done in time for the show. The girl at the desk said there would be no problem. I was on time for my appointment, but didn't get sat in the chair until 4:45. The girl asked how I wanted my perm. I said that I usually get spiral perms, but this time I just wanted just a wave with some body to it. I told her how often I get perms and that my hair permed very easily and I never needed the solution on for the entire time. She said ok and we got started. She said she would trim my hair when we were finished to give it a lift. I said that was fine - (that's standard procedure when you get a perm besides I just had a hair cut before this vacation.) We made some small talk while she rolled my hair. I mentioned that I was happy to see that the perm prices were so reasonable, she agreed. After the solution was put in, she put me under a dryer and said the solution should stay in 20 minutes, but she would check me between 10 and 15. I said good - because I definitely didn't need 20 minutes. In the meantime, she had a couple of other appointments come in. I kept an eye on my watch. She did not come back until after 20 minutes. She said - "How are we doing?" I told her - "I'm DONE!" She took a curler out and exclaimed that yes indeed I was done. She noticed my eyes were burning from the chemicals and applied a soothing eye mask that was very nice. She put the other solution in and put me back under the dryer. She took care of more clients. I was starting to get a little worried about the time. I wasn't sure I would be done in time for the ice show. Finally she came back and we rinsed. I mentioned what time the ice show was and then she went a little faster. (I don't think she had any intention of getting me out of there before 7:30 at the rate she was taking other clients) As she was taking off the curlers, she asked me what kind of make up I wore. I told her that I have used Mary Kay all my life, that I loved it and that my sister was my consultant. She showed me a jar of some kind of brown powder. I didn't pay much attention because I wasn't interested. I wanted to get going! I knew my hair was going to be curly and it was... So much for a little body wave. But it looked good. She put in a protein thing - that isn't standard procedure for the perms I have had - and left me for a few minutes again while she worked on someone else. She came back, rinsed me and started the trim. At 6:40, Brian walked in ready to go to the ice show. I told him I was just about done. She finished my extremely poofy do and then grabbed that make up jar and did my face in 30 seconds. I looked good! I thought she had done that as something nice to do, but when she rang up my bill, I found I was charged for it! I was also charged for the protein treatment and eye mask that I didn't ask for AND the haircut! I was shocked. Never in my life have I been charged extra for a trim after a perm. She gave me a break and only charged $65 for the perm, but with all the other services including a bottle of shampoo (which I was planning to buy), the total was $140! We were really cutting it close to get to the ice show and I was in such shock that I didn't know what to say anyway, so I didn't dispute the charges. But I wish I had. I realize this has been a very long story, but I hope that anyone that reads this becomes aware to watch for the hidden charges in the salon. I felt like I was really taken advantage of. But the perm is very nice and will hopefully last a long time. We made it with just a few minutes to spare to catch the Cool Art, Hot Ice Show in the Studio B ice arena. The Krooz Komics appeared prior to the show and did an excellent job of entertaining the crowd. We sat fairly close to the ice and at times the skaters came flying almost right in our faces. It is amazing that they don't go flying over the wall at times. They went through many cool costume changes and had the neatest props on the ice. It was just like any other dance type show on a cruise, but they were on skates and were so excellent. Once again, this was yet another incredible entertainment show and the crowd gave a very loud standing ovation. After supper, we went to the celebrity show in the Lyric Theatre. We were in for a treat. A group called Rain did a wonderful tribute concert ( Beatlemania style) to the Beatles. They dressed, talked and sang like the Beatles and changed costumes as they went through the Beatles chronicle of music. George Harrison had just died the week before, so it was even more special to hear this tribute band play his contributions. We then went to the casino of course and played some black jack and won $55. Then we headed over to the Promenade street to briefly view the end of the Latin Street party before going back to the room. We spent some time on the balcony and went to bed. 12/13/01 ---- Day 5 ---- Day at sea ---- Formal night We stayed in bed until 10:00am ! Aaahhh, that was so nice. Then we went to the Cafe Promenade, which is Royal Caribbean's version of the Cafe on the Way that I loved so much on the Destiny. We got a couple of cappuccinos and pastries and found seats just outside the cafe on the street where the Krooz Komics were demonstrating the art of being a clown. They gave a brief history while they put on make up. It was really interesting and for a fleeting moment I thought it would be really cool to have a career as a clown. But I don't think I could be in such a good mood all the time. From here we went back to the room and watched on CNN the video tape that was just released of Bin Laden yucking it up with an admirer. It was horrifying and chilling to watch that monster talk, laugh and praise himself. We went to the casino and played a little of everything. I won some on roulette, black jack and slots but Brian lost so much that we didn't come out ahead. We lost about $45 total that day. Oh well, you can't win all the time. HA! - no kidding. Since we got up so late and had those pastries, we skipped lunch and by mid-afternoon, we were getting hungry - but believe it or not - not hungry enough for Johnny Rockets' burgers and shakes! We were actually getting tired of eating all the time. I didn't think that was possible! There were afternoon snacks being served at the Windjammer cafe so we headed up there. There was a bunch of food there, not what I would call a light snack. We loaded up our plates with various items. Brian found strawberry crepes that were excellent so we both ate a bunch of those. Then we went out to the sports deck and watched a volley ball game being played and people climbing the rock wall. It was way too windy for my new perm to be out there playing miniature golf, so we were content to sit outside the 19th Hole Bar with a couple of bloody mary's and watch every one else be physical. The ship really rocked all day long - just as it had the last day we were on the Destiny. I guess these bigger ships aren't as stable as we thought they would be. But the movement didn't seem to bother anyone playing sports. We then continued our bar hopping and moved on to the Blue Moon bar that overlooked the pool area. An extremely drunk girl who was dancing down by the pool caught our eye and we had a great time making up conversations that she was having with her boyfriend or husband because they appeared to be arguing. She stumbled away for awhile and then came back, then he left and she left and then they both came back and seemed to eventually make up. I have a feeling they missed supper that night and woke up with headaches the next day. Then we went to the Champagne bar because I wanted to try one of the many champagne cocktail concoctions they make there. Paul and Ringo from the Beatles tribute band, Rain came in and we complemented them on their show and they responded very nicely. They sat at the bar for awhile and appeared to be having a nice time. It was getting to be time to head back to the room to get ready for supper. But for the first time ever in the history of our cruising, we decided to skip supper! Gasp! I missed steak and lobster! I know - something crazy must have come over us! But we were tiring of the two hour meals. We went to the early seating in the Lyric Theatre for the entertainment show "Behind The Velvet Rope". It was incredible and the singers and dancers were so talented that the audience gave them a standing ovation once again. After the show, we went to Jesters Nightclub for awhile. It was still pretty early and it was not very exciting there yet. We drank a couple of beers, danced one dance and left because viewing of the Gala Buffet was about to begin. The buffet was definitely on scale with Carnivals if not better. By midnight we were STARVING! (That's what we get for skipping supper!) We decided to only take pictures and not to wait in line to eat the buffet. By this time we had plenty of beer in us and no food so we went to Johnny Rockets and pigged out! Johnny Rockets has several different cheese burgers with special sauces like the Route 66, St. Louis, Old Number 12 and the Smoke House. Brian thought they were all fantastic and he recommends trying the Smoke House with Tillamook cheddar cheese, bacon, onion ring, and extra barbeque-ranch sauce. I liked the Original burger with lots of mustard and no cheese. Have I mentioned that we are sold on Johnny Rockets? The ship rocked all night, but we were so tired by the time we got back to our cabin that we went straight to bed and slept like babies rocking in a cradle. Continue reading Part II of Adventure of the Seas by L. WatsonJanuary 2002 Read Less
Have you read Part I of Adventure of the Seas By L. Watson? Part II 12/14/01 ----- Day 6 ---- St. Maarten We got up about 8:30am and went to the fitness center and I did about 20 minutes on the machine I liked so much. It is ... Read More
Have you read Part I of Adventure of the Seas By L. Watson? Part II 12/14/01 ----- Day 6 ---- St. Maarten We got up about 8:30am and went to the fitness center and I did about 20 minutes on the machine I liked so much. It is getting harder to work out. I don't have the same energy level I had at the beginning of the week. I weighed myself and found that I had gained 6 pounds. I guess that isn't bad considering how much I have eaten and drank these last few weeks, but I guess that might explain my lower energy level. Also, Brian had caught a cold and wasn't feeling very well at all. He had a sore throat and an ear ache. He did a brief workout and then he did a steam thinking it would help, but I'm not sure a warm moist climate is good for a cold, but I don't know. The Adventure of the Seas is now in the port of Phillipsburg, St. Maarten. This is the island of two countries - St. Maarten - Dutch and St. Martin - French. We had been to St. Maarten on a previous cruise, but had not been to the French side of St. Martin. The last time we were here, a tender had to take us since there the pier for cruise ships had not been built yet. Since then a huge pier was built for cruise ships to dock at. It is an incredibly nice pier, but it is a ways from Phillipsburg. We didn't realize how far it was and instead of paying a taxi to take us just around the corner, we decided to walk over to Phillipsburg and catch a bus to Marigot, St. Martin on the French side. Well, Phillipsburg, wasn't just around the corner and we walked about a mile before we got into town. It wasn't too hot and it wasn't a bad walk, we just were not expecting it. We read ahead of time that the most inexpensive way to go to Marigot was by bus for $1.50 per person. We could of done on of the excursions, but we wanted to see Marigot on our own so we found a bus stop and waited. We realized after about 15 vans went by that those were the buses and that we had to look in their windows for a card that read their destination and wave them down. It was not a very far distance - the whole Island is only 37 square miles - but it took about 25 minutes to get to Marigot with traffic. The most congested of the traffic was right in Phillipsburg, St. Maarten. Marigot was not as crowded with tourists and it was enjoyable to walk around the quaint coastal French town. We stopped at a small cafe for a thirst quenching Orangina before setting off to explore. My favorite part was the marina harbor side with all the French style restaurants on the water front. It was a picture out of a painting until it started to rain. We ducked into the Le Galleon restaurant to get out of the rain. We had to move back from our original table when it started to rain harder and blow in on us. It was a really cool rain storm that I don't think they get very often. We ordered a couple of beers and an appetizer that consisted of raw ham, white ham, and homemade (liver?) pate - it was definitely interesting and not what we usually consume. Then I had mussels with French baguettes that were excellent and Brian had a flank steak that was too rare for his tastes but he ate it anyway and said it was good. The waiter was very nice, good looking and French of course! Ooh La La - don't all us girls have those French guy fantasies? It was a very enjoyable meal and the rain had lessened a great deal when we were ready to go. We found another bus stop and went back to Phillipsburg and walked back to the ship. It started raining again when we were about half way to the ship, but we didn't care because we were already damp from earlier and we didn't mind the rain. We rested and got cleaned up when we got back to the room. From the looks of the weather outside, it seemed like it was going to rain for the rest of the day and it did on and off. We went bar hopping for a couple of hours and stopped in the casino for our daily black jack and won $60. Then we went to supper and Moses acted like he was hurt that we skipped the formal dinner the night before. We jokingly apologized over and over and said it would not happen again. He was a very funny guy who we enjoyed very much. He spent a lot of time with us talking and joking around. We had ordered a bottle of wine from our interactive television screen to have with dinner but it was not there. The system was down, but Moses took care of it right away. I had shrimp that night and Jasper, the head waiter came by and cut the tails and shells off my large butter flied shrimp. He made it a point to stop at our table every night to make sure everything was okay. The show that night was a singer/impressionist from Canada named Martin Dube who we would get to know a little better while playing Blackjack in the casino tomorrow night. He sang songs and sounded just like the original artists. I thought he was great. There were a couple we thought he shouldn't have tried, but most of his impressions were amazing - even of female singers! He did everyone from Madonna to Shaina Twain from Elton John to Garth Brooks. This is the only time I got to hear country music so I was happy even if it was just a couple of phrases. Country music is one small thing I would request that cruise lines add but we are probably too small of a group to accommodate. There is a really good assortment of music like piano, jazz, calypso, guitar, top 40 dance, easy listening and especially Latino music on this cruise but no country music. I definitely liked all that they had to offer, but it would have been nice to hear my favorite type of music too. But that's just my opinion - Brian of course doesn't share it, because he is a little bit rock and roll. HA! After the show, we tried to catch the "Rockin' through the Decades" parade in on the Promenade street but it was just too crowded to see anything. But of course we saw the Krooz Komics on stilts who were just as upbeat and spectacular as ever. Later there was a "Rockin' thru the Decades" party in Studio B where they had covered the ice with a dance floor. We had already missed the 50s and 60s and had heard YMCA at least 15 times through out both of our cruises which was fun to dance to for the first 5 times or so. There were other bands in the 70s besides Village People, wasn't there? Brian was feeling pretty cruddy because of his cold, so we didn't stick around and called it an early night at midnight. 12/15/01 ---- Day 7 ---- St. Thomas It poured down rain all day long! I thought it never rained in the Caribbean like that! We think that St. Thomas got all of its average rainfall for the year that day. All the excursions were cancelled which didn't bother us because we were not planning on getting off the ship anyway. It was a bummer though because this was our last day on the cruise and we had been looking forward to swimming, playing miniature golf and maybe rollerblading while most of the people were off the ship. Oh well, we had to make the best of it so we had room service breakfast on our balcony and enjoyed the sound of the rain for awhile. Then we went to workout which was really not a good idea so soon after breakfast. We should have worked out before we ate because it took everything I had to do 15 minutes on the machine because I was so sluggish. We sat in the mineral hot tub in the center of the spa for awhile, then we did a sauna and a steam. Clearly it was going to be a day for pure relaxation and doing as little as possible. Later that afternoon, we went up to the Solarium pool area and dozed on the deck chairs. It was raining hard but we were under a covered spot. Brian noticed the Solarium Bar was open so we got a Bloody Mary as we headed back to our room. Brian decided the Bloody Mary didn't have enough alcohol so he called room service. I didn't think they would deliver drinks to your room, but they did. A girl came with a tray that held two very full vodka martinis. She came in the room, knelt down and placed the tray on the coffee table. We were extremely impressed that she did not spill a drop. I would have had vodka all over the place. We got the cheese out of the fridge that we had bought in Aruba the previous Friday when we were on the Carnival Destiny, ate much of it and watched the movie, "The Mexican". It was so funny, but it could have been because of the martinis. After the movie when we were full of cheese and alcohol, we went back up to the Solarium pool and sat in a hot tub. The Adventure of the Seas left St. Thomas at 6pm and headed to San Juan. The overall mood of everyone on the ship was glum. Many had never been to St. Thomas and were very disappointed with the rainy day. We were feeling a little glum because our vacation was almost over. We went back to our cabin to get our gratuity envelopes ready for the staff that provided such wonderful service. Unlike Carnival who now automatically puts the tips on your sail and sign card, Royal Caribbean gives you the option of putting the tips on your super charge card if you want. We like to personally give each crew member their tip with a very verbal thank you for all the hard work they did for us. We then located Teodore, our cabin steward who did a fantastic job cleaning up after us and gave him his envelope. We went to the Farewell show before supper and Ken, the cruise director did his best to put everyone in a good mood again. There was a comedian and a balancing act that were part of the Welcome Aboard show that we had skipped the first night. They were excellent. The ship was really rocking again and it was incredibly amazing that the balancing guy didn't fall and break his neck! He managed to crawl up on top of a ton of various objects he placed on top of one another, including rolling cylinders and moving things like that. I held my breath the entire time. We then went to supper, handed out our tip envelopes and said good bye to Moses, Mustafa and Jasper. Then we went to the casino for our last night of gambling. Brian won a little over $70 on roulette while I lost about $25 on black jack. We were ready to call it quits when we decided to play a Pink Panther dollar slot machine. I had never played anything more than quarters so that my $20 lasts a little longer, but we decided to live a little since it was our last night. We played about $10 and won $115! We cashed out, shopped a little at the Promenade shops and went bar hopping again. Our bar tab by the way was fairly extensive with the wide array of alcohol we consumed. Finally, we decided we better get back to the room and pack. How depressing of a thought that was because I did not want to think about getting off this incredible ship in the morning. We had a really difficult time packing because for one, we didn't want to and for another the rocking motion was horrible. I actually got sick to my stomach for the first time. We managed to get everything packed and out in the hall at 12:15am. We did not fall asleep easily with the all the rocking the ship did on this last night. 12/16/01 ----- San Juan, Puerto Rico ------ Debarkation of the Adventure of the Seas Yesterday in St. Thomas, we went through immigration process while on the ship. Everyone had to do this even if they did not get off of the ship in St. Thomas because we were back in an United States port. But since we didn't get off the ship, we did it at our leisure just before the deadline and there wasn't any wait at all. It only took a couple of minutes and we were happy to be done with this the day before we debarked. The morning of debarking, we didn't have to report to a lounge at a certain time and get off the ship when our color tag was called - like we had to on all our previous Carnival cruises. All we had to do was to be out of our room by 8:30 and we had a leisurely breakfast in the dining room since we were staying in San Juan that day and in no hurry to get off the ship. Then we walked around and decided to relax in the Lyric Theatre where they had CNN on for awhile, then Animal Planet and the Travel Channel. They announced airline flight numbers for people to know when to get off the ship. I was catching up on my notes for this review when finally around 11:45, they announced that all remaining guests should debark at that time. There were no lines of people waiting to get off and when we got into the massive terminal, it was empty except for a few people and pieces of luggage here and there, so ours was extremely easy to locate. We hired a porter to load up our bags and take us to a taxi. He collected our customs card from us and commented about how busy the place was an hour before. We got into a taxi and headed to the El Convento Hotel because we were not flying back to Anchorage until the next day. We got to the hotel before check in time a little after noon, but our room was ready. The El Convento Hotel was a small luxury hotel right across from the San Juan Cathedral on Cristo Street in Old San Juan. For 250 years, it served as a convent to the Carmelite Nuns. It is really old and slightly musty, but restored very nicely. It is very comfortable and decorated with Spanish antiques, yet had all the conveniences and amenities we could possibly have wanted. We had a couple of beers and tried Puerto Rican style pizza in a cafe downstairs and then spent a couple of hours in the hot tub on the sun deck. It was very cloudy, but it did not rain on us. The clouds were nice because we didn't have to worry about burning our still pale arctic skin. We took a short nap and then headed to the lobby for complementary wine and cheese that was being offered from 6pm - 7:30pm. We called home to check on our dog whom we missed very much and he was doing fine. We took a short walk around Old San Juan and down to the Governor's mansion to see his Christmas decorations at night and headed back to the hotel. We rented a bad movie but managed to stay awake to see the Adventure of the Seas go by on its way back out to sea for its fifth official cruise. Sniff - our vacation is over. 12/17/01 ------ American Airlines ----- Flight 1777 ----- San Juan to Barrow Alaska We checked out of the El Convento hotel at 7:00 and had a light complementary breakfast there. The porter got us a taxi and loaded our bags and we headed to the airport. The lines were massive and we were happy to be flying first class thanks to travel awards. We like taking vacations and cruising, but right now, we wish we didn't have to fly to get to these destinations since our location is quite remote and the trip from San Juan to Barrow took us 24 hours. We were definitely happy to be back home with Merlin, our dog and to put and end to the transportational commute portion of our vacation. Final thoughts: The worst complaint or more of an "irritation" - that we experienced on both ships - was the population of the Spanish only speaking people on board. The people from Puerto Rico received incredible bargains for these cruises and brought whole families. It was one big party for them and many of these families acted like they were the only ones on board. Everyone deserves to have a good time, but it was very hard to move through or around large groups of people as they congregated in walk through areas. They didn't seem to care that they were always in the way of others, and they didn't understand the phrase "excuse me" or they wouldn't hear it until we said it the 3rd or 4th time because they were always talking so loudly to one another. It was a little bit of a pain at the beginning, but by the end of cruise, it was extremely annoying! I happily embrace other cultures and peoples but I don't have much tolerance for anyone who's down right rude. It was uncommon to find ourselves on an elevator with any one who spoke English and on several of the occasions that we were with English speaking people, they commented that they were happy to be on an elevator that was not loaded with overly loud Latino conversation and rude families. I was relieved to know that we were not the only ones to feel this way. Read Less
The great adventure 1-20-2002 review is here !!!!!! To everyone who has or is thinking of taking their cruise on the adventure, my vote is most definitely!!!!! We were fortunate to have an owners suite, and all I can say is wow !!! ... Read More
The great adventure 1-20-2002 review is here !!!!!! To everyone who has or is thinking of taking their cruise on the adventure, my vote is most definitely!!!!! We were fortunate to have an owners suite, and all I can say is wow !!! We had lots of company to say the least. I will try and list some of the highlights for you but if you have any specific questions please ask away and I'll answer. To start off the cruise we boarded very quickly due to the VIP boarding we had, about 15 minutes we were on board. Her colors are absolutely gorgeous, the planets off the Centrum elevators are something else, also the floating glass sculpture at the other lifts was quite remarkable. Had Mike (hubby) take video of both, not to mention everything else we did. We had a surprise call from the Captain's wife Tove, and she came to visit us in our suite, we talked and to say the least we were very impressed with her. They invited us to the bridge for the sailaway from San Juan after the muster drill, and folks I must say it was like nothing we ever imagined, we met Captain Remo on the bridge and his son Frederick. It could of been off the Starship Eenterprise, everything was just cool.....cant think of the right words to really describe it. We also met the Staff Captain Darin Bowland, he was very nice to us as well. We saw the fort leaving as we sailed away..... Folks, after that we went to the party on the pool deck, go and have a great time, a drink or 2 wouldnt hurt either....lol Food on Sunday was like a thanksgiving dinner when you board at lunchtime, trust me you'll eat, just leave room for dinner. Dinner we all had something different, our son ate the smoked fish appetizer he enjoyed it, the Tuscan tomato soup was delicious and the shrimp ravioli mmmmmmmmm. Our first day, at sea.....we had a bit of high waves , so that the pool seemed that it was a wave pool instead of a normal swimming pool, we had a ton of fun doing the wave thing. Guess you would have to have been on board to understand but it was a riot. Please join in on the fun of the Mr. Sexy Legs contest-Mike won Mr. Sexy Legs - 2 years in a row, next year he'll let someone try, but women try to get your man into it, you'll have a blast. Kirk Detweiler - cruise director was alot of fun all week long, trust me on this he got his own later on during the week. We ate breakfast in the dining room everyday, and the food was excellent. We love to be served so we skipped the Windjammer, but the food is good there as well. Lunch back to the dining room, we like to be served.dinner, what can we say, some of the best, we were sent an invitation to the Captain's table for dinner on Monday night, the hostess Genie, introduced us to each other and then brought us over to the Captain's table, once she escorted the Captain and his wife Tove, she introduced him to each person, and I was the lucky one who was seated next to the Captain, our son was seated next to Tove. It was a wonderful evening, they are both so personable, dinner was fabulous. Shrimp cocktails for the appetizer, lobster bisque, caesar salad, and filet and a dessert with fruit and ice cream to die for. We then left for the show. Day 3, well this could take forever...... I'll try and shorten this up we did the snorkel tour by catamaran with 2 stops to snorkel, well we had a ball, had some of our cruise critics on board and yes when it came time to sail back, Tony got the rum punch and tequilla snorkel shooter going, folks all I can say that I wasn't sure if anyone got off that wasn't a bit happy!!! Thanks Tony we do have you on our video.....we shopped Aruba and saw our buddies in town, we bought a 15lb Gouda cheese, we have to cut it open soon. Bought some other stuff, printed shirts and asst. Stuff, then back to the ship to pass out in the pool. Dinner was great, crab and shrimp salad, Ocho Rios pepper pot soup, Key West grouper, Mike and Ben had roast lamb and seafood penne pasta, chocolate rainforest cake, and Costa Rican banana creme pie. Folks all the selections were delicious. We also made it to carlos and charlies, go, is all I can say !!!! Day 4, Curacao great snorkeling there, and shopping afterwards, take a taxi folks dont walk to town. Really need to look at the video, mind is getting foggy. Dinner was excellent. Do the ice show when you get a chance. Day 5, at sea, how peaceful, needed the day to relax by the pool, get up early if you want a good lounge, they go fast, we had our group by the pool bar, it figures with this group that's where we would sit for the day. Some of us got into the swimming relays, no reason to say we lost but had fun trying to win. Folks I am just going to give you some other highlights cause i'm getting tired, so here goes, go to the beach party, it was fun have some great pics, try and find sometime to sleep. On Wednesday, we had our cruise critic party, we were very fortunate to have Captain Remo and his wife Tove attend, the Staff Captain Darin Bowland, Kirk Detweiler - Cruise Director, Martin Rissley the Hotel Director, Michael Rasmussen - Food and Beverage manager, he put out quite a spread for the group, had servers with drinks for us as well, we did miss Genie -social hostess and Michelle McGregor due to the fact they had previous meetings scheduled. Everyone in the group wanted their picture taken with the Captain and Tove and they were very accommodating to all, they met lots of poeple with the group, and we were very honored to have all of the staff in attendance. Thank you all for making us the 1st Rubberband party on the Adventure of the Seas. We went to many shows, so to make it short the entertainment was great, I even got in the headliner show with Greg Bonham, have a signed CD to prove it. Guess I was recognized a lot of that show .......lol In St. Marteen's we went to Orient beach and it was delightful, beautiful beach and our guide was great, had a great day !!! Even got some guavaberry liquor from our frineds because my feet swelled up like 2 bananas. Thanks Jim and Michelle... Well St. Thomas off to snorkel by private yacht - we were on the Island Girl with Mike and his wife Debbie as the owners, she was great at pointing out the fish and other interesting wild life on the reef, highly go and do this tour out to Buck Island. Then shopping, well Mike my hubby bought me a beautiful diamond ring, I cried when he put it on me. Very sentimental I am, he got a man's ring too, but he didn't cry...lol R We ate in Portofino that night, and pay the cover charge folks, its fabulous, we ate there on the Voyager as well and just trust me and make reservations. Then we went to the farewell show, and then to pack, what an ordeal, 2 1/2 hours..... As I promised more great adventures........... Its kind of hard to recall everything, but the memories are forever lasting, our group of Cruise Critics were so fun, that no matter where you were in and off the ship we were there. To give you folks some info on the owners suite, it has a king size bed, a 48 inch wide screen tv, nice balcony, a curved sectional with a queen sleep sofa, dining table and chairs ample of drawer space and tons of closet space, we are clothes horses so we had plenty of room. Also there was a dressing table in the bedroom area and an chaise lounge also another window to look out at if you chose not to be on the balcony, we chose the balcony, what sites we saw from her. The bathroom was fab...listen to this all marble, a glass enclosed shower, a jacuzzi tub, a toilet and a bidet. Mike and I used it, our son Ben was chicken....lol. Our room steward Audley made sure everything was top notch, never needed a thing and he did great towel art, on Sat night he made us 2 kissing monkeys...how sweet, plus he made a puppy dog, an elephant and some kind of mouse, he explained it to us but still unsure of it, it may bite!!!! We were in the McKinley suite 1300, in case you book it, you may find the leftovers from us. We had Hors D'Oeuvres each afternoon in the suite when we came up from the pool, and also the concierge service with Marise located on the 9th deck was superb, she made us feel welcome from day one, and we had appetizers there every night prior to getting dressed for dinner, also included was drinks. If anyone is a Crown and Anchor member we hope you attended the Repeaters Party, it was very nice, wait staff with all kinds of drinks from frozen, to wine, to mixers and champagne, passing Hors D'Oeuvres, so yummy, Captain Remo gave a speech, I love to listen to him. We hope everyone went to the Midnight Buffet, one thing is so amazing is the ice and butter sculptures, what a talented staff, we saw the ice carving at the beach party, doesn't take them long, me it would be a lifetime. Please feel free and contact me with questions if I can be of any help in your AOS sailing. To Captain Remo & Tove, and the entire staff of the Adventure of the Seas, this was a spectacular cruise for us, thank you for making it so special. Always, Reina, Mike and Ben Sachs RJSachs1@aol.com February 2002 Read Less
Before I start, I want to make it clear that my review is from a former "virgin cruiser". I have not read any other reviews from the December 2nd trip before writing my review because I wanted it to be untainted by the ... Read More
Before I start, I want to make it clear that my review is from a former "virgin cruiser". I have not read any other reviews from the December 2nd trip before writing my review because I wanted it to be untainted by the views of others. Keep in mind that I have nothing to which I can compare this cruise. We like to take nice vacations, but are used to doing everything ourselves. We've traveled Europe, been to Hawaii a few times, do a lot of camping, etc. But this was our very first cruise, and I'm sure that it will be the first of many to come. Having said all that, let's get to the review. There is so much I would like to say that I'm not sure where to start. So, I guess I'll just start from the beginning. My wife and I flew in to San Juan by route of Chicago O'Hare airport on Sunday, the day of departure. We had booked transport to the airport with Royal Caribbean. They were very helpful and the transfer went smoothly. It was nice to have the driver give us some information about Puerto Rico during the ride to the ship. He was quite funny. They will load your luggage into a van, and you won't see it until you board the ship. Hopefully, you will have a better experience with it than what we had-but I'll get to that later. Upon arrival at the ship, you will be awestruck by the size and beauty of this vessel. It's enormous, and is docked right across from the Carnival Destiny. I understand that the Destiny is Carnival's largest ship, but is visibly smaller than the AOS. Embarking the ship was quick and painless. I think we arrived between 2 and 3 in the afternoon, and didn't wait in line for over 10 minutes. I was quite impressed, as I heard that sometimes it is a lengthy process. The Stateroom The first thing we noticed when boarding the ship was the smell. It smelled like a new RV. There will be people at the door telling you where your room is located. My wife and I booked an inside stateroom on the 9th floor and had it guaranteed. Much to our surprise, they assigned us a room on the sixth floor. At first, it appeared that they had downgraded our cabin. But, upon entering our room, we found that we were assigned an outside stateroom with a large port-hole window. It was one of very few on the ship and is a $350.00 per person upgrade. We were elated! Thank you Royal Caribbean! We, of course were expecting the room to be quite small. But, the size wasn't all that bad. We never felt cramped. There is a seating area as well with a little table. There's plenty of room in the closet and drawers. The bathroom was a little small, but served its purpose just fine. Within minutes of arriving at our room, our room attended showed up. Her name was Maria. She was from Hungary. You would be very lucky if you had her as a room attendant as she was very friendly and went out of her way to give us an overview of what a first-time cruiser can expect. She showed us the TV features, gave us her phone number, and just went out of her way to make us as comfortable as possible. I know that I'm new to all this, but my wife and I can not understand how a cabin attendant could have been more attentive to our needs throughout the entire week. Many of these workers on the AOS have previous experience on either the Voyager or the Explorer. One of my concerns was that they would be so new to the ship that they wouldn't be used to the way things are done on the AOS. I found that that really wasn't the case. We really only had one significant problem as alluded to above. We understood from others who have posted their reviews that the luggage sometimes wasn't delivered until the evening. Therefore, the evening meal attire was casual. However, when it was 9:00 in the evening, and we hadn't yet received our luggage, we became a little concerned. We called up the customer service desk, and they told us that since the ship leaves at 10:00 in the evening that baggage often does not get delivered right away. The reason is that people can arrive late, and that causes some disarray in getting luggage to the rooms in a timely manner. We felt that since we arrived mid afternoon, that the luggage should have been delivered. We informed the desk that we had received an upgrade, and that our luggage could have been delivered to the other room. They said that they would have someone check the room. In addition, we also checked outside the room. No bags. About 11:00 in the evening, we became very concerned that maybe our bags were lost. So, we went down to the desk, expressed our concerns, and they gave us free t-shirts, and travel bags with deodorant, shaving supplies, etc. They said that sometimes the bags get misplaced and aren't delivered until the early morning. We again asked them to check our original room. A little later, we get a call that someone was going up to check the room that we were originally assigned before being upgraded. We didn't hear back from him. So, we went to bed expecting our bags to be delivered sometime that night. At about 8:00 in the morning we get up, and guess what...still no more luggage. So, I promptly called the desk and once again explained the situation and my concerns. They told me again that they would have someone check the originally assigned room. They called back in a few minutes and said they found them. This was the only major problem we had. It was a temporary problem that didn't leave a good first impression. However, it all got better. The Ship I don't want to go into detail on this because that's what it is all about-detail. It's the small things such as the carpet in the elevators and the aroma of the Schooner bar that really add up to make the experience something really special. Yes, the ship is unlike any other (except the Voyager and the Explorer). It is enormous. Yes, it has an ice-skating facility, a rock climbing wall, putt-putt, basketball/volleyball court, inline skating, etc. Yes the ship cost 678 million dollars to build. I knew about all that stuff when I booked the cruise. Chances are you knew that too. But to me it is the effort they put into the fine details are what really struck me. Again, I won't go into detail, as I want you to be as impressed as I was. Just keep you eyes open to it, and you'll appreciate it too. Dinners Dinner that first night was casual. Our waiter, Osman was from Turkey, and was quite funny. He did a very nice job. Our assistant waiter was Engin. I believe he also was from Turkey. He was quiet most of the time, but he did a very good job. Soft drinks are free in the dining room, but they don't come out and tell you that. Feel free to order it-they won't charge you for it. I thought the meals were excellent. I'm not the type of person that is used to spending money on fine dining, so this was an absolute treat for me. Okay, so maybe it was wasn't "fine dining", but seemed like it to me. It is certainly much better than what I'm used to eating. Beware of the tea. It's very strong. The dining room was beautiful. The piano / orchestra was very nice, though I couldn't help but get a little concerned when they started playing the theme song from Titanic. I heard that the chandelier cost them about half a million dollars. The two nights at sea were the formal nights. Saturday night was a patriotic night. One night was a Caribbean colors night. I think there was another them, but I don't remember what it was. There are three levels to the dining facility. They are called Mozart, Strauss, and Vivaldi. Mozart is on the third level. Vivaldi is on the first level. As far as the midnight buffets, there was only one. It was the gala buffet, and it is a must see. I don't want to go into detail, but please, don't miss the viewing at 11:30. We didn't actually wait to eat any of it, but bring your camera to the viewing. You'll be surprised. There weren't any other midnight buffets. If you're actually hungry then, you have three options. You can either get food from the promenade cafe (sandwiches, pizza, cookies, pie, etc), Johnny Rockets, or room service. I never did the Portofino thing, but heard it was excellent. I enjoyed the dining hall so much that I couldn't see doing it. Johnny Rockets was fun, but we have one here in Indianapolis, so it was no big deal to me. The Windjammer and Island Grill are virtually identical. Windjammer has views to each side, and the Island grill faces the aft of the ship. The views are incredible. The food was very good, I thought. Our head waiter told us that much of the food is exactly what is served in the main dining room. The exceptions are the really good entrees such as the lobster. The Promenade cafe was decent. Nothing special. Entertainment I didn't see all of the shows. We went to the ventriloquist show, the ice show, the Beatle's show, and the Velvet Rope (song and dance)show. I enjoyed every one of them. However, the ventriloquist show, in my opinion, wasn't up to my expectations. I happen to love ventriloquist shows, so I think my expectations were quite high. However, he was supposed to be really great. I guess someone who isn't used to seeing really good ventriloquist shows would think he was really good. However, I understand that it was his last performance on the ship and now has an ongoing gig in Vegas. I'm not sure who is replacing him. The ice show was absolutely incredible. They do things that you wouldn't expect in an ice show. That's all I'm going to say about that. If you want to know more, just be sure not to miss it. Be sure to get your tickets early as they do go quickly. The Beatles show was also very good. It's a group called Rain. In my opinion they aren't as good as 1964, which is another Beatles group. They did the typical cruise thing and add some flash to the show with some wacky costumes and comedy. I think that detracted a little from the show if you're a die-hard Beatles fan. It took away from the look of authenticity. But, they still are worth seeing. Velvet Rope, in my opinion was quite a surprise. I'm not much of a song and dance person, but I really enjoyed it. It was a very artistic show. The poolside performers were good. I especially liked the Caribbean band. Sorry, I don't remember the group's name. Maybe one of the other reviews will have the names. Also, if you get a chance to listen to the piano player in the Schooner bar, do so. She's a lot of fun and really knows how to work the crowd. There are a lot of other entertainers on the ship. I'm not much of a bar person, but we did go to a few. The Viking has the best view. The Schooner, in my opinion was a great nautical theme, and as I mentioned before, a certain aroma. The Jester's bar was really neat with a medieval theme. It's also a disco. I noticed some of the crew would frequent it. Pools The pools were nice. There were a lot of chairs, but they did get filled up around the pools quite quickly. However, there are plenty on the surrounding decks. The hot tubs in the main pool area are only lukewarm. The hottubs in the Solarium were much warmer. I didn't notice any kids in the Solarium. The belly flop contest was funny, as were the horse races. One note: the pools are supposed to be open until midnight. However, they sometimes drain them before midnight for cleaning. Usually, they only drain one at a time, but there was one time when my wife and I were enjoying a late evening dip in the Solarium hot tub. The other one was closed for cleaning. We were just talking, and before we knew it, both of us were on the floor of the hot tub with water half way up to our chests. The tub had been draining, and we hadn't realized it until then. We wish that if the pools are to be open until 10:00 pm as they say, that they wouldn't drain any of them before they close them. Cruise Director I thought Ken Rush did a great job. He's very quick on his feet. Captain You just have to love Captain Remo. He's from Norway, and begins every announcement with "Good Morning Ladies and Yentlemen". He pronounces the ship "Adwenture of the Seas". Ports of Call Aruba I knew that Aruba would be more like a desert than the other ports. But I wasn't expecting it to be that arid. We didn't think it was a very pretty island. We rented a Jeep and explored on our own. The streets are pretty good, though not very well marked at all. If you find yourself lost, just look for the cruise ship, and you'll be able to find your way back. Be sure you understand the street signs before you start driving. They are very different than ours. You can see it from as far as the lighthouse. I highly recommend renting a Jeep. Go to the lighthouse (about a 20 minute drive). Then, take the dirt path across the north side of the island. It's a rough ride, but fun. Stop and see the natural bridge, the church, and the gold mine building. It's a neat ride. You'll be able to do that in the morning. We went to Baby Beach in the afternoon. It's a nice little beach. It's very calm, and has good snorkeling. In my opinion, it's not that special of a beach, even though it's supposed to be one of the best on Aruba. I'd probably go back for the snorkeling alone, though. Aruba has spent a lot of effort in building up their island, and unfortunately, I think they lost their charm. There are a lot of mainstream stores and fast-food restaurants. Honestly, I was a little disappointed with the island, but still had a great time. We didn't do any shopping in Aruba. Curacao My wife and I loved Curacao. It was what Aruba wasn't. The Dutch charm was very evident in the buildings. Shopping was good, and close to the ship. You should be able to get a very good picture of the AOS from this port. We rented a taxi and went to the Sea Aquarium. We enjoyed it, but thought it was overpriced. It was much smaller than I expected. We did not do the feeding the sharks thing, though one of our tablemates did. He really enjoyed it. The Sea Aquarium beach is right next door, and nice. It can get crowded, though. There is a ridge of rocks around the beach. Inside the rocks, the water is very blue, but has practically no visibility if your snorkeling. However, if you go over to the other side of the rocks, it's really a nice view. There are a lot of fish on the other side, too. It was a decent beach. Nothing too special about it. St. Martin We liked St. Martin even better. Though it didn't quite have the same charm, it was a prettier island. I wouldn't recommend renting a car on it as the roads are very narrow and windy. We took a taxi to Orient Beach. That was quite the experience. We got there early, and walked the beach. No matter what people tell you, there is nudity on both sides. Most of it is on the right-hand side (south side) You'll see a sign that designates it as a clothing optional part of the beach. If that stuff offends you, I wouldn't go there. I heard that the snorkeling was good on that side, so we did go into it. They were wrong. I might have seen only 3 or 4 fish. The waves and wind were quite rough. It is a nice beach, however, with a lot of shops and restaurants. The left hand side, does have nudity, but much more limited. I recommend that side of the island as there are a lot of shops and water sports. Shopping was good on St. Martin. I guess the only unpleasant thing was the constant soliciting for hair braiding. I don't recommend it as I have heard that people come home with lice in their hair. Buyer beware. St. Thomas/St. John It just kept getting better and better. We virtually did nothing on St. Thomas. It's not that we didn't want to, but we definitely wanted to do St. John. We took a taxi ride to Red Hook, and then took a ferry to St. John. From there, we took a taxi to Trunk Bay. As my wife would attest, it has to be the most beautiful place we've ever been. The snorkeling was very good, as well. The sand was like powder. You feet would sink in it like snow. If you like the beach and/or snorkeling thing, this is a great thing to do. We stayed there until about 12:30, then took a taxi back to the ferry. We got back in plenty of time to do some shopping in St. Thomas. This was our favorite port, and I wish we could have spent so much more time one both islands. Puerto Rico We stayed the night in Puerto Rico and the Wyndham Old San Juan. It is not within walking distance of the ship. But it is adjacent to the shopping area and El Morro fortress. Being a Sunday, it wasn't very crowded. Some of the restaurants were closed, but we ate at the birthplace of the Pina Colada (so they say anyway). It was a beautiful place to eat, and I highly recommend the Steak Foralezza. You can also buy Bacardi at this place. I don't remember the store name, but it's on Fortalezza Street, on the port side. Well, that about sums up my "virgin" cruiser review. There is so much more to say, but my fingers are getting really tired of typing. I hope this review has been useful to you as many of the other posts [on the message boards] have helped me. Bon Voyage, tomgerber@flavorburst.comFebruary 2002 Read Less
"Lessons Learned" by Paul N. Brown I would like to start this review with a little personal information so others can understand my perspective. Seems like we read endless reviews pre-booking that were written by ... Read More
"Lessons Learned" by Paul N. Brown I would like to start this review with a little personal information so others can understand my perspective. Seems like we read endless reviews pre-booking that were written by disgruntled retirees and the like. Here we go: I am 24 years old and my new bride is 21. We are both Caucasian Texans who are active individuals who enjoy adventurous activities. This was our first cruise and chose the Adventure of the Seas for our honeymoon. We actually got married on the 22nd of Dec, but decided to hold off on the cruise until after the New Year for cost reasons (about 38% less). I will try to dispel any rumors of the ship and recant our lessons learn for the ports of call. Airfare/Lodging Decided to book our own airfare b/c the ones through RCL were about $150 per ticket. Booking your own airfare means the onus is on you to catch the ship, so we decided to go down two days early. Our airfare was expensive and had a very circuitous routing - but it was the only way we could afford the trip. I think we paid $460/person for airfare from San Antonio, TX to San Juan. That's a big part of the Southern Caribbean cruise cost - just getting to the port. Neither of us had ever been to Puerto Rico before so we didn't have a clue where to stay. We ended up having William Shatner do the selection for us - via Priceline.com. I think Priceline is an excellent way to be adventurous and save some cash in the process. We simply stated that we wanted to stay in the city of San Juan, input what rating hotel we wanted (we chose 4-star for the honeymoon), and whallah! They choose the place for you! We ended up getting the Intercontinental Hotel for $139/night. It was very nice with a large flora garden, multiple pools, nice beaches, guards everywhere, and free chairs. I have never seen so much security at any hotel before. We drank too much the first night so we wasted one half-day recovering. Tried to go to the Bacardi factory but they were closed for Tres Reyes Day. Must see next time. Walked around Old San Juan and enjoyed the history. The shopping is EXPENSIVE with lots of American stores. The fort in San Juan is a must see. It's exactly how I envisioned pirates as a child. The next day we got a rental car for $40 and took off. The autopistas (highways) are nice with multiple 35 cent tolls out of San Juan. We drove half way around the island in two hours. El Yunque (the rain forest) is beautiful and you can drive all the way up in a car. A must see. That was the last thing we did before going back to get on the ship. Lessons learned for Puerto Rico Two days is a drop in the bucket! Heck, we'd need two weeks to do everything we wanted to. Taxis are pricey so if you're going to see the place then definitely rent a car. Next time we're going to rent another car in San Juan and start driving. We're going to use Priceline.com and get rooms all over the island and then drive around the whole thing - staying at a different place each night. We brought our own snorkeling equipment so we were set - however we never even made it to the Caribbean side of island. We can't wait to go back and explore. The Ship Getting on the ship was easy and VERY quick. Probably b/c we got there at 8:00 for a 10:00 pm sailing. We were in a cat DA balcony room which wasn't cheap but was worth it for the honeymoon. The balcony is private which is cool b/c you can be totally naked outside without anyone but the dolphins seeing you. The ship is brand new - made in Nov 01 and is beautiful! It was soooooo much more extravagant than I ever imagined. In fact, it was so beautiful, that I was really pissed off to see folks leaving empty glasses and trash lying around. The cruise staff do their absolute best, but it's the average Joe who didn't learn respect for property as a child who screws it up for the rest of us. I digress..... The food was outstanding. Windjammer was great for casual dining and most any time. Johnny Rockets was good with a great atmosphere. The main dining was OUTSTANDING and our service was EXCEPTIONAL. You can get anything you want! I got two entrees each night while my wife got two desserts - don't be afraid to ask. We dressed as listed b/c RCL for the different nights - no probs. I would definitely recommend getting room service for breakfast. We did it every morning but one. It doesn't cost anything to get it e/x that you can tip the waiter - that's the only thing that was done in cash the entire trip. We gave him $2 per morning and I dearly miss eating breakfast out on the balcony. The shows were AMAZING. Go to all of there. You're shorting yourself if you don't. Lesson Learned There is a full day of activities the first day you can get on the ship. Go on mid-day, get acquainted with the ship, and enjoy the bon-voyage dinner. Aruba The most friendly island we visited - hands down. The people were incredible. Aruba is a DESERT - it looks just like Arizona surrounded by water. No shade but wonderful people. Like I said we wanted to do our own thing so we packed the snorkeling gear and rented a moped right outside the ship. $50 for the super-rama-rama-delux one full day. That sucker would do 63 mph as we hauled off into the great unknown. Drove across the island to Baby Beach which is very remote with only two stands selling food and drinks from coolers. If you take a cab out there you must pre-arrange a pick-up - like I said it's very remote. One shower which costs $1 per person to use. There is a shallow lagoon which has a narrow strait that opens up to the Caribbean. Outside that strait was the best snorkeling we did the entire trip. The visibility was twice as good as anywhere else we visited with no-kidding 80 foot visibility in the open ocean. I couldn't believe it. Lot's of corral and fish. Drove from there to the Land Bridge and the Gold Fortress via the dirt roads on the east side of the island - both very cool but lots of tourists running around. Went to Carlos and Charlies for a while that night. The party was great, but the beers were expensive and the place was crowded. Decided to street walk instead. Lessons Learned in Aruba I would definitely rent a jeep next time. There were LOTS of Suzuki Samurai's all over the place and they weren't much more than $50/day. Made the dirt roads much easier to travel and much more comfortable. However, if you're going to stay around town and not planning on leaving the pavement - get a moped! They're great fun and we only used $3 in gas to cover the entire island. We also got sun burned like you wouldn't believe. I'm not kidding - the tropical sun is much worse than in the US b/c you are closer and there is less atmosphere for the rays to traverse. Wear lots and re-apply often or suffer the consequences like we did! Next, stop at the tourist info shop when de-barking the ship. They have maps which were unavailable anywhere else b/c the island is just too small for the locals to need any. And definitely read the back of the tourist packet for the international street signs - they don't resemble anything in the US! Lastly, if you want to get away, travel to the SE corner of the island. The developed portion is on the NW side, and that's where most of the cruise folks go. I think they miss out on the snorkeling at Baby Beach and some of the beauty in desolation - you can see both in one day b/c Aruba is so small! Live it up. Curacao Did the only RCL booked excursion of the trip - the Animal Encounter Excursion at the Seaquarium. Booked this based on some reviews from other Cruise Critic folks. All I can say is WOW! I have experience with SCUBA before but wanted to get my wife's feet wet (pun intended). No certification necessary, just suit up, hop in, and frolic for 45 mins underwater. Fed everything from small fish to stingrays to sharks to sea turtles. The sharks and turtles are separated by plexiglass but you can hardly tell! I will never forget this excursion. Bring an underwater camera!!!!!!!!!!! Spent the rest of the afternoon perusing the shops. Very Dutch island. Lessons Learned Do the Animal Encounter Excursion! St. Maarten Rented a car right off the ship for $40. Drove around the island once to check out both the French and Dutch sides. They are very different indeed. Visited the Guavaberry Emporium and bought a bottle. Took a stroll down the main drag and it was very nice. Too many shops to take in at once. WE then left the city and decided to snorkel near the Dutch airport but the tides were strong so we decided to move along. Drove back across the island (25 min drive) to hit Orient Bay. The beach seemed to never end. Not as many topless chicks as I expected but it was a nice change of pace from the US. The nudist resort is on the East side of the bay - and is worth taking a peek at for comedic value alone. The snorkeling was average there with no coral and mostly grass beds. Orient Bay is more of a beach for hanging out, topless bathing, parasailing and the like - but not oriented for snorkeling/scuba. There is lots of real estate development going on in the Orient Bay area - looks like it will be a major French vacation spot in the near future. Lessons Learned Buy more Guavaberry Coladas. They're great and sure put you in that island state of mind in a hurry. Remember that if you decide to go al-natural at Orient Bay, the "un-tanned" portions of your body need more sunscreen than those which are regularly exposed to the sun. If you're looking for cheap booze - the cheapest I saw the entire trip was at the duty-free shop right at the ship. St. Thomas Thought this was the best shopping of the tour. The prices are the same in town as they are right off the ship so you can hit all the stores on foot. We bought my wife a nice stainless-steel Citizen watch for $48. The island is real small so the rent cars go quickly and are expensive! Approx. $90 per day. Based on local advice, we took a cab to Sapphire Beach for snorkeling. $14 for two folks. This was one of the highlights of the trip! The beach was small, very quaint, $3 chairs, crystal clear water, lot's of corral, fish everywhere, and just wonderful. Lots of locals go there. We snorkeled for hours along the shores and had a blast. Got out and ate at a local food stand for $3 person. Everything you want was there: bathrooms, changing room, water hose to rinse off, food, drinks, etc. It's not like a five-star resort at all - it's a simple, relaxing, beautiful hangout without the entire cruise ship on the beach. I miss it already.... Lessons Learned We did exactly the right things for us. Back to San Juan - very sad day. Disembarkation DO NOT BOOK AN EARLY FLIGHT. DO NOT BOOK AN EARLY FLIGHT. DO NOT BOOK AN EARLY FLIGHT. I cannot stress this enough. It seemed that the folks who had been relatively nice to each other all week turned back into selfish jerks as soon as it was time to leave the ship. Very sad way to end a wonderful week. The cruise line did everything they could and the process is very efficient - but the paying cruisers in a rush can make it unpleasant. The same thing applies at the airport - take your time - remember you're on vacation! Lessons Learned From now on I want to be one of the last ones off the ship. I will plan to either take a late flight or stay another day to avoid the rudeness and pushing that occurred at disembarkation. We always carried our own bags both off and on the ship to eliminate mishaps with lost luggage - and what do you know - it worked! Overall Of course there were some negatives, but almost none of them had anything to do with RCL. There were very few kids running amuck b/c of the cruise date. The majority of them were doing the Adventure Ocean deal and well taken care of. However, I will say that the majority of negative experiences (pushing, being loud and verbose, not staying on right sides the hallway, etc.) were definitely not kids and they definitely weren't from the Continental United States. Take that for what you will, but there was a very definitive line of respect and politeness between half of the ship. All right, now that the petty things are out there, the experience was amazing. The ship is gorgeous. The food was unbelievable in the main dining room. The food was good everywhere else. The cruise director, Ken Rush, was outstanding and really set the tone for the entire week. The entertainment was world-class. The RCL shows, comedians, and El Goucho were Broadway/Vegas quality. The facilities were well thought out. The intra-net thru the TV was very classy. And most of all, my wife said it was everything she ever dreamed for a honeymoon. And that, more than anything else, means the world to me. We will return to RCL in the future and would recommend this cruise to anyone. Please contact me if you want any more information. pnb987pb@yahoo.com February 2002 Read Less
Well guys, I'm back from AOS 2/17-2/24 sailing! What more can I say.......it was AWESOME. Like the commercial says, "It is way more than a cruise". We had never sailed on a Voyager class ship and it was incredible. It ... Read More
Well guys, I'm back from AOS 2/17-2/24 sailing! What more can I say.......it was AWESOME. Like the commercial says, "It is way more than a cruise". We had never sailed on a Voyager class ship and it was incredible. It took cruising to a new level and I don't know how I'll be able to sail on any ship that lacks all of the amenities found on the Adventure. I jotted down journal notes from each day, because there is so much to do. I knew I would forget to tell you something. I'll warn you in advance this will be very long, so just skip around to the subheadings that interest you. Here goes... PRE-CRUISE - 2/14 I'll start with the plane ride, only because we flew first class! This was my first time flying 1st class and it was terrific. We were served a 3-4 course meal. Flounder stuffed w/ shrimp and salmon over a bed of rice and veggies. It was delicious. I didn't even realize that dining was so fine on an aircraft. Each reclining chair had its own private television that mounted to the arm. It was equipped so that each person could watch one of six different movies simultaneously. The trip was off to an AWESOME start. There were no problems on the SJ airport, at least not when we entered SJ. Our luggage came within 10 minutes and we snatched a cab ($8 and roughly a ten minute drive) to the Caribe Hilton. We explored the hotel, the common areas are nice, with a definite Caribbean influence to them. The rooms were just adequate though. I've definitely stayed in nicer hotels. I've heard that the hotel was recently remodeled but I think they skipped the bedrooms. I really liked our bathroom though, double sinks, separate shower, vanity area etc. The pool was also really nice. Anyway we got settled and then walked about 2 miles into Condado for dinner. We ate at Chili's Grill & Bar which was almost directly across the street from Condado Plaza Hotel and Casino (by the way, a very nice hotel). 2/15 We ate breakfast at Las Palmeras inside of Caribe. Prices ranged from $10-$25 and it was edible, not good. We rented a car right across the street ($25-$45 per day + $12 insurance). Two tips for future travelers, if you pay by credit card there is no extra charge for insurance (Some agents won't volunteer that information) and get there early to have your choice of rentals. The hotel excursions were overpriced (just my opinion, they wanted $45pp for El Yunque). We found it to be far cheaper to do it on your own, especially if you have more than 2 people. Most of the major attractions are really easy to find and Caribe will give you very accurate directions anywhere you need to go in PR. First stop, El Yunque Rainforest (no charge for admission). We didn't get lost and the ride took nearly 45 minutes. El Yunque was very beautiful. There are several trails you can take, ranging from 10-minute hikes to 2 hour hikes. The waterfalls are nice and there are miles and miles of lush flowers trees and plants. Several lookout points offered panoramic views of San Juan. It was definitely a place worth visiting. I took a ton of pictures. Next, we tried to find the dock for the ferry that takes you to bioluminescent bay. This is where we got lost. We were coming from a different direction, so the hotel directions were hard to follow. It was a little nerve wracking. I speak a little Spanish and my mother speaks none. I tried to get directions but I learned quickly that the further you get away from San Juan, the fewer people you find who speak fluent English. We drove past Luquillo Beach it seemed very nice. It was getting late, so we decided not to stay. We wanted to eat at the Ajili Mojili restaurant, it generates rave reviews, however, it was booked for the entire weekend (make reservations early). Instead we did what any two American women would do in this situation......we went to the mall. Plazas Las Americas Mall, it was very nice. I helped improve the economy with my spending. I found some nice buys, but I guess it would depend on what you are shopping for. Most of the mall had the traditional department/anchor stores etc, however, there were some alternative stores. If you are into eclectic, contemporary arts and crafts you will enjoy some of the places here. I sure did. 2/16 We were really exhausted so we overslept. It was late morning by the time we got ready so we grabbed a quick drive-through breakfast from McDonalds (couldn't find an IHOP'S). Next we headed into downtown San Juan. We drove just to take pictures and tour the "new San Juan" area then we spent the rest of the day in "Old San Juan". We saw the massive Radiance of the Seas and I believe the Celebrity Galaxy. Boy, the Radiance is a beautiful ship. Anyway, we did some of the walking tour through Old San Juan, but we got bored. If you are a history/military-type buffs you will enjoy this. Like I said, we were bored. We went to San Cristobal, Christos, La Plazuela and a few others. After a few sites we got the general idea and were ready to shop. Fortunately for us, Old San Juan is also rich in quaint stores and boutiques. We ate dinner in a wonderful restaurant. I repeat W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L. It was near hotel El Convento. It was called El Picoteo. I had empadillas for an appetizer and garlic shrimp for the main entrEe. My mom had an exceptional salad and lamb chops (I tasted all of her meals for proof ). Afterwards, we headed back to the mall to finish the right wing (it is a very large mall). We also decided to take in a movie - A Beautiful Mind (Yes, the movies are in English, with Spanish captioning at the bottom). 2/17 Finally, the day we were waiting for arrived. We checked out of the hotel and returned the rental car. One interesting thing, gas is sold by the liter not by the gallon. At first my jaw dropped when I saw 26.5. I thought, gee I know we are in a recession but dang! I don't know what kind of conversion factor the used but ¾'s of a tank cost approximately $8-10. Anyhow, we took a cab to the Pan American pier ($10 total, roughly a ten minute drive). It is a different pier than the one used by most of the ships. Somehow I was under the impression that the new pier was across, on the other side of the island, meaning the other side of Puerto Rico. It is on the other side but not of the entire island, just the little canal area. You are able to see all of the ships in port, so it isn't much further than the other docks. Embarkation We arrived at the pier at 11:00 am. The porters were on lunch break (literally) so there was no one to help with the bags. There were maybe 8 people there at the time. We met a wonderful family from New York, they quickly became our cruise buddies that we ran into 4-5 times daily once aboard. I amazed us how, even on a ship so large, we could run into the same people again and again. By 11:30 an RCL representative emerged and began to collect our luggage. We were then led into "the room". You know that room that has rows and rows of plastic white chairs. I met my first Cruise Critic [member] there, Lois and her husband spotted us and came over for an intro. We sat for maybe 5-10 minutes and then they began the "check-in" process. It took all of ten minutes. We were the third family to board, on slightly before noon. Please - get there early. Before we even entered "the room" the lines were already down the side of the building. Save yourself the hassle. All Aboard We got on board and it was- "Wow". The ship is beautiful, incredible, innovative etc.etc. It was definitely the nicest ship either of us have ever sailed on. The thing that continued to strike me was that, it was so well thought out...down to the very last detail. We went to check out our cabin and set our things down. Once again the small details stood out to me. The carpet in the halls was very plush, I'm talking foot-sinking plush. Paintings and sculptures were everywhere. We got to our room and we were impressed. This was our first inside cabin. I thought I'd really miss the window and feel closed in, but it wasn't bad. The room was decorated in pastels and we had a little sleeper loveseat. Our cabin attendant came by and greeted us, he wasn't finished straightening our room. We set our things down and figured we'd give him some time. Besides it gave us the opportunity to indulge in the most important aspect of cruising....the eating. We headed up to the Windjammer (the only place open) and there was a yummy buffet waiting for us. I sampled a little bit of everything. There were pastas hot and cold, salads, fruits, sandwiches, chicken, fish, combination items, P-A-E-L-L-A, and of course, deserts. These were the standard types of foods offered in the Windjammer. One of my favorite cruise traditions is to go and explore the ship taking pictures. After eating, we returned to the room for more film, SURPRISE - OUR LUGGAGE was waiting for us. I'll say it again, guys- GET THERE EARLY! I've NEVER received luggage so timely before. So we were off to explore. I won't go into detail about each of the various rooms aboard and their locations (this is long enough review already). Besides, so many have already done an exceptional job with that. I will point out some of the things that stood out to me that I haven't heard mentioned before. -A good portion of the ship is non-smoking. The casino has a "non- smoking section, as do several of the lounges etc. By the time they finished listing all of the sections where smokers couldn't smoke, I began to wonder what was left for them. I was grateful though because I didn't have to fan away the smoke everywhere I went. -There is a light switch by the bed. No more getting up to turn off the overhead light. -There were reading lamps/wall sconces above each bed. This enabled you to read without disturbing your other sleeping cabin mates. -There was more than adequate storage space. I'm talking mirrors that hid storage cabinets, shelves, drawers, nightstands and even enough space under the bed to store suitcases. I can't remember who but someone asked about the number of hangers - there were 20. -There was a curtain to separate the sitting area from the twin beds. This could really come in handy for families that share the same cabin. -There was a full-length mirror. Maybe this is a woman thing, but when I get dressed I like to see my floor length image. So ladies, get ready you can see your entire outfit, from your hat to your shoes. -Finally, my favorite the bathroom. I know this will probably sound a little bourgeoisie, but I'm normally repulsed by the bathrooms on ships. As soon as I go in, I'm struck by that feeling, let me get in and out of here ASAP and I don't want to touch anything . The bathrooms on the Adventure don't give you that feeling at all. Starting with the showers! Goodbye shower curtains that stick to you and make your skin crawl, hellooooooo sliding plexi-glass doors. This was a welcome change! There was nothing spectacular about the bathroom, I guess it was just the combination of the newness and the bright dEcor that made you feel at home. Before the day was over we took in a little miniature golf, ping pong, Ms. Pac-Man, lounging in the "adults only" Solarium, the sail-away party, dancing at Jester's and I donated a whopping $5 to the nickel slots. There was a welcome aboard show, we didn't stay very long though. As soon as the guy began to juggle plates, well, that was my cue to leave. Not my kind of entertainment. We returned to the cabin to unpack. We did attend the parade though. It was wonderful. I don't think it was the parade itself that was as exciting as knowing all of this was occurring onboard a ship. Oh, I almost forgot, dinner. I won't list all of the entrees but for those of you that have the AOS menu, I will give you enough dishes so that you can figure out which days they are serving which foods. The embarkation dinner was Shrimp Ravioli and Cordon Bleu. 2/18 At Sea This is when I began to appreciate the inside cabin. I don't remember the last time I slept so deeply. There was absolutely no light to awaken you. It's easy to sleep late. I went for a jog on the track (5x = 1 mile). For people who really like an intense jog.....you will be disappointed. There were sooo many blasted people in the way. They stood still in the middle of the track, talked on the track, took a leisure stroll occupying both lanes, moved their lounge chair in the middle of the track. It was constant dodging my entire run. That is poor design on behalf of the ship's designers. The track needs to be in separate location, around the pool area just doesn't work well. I also lifted weights for a while in the Ship Shape Gym. The gym is nice it doesn't have quite all the equipment of most health clubs but it is sufficient. There were treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical machines. They had the basic weight machines a few for the abs, leg extension, leg press, inner and outer thighs, reverse leg curls, lat pulls etc. In addition, there was a free weights section. Anyway, once I was finished I hurried back to the room for the dreaded Muster Drill. Fortunately, we were only missing one person from our section, so the muster drill went quickly. Then it was off to the Island Grill for brunch. In the main dining rooms they were serving Caribbean Curry and Lasagna. Afterwards, I went to lay out, while my mother went shopping in the Promenade. There were a lot of lounge chair savers on board this week. I'd say probably only one in two lounge chairs were actually occupied. The other 50% had a towel/ magazine to occupy it. I circled the pool area three times....no available lounge chairs. So, I waited by a string of 5 vacant lounge chairs. After 10 minutes, I moved the towel and sat down. About an hour later the owners returned, they looked quizzically but didn't say anything. The sexy leg contest was cute. They also had horse racing and a few other games. Around 3pm I left to shower and change for the cruise critic party. Go to your cruise critic parties! I met the most wonderful people. (Hi to Rstamper, LRCruiser, luvstowrkout and Nikki and family. Periodically, we ran into each other throughout the remainder of the trip. Cruise critic buddies are so much fun! We hung out in the Aquarium Bar/Lobby Lounge for a few hours and then it was off to dinner. Today was the first formal night -The Captains Gala Dinner. Two of the main entrees were Duck and Salmon. I had selected Monday to go to Portifino's because I didn't really care for anything on the menu. I loved Portifino's and so did my Mom. Ideally I am opposed to the concept of spending extra money for food, especially when there is adequate free food available. Boy, am I glad I did I went anyway. The ambiance, service and food were top notch and it was well worth every penny. The 7-course menu is the same every night in Portifino's. I had some kind of shrimp and rice appetizer that was GREAT. I also had a huge lobster tail. Dessert was Fruit de Rossi. This was incredible! Like I said...go to Portifino's it's worth it. By the way, someone asked about the table sizes in Portifino's. There were tables for 2, 4 and 6. Space got a little tight for certain days, so make reservations early. After dinner we returned to the casino, I won $28 dollars. We also went to karaoke in the Imperial Lounge( not a large turnout), the Velvet Rope Show (nice) the Comedy Show - starring Hank McCauley (very funny), and finished the morning at Jester's (The DJ doesn't play. A note to parents- the comedians were funny-except Julie Barr, however they were not appropriate for children. It is strictly ADULT Comedy. A warning also to the sensitive cruisers, some jokes are a bit risquE. If you are easily offended, you may not enjoy the comedy shows. 2/19 Aruba We went to the Windjammer for breakfast and ate quickly. It was mother's second trip to Aruba, but my first. I wanted to enjoy every minute of it. Another word about purchasing sight seeing excursions, unless you just like the whole "tour bus" feeling, you can do it cheaper on your own. We got off and there were private tour companies clamoring for your business. The first people who got off the ship were being offered $15pp, by the time we got off it was $8pp. We toured on air-conditioned mini-tour van with about 15 other cruisers. Our tour guides' name was Winston (very nice and knowledgeable about the island. He took us to the Lighthouse Bridge, the Ayo Rock formations, Eagle and Palm Beaches. He also showed us the infamous divi divi tree. We returned to the ship at lunch to try Johnny Rockets. Okay Eddie PR this one is for you. We thought Johnny Rockets was just OK. I didn't understand what all the hype was about. The shakes were delicious, so were the onion rings, but nothing else stood out to me. I admit I'm not a beef eater, but I had a hamburger anyway just because ......well, it's Johnny Rockets. It was just OK. By all means go and judge for yourself, after all it is FREE. We went shopping at the Plaza Mall for souvenir-type stuff. A note about phone cards- they are not universally accepted. We purchased an AT&T phone card from Sam's Club before we left. After we departed Puerto Rico we were unable to use it until we returned to the U.S. Virgin Islands. I was told by a local resident that each island has its' own phone card system. A phone card in Aruba cannot be used in Curacao and vice versa. Later that afternoon, I took a nap. Boy is cruising exhausting. Afterwards, I watched my Mom play the slots and then it was off to dinner. It was Caribbean night and boy was I glad I didn't schedule Portifino's this night. The jerk chicken was great and the conch fritters.....let's just say I had two orders. Later we watched the Love and Marriage Game Show (very funny) and went to the sail away party by the pool. 2/20 Curacao We went to the Windjammer again for breakfast. Come to think of it, I've never made breakfast in the dining room, on any cruise. Since both of the activities that I really wanted to do were on opposite ends of the island...we just toured and shopped. Again, we found a tour guide as we debarked who showed us the city for $15pp. I thought the floating bridge was really cool. Curacao was very quaint and did have a lot of charm. We returned to the ship and caught the tail end of lunch in the Windjammer. Later on we watched the sunset....it was incredible. We changed and went to dinner, shrimp scampi and four cheese ravioli. Both were delicious. I'm glad I didn't choose between the two. The risotto was also good. Later went to the hear Michael Eric Hall perform. He has a terrific voice and a sparkling sense of humor. We also went to the Rock and Roll 50's 60's and 70's. We stayed for a little while and then went to the Imperial Lounge to salsa. We ended the morning in Jester's. Make sure you make it aboard on time. One lady was left behind today I hope she was able to make it to St. Maarten, When the captain says we leave at 6 he means 6. At 6:01 we are pushing off. 2/21 Day at Sea I was glad to have another at sea day. We tried so hard to make it to as many of the activities as we could...it was tiresome. Today we slept in and ordered room service. The portions were generous and the food was served hot. Then it was off to the rock-climbing wall. I had never been rock-climbing, it was a lot of fun. I watched so many kids scramble up to the top that I felt sure I could do it easy. Nope! I made it half way and lost my balance. The winds were kind of strong so, I just kept swinging around. (Thank goodness for safety equipment) Oh well, it was great experience, better luck next time. It drizzled off and on so I went back to Ship Shape and used the stationary bike. Today we had our first lunch in the dining room. I had quiche and a blackened chicken sandwich. Next, I went online to check my e-mail. The cost is 50 cents per minute. Needless to say I got on and off very quickly. Later we went to the ice show (Cool Art, Hot Ice) In my opinion, this is the BEST show onboard. Don't miss it! It is amazing what they were able to do on such a tiny rink. At some points there were ten skaters on the rink at a time. Amazing! We also went to Can't Stop the Rock (this was better than the Velvet Rope). I was really impressed with the innovative lighting and set design. Today was the second formal night. At dinner the highlights were the peach soup, lobster tails (I ate two) and the Berry tart for dessert. We went to the comedy show starring Julie Barr. I felt kind of sorry for her. The audience was dead and nobody was laughing. It wasn't a very good show in my opinion. I even dozed a bit.:eek: 2/22 St. Maarten This still remains my favorite port for beaches. I went to Orient Beach the last time I was in St. Maarten (loved it) so I was determined to see some of the others this time. We spent most of the day visiting the several beaches. We went to Mahoe Bay, Simpson Bay, Little Bay and Great Bay. They were all really nice but I haven't found one yet that tops Orient. Afterwards, we did a little shopping. They have some nice art stores and I found some great island crafts. We also went to Guavaberry Emporium. I didn't realize they didn't have any non-alcoholic drinks. Since, I had heard so much about it, I decided to have a little taste. It was good, but boy, whatever they put in that stuff.....STRONG. It put some hairs on my chest. Shortly afterwards we returned to the ship. We missed lunch so I headed to the Promenade deck for pizza and tuna croissant. When we finished eating, I went rollerblading. It was my first time rollerblading. It was pretty cool.... great fun. It took me a little while to get the hang of it. I never did learn how to stop (thank goodness for the guard rails). We rested for a little while and watched the sunset. Then we were off again. We hit the arcade to kill a little time before dinner. Note to parents, be careful with your children in the arcade. The game room does not take coins or tokens. You swipe your cruise cards and it appears as a charge to your stateroom. You can charge amounts ONLY in $10 increments. I saw several parents fussing at their children for running up a huge tab in the arcade. One kid spent $1200 You may want to place a restriction on the charge card or you may live to regret it. Anyway, off to dinner. They were serving lamb that night. I don't remember what I had, so it must not have been too good. I do remember eating shrimp cocktail and TO DIE FOR crab cakes. Later on, we went to the battle of the sexes- the ladies won...of course. It was a lot of fun, but the game didn't last long enough. We went to see a comedian that was pretty good. All I remember was that he was from Russia with a name I couldn't pronounce, let alone spell. We also caught the tail end of the Latin Fiesta by the pool that was a lot of fun. 2/23 St.Thomas/St. John Today we decided to get up early to watch the sunrise. Plus, we were going to St. John and we wanted to catch the early ferry. I really recommend St. John. I've never been impressed with St. Thomas and after visiting St. John, I found it much more to my liking. We took a taxi to Red Hook, ($8pp) then a ferry to Cruz Bay ($3pp). The ferries leave every hour on the hour and it was an easy excursion to plan on your own. The shopping is awesome better than St. Thomas. I'd say if you like to buy jewelry you are better off in St. Thomas, but if you prefer art and island crafts....St. John all the way. We walked around to all of the shops. The island has such a different flavor to it. It is not as developed as the other islands so you get the true island feel. I later found out it was home to only 600 people. Just to illustrate how remote this island is, I wanted to go to Lameshure Bay and I was told that there was no road to take you the entire way. The taxi could drive us only part way and then we would have to hike to the beach. So, we decided to take a taxi ($8pp) to Trunk Bay ($4 admission pp or $10 for a family pass). I thought Trunk Bay was beautiful, but to be on the top 10 list of Best Beaches in the World....hmmmmmmm. We stayed for awhile, then headed back to Charlotte Amalie. I changed clothes and then went ice skating. Ice skating was a lot of fun. My feet are still sore from those rigid skates. I've only been ice skating once, so needless to say I was no Michelle Kwan. I did manage to avoid falling though, that was my only expectation. I got in the whirlpool for a little while. I couldn't pass up the opportunity. I walked past and there were only two people in the tub, that was EXTREMELY RARE. We went to the Farewell show, it was just ok. The cruise director is very funny, but he's better as a cruise director than as a singer. . At dinner I had a delicious spring roll, the main entrEe I choose was the Rigatoni. All I can say is Ewwww! Don't do it! Can anyone say Chef Boyardee. Ah well, every meal can't be great. We returned to the room to pack and set out our luggage. They requested that everyone have their luggage out by midnight. We rushed to get packed but at 2 am our luggage was still sitting there. Anyways after we packed we went to the Final Fiesta parade. It was great. There was a strong energy in the crowd. You know that feeling that your cruise is about to end and you want to squeeze every possible minute out of it. We went to the casino again and back to Jester's and then we called it a night. We stayed up so late, only to postpone the inevitable...the end of a fabulous cruise. 2/24 Debarkation Debarking went off without a hitch. I believe it started about 8:30. We got off shortly after nine. They give you color tags but only so that you can find which section your luggage is in. Passengers actually debarked when their flight times were called. There was no one checking to confirm flight schedules though, so it would have been easy to depart earlier than your actual flight. We hailed a cab to the airport and waved goodbye to the incredible Adventure of the Seas. It was sad to say goodbye, but I knew xpcoodook and friends were eagerly awaiting their turn. We arrived at the airport and all I can say is OH MY GOSH! SAN JUAN AIRPORT has got to be the most disorganized airport in America. From the time we first entered until we taxied off we witnessed these atrocities. When we first came in there were massive lines. I'd say the average line had about 50-60 people waiting to check their luggage. Within hours, thousands of people began to pour in (literally). The Carnival Destiny, AOS and Norwegian Majesty all docked around the same time. People were coming in by the busload. SJU is such a teeny airport, it just wasn't equipped to process a large number of people quickly. Fortunately for us US Airways only had 4 people. We checked right in and were grateful we didn't have to wait. There were some who spent over 2 hours just to check their bags. One shocking thing, the lady never asked for identification or whether we packed our luggage, whether it has been with us the whole time, yada, yada, yada. Osama himself could have used my ticket and boarded. We went around to the security checkpoint, again no one asked for our I.D.'s we merely showed plane tickets, ran our bags through the scanner and walked through the metal detector. When we got to our gate we observed the real drama. We were told one gate and then they switched to another. About an hour later they switched our departing gates a third time. The most irritating thing....the gate staff couldn't seem to answer any questions people had about the status of their flights! It was comical! We didn't have a seat assignment so we went to check-in. They told us they would call our names when they were ready for us....they never did. We had to return the line several times to get a seat. The flights leaving at the gate before ours, 2 were cancelled and 1 was delayed. Our flight ended up being delayed by 2 ½ hours as well. US Air had also overbooked several of their flights so even full paying passengers ended up being bumped. There were goo gobs of people everywhere. One couple told us they waited 3 hours to eat at McDonalds inside the terminal. When we finally got on the plane we were grateful to be leaving behind a sea of chaos. Overall the cruise was excellent. I'd recommend it to anyone! We didn't have any of the problems that many wrote about here. There was even yogurt, sprinkles and diet coke the entire cruise!!!!!! Run, run, run to book the Adventure...you'll be glad you did. Whew.....now that I have carpal tunnel syndrome and have bored everyone to tears I'll sign off. I'm open for questions if there was anything I left out Happy sailings QueenLFebruary 2002 Read Less
We just returned from our one-week cruise on the Adventure of the Seas and what a wonderful time we had. The weather in the Southern Caribbean is fantastic in comparison to the weather in the Eastern and Western Caribbean. The whole ... Read More
We just returned from our one-week cruise on the Adventure of the Seas and what a wonderful time we had. The weather in the Southern Caribbean is fantastic in comparison to the weather in the Eastern and Western Caribbean. The whole staff of the Adventure of the Seas is to be highly commended. They went out of their way to make our vacation the dream of a lifetime. We were very fortunate to have had dinner with our Hotel Director, Martin and our Cruise Director, Kirk. Getting to know the VIPs was very exciting. We learned a lot about their families and their private lives and felt that we truly made friends that we will never forget. We got to cruise with "Tracey" our Social Director for the 2nd time. Tracey was on the Explorer of the Seas back in Oct. of 2001. Ill bet she is missing "Goose" (her boyfriend) from the Explorer! She is doing a wonderful job on The entertainment was a pure delight. From the Welcome Aboard Show, The Velvet Rope production, The Ice Production, The comedy acts.....all we can say is "WOW". "BRAVO." Then we had service that was beyond my wildest dream....I could have brought each one home with me. Our head waiter, assistant waiter, room service attendants, my wonderful, Humberto, who kept my room in tip top shape and also went out of his way to make us pillows that were "hard" in comparison to the ships pillows. I can go on and on about each staff member that touched our lives on board our stay and can only say, I hope to see you all again. The itinerary of the ship was excellent.....San Juan, Aruba, St. Maarten and St. Thomas....and we added one of our own....St. John, while we were in St. Thomas. You have to see Baby Beach in Aruba and Orient Beach in St. Maarten and Sapphire Beach in St. Thomas. Soooooo beautiful. To us, out of all the beaches...these were the best. I have to make a comment regarding all of those on the boards that complained about this or that on their previous cruises......we found none of what was said to be true. We have sailed on the Voyager, The Explorer (twice) and now the Adventure and there has never been room for complaints. It's all in your own attitude and how you make your own fun. Because many have implied that the [ethnic diversity onboard the Adventure was unbalanced] .....we took notice and perhaps [it] was but we had a hard time differentiating. We had a great time with every nationality on board ....."discrimination has no place on a cruise ship. If you discriminate cruising is not for you." As we left San Juan, we beheld a sight that was heart warming....they were celebrating with US flags flying everywhere, a bus load of children were waving their US flags from their buses at us...they were showing their thankfulness to the US for having purchased them and making them "US Citizens". God Bless America! To all future cruisers, have a wonderful time......how blessed and privileged that we all our to have the finances to be able to live the lives of the "rich and famous". And God Bless RCCL for providing us with a way to do this for one week...here and there! Thank you for these Voyager Class ships, they are the best! Barneykh@aol.comMarch 2002 Read Less
My wife and I had the pleasure of sailing on this magnificent new ship from 3/3 to 3/10. We stayed in a category 'C" suite on deck nine. The islands we visited included Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. A brief ... Read More
My wife and I had the pleasure of sailing on this magnificent new ship from 3/3 to 3/10. We stayed in a category 'C" suite on deck nine. The islands we visited included Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. A brief description of our excursions is included below. I will try to keep my comments brief. Unlike some of the other reviews for this ship, I am not going into enormous detail about every inch of the ship. I will limit my comments to what I liked, what I disliked and discrepancies between my experience and what was written in other people/s reviews. I will also briefly mention my excursions. For more info, feel free to contact me at my e-mail address, which is listed below. I could spend the next week writing about all the things I liked about the cruise. Suffice it to say that almost all my expectations were met or surpassed. Everything on the ship still has that "new" feeling. The food was superb, the accommodations beautiful (category C) and the entertainment (every night) first rate. The spa treatments were expensive but relaxing (I highly recommend the massage with the hot rocks). A few things I especially enjoyed that others did not comment on are worth mentioning. The solarium pool is a great place to relax. It is much quieter than the main pools. Unlike other people's experience, on our cruise the "no children" rule was enforced. The seats by this pool are incredibly comfortable. By the end of the cruise we were gravitating to this pool daily. The shade is also nice after you get sunburned (as we did). Second, this was our first cruise with interactive television. The schedule for every day on the cruise is accessible from the TV, making it easy to get information on anything. Reservations for Portofinos or for the spa can be made this way also. Finally, the card room (part of the Viking Crown Lounge) is another great place to relax that a lot of people don't know about. It is a great place to pass the time while awaiting to disembark on the last day (see comments below). I will mention only a few dislikes. First and foremost, our dinner was very slow. By that I mean that it took almost two hours. We were first seating and our waiter had three large tables to service. We were constantly the third of the three to get served so we were first getting our appetizers while the other tables were already on their main course. The conversation was good but two hours is a long time to sit for dinner. This is one of the reasons we went to the Windjammer Cafe for dinner a few nights (see below). Also, my wife and I like to dance but the dancing did not begin until 11pm. The disco opened at 10 but there was no action there until after 11. On other cruises I have been on there was some dancing as early as nine for people who don't stay up late at night. I also thought that having the Muster drill on the first sea day was a pain. It was mid-morning and was very inconvenient. In fairness there is probably no other time it could be done. Finally, everyone on the ship had to be checked by immigration at St. Thomas. This would not have been so bad if it was not done at 7am! The idea of vacation is not getting up that early. With 3000 people on board, the line was enormous and many people were very upset. Of course everyone went for breakfast immediately afterwards so the Windjammer was a zoo that morning as well. A brief word about our excursions. We did the sunset cruise in Aruba. It was very nice and had an open bar which we did not expect. In Curacao we did the canoeing excursion. This was mildly disappointing as we only canoed for about 1 hour. The rest of the 3.5 hours was spent driving to and from the beach or snorkeling at the beaches we stopped at. I felt like I had signed up for a canoeing excursion so we should have done more canoeing. The America's Cup racing at St. Maarten was the highlight of the cruise. It was awesome. I highly recommend it to anyone. It was one of the most fun things we have ever done. A few last pieces of advice. Get to the ship early the first day. They started boarding about 12:45. It took about 45 minutes for us to board. Make all your reservations that first day including Portofino's and the spa. Use lots of sunscreen. The sun is deceptively strong. We got burned after one day of sitting out in the sun. Finally, I recommend the Windjammer cafe for those lazy nights when you don't want to get dressed up. The food is the same as in the dining room and you can sample everything. They have waiters who will bring you bread and drinks after you select a table.ALANALW@aol.comMarch 2002 Read Less
My boyfriend, John and I, had this cruise booked for 10 months. I can't believe the trip is now over and I'm writing a review! How time flies! We went with 20 other people, mostly couples....Berna, Max, Mike, Tish, Joanne, ... Read More
My boyfriend, John and I, had this cruise booked for 10 months. I can't believe the trip is now over and I'm writing a review! How time flies! We went with 20 other people, mostly couples....Berna, Max, Mike, Tish, Joanne, Dan, Pat, Doreen, George, Sandy, Rachel, Jane, Mike, Ann, Tammy, Kevin, Michelle, Freddy, Joe and Andrea. This was a first time cruise for both of us. Others in our group had been on cruises before, which was helpful to us when planning our time. I had done a lot of research and reading of other people's reviews also, so I figure I can only return the favor. Hopefully, it will be helpful to those of you who are planning to go on this spectacular ship! Sunday, March 17, 2002 St. Patrick's Day 6:30am - Left for Logan airport. We flew on American Airlines. The airport was packed when we arrived. There were two lines; one for check in and one for security, both about the same length...long!! It went fairly quickly because they would keep moving you up if your flight time was getting near. By the time we checked our luggage, there was no line for security. I did get pulled aside for a random check. I had to take off my shoes and some sort of paper test was done to check for explosive residue on my bag and sneakers. It didn't take very long though. 9:30am - boarded airplane..we had the emergency exit...lots of leg room :-) Everyone commented on all of our festive gear...we were all dressed in St. Patrick's Day stuff. Many of us started drinking to celebrate the kick-off of our big vacation. It was a big party flight down. 1:30pm - landed in San Juan (they are an hour ahead of EST, so it was really 2:30). We had to retrieve our own luggage. This is a change since the September 11th events. The airlines don't want Royal Caribbean handling the luggage directly from the airport. We met up with the Royal Caribbean representative and waited in a designated area for about 20-30 minutes for a truck to arrive to transport our luggage to the ship. We then boarded a bus that brought us to the ship's pier. When we got off the bus, we were escorted into a room with a lot of chairs. We sat there until we were called to go to the window to receive our supercharge card. This did not take long at all. There was a duty free liquor store right there offering free shots. So, of course we did two before boarding the ship. We were on the ship by 3:30pm. My first reaction to the size of the ship was "OH MY GOD, IT'S SO MASSIVE! We walked up the ramps to enter and just before you do, there is a photographer there ready to take your "Welcome Aboard" picture. There will be many photo opportunities during the week. They display all the photos on Deck 3 in the Photo Gallery. My advice is, get the picture taken! There is no obligation to buy it! I didn't even think about the price of them, this was our big vacation and I wanted the memories to cherish! I do have to say that they should get rid of the fake backgrounds they use for some pictures. I would much rather have my picture taken with the real ship in the background rather than a fake one or some painted canvas!!! We had a Promenade Stateroom on Deck 7, Room 7305, near The Library. The Library had big comfy leather chairs and lots of books you could borrow. I don't know when you would have time to read though!! Our stateroom had a large bowed window that overlooked The Promenade, which was a whole deck long with bars and shops that reminded me of a mall. I remember that everyday I woke up, I had no idea what day or time it was, if it was dark, light, or raining out!! That was a strange feeling to deal with. Once you got on the elevator though, you knew what day it was. Just look down and the day was displayed on the floor!! Our stateroom attendant was Castro. He left cool towel animals every night...stingray, lobster, bunny, shark. We didn't meet him until late the second day though. Some of the staff: Captain - Johnny Faevelen Staff Captain - Trym Selvaag Cruise Director - Kirk Detweiler Executive Chef - David Southby Chief Purser - Terry Balfour Food & Beverage Manager - Michael Rasmussen Everyday, a Compass was left for you in your room. It listed the days tips, events, weather, sunrise and sunset, bar service hours and service open hours, pretty much everything going on for that day. Be sure to pay attention...there are days where specials are going on in the shops, etc. that you might want to take advantage of. If you shop on the ship at the end of the week, I hear the prices are lower. I wouldn't know, because I just shopped whenever I wanted! We immediately went to a bar....the Gravity Sports bar, Deck 5, located along The Promenade...then to the Lobby Bar. Here we bumped into another couple that was with us but had flown up a day earlier. They were allowed to get on the ship around noon. They booked their trip a lot later than everyone else and were put at a different dinner seating. They went to see if they could change it and be with all of us and it was done with no problem whatsoever. 6:00pm - Bon Voyage Dinner. The dining room was amazing! Three levels with a beautiful, very large chandelier. We were near the windows, which allowed us a spectacular view. They would raise and lower the shades depending on what the sun was doing. We had the main dinner seating at 6:00pm. We were in the Strauss dining room, table 413. We had three tables, all right next to each other. The first night, John and I had a romantic dinner for two at a table for eight!! The rest of our table decided to skip the dining room dinner the first night. Our waiter, Sedat, was from Turkey, the Asst. Waiter, Harish and the bartender, Isaac, both were from India. I had the Shrimp Ravioli, which was very good and after dinner they bring around the "Shot of the Night". We did these almost every night :-) You could keep the shot glasses. I think I have a collection of about 15. 7:45pm Welcome Aboard Show - The Adventure Begins - The Lyric Theatre. This is a two deck high theatre...really unbelievable. 10:00pm-11:30pm Sailaway Party , Calypso Music with Rhythm Section - Poolside 10:45pm-11:15pm Jimmy Buffett Margarita Party, Vocalist Derek Lewis - Duck & Dog. This is an English style pub that serves Guinness. This was a lot of fun, lots of singing, dancing and a conga line! 11:15pm World of Adventure Parade - Promenade - Lots of stilt people and dancers. Monday, March 18, 2002 AT SEA - partly cloudy 85, sunrise 6:39am, sunset 6:44pm We had breakfast in the Windjammer, Deck 11. Everyday for lunch and dinner the Windjammer had a huge buffet. You should be able to find something you like to eat here. 10:30am Muster Drill - Mandatory...grab your lifejacket and go to your designated Muster station. You basically just show up and wait around for them to let you go. This was a pain, but I guess you need to know what to do in case there was an emergency. We spent the day at the pool with the Calypso Music w/ the Rhythm Section. I believe Strawberry Coladas were the frozen drink of the day. YUMMY! They came in cool Royal Caribbean glasses that you could keep. 1:00pm John entered the "Mr. Sexy Legs contest". He dropped his drawers (he kept his undies on, thank god)! They had six categories, Mr. Hairiest, Hairless, Athletic, Chicken, Whitest, and Sexiest legs. Needless to say he didn't win. We had lunch at Johnny Rockets...the burgers were very good! I did manage to use the ShipShape Fitness Center for a half an hour the whole week. The have a lot of machines and I suggest using it, just to say you did. Already, I was ready for a nap. It was the only one I would get all week!! We went to the Duck & Dog and Schooner Bar before dinner. The Schooner Bar usually had a guy playing the piano and it was never really crowded. There are a lot of cozy leather seats with a boat motif. We used this a lot as a meeting place. 6:00pm - Captain's Gala Dinner. Tonight's dinner was formal. We had a group picture taken of all 22 of us! If you have a large group, you need to make an appointment to have your picture done. They really weren't prepared for a group of our size. I had the Filet mignon and the "Shot of the Night" a French Kiss. 9:00pm Can't Stop the Rock Production Show - The Lyric Theatre - dancing and singing 10:00pm Karaoke - Imperial Lounge - Chinese type looking theatre with a dance floor/stage, lots of comfy chairs. You received a Royal Caribbean key chain for participating. Mike, Michelle, Joanne, Berna, and I all sang. 12:15am Late Night Comedy Show with Max Dolcelli - The Lyric Theatre - He made lots of ship jokes, toilet flushing, etc. I thought he was pretty funny. Jesters Nightclub is open late and we spent most nights there! It has a small dance floor, but there are plenty of places to sit and you can request music. Tonight and last night stopped at the Cafe Promenade Bar. It was a lifesaver for that late night snack you need after drinking a lot. It's on Deck 5. Tuesday, March 19, 2002 ARUBA - sunny & windy 86, sunrise 6:40am, sunset 6:41pm Woke up around 8-8:30, got off the ship. Again, the photographers are ready to take your picture in front of a life preserver with Aruba adorned across the front of it. It was VERY WINDY and raining a bit little (I had heard it NEVER rains here!). We wanted to rent a Harley for the day. We walked all the way to Big Twin on Smith Blvd., which was about a 10-15 minute walk from the ship. Unfortunately, they were sold out. I didn't find them very helpful, but the people that were in all the shops right as you got off the ship were. They told us a place where we could go to rent a jeep since we weren't prepared. We got a taxi to the airport to rent a jeep. We drove to the Natural Bridge and four wheeled around the desert. It was totally awesome! I thought we were going to get killed, but we made it. Even though it was raining, the Natural Bridge and the water were beautiful. We drove by the Bushiribana ruins, the Alto Vista Chapel (there were a ton of stray dogs around). Then we went for a ride by the High Rise Hotels. We ate at Iguana Joe's in Oranjestad. Did a little shopping and then brought the jeep back to the airport. Renting the jeep worked out for the best because it did rain off and on all day. We didn't go to dinner (Caribbean Colors) this night because of our planned excursion for the night...We did the KuKu Kunuku Party Bus. To find out more - http://www.arubaadventures.com/kukookunuku/. It is a hand painted...one of a kind...1957 Chevy Bus that sat about 40 people. You shook your provided maracas as they played very loud dance music and taught you dances. First, they bring you to Arashi Beach overlooking the lighthouse and golf course for a champagne toast and some rules, guidelines and sales pitches (you can buy t-shirts, leis and CDs). Then we went to the Silvia Lee Residence for dinner. We received a flyer that stated that Mr. Atan Lee has been working with the government for thirty years, and has for the last sixteen years held the position of Chief Protocol for Aruba. He is the organizer of many social events, franchise holder for the Miss Universe pageant and organizer of Miss Aruba pageant. Mrs. Lee has been an employee at the ABN Amro Bank for 37 years, and is currently working in the human resources department. The backyard was set up with tables and tiki torches. Dinner was fantastic! Steak and chicken with rice and salad. The drink special for the night was "Sex on the Bus". Very yummy and only $2.00 at the house. I talked to the owner and asked him why he invites strangers in his house? He said, it started off as a joke at first and then progressed from there. He does it every night except for Sunday! We then went to three local bars. We got a pass for each bar that allowed us to have the first drink for free. The first bar was the Laguna Bar. It was basically a deck with no railings! You could easily fall in the water. We were allowed to dance on the bar! At the next bar (don't remember the name of it) we were taught the Bacardi Dance...we will sing Bacardi, yellow, limon, Coca-Cola for months to come! Our bus driver, Hyme, was a cutie! Raymond, the other bus driver, was a very large man! We were all dancing and having a blast! Lastly we went to Carlos & Charlie's which is an island favorite. It was very crowded! Don't know how we got ourselves in. They were having a "best butt" contest on stage. One of the guys was from our ship!! It was pretty funny! We were standing on the chairs and tables in the back watching, yelling and cheering! We went to the Beach Party poolside when we returned to the ship. Aruba wasn't as nice as I had expected after hearing so many good things about it. I didn't think there was much there. I guess if you are staying at the high rises or a resort it's different. Wednesday, March 20, 2002 CURACAO - partly sunny 85, sunrise 6:40am, sunset 6:47pm It was very windy here also!! We rented a Harley! Yay! We had to take a taxi to where they rented it. It was a complete beater but it was a Harley. And the helmets were disgusting. We dealt with them though. We drove all the way to one side of the island called Wespunt. Very scenic...mountains, beaches, cliffs. The Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge was very neat. We got to see it in action as one of the other cruise ships was leaving port. The Queen Juliana Bridge is very high and steep coming down it on a motorcycle! Curacao had a nice little port where there were lots of cart vendors selling things. We had henna tattoos done since we had some time to kill before getting back on the ship. We got on and watched the ship pull away from port. Make sure to watch the ship pull away from port as much as you can...it's neat! I never got up early enough to see us pull into port...I hear that too is neat. 6:00pm Venetian Feast Dinner That night was the comedy show with Two Funny Guys, Mario & Daniel with special guest Franz Lery in The Lyric Theatre. Franz Lery would use a big chair type trampoline to bounce all over the place! Then he balanced himself on several buckets, it was quite amazing. I thought for sure that he was going to fall and kill himself. Mario & Daniel were very funny! At one point, someone came in late and they were like, "oh great, we have to start all over again". They rehashed 20 minutes of the show in 2 minutes! Then we went to Rock Trivia through the Decades in the Imperial Lounge...it was all real old trivia. I didn't enjoy that. Off to Jesters nightclub. Thursday, March 21, 2002 AT SEA - partly sunny 85, sunrise 6;33am, sunset 6:40pm Up at 8:30am. I had ordered room service for breakfast. Then we went to the pool for the day. John stayed in bed for a while longer. He was hurting! I believe the drink today was Strawberry Colada with Mango. I think they called it the Love Connection. They came in these heavy, v-shaped glasses you could keep. Today, there were pool games being held. Berna and I entered. We were on a team of 6. We had to put a wet t-shirt on and swim to the other side of the pool and back and then take the shirt off and pass it to the next person. Our team won!! We won a waterproof money holder case. Make sure to experience the jacuzzi. It was very relaxing and warm. The pools are also saltwater pools. They were their own wave pools too...the ship's movement caused lots of rolling waves. Then there was the belly flop contest. You definitely have to catch this! Then they had the horse race. Pat had bought a horse for $425 in an auction they had held on Monday. If it won, he stood a chance to win $3000, which was the total of all the money collected in the auction. Joanne was the jockette that presented the horse, Champ (he was dressed in Patriot gear), and moved it along the course. She was horse number 4, if they rolled the dice and a 4 came up, you got to move. The only hitch was you needed a double or a triple four to win. We were one space to from the finish line...waiting for a double or triple and I swear a single four came up about three times in a row! Finally, a double four and Champ won!! Woo hoo! We never ventured into the Solarium, the adult swimming pool, there was so much more entertainment going on in the main area. 6:00pm Chef's Dinner - This was the 2nd formal dinner. John and I had a picture taken of the two of us in front of the big hanging ice-crystally looking piece by the stairs. That night was the lobster tail dinner! YUMMY! I wish I had gotten two. It was absolutely delicious. We all met in the Viking Crown Lounge on Deck 14, which overlooked the pool area with huge ceiling to floor windows, after dinner to have a celebration for the horserace win! We went through about three bottles of champagne. A little incident happened, while Pat was giving a toast, he swore. I guess one of the customers pulled him aside and asked him to watch his language. It was brought to the supervisor's attention and we received a complimentary round of champagne and Pat got a $200 credit on his card! There weren't any children around, nor were there many people in there at that time. I don't know why this person had such a problem. Also, at least check out the Chapel, which is accessible through this lounge. 10:15pm We moved on to the Imperial Lounge for the Adventure Quest Game Show. Examples of items needed, two unworn bras, a man with lipstick on, a man dressed in woman's shoes. You had to run up to the MC with your team number and the item. They called for two pairs of unworn pants. None of the men on our team budged...Joanne didn't hesitate and whipped hers off. I had a thong on....I wasn't going to do it!! Well, I ended up doing it...I ran up there in my thong and a shirt!!!! I hope no one got pictures of that!! In the end John had to have lipstick on, a bra, women's shoes and a purse. There were about 20 men prancing their stuff around in woman's clothing! That was hysterical! It's all about having fun!!!!! 10:45pm-12:15am Karaoke Blow Out - Imperial Lounge. Joanne, Mike and I sang. Then we went to Jesters to dance. Went to bed at 2:45!! Friday, March 22, 2002 ST. MAARTEN - partly sunny 83, sunrise 6:15am, sunset 6:24pm Berna, Max and I shopped in the morning. I bought a tanzanite ring and bracelet, two pairs of gold earrings for gifts, and a watch. You had to haggle and bargain. I didn't think I was too good at this, but I had the tanzanite ring and bracelet appraised when I got home. They were worth twice what I paid! We were booked on the Shipwreck Snorkeling Excursion. A boat took us out to this area where there was a shipwreck. The water was not that clear, so I didn't see any of that. But I saw lots of fish! I saw a big one called a permit. I thought it was shark at first! They gave you food to feed to the fish. The permit ate right out of my hand! After that we could jump off the top of the boat into the water and swim for a while. They then took us on a sea tour of the island. Many people said the snorkeling wasn't that good, but this was my first time ever and I thought it was awesome! It is such a pretty place...we would definitely go back. So far, St. Maarten was my favorite island. I wasn't feeling so good on the boat for some reason...I laid down and just sat there for most of the trip. I just wanted to go back to the ship. We had a drink at Fat Tuesday's, which was right at the Port of Call, before getting on the boat. I had a BBC...Bailey's, Banana and something...very yummy! John and I decided to skip the main dinner. It was a good night to miss...everyone said it wasn't the best selection that night. We watched the ship leave port and the sun set. We ate at the Windjammer. After dinner, we toured the boat a little and played miniature golf, where John beat me! The Platters starring Herb Reed were playing that night in the Lyric Theatre, but I had no interest in that. We went to the "Cool Art Hot Ice Show" at 10:30 in Studio B. It was incredible. They had people flying through the air! It was pretty incredible since the ice rink itself is pretty small. For some reason the movement of the ship bothered me today after being out on the snorkeling boat. This was the first time all week. Very strange! You can feel the ship move if you concentrate on it, but for the most part you never feel it. If you are prone to getting seasick...definitely take something like Bonine. Saturday, March 23, 2002 ST. THOMAS - partly sunny 83, sunrise 6:21am, sunset 6:31pm Everyone had to go through Immigration between 7am-9am. This was kind of a pain. The line was incredibly long....all the way down the promenade!! John talked to someone about going up front because he had an 8am excursion he had to be ready for. They let him go right to the front, no problem. The Immigration Official barely glances at your paperwork. I sent John off on his golf excursion to Mahogany Run. I went up to the "Peek-A-Boo" Bridge to check out where the Captain "drives" this massive ship. It was pretty cool to check out. A bunch of us went to Megan's Bay, one of the World's Most Beautiful beaches according to National Geographic. We caught a taxi right in front of the ship to Megan's Bay. The taxi driver was "007" and he was scheduled to pick us up at Magen's Bay at 2:00pm. The beach was absolutely beautiful, totally picturesque. We rented lounge chairs and floating mats. It was so peaceful and the water was so clear! We drank frozen drinks called Bushwhackers. It had all sorts of alcohol in it...tasted like a Mudslide, but stronger. The pizza and fries from the concession stand were surprisingly good, but very expensive. The taxi guy was great! He promised that on the ride back to the ship, he would stop at some picture taking areas. First, he took us to one that overlooked Megan's Bay. It was a breathtaking view!! The other one, overlooked the town and where our ship was docked. It was sooo beautiful! There were three ships docked that day. You could have put both of the other ships in our ship!!! Again, I can't emphasize how big the Adventure of the Seas is!! I tipped "007" very well! John said the golfing was excellent! He shot an 89. There were these three holes called the Devil's Triangle. He actually beat it and received a certificate for doing so. The holes overlooked huge cliffs. He had originally wanted to golf in Aruba but the excursion was sold out. This excursion only had seven people on it. He had talked to someone who had went golfing in Aruba and they had said it was awful because it downpoured the whole time. Half the people quit and the others played because they felt they had to, but they were miserable while they did. It all worked out for the best. John and I went ice skating in Studio B, just to say that we did, before dinner. It was pretty cool. The skates aren't anything great, but I had read in one review to bring your own skates. If you are going to do that much skating...why would you be on a cruise? I wouldn't bother packing ice-skates. We only skated for about half an hour. There were only two other people skating when we were there. We had heard that earlier in the week it was crazy with tons of people. 6:00pm Feast of Nations Dinner. I had prime rib and it was awesome! Max got 3 different dinners, prime rib, pasta and turkey! That was one thing that was great...you could really eat as much as you wanted. I would get two dinners some nights, just because I was indecisive about what to order. This way I could have a little of both. The same with the appetizers and desserts! The "Shot of the Night" had 6 liquors in it and was topped with whipped cream. I was told I had to do it w/ my hands behind my back. I put some napkins over the front of me so I wouldn't spill it all over me and complied. It was very strong and went immediately to my head. It is customary to tip all of your waiters, etc. on the last night. We tipped Sedat, Harish, Big Al and Isaac very well. They all did an excellent job!! We had group pictures taken with them also. We went to final bingo because they were giving away almost $7000. We didn't win but Berna was one number away from covering her card!! John went to the Casino a few times during the week, but I had no desire to use it. I know I would just lose money. It is definitely worth looking at though. Max, Andrea and I went to the "Farewell Variety Show, No Day but Today" in the Lyric Theatre. It starred, Levent, a magician/comedian and Franz Lery again. The Captain gave his Farewell Address at the beginning. The cruise director sang and said some jokes. They also debuted the Cruise in Review video, which John was in with his pants down from the Mr. Sexy Legs contest. The horserace results were also featured. I bought this...only because it featured people we were with. Otherwise, I may not have bought it. All of your luggage had to be put out by midnight, so I went back to my room to finish packing and fill out my customs form. Sunday, March 24, 2002 HOME We were all very sad that we had to leave the ship. We were up at 8:00am to get ready. Since all of our bags had to be out the night before, we were left w/ our carry-ons. We all met in the Schooner Bar to wait for our flight to be called. We probably were off the ship by 8:30am or so. We walked down the ramp to porters waiting to take you into the warehouse of luggage. We found our luggage very easily. You had to put colored tags on your luggage when you put it out the night before. The warehouse was split up into colored sections. The porters took the luggage to the bus for you. You had to have your customs paper and transfer voucher handy here. Make sure to tip them! We breezed through customs and got on a bus to the airport. Everyone was a little edgy because they were tired. A lot of people in our group stayed out last night...so some were hurting. We had 2 hours to kill at the airport, so John and I went to a restaurant...ate mozzarella sticks and quesadillas for breakfast!! Some people were drinking...it was only 9:30am (really 8:30am at home)! But then again we were drinking mudslides and margaritas at that time all week. We got on the plane, again, lucked out with the emergency exit, and almost everyone slept on the way home...what a difference from the flight down. Miscellaneous * I was very impressed with all the people who worked on the ship. All of them were very friendly and helpful. * There is so much going on, I wish I could have done it all. You definitely don't get enough sleep. There is a radio/announcement control in your room. Every morning when you pulled into port at 8am, the Captain would broadcast announcements. You can have this turned on or off, but you could still hear it outside even if you had it off in your room. * Make sure you have a little card in a slot on the back of your door that says "do not disturb" and "make up room". That is put in the key slot to let the stateroom attendant know what to do with your room. We had problems with people stealing ours!! * I liked St. Maarten and St. Thomas the best out of all the islands. * The elevators were very slow at times. They were moving so many people around at certain periods that it was faster to take the stairs. I also found it a little confusing to figure out which end (forward or aft) of the ship I was supposed to be at to get to specific areas. Remember that you can walk to each end easily by being on Deck 5, the Promenade. * Be careful on the steps leading down to The Lyric Theatre. I almost fell down them a few times! It might just be because I'm clumsy...thought I'd warn other clumsy people out there :-) * The menu always offered a low-fat suggestion and had vegetarian entrees. The waiter always made his own suggestions too. Other reveiwers said that dinner took too long. We were usually out of there within an hour, an hour and a half at the latest. I can't remember which nights they did what, but, the waiters all sing one night, another night all the chefs come out, another night they all walk around with different countries flags, and another night the waiters dance with you. * The rooms are decent sized. We used all the available shelving and closet space. We used the in room safe to store valuables. The shower was nice...round with doors. The toilet is VERY loud when it flushes. We also had plenty of towels...though there was a message about "Save the Seas" and that you should hang your towels if you plan on using them again...we hung them everyday, but they were always replaced with new ones!! I don't know why. I do find it crazy that they make up your bed in the morning and then turn it down for you at night. Being as busy as you are, you might never even see the bed made!!! If you wonder where you comforter has gone...look under your bed! * Disembarking at ports was sometimes confusing. Make sure to listen to announcements as to where you are supposed to go. In Aruba, things were different because of construction. * Definitely take Monday off from work! I definitely needed the day to recover, unpack, do laundry and get my pictures developed!! lulu31_1999@yahoo.comApril 2002 Read Less
My friend Nancy and I went on RCCL Adventure of the Seas Southern Caribbean cruise on April 28th. We visited St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. What a fantastic cruise! I can honestly say it is one of my favorites (I've ... Read More
My friend Nancy and I went on RCCL Adventure of the Seas Southern Caribbean cruise on April 28th. We visited St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. What a fantastic cruise! I can honestly say it is one of my favorites (I've been on 11 cruises). This itinerary is fantastic. We love these islands. The ship is beautiful and ENORMOUS! Of course, there were some not so nice aspects, as with anything. I've tried to categorize my review into sections. Arrival Since 9/11 you now have to claim your baggage upon arrival in the departure city's airport. This is a royal pain. The cruise reps meet you by baggage claim. We waited about a half hour in the San Juan airport baggage area and then were led outside. Where we waited, and waited, and waited. After another half hour, we followed some of our fellow passengers and got a cab for $16 to the ship. Before we left, we asked the rep what the problem was. She said that the bus was late due to traffic delays because there was some type of special events going on in San Juan. However, our cabbie said there was no traffic that he knew of and we didn't notice anything along the way to the ship. Our luggage, luckily, was put on a truck and on it's way to the ship too. We were glad we took the cab, but unhappy with the poor excuses of the cruise reps. Check in at the pier was quick. It is good to join the Crown and Anchor (if you've cruise with RCCL before). However, I had to ask if I could just go up to that desk and check in instead of waiting on the long line. The line did move fast, but it would have helped if they directed us immediately to the express check-in. The Ship This ship is like first class as compared to coach. Gorgeous! Huge! But not so big that it is overwhelming. Some didn't like it - thought it was too big. But, we had no problems. On any new ship, you need to get your bearings and there is more to locate, but there are plenty of signs and maps around. I could never explain all the stuff they have, it has to be seen to be believed. The Dining Room The dining room is awesome - 3 levels with a titanic-like stairway with a huge chandelier. Main seating was at 6 and Late was at 8:30. That is pretty late to eat and we were happy with the early seating. They were very flexible on times you arrived to dinner. We had one couple join us while we had our entrEe. Another problem we had was with our table assignment. We were seated at a table for 10 and for the first 3 nights, only one other couple showed up - 2 other women who spoke mostly Spanish and kept to themselves. This was unacceptable to us as we are very social and wanted to meet people. One of the most fun aspects is to have nice dinner companions and share the day's events and the plans for the upcoming day. So, finally, the maitre d' got us relocated to another table and this was so much better. The couples were older (one married 55 years and the other married 52 years), but that never bothers us. They were very enjoyable and we had lots of laughs and good times. Pool Or should I say pools. There were 2 big ones on the main pool deck and another in the solarium (no kids allowed). A fourth kiddie pool was at the back of the ship. This is our favorite kind of pool cause it has a bench around it where you can sit and put your feet in the water. Or, sit down on the ledge and lean against the bench, letting the 6 inches of water gently lap around your legs. Finally, there's the pool itself. Something for everyone! Then had the usually fun stuff poolside (Men's sexy legs contest, etc), but the horse racing was loud and somewhat annoying. Keep in mind everything is videotaped so you might get in the Cruise Memories video which is for sale. Cabin We had a Cat 9D cabin which was 180 sq ft with a balcony. Very nice for 2, but a little tight for women. A little tight on closet space. But, we made do. The steward was wonderful - left little towel animals every night. Only problem was the mini bar was not refilled and we would have liked a big bottle of water for the room (they only had little ones in the mini bar). Islands One general note - the shore excursion rep was not very helpful or knowledgeable. He only knew the ship's recommended stuff. But, we managed to find some really great spots by asking the reps and the taxi drivers on the pier. Also, ask people you meet on the cruise, at breakfast, lunch and dinner. We got some great info just from people we met a breakfast! St. Thomas My favorite island. It has it all. Shopping, beaches, side excursions to St. John. Plus, it's American. This time we went to St. John (Trunk Bay snorkeling). This was a very nice trip, but I prefer to snorkel from the beach. This one you had to jump off the back of the boat or climb down a ladder into the water. I've seen better snorkeling too. But, shopping is the best here, especially Jewelry. They have the best selection of all the islands. Antigua On Antigua we went to Long Bay. What a nice beach. It was a long ride - about ½ hour, but it was worth it. $24 each way for 2 people. We had a nice lunch in an open air bar and had some local beer. On the way back, our cab didn't return (luckily we didn't pay him for the round trip) so we hitched a ride with another couple from the ship. The cab took us to Devil's Bridge first. Really wild. Very bumpy road out to a point of land and the waves crash into the rocks where they formed a tunnel through them. It was just starting to rain so it was especially windy and wild. We thanked him so much for that little side trip. St. Lucia Here we went to Sandals resort. $40 gets you in, and you have all drinks and food included. One note, there's not much shade here. The beach was unbearably hot and no umbrellas. We found a little shade by the pool and that's where I burned, I think. Stayed in the pool to cool off. Had a nice buffet lunch here. This was not recommended by the ship, but was a very nice excursion. Barbados Loved Barbados. We went to Tamarind Cove. Very lovely. Plenty of shade and a nice resort. Here you have to rent chairs and umbrellas, but it's worth it. Nice restaurant to eat and they serve drinks on the beach, and again we tried the local beer - yum. Disembarkation The line for the US immigration on the ship was unbelievably long - for US citizens. We waited a half hour! They really need to rethink this procedure. If you have an early flight, get there early and then eat, or eat in your room the last morning.maryanne.roesler@csfb.comMay 2002 Read Less
We flew out of Detroit to San Juan on 5/11 & spent the night in the Wyndham Old San Juan. We ate at a Mexican place on a side street near the hotel. We are 35 yr.old married for 7 yrs. have 4 children & a lot of sickness, death ... Read More
We flew out of Detroit to San Juan on 5/11 & spent the night in the Wyndham Old San Juan. We ate at a Mexican place on a side street near the hotel. We are 35 yr.old married for 7 yrs. have 4 children & a lot of sickness, death & hard times in the past 2 yrs. We were very anxious for this cruise vacation. Our friends watched all our children while we were gone!!! Thank God for friends!!! We sailed from San Juan on Sunday, May 12. We got to the port around noon & it took about 45 minutes to check in, clear security, have our picture taken & actually step onto the ship. She was beautiful!! We had previously sailed on Celebrity & Holland America. But neither ship was a grand or gigantic as the AOS. We were in room 1570 on deck 10 & it was very well appointed & comfortable. The deck/verandah was smaller than on either of our previous cruises. Nicolae was our cabin attendant & he was terrific. We had late seating for dinner & we requested a table for 2 which we were unable to get. Our tablemates were very nice, friendly & interesting. Our reason for going on a cruise was to be together so we ate most evenings via room service on our deck/verandah. We still tipped the dining room waiter. No changes could be made to the arrangement for seating. We took full advantage of the Concierge Service (Spencer McCarthy-was the concierge). He was dynamite & he gave us great tips on which beaches to go to, got us tickets to shows, made our excursion reservations & even made us a hotel reservation in San Juan for our extra night after the cruise. Someone should find a way to clone him for every ship that sails. Spencer is leaving to bring the Brilliance on board. We took advantage of the Spa treatments & we made those appointments as soon as we boarded the ship. Yes, they do try to sell you tons of stuff--but they do a great job. My pedicure is still lasting (Sharon did it on 5/13) & Jacquie did my hair for 2 nights (1 formal, 1 other) I have VERY curly, kinky Irish hair & what she did was nothing short of a miracle & it stayed like that the next day too!!!. Jacquie is going on her break for 3 months & then going to the Radiance (out of Alaska). The food was very good, Johnny Rockets was a kick & the food there was a treat. The wait staff there was also a lot of fun. We went ice-skating, rollerblading, played golf & basketball. The variety of things to do on board was endless. On shore we just went to the "nicest" beach we could find. Everyone's definition of nicest varies. We were looking for big, pretty, clean beach/sand, lots of pounding surf, maybe a HobieCat to rent, & a place to eat something & get a drink. In St. Thomas (which we have visited 4 times before) we did not get off the ship. That was our "SPA DAY" of course my husband never wants me to mention that he had a "SPA DAY". In Antigua went to Miller's Beach, lots of fun. In Barbados we went on an Island tour and to Calypso Beach (near the ship) not much to do but BIG, BIG waves. In St. Lucia (beautiful island) we got a day pass to Sandals St. Lucia & thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, the pool, the bar the watersports, the food. In St. Maarten we went to another beach (RUNAWAY BAY-?) I'm not sure of the name but there was a nude beach near by, why is it that only out-of-shape people are Nude at a NUDE Beach? We are already planning another RCCL vacation with all the children for April 2003 & I will be going with 2 old & dear friends in July on the Monarch. Hope this gives some new insight. We had an EXCELLENT time & would go again tomorrow if we could. maureenhm@buckeye-express.comJune 2002 Read Less
What a great trip and a great cruise! Here are some thoughts that may help everyone. This was our eighth cruise but I will try to write this for both first time and experienced cruisers. GOOD What an awesome, beautiful ship. Very ... Read More
What a great trip and a great cruise! Here are some thoughts that may help everyone. This was our eighth cruise but I will try to write this for both first time and experienced cruisers. GOOD What an awesome, beautiful ship. Very easy to learn your way around and the signage is excellent. (you do need to know that forward is the front of the ship, aft is to the back, starboard is right and port is left). This ship might honestly be too big for some, but it wasn't to us. We rarely felt crowded (exceptions were around the pool on the st sea day and in the immigration line). Service in the dining room. We had great service from our waiter, Mustapha, and our assistant waiter, Oana. We spoke to many other people and all were universally happy with the service in the dining room. We also got excellent service in the show lounges. Food. Very good to excellent with only a very few misses. Portofinos. (see below). Room Steward. Great! Our room was cleaned twice a day and we always had fresh ice. We got everything we asked for and got it quickly.Entertainment. I will discuss the individual shows below but RCCL usually does an above average job on entertainment, and this cruise was not different. I must mention "HOT ART - COOL ICE", you must see this show!!Children's Program (Adventure Ocean). We did not bring our children but many people we talked about raved about how good it was. Only negative comment was from the parent of a 15 year old who did not want to participate. BADService around the pools and room service. I was at the pool for 3 hours Saturday and not one waiter asked if I needed anything. Had to keep going back and forth to the bar. Room service could never seem to get our order right. There always seemed to be something missing. Also, service in the bars was spotty, sometimes good, sometime bad, and sometimes non-existent. FAVORITE PLACES ON THE SHIP I know everyone's taste is different, but here are the spots on the Adventure we really enjoyed.Deck 4 - Both inside and outside. Inside, the casino. Outside, the promenade all the way around the ship. You can go all the way to the bow (the "King of the World" spot) and all around the ship. One unique feature of this promenade is you are actually outside the ship by the dining rooms. It's hard to explain but the deck juts out so you can lokk forward, back or up and it feels like you are suspended outside the ship.The Pool - enough said!Blue Moon (Viking Crown Luonge - Deck 14) - every veteran of RCCL knows these spots. Great for a drink at sunset before dinner.Royal Promenade (Deck 5) - Very unique. We especially liked the Duck & Dog Pub and the Cafe Promenade (24 hour cookies and sandwiches).Our Own Balcony!!! (Cabin 7256) - Best of all. Our first balcony and I think we are spoiled now. I think I may need one of these for every cruise. SUNDAY We actually got to San Juan on Saturday and spent the night at the Wyndham Old San Juan Hotel. This hotel is across the street from the cruise ship terminal RCCL used to use (and Carnival Destiny still does) but it is not across the street from where the AOS docks. It is across the channel and is a cab ride ($12 and 5 minutes) away. We got to the pier at 11:45 and the porters took our luggage right away. They open the doors at 12:00 and then you are led into a waiting area with the now famous rows of white chairs. People are called row by row to proceed to the next area where the agents will check your documents and issue your cruise card. This card is your room key, charge card and pass to get on and off the ship. DO NOT LOSE IT! If you have a lanyard, just ask and the agent will punch a hole in the card for you. Everything went smoothly and we were an the ship by 12:45. I heard some complaints about this procedure but do no share them. Yes, the air conditioning should have worked better in the embarkation waiting area (I suggest being sure you are wearing something cool when you arrive at the pier) but considering that they have to board 3500 people, most of whom show up between 12 and 5 (about 700 per hour) they do a very good job. The Krooze Komics are in the embarkation area to entertain. If you just go in with a little bit of patience and the right attitude, the procedure should be relatively painless. Spent the day exploring the ship, unpacking and relaxing. We had the second seating, which is normally 8:30 but on Sunday only was at 9:00. We generally prefer second seating because unless you are by nature an early riser who just can't stay up past 10:00, it seems to work out with the cruise ship schedule so much better. It is nearly impossible to spend a day outside or on the island du jour and get back in time to clean up for a 6:00 dinner, which is the main seating. Since the ship almost always leaves port at 6:00 you miss every sailing, sunset and sail away party! Too much of a sacrifice to us! We did see a lot of people in the Windjammer Restaurant (the always casual buffet line choice) every night between 7:00 - 7:30 and this may have been the early seating people who couldn't quite make it. The food served in the Windjammer is nearly the same as in the dining room with a few exceptions but your miss the service and the little extras on the menu (like lobster!). Most people do chose the Windjammer for breakfast and lunch. We had booked all our excursions on line so we did not have to do this on board. You can book excursions on line or at the Explorations! Desk on Deck 5 aft. We did make a reservation for Portofinos for Tuesday night, which is Caribbean night in the dining room. We met our cruise director, Omar, for the first time. I have seen a lot of criticism on this board about Omar but we did not share that criticism. We thought Omar was friendly and did his job. This is out 8th cruise and we have had better cruise directors that Omar but we have certainly had worse! He does nothing to detract from the experience. This seems also a good time to comment on the "Latin" flavor of the cruise that so many people seem concerned about. First of all, you must realize that you are sailing out of Puerto Rico, a place were Spanish is the native language. Naturally you will have a higher quotient of Spanish speakers on this ship than those that sail from a U.S. port, just as you would have a higher quotient of French speakers in a cruise that originates in France. The official language of the ship is English, so everything is done in English. Important announcements are also done in Spanish as well as some of the songs (maybe one or two) in the shows. It is not intrusive, and any English speaking person should feel very comfortable. The Latin people are well behaved, friendly, and on the cruise for the same reason as us, to have a great time. In my opinion, this is a non-issue. In any event, it is not a problem and English speakers will be very comfortable. MONDAY - St. Thomas We did not do an excursion this day. We had spent our honeymoon on St. Thomas and St. John 20 years ago so we arranged with the same hotel to spend the day there. We did see a wedding party on the dock at about 9:00 a.m., Preflyt, was that you? The first formal night and the Captain's cocktail party. First production show, "Velvet Rope". It was very good. Some gambling in the casino. Note to gamblers: RCCL has several rules which are not favorable to gamblers so take note. Craps is a "single odds" game and the blackjack tables us constant, automatic shufflers. If you are a gambler, you know what this means, and if not, never mind. TUESDAY - St. Maarten/St. Martin We took the Golden Eagle, a catamaran excursion to an island beach for swimming and snorkeling. The crew was friendly, the beach beautiful and the cruise enjoyable. We really had a good time. NOTE: RCCL warns you that nudity may be observed, and sure enough, it was. A whole boatload! There were children with us but after a few moments of staring, they went back to what they were doing. I think we all learned why people wear clothes! Portofinos for dinner. Excellent! In our opinion worth the $20.00 (each) cover charge). The food was great (we had the lobster and filet mignon). The atmosphere was just right. We had 6:30 reservations and were able to watch the sun set. Very romantic. If the ship is sailing south you will be able to see the sunset because Portofinos is on Deck 11 starboard. There is live music and it is a nice romantic change of pace from the dining room. After dinner we saw the "HOT ART - COOL ICE" show. As I said above, WOW!!!! Do not miss this show. It is amazing what they can do on that relatively tiny ice surface. They generate amazing speed in short time. There are 5 shows during the week and you must get tickets on Monday or Tuesday between 5:30 - 6:30. The tickets are free. Just go down to Studio B, there is ample information in the Cruise Compass, the daily newsletter to let you know what to do. WEDNESDAY - Antigua Probably the worst excursion we went on and I would not recommend it - the 4x4 Adventure. I'm more of a beach and boat person anyway so it could be personal preference. I did hear that the people that booked the Ecotour themselves has a good time. Maybe that would be a better bet if you want to go off road in Antigua. In the past we have always loved the beaches here and I think we'll stick to that next time. At night, the first guest entertainer. He was good and we enjoyed the show. THURSDAY - St. Lucia What a beautiful island! This was our first time in St. Lucia and were struck how different it seemed from many other Caribbean islands. Would definitely like to spend more time here. We took the catamaran tour to Mount Couberil Estates. A very good tour although it takes all day (we got back to the ship about 3:30). The tour takes you by catamaran to Soufriere and the you go by bus to the "drive in volcano" and a plantation before you get back on the catamaran for a stop at a beach. Be forewarned, the vendors at the volcano and especially on the beach (mainly rastfarians) are very aggressive. They were never rude but they are persistent. The volcano tour is informative and last about 20 minutes. At the plantations you learn about cocoa production and coconut production. This was informative but a little long. Ultimately I would say the tour to the Plantation was worthwhile but I don't think you'd want to be there much longer. Second production show of the week, "Can't Stop the Rock". Again an excellent show. One of the female singers is especially strong (she was very good in "Velvet Rope" as well). I'm sorry I do not remember her name, but she is well worth the time by herself. FRIDAY - Barbados We went on a scuba excursion - we are experienced certified divers. Didn't experience much of the island because we were tired and went back to the ship right afterward for a nap. I can say that the folks on the Jolly Roger sure seemed to enjoy themselves!!! They cruised right past our balcony and were having a good time! The second formal night. The second guest entertainer, a Canadian who did vocal (singing) impersonations. Probably the weakest show of the week. While he was occasionally right on he often was not. His answer to impersonating a woman seemed to be get as nasal as possible. Still, the show was entertaining but was definitely missable if you needed to miss one. Later that night (12:30 a.m.) Was a comedian doing an adult show. Very funny and very good. He was not over the line for my sensibilities. You certainly wouldn't want your children there but he was not filthy or gross. I thought it was just right for the audience. The only midnight buffet of the week was at the same time as the comedy show so you have a decision to make. Personally, I had eaten so much during the week that I figured I could miss a meal and I've never been that much into food as spectacle. SATURDAY - at sea One of the few things I didn't like about this cruise was the fact that there was only one sea day. We really like the sea days - they don't seem as rushed and are very relaxing. But if you are only going to have one, I'm glad it was the last day. Time to rest and de-stress at the end of the vacation. The pool was very crowded but I was able to find a deck chair near the pool in the early afternoon. The service was awful though (see above). SUNDAY - San Juan (boo hoo!) Everyone, including U.S. Citizens, must now go through immigration. This process begins at 6:00 and you go my your stateroom location. The ship gives you a information sheet that tells you when to go. The line is VERY long but don't panic, it only took us about 10 - 15 minutes to get through. This was the only LONG line of the week. I has heard that the line could be long to get off and on the ship in the various ports but did not experience this. The longest line we had was about 8-10 people and took 2 minutes. NOTE: there are usually 2 gangways, fore and aft, to get off and on the ship. (This is not true in St. Lucia, only one). When you approach the ship there is usually one, the farthest away, that has no line. If your cabin is that way anyway, why not walk to it on the pier, you got to walk that distance one way or the other. We had no problem with debarkation but we had an early flight so we were first called off the ship at 8:30. We were at the San Juan airport by 9:00. Can speak for later departures but it seemed pretty organized with ample porters to help with luggage and taxi's to take you where you wanted to go. Well, that's it. What a great time. We look forward to our next cruise and maybe we'll be cruising with one of you. GREAT CRUISIN"!!!!!clarkrobm@attbi.comJuly 2002 Read Less
Itinerary departed San Juan, Puerto Rico on Sunday evening. Ports of call were St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. This cruise was our first experience with a cruise ship. Because reviews are largely opinions, I ... Read More
Itinerary departed San Juan, Puerto Rico on Sunday evening. Ports of call were St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. This cruise was our first experience with a cruise ship. Because reviews are largely opinions, I believe it is important to provide a little background of the reviewer (me). Since this was our first cruise, I cannot make comparisons to other cruises or other ships. Well, that's not exactly true since I did sail the North Atlantic from Germany to New York compliments of the US Army, but that's another story. While being new to cruising, I am hardly new to traveling. I have spent time in 49 of the 50 states, Alaska excluded, Canada, Mexico and 9 European countries. I have stayed in many very nice hotels and dined in some of the better restaurants around the country. This then becomes my comparison basis. I'll provide a few pointers along the way for the peer-novice who may read this review. The seasoned cruisers may also gain some additional insight as well. With that being said I'll start at the out set. My wife and I planned this cruise to celebrate our 35th anniversary. She has been suggesting that we do this for the last 10 ten years. So last April I fired up the PC to see what I could find. Upon visiting the cruise site, I noticed what appeared to be a very reasonable offer for a 7-night cruise. After a few clicks I found out that the itinerary was on the Adventure of the Seas, a Voyager class cruise ship. Having seen the Discovery documentary on the building of Voyager I very rapidly became interested in this cruise. A little poking around and I choose a stateroom on the upper deck with a balcony. It was 9690, deluxe ocean view on the port side aft. Fast-forward for a moment to say the view was nearly 270 degrees and was simply spectacular. Anyway, I selected the cabin and then was prompted to select flights if I so desired. Since I was "new" I guess I figured I would do everything through RCI. POINTER - In retrospect, I would not book the flights with the cruise line. I could have saved about 50% by booking flights on my own. There are some risks to this, but if you do it smartly, you'll be fine. About three weeks before cruising, there was a price drop on our cabin class. After a few phone calls and e-mails, I was granted a refund that was certainly worthwhile. When the cruise documents finally arrived, we were really getting excited. We were to fly direct from DFW to San Juan on the morning of departure day. Also, the return flight was on the same day as docking back at San Juan. POINTER - Book you own airfare for the day before and the return the day after if you can. You will enjoy it much better and the money you save by booking your own airfare can be used for the hotels. There are several times during this experience that you will find yourself looking for your luggage. This will be either at the airport baggage carrousel or the in the ship terminal. We have all seen airport carrousels, but let me tell you, they are nothing compared to the ship terminal when you return to find your luggage. POINTER - Mark you bags so you can easily identify them. No, I don't mean put a cute little ribbon or bow on the handle. You wouldn't believe how many bags had a cute little bow that you can only see from 5 feet away. I marked our luggage with a double band of white duct tape all the way around the 4 sides. You could see it from 100 feet away. This will save time. While spending time on the Cruise Critic site and perusing the posts, I noticed many questions about how to get from the airport to the pier. When I booked I had done everything through Royal Caribbean so transfers where included. POINTER - For San Juan, skip the provided transfers and grab a taxi. Do this either by yourself or shared with another party. This will save a lot of time and possibly relieve a little anxiety. In San Juan this was a $20 cost for my wife and I. From the time our bags came onto the baggage carrousel until we opened the door to our stateroom on board ship was 1 hour and 5 minutes. This at 2:00 pm arrival at the airport. Another reason that I recommend the taxi is that I did not readily see a representative from Royal Caribbean to direct us to the proper transfer vehicle. There were two other cruise line representatives there holding up their signs providing comfort and direction to weary first time cruisers. During the "boarding" process at the terminal you will be exposed to free rum shots and have ample opportunity for duty free smokes and liquor if you so desire. POINTER - To speed things along, it really does help to have your paperwork filled out ahead of time. Fill out your embarkation forms on line, print them out and take them with you. Have your supercharge card form filled out accurately along with the other forms and you will not have to stand at the counter longer then 2 minutes. Be sure to have your government issued photo ID with you. You will drop your packed luggage outside and it will be taken to your stateroom later. Make absolutely certain that your cruise line provided luggage tags are affixed securely to your luggage. POINTER - Be sure to have toiletries and a change of cloths in your carryon. You may not actually get your luggage until later that night. Now, look up in absolute awe at one of the largest cruise ships in the world. You may think you are standing next to a building but it is actually the ship. You can get the stats on the ship from various sites on line so I won't go into that. POINTER - First photo opp comes right before you board on the gangplank. Of course, since you have only been up for nearly 12 hours, 6 of which has been spent sardines in coach class on the airplane, and you just got your first taste of San Juan taxis, you look marvelous. Right? Take the picture anyway. As you will come to find out, you will have many opportunities for "company photos". You have no obligation to take them unless you want so what is harm, especially if you are first timers. Chin askew, eyes popping, you smile to friendly greeters on board. This is your first opportunity to use your newly acquired supercharge card. You will also have your photo taken here. This one is more like the drivers license photo and it is mandatory so they have a face with the card. This card is everything on board ship. It is your pass to board to the ship, it is your room key, and it is your source of money for everything on board the ship expect the casino where real cash is used to buy token and chips. Oh yes, you can use your supercharge card to get more cash to buy more token and chips. After clearing on board security and the initial welcome, you are free to go to your stateroom or roam the ship or get something to eat. Whatever trips your trigger. We headed immediately to our stateroom. At San Juan, we entered the ship on deck 4 aft across from the Aquarium Bar. On each deck of the ship, fore and aft, by the elevators are illuminated profile maps of the ship. The usual "You Are Here" is clearly marked on the current deck floor plan. It then becomes very easy to navigate to your stateroom. On the way to the stateroom you will pass many ships crew. We received a smile and a friendly "Welcome on board!" from virtually everyone we met. We arrived at our stateroom and used the supercharge key to open the door. I think we have all had these types of keys and have also had to return to the front desk to get another because it wouldn't work. Not the case here. The key worked fine. The attentive Room Steward was either signaled that we had arrived or saw us, because it was only seconds before Elrid knocked on our door and asked if there was anything that he could assist with. He explained a few things and showed us our accommodations. He explained everything very thoroughly. To the seasoned cruiser, this may have led you to make comments like, "Yeah, I know that. Ok, that's all. If I need you, I'll call." But we viewed it as considerate and informative. As we were told, our main luggage would not come the stateroom until later, so we unpacked our carry-ons, enjoyed the champagne and strawberries I had ordered on line back in April when I booked the cruise and then proceeded to start to enjoy our vacation. Stepping on the balcony was a real treat, even at port in San Juan. We had a line of sight almost straight across the stern to starboard side and swinging full circle to look almost down the length forward on the port side. I had read a few posting about this particular stateroom on the boards and I have to admit the view is really great. On the balcony there was one chaise lounge, two chairs and a small table. What a peaceful place this turned out to be. Even under way, there was only a gentle breeze that swept of the balcony and churning of the wake behind the ship little more the noise of the waterfall in our water garden. Exploring the ship was an adventure in and of itself. It took us until Thursday to get to everyplace on the ship. There is soooooo much to do on board. From the ice skating and dancing in Studio B, to bingo in the Imperial Lounge, rock climbing on the wall, in-line skating, mini-golf, basketball, volley ball, internet lounge, library, adventure ocean, dive shop, health spa and gym, restaurants all over the ship, shops on the promenade, theaters and dinning. Not to mention the swimming pools, whirlpool spas, jogging track, artwork all over the ship, casino, disco bar/lounge, adults only lounge, peek-a-boo bridge, and the bow pulpit where you can be "King of the World". This ship is big and packed with just about anything you could ever want. You can even just lay back and relax on the deck chairs. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes so I won't go into each day specifically. Our overall view of the islands was that after the first couple, they are pretty much the same. Island economies surviving on tourism for a living. Mind you, we were there in the off-season. So many shops with the same stuff, diamonds and gold, tanzanite and "T" shirts. Souvenirs that all take on the same appearance except for the island name. The hype about duty free and super prices is just that, hype. Sure booze is cheaper but I looked at a JVC camera that I could buy in Dallas for $750.00, which after 30 minutes of price haggling could be had for the low, low price of $980.00. Hey, you're on vacation, in a foreign place, like the saying goes, "Let the buyer beware!" We did greatly enjoy the history, tours around the islands, and snorkeling. We did some excursions on our own and two through RCI. Those arranged through RCI, I would consider better then the self-directed ones. Shop around, there is abundant choice. POINTER - To reduce risk, I would recommend joining with at least one other couple, or maybe form a small group on your own. Cruise Critic Party We qualified with 33 people who had signed up for the party. There were about half of us that kept up a pretty steady stream of Q & A and general banter on the boards. We looked forward to the Cruise Critic Party. So much so that we organized a pre-party Party and agreed to meet on Sunday night in one of the bars. The Cruise Critic Party, I understand, is a fairly new event that RCI is doing. The sentiment was very nice and it did provide an "ice breaker" for members of the groups. Remember, you have people from all over the country coming together with typically only two things in common, the party and the cruise. After that it is sort of up to you to make it happen, whatever "IT" is. Cruise Critic and RCI provided a beautiful facility in the Blue Moon Lounge on deck 14, overlooking the pool area on deck 11. They brought out a large cheese tray and drinks were on your own. The amount of enjoyment you take away is up to you. We found it to be a very nice experience. I believe anyone who is more outgoing will enjoy this. If you're not a "joiner" then maybe it is not for you. Portofino We had heard so much about this "upscale" restaurant that we had decided long before the departure to be sure and make this a "must do". You need to make reservations early for the best choice in dining time. The service we received was excellent. You have your own table and attentive service. However, the food is a different story. We have dined at many fine land based restaurants around the country. In comparing, we found the food to be very average to sub-standard for all the talk about how good it was. Realize, that of necessity all meals are pre-plated (prepared ahead of time). This allows for great, if not spectacular presentation, but leaves much to be desired in food quality. As an example, I ordered a sea scallop appetizer. When it was presented the scallops were piping hot and the grilled vegetables they were setting on were stone cold, and I don't mean warm or cool. They missed the microwave completely on the way to the table. In a good 4 or 5 star land based restaurant, the meal is prepared when you order it to ensure absolute freshness and quality. The kindest comparison I can make is to food prepared for a large convention group at a very good hotel where they have to serve hundreds of people simultaneously. If you are used to dinning at Outback, Friday's, Appleby's, Olive Garden, etc., then the food will seem quite good, mainly because of its difference and uniqueness in selection, not quality. The lobster entree was on a par, or slightly lower then Red Lobster. If you have never dined at a really good restaurant, you will find this very acceptable. Portofino was worth the experience, albeit, not the food. Main Dining - We had selected second seating and a large table. Our late seating was preference was based largely on the comments on the boards about on-shore activities and having time to freshen and change cloths before dinner at 8:30 pm. Having now experience this, we would select the main seating at 6:00 pm because it would fit our style better. There are a number of late shows that we feel would have been more enjoyable with slightly more time between dessert and curtain time. The service in the main dining room was very good and our main waiter and assistant waiter made us feel very at ease. We had selected a large table because we are outgoing people and like to converse and learn about all the different life experiences of others. However, we ended up at a table with 6 Hispanic speaking people and 2 French Canadian, none of which spoke English. The other 2 seats remained empty for the duration of the cruise. Some friends we had made, setting at the adjoining table, were in the same situation with 6 or 8 Hispanic and no other English. We spoke to the headwaiter and a swap of tables was made. The Canadian's remained at our table and our English-speaking friends joined us. All in all, the dining room staff handled the whole thing very nicely. BTW - For those on the boards who said to do your own thing on formal night and wear what you want, if you are not wearing a tux or coat and tie, and evening wear, you will be out of place. We did not see a single person "inappropriately" dressed; yet everyone appeared to having a wonderful time. Entertainment Our cruise happened to be the last cruise for most of the entertainers as their six-month contracts were up when we hit port back in San Juan. Every performance was a farewell situation with emotions of the entertainers running very high. This energy carried right to the audience. All the shows were very enjoyable. Aside from the production events, the parades, spot promenade shows and poolside activities were great. Kirk Detweiler, Cruise Director, deserves a huge hand for his tireless work to entertain the guests. Debarkation All good things must come to an end. Alas, this cruise included. One slight bump in this process was avoided by a simple question to guest services. We had an early flight from San Juan back to DFW. The room steward had left a leaflet in the room stating the ship realized this and we would be given "Early Departure" white taps to affix to our luggage. However, that evening brown tags were left in the room. I went down to guest services on deck 5, showed them the leaflet and they promptly produced the early departure tags. These tags are not available for self-pickup at guest services. Had I not done this, our luggage would probably still be trying to make its way back home. As it was, our luggage with its bright white duct tape against the emerald green suitcase was easily retrieved. First Time Cruiser Overall Opinion You will enjoy virtually everything on this cruise. The ship is simply magnificent. If we were to book another cruise for next week on this ship, I really believe we would just spend the majority of our time on board ship. There is so much to do. One last comparison, the casino will take your money faster then Vegas or Atlantic City if you play the slots. bob.n.peg@verizon.netOctober 2002 Read Less
My wife and I just got back from a cruise on RCL's Adventure of the Seas which left from San Juan on 12/8/02 and went to Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, & St. Thomas. Between us we have been on 4 other cruises - all on NCL - and ... Read More
My wife and I just got back from a cruise on RCL's Adventure of the Seas which left from San Juan on 12/8/02 and went to Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, & St. Thomas. Between us we have been on 4 other cruises - all on NCL - and the general feeling is that AOS is the best ship we've ever been on. Even thought it's a huge ship, it doesn't really seem all that crowded. Earlier this year, we sailed on the NCL Sun out of Miami to Roatan, Belize City, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel on 1/5/02. That was a good cruise, great itinerary. We actually were married on that cruise. The AOS is a truly amazing ship, a lot to do on it and a nice itinerary with good breaks for days at sea. Here's our review/opinions for anyone interested: GOOD (1) Great ship layout, even totally full never had issues getting a pool chair on 'at sea' days and didn't seem like people were congregated in any one area. Getting off/on the ship at the ports was pretty easy and the ship docks at all ports - no tenders. (2) Separate area for kids complete with pools, slides, jacuzzi's. (3) Can use TV in rooms to book tours, make reservations at the 1 $20 cover charge restaurant (Portofinos), set up your own stock ticker, view your bill. (4) Sports bar had all the football games playing on Sunday when we boarded so I could see the Patriots! (5) Fun games on deck during 'at sea' days, not as annoying as NCL. (6) Midnight buffet was awesome, you have to at least see it. (7) Food quality was very good, Portofinos was excellent. (8) There's an ice skating rink on the ship! Seriously, even if you're not one of those people that goes to shows, you must see the ice show. (9) Many pools & jacuzzi's, both outside and inside/shaded. (10) You are in Aruba from 8am to 1am next day which was great. (11) Johnny Rockets chocolate shakes. Will cost you $4, but try one, you'll drink them the whole cruise. BAD (1) Towel policy is just plain stupid - you need to exchange them during 8am-6pm by the pool and if you don't leave them in you're room when you're cruise is over you get charged $20. And the towel 'police' by the pool are ALWAYS watching. (2) No sushi or Japanese theme restaurant or food. (3) Pizza was horrible. (4) Drinks are expensive. There is a beer of the day that will run you a little of $3 and a drink the day a little over $5. NCL had more specials and general drinks were cheaper. (5) PA system hard to hear in the large jacuzzi's on the pool deck. Music stage is also facing only one way (away from jacuzzi's). (6) Check in takes a while. But there are free Bacardi samples once you make it in the terminal! (7) Windjammer cafe food isn't so good, pretty much cafeteria style/quality food for breakfast & lunch. Recommend Jonny Rockets for lunches and go to the dining room for breakfast unless you just want something quick. (8) A/C is barely cold enough, on coldest setting was comfortable, but I like it a lot colder. (9) Curacao was a disappointment. It's basically an oil refinery where they take crude from Venezuela, refine it and ship it out. Where the boat docks you can see all the grimy oil stacks. Hato cave tour was a waste of $$$ there, I'd go to the beaches. Town architecture/colors are nice. OBSERVATIONS (1) Soda card costs you ~$37 for a bunch of soda's (can't remember how many), but only good for glasses, NOT cans, of soda and not good everywhere. There's also a drink card that gives you 12 alcoholic drinks for ~$45, but only for domestic beers and non-top-shelf well drinks, doesn't really make sense to get it. (2) Seating is only specified for dinner. Breakfast and lunch are open seating which was nice. (3) As with other cruises (NCL), you need to pay for soda, some ice cream (it's free self serve vanilla & chocolate cones on the Promenade deck #5 during certain operating hours), and some coffee/teas while not at a meal. (4) $20 per person cover charge to eat at Portofinos. We ate there 1 night and it was really good. Atmosphere had quartet playing, excellent service, cook to order meals of a little better quality than general dining room. (5) Hablo Espanol ? A lot of Spanish speaking folks on the ship. (6) Basic balcony cabin design (DA/DB category): we didn't like that the bed was right near the balcony with the sofa near the bathroom, would have preferred it reversed as on NCL Sun. (7) Not a real refrigerator in the room. Has 2 shelves that are stocked with mini-bar stuff that you pay for if you take (soda, nuts, etc) and the shelves themselves are poorly cooled. We had the cabin steward take out everything so we could use it for our stuff. (8) TVs did not have any RCA inputs to plug in your video camcorder into so you could see what you taped on excursions, etc. NCL Sun did. (9) RCL seems interested in keeping folks from bringing their own alcohol on board. We brought a few flasks of rum & vodka packed in our suitcase in plastic zip locks and carried on mixers - coke & tonic - in our backpacks when we boarded. I've always thought this was a stupid policy. (10) Go shopping in St. Maarten on the Dutch side, it's cheaper than any other islands. Aruba was the most expensive. If you are looking for liquor, find a store called RAMS in St. Maarten. I bought 750ml Cruzan rum for $3.25/bottle. Jewelry is also a great deal, look for a store called Dynasty Jewelers. (11) For anyone thinking of getting married on a cruise, the AOS has a very nice chapel at the highest deck on the ship, away from everything else, complete with bathrooms nearby as well as a huge lounge for the reception right next to/below it so you don't need to walk all across the ship. NCL's chapel was not as nice or large and was kind of in the middle of the ship so there were 'other' people all over the place when we were getting married who were boarding the ship. gandalf007@adelphia.netDecember 2002 Read Less
I'm going to try and just give you some info that I think could be helpful. Did you know the airlines only allow for two suitcases per person plus one carry-on per person? One of our "carry-ons" was oversized (larger than 9 ... Read More
I'm going to try and just give you some info that I think could be helpful. Did you know the airlines only allow for two suitcases per person plus one carry-on per person? One of our "carry-ons" was oversized (larger than 9 x 14 x 22) and we were fortunate that they didn't charge us extra. Oh yes, and make sure your suitcases weigh less than 70 pounds! There is an extra charge for being overweight. We left on the RCI Adventure of the Seas October 20. Got to the pier at about 1:30. Check-in took a total of about 35 minutes from the time that we sat in the "chairs". No big deal. The Bacardi tasting booths are there and you can go get a few shots while you wait. My cousin made the mistake of purchasing several bottles of alcohol at the shop on the pier. Any alcohol you take on board must be in your suitcases or they will take it from you and give it back on the last night. The first couple of days they serve drinks in nice souvenir glasses. Purchase those if you want to start a collection. Luggage was at our room by 6:00 pm. We had an inside cabin... seems to be worth the money saved. Just use the wake-up call service so you don't oversleep! The boat is huge and I don't think anybody could get seasick. We stopped taking Dramamine on the first day. The meals were excellent except for the night they served "Jerk chicken" (yuk! Get the steak). Ate in the Vivaldi Dining Room every night (2nd seating). Aruba- don't rent a car unless you can deal with getting lost and poor street signs. We wasted the whole day driving in a jeep around the backside (rough side) of the island (from California lighthouse to the natural bridge) before we gave up and headed back to the ship. Don't do that! Wish we would have just took a taxi and snorkeled at the beach! A taxi might be inconvenient but it will actually save you time! We wanted to go to Baby Beach but we never made it. Next time! Curacao- (pronounced Kur-A-Sou) was better. Still, we rented a car and couldn't find where we wanted to go (Jan Theil Beach). Ended up staying on the Seaquarium Beach (Kon Tiki Beach) and snorkeled. The snorkeling is best out by the rocks. If you're a good swimmer you can go farther out (past the rocks) where the water is fantastically blue! Do not step on any round, black things with spines- they hurt- ouch! Make sure you wear something on your feet. They are under water out by the rocks and are attached to the rocks. We brought our own snorkeling gear. If you have never snorkeled before, make sure you practice first. There is a learning curve that may take some time. St. Maarten- Got a taxi which took us exactly to where we wanted to go (Orient Beach). The driver told us there were two sides to this beach- The nude and clothed. Well, a few people didn't get the memo which was fine with me! :-) What warm water! I stayed in that water for hours. Not good for snorkeling though- a little rough and no fish. After the beach we went shopping downtown. The cab fare was $5 (per person) to the beach. $5 from the beach to downtown (Guavaberry Emporium!), and $3 back to the ship. Bought my wife a pretty rainbow topaz gold ring. Shopping is fun here. St. Thomas- The immigration check before you get off the boat is a hassle. The line goes the entire length (and back!) of the Promenade and around the Imperial lounge. Even at that we stood in line for about 40 minutes then we went and had breakfast. I'd suggest either getting in line very early or at about the time they start threatening you :-) A cab took us directly downtown ($5). Bought a diamond ring for my wife at Cardows. Wow, it was more expensive than the whole cost of the cruise (including airfare from California) but it is worth it. They will bargain with you, don't be afraid to ask. Also bought her some perfume. Good prices. No time left for anything else! Didn't dance much on the ship like my wife wanted. The smoking in Jesters was awful! I can't believe that it was even allowed in there. Didn't like the music either. I thought there would be more places to dance but we only found a couple inside the ship and we didn't care for them. Outside was a lot of dancing by the pool. Maybe I don't like to dance after all? Just not my kind of nightclub style I guess. The ship is beautiful! Details, details, details!!! You will love this boat. Ate a few times at Johnny Rockets. The food is good. My cousin kept wanting to hear the YMCA song for some reason. The servers there were all very nice. Everybody that worked on this ship I believe is sincerely nice. Our waiter Harish, our assistant waiter Karla, the head waiter Juan, the dining room drink attendant Fernando were all wonderful. The Ice skating show and The Velvet Rope were good shows. Would love to do this again! The duty paid upon re-entry to San Juan was only $29.00. I claimed everything. No big deal. The taxi ride back to the airport I believe is $8.00 per person. We had a voucher for the bus. Don't forget to tip each person that handles your luggage (at least $1.00/bag). They know what you need and will get you there much faster. Take this one and have a great cruise! keven@california.com February 2003 Read Less
Review of 11-17-02 Sailing of Adventure of the Seas Itinerary.... Southern Caribbean Ports of call.... Aruba, Curacao, St. Martin, St. Thomas First off let me say that the following review is my opinion only, based on my cruise ... Read More
Review of 11-17-02 Sailing of Adventure of the Seas Itinerary.... Southern Caribbean Ports of call.... Aruba, Curacao, St. Martin, St. Thomas First off let me say that the following review is my opinion only, based on my cruise experience, your experience may differ. With that said, let's continue. This is our 3rd cruise vacation, 2nd on Royal Caribbean and 2nd cruise out of San Juan. Pre and post cruise stay: We had a pre and post cruise stay at the Wyndam Condado Plaza. This hotel is awesome. The pre cruise night stay we were upgraded to a suite. I think that this spoiled us! The room even had a 3 man Jacuzzi/hot tub. The post cruise stay was a regular room, but had a balcony that overlooked the ocean. This hotel is incredible, great pool with a swim-up bar, several hot tubs, onsite 24hr casino (for those of you that like to partake). There is a Tony Roma's restaurant that serves delicious ribs. The prices aren't too bad for hotel style food. I would stay at this place again if I were going out of San Juan. Embarkation: We left the hotel about 10:20 and arrived at the pier about 10:30. The cost for the cab was $12.00. There was a short line already waiting with about 20 people ahead of us. They won't let any in the building until 11:00 am, but it wasn't too unbearably hot outside. At 11:00 we were allowed to proceed, and there were pier workers that took your checked bags and stowed them on the luggage carts for delivery to your staterooms. The room we entered was very large and AIR CONDITIONED with about 500 or so chairs that you could sit on. There was also a nice table at the front with ice cold water or lemonade. They had several employees going down each row of chairs helping everyone get their cruise documents ready. We were only on our chairs about 15 minutes before they called us up to get our sea pass cards and check our passports. This was incredibly fast! The wife and I proceeded to our cabin to drop off our carry-on stuff and to change into our swimsuits, and then off to the pool! A total time of 45 minutes. When we sailed with Carnival out of Miami, we were in line 3 hours waiting to board the ship. This ship is so beautiful and HUGE! Everyone waiting in the building had they mouths wide open staring in awe of her! Food: Now let my say up front that I'm not a connoisseur of fine food or restaurants, but I would say that the food on this cruise was the best that I've had on my previous 2 cruises, with 1 of them being Carnival. The service was what I've come to expect from Royal Caribbean, excellent! The staff was friendly and accommodating. This is the first cruise that we've ever left a tip for the headwaiter. Big Al, as he was affectionately called, was attentive, spending time to talk to each every one of the passengers inquiring how he could help or perform any special need or service for them. We did not go to Portofino's. It's not that I've heard anything bad about them. In fact I've heard only rave reviews for the food and service. It's just that I am not the kind if person that would enjoy sitting down to a 3-3 ½ hour meal. I know that this is the norm for some people, but not me! Johnny Rockets is fun! The food is free, but the shakes cost extra...but they are sooo worth it! I managed to have 3 lunches there. Entertainment: We saw all the major shows in the Lyric Theater. While I would not rate the shows on par with Carnival, I felt that they were very entertaining and fun. The wife and I are not the late party animals that some cruisers are so I can not review the dance lounges are entertainers. I've heard that some of the shows did cater to the Latin flavor of the guests, but I can not vouch for this as being fact. I would like to say that I never had one bad experience with rudeness or shoving pushing etc. from the Latin passengers. There were over 3,000 thousand passengers on this cruise but I never felt crowded or overwhelmed at all. The only time that we noticed any large group was in between the dinner sittings when the guests would migrate to the promenade to wander up and down and visit the various shops and bars. There were several parades and shows done from the royal promenade area. Pools: The main pools are large, with plenty of room for everyone. There are 2 small hot tubs, which seat 8-10 people, and there are also 2 big covered hot tubs which could possibly seat 15-20 people each. There were lots of available lounge chairs, and saving of the chairs seemed to be no problem at all. What we really loved was the Solarium pool area! This was forward of the main pool and was for adults only. They have a pool deck crew who patrolled the area and strictly enforced the 'adults only in the pool' rules! There are also 2 of the large covered hot tubs in this area also. Shore Excursions: Now of course I can only review the trips that we took, but if any of you have any questions about any of these, please ask and I will attempt to answer them. Aruba: I did the 2-tank scuba dive with the on-board dive staff, Sea-Trek. But it was fun. The wife did the spa treatment for the early part of the day. We then rented a jeep and drove over to Eagle beach and spent a few hours enjoying the baby powder soft sand beach. How come the sand here is never hot? We then drove over to Palm Beach, and then visited the Natural Bridge area and then finally over to Baby Beach. Just a word of advice, there are NO street signs in Aruba so be careful and carry a map. Aruba is not very big so it's not hard to get around, just a little confusing at first. We took the sunset catamaran sail and am I glad we did! If you only take one excursion, make this one it! You leave from the pier at 5pm. Before the sun sets, and take a leisurely cruise down the coast. Beautiful scenery and lots of rum punch! Take your camera because the sunset is breathtaking! We then sailed back to the pier, but not before we passed alongside of the ship. That was a blast! We had the whole ship coming out to wave and cheer us on as we passed by. We finished up our stay in Aruba with a visit to where else, but Carlos and Charlie's. It's right on the pier, and only a 5-minute walk, or 20 minute crawl from the ship! It's not quite as big as the one in Cozumel, but it really gets jumping around 10-11pm at night. Just leave time to make it back to the ship! Curacao: Here the wife and I did the animal encounter dive at the Seaquarium. This was awesome and so much fun! You do not have to be certified divers for this since it is only in 12 feet of water. There give you a thorough briefing on the different type of fish and turtles that you will see. They also give you a bait box filled with sardines to feed the huge loggerhead sea turtles and sharks through holes in the Plexiglas. The rest of the dive area is a secluded bay in which you will encounter large quantities of stingrays and fish. My wife called the rays 'big 'ole puppy dogs' they are so tame and fun to pet! But be careful because they try and mooch all your sardines out of the bait box if you're not careful! If you do run out of fish, they will give you more, so don't worry about being too stingy with the fish. The shopping was fun and crossing the floating bridge is a blast! St. Martin/St. Maarten: Since we have been to Orient Beach before and seen all the naked 80-year-old people we care to see, we decided to take the Explorer Cruise & Grand Island tour. This was a nice easy trip. We started out by air-conditioned bus with guided tour from the pier and did a tour of Grand Case, Cul-de-Sac, and Orient Bay. There were several photo stops along the way and this gave us the opportunity to see both the French and the Dutch sides of the island and all the areas that we haven't seen before. We then boarded the double-decked catamaran Explorer for a nice cruise of Simpson Bay. This was a nice leisurely trip with lots of free flowing, yes you guessed, it RUM PUNCH! The boat stopped in Marigot where we had a chance to do some shopping and then re-board the bus for the trip back to the ship. If you're looking for an easy excursion this is it. St. Thomas: We opted to take the Catamaran sailing & snorkeling tour. This again was a good choice. There were only 12 of us on the catamaran King Kamehameha, and she was a blast to sail on. She is the fastest boat of the Buck Island group, which means you get to snorkel longer than the other boats. We went to Turtle Cove and got to see lots of fish and even a few green turtles grazing on the sea grass bottom. Just a word of caution though, there is a lot of fire coral on the bottom so be VERY careful not to brush up against any of it. After this we did the skyride up to Paradise Point to get some very nice photos of the ships at the pier. Of course the Adventure of the Seas kind of makes the rest seem small by comparison! The Adventure was in between the NCL Norwegian Sky and P&O Dawn Princess and we were the first to leave port a 5:30pm. All the passengers on the other 2 ships were outside to watch the largest cruise ship in the world pull out. Both the other 2 ships were saluting the Adventure with long blasts of their ships' horns and she returned the complement with blasts of her horn! It was a lot of fun and even the wait staff on the Dawn Princess formed a long chorus line and waved to us with their trays. As much fun as this was, it was kind of sad to know that this was going to be our last night onboard. Disembarkation: This also went rather smoothly considering that we had to get 3,000 people off before the next group could get on. They use the colored tag system and the people who had early flight departures got off in plenty of time to get to their flights. They had a trivia show and the Krooz Komics put on a little show for the rest of us that were in no hurry to get off the ship. It took us about 45 minutes to 1 hour to find our luggage and get through the customs line, not too bad considering the large group of people. The trick is not to get too stressed out and to allow things to just take their time. The Condado has a check-in time of 11:00 am, which makes it easy so you can get to the hotel early to use the pool and facilities to unwind from the cruise. I know that this is a long review and I've probably missed covering some areas, but if I can answer any questions about the Adventure of the Seas, I'd be more than happy to assist. Would I cruise out of San Juan again? Yes, any time. In fact the wife and I are considering taking this same ship and cruise again next year. Cruise Critic Party: The Cruise Critic party was a lot of fun. We had about 30 people show up. The party was on the 1st sea day before the main dinner sitting in the Imperial Lounge. The cruise staff was fantastic, providing nametags, green rubber bands to get in to this exclusive members only party, and hors d'oeuvres. We got to meet and greet one another and afterwards they got us together for a group photo. I am in the process of getting it scanned so that I can post it here. This board has been a great service to me. I hope that I can return the favor to some of you. Thanks... jimprayn@charter.net February, 2003 Read Less
This is an exceptional ship and I highly recommend to anyone to take a voyage on any one of the eagle class vessels. I am already booking another one! A little background I am 36 I went with my boyfriend (43) and two other couples. I ... Read More
This is an exceptional ship and I highly recommend to anyone to take a voyage on any one of the eagle class vessels. I am already booking another one! A little background I am 36 I went with my boyfriend (43) and two other couples. I have been on one other cruise and my boyfriend 5 others. For my parents this was their first cruise. They are in their 50's and his parents this was there 10th cruise. They are in there 70's. I was able to gain a unique prospective being with first timers and seasoned cruisers. We chose to do a day prior in San Juan since we are from New England and did not want any issues with weather on the 26th. We arrived in San Juan on the 25th and had reservations for The Water Club..It was right on the beach and the rooms were nice but I would not stay there again due to them penny pinching you to death and the rooms were pretty tiny. I think it was way overpriced at $109 per person per night. Just a note our transfers worked terrific from the airport to the hotel. The little fella at the airport immediately found us at the luggage terminal. Jan 26th embarkation day: We chose not to use the transfers since they would not pick us up until 1:00 pm and I thought it would be way too late due to the crowds at the terminal (I found out later I was right about that!) We got a taxi for all six of us for $20.00 and 8 pcs of luggage. We arrived at the terminal about 11:30. Check in was organized and pretty quick and we were on the ship by 12:30. We were told that there was a problem with debarkation and the rooms would not be ready until 1:00. Oh well just have to go munch at the Windjammer and tour the ship! Also ran run up to Portofinos for reservations! Luggage came real quick to the rooms. Tonight was a casual dress night. Main dining room food excellent. Service a little slow. Jan 27th at sea. We spent the day checking out the ship. We stayed away from the pool deck since it was pretty crazy. I spent some time in the casino. Got out tickets for Cool Art Hot Ice in Studio B for 5:00 that evening which was excellent show and shouldn't be missed! Tonight was a formal night and of course we dressed to the nines. Dinner was excellent. Service slow. My waiter and assistant waiter appeared to have some disagreement and were running around like crazy. Went to the show in the lyric and it was excellent. Jan 28th Aruba. Last year I had spent a week in Aruba and gone on the backcountry Jeep tour. Had so much fun I decided to do it again. We considered a rental jeep but felt we still did not know the island well enough and went with the security of the excursion. (I found out later on that some folks almost missed the ship due to getting lost in the jeep the rented) anyway I highly recommend this tour. It is rugged and you get filthy but it is a blast and scenery is breathtaking! Smart casual tonight. We opted to eat in the Windjammer since we wanted to eat quickly and get back ashore to check out the nightlife. Jan 29th Curacao. Slept in since I had one too many late nights with the shows and walking the decks into the wee hours of the morning. I love walking the decks at night it is so peaceful. Went into town and did some shopping. Not much to do here and the excursions didn't sound very interesting to us. Had dinner at Portofino's. Excellent service and food! Jan 30th At Sea. Spent time at the solarium which is beautiful. Chair hogs abound, no biggy. Plenty of other quiet places on the ship. Had a scalp and shoulder massage at the ship shape spa for $26.00 but bought $100.00 worth of product and they gave me the massage for free. Very relaxing. Yup then spent more time at the casino. Didn't win much but ran into quite a few people who did win so at least I knew there was a chance! Another formal night and captains gala. Main dining room food excellent... service very slow again. Just my observation but the waiter appears to be doing more running around than the bus boys! Jan 31st St Martin. Busy day! Spent the morning doing the Rhino Rider adventure. You ride around in little two-person boats thru the mega yacht marinas and on to Happy beach. Nice trip but they would not stop for pictures and when we got to the beach the guide had us tie off to his boat about 300 yards off shore in 30 feet water. I hadn't expected that and was not prepared to swim. I thought they would pull right up to the beach so we could walk around and so on. So a bunch of us winded up sitting on these little boats bobbing around getting seasick. If you did go into the water it was incredibly difficult to get back on the little boat. My boyfriends parents were in their 70's so it was out the question for them to go for a swim. When the people who did go for a swim came back they said the snorkeling was lousy and there was nothing to see. I won't do this one again. The second half of the day we sailed in the America's cup on the Canada II. Absolutely a blast and I highly recommend it. There is a gentleman on the island who buys up the America's cup boats that are no longer being raced and that's where these came from. One of the boats is the Stars and Stripes that won in 1987. I chose to take it easy on our sailing and be the bartender/time keeper. My boyfriend on the other hand was a main grinder and worked pretty hard but said he would still do it again. Anyway we won the race against the Stars and Stripes and had a blast doing it. Plus the guys who were our hosts were adorable and a lot of fun! Didn't have a chance to go shopping here but I will next time! I hear it was quite good! We chose to eat in the Windjammer tonight because there were a lot of shows this evening and with the slow service in the main dining room we were concerned about missing them. All shows superb! Feb 1st St Thomas We took the St Johns beach tour today. The tour was pretty good. We boarded the ferry that takes you over to St Johns. (Next time I am renting a jeep and will take the ferry over myself to explore the island.) Seating was at a premium on the ferry and lots of people got soaked before they even got to the island so make sure you sit on the leeward side (away from the wind). When you get to the island you take little tour trucks thru the hilly terrain (pretty spooky on some of those hills but fun!) The truck takes you to Trunk bay. We spent the afternoon lounging. (you get about 2 hours on the beach) We actually spent a little $$ at the snack bar. Hot dogs and burgers were surprising excellent! In the afternoon I did some shopping. Taxi drivers haunt you the whole time. Lots and lots of shops! Be careful there are some rip offs... shop around. If you find something for $20 in one shop there is a good chance the place down the street is cheaper! Once again we went to the Windjammer for dinner since we did not want to miss anything on our last night. Feb 2nd Debarkation day :-( We had an early flight to Boston for 10:40 am so the day before I had gotten priority tags from pursers desk (on my travel agent's advice) for my luggage and they came with a letter stating early departures meet in the Imperial lounge @ 7 am.. Pls note my parents went to get their tags and were told they didn't need them so I sent them back to the purser to demand them. When they did finally got their tags there was no letter accompanying them. Without the letter they would not have known to meet in the Imperial lounge for early debarkation and may have missed the flight! Anyway we all got there at 7 am and were off the ship by 7:45 and on our way to the airport. Very organized and quick debarkation! In conclusion. I was a bit surprised by the service in the main dining room but to the first timers like my parents they were content and enjoyed it immensely. To myself and my boyfriend's parents (the seasoned cruisers) we knew there was something amiss. Here are the comments from the rookies ( my parents ) on the overall ship and ports of call. Keep in the mind the farthest south they had ever gone was Florida! - Wow! Love Aruba! Definitely hooked on cruising now! Ship: spectacular / food: excellent / service: fair / entertainment: excellent / accommodations: excellent Comments from seasoned travelers (his parents) - Other ships will have a hard time measuring up. Adventure of the Seas is breathtaking! Ship: spectacular / food: very good / service: poor / entertainment: excellent / accommodations: excellent . A few notes from me... Not to be missed-- lunch at Johnny Rockets! Dinner at Portofino's! Cool Art Hot Ice! and the shows are spectacular in the lyric! KTHY66@aol.com April 2003 Read Less
7 Day Cruise Southern Caribbean on RCL's Adventure of the Sea. This was our 5th Cruise on Royal Caribbean and more than likely our last. Air arrangements through RCL was horrible. My wife and I were not allowed a seat assignment ... Read More
7 Day Cruise Southern Caribbean on RCL's Adventure of the Sea. This was our 5th Cruise on Royal Caribbean and more than likely our last. Air arrangements through RCL was horrible. My wife and I were not allowed a seat assignment on Delta Airlines for the Atlanta to San Juan leg of our flight despite calling 2 weeks in advance in an attempt to secure seat assignments. We ended up sitting apart for the 3 hour flight. Needless to say this got our vacation off on a bad note. There was no RCL Rep at the flight gate to direct us at the San Juan airport. The Ship is indeed beautiful and huge. Our deck 10 category B room was also beautiful but subject to the noise of midnight revelers on the top deck and creaking in the walls. Johnny Rockets Cafe was a complete bust. The food was stale, the service horrible, and the noise was incredibly loud. Entertainment in the beautiful showroom was good but the standard jokes associated with the Marriage game, Bingo, top 10 questions heard on a cruise, etc., have not changed in 4 years. Service in the Main Dining Room was superb and was the only real highlight of the trip along with the Promenade Street. Food was good but not extraordinary. This would be a good cruise for first time cruisers if RCL could improve air packages. Otherwise it is standard fare cattle call cruising on a BIG ship. lynnandbill@worldnet.att.net May, 2003 Read Less
Ports of Call; Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. Deck #9 Room 9622 portside balcony (Bumpout) This was our second cruise with RCI. Our 1st was on the Enchantment of the Seas in the Western Caribbean. That was what got us ... Read More
Ports of Call; Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. Deck #9 Room 9622 portside balcony (Bumpout) This was our second cruise with RCI. Our 1st was on the Enchantment of the Seas in the Western Caribbean. That was what got us hooked a couple of years back. We had been planning this cruise for over a year. With the help of a great TA, who is also a very good friend. I shopped this trip and she was right on the money. She has never lead me wrong. We became good friends with our tablemates from our 1st cruise and have stayed in touch. So we planned this 2nd cruise together. They are from Minnesota. So when your cruise director says, "Don't worry about acting foolish you'll never see these people again" you never know what type of friendship you may be building while you are on vacation. We built up such a great relationship with Karen, Rick, Brain and Elizabeth that we just had to get together and do it again. We loved cruising so much that we talked our NASCAR friends into going with us on this cruise also. Needless to say Sherri and Dan are now hooked on cruising. This was their 1st but I don't believe it will be their last. What a vacation and great time we had! We all agreed we would do these ports of call and ship all over again! I have been reading all about these ports and this ship. I did put a lot of time into researching this trip. I read every review I could, both the good and bad. So this is my take on this ship and the ports of call. We left home on Feb.1 at 4:00 am and arrived at BWI at 7:00 am. When we left home it was raining, foggy and 34 degrees with snow still on the ground. We have been having a very cold winter in Maryland. We flew on American Airlines. The self-service at the airport sucked and we had to ask for help. Would not take our information. Everybody was helpful, so no problems. I was really afraid they were going to tell me my luggage was too heavy. What can I say with 2 girls and all they need to pack? Our 13-year-old daughter and myself. We girls need shoes to match every outfit. Anyway, no problems with the weight of our luggage. Security was not bad at all. No one in our group of 5 had to take off any shoes. Sherri and Dan live near us so we all drove together to the airport. Flight was a little late leaving by 20-25 minutes. Calculating weight. Oh no!!! I know it was my suite case with all our shoes. Arrived in San Juan at approx 2:40 pm. 85 degrees and overcast. Took about 20 minutes to get our luggage. Took taxi to Wyndham Condado Plaza for $25.50 for 5 of us and lots of luggage. Taxi driver spoke very little English. At Condado Plaza in about 15 minutes. It did take us about 30-35 minutes to check in. They were very busy. They did take my Wyndham By Request Number. I faxed it about 2 weeks prior. Room 722 on 7th floor Ocean View. Dan and Sherri were right next-door. Had wine, fruit and cheese waiting for us in our room. Beautiful view. We could see the Caribe Hilton looking out the balcony towards the left. Room was clean, sheets were clean, towels clean and bathroom was clean. The walk-in closet was bigger than the bathroom and had a safe. The room had blow dryers, safe and coffeemaker. The rooms need some renovation but for $75.00 through Priceline and took our WBR # we could not go wrong. I've stayed in worse and better but boy the view! I overheard the people standing in line behind us and they paid $199.00. Got things straight and went to see if Karen, Rick, Brian and Elizabeth had arrived. Perfect timing they were next in line to check in. Now they didn't except Karen's WBR #. She emailed it to them and they emailed back that because she got her room through Priceline they would not accept it. I walked up to the desk clerk with her and told him that she had forgotten her number and asked if he had anything available near us...guess what...he put her right next door. Being friendly and a smile always helps. Besides the fact that Sherri and I had already paid him a compliment on how well he smelled. Not only did he smell good he looked good too. We left our husbands with the luggage by the couches while us girls checked in....hey it worked!!! So while Karen and her gang checked out their room we checked out the hotel. Small beach area, swim up bar but closed around 5-6:00 pm. Salt water pool and pool overlooking the lagoon. 9 restaurants. Casino. After we all sat out on the outdoor patio and had a couple of drinks, we went to Tony Roma's Ribs. Food was O.K. Service a little slow. They were busy. After we ate Sherri and I scoped out the casino. They had a live band playing out side the casino in the bar. It was getting late and we knew we wanted to check out Old San Juan in the morning so we called it a night. San Juan Beautiful sunny morning. Ate breakfast at the hotel. It was high around $15.00-$18.00 for a buffet style breakfast. Went to El Morro fort. Cost $10.00 to be dropped off at the El Morro Fort by taxi. It cost $3.00 for adults and $2.00 for kids. Karen and her gang headed to the rain forest. Beautiful views from the fort. We could have left the guys there all day. They like history. Walked downtown, very narrow streets. Did a little shopping and looked at the birds in the plaza. They also had a band playing. We saw our ship when we were going back to the hotel to pick up our luggage. WOW!!!!! Checked out of the hotel at around 11:45 am and headed to the ship. $20.00 to the pier. Don't worry about taxis; they are all over the place. Just make sure you ask the price before you get in. Got to the pier at around 12:00 pm. Long line. We went through fast when that line started to move! No problems except Sherri could not find her license at first...we told her we would wave to her when we pulled out of port....(lol), Showed our papers, got our cruise cards and were off to the ship's store in the terminal. Bought Crown Royal at the ship store. Put in our carry on and did not have a problem. They did take booze from the ones that just left it in the store bag and ran it through the x-ray machine. It was lined up!! Even if they had taken it, it would have not been a problem, basically bought it because it was cheap! To those of you who have a problem with people bringing booze on the ship...don't worry we helped the ship out with our bar tab. My husband would fix a drink and sit on the balcony while us girls got ready for dinner then would fix one after dinner while we waited to go to a show. So we even brought a bottle back home with us. We were on the ship by 1:00 pm, so the line moved real fast and that including the time in the ships store before boarding. Got our pictures taken before going up the gangway. Put our cards in the check in machine had our picture taken for security and were off!!! This ship is BIG! Had to get our bearing straight! Found our rooms. Found out that we weren't sitting at the same dinner table...Oh No! Went down to the dinning room got it straight. 1st ones in line. Everybody at the same table, they original had Sherri and Dan at another table. We had main seating 6:00 pm because we had kids with us. No problems with main seating but if you had a problem on 2nd seating I was told by our headwaiter that it wasn't a table to be had. We checked out the ship and left the guys and my daughter to explore while Sherri and I went to do the spa tour. Sherri found out about the ship shape classes and signed up while I read what was available for massages. Purchased a coke card for our daughter $20.00 and a cocktail card for myself $39.00 plus 15% service charge. Never had a problem with this cocktail card. Imported Beer $3.75, domestic beer $2.75, Absolut Vodka $4.50, Canadian Club $4.50, Crown Royal $5.00 just to give you some indication as to what drinks cost. They always offer drinks of the day for $3.95. They no longer offer soda for free in the dinning room. The ship is so big, very clean for the most part although there was some worn spots on the carpet but who's looking at the carpet all the time? If you had around 3,000 people walking on you every week you'd be worn too. Somebody was always cleaning and shinning on something. Anyway, found Karen, Rick, Brain and Elizabeth. Rick was already by the pool. Their rooms were right next door to us and Sherri and Dan were across the hallway. They were on the starboard side of the ship also in a balcony room with the bump out. Everybody did get their entire luggage before dinner accept us, missing our big suitcase. No problem. I talked with Sherri and Dan's room steward and she said "Go as you are because everybody is waiting for luggage." It was causal night in the dinning room. So we went and we did not feel out of place because there were quite a few (majority) dressed in shorts and sandals. Met our waiter, assistant waiter (His 1st week) and our headwaiter. Came back from dinner and there was our last piece of luggage! Muster drill was at 8:15 pm, maybe took 20 minutes. After muster drill the guys went to play basketball, then we all went up to the pool for the sail away party. We left around 10:35 pm had to wait for 2 other ships to leave before us, Carnival and Costa. Roger went to the Royal Promenade on deck 5 to watch the parade. Lindsay was tired so we went to the cabin. I finished unpacking He said we missed a good parade. Sherri could not get her sea legs! Sea Day Watched the sun come up -- what a beautiful day. Ordered room service for coffee and juice. At the room in 4 minutes. I always give a tip for a couple of dollars and I always had room service in less than 5 minutes, just enough time to brush teeth and hair so I wouldn't scare anyone. Lindsay slept in. Roger and I sat on the balcony and drank coffee. Went and ate breakfast in the Windjammer. They have anything and everything you would want for breakfast. Somebody from our group also got omelets to order. Sherri went to ship shape class and a kickboxing class. Couldn't find Dan for a long time. Hung by the pool and had drinks. Roger and Lindsay went rock-climbing, in-line skating and played miniature golf. Dan did show up by the pool and found out fast that just because people are speaking a different language doesn't mean they can't understand what you are saying!!! I told Dan we needed to go get tickets for the "Cool Art Hot Ice" show but I couldn't remember what deck we needed to go to....This little sweet voice spoke up....the young lady sitting next to us speaking beautiful French, was in the ice show...she told us were we needed to go get tickets...ha ha Dan! She was very nice and nothing was said out of the way only how beautiful they were. So we carried on a conversation when we got back with the tickets. She was from Canada and her sister was visiting. Gave us some tips on places the staff goes while in port. By now all of our gang was around the pool. Watched the "Sexy Legs" contest. Boy, what those men will do to win!!! Make sure you wear lots of sunscreen. Went and had lunch at the Windjammer. The pool was busy but there were still plenty of chairs around just not on the main level by the pools. Saw flying fish. Went to cabin to get ready for dinner. Did finally meet our room steward, Katia from Costa Rica. Tonight was the formal night. Boy we all looked sharp. Got pictures taken. Went to our table. They changed our headwaiter! I had to ask what happened which did not make me happy because I had to ask. I am in management and run a tight ship in my office and know how important it is to keep our customers posted on any changes before they ask. With that said... our headwaiter came around just before desert and explained that another table had had our waiter on a past cruise and requested him again. Needless to say I had to put my two cents in on how it was handled. Amelia our headwaiter from Romania was very apologetic. I did feel like second best but it did not last for long. Deepak from India worked out great and didn't mind that we were always laughing and cutting up. I think he enjoyed us just as much as we enjoyed his service. Our assistant waiter was Zoltan from Hungary. This was his first week!! Boy did we break him in right! He would always ask, "Coffee, yes please". I think we made him feel very at ease on his 1st week because as the week went on he didn't seem to be as nervous. Amelia our headwaiter was very nice. I noticed she always seem to spend more time at our table talking with us and giving us tips on what to do in port the next day and asking what we did that day, Of course, Dan just had to get her to talk to him in Russian. That Dan. Desmond from St. Vincent was our bar steward. It didn't take long for him to have the type of beer my husband would drink already for him. Dan tried the shooter of the evening every night. He has the collection of shot glasses to prove it. I believe they all enjoyed us just as much as we enjoyed them. Our group always had a smile, was always laughing, thanked them at the end of the night and advised them "We'll be back". Saw Kenny James, he was a past "Star Search" winner. Boy, could he sing!!! Great show. He made the hair stand on my arms. Went to the Casino with Sherri. Had a good time. I lost $30.00 but did play for a while before I lost it. Dan and Lindsay went to the Arcade. Roger and Rick went to the Duck and Dog on the Royal Promenade. Roger said it was a good crowd with a great guitar player/singer. Sherri and I hooked up with Lindsay and Dan at the arcade. Went to Johnny Rockets. Great shakes. They cost $3.95 and always have a flavor of the day. Make sure you play the jukebox and make sure you play "Stayin Alive" by the BeeGees. I'm not going to tell you anything else! We set my husband up for a major laugh! Had the best time in Johnny Rockets, the staff is great. Aruba Rented jeeps. $80.00 for the day plus $15.00 for insurance. We had a hairy start!!! Please read the roadmap the clerks give you and just what their road signs stand for. Went down one way streets and streets we were not suppose to go down. This was self-inflected because we were suppose to turn left on L.G. Smith Boulevard and turned right because the traffic was heavy and we could not get across. For the 1st 15 minutes it was crazy. Three women in the back and 2 men up front with our friends following.....need to go into details? I will share this...Dan's head spun around 3 times, eyes bugged out and horns came out!!!! Got straight, had a great laugh about it allllll weeklong. Poor Dan was the driver and my husband was co-pilot. Went to the "Butterfly Farm" $10.00 dollars for adults and $3.00 for kids. Great stop!! We enjoyed this very much. Went to the beach right across the street, Palm Beach. We then headed out to the California Lighthouse for the views. Ordered pizza at the restaurant at the California Light house can't remember the name. Headed out around the north side of the island. This was fun. When they tell you don't go in the soft white dunes.... Don't...saw a few youngsters stuck! They did however get out. The views are amazing, rocks, cactus, desert like landscape, then the breaking waves on the coastline. You'll see all these rocks stacked up; make sure you do the same. It is suppose to bring good luck. Stopped by the Alto Vista Chapel, stopped by Bushiribana and headed towards the Natural Bridge. This ride was bumpy because you are on a dirt path but worth the ride. I'm glad we had A/C in our jeep. It was hot that day around 87 degrees. Headed back to the ship. A local tour guide that we talked with at the California Lighthouse told us that the mountain in the center of the island that is shaped like a haystack is a good point of reference for keeping you bearings straight. The guys agreed that they could go back and finish going the rest of the way around the island. After the Natural Bridge you have to go way up this steep hill/mountain to get to the Natural Pool. Us girls were chicken. Took the road back to the ship to get ready for dinner. Caribbean night for dinner. Saw the "Cool Art Hot Ice" show. Good show. Lindsay, Sherri and myself crashed and burned this night. Roger, Dan, Rick and Karen went to the Corona Beach Party by the pool. They said that was great. Missed "The Love and Marriage Game Show" but we watched it the next day on the ship's TV. Curacao Had breakfast in the Windjammer. Walked across the floating boat into town. Did a little shopping. Got a taxi for $3.00 each to the beach. $3.00 each to get into the beach and $3.00 to rent a chair. Started at a beach that started with a "T" walked a little down the beach and ended up at Mambo Beach. If you walk down the beach you'll end up at the Seaquarium. Karen, Rick and the kids went to the Sea Aquarium. I think she said it cost them $40.00 for 4 of them. They really seemed to like it. They found us planted on the beach after they got done at the Sea Aquarium. Once the guys seen the eye candy at this beach they threw their anchors over and that was that! You will see some topless bathers and thongs. We laughed at the guys all day! My daughter is 13 and I had explained to her that she may see these types of things and explained that different cultures live different lives than we do. She has always traveled with us so we can expose her to different cultures and different ways of living. She really didn't act too upset about it because as parents we explained this to her on a mature level. She spent most of the time in the water and hanging out with Brian and Elizabeth. I think I needed to have this talk with the guys. We ended up with a very young, attractive lady right next to us...topless. This beach is very nice and was not crowded. There is a rock and cement formation out away that your can climb up on and view the whole beach area. Over these rocks it is very choppy. This is a good beach for families. They have shade, bars, and restaurants, live music, bathrooms and changing areas. No problem to get a taxi back to town. Went back to town. Shopped some more, bought some Curacao liquor and headed back to the ship. Dinner was smart casual or 50's - 80's attire. Went to the "Velvet Rope" show. Very good but I did think it was a little loud but we were in the front. Went to " Rockin' Thru The Decades" Roger got on the ship's video doing the Electric Slide. They played "Win a Cruise Bingo" we didn't play. It was one game only. One card was $50.00. At Sea. Dan, Lindsay and myself went to the Spa and treated ourselves. Lindsay and I had room service because our appointments were at 8:00 am. Dan had his 1st massage, Lindsay had the "Teen Facial and Capsule Massage" I had the full body massage and facial. What a life! Roger went to play basketball. Went to Windjammer for a late breakfast. Went to the St. Maarten and St. Thomas port and shopping talk. Watched the men's' belly floppy contest. Roger, Karen, Rick the kids and myself hung by the pool and watched the Owner's Cup Horse Racing while Sherri, Dan and Lindsay Learned how to joggle with the Krooze Komics on the Royal Promenade and then they went to the towel folding class to learn how to make all those towel animals that they put in your cabin every night. Tonight was formal night in the dinning room. Some of us had 2 lobster tails for dinner, I won't name names. Went to see Comedian Tom Parks and laughed all night. Saw "Duality" before he came on. How do they do that stuff? Everybody crashed this night except Sherri, Dan and myself. Went to the casino. Sherri was on a roll for a while. We went to see the Gala Buffet, which I missed on my 1st cruise so I was determined to see this one. WOW!!!!! St. Maarten Carnival Spirit was docked right next to us. When we looked out our balcony, our ship kept going and going and going. AOS was massive compared to this ship. Ate at Windjammer for breakfast and headed to town. Road the water taxi to town from the ship. $5.00 per person for all day. Ladies, ladies, and ladies this is the place to shop and shop and shop. Just make sure you bargain! If you love jewelry this is a shopper haven. Hooked up with taxi driver for $5.00 each to Orient beach. He took us to the prude side of Orient beach. This beach is long and narrow because of the time of the year. You will see topless women even on the prude side. Went in front of 7 Continents Beach Bar. For $7.00 each we got a chair, umbrella and a rum punch. Boy that rum punch was great. There are some rocks right out in front in the water. Wear beach shoes or just go around the rocks. They wait on you all day. A cheeseburger, French fries with Cole Slaw was $6.50. If you go past Pedro's you will find the clothing optional side. Travel at your own risk!!! Sherri and I did. (lol) Sometimes these naturalists will find their way to the prude side. Saw 3 of them together, 2 men and 1 woman walking together. I think they do it for the shock value. My husband was not happy about that one because our daughter was with us. I don't even think she saw them. She was eating a Cheeseburger. All types of beach bars and snack shops up and down this stretch of the beach. They also have jet skis, parasailing and a water trampoline. We gave our taxi driver the time we wanted to be picked up and he came back and got us. There are taxi drivers all around. If you do not see one just tell the bar waiters and they will get one for you. I spent some time talking with George our waiter about the island. They call St. Maarten "Devils Island." No drinking age limit, not a lot of police, if you get caught with marijuana they let you go, and nudity is accepted. If you stop by 7 Continents Beach Bar tell him you heard about the place from the group with the "Tall, white, hairy man wearing the pink neon shorts". Our taxi driver took us back to town for more shopping. Bought some Guavaberry liquor to take back home from the Guavaberry Emporium. $12.95 for a bottle. You can try samples right at the store. Took the water taxi back to the ship. Casual attire for dinner. Went and saw the "Can't Stop the Rock" show. St. Thomas Went through immigration without any problems. Arrived at 7:35 am. It took us longer to walk around the dinning room. We had I.Ds, ship card and birth certificates. They asked us were we were born and that was that. Never really had to show anything even though I had everything in my hand. Received our gangway pass and we were off to breakfast. Got Off the ship and got a taxi to American Yacht Harbor Marina in Red Hook. I had booked us on a private sail and snorkel trip on The "Winifred" with Captain Sharon Allen and her 1st mate Andrea. This is a 43' wooden sailing vessel. We never touched one thing all day. They did everything for us. We tacked across Pillsbury Sound. Andrea even let my daughter help pull in the sail when we got close to the beach. Beautiful day for a sail. Saw the ferries taking cars and passengers over the St. John. Andrea pointed out the points of interest, Tortola, and the other islands. She was very informative. Anchored off the national park in a quite cove and we snorkeled to the beach area. Saw turtles, conch and stingray by the grass beds. Snorkeled over to the rocks by the beach and saw fish, coral, urchins, Roger even got to see a barracuda. They even have a pack of wild donkeys that were roaming on the beach! I couldn't believe my ears and eyes! The water is crystal clear. The beach and scenery is so beautiful. Had lunch on the boat that Andrea had prepared. It was very good, salad, chicken, rice, bread, drinks. Great Rum Punches! We touched nothing on this boat. They did everything for us. We loved this sail. Captain Sharon and Andrea are very accommodating and personable. Captain Sharon has been sailing for 22 years. She knows her stuff and loves her boat. We felt like the rich and famous. Took a taxi back to town. Did a little shopping and Lindsay got her hair braided. Watched two vendors get into a loud verbal fight over a parking space. Took at taxi back to the ship, which we could see from town for $3.00. Took a little longer getting Lindsay's hair braided. Didn't make it back to the ship until 5:15 pm. They were missing 7 people, 5 of which were us! Karen, Rick and the kids went to Megan's Bay. They liked this beach. Quite and peaceful. They sat in front of a snack bar were the waiters brought drinks right out in the water to you while you were floating on floaties. She said they enjoyed this beach. She bought a Tanzanite ring in St. Maarten and saw it at the same store in St. Thomas when she went to have it sized for less than what she had paid in St. Maarten. Karen was upset at dinner but she spoke with the shopping director, Daniel and plus the young lady in the store in St. Thomas gave her a business card and advised her what to do. When she got back, she called and explained the problem. She is now very happy and will be keeping the ring. They took care of the problem to her satisfaction! Casual night for dinner. Our last night in the dinning room....boohoo! Handed out tips and wished everyone well and thanked them for their great service. Went to see the "Farewell Spectacular Show" starring comedian Jimmy Carroll. Great show and lots of laughs. Had to start packing. How to fit all this stuff in this suitcase? Roger, Dan, and Karen went to play bingo. Some lady won over $4000.00! Put our luggage outside the door and walked around the ship one last time. Went back to Johnny Rockets. There is one lady that really sticks out in my mind, not that the rest of the staff isn't great, but she was an exceptional people person. "V' from Jamaica is a real asset to RCCL. She is going home for 2 months at the end of this week to be with her kids. She was very excited about going home. She was soooooo much fun to be around. Everything closes up around midnight so they can tally the damage you have done over the week. Your bill will be outside your door in the slot were your room number is. San Juan We all got up and had breakfast in the dinning room. This was a sad time for us. I even cried when I said my good-byes to Karen, Rick, Brain and Elizabeth. We are just going to have to plan another cruise together! Karen, Rick, Brain and Elizabeth went back to the Condado Plaza to hang out by the pool. She had already arranged this with the hotel. They had a flight time at around 2:00-2:30 pm. Sherri, Dan, Roger, Lindsay and myself had pre-booked the tour to go to the El Yungue Rain Forest. This was the only ship's tour we did all week. Met in the Imperial Lounge, found our luggage, cleared customs. Outside is very busy. Thank goodness our porter knew which truck our luggage went on and what line we were to stand in for this tour. We enjoyed the Rain Forest. Our guide was very good. The views are beautiful! Stopped for snacks and some last minute shopping and off to the airport. Our guide dropped us off right to our luggage. Checked in. I could not find Roger's I.D. Oh no, well just have to stay in PR!!! Found it, no extended vacation! Lots of security guards all over the place. Ate lunch, called home and played cards until flight time. Won't you know it; we sat right in front of a group with 5 small kids. One of which was not a happy camper all the way home. Thank goodness for headsets. Ate dinner and watched the in-flight movie. Roger halfway sleep. Sherri and Dan were a couple of rows behind us. Back at BWI and the real world. It's cold and I want to go back!!!!! This was an excellent vacation. This ship is beautiful and huge. Never felt like it was crowded. You can always find spots on the ship to be alone if you wanted to. We loved this ship and all the ports of call. Beautiful sights and friendly people. We have all agreed we would do this same vacation all over again in a heartbeat! I think Royal Caribbean does a great job. I know our family is completely satisfied with this cruise line. Right now RCI is 2 for 2 with us. I have read about people encountering rude Puerto Ricans on this ship. All I can say is this....if there was anybody rude on this ship whether they were Puerto Ricans or French or Germans or whatever...they were not on the same side of the ship as we were. Our group could strike up a conversation with anybody and we did. None of us had any bad experiences except, Dan with that towel monkey attack in the middle of the night!(LOL) We laughed so hard this week! Nothing but great times, great laughs and everlasting memories. We were very happy with everything from the food, to the service, to our rooms, to the ship, to the ports of calls. The only complaint is this; The week went by too fast! Just not enough hours to get to experience every single thing both on the ship and in the ports of call. We were very upset to hear about the Challenger tragedy. We didn't find out about it until Saturday morning. The El Morro in San Juan was flying the American flag at half mask. We didn't find out that we went to code "Orange" until Saturday when we saw a Navy ship anchored in the harbor. That did make us a little nervous. I wanted to share my cruise vacation with everyone because reading other cruisers reviews and comments has been a great help to me in all my planning. There is still a lot of bits and pieces about this vacation I have not included only because the length of this view. Please feel free to email me if you have any additional questions. I will answer them very honestly and openly the best to my ability. I saved all my compasses and maps on the different ports so even if I didn't do something or see something I may have some information on it. Enjoy your cruise!!!! dsa@shore.intercom.net May 2003 Read Less
First, a little about us. We are a 48 yr old married couple and this was our 8th cruise. First cruise was with the kids on the Big Red Boat and all the rest have been on RCI. We have considered other lines but we enjoy RCI so much that we ... Read More
First, a little about us. We are a 48 yr old married couple and this was our 8th cruise. First cruise was with the kids on the Big Red Boat and all the rest have been on RCI. We have considered other lines but we enjoy RCI so much that we are afraid we will be disappointed so we stay with what we like. Pre-Cruise We flew in to San Juan on Friday from MSP and spent 2 nights at the Marriott/San Juan. We usually stay at the Tres Palmas guesthouse on our San Juan cruises but we had Marriott Rewards pts. and ended up with 2 nights free. The Marriott was very nice. We had a great room overlooking the pool and the ocean. The lobby area gets kinda wild on weekend evenings with loud salsa type music but it was a fun place to hang out. The staff at the Marriott were very accommodating. My wife is a runner and when she returned from her morning run, the doorman greeted her with a towel and a cold bottled water. Lots of Brownie points there! The pool area was great and would recommend the hotel highly. We had the buffet on Friday night in LaVista rest. at the Marriott and it was very good with lots of grilled fish, chicken, steak, salads, etc etc. Sat night we ate across the street at the Tropical rest. It was just OK. Nothing special. Sunday, we checked out at 12:00 noon and grabbed a cab (about $20) to the Pan Am pier. Check in was pretty quick and at about 1:00 we were in the Windjammer enjoying our lunch. Cruise We had a balcony room on deck #6 (lowest price balcony room) and it was fine. We were right by the elevators and the first afternoon/evening we heard quite a bit of noise/talking outside our door and were afraid it was going to be a problem but never noticed any noise after the first night. We sleep with the balcony door open and enjoy the breeze and sound of the waves so that probably drowned out any hallway noise. Our cabin steward was perfect. Low profile, not in your face all the time, but very efficient. We enjoyed the ship very much but my wife and I both agreed that we enjoyed the Radiance (last year's cruise) more. The Adventure seems more geared towards families while the Radiance seems more elegant and refined. The Royal Promenade(while very impressive) gets VERY crowded during the parades and the Captain's welcome party. We passed on fighting the crowds for the free champagne. We never had a problem getting a deck chair near the pool/or a deck above on sea days. We enjoyed the Johnny Rockets but liked the Seaview Cafe on the Radiance more. Again, quieter and more refined than the party atmosphere at Johnny Rockets (although it was fun!), The shows and presentations on the Adventure were some of the best we have ever seen at sea. The ice show was very impressive. The Lyric theatre was also lovely and the stage sets were incredible. We had a great server and asst in the lovely Mozart dining room. The food was very good and close to the Radiance in quality/taste. The only poor item I had was a NY strip steak that was very tough. I ordered it to compliment the shrimp scampi (which was great!) so I didn't go hungry. The ship had about 40% Puerto Ricans on board. Much has been written about this in the past, but to us it's a non-issue. The good people of Puerto Rico were polite and enjoyable to be cruising with. Like I said, a non-issue. Ports We have done this same route before so were familiar with all the ports. In Aruba, we rented a small jeep (Jimny) from Amigo rent-a-car and cruised around the island. It was fun but dusty and bumpy on the windy side of the island with the unimproved roads. Next time we will probably spend a beach day by the big hotels. Snorkeling is also available out by the wreck of the Antilla (have done b4- but not this time). In Curacao, we took the Spanish waters snorkeling/canoe trip. It was very enjoyable with some of the best snorkeling I have ever had. Lots of big, beautiful fish while snorkeling over the sunken tug at Bayo Beach. Next time I would probably just take a cab to Bayo Beach. You can snorkel on your own (rentals available). They have a nice beach, chairs, shade, fresh water pool. Saw people eating lunch there and it looked very good. Also bar service available. In St. Maartin, took a cab to Orient Beach and just swam and read a book in our rented chair with umbrella ($15-2 chairs and umbrella). Had lunch there but it was expensive. Good, but expensive. In St. Thomas, we took the cab to Red Hook and then took the ferry to St. John. Last year we took a day sail on the New Horizon and it was one of the best shore trips ever. This year, we just took an island tour to see the National Park and the island ($16 pp for 3 hour tour-arranged with a driver at Cruz Bay). Then took the ferry back to Charlotte Amalie for some shopping and then walked back to the ship. Summary As I mentioned, we thought the ship was great. The crew was pleasant and we had no complaints as far as service or food. RCI continues to deliver a very solid value for the $$ spent. We shared a cab in St. Maartin with a couple from the Radisson Diamond. They had been on the Celebrity Infinity last year and were very disappointed in the Radisson ship. For the huge $$ spent, they said it was a disappointing. They said they were going to return to Celebrity. We will return to a Radiance class ship for our next cruise. We are thinking the Brilliance for the Panama Canal route, as we have never been there before. In summary, I would recommend the Adventure and would probably sail her or a Voyager class ship again but would prefer the slightly smaller, more elegant and intimate Radiance class. Any questions, feel free to email. fishnhnt@attbi.com June 2003 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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