2,277 Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas Cruise Reviews

Precruise-Flights and Hotel Security was complete and thorough, and we didn't mind that a bit. (Made sure our socks were nice.) Our flights on American Airlines were great, and the business class seats from DFW to San Juan were worth ... Read More
Precruise-Flights and Hotel Security was complete and thorough, and we didn't mind that a bit. (Made sure our socks were nice.) Our flights on American Airlines were great, and the business class seats from DFW to San Juan were worth the extra miles...IMHO. Our service was extraordinary, and the two flight attendants were gracious and always there to get anything whenever we wanted it. (ONE NOTE: our flight was overbooked, and they were asking for "volunteers" to travel the next day. No one volunteered, even for a $300 voucher. If you have a really low fare, and you were the last one to book it, then you'll be recruited. Sometimes those LOW LOW fares have a price. This could be a disaster if you are trying to reach a ship!) Once on the ground, we easily grabbed our bags and stood in a short line for a cab. They ask "Where?" and then give you a slip with the price. It's a comfort to know the price was $18.50, and the next taxi won't be cheaper. Once at the Caribe Hilton, ($65 a night) we knew this was going to be another FANTASTIC vacation. The music was playing, and we saw lots of smiles. (Good Sign!) We are Hilton HHonors members, not because we travel a lot, but because if you stay there even once a year the perks are worth it. (KEEP READING...and sign up for Hilton HHonors when you finish!) Hilton HHonors members may check in on the SECOND floor, which means no line, no exhausted person at the Front Desk sick of hearing why YOU deserve that perfect room, and personal service even for Priceline customers. We got a HUGE corner room with a BEAUTIFUL view, a king bed, and HHonors members get a free continental breakfast and Happy Hour every day. We were so happy. Went down to the Oasis bar, where the Pina Colada was invented. (Other places make the same claim, so I don't know who's right!) There was live music, so we sat down to listen and split a burger. We also had a couple of cocktails before heading back up to our gorgeous room. Yes, the drinks were high...about $7 each, but they were good, and we only had a couple. Hey, we're on vacation! We fell asleep instantly... San Juan I always picture San Juan from the short three-hour visits we've had from the cruise ship. BIG MISTAKE. We had a really great day! We woke up rather early and went on our daily four-mile walk. There are many interesting places to hike around the hotel, and in the interest of safety we chose to stay close and in very populated areas. There were families on the beach, cooking and enjoying the water. On our return, the hotel pool seemed extremely inviting, and we paid it a three-hour visit. There were quite a few children, which should be expected at this time of year. What I did NOT expect was how wild some can be. (No one wants pool water in their pina colada.) We enjoyed a couple of "adult beverages" and split my husband's favorite lunch...a grilled chicken sandwich. Next, we caught a cab...$8.50... and visited Fort Morro, and then trekked to Fort Cristobal... (it's the one we've always visited before.) This was for my dear husband...he loves forts! The forts were interesting, and fun to walk through. We then realized we were dehydrated, so we paid a visit to Senor Frogs for some water and cerveza. Now ... the GOOD part...SHOPPING! We hit the Ralph Lauren outlet, and got some great deals on clothes for huz...he was quite impressed with the $60 slacks on sale for $20. He got three pairs of slacks and a couple of shirts....we were very happy with the purchases. Me???? Oh well...I will find something in St. Thomas, I'm sure. When we returned to our room, there was a fruit plate...obviously another perk from Hilton HHonors. We took a very short nap, and then got ready for our anniversary dinner. We made reservations at the Hilton at Morton's Steak House of Chicago, and we were not disappointed. The food and drinks were pricey, but wonderful, and we had a great meal. We then went to the Oasis for one more drink before retiring. Once again, live music and a relaxing atmosphere...lots of fun. A wonderful day in a beautiful and historic city... Embarkation-Day 1 We arrived at the terminal around 10:45 a.m. (Cab ride was about $10 from the Caribe Hilton.) We were #14 and #15 in line, and around 11:30, they allowed us indoors to sit for a while until they were ready for us. COMPLETE your forms ONLINE...it really does help. About 12:30, we began the boarding process, and we were at the Guest Relations desk getting our cyber cabin by 12:45. First to our cabin, a category DA with a beautiful aft balcony. The cabin really seemed small to me, but perhaps I've been spoiled with those mini suites. We checked out our table reservations, and they were a tad off....table for 8 is not a table for 2, so headed to the dining room to request a change...that process started at 1:30. No changes were granted on the first night, so we made reservations at Portofino's for dinner that first night. We wanted to go there anyway, so this worked out fine for us! Once completed, we headed to the Windjammer for a quick bite, and then to the pool to enjoy the sun. (Wear a swimsuit under your clothes, and have some sunscreen in your carryon.) The pool was great, and not crowded! There are pool towels in your cabin, but don't lose one or you'll be charged $20 for that ugly tan towel. We returned to our cabin around 4, and our luggage was there! Do bring a power strip...two outlets is not enough for a cabin, especially if you have cyber cabin. Sandra, our room steward, paid us a visit and was sweet and accommodating. She got us our extra towels and our robes with a smile. She also found us a lounger for our large balcony, and delivered it during dinner. We unpacked, showered, and got ourselves ready for the evening. Be aware that due to the late departure, some bags were arriving as late as 11 p.m. We saw some strange outfits this evening...so make sure you're covered. The Welcome Aboard show was cute and short, and then it was time for the MUSTER DRILL. This was the ONE WEAK LINK in our day. You are outdoors, and we stood there sweating for over 25 minutes with babies crying and old folks swaying, and the captain made remarks we could not hear due to the number at our station. They didn't do much instruction on anything, and wanted your life jacket on when you arrived. It was the one dark spot of the day for us. But we survived, and we understand the need to practice safety. Just felt it was poorly handled. Portofino's was after the Muster Drill, and it more than made up for the time we spent sweating on deck. Our dinner was fabulous, and the service outstanding. After dinner, we went to the parade on the Promenade....a MUST! The parade begins around 11, so be prepared! The parade really gets your vacation off to a fun start! We had a table at the Duck and Dog, and therefore a Front Row seat for the parade. Day at Sea-Day 2 I love it when the room service waiter is your wake-up call, with a pot of coffee, juice, and fruit. (Of course we also ordered an omelet too, but you didn't need to know that.) Then we were off for our daily walk. We also stopped on the way to pick up our tickets for the Ice Show. You are allowed to pick up the tickets you need for any show at this time. It took about five minutes! They allow you to pick up tickets from 9-12 a.m. in front of Studio B on that first day. There were dozens of lounge chairs with towels, books, etc., before 9 a.m. Sad that the folks don't listen. We found a perfect spot in the adult pool area, and enjoyed sitting in the sun from about 10 until 2. We took a 15 minute break to grab lunch, but did not feel guilty since there were some chairs that had not been occupied all morning, still sitting there unused with a book on top! One other area that is mentioned frequently is the fact that some adults think their children do not count when a sign saying "Adults ONLY" is posted by a pool. There were two different times when 2 year olds were in the pool splashing and throwing toys. Both were reported, and both were allowed to remain...you can choose to let this annoy you and ruin your day or not....I chose NOT. We had our dining changed to a table for 2...but we had to be at the early seating for this change...that's ok, since they will allow 2 to arrive a bit later. (7ish) Before dinner, we attended the ice show, "Cool Art, Hot Ice," and it was FANTASTIC. You HAVE to go see this show...perhaps the best I've ever seen. Then it was off to dinner...we had a great waiter named Luis, and enjoyed our formal night dinner very much. Then...HEADLINER SHOWTIME! Paul Boland was the entertainer, and did some wonderful impersonations, and made us laugh until we cried. We enjoyed this show almost as much as the ice show. We stopped by the Duck and Dog for an adult beverage, and then we were ready to turn in for the night...it was a GREAT DAY! Aruba-Day 3 I think we booked this cruise so we could visit Aruba. I have to admit that the beaches were gorgeous. We had a bit of trouble finding a place to park ourselves, though. Evidently, the best beach to use if you want a "Day at the BEACH" is Baby Beach, but it is about a 30 minute ride to the beach in a cab, and about $35 each way (for 2). We couldn't find anyone to share a cab at the time we wanted to go, and we spent about 3 hours that morning shopping for souvenirs, so we asked if there was a nice beach closer by. We were taken to Palm Beach, where the high-rise resorts are located (less than 10 minutes from the ship). Cab is about $8 for 2 each way, and the public bus is $2.50 for 2...take your choice. We rode the bus one way and the cab back...it was fine either way. We found that cruise passengers were not very welcome. (I have since discovered that it depends on how booked their resorts are at the time. No one would take our cash, or even speak to us. Other cruisers I have visited with told us they were allowed complete use of the facilities when they visited Aruba. Just know it's not a given that you will be able to get a chair or a drink. The beaches are public, but the amenities do not have to be offered to you. I understand why resorts have these policies, since their first loyalty should be to their guests. We did not want to use the pools, but maybe just rent a lounger and buy some drinks. I just don't think they are doing themselves a favor by alienating potential customers.) Please know I'm not complaining..just relating the information for the week we were visiting. We finally found a little guy next to the Radisson who rented us a lounge chair WITH a pool float for $6 each...his name was TATITO and he has a rental shack right on the beach, and the beach was nice. It's actually right by the Radisson. There is a place to get beer, water, etc., and after 3 it's HAPPY HOUR....two for ONE drinks. We spent a few nice hours there, and then headed back to the ship. We also heard that Eagle beach is nice, but the only thing at this place was the beach and some jet skis. No food, drinks, chairs, etc. So don't visit unless you want to jet ski ONLY. The beach was beautiful though. Back to the ship for a shower and some dinner. (Room service, since we were exhausted.) After a short nap, we went out to check out the nightlife in Aruba - mainly Carlos and Charlie's. It was WILD....I mean REALLY WILD. Even the Cruise Director was there leading some songs. Everyone was very happy, and it was packed. We could stand that about an hour, and then headed back to the Adventure, the Duck and Dog, and our table for some late night adult beverages. Curacao-Day 4 I have not heard too many good things about Curacao, but we enjoyed our brief visit there. It was a national holiday in Curacao on the day we visited, so many of the shops were closed. We took our time getting ready that morning, took a walk, and then headed off to explore the island. There are some interesting characters made out of stones that you will pass on your way to the shopping area. It was very crowded due to the holiday festivities, so we decided to sit at a sidewalk cafe and people watch for a bit. They had helicopter demonstrations, and huz loved watching them. After downing a couple of Amstel Lights, we shopped for a few souvenirs, and then headed back to the ship. All in all, we were gone for about 2 hours. We decided to use the afternoon as a "sea day" since it was less crowded and easier to get a great lounge chair and frosty beverage. Some passengers did visit a beach on Curacao, but we chose to stay close to the ship today and enjoy the Adventure of the Seas. It was Italian Night in the dining room, and the food was delicious. The production show that evening was "Velvet Rope." The music and productions seemed to be aimed at the Baby Boomers, and that is fine with us since we're baby boomers! They also had a 50s party later, but we opted to go to the Duck and Dog again, where our sweet waitress quickly brought our "usuals" without us even asking. She also knew my huz loved to take a glass of ice water with him, and I enjoyed sipping a Coke on the way back to the room. Both were there with our drinks in seconds! That's service, my friends. Day at Sea-Day 5 Seemed like most people got a late start today...that 50s party last night must have been a good one! Anyway, days at sea are meant for ONE thing...relaxing! So we walked, and then parked ourselves in loungers for the day. There were still quite a few saved loungers again, and most were in the adult only pool. Again, there were children in the adult only pool, but I think no one got upset enough to make it an issue. We chose to stay by the main pool today, and it was festive without being too noisy or obnoxious. They had games and contests, and the service around the pool was excellent. We did have a family arrive and put their loungers almost ON TOP of ours, in an obvious "squeeze play" to get us to leave. They needed 4 loungers and there were only 2 empty in the area. However, 2 feet from us....oh well, never mind! We stood our ground, even though those two family members just stood right behind our loungers waiting for us to go. There were plenty of chairs in plenty of places, but I guess they wanted this particular spot. Weird, huh? We were ready to leave about 45 minutes after they arrived, and then one of the people called out to her son and daughter standing at the pool bar..."They're Leaving!" So they came running over to our chairs and threw bags on them before we got our towels off. I didn't get mad, but I did giggle. How silly to base your entire happiness on ONE or TWO deck chairs. What was the big deal...three feet from us were 5 or 6 empty loungers.....oh well! All I can say is, don't let anyone ruin your day...just laugh at them. We had a nice lunch at the Island Grill...at the back of the Windjammer. In fact, we ate lunch there almost daily. We sunbathed a bit longer on our balcony, and then took a nap. It was formal night, and that meant LOBSTER. Actually, the lobster was not the best, but I still thought it was good and I didn't have to COOK IT! Our waiter was sweet and brought an extra for us since our lobsters were smaller than he liked. The show tonight was Revolution, and it was a Beatle tribute show. It was fun since they also included video clips from TV commercials from this time. There was also actual footage of the Beatles and their screaming fans! After the show, we did the usual...Duck and Dog. St. Maarten-Day 6 This is my one of my two favorite ports in the Caribbean. We have been to St. Maarten a few times, and I love it more every time we stop there. (Beers are ONE DOLLAR!) This year we opted to try the St. Maarten Sailing Regatta, since everyone has raved about that excursion for years. It is only a 2½-hour excursion, so it left us plenty of time to "beach it" and shop a little as well. The excursion is fun, but you do some work unless you are one of the two people out of 18 who are chosen to do nothing. One word of caution: the ocean can get rough, and if you are prone to seasickness, you need to take precautions to prevent "making a deposit in the ocean." I started taking Bonine the week before our cruise (one every night before bed, and every night during the cruise, as well as a few days after coming home.) I am usually the FIRST to get motion sickness. I didn't even have it for a second. I was also in the front of the boat, and that seemed to be helpful as well. Huz had an inner ear infection and a head cold brewing as the cruise began, and we thought he was about over it....wrong. He was in the aft, and did get quite queasy, but never made the "deposit." He was such a trooper to stick it out. Another point: some people on this excursion think this is the REAL race, and tend to be QUITE competitive. Luckily, we won, but I hate to think what might have happened if we had lost. We were on the excursion for fun, but one of the couples had done this before and lost, and they were determined to settle an old score, meaning that our boat was going to win at ALL costs. The huz appointed himself as captain almost before we got off the Adventure, and they were scoping all of us out to see who had done this before. Just know that every sailing has a different group aboard, and what we experienced is just one possibility. I just was not prepared for that attitude, but I have to admit that I did enjoy winning. We would do this excursion again, so I'd consider it a success, and something you need to experience at least once. After the race, you are given a chance to buy an authentic "crew" t-shirt, and a photo as well. The photo was $30, but it is a once in a lifetime picture of the crew while you're sailing. Then, we decided to stretch our legs and walk past the shops to the Ev'ryTing Cool beach. We did a little souvenir shopping on the way, and then had lunch and drinks at E.T. (They have a website...check it out.) The beach is gorgeous, and the water is wonderful. After about three hours there, we stopped by a shop on Front Street for the bargains on alcohol. We enjoyed relaxing so much at this beautiful beach. Many of the passengers go to the French side (clothing optional), but we enjoyed staying close to home and relaxing. Make sure to allow plenty of time for your return if you go to the other side...several passengers said they worried that they wouldn't make it back in time due to traffic. Wonderful beach, wonderful shopping, and wonderful day... St. Thomas-Day 7 The only place I love as much as St. Maarten is St. Thomas. All passengers are required to go through an Immigration check before leaving the ship. They ask you to come to a dining room between 7 and 9 a.m. The long lines shouldn't scare you, as they move VERY quickly. We went ahead and ate breakfast in the dining room since we were up and ready to go, and then headed off to the shops. The shops are open by 9 and ready for you. There are hundreds of cabs, but they are actually "vans" with drivers who want to fill the entire van before heading to town. We found a van with a couple of spaces left and hopped on...$3 a person. After shopping, (and be sure to check out the Flea Market across from Little Switzerland), we flagged another van and headed to Megan's Bay (about $6 a person...honestly can't remember what it was exactly). It's a perfect beach for us...food, sun, sand, gorgeous water, loungers, and adult beverages delivered to you. They also sell fantastic t-shirts. Our driver agreed to meet us at a certain time in the afternoon, and wouldn't even accept our money until the round trip was completed. (This is pretty common in St. Thomas.) Sailaway from St. Thomas is beautiful! It's really tough ending a cruise gazing at the beauty of St. Thomas, and knowing in the back of your mind that you have a ton of packing to do. We just took the time out to enjoy the scenery, and then it was time to go to the dining room for the last time. Tips are easily added to your card and then vouchers and envelopes are given to you to hand out on the last night. Luggage is due out in the hall by midnight...you know the routine! It's pretty sad... Dinner was great, and the farewell show was sad...it's hard to believe how quickly the time passes. We had one last drink at the Duck and Dog, and then it was time to get back to the cabin, put out the bags, and fall asleep. Disembarkation Never fun, always sad. Once again, it takes a bit longer in San Juan than in Miami, so prepare yourself. There was NO PIER BAGGAGE CHECK BY THE AIRLINES on our voyage due to security, so be prepared to get your own bags to the airport (a cab is about $18). We had a 2:30 p.m. flight, so we were among the last to leave the ship. Keep a book with you to read, and you can sit on the Promenade one last time and enjoy the ship. We were called about 10:45, stood in a rather long customs line, and still made it to the airport by 11:30. So you should easily make a flight by noon...any earlier might have your heart racing a bit. Final Observations If you have this ship and itinerary booked, you will have a wonderful cruise. The Adventure of the Seas is a beautiful ship, and the service we received is about the best we have had so far...at least on one of the mega-ships. The word "No" was never uttered to us, but always a smile and "We will do our best to take care of things for you." This was noted in every single area of the ship...dining room, cabin steward, bar....everywhere. The ship is also VERY clean, and kept that way throughout your stay. Itinerary- We chose this itinerary since we wanted to visit Aruba, and I'm not sure if the increased air cost justifies that one port. It was beautiful, but if your airfare is like ours, and close to $400 a person more than flying to Florida, I'm not sure it's worth the added expense. (Luckily we were able to use air miles.) However, cruising from San Juan is another experience, and we really considered San Juan an added port for us as well. We will probably just cruise the Eastern from Miami or Ft. Lauderdale from now on. If you live in an area where air to San Juan is reasonable, go for it and have fun! Dining room and Windjammer- Much has been said about the drop in the quality of food on the cruise ships recently. We thought the food was fine on this ship, and although the number of choices has been reduced, there was always something great to order. The waiters are very happy to bring you extra entrees to share so you can taste everything. The service in the dining room is outstanding, and we had enjoyable meals every night. Portofino's is a step above, no doubt, and fun for a special night during your cruise. We found the food at the Windjammer to be very good, and we utilized the Island Grill at the back for quick lunches. Room service on our sailing was PERFECT...every single order we received...and that was every morning...was exactly what we ordered. Huz said the coffee got a little bitter as the week wore on, but he drank it and said it was fine. Bravo to Room Service! Bar Service- The "Duck and Dog" is the cousin of the "Pig and Whistle" on the Voyager. It is in the middle of the activity on the Promenade, and the perfect place to have a drink. We did not purchase a cocktail card for $44 since they no longer allow you to request Stoli vodka. (They did last year.) The soda card for an adult is $33, a whopping $13 more than the exact same card on Princess. I wonder why their soda is so much more expensive on RCI...hehehe. Promenade Cafe- This is a fantastic place to grab a something sweet, like a cookie or a piece of cake or pie. They also have pizza and great sandwiches. It's open about 22 hours a day. This ship also had frozen yogurt machines located all over the ship, and they were always working. Fantastic! Alcohol- You were not allowed to carry on alcohol from the ports. It was taken and was delivered on the final night of your cruise. Alcohol bought in the duty free shop could be taken to your stateroom for an additional $9.95 per bottle. That made it cost us about the same as at home, but still less expensive than buying drinks at the bar. Photo service - Photos were taken every time you blinked, but the quality was VERY poor. We usually buy quite a few of the ship's photos, but the quality and poses were not good, and often we weren't even close to the center of the picture. Needless to say, be sure to take your own camera, and don't count on the ship's photographer to get a great pic of your group. We were really glad we took lots of pictures with our own camera. Cruise Director-The cruise director on this sailing was Omar Lugo. He was fabulous, and had such energy and vitality that it made you join in. He was everywhere, from sunrise to sunset, and the guy never stopped smiling. He seems to love his job. He was even at Carlos and Charlie's in Aruba, leading some dancing. W had a fabulous time, and hope you enjoy your cruise as well! Bon Voyage! Mal62875@aol.com July 2003 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
I decided in February that I really needed a cruise. I wanted Southern Caribbean and like RCI, so decided to try AOS. I am not a Voyager class fan as I prefer my ships on a smaller scale but AOS is big and beautiful. She is immaculate ... Read More
I decided in February that I really needed a cruise. I wanted Southern Caribbean and like RCI, so decided to try AOS. I am not a Voyager class fan as I prefer my ships on a smaller scale but AOS is big and beautiful. She is immaculate and well laid out with lots of outdoor deck space and lovely public rooms. My cabin was a Cat. A suite and it was my first experience in such a fabulous cabin. I am Diamond on RCI and there was a basket of fruit, a robe and a welcome note in my cabin when I arrived, all much appreciated. The cabin was very spacious with a nice balcony, walk in closet and large tub. I normally do not spend much time in my stateroom but found myself often taking the time to enjoy early morning coffee and a late lunch on my balcony. What a treat! My cabin attendant was wonderful, one of the best to date. I am not your typical cruiser so there will be things I cannot comment on as I did not do them. My routine is to hit the gym early, then have breakfast in Windjammer and be out by the pool by 9:00am to spend most of the day there. A glass of wine before dinner and music and dancing afterward and that is my day. The fitness center is fabulous and was not crowded during the hours I visited. I took some classes which I enjoyed but did not think the $10 surcharge classes were worth the money. I made use of the steam room and sauna every afternoon and was often the only one in there. I was assigned to a great table with a group of singles traveling together from Boston. I had dinner in the dining room 5 times during the week, enjoying dinner with the hotel manager, cruise director and chief purser one formal night, a special treat. I am a light and healthy eater and found plenty of selections to suit me. Service was very good. Both food and service were much better than on my Voyager cruise in 2001. I dined in Portofino one evening and it was really lovely. Tableside preparation, a wonderful menu and the intimate atmosphere all enhanced the high quality of the food. It was fun to see everyone so elegantly dresses and enjoying Portofino's as a special occasion. I chose Windjammer for breakfast each morning and most afternoons had lunch there as well. There was a good variety of choices and always fresh fruit, coffee and tea available. My favorite lounge on all the RCI ships is the Champagne Bar so that is where I began and typically ended my evenings. There was plenty of entertainment on board. I did not see any of the shows as I am not a show person so cannot comment on the quality. I heard raves about the ice show and did have tickets but never made it. The Royal Promenade was always busy and there was a nice choice of live music. The disco was very high tech but this cruise had a fairly quiet crowd so there was not often a lot going on there except on formal nights when people tended to stay up later. I had visited all the ports previously and knew what I wanted to do so I headed for Eagle Beach in Aruba, shopping and beach in St. Maarten, downtown walking in Curacao and Coki beach in St. Thomas. All in all, it was a very enjoyable cruise. March is usually good sailing weather and this was no exception. I still will choose Radiance class first and Vision second but did very much appreciate the personality and staff aboard AOS and would sail her again if the right opportunity arose. Read Less
Sail Date March 2003
My husband and I took the Adventure of the seas April 13th, 2003 which did San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maartin, Antigua, St. Lucia, and Barbados. We have cruised once before on the Monarch of the Seas, also Royal Caribbean 2 years ago. I ... Read More
My husband and I took the Adventure of the seas April 13th, 2003 which did San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maartin, Antigua, St. Lucia, and Barbados. We have cruised once before on the Monarch of the Seas, also Royal Caribbean 2 years ago. I have to say that after our experience on this ship, we will probably never cruise Royal Caribbean again. First I will tell you what we liked about our vacation... Food was awesome. I highly recommend the restaurant "Portofinos", it was the best meal we have ever had, and we like to eat out (expensively) a lot. It was well worth the $20 USD. We went on Tuesday night which was Caribbean night in the main dining room, which I had heard it could be missed. People we were traveling with said it was their least favorite meal of the trip, so do Portofinos on the Tuesday night. You have to make reservations when you get on the ship. The Ship itself was very nice, BIG, and clean. The art work wasn't my taste, but was nice none the less. Every time you turn around, you see something new. All the shows at night are great... A must see! You have to book tickets to the ice show (free) in Studio B. They will make announcements. What we didn't like.... Now I'm really not one that usually complains about things, I'm very easy going (it is normally my husband nitpicking), but there was just so much about this cruise that didn't make it worth the money... Maybe we just had a bad experience, but I found the staff, not as friendly as our first cruise. Our waiter was great however... Riza from Turkey. He was really friendly! We got to the ship at 12:00pm to make sure we were one of the first in line. We were on the ship by 1:00pm. We IMMEDIATELY went to book our excursions. DO NOT BOOK THEM ON THE SHIP. BOOK ON-LINE well in advance!!! Even though we were one of the first on the ship (literally) 2 of the 5 excursions we booked were full. We then had to choose other ones in their place, but by the time they notified us (the next day) a lot of the other excursions were booked too, leaving us little to choose from. I was very disappointed at this. The system should be set up better. I tried to book them on-line 9 days before the cruise, but the cut off is 10 days. We booked the submarine excursion in St. Thomas, which was fun, St. Maarten was the Golden Eagle Catamaran. This was great, we had rough water, so it made it even more fun..... Antigua we swam with Stingrays.... probably the best tour of all. We originally wanted to do the dolphin one here, but it was over booked. RC told me that half the spots are available on the internet and half on the ship, but they lied to me because it was booked completely on the internet. That is why we didn't get it. In St. Lucia, we did the Jungle Bike and sea tour. This was great too... in Barbados we did the Kayak and sea turtle encounter. "TURTLE" as in singular.... they make it seam like you can swim with them and feed them while they frolic around you while you pet them.... we saw 1, ONE, UNO turtle, and he came no where near us. The tour guide, said there are normally 2 turtles but they hadn't seen one in a while. I did however get to see many puffer fish and feed one of them. This tour should be called the "Kayak and puffer fish encounter". I do not recommend this one. I was very disappointed. Our bathroom wasn't clean when we got to our room. Someone else's soap was still in the shower, and tooth paste stains in the cabinet. I left our room attendant a note to clean it up, and it was never done. When we got back to our room, our bed was turned down, and the note gone, so someone obviously got it... For the amount you pay for these cruises, the bathroom should at lease be clean. KIDS, KIDS, KIDS...... the ship has 3,500 passengers (over booked) and out of that, 1000 were kids.... they were everywhere. I think we picked a bad week to go.... you would get into an elevator, and all the buttons would be pushed and there would be 2 snickering kids getting off.... they were going around pulling the "Do not Disturb" signs out of doors, running through the library yelling, bumping into you with their ice-cream cones getting your cloths dirty... etc.... I can go on..... Uncontrollable, unsupervised kids, EVERYWHERE!!! I would NEVER take a cruise that wasn't adults only again. My husband and I are seriously thinking about never having kids after this experience. Royal Caribbean should have enforced the curfew a little better, because one night at 2:30am there were kids running down the hallway yelling trying to see how many people they could wake up. The last day we were there was a huge problem with immigration. We made sure we were the first in line to get our passports back. I think we were in line from about 6:00am and they opened at 8:00am. TRUST ME, go early... but this particular day we didn't get our passports till about noon. They kept making announcements that they would be there shortly. 6 hours we waited! We had booked an excursion that day on San Juan, and I tried to get our money back, because we hadn't eaten breakfast yet, and that was just a VERY bad day, but they refused to refund us. We finally made it to our excursion only after I hounded them to just give me my passport back. I really don't know what others did that day, because we just made it. Make sure you stay in San Juan for an extra day after the cruise to avoid trying to catch flights that day. Overall, we were disappointed in the customer service on the cruise itself, but the food and islands were great! Read Less
Sail Date April 2003
This was the first time cruising for our group so we were quite skeptical but the prospect of seeing all the different ports was what made us decide to give it a try and maybe we just may like the ship part... Well, it went way beyond our ... Read More
This was the first time cruising for our group so we were quite skeptical but the prospect of seeing all the different ports was what made us decide to give it a try and maybe we just may like the ship part... Well, it went way beyond our expectations as we have another AOS cruise planned in January and the ship turned out to be just as good as the ports we visited. Overall the AOS was amazing top to bottom. The service was exceptional and the entertainment went way beyond what we imagined. Johnny Rocket's was rocking, do not miss a chance to eat here as the staff are quite entertaining! The service provided by the staff in general was exceptional as you could tell they were genuinely happy to be there and a pleasure to talk to. Also, the crowd on RCL AOS was a nice mix from young to old. The only slight downside to the cruise was the food wasn't quite as good as we expected so we'll give Portifino a try next time as we've heard lots of good things about it. The bigger disappointment was the smokers on the ship who ruined it for all the non-smokers. Non-smoking areas don't mean much when 5 feet away you can smoke. Since we couldn't wait for the Jan. cruise, we thought we'd try Princess and we gotta say although the brand new Sapphire was a nice ship, it didn't even compare to AOS. The food was 'terrible' and it was overall very boring. We came off thinking "Where we DON'T belong!!) We can't wait to GET OUT THERE again!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2003
After 16 cruises I have to say this was one of the best. We departed from San Juan and arrived a day early so we could relax and this was a good idea. The check in was not the greatest. We had to stand in line for about 1 hour in the sun ... Read More
After 16 cruises I have to say this was one of the best. We departed from San Juan and arrived a day early so we could relax and this was a good idea. The check in was not the greatest. We had to stand in line for about 1 hour in the sun with our bags just to hand them to the porters. After that it went little faster but I was rather disappointed concerning we did all our paper work online ahead of time. The ship was great. Really good waiter and bus boy. kept us entertained. and the food was The dining room is beautiful. We ate a couple of times at Jonny Rockets and enjoyed it mostly because you could eat outside. In Aruba we did the jeep tour and it was fun but someone in out party flipped her jeep as we were leaving the natural bridge. No Serious injuries but I have to say, some of the people in our tour were very rude. Only cared about getting to the beach and not being delayed. In the mean time, a girl was laying on the ground. Also the tour bus were taking pictures out of their windows as they were passing us. Very Rude. There are many beautiful beaches in Aruba and De Palm Island is not one of them. Lovely view of the oil refineries. Lunch was good though and the snorkeling was very goading Joes's is a great place for a drink before heading back to the ship. It's located across from dock and is a great place to people watch. At night don't miss Carlos' n Charlie's. St. Maarten we did Orient beach with lunch. I recommend this tour. The beach and waterare BEAUTIFUL and lunch was wonderful. We had our own little table nesseled under the shade on the beach. WE were back in town in time to do some shopping and walk around. Beer is cheep and you can carry the bottles with you as you walk. In St. Thomas we did the AM snorkel tour to St. John's. The ferry ride is pretty and the guide in St. John was interresting. It's a good way to see the island. Snorkeling was Beautiful. (TIP: Don't try to feed the fish, I brought dog biscuits and almost lost a finger, Stupid). We shopped in the afternoon. There's no need to go into Charlotte Amille. The shops at the mall by the ship are more then enough. Try to save time for the tramway to Paradise Point. You can walk there from the ship and the view is breath-taking. The speciality drink is the Bushwacker. Very tastey. Over all this was a great cruise. There were 8 of us and we all agree. Sometimes everything just clicks together. Good room good friends good waiters. This was one of those times. Read Less
Sail Date October 2003
Saturday, Nov. 8 Our flight to San Juan was uneventful. We left sunny skies and seasonably cool temperatures and arrived in cloudy, humid, rainy weather. We waited 30 minutes for our luggage, then took a taxi to the Wyndham Condado Plaza ... Read More
Saturday, Nov. 8 Our flight to San Juan was uneventful. We left sunny skies and seasonably cool temperatures and arrived in cloudy, humid, rainy weather. We waited 30 minutes for our luggage, then took a taxi to the Wyndham Condado Plaza ($17 with tip including three pieces of luggage). Check in was smooth and our room at the end of the hall was quite large: a table for four, sofa, coffee table, armoire containing the television and a separate bedroom. The bathroom was marble and had a shower stall with two shower heads. Our room was in the tower across the road from the reception desk and required using two separate elevators and a walk past the casino and through a glass tunnel over the road, which was inconvenient. The hotel was likely very nice when it was new, but it was showing a bit of wear. Nevertheless, we were comfortable, and the wine, bottled water, cheese and crackers, and free high-speed internet access in our room was a terrific bonus we received as Wyndham-By-Request members. One note for people using Priceline.com: We heard from several sources that people who booked through Priceline.com were turned away Friday and Saturday because the hotel allegedly had no record of their reservations and no available rooms. They were found rooms in local hotels, but the process seemed quite long and neither the guests nor the reservation staff looked too happy. We had dinner at Ajillo Mojillo (I probably didn't spell that correctly), which was a two-minute walk from the hotel and served delicious, reasonably priced Puerto Rican food. The service was very slow, so be ready to wait, but the food was terrific. Dinner for two with one glass of house wine, an appetizer, two entrees and one dessert with coffee was $64 including tip. We felt very safe walking to and from the restaurant, and just wish we had brought our umbrella as it drizzled on the way there. Sunday, Nov. 9 - Embarkation We ate at the buffet at the hotel, which was overpriced but convenient ($11 pp for continental breakfast: juice, coffee, milk, cereal, fruit and pastries). Check out was quick, although I had to remind the desk to remove the charge for the internet access. We took a taxi to the pier at 10:30 (around $17) and were dropped off at the arrival area rather than the departure area. Once we figured that out, we walked to back to the correct area and were the third couple in line. The couple in front of us turned out to be people we had been chatting with on the roll call board and the person behind us was part of that group as well. We passed the time in very humid weather until our luggage was collected and we were given numbers to represent our places in line. We were let into the building around 12:15 and we checked in around 12:30. Check in was faster than any other in our experience (about three minutes because we had prepared our documents online) and we returned to our seats only to wait almost two more hours to board. There was some problem disembarking the passengers (we heard conflicting reports that the dock workers wouldn't unload luggage in the rain or there was a customs/immigration problem) and the SeaPass machines weren't working either, so many of us did not have our photos taken until Monday afternoon. Once we were able to board around 2:30, we went directly to our cabin (which was ready for us) to drop off our carry-ons, hit the salon for formal night hair appointments, went to the Windjammer for lunch, and then went to Portofino's to make our dinner reservations for Tuesday and Saturday night. We picked up the equipment we needed for our internet connection and then toured the ship with video camera in hand. The early evening was spent attempting to set up our Cybercabin internet connection (the first phone/modem was broken and had to be replaced). (Note: Cybercabin is a dial-up connection and averaged 46 bps.) Our luggage didn't arrive until after dinner (despite our early arrival), but unpacking was a breeze in our category C cabin. There was a tremendous amount of storage space in addition to the walk-in closet. The bathroom contained shampoo, body lotion, shower gel, a shower cap, a body scrubber, and a container filled with cotton balls and cotton swabs. There was plenty of room for all our toiletries and the bathtub with shower was such a treat after struggling with the round shower and floating shower curtain on Brilliance. The balcony was large with solid metal walls on each side, a lounge chair with a footrest, two regular chairs and a small side table. Unlike balconies on our other cruises, this one did not have a high table at which we could eat. On the other hand, it was either raining or exceedingly humid every day of this cruise, so we rarely used the balcony. The muster drill was held at 8:30. We missed the welcome aboard show, as we discovered the Cafe Promenade and enjoyed a latte and cookies and then watched the World of Adventure parade. (The cafe offers coffee [regular which is free and specialty for which there is a charge] and other beverages, pastries, pizza, sandwiches, and cookies 24 hours a day.) We thought the parade itself was just okay, but it was fascinating that it was taking place aboard a moving ship. We felt as if we were at one of the cafes at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Monday, Nov. 10 - At Sea It rained all day and the ship was rocking and rolling. I tried to play bingo in the Imperial Lounge (deck 5 forward), but I was too uncomfortable and headed back to the room to take a Dramamine tablet. Ed participated in the adult ping pong tournament (the only one of the week as it turned out, much to his disappointment) which started at 9:15 and required us to speed through breakfast. We ate the first of many lunches at Johnny Rockets. The burgers are good, the onion rings delicious and the shakes, flavored Cokes and floats were well worth the extra charge. The rest of the day was spent investigating the ship until my hair appointment at 4 p.m. We then attended the Meet & Mingle on deck 14 at 5:00 for about 30 minutes before heading back to the cabin to dress for formal night. We had no time for pre-dinner photos, so we did that afterward. We attended the show featuring Paul Boland, comedy impressionist. Most of his impressions were of singers and anyone under the age of 30 might not have recognized most of them. We thought he was good and very much enjoyed the show. Tuesday, Nov. 11 - Aruba It was hot and humid and most of the passengers were off the ship early for excursions, so we had breakfast and went to the pool for a few hours. After lunch we headed into town for an hour or so and did a little shopping. We stopped by a grocery store and picked up two large bottles of water for about US$4, which we drank for the rest of the week along with the water served onboard. Tuesday evening was busy. We ate dinner at Portofino's, which offered the same menu as aboard Brilliance. Service was excellent and the food was very good. However, we cancelled our second reservation for Saturday evening, as we didn't think it was worth investing another $40. Immediately following dinner we attended the Crown & Anchor party for all members (there was at least one additional party for Platinum and Diamond members only) at which they served free drinks (rum punch, red and white wine, and whiskey sours, among others). Captain Remo spoke about the company and the ship, and we were surprised that he was a poor public speaker. We left before he finished because we had tickets for the ice show at 9:15. The show was awesome, especially the woman who did acrobatics with a round hoop. It was amazing what the performers were able to do in such a small space, and it was probably even more interesting when the ship was at sea. The show is a must see although the volume is extremely loud. Wednesday, Nov. 12 - Curacao We headed into town after breakfast and the floating bridge started to open almost immediately after we stepped onto it. We enjoyed watching it open to let a boat pass through and were surprised at how many people tried to get off and take the ferry rather than stay on it. We walked around town for a while, and we enjoyed the architecture, colors and wide sidewalks of this town more than any other we have visited in the Caribbean thus far. We purchased a holiday tablecloth with matching napkins and priced the Swarovski crystal, but found it was the same price as on the ship. We had lunch on board and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. After dinner, we walked outside on all the decks and discovered shuffleboard. After playing several games incorrectly (despite having read the instructions conveniently posted on the wall), we were hooked, and played several more times (correctly) during the rest of the cruise. Thursday, Nov. 13 - At Sea It rained on and off during the day and when the sun was out, it was almost unbearably humid. We spent most of the day indoors. I attended bingo and did not enjoy it. One of the female staff members was difficult to understand, and the staff didn't do anything to make it fun, unlike my experience on other ships. Anyone who has experienced bingo with Bouncin' Becky Bingo, whether she drove them nuts or not, knows how bingo can be made fun and amusing. I had another hair appointment at 4:00 and we were dressed and downstairs by 5:30, beating the crowds for formal portraits. We had our pictures taken at every station and asked the photographers to try something a little different. This gave us more photos to choose from and we looked less stiff in most of them. The Love and Marriage Game Show was held at 8:15 and featured newlyweds, and couples married 14 months, 42 years and 51 years. It was funny, as always. The variety show featuring comedian Tom Parks was hysterical. He started off a little slow, but once he got rolling, we couldn't stop laughing. He is a definitely a must see if he is appearing during your cruise. Friday, Nov. 14 - St. Maarten Several excursions were cancelled due to the weather. We went into town for a while until a huge dark cloud appeared, and then we hopped into a taxi and passed through a rainstorm on the way back to the ship. We took advantage of the port day by playing a round of miniature golf, some ping pong and basketball. We attended the production show "Can't Stop The Rock," which was better than most of the production shows we have seen in the past. The female singers were outstanding. After the show we decided to go to The Duck and Dog Pub, because we had heard that the singer (who did mainly Jimmy Buffett songs) was good and everyone enjoyed it. The Latina Parade started shortly after we arrived and we were watching from inside the pub when a fight broke out between two men at the next table. As they wrestled to the floor, our table was hit and our drinks went flying. It was a total mess. In the end, only one man was escorted out and the other was left to continue his good time, which we did not think was fair. The bar replaced my lost drink after I asked for it, but no apology was offered and we had to go to the front desk on our own initiative to request a dry cleaning voucher for our slacks, which were wet with beer and wine. We were very disappointed in how the incident was handled by the security and bar staff. We ended up at the Blue Moon, which advertised "An Evening of Jazz" that began at midnight and ended at 12:45 a.m. After a few minutes of listening to Shannon and Michael, we ended that evening and went to bed. Saturday, Nov. 15 - St. Thomas St. Thomas had received 17+ inches of rain in the four days prior to our arrival, and several of the beaches were closed. There was a lot of silt in the water that we could see from the ship, and several excursions were cancelled. We originally planned to take a ferry on our own to St. John and go to Trunk Bay, but it poured shortly after we woke up and we didn't want to get stranded on a beach in the rain, especially since we didn't know if the water was clear enough for snorkeling. We headed out to the pool after the sun came out until lunch, played some shuffleboard and then, from the Blue Moon, watched people at the pool get wet as more rain passed over throughout the afternoon. We spent some time before dinner packing, then hit the photo shop to purchase our pictures before the crowd showed up. After dinner, we played the final jackpot bingo, which someone from Puerto Rico won in the amount of $5,100. We watched the farewell production show, which was pretty good, and the comic, Ed Regine, who we thought was not so great. After stopping for more cookies, we headed up to our cabin to finish packing and hit the sack. Sunday, Nov. 16 - San Juan We met friends for our final breakfast in the dining room at 7:45, dragging our carry-ons with us, and then we waited at a table outside the Duck & Dog Pub for several hours. Unlike other cruises where passengers were called off the ship by the color of their luggage tags, on this cruise they called passengers by their flight numbers. Our flight wasn't until 2:30 but we finally decided to disembark at 10:05. By the time we cleared customs, picked up our luggage and got in a taxi, it was 10:55. The lines moved very slowly for customs, but the luggage was easy to find. A taxi to the airport was $23 including tip and took about 15 minutes. Check in was swift, and we picked up a sandwich before heading down to the gate, where we waited about three hours until we boarded for our flight home. Overall impressions: The ship was awesome, and we really enjoyed the Royal Promenade. The art is eclectic and the decorating is lovely. Everything is easy to find, and we rarely experienced a wait for the elevators. Our category C cabin was fabulous, and we were definitely spoiled by its size and amenities. It's impossible to be bored on this ship, especially if the sun is shining because a lot of the activities are held by the pool. Unfortunately, there was only one ping pong tournament for adults (not enough to satisfy Ed), and the two tables on deck 11 were shoved in a corner, while the two on deck 13 had pitted tops. The volume everywhere onboard was too loud. We enjoyed relaxing and reading in the Crow's Nest until the bar opened. After that, the music was so loud we couldn't hear each other. Several times we asked the bartender to turn the volume down, but it was never at background music level. The ice show was terrific, but the music was so loud we couldn't speak to each other. In speaking with other passengers, we found that many people agreed that everything could have been turned down a few notches. The food was mediocre. The menus seem to be the same on every ship, but on Adventure the food seemed bland. There was no problem having seconds or multiple entrees: one man at our table had at least two entrees each night. Our waiter brought extra lobster tails to the table for everyone. The service we received in the dining room was good but not excellent, despite the fact that our waiter requested we rate him at that level on our survey. He did ask us on the second night if the pace of our dinner was appropriate or too fast, which we appreciated. The assistant waiter asked Ed every night if he wanted coffee, even though we mentioned early on that he didn't drink coffee. I mentioned the first night that I preferred skim milk for my coffee, but he didn't bring it again. I know I could have requested it each night, but I didn't. On the other hand, after the third night, they knew one of our tablemates preferred a regular salad with Thousand Island dressing, and that's what he received each night. Another passenger I spoke with was extremely impressed with her waiter and assistant waiter, so it must be the luck of the draw. We found the dining room service at breakfast and lunch to be poor. Our waiters were not friendly, the toast was cold and/or burnt, and the juice was warm, and after a few days we began ordering from room service for breakfast (excellent) and ate at Johnny Rockets or the Cafe Promenade at lunch. In our opinion, the crew in general seemed distant and disinterested in the passengers. The exceptions were the crew in Johnny Rockets, who seemed very happy to be there, and a few of the bartenders at the Pool Bar in the afternoons. One of the staff members at the Cafe Promenade was completely rude, neither speaking to us nor acknowledging our thanks. Our cabin steward was efficient and polite. Almost everything, including bingo, was repeated in Spanish, and most nights there were Latin-related activities (Latin Fiesta, Love and Marriage Game in Spanish, Latin Cabaret Showtime in Spanish). There were many passengers who were from Puerto Rico, so I assume these are regularly scheduled activities due to the high percentage of Spanish-speaking passengers on each sailing. While we enjoyed our sailing, we would not sail out of Puerto Rico again. And while we enjoyed Adventure, we would not seek out this size ship again unless offered a deal we couldn't refuse. The myriad activities and unique offerings were great to experience, but this ship simply didn't have the warmth and friendliness we enjoyed on Brilliance. In sum, despite some disappointments, we had an extremely relaxing and enjoyable vacation, and it was great fun to meet the people from the roll call board. We made some new friends, sailed on the largest ship afloat, and ate more cookies in one week than we did in one year. I'd say that adds up to a wonderful vacation. Read Less
Sail Date November 2003
Our cruise was great, the ship is one of the best ever. The cruise offered anything & everything. There was really no down time. Sometimes, there could be too much going on to know what to do. The cabins we had were balcony cabins, ... Read More
Our cruise was great, the ship is one of the best ever. The cruise offered anything & everything. There was really no down time. Sometimes, there could be too much going on to know what to do. The cabins we had were balcony cabins, and this was our first cruise with the balcony. This is probably the way to go because of the fresh air, scenic views, romanticness, and they are just plain relaxing. This is our 3rd cruise, second with Royal Caribbean. I can't complain except for our dining service which were very slow, had no timing, and had way too much WAITING for each course. The choice of foods, however, was great. Our shore excursions were the best, especially the "BOB". Everyone should try this excursion at least once...I can't say enough about the feelings of everyone who tried it in our group....2 THUMBS WAY UP.....Our ports were all beautiful and breath-taking, especially St. Martin, St. Thomas & Curacao (Willemstad).  We had a great time.  The only other complaint (and from what I Heard. I'm not the only one) was embarking & Disembarking the ship. We all understand there are over 3000 people on board, but enough is enough. There was nothing but chaos from beginning to end. Nothing made sense, they kept calling for flights & decks,. and everyone was hanging around the exiting deck (4)..not enough employees there to direct or even not direct people where they should go. There was the biggest mess I have ever seen & been in, and I'm being nice about it. Most other people I overheard, I CANNOT repeat what they were said...... Read Less
Sail Date November 2003
ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS - 12/7/03 This was our first time on Royal Caribbean. We chose the AOS because of it's size and variety of things to do, as well as the itinerary, with an overnight stay in Aruba. The ship is amazing. When we ... Read More
ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS - 12/7/03 This was our first time on Royal Caribbean. We chose the AOS because of it's size and variety of things to do, as well as the itinerary, with an overnight stay in Aruba. The ship is amazing. When we first board, we like to walk around the whole ship, top to bottom. This took 2-3 hours. There are plenty of spaces and plenty of things to do onboard. During the entire 7 nights, we barely had time to "hang out" in all of the wonderful public spaces. The ship has wonderful decorating and is very clean. The public rooms are elegant and provide plenty of visual variety. Some of our favorite spaces to spend time were -- the Solarium (adult pool) and the Cafe Promenade (for getting coffee, croissants and ice water). We tried (but did not succeed) at having a drink at every bar on the ship! Our inside room was very well designed and comfortable. Every inch is used for storage space. Our cabin steward was friendly. The first day our room did not get cleaned, but because of our in-out times, our steward may have been thinking that we slept in the entire first day! Beyond that mis-read, his service was excellent. One thing to remember, it was a long walk from our stateroom to the staircases / elevators. It seemed like a long trip from our room, but our cabin position was not that bad. This is just a big ship. The food was good, but our dining experience the first few nights was not good. We had a table, but then were "bumped" to another table -- with some very obnoxious guests and not-very-good service. We had been thrilled with the original table, and don't know why we were bumped for no reason. We complained at the guest relations desk and to the Maitre D', who then re-seated us, fortunately, at a table with wonderful service and a wonderful couple. We got lucky on that. But our 2nd night of dining and getting the situation corrected was stressful. Also, we had to have our wine moved around from 3 tables, because of the shuffle. We did eat at Portofino's one night, which was very good. The desserts are by far the highlight of the Portofino's experience. It was a nice treat, but not a must-do. Actually we found ourselves eating so well and so often, that we had a day long mid-cruise fast (no breakfast or lunch, light dinner) in order to feel more comfortable. We were so full! Nightlife on the ship provides plenty of options. I liked Kareoke Idol, and the finals were very well done in Studio B. We saw a fight almost break out among 2 guests though (over Kareoke!) and that was a downer. We went to the Love and Marriage show, but saw the more aggressive guest from Kareoke there, and decided to leave. Also, we attended only one stage show, which I felt was mediocre. We left about 1/4 of the way through the show. Our favorite performers were the pub singer at the Duck and Dog (I think his name was Brian Kennedy). We also found the ice show to be entertaining -- although the guest acrobat was the star of the show. The skaters did a nice job overall. As for other onboard activities -- Dear Husband played virtual golf (OK, not great), we did mini-golf, saw one of the horse races, and Dear Husband played a little in the casino (won a little, lost a little). We had a couples massage, but the spa is very over-priced and next time, we'd choose to have spa treatments at home rather than on the ship. Jester's nightclub is a very cool place, but we did not find time to stay and dance. I wish we could have found more time for that! Overall, we loved the ship, had good food and great service. Unfortunately the down moments for us were the result of rude guests rather than any problems with the cruise line. The AOS is a beautiful ship and we enjoyed it very much. Ports of call were Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas. Because of tropical storm Odette (very rare in the S. Caribbean), the sand was stirred up and water was rough for snorkeling in Aruba. The most fun we had in Aruba was having beers at an outdoor cafe in town. In Curacao we went to the Seaquarium and went to a time-share presentation to get access to the time-share beach. The Seaquarium beach next door is also very pretty and has a small entrance fee. In St. Martin, we went to Orient beach and did some skinny dipping, which was actually very fun. The rest of the time we lazed under a rented umbrella at a beach bar. In St. Thomas, we took the ferry to St. John and visited Trunk Bay -- which was the MOST FANTASTIC HIGHLIGHT of our trip. It is gorgeous and we had wonderful beaching and snorkeling there. We met some of our fellow Cruise Critic posters at the CC party, and they are all very nice people. Hope this review is useful for your trip planning! Read Less
Sail Date December 2003
INTRODUCTION This was our eighth cruise and our fourth on Royal Caribbean. We were traveling with my parents and two other couples. While we were traveling from Atlanta, my parents were departing from Newark so we elected to spend the ... Read More
INTRODUCTION This was our eighth cruise and our fourth on Royal Caribbean. We were traveling with my parents and two other couples. While we were traveling from Atlanta, my parents were departing from Newark so we elected to spend the Saturday prior to sailing in San Juan to afford an extra day in case there were weather related travel delays. We arrived Saturday afternoon and spent the night at the Caribe Hilton. The hotel is a five-minute ride from the pier and is a primo resort facility. EMBARKATION We had transfers from the hotel and the shuttle picked up the passengers at 1:00 p.m. Our baggage was tagged and was picked up later by another vehicle. Without question, this was the fastest boarding any of us had ever experienced. In no time we had dropped off our carry on luggage in our rooms and were having lunch in the Windjammer by about 1:30. The other two couples that flew in that morning from New York City were on the ship at 11:30 a.m. The ship sailed out of San Juan and into the Atlantic at 10:00 p.m. with a very prominent escort from the U.S. Coast Guard to keep any bad guys away from us. THE SHIP WOW! We've sailed on the Radiance of the Seas twice, which is a pocket cruiser version of the Voyager class ships. The Radiance is 90,000 tons and the Adventure is 140,000 tons or better than 50% larger. We docked right behind Brilliance of the Seas (a Radiance class sized ship) in Aruba, and the size differential is very apparent. Up until five days earlier when the Queen Mary 2 sailed on its maiden voyage, the Adventure of the Seas shared the title with its sister ships as the largest cruise ship in the world. The ship absolutely gleams everywhere you look. A New York City Fireman, a NYC Policeman and their wives christened Adventure of the Seas in October of 2001. With all lower bunks filled, the ship's capacity is 3,500 passengers with 1,200 crewmen. Our cruise had 3,348 passengers or just about full. There was something like 50+ nationalities represented by the passengers with the vast majority from the U.S. Despite the number of passengers, we never experienced crowding. You could always get a seat or a lounge chair in any bar, pool area, theater, etc. There are more bars and lounges than you can experience in a week without a loved one signing you up for AA. If you were willing to explore, I wandered around the decks and found places where I could pull up a lounge chair and be the only passenger in sight. This year we are celebrating our 25th anniversary and we splurged on a deck 10 suite. Our cabin was port side number 1574, which was a "Grand Suite". It was in essence a double sized cabin with a large sitting area with a TV, DVD player, Stereo CD player and a bar. We had a concierge service that we never utilized. I think we were too busy to do so. The bathroom was huge for a ship and had twin sinks set in a granite counter and a full bathtub/shower. There was an enormous amount of storage space with three big closets and plenty of drawers and cabinets. Each day, the cabin elves delivered a tray of fruit, cookies, cheese, chocolate covered strawberries or other treats to nosh on. We hosted several cocktail parties in the room for our party of eight. Don't try this in a conventional sized cabin. The four story Royal Promenade is the focal point of the ship's interior. It is a marvelous invention with shops, lounges, bars and a coffee shop-snack bar. Two sets of elevator banks and two staircases at each end of the 400-foot long promenade keeps passengers flowing through the ship. The three-story dining room is spectacular with the dEcor matching the cuisine. Our waiter Viveck or "V" made our meals fun and entertaining. If ever you couldn't decide among appetizers, entrees or deserts, V would bring a plate of each of your top choices to try. THE ICE SHOW Don't miss it. There were performances on two nights during the cruise. You get to see former Olympic skaters do an "Ice Capades meets Cirque du Soleil" show in a very intimate setting 1/3rd the size of a conventional ice rink. You can also rent skates during the day and ice skate your way across the Caribbean. That is, if you're not too busy sunning, rock climbing, miniature golfing, in-line skating or working out in the superb fitness center. My mother loved the fact that Adventure of the Seas had soft ice cream machines located in the Royal Promenade, out at the pools as well as in the Windjammer. ARUBA We walked off the ship with the intention of getting an orientation tour of the island. For $15 each, we got a two-hour minibus tour of Aruba which included northeast coast with gold mine ruins and the natural arch and on to the California lighthouse and the beautiful western beaches. The island gets only around 20 inches of rain a year and is surprisingly desert-like. Something like 14 species of cactus populate the island and because it's so far south, Aruba doesn't get the hurricanes the more northern islands excite in. In Aruba you are about 13 miles off the coast of South America, which is visible on the horizon. After lunch, back on board, we wandered around Oranjestad browsing the shops and having a beer in Carlos'N Charlie's. Later that night, a beach party was in full force up on the pool deck when the ship sailed at 1:00 a.m. At the witching hour, lines were hauled in and 140 thousand tons of cruise ship glided silently back into the Caribbean for the short run to Curaçao. CURAÇAO This is another island where, like Aruba, you get the impression; tourism is not the islander's primary mission. We docked at the "Mega Pier" about a five or ten minute walk to the Pontoon Bridge that leads you into the picturesque town of Willemstad. We strolled around the colorful waterfront and the floating market, where fishermen from neighboring Venezuela ply fresh fish to the locals. In the afternoon we booked a snorkel excursion. The snorkel boat picked us up right at the dock and sailed about 40 minutes down the coast to a sheltered bay. The site featured a sunken tugboat, lots of colorful fish and corals in warm, crystal clear water. Even better, an 80 foot, twin-masted sailing ship anchored with us and released a school of sleek-profiled, thong-flossed beauties to snorkel with us. Afterwards, I mentioned to Joanne, that not all the shots I took with our disposable underwater camera were of the swim suit models. My parents joined us on our balcony to enjoy a sundowner and snacks as we left Willemstad and sailed down the coast of Curaçao to our sea day to St. Maarten. After we passed the eastern end of the island and hung a left northward, the lights of Bon Aire, the third of the ABC islands, passed by us to starboard. SEA DAY A good break in the action. There are no bridge tours, given security concerns. However, head forward on deck eleven, the pool deck, and check out the Peek-a-Boo Bridge. Windows allow you to look down on the bridge and watch the officers drive the boat. The captain's chair has a joystick in the armrest that appears to be all you need to steer the ship when the computers are disengaged. There are monitors up there that repeat the crew's navigation data so you can check out speed, course, position, etc. Today was our second formal night and was the Chef's lobster night extravaganza. Our waiter, "V", told the table that he once had a nineteen-year-old young man order and consume seventeen lobster tails at dinner. Given we had already had about six dining events so far that day, we we're not inclined to take up the challenge and kept ourselves to a limit of two tails each. ST. MAARTEN Damn! Philipsburg is full of super salesmen that know how to permanently hang jewelry around my wife's neck. The local economy benefited by our visit. We took a water taxi into town from the pier and besides visiting every jewelry store on the Dutch side of the island; we had a nice lunch overlooking the harbor. Sailing just before sunset, we cruised past the airport watched the last few arriving planes of the day catch the three wire, and snag a safe landing at Princess Juliana Airport. Sailing is definitely the low risk way risk way to enter and depart St. Maarten. There is a web site called airliners.net that is full of interesting aviation photographs from around the world. Fully 1/3rd of the pictures feature planes landing at Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten. Check it out and you'll see what I mean. ST. THOMAS Here is where we had the only problem with the cruise. Everyone on the ship was ordered to present themselves to U.S. Immigration authorities on board between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. There were exactly two inspectors to eyeball 3,500 passengers and 1,200 crewmen. We went down at 8:30 a.m. and couldn't find the end of the line, which extended from the main dining room on deck five at the stern and went forward through the Royal Promenade and down the forward staircases. An hour later, after breakfast, the line was no shorter and the crew was not to be found. After an hour on line, two customs officers thanked you for showing them that you possessed a Passport. I don't believe that any Al Qaeda were ferreted out that morning with the completely bogus security check. The crew at the purser's desk told me this was the usual Saturday ritual. Most passengers that had excursions booked for the morning, missed them. This was not a good way to spend your last morning aboard. Upon finally getting cleared, we caught a cab to Mountain Top to enjoy the view of Megan's Bay, the other Virgin Islands and taste the world's best banana daiquiri. The Queen Mary 2 was anchored out in the harbor about a mile away from the nearest ship or point of land. This was the ship's inaugural cruise, having sailed about ten days earlier from Southampton. It was the Queen's first day in U.S. waters and passengers tendered into Charlotte Amalie. All day long, four U.S. Coast Guard vessels ran a picket around the ship with a Blackhawk helicopter circling overhead for good measure. We watched small craft from the harbor, try to get close to the Queen, probably for photographs. One of the Coast Guard ships would move to intercept and if the intruder tried to evade, the Blackhawk descended to about six feet above the offending craft and "dusted" it with its rotor wash until it hove to. A Coast Guard warship would then inspect and send the boat on its sorry-ass way. A very good show to observe your tax dollars at work. When the Adventure of the Seas sailed that Saturday evening past the Queen, we gave the traditional three long blasts on the ship's horn which was answered with three by the Queen then one again by each of us. Very cool, and perhaps we participated in a piece of nautical history. The Queen Mary 2 sailed just behind us and quickly sped past us to starboard to arrive in Ft. Lauderdale on Monday morning under the escort of a U.S. Guided Missile Cruiser. Not a bad time considering most other ships take an additional day for that leg of a cruise of such length. DISEMBARKATION - SAN JUAN Very smooth. We had breakfast in the main dining room for the last time and waited in the ice rink venue to be called for departure. It was a quick wait and in no time we were ashore and sadly on our way to the airport and home. This was a great week with the exception of the immigration debacle the last day in St. Thomas. I noted this on my customer survey and also called the Royal Caribbean executive in charge of customer satisfaction upon my return. They need to get this problem fixed. Apart from that, take this cruise. The ship is beautiful, has plenty of room and visits some of the best islands in the Caribbean. Please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to answer any questions on the cruise that I can. Austin Kearney pepperdog@mindspring.com Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
I cruised on the Adventure of the Seas on 1/4. Just some background on me so you know where I am coming from. I am 22 y/o and I was cruising with Family. We flew direct on Northwest from St. Paul, MN to SJU. FLight was on time and very ... Read More
I cruised on the Adventure of the Seas on 1/4. Just some background on me so you know where I am coming from. I am 22 y/o and I was cruising with Family. We flew direct on Northwest from St. Paul, MN to SJU. FLight was on time and very smooth. We arrived at SJU at approx 230pm. We were met at the gate by RCCL agents and were told that if we booked air sea thru the cruise line that we could go straight to the bus and luggage would be brought to the ship. We walked to the bus out front, and we left almost immediately. There was about a 20 minute bus ride to the ship. EMBARKATION- All I have to say was WOW. We got to the pier around 3:15. Saw the check in for deck 10. (Check in is split by decks. 1-3 per line). Only 1 couple in front of us. When it was our turn we showed ID, Birth Certificates, credit card, and were given our Sea Pass Cards and poof we were on board by 3:30!!!!! THE SHIP- FOr being 2 years old, honestly this ship was in just as good of shape as the navigator was when we sailed on her when she was 7 months old! Everything was clean and In great shape. We were on Deck 10, INterior, cat M. (A little small but nothing to complain about. We weren't in it enough anyway) Our stateroom attendant "Buddy" was great. We had a piece of luggage damaged by NWA, and he brought it to the fix it shop on the ship and they fixed it at no cost to us. WE had towel animals every night! EATING - MMMMMMMM - Windjammer and Island grill were open right when we got on the ship for lunch (And each day for lunch as well) They were both open for breakfast each day (Island grill had omelets, long line for them if you didn't get there before 9ish) Lunch was in Island grill, as well as snacks. Dinner was in Windjammer. Dinners were really never crowded. Hours- Breakfast 630a-11a. Lunch 1130a-3p Snacks 3p-6p Dinner 630p-930p Dining room - 3 floor dining room Seating around 1750 guests (So we were told by our head waiter) Food was always great, as was the dining staff. Formal nights were Mon and Thurs. Thurs was lobster night. Portofino - SOrry, Did not eat there! Promenade Cafe - 24hrs. Breakfast rolls in the morning, Pizza, sandwiches and desserts the rest of the day as well as free coffee and ice water. I went to the disco a lot at night. DJ was great. Usually played current top 40 hits, but would play anything upon request. Usually busiest from 1230a-2a. POOLS - Solarium - Not covered, unlike the rest of the RCCL Fleet, however the hot tubs were covered. No children rule followed 99percent of time. Main Pool 4 hot tubs, 2 pools. The deck was crowded at sea days, but not too bad. No real chair hogs spotted. DAILY STUFF Sunday, Again Embarkation in San Juan, WENT VERY WELL. No real complaints heard from anyone. HOWEVER, some almost missed ship due to weather in US causing delays. Muster Drill at 8:30. Dinner at 6:30 and 9p. Johnny Rockets Closed from 7p-9p for muster drill. Headliner Show Time was great. Comedian Very Funny (Forgot his name). MONDAY - At Sea, FORMAL NIGHT. Hmm, sat in hot tub most of day! A little rain in AM but lasted 10 minutes. Seas were wavy and wind was a little strong, ESP at night about 25-30mph. Sexy legs contest and horse racing were held at pool, as well as an art auction. I forgot what the show was that night (Sorry). Tuesday - ARUBA. Went shopping in town during day, and on the Kuku Kunuku party bus at night. Had a great time, stopping at 3 bars and then Carlos N Charlies where the real party was. Got back to the ship at 1215, just in time to beat the rush that hit at 1225. There was a deck party that night from 11-1 on the pool deck (11) with food and Ice Sculptures. Also that was the first production show night. Wednesday - Curacao. Went for a walk thru the town in the am, then went to the Aquarium beach. No waives there = a boring beach for me. We had on and off rain thru the day. (Lasting about 3-5 mins each time). I had 2 complaints the entire trip and this night was one of them. We had Ice tickets for Thursday (ICE SHOWS ON WED AND THURS) All entertainment this night including the deck party was in SPANISH!!! So you had 1800 english speaking passengers walking around commenting on the fact that there was nothing to do. I spoke to the cruise director and he said it was an error in scheduling entertainers for that week. Oh well, what can you do? Thursday - At Sea. Final Horse racing, Belly Flop Contest, the Love and marriage Show (DO NOT MISS) and The quest game (Also Very funny, and I was talked into playing this year by a fellow cruise criticer!) This was also the second Ice Show night, and the Second production show night! Friday - St. Maarten - Walked around and shopped, and then went to EVERYTHING's cool and had a few frozen drinks. El Goucho was the entertainer that night, who we have seen twice on RCCL prior, so we had a family Mini Golf Turney instead. Saturday - St. THomas. Walked around town, and took the sky ride (15.00pp) To paradise point. Great view! Worth the money for something to do! Fairwell comedy show on board that night. Sunday, Debarkation, AKA DISASTER! We had a 4p flight to MSP so we booked a tour thru RCCL. WE had to meet at 845 in the Imperial Lounge (Deck 5). At 850 when it became time to leave the ship to the tour bus (After the early flights had gotten off) Customs was so slow, we did not get out of the ship terminal until 1115! The line barely moved at all. The tour guide barely spoke any english. When we got dropped off at the airport 2hrs before, Northwest put us in a staging area, and forgot about our flight until 1hr prior to departure. THe security line was 1hour 30 mins long. A group of us found a NWA rep and they escorted us thru security. I can not believe SJU airport can not find a better way to do this since it happens Every week.. I will not fly to SJU in the future due to the airport size problems! Ship Tips. Ice Show - If you want to go, get tickets Monday 9-noon. They are free but since size is an issue you need a ticket. Sports deck All activities (In line skating, BBall, Mini Golf) are free. Unknown about simulator. For breakfast, try to eat before 9 as that is when things picked up. RCCL Has a 1am curfew for age 17 and down. There were 1500 Locals on board, and to answer previous comments, yes they are very loud people, and a select percent are rowdy and VERY LOUD, however, i would suggest booking this cruise if you wanted to take it. The other thing that really got on my nerves was the 2 way radios. Not that I minded that everyone and their brother had one, Just TURN THEM DOWN! PS HI TO ALL THE MINNESOTANS THAT I MET! ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE ASK ON FORUM OR E-MAIL! hoopster3145@yahoo.com Scott All in all, the Cruise director (Kirk Detwieler) and his staff did a great job and we all had a wonderful time and will definitely cruise again, and I do recommend this cruise, however recommend flying out of san juan on Monday instead! Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
This was probably the worst cruise (of 5) we have ever been on. The reasons were too many to list. I surely would sound whiny if I go on and on, and I don't mean to be that way. I will not complain about the crew, but I tend to ... Read More
This was probably the worst cruise (of 5) we have ever been on. The reasons were too many to list. I surely would sound whiny if I go on and on, and I don't mean to be that way. I will not complain about the crew, but I tend to think their good attitudes may have been more about their tips and the incentive plans their bosses have in place(we grade them, in essence. very odd) than about the love of the job. Or us. Although they all were very nice, no one was EXCEPTIONAL. Unfortunately this cruise still cost 5G and then some. Not as personal in service as I would have liked. I must mention the Food- Mediocre at best, and I am NOT picky/ this Johnny Rockets thing is way overdone- I have had better burgers at McDonalds, quite frankly. 4$ shakes were ridiculously overpriced. Overall the food was too ethnic (but somehow still bland) for my tastes. And much too recycled. Could it have been because what seemed like 80% of the ship was not American? We gathered that the bookings were extremely low, and RC just about gave away the empty rooms to last minute bookings, out of SanJuan, I'm pretty sure, and this made for a ship in which 60% paid full price and the rest paid 25%. Too many bratty, rude, foreign speaking children and some very nasty, rude and uncaring parents. The bathrooms were filthy (especially on the LONG debarkation day). Not necessarily because of the shiphands, but how can you clean every 1/2 hour? Someone, and I am not exaggerating here, put out 3 cigarettes right upon the carpet! at the casino! one night. They must have sat there unnoticed for an hour. There were 3 BURNT spots and ashes still everywhere! Nasty people! I was pretty disappointed and will NOT travel RC aver again. Even the ship was really nothing to write home about, nice but not for the price. It will be Carnival or Celebrity next time (if there ever is one- my memory may not allow it). Good Sailing, hopefully my trip was the exception, not the rule :) PattiB Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
We flew into San Juan the day before the cruise. Coming from the Northeast in the middle of winter, this is always a good idea if possible. We stayed at the Comfort Inn in Condado. The rate was $116 per night. While not a great property, ... Read More
We flew into San Juan the day before the cruise. Coming from the Northeast in the middle of winter, this is always a good idea if possible. We stayed at the Comfort Inn in Condado. The rate was $116 per night. While not a great property, it was clean and the staff was very friendly. They were also one of the few hotels that did not require a 2 night minimum stay. The ship is now docked at a new pier area that is away from Old San Juan. Taxi fare from Condado was $12 plus .50 for each piece of luggage. We arrived at the dock around noon, and the porters took our luggage right away. You then go inside the building and get in line depending on which deck your cabin is located on. The computers were down when we arrived but came up in about 30 minutes. After you check in, which takes about 2 minutes, you are directed to chairs in the room if the ship has yet to totally empty out, or if the ship is empty, you proceed right on board. If you are not a US citizen, they will hold your passport until you arrive in St. Thomas. We boarded at about 1245. Cabins are not ready until 1:00, but there is lunch in the Windjammer lounge, and the bars are open up on the pool decks. At this time you can purchase soda packages. They were over $40 for adults and over $30 for children (plus the 15% gratuity) Seemed high to us so we did not get the packages. However, the wine packages are a very good deal. 7 bottles for $125 (including 15% gratuity). You have your choice of 8 different wines, plus an inexpensive champagne. My wife figures we saved over $50 based on our drinking habits. Our cabin was 7360, a verandah cabin, and i will never book and outside cabin again. Breakfast on the verandah every morning is very nice. The cabin is a good size, but there seems to be a lack of drawers, and the bathroom is a little tight for large people. Always had plenty of hot water, and our cabin steward kept the room spotless. The television had the usual shipboard information, and a couple of movie channels. CNN international and what i would call TV Land television. Lots of old shows. You can also purchase first run movies and adult films to view. The muster drill is done at 8:30 in the evening prior to sailing and is over very quickly. For dinner, there are 2 formal nights, 2 resort casual, and the rest are casual nights, including Caribbean night in Aruba when you can wear shorts in the dining room. We were very surprised by the number of tuxedos and long gowns being worn on this ship. We were expecting a little more casual group being Royal Caribbean, but everyone was dressed very nicely. ARUBA We rented a Jeep in Aruba and drove over to the Wild Side. This is a beautiful drive, and the Jeep ran us $60 from Hertz. Car rentals are available at the pier in Aruba. I suggest a hardtop Jeep due to the broiling sun, and bring liquids as there are not to many places to get any on the wild side. The Natural Bridge area is very busy and commercialized. They charge a quarter to use the restroom, and there is a $20 minimum in the junk store. In the evening we did the pub crawl shore excursion. JUST DO IT. It's a blast. Be sure to bring your camera. I didn't and i won't ever hear the end of it. CURACAO Spent the day just wandering around downtown. Great deals on linens (according to the boss) ST. MARTEN The ship docks out of the downtown area, and you need to take a water taxi to get into town. $5 all day per person. The stores don't open until 9-930, so don't rush in the morning. Did some shopping and picked up some Guava berry liquor and some mango liquor. Good prices on clothes also. From what we heard, the jewelry prices are better in St Marten then in St Thomas. Went on the Sunken ship snorkel tour. Very good and the guys working the boat are a hoot. ST.THOMAS Did the Buck Island snorkel tour in the morning, and it was the best snorkeling we have ever done. Turtles, stingrays, and a lot of coral and fish. Watch out for the "painkiller punch" on the way home. It's not painless after you've had a few. We've been downtown to many times to count, so we just did our booze run at the dock. Prices were good and if you shop by 230, they deliver to the ship. Upon arrival in St. Thomas, you need to clear immigration. People from outside the US go to one room and US citizens go to another. This was the ONLY time we ever saw a line up on this ship. Once you clear immigration, you are given a pass that allows you to get off the ship. NO more waiting for some guy who's hungover to come down and clear before everyone else is allowed off the ship. This was a great cruise. The service was great in all the restaurants. There was never a line up to wait for anything. The ship was clean. The food, while not up to Celebrity standards was very good. There was always someplace to sit, even though we had a full ship. 3500+ passengers. Our only complaint was the entertainment. One of the singers could have scared every cat within a 100 miles of her voice. Terrible. But don't miss the Adventure Quest, it's a riot. (adults Only). We'll book RCCL again, with no hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
We just returned from our trip on the Adventure. I have cruised eight times and this was simply the best cruise ever! Even though there were over 3000 people on the ship, the lines were very light. The food was great. The entire staff ... Read More
We just returned from our trip on the Adventure. I have cruised eight times and this was simply the best cruise ever! Even though there were over 3000 people on the ship, the lines were very light. The food was great. The entire staff including our cabin steward were excellent. The ship is a bit overwhelming at first. The shops and bars on the promenade deck were amazing. After a day or two, it was easy to navigate around the ship. The ports of call were a blast. In Aruba we hired a taxi to take the four of us around the island. It ran $40 per hour but the personalized service was worth it. Our driver dropped us off at Eagle beach and rented jet skis. The sun was hot and the drinks were cold. It rained a little in Curacao so we shopped and got a few great deals. St. Maartin is an awesome island. We were there last year and visited Orient beach and this year we decided on Dawn beach. It was peaceful and great for swimming. St. Thomas is a beautiful island. We went to Megan Bay for the second year in a row. It just doesn't get any better. The weather was picture and floating in the water was heavenly. I've cruise on Carnival and Royal. For us, it was definitely spending a little more to go on Royal. You will not be disappointed if you decide on this cruise. We hope to do the same cruise next year! Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
The AOS was really a beautiful ship! It was clean and well kept and our Superior Oceanview Suite was beautiful with a nice big balcony. However, I think I am going back to Carnival with the next cruise. Embarkation was a complete ... Read More
The AOS was really a beautiful ship! It was clean and well kept and our Superior Oceanview Suite was beautiful with a nice big balcony. However, I think I am going back to Carnival with the next cruise. Embarkation was a complete breeze...five minutes to board was about it. I did not like the activities on the ship...they were all kind of blah...and I never saw the cruise director except for the few times we attended a game or show...and even then the assistant was the one who took over. The food in the Windjammer was ok but nothing to rave about...the pancakes were often cold or just barely warm at that...the food in Johnny Rockets was however pretty darn good. The food in the dining room was ok...the presentation was great...the taste was ok. However, the service in the Dining Room was excellent and I cannot list one complaint about the waiters...only praise!!! Overall the staff of the ship was not too friendly...you often felt like you were inconveniencing them for just being there. The ports of call were excellent but there should have been no reason for us to leave St. Martin and St. Thomas so early since we were so close to our next destination. We were told by one of the staff that RCCL would have to pay more if they were to stay longer. Also...one other point...there were 5 Catholic priests on board and so Mass was offered on a daily basis in the chapel which was excellent... There was always only standing room only. For the Saturday night vigil they moved us into the Blue Moon Lounge which was really far from appropriate. The priests said they had tried to get more suitable accommodations but that Royal put them were they wanted to put them....on such a big ship they could have spared one of the rooms not being used (and there were plenty since very few activities were ever planned). Overall the cruise was excellent...even the worst cruise is a good cruise and really this can't even qualify for bad...it's just that we have seen better. Read Less
Sail Date February 2004
We sailed out of San Juan 3/14 and our itinerary included Aruba, Curacoa, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. This was my first cruise so I have nothing to compare it to. I had been trying to find reviews for this ship so I would know what to ... Read More
We sailed out of San Juan 3/14 and our itinerary included Aruba, Curacoa, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. This was my first cruise so I have nothing to compare it to. I had been trying to find reviews for this ship so I would know what to expect. Well, I have to say Royal Caribbean does an outstanding job of satisfying its passengers. They go above and beyond to make sure you are happy. The ship is absolutely beautiful and spotless, the staff is very accommodating and friendly and the entertainment was superb. I wanted to let other people know who have never cruised before was drinks cost on an average since that was something I wanted to know and could not find. I was drinking the tropical drinks and they ranged in price from 5.95 to 6.95 including gratuities. I did buy a few imports for people I was with and those were $3.75 each. Highlights of the cruise for me were the ice show and the caribbean pool party which included a midnight buffet. I have to say the food was good, both in the dining room and in Windjammers, but I do have to agree with another reviewer that it wasn't all that. Certain things arrived not hot and either over done or not done enough. I could have sent it back but I didn't. The dining staff WILL do everything they can to make you happy, but they work so hard as it is, I didn't want to complain. I imagine it is very difficult to cook and serve that many people in a small amount of time and do it well. Another tip I want to give it to pass on the shopping seminar and VIP passport book they try to get you to buy since it is nothing but useless coupons to receive a bunch of junk at the ports. At least in my humble opinion. Everyone talks about the fantastic deals on jewelry you can get, but in my opinion, I did not see any great deals. I will admit you can find things there that are not easy to find in jewelry stores here, such as clear Columbian emeralds, nice colored tanzanite, pink sapphires, platinum and so forth, but if you do your homework, I don't believe that there are any great deals that can't be found here. I sold jewelry retail from a reputable company and can tell you that they mark it up down there just to mark it down, just like anywhere else. So, buyer beware. Another tip I want to give is not to overpack!! I was quite surprised to see the cost of alcohol down there. The prices are amazing. Almost 50% less than in the states on some things. That is what I brought back!! I was not planning on it, and did not like lugging it, but it was worth it. More about the ship....Johnny Rockets was fun. The burgers were good old fashioned hand made and the onion rings were really tasty. The waiters and waitresses end up doing a dancing number for you that is really fun! The main pool area is large with several bars all over the place and staff walking around to serve you. There is an adult pool area that looks like a Venetian spa and is really nice. The only excursion we did was on St. Maarten. We took the island tour in the morning and the afternoon beach bash. The island tour was $23 and it consisted of a 2.5 hour tour of both sides of St. Maarten. They give you about 45 minutes to shop in the French town of Marigot and then they will drop you off in Philipsburg on the Dutch side or take you back to the ship. The beach bash was at the French beach called Orient Beach. It was really nice. All the ports were enjoyable in their own ways. It was nice to finally get to see places that I had wanted to see for so long. My favorite island was St. Thomas. It has a bit more commerce and perhaps the familiarity of a "Key West" feel. My sister did not care for it for that very reason! Oh well. I do want to comment on the airport at St. Juan. It was just plain crazy. There were an insane amount of people trying to fly out of there on Sunday and not enough places to sit to wait for your plane or anything. The lines to check in were extremely long and it was just a damper on a beautiful week. Needless to say, if I ever cruise again, I would not cruise out of San Juan. As far as tipping goes, I would absolutely say every one of the staff deserves AT LEAST the recommended amount, if not more. They work 10 hours a day / 7 days a week with no break and you would never know it. They are always smiling and ready to accommodate. The only other thing I can say is if you like to lay out by the pool, get out there early because despite what good intentions the ship tries to set, people still do put towels on the chairs and then go about their day, either eating breakfast, lunch, or what have you. There were several times I went out at around 10:30 or so and could not find anything close to the pool, only on the very top deck. All in all, it was nice, but I think I prefer all inclusive resorts, they seem to be the same type of thing and include all your drinks as well. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
After being on many Royal Caribbean ships including Voyager and Explorer, I found quite a few changes when we sailed over Spring Break. It seems quite obvious that this cruise line is trying too hard to save money-all at the cost of the ... Read More
After being on many Royal Caribbean ships including Voyager and Explorer, I found quite a few changes when we sailed over Spring Break. It seems quite obvious that this cruise line is trying too hard to save money-all at the cost of the customer. The food aboard this ship was truly undesirable-the common joke was-:"where else can you lose weight on a ship?" Beginning with breakfast-we ordered room service almost every day. It never got better the eggs either dripped in butter or were so bland there was no taste. The best thing to eat were the rolls and jam. Lunch in the Windjammer followed closely-total lack of taste and variety. We had dinner every night in the dining room except for 1 night in Portofino. The dining room food was terrible-certainly not up to Royal Caribbean standards. The service was even worse. There was never a night when we did not leave the dining room much before 11:00. You could never get special requests-ex: shrimp cocktail on a night not offered. Other sad points regarding this ship_what ever happened to the wonderful parades that we saw on the other ships??? These 2 parades were something to hang your head at in shame. If you are unhappy with smoking this is not the ship for you. Royal Caribbean markets themselves as primarily non smoking with some exceptions in certain areas. I assure you that everywhere you went were people smoking. Very hard to breath and the staff did nothing to contain this. There were quite a few customers complaining at the guest relations desk-all to no avail. On a good note-we had a catagory C stateroom which was wonderful. Imagine a walkin closet!! Even though these comments have been primarily negative I truly recommend these Voyager ships for families with kids. My 14 year old never left the basketball court, my 7 year old spent too much time in the arcade and at Johnny Rocketts, and my 12 year old loved to shop and do Bingo. Overall the ship is still a great one but Royal Caribbean needs to remember that customers are what keeps them in business. Stop nickel and diming people and bring back the quality you are known for. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
We left Chicago vis Midway Airport at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 21, 2004. This meant getting up before three a.m. which was not that bad considering we were all pretty excited anyway. The flight was okay but they did not show a movie and ... Read More
We left Chicago vis Midway Airport at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 21, 2004. This meant getting up before three a.m. which was not that bad considering we were all pretty excited anyway. The flight was okay but they did not show a movie and it got long after three hours. We arrived a few minutes early to San Juan which I considered a good sign for the week. We picked up our bags quite quickly and waited in line to get a cab to take us to the pier, the cab system in San Juan is very good and a pleasure to deal with. I am going to assume that we beat the crowd by booking our own air and transportation because when we arrived at the pier we walked right through the only ones there. After having our picture taken we headed to our cabin (8612) a DB on the bump-out which my husband loved. It was a beautiful room and had ample storage space. The cabin was a little bit larger and better designed than the comparable cabin we had last year on the Sea Princess. Our room steward was Sondra and she was very capable and great with the towel animals. We changed into our shorts and slapped on some sunscreen to head out to explore the ship and get something to eat and drink. The Windjammer buffet was nice and we were more than satisfied. We ate most of our lunches there as well as several breakfasts. I might as well say now that we never had a reason to eat at Johnny Rockets but they were not charging to eat there an this trip. We also did not feel any desire to try Portofino's although it looked like a nice alternative if you needed one. We requested the main seating as I am a diabetic and the other was just too late. We ate in the Vivaldi Ding Room which is the bottom of the three tier room. We were at a table for four (with the other couple we went with) in the center but off to the right. Our waiter was Kamal from India and our asst. waiter was Sandor from Turkey they were very good and met our every need without any hesitation. Our waiter told us the ship was over capacity on this sailing with all the children along. The meals in the dining room were we felt very good and very much on par with Princess. We never once walked away hungry! The most enjoyable thing however was the beauty of this room and the music that played throughout dinner what a plus!! I did however feel sorry for the waiters as the toddlers and children wondered the dining room at will and I could tell the waiters were being extra careful. Please do not misunderstand I am not complaining about the children they sat a long time and overall we had no issue with them or the many teenagers on this trip. We very much wanted to catch the parade but did not make it we watched the sailaway and had a nightcap and went to bed early. We had two sea days on this trip that is why we chose it and we enjoyed them both. Just remember to keep applying the sunscreen. I missed a spot on my inner arm and am peeling as I write this review. The entertainment was good. We really enjoyed the ice show but our highlight was the comedians "Two Funny Guys" from the Venitian in Las Vegas. I would go and see them again if I went to Vegas. They were a not to miss good time. This is a huge ship and was full but we never felt overwhelmed except on the promenade trying to look at the shops. We hung out quite a bit at the Duck and Dog Pub there and enjoyed people watching. Our shore experiences were good but I would not do the trolley in Curaco again instead I would take a cab on my own. The best was however the Sand and Snorkel to Buck Island. We were thrilled with this trip and I would say it is a not to miss day. There were three couples on a sailboat called "Island Girl" it was a great day and the captain and his daughter met our every need. The snorkeling was beautiful and it was like we were alone in the world. Great Time!!! This was our sixth cruise and I will say that it was our best excursion ever. Customs in St. Thomas was every easy I do not know if we hit the time perfectly but it went smoothly and the line was moving constantly. The entire week was really wonderful and we enjoyed all the different areas on the ship (which were many). It was wonderful not to have a shower curtain, the hair dryer was fine. No cruise ever beats your first cruise but this one certainly could have. If you have any question s feel free to e-mail me. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
I just returned from the Adventure of the Seas 4/18 cruise to Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. Having cruised on 40+ ships, I can truly say that the AOS is an awesome, modern marvel. Even though huge in size, you never felt lost ... Read More
I just returned from the Adventure of the Seas 4/18 cruise to Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. Having cruised on 40+ ships, I can truly say that the AOS is an awesome, modern marvel. Even though huge in size, you never felt lost or crowded. The Promenade mall was amazing, Viking Crown lounges beautiful and pool area enormous and roomy. There was so much space on this ship! Food was generally excellent. Casino slots very loose, contrary to a reviewer who stated that slots were "tight." Not on this cruise. All ports were very nice, with the exception of Curacao. We rented a car and returned it within 2 hours. Nothing to see on this island and beaches were mediocre. Stay on the ship here! This was my 4th Royal Caribbean cruise in 2 years (Radiance *****, Enchantment ***, Serenade ****, AOS *****). As far a future cruises are concerned, I will be cruising on Royal Caribbean. They just have everything down right and the ships are beautiful. If you're a first timer, try Radiance of the Seas...it is radiant! Next cruise will be Jewel of The Seas in January 2005. I look forward to experiencing this new ship. I'm sure it will not disappoint, but as far as I'm concerned, Royal Caribbean can do no wrong in my book! Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
We're back from the 4/18-4/25 Sailing of the AOS and I'm finally caught up enough to post my review. Overall we had a fantastic time on this trip. This was a family trip with my wife, my three kids (6, 8 and 10) and my ... Read More
We're back from the 4/18-4/25 Sailing of the AOS and I'm finally caught up enough to post my review. Overall we had a fantastic time on this trip. This was a family trip with my wife, my three kids (6, 8 and 10) and my step-mother. After having planned it 11 months in advance I'm now in a serious post-cruise depression mood now. Anyway, here goes... Pre-trip: We flew in a day ahead of time from Boston and arrived in San Juan at about 4:30. We stayed in the San Juan Marriott. This was nice (if somewhat expensive) hotel for the night. We got there early enough so we could check in and the kids could swim for a bit before dinner. Had the buffet dinner at the hotel. It was fine but not particularly memorable. Embarkation: Had breakfast / brunch at the hotel buffet and hung out at the pool until about 1:00 and then got a cab to the pier. We got to the pier around 1:30 or so and the doors had not yet opened. This was a bit disappointing as we thought we'd be able to get on by then. Apparently they had trouble clearing the ship from the previous sailing. We were able to get rid of our luggage and the waiting area was covered but it was pretty hot. The line got pretty long by the time the doors finally opened. Amazingly, we were right behind the only person I really interacted with here before the cruise (hi coolseb); what are the odds of that? We only had to wait about half an hour or so though so it wasn't too bad. Once we got inside we were checked in and onto the ship in no time at all. We were in a suite but I couldn't really tell whether that made the check-in any faster or not; it was very well organized and I just went where they told me to go. For what it's worth to those who care, I brought two bottles of wine with me in my backpack and no one said a word. The Ship: I'm not sure what I can say about this ship that hasn't already been said. This was the third cruise for my wife and I, the first on a Voyager class. The ship is spectacular, clean and very friendly. We were in one of the Royal Family Suites on the aft of the ship on deck 10. The room was amazing - two separate bedrooms, two bathrooms, plus a living room and a huge balcony. I'm not sure how we'll ever go back to a "normal" room again. The meals in the dining room were great. Both the quality and presentation were good. I'd give the presentation an A and the quality a B+/A-. You can't really expect gourmet fare on a ship this big but I enjoyed every meal and the service was impeccable. Our wait staff went out of their way - particularly with my kids. Most of our breakfasts and lunches we did in the Windjammer. I'd give the food here a grade of B/B-. It was fine but standard buffet fare. We did Johnny Rockets a couple times for lunch and enjoyed it. Our favorite night spot on the ship was the Duck and Dog. We also spent quite a bit of time in the casino and were impressed with both it and its staff. As for shows, we saw the Velvet Rope, the Quest and the ice show. I was somewhat underwhelmed by the Velvet Rope, loved the ice show and laughed my a** off at the Quest. All of my kids used the kid's program to one extent or another. Their staff was great and the kids liked them all. The 6 and 8 year olds couldn't get enough off it. My ten year old daughter enjoyed it too but also liked hanging out with the grown-ups from time to time. Did the Rasul couples thing in the spa. This was fun; I highly recommend it. One suggestion here - bring clean clothes with you. You don't want to have to put dirty clothes back on when you're done (no one warned us about this). Aruba: I went on the two tank dive with the ship while everyone else did the submarine trip in Aruba. The sub was reported to be fantastic and the diving was good as well. After having lunch back on the ship we grabbed a cab to Baby Beach. For five of us for the afternoon it was $60 plus tip (we gave the driver $20). The traffic near the port was really bad so it took us a lot longer to get to the beach then I remembered from previous trips to the island. Once we got to the beach the driver told us the "back" part of the beach was better and less crowded. Unfortunately, the van got stuck in the sand when we got there. I spent a few minutes trying to help the driver then decided that it was his problem to solve so we went snorkeling. He was actually fine with this and went and found a friend to tow him out. The snorkeling was as good as I remembered it and the kids loved their first Caribbean snorkeling experience. Traffic was equally bad getting back to the ship but we had time to stop and buy a couple more bottles of wine which again we brought back without hiding and without questions. Curacao In Curacao we went to KonTiki beach on our own via taxi. I did a one tank dive with Toucan diving while everyone else hung out on the beach or snorkeled. The diving was fantastic, the snorkeling just ok. The beach was ok as well with chairs, food, drink and facilities all nearby. St Martin: In St Martin we all did the shipwreck cove snorkeling trip and enjoyed it. The visibility wasn't that great due to the recent weather but I bet it would be a great spot otherwise. Went back to the ship for lunch then the girls went shopping while I stayed on the ship. St Thomas: In St Thomas we went to Coki Beach / Coral World on our own. This was a bit of a PITA. The open-air buses/taxis wait until they are filled before leaving so we ended up wasting a lot of time waiting for it to be filled. This whole area of the pier seemed very disorganized and could definitely be improved. In any case, Coral World was very cool and everyone loved it. We had lunch at Coral World and then hit the beach and went snorkeling. The snorkeling here was the best of the trip. The beach itself was very good but not spectacular. Same problem with the Taxi on the return trip - had to wait for him to fill up. It was annoying but what can you do, these guys are just trying to make a living. We got back to the ship in plenty time anyway. Debarkation: We had a late flight but following the instructions of the concierge left the ship with the first group with no questions asked. We were off the ship by 9:30. Our luggage was easy to find and we breezed right through customs. Since we managed to get off the ship early, we went back to the Marriott and got a day room so we could spend the day at the pool. Left the hotel about 2:00 to get to the airport for our 5:18 flight. Airport check-in and security were no problem at this time of day so our experience with the SJ airport was very positive. If I had it to do again though, I'd probably take a flight home on Monday or an earlier flight on Sunday. We spent a lot of time and effort lugging around a lot of luggage on Sunday. Overall, this was a great trip. I'm sure it's something we'll all remember for a very long time. As has been said many times, there is just so much to do on this ship it's impossible to do it all. We never did make it to a parade or to a midnight buffet. Sorry for the length but I know some people (myself included) like to hear all the details. Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
"ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS" REVIEW MAY 2nd SAILING 10 DAY- SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN It's been over a week now since we returned and this is the first chance I've had to take a minute to write about our voyage. My wife and I ... Read More
"ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS" REVIEW MAY 2nd SAILING 10 DAY- SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN It's been over a week now since we returned and this is the first chance I've had to take a minute to write about our voyage. My wife and I are in our early forties and this was our fourteenth cruise since 1990, eight of which have been with RCI. We will sail for the ninth time with RCI aboard the "Splendour of the Seas" this coming December 18th. We sailed alone on the "AOS" to celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary but will have our two teenage sons with us and our in-laws in December. This was our second trip on a "Voyager" class ship having done a family vacation last year on the "Voyager of the Seas" (Western Caribbean). We departed Las Vegas on the red-eye Saturday night May 1st flying into Ft. Lauderdale on America West, which ran into a storm over Alabama and arrived an hour late, causing us to miss our connection on American Airlines to San Juan. Fortunately America West was on the ball and phoned American Airlines while we were in the air, booking us the last couple seats on a slightly later flight. We finally departed Ft. Lauderdale at 9:30am and had a smooth flight down to San Juan arriving just before noon. We quickly gathered our bags from the carousel and took a taxi to the pier for $18.50. There were two very long lines at the pier. First you have to stand in line for ever to hand over your luggage and then you go to the back of an even longer line to wait to enter the terminal. The terminal opened about 12:30 pm just after we dropped off our bags and fortunately the line into the terminal moved pretty fast. Once through security we were able to get into the Crown & Anchor line which was very short. We only had one couple in front of us and we were in or cabin in a matter of minutes. After dumping our bags I went immediately to the dining room to check out our table and was pleasantly surprised to find we had been assigned the table for two we had requested. We then moved on to the Windjammer for some lunch where we witnessed a passenger being removed on a gurney by the ships medical crew. We never did learn what that was all about. With some food in our stomach and after a sleepless night we returned to the cabin for a three hour nap. We woke at five and prepared for dinner at the early seating which turned out to be at 6:30pm the first night and was at 6pm thereafter. Let me stop for a minute and say that we always try to fly in the day before for a cruise but we just couldn't make it work with our schedules this trip. NEVER AGAIN will I arrive the day the ship departs. We had very little sleep on the flights and were absolutely exhausted the first two days of our vacation. First let me give you a quick run down of the important things. We had an inside category N cabin. As much as we'd like to have a balcony, we can afford to take two cruises a year with an inside cabin vs. one cruise a year with a balcony. We got an especially good deal, paying $650.00 ea for the cruise including all port charges and fees and $350 each for airfare, so we were able to do the trip for $2,000, not including tips, excursions and miscellaneous expenses. The ship was in excellent condition, the staff was incredible, and despite what anyone says the food was very good. We ate every dinner in the Dining Room except the last Monday at Sea when we dined at Portafinos. I went with my waiters recommendations every night and he only let me down once. Every meal was excellent except for the Veal Shank. Portafinos was spectacular and I highly recommend it. One small complaint though, we ate at Portafinos the next to the last night and the ship was headed into dry dock following our cruise. Just like we had read on the "Cruise Critic" board, renovations were beginning towards the end of our cruise. The carpet in the lobby and on the stairs, just outside of Portafinos was being replaced while we ate, and the very strong smell of contact cement drifted in as we dined. Not the most pleasant smell while you're eating a spectacular meal. I would say the only low point on the ship was the entertainment. RCI has a reputation for top notch entertainment both with the production shows and the guest headliners. Unfortunately, this time the entertainment was not the cream of the crop. The wardrobe for the production shows was ghastly. Let me say that I work for the Cirque du Soleil show "O" at the Bellagio, so I'm very involved in the entertainment field. Honestly, I'm not being overly critical. Most of the time I love the ship board entertainment and the theaters on the "Voyager" class ships are state of the art. I just feel that the entertainment was not up to par on this sailing. The Ice Show was definitely the strongest. This was our second ten day cruise and is definitely the only was to go. One week just isn't enough time to unwind. Now the ports: Day 2- St. Thomas We docked at 7am, grabbed some breakfast at the Windjammer and were off the ship at 8am. We immediately caught a taxi to Red Hook ($7.00 ea) and took the Ferry across to Cruz Bay in St. John ($3.00 ea) once in Cruz Bay we rented a jeep ($50.00) and headed for Waterlemon Cay to snorkel. We drove until the paved road ends and then onto a dirt road for about a mile. We then parked and hiked about a mile and a half down the beach until we came to a tractor tire on the beach. From here we put on our gear and swam out to a small island. There is minimal snorkeling just off the beach, but the snorkeling around the island is world class. The swim out to the island isn't too bad but there's a strong current against you coming back to the mainland and you have to kick pretty hard. We had snorkeling vests and I wouldn't go out there without wearing one. We made it back to Cruz Bay by 2:00pm and caught the 2:15pm Ferry all the way back to Charlotte Amaile where the ship was docked ($7.00 ea). The Ferry doesn't actually go to the pier but drops you off in town, where we walked back to the ship, which is quite a long walk. There is a "Pueblo" supermarket by the dock where you can stock up on Soda, Beer and Wine. Day 3- St Maarten The Ship docks on the Dutch side and we took a taxi ($5.00ea) to Orient Beach which is on the French side. Orient Beach is beautiful with pristine white sand. You will see some topless sunbathing on the main part of the beach and the very south end is totally nude. We loved this port and would consider returning here for a vacation. Day 4- St. Lucia We had originally planned on visiting Sandal's until they doubled the price of a day pass. I went scuba diving by myself with an independent operator and my wife went shopping. The first dive was one of the best I've ever done and I've been to a lot of dive sites all over the world. The second dive was a drift dive called "Superman's Flight" and it really lived up to its name. The current was so strong it was like diving into a tornado. I have to admit that even as an experienced diver I was a little nervous on this dive. I was out from 9am-4:30pm so I never saw much of the island but my wife wasn't too impressed with it. Day 5- Antigua We did very little here but look around town. The island was very poor and dirty and I wouldn't particularly want to return there again. Day 6- Barbados This was the only ship excursion we took which was the 5 Star Catamaran trip. You used to be able to book this excursion independently but RCI has an exclusive arrangement with them now. It's only a couple dollars more thru the ship so it really doesn't matter. We heard great things about this excursion and they were all true. We snorkeled in two spots, saw big turtles, had a wonderful hot lunch, unlimited open bar, and spent some time at a private beach. This is a must do in Barbados. The trip lasts 5 hours so we didn't see much of Barbados but it looked like a very nice place. Day 7- At Sea Ate at Johnny Rocket's for lunch and watched a lot of DVD on the laptop in our cabin. We took a mini surround sound system and this was just great! Spent some time at the pool. Just a good relaxing day at sea. Day 8- Aruba (in port 7am until 1am the next morning) I booked a horseback riding trip online with a place called Rancho el Campo for $45.00 ea. The owner's wife picked us up at the pier at 8:30am and took us to the ranch. What a wonderful professional bunch at the ranch and what a great set-up. This is another must do excursion if you like to ride. The ranch hands are Columbians, and boy did we ride. This wasn't a boring old trail ride where one horse walks slowly behind the other. We trotted, we ran, we went up and down the mountains, stopped at the "Natural Pools", ran on the white sand beach and trotted all the way back to the ranch. I was sore for two days after, but what a great ride. We returned to ship just after noon, and showered and ate lunch. We walked around town in the early afternoon but it was Sunday and not too much was open. We finally took a city bus to Palm Beach ($1.00 ea) where we swam and hung out at a beach bar. This was the best stop on the cruise and definitely a place we want to return to for a long vacation. Day 9- Curacao We booked a dive at the Curacao SeaAquarium directly online for 11am. The ship offers this same excursion at 9am for $89.00 ea but we booked it directly for $54.00 ea. I am a certified diver and my wife is not, but since you're in only 12 foot of water you can do this dive without being certified. They give you a great briefing and this is a once in a lifetime experience. You get to feed sharks, and swim with the stingrays. The SeaAqaurium is very nice and the staff is wonderful. We caught a taxi back in to town ($5.00ea) and dropped off our gear and showered at the ship. We spent the rest of the day in town where we shopped and had a drink. Curacao is a cool place. It has some slightly scary places if you get too far off the beaten path, but we were never really frightened. I liked it but I'm not sure I'd want to visit there on a solo vacation? I would like to check out the third island of the A-B-C islands, Bonaire as it's supposed to be a diving paradise. Day 10- At Sea Just a relaxing trip back to San Juan with a wonderful farewell dinner of Lobster. Weather was great, seas were fairly calm and we couldn't have asked for a nicer vacation. Debarkation was quick and smooth and we were off the ship at 8:30am. Despite what everyone warned us about the San Juan airport we had no complaints. It was air-conditioned and the lines were short. Our flight didn't depart San Juan until 2:50pm so we had a long wait and didn't return to Vegas until 10:30pm. A very long day but well worth the trip. I'll be happy to answer any questions? Happy cruising Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
This was the first family vacation for probably 12 years, and we had a great time. My husband, younger (21) daughter, and I stayed in one of the owner's suites, and my other daughter and her husband had a stateroom overlooking the ... Read More
This was the first family vacation for probably 12 years, and we had a great time. My husband, younger (21) daughter, and I stayed in one of the owner's suites, and my other daughter and her husband had a stateroom overlooking the promenade. The suite was great, and even the stateroom wasn't bad. We loved the ship, and the service was great. The only bad parts were trying to wait for elevators - not enough, and the kids. They were everywhere, at all times of the night. They were playing in the casino, congregating on the stairs, and running up and down the hallways ringing doorbells and banging on doors. We didn't do a whole lot on the islands. Went horseback riding in Aruba, walking and shopping in Curacao, window shopping in town and taxi tour around the island in St Martin with a brief stop at Orient Beach, and snorkeling trip via ferry to Trunk Bay in St Johns. Best shopping was at St Martin for souvenirs, etc. Weather was great - nice breezes the whole time. Getting into and out of San Juan to and from ship were no problem. We took the morning tour of San Juan, and although we've visited there many times, learned a lot from the guide. That also got us off the ship early - hint for anyone who hates waiting around doing nothing until they can disembark! Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
Hi. We just got back from San Juan and the AOS cruise of May 23. First let me say that the ship is beautiful. But, it was not a cruise that was enjoyable. My hubby and I booked two cabins and brought friends. They were on the 6th and we ... Read More
Hi. We just got back from San Juan and the AOS cruise of May 23. First let me say that the ship is beautiful. But, it was not a cruise that was enjoyable. My hubby and I booked two cabins and brought friends. They were on the 6th and we stayed on 9. They were happy with the room and service. Before we left home I asked that the beds be put together as a queen. Theirs was ours was not. We called and requested it... they never came we had to do it ourselves. On the first night we went to dinner and were not impressed by the waiter. It took 31 min to get a drink. The waiter never offered recommendations, didn't place napkins in lap, help with chairs, etc. on this night and all others he made it clear that extra food was a problem. We had main seating and he always said they were "running out of food" I talked with a lot of other couples..one even requested shrimp every night and got it. There were 7 at our table and after the 1st night 3 never returned...they found the food and service at the Windjammer better. We kept sticking it out hoping it would get better..it did not. Our asst. waiter though was wonderful.. Drinks were hard to come by- if he did come around it took forever to get it back. The menu was not impressive..better menu last year on the explorer. One night they did the macarena and told us all to get up in the middle of dinner. NOT many staff participated in this..they expected the passengers to and they stood around watching us. On the explorer it was fun..not here. Monday we landed in St. Thomas- we ordered room service the night before...did it thru tv because we did not have the card VERY LIMITED TV MENU AND COULD NOT GET IT TILL 7 OR 7:30. We left the ship by 8. I returned at 2 to find breakfast dishes still there, room unmade, no ice, no towels etc. I called and asked for them to do so..even put card in door. At 5:30 still not done. Called again. After dinner came up it was done but NO candy or cute towel animals. All week long candy and towel animals lacked. Had a couple of elephants and 1 monkey thru whole cruise. Had to ask for pool towels EVERY time when we could find the steward..otherwise did without. On tuesday we returned from port and I found a steward in our hallway. I stopped to ask for a couple of towels..women need more than 1 towel for hair..LOL but steward frowned at me, opened his cart..said it's 2 towels per room and that is the way it should be. I held out my hand and he did give me towels but slammed the door when he was finished. I called downstairs and reported it..they asked us to give them a second chance. We did get 4 bath towels after that but no pool towels. Finally on third day got candy. The ship photographer did not take our picture on thurs night..just skipped over us. Head waiter asked how service and food was.. we tried to be nice and said "The FOOD is great" we repeated it several times. It just went over his head. One night i did complain and he said it was because they were "busy". Staff was not friendly on the ship.. many avoided looking and saying hi. Muster was awful.. we could not hear anything.. parents with 3 young children let the children run, scream, "bunt" each other during the whole thing. Kids were playing "samurai" with the life vests. The shows were great..Esp. the comedy..John Stevens III was soooooooooooo great. He even did a free performance at the piano bar after midnight. The jugglers were excellent. The ice show was fun. Drifters were great too. Many of spas and pools were closed after dinner. Limited to one spa. Always seemed to be closed for cleaning. The saunas and steam room closed early at 8. Could not book massage..too full. St. Martins was wonderful..beautiful, fun. Took St. Lucia Volcano excursion.....WONDERFULLLLLLLL also did Pirate ship in Barbados and that was fun. Not much to do in Barbados..didn't have too much time with Pirate ship scheduled in pm. Did have a nice taxi tour with interesting info and trip to a beach. Passengers on the ship were friendly, fun, kind. Met sooooo many nice people. We went to the Crown and Anchor Captains party..talked with some couples who also felt service, attitude, food-menu lacking. They told us how great the Normandy, i believe , was great each and every time they have been on a cruise. Talked with a young couple who put hands on a newly varnished railing. Ports were a lot of fun. Johnny Rockets service was EXCELLENT. The food was very good. Wait was not long. Embarkation and debarking was fast and easy. Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
I sailed on Adventure of the Seas in June 2004. It was my 5th cruise. I had sailed RCCL before and wasn't at all impressed and vowed never to sail RCCL again. However, our kids ages 11-15 wanted to go again because of the Royal ... Read More
I sailed on Adventure of the Seas in June 2004. It was my 5th cruise. I had sailed RCCL before and wasn't at all impressed and vowed never to sail RCCL again. However, our kids ages 11-15 wanted to go again because of the Royal Promenade. They liked meeting with other kids.    Another disappointment was the food. It was absolutely the worst food I have ever put in my mouth. The steak was so thick and tough my knife wouldn't even cut it, The chicken was like hard rubber, and the desserts were tasteless. They only had one salad a night and if you didn't like it they would bring you some lettuce with tomato on it. The dressing of the night is what you got regardless whether you liked it or not. I lost one pound while on the cruise. I must say though, the dining service was great.   The shows were bad. My granddaughter's dance team is better than those dancers. In fact that is what the 2 nights of dancing was, dance team quality. The 2 comedians were not funny and had a filthy mouths. Not suitable for families.   We didn't get our luggage until 10 oclock. We were dirty from being on planes and airports. Was tired and wanted to go to bed. Even my kids said this was their last trip on RCCL. Take my advice and go on Disney!! You won't be disappointed! Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
Adventure of the Seas 6/27 This was our 4th cruise (3rd on RCCL), and can honestly say I would recommend this ship and cruise line without any hesitation. Embarkation - This was a really a breeze; a RCCL rep met us at Baggage Claim ... Read More
Adventure of the Seas 6/27 This was our 4th cruise (3rd on RCCL), and can honestly say I would recommend this ship and cruise line without any hesitation. Embarkation - This was a really a breeze; a RCCL rep met us at Baggage Claim area; directed us to a line where we waited maybe 10 minutes and were then led to an air-conditioned bus. All luggage that was tagged with the blue AOS tags were taken directly to the ship. Upon arrival at the pier (20 minutes from airport), we entered the line for deck 9 and waited no more than 5 minutes. We were photographed for SeaPasses and on-board less than 5 minutes later. Luggage was at the stateroom before 8:00pm; plenty of time to unpack and stow everything before muster drill. Stateroom - Category M (inside), mid-ship on deck 9. The room was a little on the small side, but there was plenty of room to store our things. Very clean, and stateroom attendant was very helpful and attentive. Room was always made up when we returned. Meals - I can honestly say most meals were very good. Some better than others, but overall there were no complaints. This included the Dining Room, Windjammer, Island Grille, Cafe Promenade and Johnny Rockets. Portofino was absolutely incredible - both the food and the extra-service. Our waiter & assistant waiter in the dining room were the greatest; we could not have had a better team. Ship - As far as the ship goes ... WOW ... it is an incredible vessel, both inside and out. Everything was like-new and in very good condition (probably due to recent dry dock). The only thing I was a little disappointed with was the stability of the ship. I expected such a large vessel to be very stable, especially with the fairly calm seas we had. However, when the ship was cruising at higher speeds (mainly on the at-sea days), there was a very noticeable side-to-side pitch and motion. This did not really bother me, but my wife who is prone to sea-sickness was a little uneasy (but the Transderm Scop patch worked fine for her). We found that the Disney Magic, Sovereign of the Seas, and even the Empress of the Seas felt more stable when cruising. Our theory is the ship is so tall (over 15 stories), with only 29 feet below the water line; so she may be somewhat top-heavy. At low speeds (Aruba to Curacao, and St. Maarten to St. Thomas) the stability was much better Entertainment - Top-notch shows including a great comedian - Eric Lyden, who had everyone rolling the first night of the cruise with some PG-rated humor. Then he did an adults-only show at midnight the following night which was so funny we were aching from so much laughter. All the singers, dancers, ice-skaters and other shows were of Vegas-level quality and always very entertaining. Ports of Call - Aruba - Booked a snorkel cruise on our own ... the Jolly Pirates cruise. This was a blast! A very good deal ($42.50 per person when booked on line  ... 4 and ½ hour cruise, 3 snorkel stops, BBQ lunch, open bar and a rope swing that is just too much fun. Hung out at Mambo beach after the snorkel cruise; then Carlos & Charlie's after dinner on the ship. Curacao - Short walk to town across the floating bridge for some decent shopping. Grabbed a taxi to the Seaquarium beach ($12 for 4 people). Beach is man-made but very clean and picturesque, and water is great. St. Maarten - Took the water taxi to downtown Phillipsburg (5 minute ride). Great deals on jewelry, but make sure to shop around ... the first place you stop isn't always the best. After a few hours of shopping, grabbed a taxi to Orient Beach ($24 for 4 people) ... Great taxi driver - Leon - who gave us a mini tour on the way. He also agreed to come back and pick us up ... and was right on time. Orient Beach was very beautiful; actually some pretty good waves when we were there. Had a good lunch at Bikini Beach and then grabbed some beach chairs for a few hours. Very crowded and some nudity but nothing too outrageous. St. Thomas - Booked a tour with Godfrey Tours. Without a doubt ... this is the best deal on the island. He picks you up at the gangway of the ship, takes you to town for shopping, then on a tour of the island for 2 hours up to the highest point on the island for incredible views. Then to your choice of beach for 2 more hours of swimming or snorkeling. We wanted to go to Megan's Bay, but the traffic was backed up so far that Godfrey recommended Sapphire Beach instead. It was nice, clean and free. He got us back to the pier by 4:20 (ship sailed at 5:00 pm). Debarkation - We were out of the stateroom by 8:00am, went to formal Dining Room for breakfast. Since our flight out was not until 5:30pm, we were not called to exit the ship until about 10:00am. Once called, it took about 20-25 minutes to walk out and go through customs. Took only about 5 minutes to find the bags and by all means grab a porter ... worth a few bucks because they seem to get you to the head of the line. We opted to take a cab to Old San Juan instead of just going like cattle to the airport. RCCL has a deal with the Barrachina Restaurant and Jewelers, who will store your bags for free. This was great; and was actually like another port of call. We toured the town on foot, grabbed some lunch at Senor Frog's and grabbed a cab to the airport around 2:30. The lines were completely gone when we arrived and we breezed through check-in and security. Overall, this was an excellent cruise vacation! We booked through the internet, which for the most part was OK. They neglected to communicate our request to be seated at the same dinner table with the other couple traveling with us. But, we were able to remedy the situation on our own by speaking with the Maitre 'D. As far as online places go, they are not going to do much else for you other than book the cruise - most with the lowest fares are not a full-service agency. But if you want a lower fare and you know the limitations going in, it is fine. We'll be back on RCCL soon! Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
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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