Sail Date: June 2004
What an awesome vacation. We had a group of 9 of us (friends) spending 3 days pre-cruise at the lovely Westin Rio Mar resort in Rio Grande, PR (1 hr from San Juan). Boarded ship on Sunday within 1 hr of arriving at dock. Met up with my ... Read More
What an awesome vacation. We had a group of 9 of us (friends) spending 3 days pre-cruise at the lovely Westin Rio Mar resort in Rio Grande, PR (1 hr from San Juan). Boarded ship on Sunday within 1 hr of arriving at dock. Met up with my baby sister and her boyfriend onboard. Went to Royal Promenade for about 45 minutes, had a drink, picked up kids soda cards and looked around ship till time to get in cabin. Cabin was a nice size (for a ship of course). My husband and I shared a balcony cabin and had our kids (15 & 12 yrs) across the hall in an inside cabin (CAT M). Worked out great for all. Ship has so many things to do, and of course, we did not have enough time to do it all. Kids and friends of ours did rock climbing wall. All played mini golf and used pools and hot tubs. Solarium area for adults, kids were very happy with other pools. Some of us used the fitness center and spa, others played basketball and skated. Plenty of ship organized activities on at seas days. Saw the ICE show which was awesome, so was the Rock & Roll Decade and the Can't Stop the Rock shows. We were observers at the Quest game which was hilarious. Amazing what some grown people do for RCI logo stuff. Spent many a late night at the Duck & Dog with "Bernie" the bar entertainment. 1 man guitar/harmonica - sing along- he packed a crowd every night and we all sang many familiar tunes, Buffet, Chesney, Elvis, and classics like Piano Man, American Pie, and others. Dinner in dining room was wonderful- partially due to our waiter - Brian and Asst. Waitress (Bushwanna). They certainly practiced Service with a Smile the entire cruise. Windjammer and Island Grille for Breakfast and Lunch were good too. Ports of call were awesome too. Aruba - did our own Jeep safari during the day and then the adults did "Island Paradise under the Stars" excursion at night and ended the evening at Carlos & Charlie's. Wed- Curacao, some of us did the Dolphin swim, rest of us hung out at Mambo beach- beautiful , clean, next to Seaaquarium- pastel bridge in Willemstad such a beautiful sight to see. Friday, St. Martin - our family of 4 did the Regatta- what an great experience, but boy what a workout. Came in 2nd but still had a great time. Skipper even let our son of 12 yrs old steer the sailboat after race for about 15 min or better. One of the highlights of his cruise for sure. Saturday, son and I did the BOB with 2 others in our party- that I must say was a once in a lifetime thrill for me as well. Then met up with the rest of our party and rode the tram up to Paradise Point for lunch and the famous "Bushwacker", for adults of course. Did some shopping before returning to ship. All too soon our trip ended and we are not back home having cruise withdrawal. Oh well, need to start refocusing that negative energy on planning our next one. What a great time. Cruised on Carnival 2 yrs ago, RCI definitely had them beat this time in terms of service and levels of energy of cruise staff!!! I am now hooked on both cruising and RCI. Any questions feel free to ask. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2004
Precruise - We arrived in san juan on friday june 11th from washington dc on Spirit Airlines easy relaxing flight. We stayed in the condado area and ate at several very good establishments. We also visited the el morro site in old san ... Read More
Precruise - We arrived in san juan on friday june 11th from washington dc on Spirit Airlines easy relaxing flight. We stayed in the condado area and ate at several very good establishments. We also visited the el morro site in old san juan, a must see. On sunday the 13th we could see the ship from the area and decided it was time to see aos. We left the hotel about 1130am or so and went to the cruise terminal. On arrival it was quite a site to see a very large but beautiful ship. Embarkation - I am quite impressed we got to the gate around 1250am and were ushered in. I cruised twice before with rccl. We had a short immigration then waited a very short time and around 1230 were on the ship. Well done rccl i am well pleased. Public rooms - This is quite a ship it is wonderful in detail and design. When we first saw the promenade it was breath taking. The art work, the brass and glass was quite awesome. The ship is very easy to navigate with maps and crew willing to help with directions. Cabin Room 8276 - My first balcony and not my last my my my i didn't want to leave at the end of the week i could live in that room permanently. I must say the bathroom is much improved and is much roomier. Shore Excursions Aruba - We did the Aruba Town & Countryside Drive Tour. I have a new found admiration for aloe and i really enjoyed seeing the natural bridge. Curacao - We did the snorkeling tour to caracas bay saw the sunken boat it was very good. ST Martin, i really enjoyed this island the shopping was very good. ST John, We did the beach tour took the ferry from ST Thomas what a view and then went to Trunk Bay that is the most beautiful beach i have ever seen. Dining - We had most dinners in the main dining room at the mozart level we had a table of eight good table mates. The waiter was a delight. Here is an example of his kindness one day after dinner i did not like the desert for the day. He asked how could he help i stated i would have preferred cheesecake he went and brought me some. We had a lot of breakfasts and lunches in both the Island Grill and Windjammer Cafe. Also the island grill had really good omelets. the deserts and cheese pizzas were good in the cafe promenade. I had a vegetarian burger and some fries and a peanut butter shake in the Jonny Rockets it was quite tasty. Entertainment - So much to do my favorite the ice skating did it and loved it. I still cannot believe i did that in the middle of the hot and i mean hot caribbean. The production shows were fun and there is a female singer, sorry i do not recall her name watch out she is going to be a big star. Fitness and Recreation - We went to the gym once sorry so much to do and it is right up there with Bally's health club. Value - I am glad i spent every penny i love rccl they have the best cruise product out there and it will be hard to beat them with the things available. I was never bored and will return to cruise with them again. To any one thinking of a cruise consider rccl a very good value for your money. My email is dalelab@verizon.net Read Less
Sail Date: July 2004
First off let me say the ship is absolutely magnificent. My wife and I took this cruise w/o children from July 11 - July 18 out of San Juan to Aruba, Curacao, St Maarten, and St Thomas. It is unbelievable how they were able to put so many ... Read More
First off let me say the ship is absolutely magnificent. My wife and I took this cruise w/o children from July 11 - July 18 out of San Juan to Aruba, Curacao, St Maarten, and St Thomas. It is unbelievable how they were able to put so many things on to this ship. The few areas where I feel they could make improvements (and there were not many) which I will mention in this review will certainly not deter me from sailing on this ship again. I am already planning on sailing on it next year to the other itinerary. A few areas that I would like to see improved: 1. faster check in - we arrived at the pier at 1:45 and got on a very long line. We did not get aboard the ship until 3:30. My wife was told that there was a drug bust with a passenger from the previous cruise coming off earlier and therefore everything came to a stop. I do not know if this was the case or not, and if so it was out of the control of RC. It actually was not so bad, afterall, you're on vacation and my company was great (my wife) so we passed the time by chatting and looking forward to our next 7 days on the cruise. 2. Captain's Night - thought they should have had some picky type foods while drinking the champaign, mimosas, and rum punch. We had the second seating dinner and were getting hungry so we thought it would have been nice to just "pick" a little. 3. My biggest area of concern is the need for supervision at the pools. Because the ship has so much to offer to children, you will find an enormous amount of families on this cruise ship. Although the ship does have the solarium which only allows adults and is beautiful and very nice, I particularly enjoy being at the main pools where the band is playing and is what I consider the heart and soul of the cruise ship during the day. The solarium is much more peaceful, but in my opinion away from the action. I have seven kids of my own so I know how kids can be kids, but there is a limit. Some of what was going on around the pool areas went beyond fun and was dangerous and very bothersome to other cruisers. There is not suppose to be any jumping or horseplay, but kids were jumping from the railings of the adjacent hot tubs, doing flips, diving and jumping into the hot tubs, throwing water at each other with their cups in the hot tub, etc. On a couple of occasions, we had to find someone to complain to, but they need to have someone supervising this because the parents certainly are not going to. More than it being a nuisance, I was concerned that someone was going to split their head open. Those are really the only "negatives" I have about the cruise. Positives: 1. All of the crew from maintenance to officers were extremely friendly and helpful. 2. Food throughout the ship was excellent. You may not always like something, but there are plenty of choices and if you choose something you do not care for, you can always order something different. 3. Our dinner waiters Richard and Filip were outstanding and we looked forward to seeing them every evening. Their efforts were second to none. 4. Although the ship is immense, it was very easy to get from one place to another. Within the first day we had the ship down pat. Everything aboard the ship was very clean and well kept. 5. Ice show is a must see. 6. With 3,200 people aboard you would think that everything would be crowded, but it was not. Plenty of room and so much to do spreads the people out. There was no need to get to anything too early because the theatre and ice rink are very big and hold a lot of people. 7. Getting off and on the ship for excursions was a breeze, very easy on and off. 8. At end of cruise getting off ship was very smooth and clearing customs went great. 9. Entertainment and shows were outstanding. The RC singers and dancers are fantastic, we could watch and listen to them all night. 10. Johnny Rockets is a blast, Royal Promenade makes you feel like you're in New Orleans, Casino very nice. What else can I say other than WOW what a cruise. If you're reading this I say hello to Ed and Leslie and to Mike and Donna and thanks for being part of our dinner group and making it such a wonderful, fun experience. If anyone has any questions or would like some pictures sent to them I would be happy to do so. Let me know. Last thing to mention if I haven't already is if you are looking for a cruise where there are not many kids this is not the one for you. Perhaps one of the RC smaller ships would be more to your liking. If that isn't a concern take the Adventure. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2004
We just returned from sailing on the AOS Southern Caribbean Route departing from San Juan. We did a similar cruise last year on the Grand Princess so a comparison was pretty easy to do. We are a newly empty nester couple in our late 40s. ... Read More
We just returned from sailing on the AOS Southern Caribbean Route departing from San Juan. We did a similar cruise last year on the Grand Princess so a comparison was pretty easy to do. We are a newly empty nester couple in our late 40s. This was our 5th cruise--our first on Royal Caribbean. My first impression of this ship is that it is huge and very beautiful. There were so many bars and snack bars that it is really hard to see everything. The promenade is really breathtaking. Let me just say that this is a perfect ship for folks with kids or folks who are traveling with multi-generations as there is a lot of variety. It is probably also a great cruise for singles or young couples in their 20s. It is NOT a great cruise for people in their 30s and on who are sailing as couples and are trying to get away from it all. There was a lot on this ship that I am sure we paid for that we could have cared less about--ie the rock climbing wall, the ice skating rink, Johnny Rockets etc. The food was okay--nothing to compare with Princess the year before though--Princess was much better. The service was okay--they kept trying to ask you to make sure if you liked the service to be sure and fill out the evaluation--he told us that every night. Portofino's was amazing---why couldn't every night be like that? We noticed on Princess that the premium dining room was vacant most of the time--on AOS--it was packed--so we weren't the only ones who agreed--on Princess you hardly thought about it because the food was so amazingly better. Entertainment was far superior on AOS--the shows were incredible--but we didn't dislike anything on Princess---it is just that it was obvious that they had gone the extra mile to have incredible entertainers. I did miss the great Island Band who played everyday on Princess by the pool. On AOS--most of the time it is piped in music that our teenagers would have loved--but not us. I also missed the great Adult pool in the aft area of Princess--it was so peaceful there--AOS has an adult pool too--and it is nice and folks generally respected the adults only rule---but just not as scenic. The worst part of the ship was going through immigration in St, Thomas--we stood in line 2 and 1/2 hours--missed much of the island. There has to be a better way. Our cabin was nice--the balcony was smaller than Princess where we had lounge chairs instead and a large balcony. Our cabin attendant on AOS was actually a cut above our experience on Princess. We saw her everyday and she knew our names etc. The exercise facilities are better on AOS and we used them everyday--but the spa is no where close to being as good as Princess. I also missed the Lotus Spa shampoos and soaps that were so nice on Princess--on AOS you get soap in a container stapled to the wall Our biggest aggravation on AOS was the feeling that you were constantly being "upsold" on the ship---hounded constantly by bar waiters--encouraged to buy the wine package, the pictures, wherever we turned there was an additional charge and PLEASE all cruiselines get it together and just tack an additional charge onto our bill for soda service---$42 for a week of soda is ridiculous and a real pain to flash your card. Part of the joy of a cruise is having it all-inclusive. Our excursions were fine--but we were upsold even there--encouraged to buy the extra cup for drinks etc. We didn't experience this on Princess--the opportunity was there--but we weren't hounded. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2004
We began our journey on The Adventure of The Seas Saturday July 17. We left home for the airport at 3:50am. We traveled on Spirit Airlines and had no complaints, actually the price we got was great. We arrived in San Juan at 1:30 pm, and ... Read More
We began our journey on The Adventure of The Seas Saturday July 17. We left home for the airport at 3:50am. We traveled on Spirit Airlines and had no complaints, actually the price we got was great. We arrived in San Juan at 1:30 pm, and took a taxi to the Intercontinental which I had booked online for $128 for a pool-view room. We were upgraded to an ocean-view upon arrival, as they had put us into a non-smoking room, and we are smokers; it was a wonderful room with a great view. The hotel was beautiful! There was no charge to use the pool, you just need to sign in and get a wrist-band to identify you as a hotel guest. There is an area to get pool towels right by the pool. Also, there is a swim up pool bar there, and the beach is just a bit past the pool. All very nice! We arrived at the pier at about 10:30am, and were the first in line to get into the building. We waited for about 30 minutes. It took less than 5 minutes to get our sea pass card, and then we went to sit and wait. There was lemonade, water and cookies for everyone. There was an area for Diamond and Platinum members, another area for suite passengers, and a third area for all others. The ship was full as a group, National Professional Network, had chartered much of the ship so there were no upgrades available. We waited about 1 hour and 30 minutes then we were onboard and in the Windjammer having a yummy lunch. After we ate we were off to explore the ship. Nobody could get to their cabins until 2pm-all the corridors seemed to be closed off. We chose to go with a category B suite this time, and had cabin 1548. It was great! No excess movement at all was felt, which I had worried about since it is towards the front of the ship. Our cabin steward was Jermaine, and he was fantastic. We tipped him an additional amount up front, and he seemed very grateful. Being in a suite provided us with use of the Concierge Lounge, and afternoon snacks of sort. The snacks were canapes, or chocolate covered strawberries, fresh fruit, etc. In addition, the Concierge Lounge had hors d'oeuvres each evening with an open bar. The Concierge was Michelle, and she was fantastic. Always very kind, and with a smile. Passengers could also get DVDs to use if desired from the Lounge. The next day was St. Thomas, and we had booked a day-sail on The Winifred with Captain Sharon. What an absolutely perfect day we had! I really cannot begin to tell everyone how enjoyable this day was. Sharon, and her mate Tommy were the kindest, friendliest people we have met in a long while! They made this day a lasting memory for us. We sailed to St. John, and snorkeled for quite some time; we were able to see so much there...eels, turtles, Conchs, and many fish. We also had a delicious lunch, then off for a leisurely return sail to St. Thomas. If you ever have the opportunity to book this, please do consider it. You will not regret it, and will not be disappointed in the least. Again, the best excursion we have ever had! That evening was the Meet and Mingle. We got to place names with faces,and meet several people which is always nice! Gary won the Aqua Mouse, so he will be using it to send in his review :). Not too many folks showed up, but it was very nice meeting those that did. This evening was the first formal night. We were quite tired from our day in St. Thomas, so we decided to skip dressing up and instead went to the Island Grill. What a wonderful surprise! The food was great, and the service was fantastic! We enjoyed our dining experience so much, that we had each evening meal there for the remainder of the cruise. There were always many things to choose from, and the hot food was always hot, and the cold food always cold. No Royal Steak, but they did have Minute steaks. In a few words...bad, tough, yuck. The next day we were in St. Maarten. The weather was not good at all that day. Cloudy, cool and raining off and on. The excursion was ok, though I think it would have been much better if the weather had been warmer. Next time though I think we'll skip the Rhino Riders, and go with the jet-skiis. We were able to get some shopping in here also, and the prices were good. I still think St. Maarten has the best prices on many things, though you have to "work at it" a good deal of the time. The ice show was on this night, and it was absolutely wonderful! These skaters are so talented and had the audience mesmerized with their abilities and performance. We were able to get tickets from the Concierge, so we didn't have to worry about a line to get tickets that day. The next day we were in Antigua and did Eli's tour. A great tour! His boat is very new, and just beautiful. We had a nice day, and another good lunch served by Eli. He is much younger than I had anticipated, and a very nice young man. That evening we received a phone call inviting us to dinner with the Captain the next evening in Portofino's. We accepted, and were very excited and looking forward to the next evening! The next day we were in St. Lucia. The Pirate ship excursion was cancelled due to mechanical problems. We just took it easy on our own that day, with no tours. St. Lucia is so beautiful and lush. As we were leaving the island we passed the Pitons...breathtaking! Also, a pod of dolphins were swimming with the ship. What a neat thing to see! They were jumping, twisting, and seemingly playing and having a great time swimming with the ship! That evening our dinner with the Captain was wonderful. We dined with 4 other couples and the Captain. He is only 37 years old, and the youngest in the Royal Caribbean fleet. He will be leaving the Adventure of the Seas in about 6 months to go to the Voyager. The meal was fabulous! We enjoyed the evening very much. The next day was Friday and we had booked The Silver Moon in Barbados. Again a wonderful day! The Silver Moon is a catamaran, less than 2 years old and a beautiful boat. They book no more than 12 people, so there is a lot of room. It is manned by 3 extremely nice, knowledgeable and pleasant individuals. We snorkeled in 2 different spots and one was over a wreck..very neat! There were plenty of drinks served on our trip back, after a wonderful lunch. I highly recommend this excursion while in Barbados! We were the only ones from the ship, and it was very nice to be on something that was not at all crowded! We were picked up from the ship, and taken back afterwards. Saturday was a sea day, and there are indeed a lot of chair hogs out there! Many chairs in the pool area had been "reserved" with a towel, flip flop, etc. by 9:30am. All in all a nice relaxing day. That evening we tried to use up our remaining quarters in the casino. We kept winning them, and more back! The slots were good to us that night. Sunday we awoke to rain and clouds as we were pulling into San Juan...it mirrored our feelings of the morning. We didn't want this magical adventure to end:(. After breakfast in the Windjammer, we waited in the Lyric until our flight was called at about 10:30. We went to the airport and were prepared for the worst part of our journey. We were pleasantly surprised however. It took 1 hour to check our bags, and get through security and to our gate. Not great, but certainly not as bad as I had anticipated. It was air-conditioned, and plenty of seating was available. We are suffering a major case of PCD right now, and we have that feeling that we are still moving. We enjoyed our cruise so much. The Adventure of The Seas is a wonderful ship, very clean, well kept and with a wonderful staff! We enjoyed ourselves so much we are planning on doing it again next year, only trying for a back to back with the two southern routes! If anyone has any questions at all, please ask away, and I'll do my best to answer! Sorry that this has been so long, but I love reading everyone else's reviews, that I wanted to share as much as I could with everyone else. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2004
Review of Adventure of The Seas Aug.29-Sept. 5 This is the 8th cruise for my husband and I since 1998. We're both 38 years old. Adventure of the Seas is the best ship we've been on. Our travel agents did a great job planning ... Read More
Review of Adventure of The Seas Aug.29-Sept. 5 This is the 8th cruise for my husband and I since 1998. We're both 38 years old. Adventure of the Seas is the best ship we've been on. Our travel agents did a great job planning this trip for us. We met them on a Celebrity Cruise 4 years ago. Sat. Aug. 28: Arrived in San Juan a day early and stayed at Intercontinental Hotel, Isla Verde, San Juan (www.intercontinentalhotels.com). This hotel was beautiful. Our room had a balcony overlooking the pools, beach, and ocean. The concierge was very helpful in suggesting places to eat and made dinner reservations for us. We ate lunch at Mi Casita which is a local cuisine restaurant across the street and a little to the right of the hotel. The ambiance was nice, food ok, service slow but it was fun to try some local food. We ate dinner at Ajili Mojili (1006 Ashford Ave Condado San Juan), a $12, ten minute cab ride from our hotel. This place was fabulous. The setting was very romantic, our waiter was very nice and helpful, the food was fantastic, and there was a trio of musicians (String Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Saxophone) that were very good. We had crab cakes, skewers of shrimp, chicken, and beef and vanilla flan and cheese flan for dessert. We split the appetizer and entrEe, had our own desserts and each had a glass of wine and the total was $55, very reasonable for the caliber of the food. We would definitely go back here again. Sun. Aug. 29: We ate breakfast at "Mi Casita" which was very good and very economical. The hotel buffet was $18 per person. We hung out at the beach all morning (towels and lounge chairs provided by the hotel). You wear bracelets to identify you as hotel guests. We ate lunch at Wendys (there's also a Burger King, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC nearby - all to the right of the hotel). We packed and checked out of the hotel and had them watch our luggage while we hung out by the pool until about 2 pm. You can check out through your TV but we didn't know that and there was a very long line at the front desk. A helpful bellboy helped us check out without having to go through the line. We tipped him. Around noon the hotel had live music and then folk dancers to provide entertainment. This would be a nice place to stay longer. We arrived at the Pier at 2:30 pm and were on the ship by 3 pm. We didn't get our luggage until about 7 pm. Note, it's not worth it to take a dive knife if you're going to go scuba diving. RCI confiscated the knife out of our luggage. My husband could have picked it up as we were leaving the ship at each port we were going diving in but decided that it was too much of a hassle. We also found out that many dive shops won't let you carry a knife or even wear gloves in order to protect the coral. We had read that the first night of the cruise is a good night to eat at Portifino's because you don't need a reservation. We stopped by the restaurant just to check and they said that most of the time on the first night you don't need reservations but there have been a few times that they've almost had to turn someone away on the first night, so they took our reservation. It turned out that we didn't need it but better safe than sorry. We dressed for dinner before the muster drill then dropped off our life jackets back in our cabin and went straight to Portifinos about 9 pm. The restaurant was only half full while we were there. The food was absolutely wonderful from the bread to dessert. I hate paying extra for anything but this was worth the extra $20 per person and was a great way to start off our cruise. The presentation was beautiful. Each plate of food was a piece of art. Our cabin was on Deck 10 aft, room 1347. The location of the cabin couldn't have been better. We were a short walk to the stairs. The Windjammer was on Deck 11 right above us where we ate most breakfasts and lunches. Portifinos and Johnny Rockets were also really close to our room as was the pool. Now I know it's our own fault because we wanted to save money by booking an inside cabin, but this is the smallest cabin we've ever had with the least number of drawers. We had 3 desk drawers each to put our clothes in. There were some shelves in the closet that we made a little use of and probably could have used more although it was a little hard to get to. We ended up tripping all over each other all week, piling things on top of the little love seat (which I would have gladly exchanged for a dresser) and the desk and chair. At least we could fit our luggage underneath the bed. Mon. Aug. 30 St Thomas: We pre-booked a dive excursion with the ship--$90 per person. They used a dive shop right on the Pier, Underwater Safaris. (www.scubadivevi.com) Diane met us and she was very personable and knowledgeable, a fantastic host. I'd love to go diving with her again. There were only 4 certified divers with 1 dive master, Katie and 2 discover scuba students with Diane so it was a great experience. We've heard that there are often around 40 divers on the boat but maybe that's in the busy season. One of the divers with us went diving with them last week (he did a back to back cruise) and said that it was a small group last week too. We went on two 35 minute dives (Taos Reef and Cartanser Sr. Wreck). The Reef was beautiful with lots of coral and lots of colorful fish. We saw an 18" diameter sea turtle hanging out on the ocean floor feeding. We got really close to him and he paid us no mind. We also saw fish that burrow into the sand and some really beautiful bright vivid purple tall coral. At the wreck we saw sergeant major fish guarding their eggs that looked like purple paint splotches on the side of the wreck. We also saw two 3' barracudas, and a hiding lobster. I would do these dives again. After diving we went back to the ship to shower and eat lunch and then back out to St. Thomas to shop. I went back to Mr. Tablecloth to buy some extra pieces of the Christmas pattern I had bought a couple of years ago but they only had placemats left in that pattern. Here's where the saying comes in "if you see something you like, buy it because you may not see it again." We had a couple of frozen margaritas at this great place on the water front. I can't remember the name of the place but we go there every time we're in St. Thomas because the drinks are great and inexpensive $4 each for a large drink. It's just a little hole in the wall, most if not all the seating is outside. When you face the water you can see the Hard Rock Cafe to your right. I think that Columbian Emeralds is right there to the right also. We went back about 3 pm to the ship, I think the diving wore us out. My husband went to get ice show tickets. Make sure you do this. It doesn't cost extra but there aren't enough seats for everybody so you have to get tickets. The show is great so don't miss it. We went dressed for dinner than went to the Meet and Mingle but we were late (It's hard to get there by 5 pm!) so we missed some of the people who left early to get ready for dinner. We went to dinner and met our tablemates, two really nice couples. There were a lot of empty seats at the main (or early) dinner. I can understand why people would want to eat at Portifinos one or two nights but that couldn't account for all the empty tables on a full ship. I can't imagine why anyone would choose Johnny Rockets or Windjammer over the dining room for dinner but I guess some people don't like to get dressed up. There also could be people who ate in the cabin if they had balconies. I went to the show which was The Drifters. The show was really good. Tues. Aug. 31 we were supposed to go to St. Martin but because of Hurricane Francis we had a day at sea instead. We ended up going to St. Martin on Saturday which was going to be our day at sea and had a shortened time there, about 5 hours. Being a day at sea gave me opportunity to take advantage of the exercise classes. I went to the Wake Up and Stretch class at 7:30 am. We went ice skating after lunch about 1:30. You need to wear pants and socks to do this activity. It was fun to be ice skating in the middle of the Caribbean and it really made me appreciate the talent of the skaters later in the week after I tried to remember how to even get around at all on ice without falling down. We layed out in the sun for awhile. It's easy to get a chair by the pool in the morning, no one there at 9 am but much harder after lunch. It didn't matter to us, we went up higher and faced the ocean which was a prettier setting and much quieter. I took the Pilates Class ($10) and the Yoga Class ($10) in the afternoon and then quickly (15 min.) got ready for dinner at 6 pm. We went to the ice show at 9 pm. We started waiting in line (we brought books) at 8:20 pm but we probably could have come about 8:40 pm and still have gotten good seats. We sat in the front row on a long side about 1/3 of the way down from the short side. These were great seats because we were so close to the skaters. The best seats in my opinion would be the front row of the short side. Again, this is a great show, make sure you get your tickets earlier in the week. Wed. Sept. 1 Antigua: We booked an excursion over the internet called "Eli's Eco Tour" (www.adventureantigua.com) $81 per person. They pick you up at the pier at 10 am and get you back by 4:15 pm. Lunch is included and is good. There were 20 of us that met them at the pier made up of cruise ship passengers and hotel guests. We made 2 stops at resorts to pick up people (3 at one and 2 at another) for a total of 25 people on the boat. The entire trip was really good but I really enjoyed "Hell's Gate". It's a really beautiful setting and it was fun to climb through the cave and then walk across the bridge. We saw some interesting snails, crabs, and some strange looking algae eating creatures that looked like fossils or something scaring out of a science fiction movie. We found out about this tour on the cruisecritic message boards and would join the many people before us who would recommend this tour. Remember to bring your camera, you'll get some great pictures. Two shops I would recommend in Antigua are the YodaGuy (www.1001resources.com/hosting/users/AT/YodaGuy) and RastaPasta which is not a restaurant but a shop which has hundreds if not thousands of beaded necklaces, bracelets and ankle bracelets at good prices. There are 2 stores in Antigua, 1 next door or near the YodaGuy on the second floor of Heritage Quay and down one of the streets near The Jolly Roger boat. In general, make sure you have plenty of $1 bills because at two different Islands stores had run out of them (especially at the end of the day) and they had to give me change in quarters! It's not fun to carry around $3-$4 in change. Dinner in the dining room was ok but my opinion is that this would have been a good night to eat at Portifinos. After dinner we went to The Lyric Theatre around 8:20 and read the books we had brought with us until about 8:45 pm when the Cruise Comics started their interactive pre-show routine. It was cute. The show "Velvet Rope" started at 9 pm and the singing and dancing in it was excellent. Don't miss this show. Thurs. Sept. 2 St. Lucia: St. Lucia is a beautiful Island but there's not much shopping or much to do unless you take an excursion. We pre-booked scuba diving excursion with the ship. This was a 6 hour lunch included trip for $120 per person. (www.scubastlucia.com) Because it's at Anse Chastnet, it's about a 45 min. boat ride from the pier. It's beautiful scenery on the boat ride and the dive shop location and dive sites are absolutely gorgeous, right next to the Pitons! I was kicking myself for not bringing my good camera. Next time I will and I will definitely do this excursion again if I get a chance. When we arrived at the dive shop, they had our tanks/regulators/bcs all ready to go set out on the sidewalk with our name written in chalk in front of them (very organized). We were divided up into 2 groups; 8 people with one dive master and 7 with the other dive master. They checked us on two skills (buoyancy check and mask clearing) before they would take us on the first dive which was a beach dive. This dive was great as was the 2nd boat dive. After the dives they took us to the beach where they had dropped off the snorkelers earlier. There we walked a little ways through the jungle to a pavilion for the buffet lunch. The food was ok (grilled chicken and fish, pasta, salad, bland rice, bland canned beans) except for the awesome carrot cake but the setting made up for it. We then had about 45 min. to lounge around on the beach or go snorkeling before heading back. I'm looking forward to coming back and doing this excursion again sometime. Tonight was Lobster night, don't miss it in the dining room. Also, don't miss the flourless chocolate cake, it's yummy. Fri. Sept. 3 Barbados: Because we're going to St. Martin tomorrow, we arrive in Barbados an hour early and leave an hour early. We pre-booked scuba excursion through the ship $90 per person. They met us at the pier and took us by vans to the dive shop. (www.barbados.org/diving/westsidescuba) You need to leave everything but your dive gear in the lockers at this shop because they don't have a dock and you have to wade chest high out to the boat holding your dive gear over your head to get on the boat. They really should do something about this. Then you have to hook up your regulator and bc to your tank. For the cost, they really should do this for you. We went on 2 reef dives; 8 people with 1 dive master and 9 people with the other dive master. Visibility was not as good as St. Thomas and St. Lucia but it was ok. On the 2nd dive we swam with a 1' diameter turtle for about 10 minutes (very cool). We saw spotted eels, puffer fish, centipede like worms, lots of tree coral and other coral and lots of fish. After the dive was were brought back to the pier in the vans. My husband took the dive gear back to our cabin and I stayed to shop around the port. I walked down the street to the craft mall but there wasn't much there. I should have bought the Tortuga rum cakes there because they were $3.85 for the small cakes where as they were $4 each at the Pier. Don't miss these cakes, they're really good. There are several shops right at the pier that have samples you can taste. The other thing to buy here is the cream rum. This is my favorite thing about Barbados. The best cream rum is the stuff in the clear bottles that they sell from a cart in the center of the mall. This stuff is fantastic in coffee, hot chocolate, ice cream, or just by itself. Don't pass up a chance to try this stuff, they give out free samples. We always bring home a few bottles of this stuff. After dinner we sat in the front row again for the main show. This is another good show "Can't Stop the Rock" with great singing and dancing, not to be missed. Sat. Sept. 4 St. Martin: Because we're not set to arrive until noon, I try the Rock Climbing wall at 9 am. and then we play miniature golf. No line at either activity, apparently most people are still sleeping in or eating breakfast. At 10:45 we bring our books up to read while waiting to get in to Johnny Rockets which opens at 11:30 am. A line forms around 11:10 and there are about 20 people waiting by 11:20. Johnny Rockets is a fun place to eat. The onion rings and fries are very good as are the specialty hamburgers (all included), the malts are about $3.60 but are really good so I guess they're worth it. Make sure you eat at least 1 meal here. We get off the ship about 12:15 pm and take a cab to Orient Beach/Bikini Beach ($5 each if the van is full). At the beach, 2 chairs and 1 umbrella costs $18, a little pricey. (There are cheaper chairs and umbrellas at other sections of the beach). Orient Beach (au natural) and Bikini Beach, right next to it are really pretty beaches with soft sand in a nice setting. There are plenty of water sports and some bars and restaurants. We stay a few hours then head into town to shop a little.($20 for the 2 of us, would have been cheaper per person if there were more people). Make sure you go to the Guava Berry Emporium and try the local liquor, especially their frozen drink, its very good. Another store I recommend is the Belgium chocolate shop. It's near the YodaGuy's shop (he has one here as well as Antigua) on Old Street Arcade. These chocolates are really good but a little pricey. A box of 9 that you pick are $16. But, we're hooked, we always buy their chocolate when we come to the island. We go to the Farewell Show which we could have done without. After 7 cruises, we're tired of the farewell shows. We pack everything but what we'll wear tomorrow and carry in our carry on luggage and put it out in the hall. Sun Sept. 5 San Juan Disembarking: We're out of our cabin by 8 am like they request and go to The Lyric Theatre to wait to be called to disembark. We're in the 2nd group to be called and leave by 8:20 (pretty fast). We pick up our luggage and get through customs and are in a taxi to the airport by 9:00am (amazing). We probably could have gone into Old San Juan and shopped a little. There is a store that will watch your luggage for you. At the airport, there is no line for ATA and we are down to our gate by 9:45 am. We sit around and read until our flight leaves at 1:45 pm. Conclusions: This was our favorite ship. We would go on it again in a heartbeat although we might pay for an outside room so it would be bigger. Carnival Inspiration - July 1998 Carnival Fascination - October 1999 RCI Monarch of the Seas - May 2000 Celebrity Horizon - November 2000 Princess Ocean Princess - November 2001 Norwegian SS Norway - October 2002 Carnival Inspiration - May 2003 RCI Adventure of the Seas - Aug 2004 Read Less
Sail Date: August 2004
I will start this review by stating that both my husband and I are both 24yrs. old and this was our honeymoon. This was my husband's first cruise and my third with RCCL. We got to San Juan at about 5:00pm (after some plane ... Read More
I will start this review by stating that both my husband and I are both 24yrs. old and this was our honeymoon. This was my husband's first cruise and my third with RCCL. We got to San Juan at about 5:00pm (after some plane troubles)... and we were so tired because we got married the night before. The ship is beautiful... words can not describe how large this ship is!! We had cabin 9390 Corner Aft balcony room... This room was so great! When we were on our balcony it felt like we were the only people on the ship, it was so private. Before going I didn't think it was worth it to have a balcony, but I am totally eating my words now... We actually spent a lot of time on the balcony. We had breakfast out there a couple of times, and it was a great place to sit while the other person is showering and getting ready. Monday we ported in St. Thomas, we ordered breakfast room service the night before and it arrived at the time we requested and it was very good. It was a great wake up call. We ate breakfast on the balcony and enjoyed the beautiful view of St. Thomas. We then proceeded to get off the ship, there was no wait getting off the ship and we took the 10:00 ferry from Red Hook to St. Johns. We took a taxi to Trunk Bay. We brought our own snorkel gear and rented the flippers. This beach is so beautiful and has lots of trees so that there is lots of shade if you like shade. My husband loved the snorkeling, he did the underwater trail, but he said the best snorkeling was to the right side of the beach. He saw two barracudas and a ton of fish. I didn't go out too far because there were lots of jelly fish. I don't think they are always there, but this must have been the season for them because every time I turned around there was another one. We stayed on the beach until about 3:00 and took the ferry back and headed back to the ship. We then went strait to Johnny Rockets and had a late lunch. This night was the first formal night. We had second seating. The food was very good. Tuesday we went to St. Martin. This was my favorite island. We took the water taxi which was $5 for all day use and it was worth it. We did some shopping, which was endless. Every street had so many shops and flea market type stands. We each bought our parents a bottle of Guavaberry Rum, which they are famous for. We stayed in the shopping area for about 2 hours and then we went back to the ship and changed into our bathing suits. We went to the cafe promenade (sandwich and bakery type cafe) and we got two sandwiches and put them in zip lock baggies. We then got off the ship and took the water taxi back and started waking down the beach which is right there when you get off the taxi. As you walk down the beach different people own different beach bars and they try to rent you chairs and umbrellas for $10. We kept walking until we got to "Pirates in Paradise" and the girl said that the chairs, umbrella, and floating mats were free if we bought a drink. So we ordered two Guavaberry Coladas and it was $10, so if you keep walking you can get a much better deal and it was a very short walk. The Guavaberry Coladas were awesome. We ate our sandwiches and cookies from the ship on the beach. We floated on the mats and just had a very relaxing afternoon. We got back to the ship and we ordered room service. We got Caesar salad, a cheeseburger and broccoli and cheese soup and ate it on our balcony as we sailed away from St. Martin. We went to the "Love and Marriage" game show this night and that was really funny. Wednesday we went to Antigua. We had a tour with "Antigua Paddles" at 12:00, so we got off the ship in the morning and walked around the town. Nothing too impressive with the shopping or this part of the island. We ate lunch on the ship and then met the tour group right outside the ship. I book the tour online directly with "Antigua Paddles" before going, but everyone else on the tour booked it through RCCL. It is much cheaper if you do it online. We got in an air conditioned bus, and headed for the clubhouse. It was cool to see all the houses and locals as the bus was driving. The driver stopped for a quick photo opportunity at a beautiful cliff over looking the ocean. When we got to the clubhouse, we got on a speed boat which was so much fun and that took us to Bird Island. Bird Island is beautiful. We climbed to the top of it which took about 5 mins. The view is breathtaking and we took some pictures. We then walked down and we went snorkeling for about an hour. We didn't really see anything except little fish, but the water was so clear and beautiful that it didn't matter. We then got back onto the speed boats and headed to another area where the Kayaks were all lined up. We got a Kayak for two and as we went along the tour guide would tell us many interesting facts about the island. Then we got back onto the speed boat and went back to the clubhouse for banana bread and rum punch. This tour was wonderful! I highly recommend it to anyone as there is no experience necessary and you can do as much or as little as you want. Thursday we went to St. Lucia. We had originally booked the "Jungle Tour", but two days before we left I got an email that the tour operators had a death in the family and would not be available. So last minute we decided to get a day pass from "Rendezvous" which is only 5 minutes from the ship. It is an all-inclusive resort and was $38 per person for the day pass. When we first got there we sat under an adorable hut on the beach. We ordered a couple of strawberry daiquiris and relaxed. We then went up to the pool area to find a really cool pool with a swim up bar. We had lunch which was delicious. After lunch we took out a sail boat which was very adventurous because neither of us had ever sailed before, but it was really fun! Then we decided to go tubing. They had two tubes on the back of the boat, and although I thought we were going to tip a few times, it was a blast. This was a great day. They had showers and towels there also. Friday was Barbados- We took a taxi to the "Boatyard". It was $12 to get in, but then they give you $8 back in tokens to be spent on food or drinks. It was nice because the chairs and umbrellas were free and you could use the water trampolines and water rock wall for free. We just had a good time here. Jumped on the trampoline, climbed the rock wall, floated in the water, had a couple of Pina Coladas, and chilled out on the beach. Saturday- At Sea. We actually slept in until about 10am then we got some breakfast and headed to the pool. There were lots of chairs available, just not close to the pool. We went around the ship and took lots of pictures and felt sad because our vacation was coming to an end. Sunday- Debarkation. This took forever. We had a flight at 11:30 and were in the first group getting off the ship. It took at least an hour to get though customs. It was hot and the line didn't seem to move, but if that is our biggest complaint, then I really can't complain. This was just a great vacation. We had a wonderful time and we can't stop talking about it. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2004
As usual, we booked 2 cabins on an RCL ship. We always select the deck on Voyager class ships just above the Promenade overlook, so we took outside cabin 9586 and inside 9587 for our kids, 22 and 15. The cabins were fine. What follows is a ... Read More
As usual, we booked 2 cabins on an RCL ship. We always select the deck on Voyager class ships just above the Promenade overlook, so we took outside cabin 9586 and inside 9587 for our kids, 22 and 15. The cabins were fine. What follows is a tour guide and then a rant. Embarkation was better than ever, which was amazing for San Juan. We got an easy cab to the ship from the airport. SJU has finally got that together and you go straight to a land transportation desk right near the luggage carousel and get a receipt for $15 plus bags. Cost us $21 for 4 and 5 bags. Took us right to ship. Stand in line to give bags to porter with a tip. Bags did get to room in reasonable period of time. Inside, we are Platinum members and they took us right to separate line and straight to a desk for registration. Took under 10 minutes including security. Very nice. Usual first day with muster drill. Ship did not depart until 10 PM. Very little to do, so we walked to the duty free shop and bought rum in plastic bottles for $3. This becomes even more essential, since the ship is charging over $6 per drink. We had the St. Thomas/St. Martin/Antigua/St Lucia/ Barbados route. Small description of ship. Since most people go on at length, I like to just comment on art work. I enjoy the eclectic stuff on these ships. AOS has the least enjoyable and most amateurish art work, but it does grow on you. The other RCL ships had better stuff. Otherwise, this ship is exactly the same as all Voyager class ships. It was kept pretty clean, but I did notice people smoking anywhere they wanted and nobody stopped them. Shame. More comments on ship at end. Saved the rant for the bottom. I have written several reviews previously and do this from a "do-it-yourself" view for those who don't like ship's tours. No warranties, but I think you will find this quite helpful. I tried to do this totally without spending too much money, just for fun. St. Thomas. Have been there many times, so wanted to try something different. Took the ferry to St. John. First, take a cab for $3 from the pier to the port. No way around this. The ferry to St. John's leaves every 2 hours at 9, 11, 1, etc. Be sure to get there on time. Pretty prompt. The fare is $7 per person and $3 for kids. The ride takes about 50 minutes. Arrive Cruz Bay. Take a jitney to beach. There are many and everyone raves about Trunk. It isn't worth it. However, it does have facilities. Cost is $4. Crowded and the fish are very aggressive. I got bit by a yellow tail snapper on the hand. Nasty. (Ate his cousin for revenge next day.) I think it would be better to go to Hawksnest or Cinnamon. Fewer facilities, but less crowded. The snorkeling at Trunk is no big deal and highly overrated. Plus it is full of tourists. The ferry returns at about 1:40 and then every 2 hours to downtown. Enough time to get back and walk around if you wish. St. Martin. Again, many time visit, so tried something different. The ship now docks at a pier and you are "encouraged" to take a water taxi which allegedly stops at the end of P'burg and then downtown. It doesn't. Only the first stop, which costs more than it should and forces you to walk thru their shops. It might pay to take a regular taxi. Good news. It is now possible to rent a car at the cruise pier. You used to have to go to airport. This is a BIG improvement, but I didn't rent a car so I can't comment on quality of the rentals. We took the water taxi and then walked out to the main road; about 10 minutes in all. Found a bus to Marigot. They look like Vans. In fact, all the buses said French Quarter (P'Burg) not Marigot, so I flagged down an empty one and he switched over to Marigot just for us. A taxi to Marigot is about $25 for 4. The bus costs $4. I gave him $6 for switching. We had a light snack on the water and then climbed up the hill to Fort Louis. You will find it at the (West?) end of the main coastal downtown road. It is a 10 minute climb. The view is spectacular and the remains of the fort are very nice. We returned and had a steamed fish (snapper!) in a French sidewalk restaurant. Immediately behind is an open air market which was lovely. There are also public restrooms across the street which were fine. We then hiked out to main road and found a bus back to P'burg and walked around there looking for an Indonesian restaurant to eat Rijstafel, after all this is a Dutch colony. Wrong. They are all gone. The place is now run by Indians. Lots of curry. No rijstafel. Back to ship. Antigua. All the tour books say don't take the bus. A challenge. We climbed up to St. John's Cathedral just for the view. (Been here a lot too. Didn't feel like the beach.) We found the bus station which is to the right of the ship when you get off about 5 blocks. Take the number 17 bus to Nelson's Dockyard. It is about a 35 minute ride. It cost $1.25 each. The Dockyard is a sort of restored museum, which was interesting. I gave it a 6 of 10. We ate at the Admiral's Inn. It was nothing special. I had the Pumpkin Soup which was very good. The rest was mediocre, but better than other stuff in Antigua. There was a better place in the Dockyard, but more expensive. As it was, lunch for 2 was about $40. The bus comes right back here and we took it back. Quicker, about 20 minutes. Incidentally, the cab is $25 each way. This is not worth a $50 trip, but was very much worth a $3 trip. St. Lucia. Again, been here, so wanted to do something different. Walked all the way off the pier. About 5 minutes. You will have to fight your way past the cab drivers because they can't believe you want to take a bus. The cab to Pigeon Isle in the north costs $25, but you can bargain them down to $16. We took the bus. Stops right out at the main road. (You are on Point Seraphine.) It is another mini-Van. Take the 1A. Goes right up to Gros Pointe. Will let you off at end of route in a real wild, but quiet during day area. Walk towards the water 2 blocks and turn right. Walk all the way along the beach for about a mile. Thru Sandals. Don't worry. All is public beach and they can't stop you. Very safe. The big hill is Pigeon Isle. Pay $4 to enter. There is a restaurant. Don't eat there. It cost $80 for lunch for 4 and was nothing special. Bring a picnic. A really great hike up the mountain to Fort Rodney. Fantastic views. Can see all the way around St. Lucia. It is a very nice national park. Walk back to Gros Pointe and eat if you want. Can get bus back. We took a cab because teen was feeling off. Barbados. Rented a car from Stoutes. Right at end of terminal. Arranged in advance. $90 inclusive of gas and CDW and the $10 Barbados registration. Drove up to Francia plantation, then over to Atlantic Coast to Andromeda Botanical Gardens. Both were very nice. We stopped at 'Round House' on coast near Andromeda to eat, but we left. 2 Cokes were $7. We went further on road and found better and cheaper place. Drove back to Heritage Rum Factory in the South. Driving is quite easy in Barbados, although it used to be better sign posted. That was the end of touring. Last day at sea. Very little to do except bingo. Now for the rant. This was the least enjoyable cruise on RCL ever. Even though they did try to do more for us as Platinum members than ever before. The wine tasting was free and nice. Cheap wine, but still enjoyable and the wine steward was very articulate. They also had a private Crown & Anchor party with lots of free drinks, but no staff. Then a private Platinum string quartet concert with free drinks. Very nice touch. Those were high points. However, RCL is going way down market. They need to fill roughly 50,000 beds a week. So they are marketing to everyone. There were hundreds of people on board I would not want to cruise with. There was a huge group from New York, who brought their own DJ. These were not nice people. They took over the disco and didn't want anyone who didn't match their demographics to enter. And, lest anyone jump to wrong conclusion, I lived in Bahamas for years and have no trouble mixing with any group. These people were a different story and everyone on board remarked about the iciness and their lack of class and manners. There was very little to do on board this trip. The cruise staff was virtually non-existent. We are accustomed to Ken Rush's high spirit, and that was absent. The dining room waiter was ok, but budget cuts have really hurt. He didn't want to bring 2 mains to the same person at once. My 22 year old eats 3 at once. Waiter (Milton from Goa) had to get permission. The asst waiter (Mihaela from Romania--her very first cruise) was pretty good for a newbie. Fortunately for us, Milton's other table didn't even show up, so he only had us to care for. I doubt he could have handled 2 tables, but he did ok for our one. Bad for him, he lost a lot of tips. The food is declining in quality and taste. It is still above average, but just. The soups and unusual dishes are best. The Windjammer was better for breakfast, but very mediocre for lunch. The dining room was better for lunch and dinner. The kids program was a real bust for the 14 and up crowd. There was nothing for the 15 year old group to do. They didn't want to be isolated in their own disco, but there were no alternatives. Our kids enjoyed this cruise the least of all. The other kids on the cruise were a lot less nice. Our companions have kids ages 8 and 11, who seemed to have a better time in kid's club. I think they just don't know what to do with the older ones anymore. They have also imposed a curfew for the older teens, and a wrist band approach. This makes no sense. A 14 year old girl is much older than a 14 year old boy, but they still make the 14 year old girl hang out with the 12 year old boys and that will never happen. It should be by grade and by 'maturity'. The entertainment was ok, but not great. The ice show was well done, but the performers kept falling. The comic was poor. His jokes were old and he needed to update his routine. He was still telling airport jokes about the 3 questions, which they ceased asking over a year ago. The dancer/singer shows ranged from lame to mediocre. The Can't Stop the Rock show was ok. Sadly, the singers mistake volume for clarity and quality. There was no real headliner this cruise which seemed strange. They said there was, but nobody seemed to know who or what it was!?! The overall quality is declining and RCL staff laments it. Nobody dresses for dinner; people even came casual to formal night! We wore tuxedos. The staff abhors the low market people and makes it obvious. The low market people should go back to Carnival where they belong. According to RCL staff, those people don't even spend money on the ship, but take over all the facilities and chase everyone else away. This will be our last RCL Carib cruise. Finally, disembarkation was awful. The immigration is now off the ship, and although we got to stay in a private Platinum lounge on the ship, they closed it at 9:30 and told us to leave. Our plane was at 4 PM. It took over 1.5 hours to exit the ship. The immigration line is terrible. Hint: Stay to the right. The one on the left is also for non-US and it goes VERY slowly, but the RCL people in the terminal don't care and don't sort the line. They only speak Spanish by the way. We got off the ship at 9:40 and it took us until 11:15 to exit the terminal. That is the worst it has ever been. The luggage was no problem, it is all color coded. The entire holdup was US immigration. They were the slowest I ever saw. This is not of RCL's doing, but it used to be much better. We left the terminal and hired a private tour carrier for $20 each to take us around San Juan. Much better than the ship's tour. (Make sure to insist on a bus that leaves immediately. Some people on our bus had been waiting for 45 minutes till we boarded. Then the driver wanted to wait for another 10 people. I refused and we all found a driver willing to leave immediately for an extra $10. Well worth it.) Got to the airport around 1:45. Was better than sitting in SJU for 6 hours. In all, this was the worst RCL cruise we took, but not because of the staff or the ship, per se. Email me with any questions. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2004
Great Cruise. Our cabin was on the 9th deck near the center, but slightly aft. No complaints about the room or our room steward. We boarded at around 3:30pm, and were able to walk on without waiting. The ship was completely booked, but ... Read More
Great Cruise. Our cabin was on the 9th deck near the center, but slightly aft. No complaints about the room or our room steward. We boarded at around 3:30pm, and were able to walk on without waiting. The ship was completely booked, but seemed empty! Entertainment was pretty good. Mickey Dolenz from the Monkees was the headliner! Food could have been better, was equivalent to banquet food. Our Waiter Hakan was the best waiter we have had on a cruise. Johnny Rockets was very good, Windjammer could have been a tad better however. The ports of call were very good, however we didn't get off at St. Lucia. Others we talked to agreed that another day at see would be great. We would definitely go on this ship again! For excursions, we went on a taxi tour of St. Thomas, Lawrence of Antigua on Antigua, and the Rain Forest hike and Cave tour in Barbados. On St. Maarten, we went to the French side and had lunch and walked around. We were quite happy with our choices. We stayed at the Hilton Caribe before the cruise, and the Marriott San Juan after the cruise. I would recommend both, but the Marriott was better. Both were purchased thru Priceline and worked out perfectly. All-in-all, was a great trip! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2004
Upon our 9/12/04 arrival at the San Juan airport, after waiting about an hour to get our luggage, someone who also was on the same cruise mentioned that your luggage automatically was sent from the airport to the ship. Just wish someone ... Read More
Upon our 9/12/04 arrival at the San Juan airport, after waiting about an hour to get our luggage, someone who also was on the same cruise mentioned that your luggage automatically was sent from the airport to the ship. Just wish someone told us, sent us the information, or a sign with that information would have been nice. However, other than that, all went smoothly. The ship was beautiful. All of the shows were nice. On day 2 at St. Thomas we went to Sapphire Beach, then a ferry to Trunk Bay on St. John to snorkel. Nice snorkeling on both. Trunk Bay's beach was stunningly beautiful. We saw a small nurse shark there, and some nice species of coral, among the other fish. Day 3 St. Maarten. Almost didn't stop there due to the hurricanes/storms in the area. We rented a car (a bit challenging since all the maps they gave us had no street signs) and just used our sense of direction, and drove around most of the island. We stopped at the observation platform on Cole Bay Hill, saw the border monument (Dutch/French border), stopped at Maho Beach, Cupecoy Beach (beautiful, tranquil, small coves), Long Bay (large, sandy strip),and Orient Bay. All were beautiful. Really enjoyed the ice skating show on the ship that night. Highly recommend! Day 4 Antiqua. Took a taxi to Long Bay (excellent snorkeling), and then to Dickenson Bay (no snorkeling, but wave runners available). Went to Portofino's on the ship. Highly recommend , especially if it is a special occasion for your trip. Food/Service was excellent. Dramatic presentation of your food, make reservations early and request by a window before the sun sets. Day 5 St. Lucia. Rented a taxi, went to the botanical gardens, waterfall, botanical gardens (very lush & pretty) saw the Pitons (highly recommend), the "drive in" volcano, Anse Chastanet beach (beautiful--had black sands and excellent snorkeling). Day 6 Barbados. Rented a taxi, saw the Baobab Tree, Bathsheba (highly recommend), a green monkey (resp. for polio vaccine), and snorkeled at Folkstone Underwater Park. The best snorkeling I've ever seen and right off the shore. This was our favorite cruise. Be sure to visit the very front of the ship. I would recommend the later dinner seating for this time of year on this cruise. With so many ports to visit, we were gone all day, were hungry at 3 p.m back on the ship, ate too much/ruined our appetite, missed sunsets, and departure views. Disembarkation went well considering all the the people on this ship. I highly recommend this ship and itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2004
This was my second cruise on the AOS I did the Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas route this year. The overall cruise was great even though we had a medical emergency on board (I'll discuss this later). The ship is beautiful ... Read More
This was my second cruise on the AOS I did the Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas route this year. The overall cruise was great even though we had a medical emergency on board (I'll discuss this later). The ship is beautiful and the accommodations are great. I did notice a drop off in service and availability of dinning in the Windjammer Cafe. There were some dinner times and lunch times that only the Island Grill was open. I don't know if this was a staffing issue but I think it was kind of lousy. The overall service was still good and the food was above average. The cabin stewards were great. They always had ice in our room (we had a ice bucket we got with our wine and they even filled that up). The entertainment was pretty good (above average). I would suggest the ice show it is a must see, Velvet Rope is interesting and fun but the other show (which I cannot remember the name was rather lame). The comics were funny and topical and had the whole theater rolling. The only other complaint that I had was one that I have seen on other review it was the kids running around with little or no supervision. The captain did make an announcement but I guess some parents figure they can just let their children run around and do what they want. Don't get me wrong I have a 11 year old I will be taking on a cruise with me next year but she will not be running around riding up and down the elevators pushing all of the buttons and getting off. She also won't be disrespectful to others who are trying to enjoy their vacation. Now for the excitement. While on this cruise we had to alter our day at sea to get a passenger who I believe had a heart attack back to San Juan. We did not miss any ports of call. We were enroute to St. Maarten but we were doing between 21 and 24 knots which was impressive. We had to get to within 60 nautical miles so that the Coast Guard (USCG) helicopters could airlift the patient off. This whole procedure was very impressive watching a helicopter land on the bow of the ship I must give kudos to the ship captain and the Coast Guard for their efforts and team work. Overall this was a great cruise and I would definitely recommend and retake this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2004
This was our first cruise. We had a lovely time and we will treasure the memories for a lifetime. Embarkation went smoothly for us, but appeared hectic for other passengers. I use a wheelchair part of the time and they checked us in very ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We had a lovely time and we will treasure the memories for a lifetime. Embarkation went smoothly for us, but appeared hectic for other passengers. I use a wheelchair part of the time and they checked us in very quickly. We were thrilled with our Junior Suite on deck 10. Our cabin was spacious, with a walk-in closet, queen size bed, and a nice size bathroom/shower area. Our balcony was large and had room enough for two lounge chairs and tables. Our room attendant, Buddy, was very kind and made sure we always had what we needed. We were surprised on several occasions with hors d'oeuvres waiting in our stateroom. We ate at the Windjammer Cafe first thing and subsequently several times during our cruise. The food is good, not out of this world, but good nonetheless. We then toured the ship. We were so impressed by the majesty of the ship. We found our way around the ship easily and our first little surprise was the overlook over the bridge where we saw Captain Remos at work. After unpacking, we headed to the Mozart dining room where our waiter, Kaan, and assistant, Mina, treated us like royalty. Each evening we were served delicious, mouth-watering meals in the main dining room. Excellent, excellent service! After day one at sea, we visited Aruba. We spent the day on our own at Palm Beach and it was wonderful. A word about shopping--don't listen to Shopping Shelby. RCI must receive a kickback in St. Thomas because they push you to shop there. The best shopping for souvenirs was in Aruba and St. Maarten, for people on a limited budget. We held out on shopping until St. Thomas only to find expensive items like diamonds for sale. Our second stop was Curacao, where on our own we visited Sea Aquarium Beach. It's beautiful and you can see the cruise ship anchored in the distance. This beach has showers and shops and we truly enjoyed it. The water is very calm--good for children. Our third stop was St. Maarten, where we traveled by cab over to Orient Bay, St. Martin. Once again, the beach was lovely and there are shops, lots of watersports, etc. Our last port of call was St. Thomas, where we ferried over to St. John to visit Trunk Bay. I had seen it on The Travel Channel voted as "World's Best Beach". I do agree! It is the most beautiful place I've ever seen. I have never felt more of an appreciation for God's creations than when I visited Trunk Bay in its unspoiled beauty. There is so much to do on this ship that you could never do it all. The only crowded area on the ship was poolside. We enjoyed spending time on the Royal Promenade listening to different musicians. The entertainment was excellent, especially the ice show. The only problem on the cruise was that some poor lady had a heart attack and we did an emergency maneuver so a helicopter could land on the ship to rescue her. We enjoyed every aspect of this cruise, from dressing up for formal night to just sitting on the balcony relaxing. When the cruise was over, we were sad to see it end, but we knew we had a lifetime of great memories. Disembarking in San Juan went smoothly. I would like to note that as someone partially confined to a wheelchair, that Royal Caribbean treated me very kindly, especially the security personnel who helped me on and off the boat. God bless all of you! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2004
Hi all cruisers...My review is extensive but realize this is just my second....I have lots of trips yet to review!Take this at face value and please, try this ship! Flight from Northern Va. to San Juan via Lauderdale on Spirit airlines ... Read More
Hi all cruisers...My review is extensive but realize this is just my second....I have lots of trips yet to review!Take this at face value and please, try this ship! Flight from Northern Va. to San Juan via Lauderdale on Spirit airlines smooth albeit a bit cramped. Off the plane quickly, found out we could leave our luggage for RCCI to take to the ship for free and headed quickly for the taxi kiosk...and a good thing we did! Took the taxi for 2 at 17.50 + tip to the pier BUT...if we hadn't had a good driver, we would never have made it! Two huge downfalls, one being that a festival for a hero, TITO, ie...Felix Trinidad the boxer had everything gridlocked...we still made it to the pier in short order...thank God no luggage, cause the baggage people went on strike and we stood in line for over 4 hours waiting and waiting with very close quarters and lots of local people who were taking the cruise at a greatly reduced rate jumping in front of the line....No food or water, limited toilets...What was worse was that many people were held on the ship due to the strike and missed their flights home....It is much easier to be coming than going on this cruise! We finally made it on the ship at 7pm which obviously was past our dinner seating....No free drinks or amenities for the extended wait....Many unhappy chappies! The ship itself is awe inspiring...HUGE and with so much to do...Actually, too much to do...a bit hard to relax! Plenty, if not too many lounge chairs, you had to move them to get your legs in and out. Lots of non English speaking people with large groups and lots of teens....But overall, never too crowded and for the most part people were respectful! We had a room on the inside 9th floor which was roomier that I expected with plenty of storage space! Elevators are everywhere, and although often crowded, people for the most part were humored by this and didn't get too nasty! In room first run movies, room service, and plenty of info on the trip are available which you need on a ship this large! Bathrooms, not in great locations outside your room, and obviously, some women don't do their business in their rooms...OHHH Weeeee...... Food was good, not great. This was our 2nd cruise and Celebrity was much better. I have to say that one of the best features was our Head Waiter, Rose. She went out of her way to remember our names and to offer recommendations and the extra smile...she was a joy! The Windjammer and Johnny Rockets were very good! If you take the early seating and don't want to miss the sunset, I suggest Johnny Rockets for a night! What I missed was the casual foods that the Celebrity offers at almost any time such as gourmet sandwiches, decent pizza and sushi...We enjoyed the earlier seating this time so we weren't so tired that we wanted to go to bed after dinner! Any night, don't be afraid to ask for a taste of another dish, such as a soup and an appetizer or two entrees...they can accommodate you without you having two huge plates! Celebrity offered an appetizer and soup with salad and then entree and dessert...just pick what you like the most and order! On the formal nights, don't be afraid to order more lobster and less beef...it is worth it!The midnight buffets are awesome, but if you take an excursion, wait until then to eat! I wonder who eats all of that food! Drinks were cheaper on Celebrity and the waiters and bar tenders were more friendly. Also, the prices seemed to fluctuate for the same drinks, which concerned me...but when you questioned, they didn't seem to understand! If you are given a special glass, take it..you are charged extra for the drink anyway...we saw little old ladies scarfing up gorgeous glasses because people didn't think they were theirs for the keeping! Shows etc...Make sure to get your tickets to the ice show immediately! We didn't and we missed a great show! We enjoyed the bingo game once and had to laugh at our own greed at wanting to win! The casino was great, my husband spent a bit of time trying his luck and found out when a female dealer came up, he needed to find another table! They caught him good! We were lucky enough to see Mickey Dolenz (from the Monkee's) and his sister perform...YES, I am aging myself but as a kid, they were the bomb! It was good nostalgia and his sister sang better than he did. We also saw the comedian who has a million impersonations and initially thought, HUM, but he had us rolling by the end of the evening! THE BEST PLACE FOR ENTERTAINMENT for us....THe Duck and Dog Pub...Unbeknown to us, the acoustic singer from our last cruise who we became friends with had changed ships and was on this ship as well! Needless to say, we spent part of each evening listening to him jam to great riffs...His name is Greg Guess and I encourage everyone to party with him at least one night! Ask for your favorite song as a request and don't be afraid to move the tables to dance! My husband was heralded by several women because he moved tables and even brought up the elder ladies to dance! Women who brought their husbands in got their special song and dance and were treated to some great blues, jazz, and even current music...even the line dancing people hung outside on the Promenade to dance to the music! Port's of Call: Aruba was beautiful...guys went fishing and girls slept in and shopped. To the side of the boat docking, a bit up and after a walking bridge is a beautiful promenade which is landscaped and during the day, lizards abound! I have a huge iguana at home so I loved it and couldn't get enough, but my best friend prefers them in a cage! We took the boys back in the evening, but as any good lizard owner knows, they sleep then! We went to Carlo's and Charlie's ....way too small and way too loud! I recommend Cozumel's way better! Curacao: Isn't much to look at but the shopping was the bomb! Got 2 Louis Vuitton Bags for cheaper than the internet, any any other island that was recommended...And they don't fill fake LV with cloth drawstring bags that are LV labeled instead of paper....80% off! St. Martin-did the local beach and got our chairs for 4 with 2 umbrellas and 4 drinks for 15.00...BARGAIN HARD...had to pay the 5.00 per person for the water taxi to island but it was for unlimited trips, too bad you only have 8 hours on the island! The locals bother quite a bit for assorted drugs and necklaces, but they are better than Mexico and stop after they pass you a few times! Is Marijuana really legal there? That's what we heard! The Dutch area is a bit populous. I would have preferred Orient Beach on the French side but it is more secluded but with much more nudity! Shopping is cheap, cigarettes and liquor at incredible prices! Would definitely look to do an all inclusive here! Beautiful island and water! St. Thomas --We went on the Doubloon excursion on a 65 foot yacht to snorkel on what I believe was Turtle cove...We saw huge sea turtles, squid, yellow snapper and a small nurse shark plus more...Beautiful excursion and on the way back, they don't lie...no one leaves sober! Banana Benders, Beer, etc...everyone gets fake tattoos, and lots of fun...even for the kids..very experienced snorkeling crew and for my friend that doesn't snorkel, they jumped in to get her a sand dollar and conch shell that she saw from 18 feet down! Billy Bob, the mate became her new best friend! definitely recommend this and this can be purchased on line through Doubloon.com. At the end of the excursion, they take you to their shop on the dock and you can look at the merchandise and drink more free drinks as you shop the rest of the afternoon if you go back! They take your pictures on the boat and download for free so you don't have to pay like on most excursions! Already looking for an all inclusive here! Disembarkation --Stay with your party! Our friends felt the need to be at the appropriate place at way too early and ended up off the boat at 0830 while we tried not to get off the boat until closer to our plane time...We had packed our radios...not good...not pleasant when they sat in the pier port while we were able to have breakfast and all the people told us to ignore the disembarkation news....you can stay on the boat way longer than what most people thought, and still drink coffee or alcohol and hang out rather than sit at the airport for what is a very long afternoon flight wait! Overall, this was a wonderful trip! I would easily recommend but my one wish is that the trip originated and returned from Florida and not San Juan...I have a friend who is an MD who comes from San Juan and says that Old San Juan is the place to stay the eve before the cruise and make sure you see the fort! I tried to get the old man (43yo) to do this but....more expense huh.... I guess it is always just a matter of chance from anywhere! Thanks for letting us tell about our trip! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2004
RCCL -- Adventure of the Sea Passengers on board: 3,400; 2,900 from U.S. (incl. 500 from PR). October 10-17, 2004 Day 1: Oct. 10 -- San Juan: scheduled departure - 10 p.m. We had the good fortune to stay in Orlando for a week prior to ... Read More
RCCL -- Adventure of the Sea Passengers on board: 3,400; 2,900 from U.S. (incl. 500 from PR). October 10-17, 2004 Day 1: Oct. 10 -- San Juan: scheduled departure - 10 p.m. We had the good fortune to stay in Orlando for a week prior to the cruise to work on our tans a little. The weather was great: sunny and hot (upper 80's) - almost no rain. Had a noon flight on Spirit to arrive into PR on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Flight was only about 10 minutes late to the gate. We could see that it had been raining, and as soon as we walked onto the jetway, the low 90's heat and humidity could be felt. Our bags must have been among the last out, and we were getting a little anxious that none of the 6 bags (from the 4 of us) were seen. But they finally showed up. The San Juan baggage area has none of the luggage carts that are usually available, either free or for rent. And only a small handful of porters were working. So we ended up wheeling our own stuff out. The area seemed under construction as we had to snake around a few barriers and hallways to finally get out to the curb. We had reserved a Limo, and our driver was near the front of the line. So we were very shortly off to the cruise dock. I must admit that the area, as we pulled up, seemed to have quite a bit of construction activity. Several areas of construction fencing made it seem that a more expansive dock area will be there in the future. Arrived about 3:45 p.m. There did not appear to be the huge throng of people there that I anticipated from being familiar with the Miami terminal. Our driver pulled up, went and got an RCCL baggage handler to get a luggage cart and put our tagged bags in. We later found out that there was a fairly long line of passengers that had taken cabs or buses waiting to check their bags onto the ship. But thanks to our Limo driver, our bags went right on. We were then able to bypass the baggage check-in lines and proceed directly into the terminal (3:55 p.m.). We found out that they had not opened the terminal until about 3. A few of our friends that spent the night in San Juan had arrived early (12:30) to board, only to stand in the 90+ F heat for over 2 hours. They were drenched with sweat by the time they boarded. The organization seemed better than I remembered at the Miami terminal in that the check-in was by deck level with only 1 or 2 decks per section. It seemed like there were only a few waiting in each line. We had a balcony cabin on deck 10 and waited less than 3 minutes. None of the lines that I had experienced on two other Voyager-class cruise ships to get on board. We literally walked right on by a few minutes past 4. Had a small snack in the Windjammer, mainly just because it was there, since we had the early seating and would have the proper dinner in less than 2 hours. Luggage still had not been delivered, so it was informal night in the dining room (shorts). Dinner was very good, I had prime rib. We were at a table of ten, so we would always order two or three other dishes for the center of the table to taste everything. Almost like family style, and I think most of the menu selections were on the table every night. We felt the main dining room food in general was very good, not many complaints Muster drill held in between the first and second dinner seating, which seemed weird. The Sail-away party was fun, but I enjoy the afternoon departures more so I can watch the ship leave while still light. Our luggage finally showed up about 8 p.m. A comedian at the evening show was pretty good, but we couldn't seem to stay awake for the midnight parade. Others ships leaving San Juan today: Carnival Destiny, Golden Princess Day 2: Oct. 11 - St. Thomas: arrival - 7:30 a.m.; departure - 5:30 p.m. A few of us had booked the Castaway Girl Catamaran Sailing and Snorkeling Tour of Buck Island on the RCCL web site as we wanted the sailing excursion. We then talked to the excursion desk about transferring our excursion to the same destination, but on a 40' private sailboat. We were very glad we did. RCCL contracts out with 4 or 5 sailboats that hold 4-6 each. It was a much more intimate excursion as there were 6 of us and only 2 crew members. We really got personalized attention as one of the crew snorkeled with us showing us quite a bit of the local sea creatures. Several large sea turtles were also feeding in the area which added to the trip. Some others in our group did the St. John's Island Tour on Land Cruisers. They said they had a blast. We got back to the ship by 1 and met some old friends that live in St. Thomas for lunch. We ate at Glady's Cafe, a great, local style restaurant. Had a couple hours left to stroll around the shops before we had to get back to the ship. We began to see the onset of the "Plague of the Caribbean Taxi Driver." We could not walk more than 10 steps before we were hailed by a cab driver asking if we were headed back to the ship. Normally, it was only 5 steps before the next cab, right behind the one who had just asked us, pulled up with the question. They finally wore us down, and we allowed ourselves to be taken back. Monday night was the first formal night. Our waiter, Woodrow, was great. He was from Jamaica and knew the Jamaican waiter, Horace, we had had on the Explorer last January. Interestingly, the head waiter did not come by and introduce himself for about the first three nights. After that he warmed up a little more, but seemed to spend most of his time at the other tables. (I was watching for him after hearing about other cruisers mentioning seldom seeing him at all.) The main show of the evening was quite good, a guy who impersonated 30 or 40 singers from Sinatra to John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Carnival Destiny and Golden Princess were also in St. Thomas today. We wondered at the time if they would follow similar routes. We never saw them again until we returned to SJ. Day 3: Oct. 12 - St. Maarten: arrival - 8:00 a.m.; departure - 5:30 p.m. I went scuba diving in the morning while my dear wife spent her time in the spa (hot rocks and a facial). The first dive was a reef dive that had quite a few fish and some decent coral. The second dive was an 1802 clipper ship wreck, The Proselyte. All the wood was gone, of course, but we still saw quite a few cannons, chains, and anchors strewn about the area. My dear wife and I had been to the island before and had done the tour and Orient Beach thing, so the afternoon we just stayed by the pool. It's great there during port days as you feel that you almost have the facilities to yourself. A few in our group did the ship's Island Tour excursion (from hell). Their bus broke down and they were put on jump seats in a second van which hurt their backs by the end. The driver/tour guide would point out such local sites such as: here's a Kentucky Fried Chicken, which you guys probably like; here's a Radio Shack, where you guys can get electrical parts; and here's a B-P station, where you guys can get gas, its xx.x/liter; and here's......where you guys.....and, and, and. They did say the shopping stop and beach part was quite nice. I told them to turn in a complaint form straight away, and they ended getting a 30% refund in the excursion. Tuesday night was the Ice Show. It was excellent; some very talented performers for such a limited show schedule. The Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers also put on their first show of the cruise. They have some very talented people, but we felt that the show (and the songs selected) was not that terrific. Day 4: Oct. 13 - Antigua: arrival - 8:00 a.m.; departure - 5:30 p.m. Had our first main dining room breakfast. Enjoyed it so much that it was our morning ritual for the rest of the cruise. None of us had picked out any excursions to do, so we thought we'd venture out and see the little shopping district by the dock. Here we saw that the 'Plague of the Caribbean Taxi Driver' had made its way south in epidemic proportions. Now we couldn't walk more than 3 steps before being hit upon for a taxi somewhere. And I'm not talking about just by the pier, anywhere / everywhere in town, the plague was rampant! After a little shopping, went back for lunch at Johnny Rockets. Then got our swimming suits and went out to do battle with the Plague. We asked where to nicest beach in the area was, and for $15, five of us were off to a nice beach about 15 minutes away. We spent a lovely afternoon just lying in the sun, doing some swimming and just relaxing. The rule of thumb among taxi drivers in the Caribbean (perhaps a side effect from the Plague) is that they will pick you up at what ever time you tell them. So that at the predetermined time, there was our cab driver, Arthur, waiting for us. Of course if he hadn't have been there, 6 others were ready to take us - the Plague was everywhere. Wednesday night was smart casual night, so I donned a sport jacket. It was also the Crown and Anchor cocktail party at which I usually look forward to hearing from the Captain. But he was a no show. The evening performance was by the Royal Caribbean Production cast, another high talent, but low interest show. I've been on 3 other RCCL cruise ships and have always thought their shows were excellent. Well, 3 out of 4 ain't bad. As I mentioned, the performers themselves were terrific, but the shows lacked ....something - IMHO. Day 5: Oct. 14 - St. Lucia: arrival - 7:15 a.m.; departure - 5:30 p.m. Another beautiful day in Paradise and great weather again. Rather than excursions, we set out on a somewhat more personal trip. There is a 5-star timeshare not too far from the dock, The Windjammer Beach Resort. We had looked through our catalog and were considering spending a week there sometime. We thought it would be the perfect opportunity to take a tour before we committed to a whole week. As you disembark from the ship, you must go through a mini-mall with several jewelry, clothes, and other such souvenir shops, and of course... taxi drivers. The Plague had made it to St. Lucia. It must be the warmer weather, as it seemed that the farther south we went, the worse the Plague got. And they all had the perfect tour in mind for whatever you wanted to do. After perusing the shops a little, we inquired at the Info Desk in the 'terminal building' about getting to the Windjammer Resort for a short visit, and then continuing on to a nearby National Park and beach area. The lady at the desk said that the beach at the Windjammer was very nice. And all we would have to do was to buy a couple drinks at their beach bar, and we could have complete use of all of the resort's facilities. Sold.....we were easy marks! We couldn't have asked for a better beach area. Free sun recliners, areas of sun or shade under Palm trees, the use of a freshwater pool a few steps away, and the best part, they gave each group a small pennant on a stick that one would just set upright, and the bar waiter appeared shortly after for our pina colada orders. At the appointed time, our taxi driver appeared, and we were taken back to the ship, a few shades darker. The second formal night, so out came the suits again. Tonight was lobster night. My only complaint was that there were so many other excellent choices on the menu that I also wanted; the decision took a few milliseconds more than usual. I opted for prime rib (med. rare, please) with a lobster dinner on the side. When the lobster came, I just slide it off onto my plate for a kind of surf and turf dinner. My dear wife had two tails. One function that the head waiter served was he would go around and remove the shells from everyone's lobsters (he also did this on shrimp nights as well.) Well worth the $5 recommended tip he got from each of us at the end of the cruise. A treat for the evening's show, The Platters performed. Only Herb Reed remains as one of the originals, and he doesn't solo that much, only signs and emcees. But it was a great performance and walk down memory lane for everyone in our group (over 40). Was tempted to go back for the second show, but went to the Karaoke contest for a while and then got "trapped" in the casino and lost track of time (as well as a few dollars.) Day 6: Oct. 15 - Barbados: arrival - 8:00 a.m.; departure - 5:30 p.m. Today was a cloudy and overcast type of day. I had originally wanted to scuba dive, but that was booked up before I could make up my mind. And after 5 islands in 5 days, we were starting to feel stretched. We always like to check out the town area. The cruise dock is about 1-2 miles from town, and RCCL arranges a shuttle/van service to take you there for $1 (until noon; then I think it goes to $2). You must walk through another mini-mall to get to the outside. Then there was a rather long line waiting for the shuttle service, which is just 10 passenger taxi vans. While we were debating whether to get into the line, a cab driver came up to us and said to follow him, he would take us for a $1 (sounds like the Plague has arrived). He said that the cruise line uses cabs anyway, so he might as well make the dollar per person. When we got into town, the 'Plague of the Caribbean Taxi Driver' was again rampant. We could not even get out of our van because the way was blocked by other taxi drivers wanting to take us, wherever. We escaped and walked through the town area. But it was drizzling on and off, and we decided just to head back and spend the rest of the day by the pool. On these days, the spa often announces specials to fill in openings. My dear wife took advantage and had a manicure and pedicure. I saved her chair by the pool. Some others in our group took the 4x4 Green Monkey Encounter and said it was terrific, monkeys jumping out all over. I had seen the movie "Outbreak" too often to try that one, but apparently no casualties, as everyone showed up for dinner, 50's/60's night. By the way, they have done away with their "Baked Alaska Show" by the waiters. Apparently, some ship had a fire incident, and it was dropped for insurance reasons. They still served it, but no dance through the dining rooms. The evening show by the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers was better than the others earlier in the week. It featured theme songs from movies over the years. Day 7: Oct. 16 - Sea Day Sea days are always some of my favorite days as it allows you to relax, if you want, by the pool. The primary goal is to capture a deck chair before the prime locations are gone. My sister and I were up every morning at 6:30 a.m. to watch our arrival into each port, so it was no biggie to get up soon after that and grab a couple of chairs for our little group. One of us, at least, would hang out while the others breakfasted and arrived. (A pet peeve of mine is the ones who come down and put towels out to reserve chairs and then leave for hours until they finally show up again.) We had a good time in and out of the pool. My dear wife and I tried our hand at the slot machine tournament; I was close to the top ten, but alas...A noteworthy item, we made it through the whole cruise without one session at Bingo! Day 8: Oct. 17 - San Juan: arrival - 4:30 a.m. The disembarking was not as smooth as getting on, unfortunately. They have done away with using the luggage tag colors as departure time slots. You still get colored tags, but they are only used to determine the area of the baggage claim area to look for your bags. Everyone must leave their staterooms by 08:00. You are asked to stay either in Studio B (the ice skating theatre) or in the large Lyric Theatre (where the main shows are seen). Many hung out in the Promenade. If you had flights before 10:30 or 11:00, you were the first to be called (about 8:15), but they announced that you had to have your airline ticket or proof of the early flight. Eventually they announced (at about 09:00) flights earlier than 12:30 p.m., again with proof of your airline ticket. At 09:30 they announced flights earlier than 2:45 p.m. Well, that was a big majority (including us), and the line to get out became quite long. The procedure seemed to be that about 50-75 would be let off at a time to go to the next staging area. There were about 3 staging areas before you got to the actual customs area. The problem was that you would be in line standing still for 15-20 minutes, and then everyone would move up several feet; but in the back, we had no way of knowing why the line wasn't moving. By the time you got to the terminal gangway, several lines had merged which also kept things seemingly moving at a snail's pace. We finally got through customs at about 11:00, so about 1-1/2 hours of standing in line for that. The trip to the airport was pretty quick. But the Spirit Airline counter was backed up. Another hour to get through there. Only a ½ hour for security, so we were at the gate by about 1:00 p.m. for a 2:45 flight. Other tidbits Seeing how widespread the Plague of the Caribbean Taxi Driver is, I would discount any worries about venturing out on your own to do things on the Islands (at least the ones on this cruise). As long as you allow a reasonable amount of time to return, even a complete breakdown could be covered by the next taxi coming down the street, probably 100 feet away. Another point asked about a few times, the pool in the Solarium definitely does not have a roof over it. There are some "barber pole" type appendages that could possibly support a canvas cover of some sort, but I could not find any side anchors that would allow it to be stretched over the entire pool area. And the pools were salt water. The Adventure was in very good shape, save for some well worn carpet and upholstery. Not shabby, but definitely used. Some of the veneer on the desk was wearing down. The screws were coming out of the bathroom door closer. When I called maintenance on the first day, they came right away to fix it, but they were loose again and almost coming out by the end of the cruise. Our cabin attendant never stopped by to introduce herself. We would see a couple of RCCL people in the hallway, but never were sure which one was our attendant. That being said, the cabin was always in top condition, with fresh towels always there, ice in the ice bucket, towel animals every night, etc. How she did that anonymously was a wonder. We finally called her up on the last morning to give her the gratuity envelope and actually introduced us for the first time. I mentioned that most of the passengers were friendly, and she shouldn't be shy about talking to them. On other cruises we have had, the attendants have introduced themselves to us within the first couple of hours on the cruise. We heard at the airport that the Carnival Destiny lost its air conditioning half way through their cruise. I haven't seen any other reference to that, so I don't know if it was lost throughout the ship or just parts of it. However, seeing that most days were in the upper 80's, that would have made for an uncomfortable situation. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2004
We had a rocky start in San Juan. Dock workers strike, and parade for fighter upon arrival. After 6 hours in the airport we finally got to the ship. Check-in was a breeze. However US Airways had lost a bag. The one with the bathing suits ... Read More
We had a rocky start in San Juan. Dock workers strike, and parade for fighter upon arrival. After 6 hours in the airport we finally got to the ship. Check-in was a breeze. However US Airways had lost a bag. The one with the bathing suits of course. We tried to go to first seating dinner at 7:30, and were advised that we were too late. Imagine our surprise after spending 6 hours trapped in the airport. We had to have our first dinner in the Windjammer. Upon arriving at our room we found all of our luggage had arrived. Very nice accommodations. 8th deck w/deck. very convenient to all activities. Oh well time for bed. Day two at sea awesome weather. relaxed. received little goody try from captain to apologize for delay at airport. First seating at dinner very good meal. But iced tea was STRONG. Nice surprise in theatre, Mickey Dolenz from the Monkees and his sister. WOW Day three Aruba. Wife and I went bottom fishing what a neat experience. They fed us what we caught, as well as fillet. Day four Curacao swam w/the dolphins at the aquarium. This was the highlight of our trip. Day five at sea, massage (Oh boy) very relaxing. But would have liked a couples message with my wife, as we were celebrating our 26th anniversary. Iced tea still undrinkable. This was definitely a problem, as I am diabetic, and my selections are limited. Day six St. Maarten. We took water taxi and went to beach close to ship. Then lunch on ship, an SHOPPING for jewelry. Dinner in Portofino AWESOME. Well worth the $$$$$. Iced tea out of a can. Imagine that LOL. Last day St Thomas. Megans Bay (by taxi) nice day. Spent time with dinner companions. Disembarkation was simple. But wait in airport was boring, boring, boring. Around 5 hours again. Oh well i guess u cannot walk home from San Juan. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2004
Try and keep this short and sweet. Myself 42, wife 40, kids 9 and 10. What an awesome time. Ship is spectacular, food was great in all areas. Service was outstanding. Our Balcony room 9654 was a little tight for the 4 of us but ... Read More
Try and keep this short and sweet. Myself 42, wife 40, kids 9 and 10. What an awesome time. Ship is spectacular, food was great in all areas. Service was outstanding. Our Balcony room 9654 was a little tight for the 4 of us but definitely manageable. The balcony was great for catching sunrises and sunsets. Great place to relax and have a drink before dinner or after the kids were in bed. Embarkation: Got our bags at San Juan airport, grabbed a taxi and were on our way. We had our taxi driver stop so we could grab a six pack and some butts. Got to the cruise terminal and holy cow, the line snaked out the door, all the way down the side of the building, around the corner and went on forever. There was a rumor that the computers were down. Glad I grabbed a six pack to officially start the vacation while standing in line. Even though the line was huge, it moved reasonably fast and we got on the ship in about an hour. We did the St. Thomas route and planned on doing beach/snorkeling at each port with our 9 and 10 yr olds. The opinions of the snorkeling spots below are based on us being amateurs, first time for my kids outside of a pool snorkeling. St. Thomas, went to Coki beach. Beach and scenery were beautiful. Water was beautiful, crystal clear, fish everywhere, lots of coral pieces and shell fragments for the little ones to play with near the shoreline. Couple of places to get food and drinks and not too many beach vendors. This was by far out most favorite snorkeling stop of the 5 ports. Fish were in the water just waist deep but if you went over to the right side of the beach there were fish everywhere. Bring a couple of dog biscuits and they will swarm your hand. Don't forget your underwater camera like we did. Taxi from the pier was $25 each way with tip, 2 chairs were $10 for the day, we did not get an umbrella. St. Martin. We were originally going to go to the end of Orient beach where Pedros is because there is supposed to be a small reef area where you can snorkel. Taxi driver talked us into going to Dawn beach, said the snorkeling was better. The water was very cloudy at Dawn beach until you go out about 150 feet, a little far for our young ones. Once you got out there the visibility was a little better but the current was fairly strong and it took a little while to swim back in to shore. Only saw a handful of fish here and there. The beach itself is beautiful surrounded by timeshares and condos. There is a beach bar place with outdoor tables for lunch and drinks, can't remember the name but it looked cool and tropical. An umbrella and 2 chairs was $10 for the day. There was also a small shack to rent snorkel equipment and beach floats. Taxi was $25 with tip from the pier each way. Although it was a beautiful beach I would probably go somewhere else next time for snorkeling. Antigua. This was the only excursion we did. Went to Stingray city. We did the second excursion of the day. It's well organized. They bring you out to a fenced in area about a mile or so from shore. The water in the enclosed area varied from say 3 feet deep to about 10 feet. You get some decent interaction with the stingrays but it's all with the handlers who are guiding you along and pretty much holding them while you touch them. There is a small reef at the far end of the enclosure also where you can see some fish but it was pretty cloudy. Got a few pictures of stingrays underwater but I'm sure they'll end up being just shadows. We talked to some folks who did the first excursion of the day and they said the water was crystal clear so definitely go earlier if you can before the water is churned up. It was pretty fun and I'd do it again. They serve rum punch and regular punch at the end but it's only available for about 30 minutes until the pictures for you to purchase are ready. We did buy 4 pictures on a cd for $60, they were pretty cool. The excursion was $66 per person and they take you on a bus right from the pier. Went back to the pier and found this tropical looking little bar and had a couple of drinks while my daughters got their hair braided ($35 for her whole head, not too bad). St. Lucia. Unfortunately we needed a break from sun and beaches so we decided to just hang on the ship this day, did some of the activities on the ship and went to Johnny Rockets for lunch which was fun. Barbados. We went to Folkstone marine park. At first we felt a little out of place because when we got there it was all locals, the Barbados people are beautiful and very friendly but we almost felt like we were invading their turf. Folkstone doesn't have a very big beach but does have a beach area for swimming, the sitting area is up above the water line as most of the shoreline here is rock except for maybe a 100 foot beach. There are stairs that lead down into the water and another set of stairs that lead down to the beach. The park is setup with picnic tables and there are a couple of vendors selling shirts and stuff. They were also peddling tours in the park $40 per person to swim with the sea turtles, much cheaper than the ship's price. We decided to stay in the park and snorkel. The left side of water area in the park area is all rocks/reef. I never really saw any coral but more like rocks and rock type formations, it could have been coral but looked like rocks to me. Anyway, the water was kind of rough and with the rocks being only one or two feet down, they sent us over to the far right hand side of the enclosed water area to snorkel. Water was a little cloudy but saw a decent variety of fish. Later in the day the water over the left hand side of the reef calmed down and you only had to go 3 or 4 feet deep and there were fish everywhere. Lots of different varieties. The water was still a little rough and there were 2-3 foot swells but at least the breaking waves had stopped. The water here was still a little cloudy but decent enough that you could see what you wanted. On a good clear day this place would be awesome for inexperienced snorkelers like us 'cause once you were in the water all you had to do was put your head under and there were fish. Taxi $25 with tip each way. Carib beers at the little snack shack were $2, definitely worth going to again. Last day was on the ship, kids got to do the rock climbing wall and mini golf. Hung out at the pool and had a few drinks. Our kids didn't participate in the kids program at all but they weren't up our butts all the time either, we'd give them short time frames to go somewhere close or in the pool and then come back and check in with us. Food: We had breakfast in the Windjammer each day, good variety and good quality. Sometimes a little difficult to find a table though. The earlier you go the better. Lunch: We ate lunch off the ship on most days but would make it back toward the tail end of lunch. Always looked great and had a great variety, never really had much to eat on the ship at lunch besides maybe a sandwich or picky type food which was all good. Dinner: We totally enjoyed our dinner each night. Food was great and of comparable quality to what we had on the Carnival Glory in February. Our waiter and assistant were terrific. The head waiter even interacted with our table each night which was something different from our past experiences. The variety of food each night was different and interesting but not bizarre enough that you didn't want it. Entertainment: After being at the beach and swimming all day, the only show we made it to was the ice show, it was great. There was so much to do every night but we were usually tired and in bed by 10pm. Bar Bill: This was a real hotspot on this cruise for me. First day you could buy booze in the shop on board and bring it back to your room. I bought two bottles of rum for $9 per bottle for Parrot Bay and Bacardi orange. They also did charge me $9 PER bottle to bring it back to my room. My wife and I had a few drinks everyday and some nights after the kids were settled down in the room we'd hit the casino or just a bar for some drinks and dancing. Brought our two way radios with us and kept in touch with the kids. Our bill at the end of the cruise was $1100.00, about $200 for gifts the rest for booze and tips and we really didn't drink that much. Fancy drinks like a White Russian with tip were $9, vodka and cranberry were $7 plus tip. So in my opinion booze is very expensive. We only actually made one drink from the rum that I bought the first night, one of the bottles never even got opened. Disembarkation: They have everyone go to either the Blue Moon or Lyric Theatre to get ready to leave the ship. They tell you to be there at 8 but don't make announcements until 8:30. Once we were cleared by immigration at 8:30, they announced anyone with flights leaving up to 12:00 can get off. About 20 minutes later the next group goes, I think it was 12:00 to 2:00 flights. People who were not flying were asked to wait until all the flying passengers were off the ship. We were off in the first group. A small tip-- Wait at the top of the stairs to the Lyric theater, when they call your group, get in the line to the left to get off the ship. Once off the ships you have to go to customs, stay to the lines on the right if possible. We got shuffled to the line on the left where there was only one person working. There were 3 people working the line on the right which moved 10 times faster than our line it seemed. Took us about 45 minutes to get through customs. Once through customs, went into the warehouse and miraculously found our bags in just a couple of minutes. Got our bags, went outside, got a taxi and were off to the airport (about $25 with tip depending on how many bags). Got to the airport about 9:30, it was pretty quiet. Got our bags checked with USAir, we were 5th in line, went to security, about 10th in line, got through that and were at our gate at 9:50. About 30 minutes later all hell broke loose, security line was hundreds of people long and the check-in counters were jammed with long lines. Must be once all the busses arrive. So even though we had a couple of hours to kill, it was worth getting there early just to not have the long line stress levels. There were a few gift shops and snack places in the terminal so at least you could do something. There was a bar in the terminal but it didn't open until 11:00 and by twelve the line was out the door so go early if you want a drink. Our flight got delayed twice and had three gate changes so make sure you keep up with what's going on with your flight if you can. Overall: Terrific time, beautiful ship, Caribbean was smooth as glass, hardly ever felt the ship move. AC in the room worked great. Water was always a brownish color though but I drank it anyway. We loved being able to check out the different ports but it leaves you tired after 2 or 3 days. I remember reading about public buses and stuff to get you around on the islands but we never had enough knowledge or felt comfortable enough to use them so ended up using taxis. We probably spent about $100-$150 per day by the time we were done with taxis, beach chairs, gifts, couple of drinks and lunch or snacks. If I could go on this itinerary again I would say yes faster than you could get the question out of your mouth. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2004
Southern Caribbean Cruise 10-11-04 Royal Caribbean Cruise Line October 3, 2004 6th cruise (5th with RCCL) Crown and Anchor Member Adventure of the Seas Sailing from Puerto Rico For the first time, we stayed at an AmeriSuites hotel and ... Read More
Southern Caribbean Cruise 10-11-04 Royal Caribbean Cruise Line October 3, 2004 6th cruise (5th with RCCL) Crown and Anchor Member Adventure of the Seas Sailing from Puerto Rico For the first time, we stayed at an AmeriSuites hotel and took advantage of the sleep, fly, park program that they offered. It was great. You are going to have to spend money to park your car anyway at the airport, so you might as well spend that money on a room and park for free for the week. They transported us to the airport the next morning right by the curb of American Airline. We were not as tired at the end of the day. The first day can be very long. The flights were probably as good as they could be with one exception. My husband and I both had window seats. On one flight he was to be up one or two rows in front of me. A small child had taken his seat so the attendant put him in an aisle seat four rows up in front of me. My window seat had no bargaining power. I tried. On the next flight, we had a three-hour lay over in Miami (not much fun). Again, we both had window seats. Again our seats had no bargaining power. We both tried to exchange seats with other people. He was on one side of the plane and I was on the other side seven seats away and two aisles. I am not sure what was up with the window seat "thing," but we could have cared less about the window seats. It would have been nicer to have been sitting together. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL) made all of our reservations. I am sure that we did not request window seats. Once we arrived in Puerto Rico (PR), this is where we become Decrowned & Unanchored. (a spoof from the so called Crown and Anchor Society that we belong to with RCCL). We got our luggage and found the RCCL people waiting for us and all the others. Only one catch. It is now 3:30- 4:00 and the ship, Adventure of the Seas (AOTS) still has its passengers on board from the previous cruise. RCCL tells all of us that it may be 8:00 pm before we can board. They are not really sure of everything that is going on back at the pier. It is obvious that they are anxious over the entire situation. Needless to say there were a lot of unhappy campers. There were a lot of questions asked and RCCL couldn't really answer all of them. RCCL just kept saying that there was a strike at the pier and the previous passengers could not leave the ship and therefore we could not board. Apparently some hotel in town had over two thousand people waiting in a ballroom to board just like us. The hotel was full, so we had to wait at the airport. Apparently the pier had all of the people it could handle waiting just like us. We questioned if we could take a taxi. We were told that the taxis were on strike. We were told that if we left the airport, that we would not be allowed back in. We were told the airport was not cooperating with RCCL, either. We only had pretzels all day and were hungry. Finally, after so many people had complained for so long RCCL went and got us some food. We apparently could not get it for ourselves, they had to get it for us. RCCL took four orders at a time. We got to choose from hot dogs, nachos, and drink. And yes, we had to pay for it. When they brought the food back, of course the hot dogs were not ready so only half of our order got filled. By the time RCCL was working on the 3rd to 4th order, they said we could go. The time is now 6:30 pm. It was kind of them to bring us food. Thanks Sacha! (RCCL employee). The one thing that everyone noticed was that Carnival and Princess was not having the same problem. We spoke to several of those employees at the airport and they didn't know what we were talking about. They were not having any problems getting their cruisers off of the ship and on the ship. It was apparent that it was an RCCL problem only. We were told a variety of things; 1) some boxer in town had won a fight and everyone was partying, 2) taxis were on strike, 3) teamsters strike at the pier and so on. It would be nice to know the truth. We were told that most of the passengers on the previous cruise had missed their flights and that RCCL was having to make new reservations for everyone. RCCL kept saying "not to worry, we are taking care of it". Once we got to the pier what appeared to be a major mess actually was not as bad as it could have been. We were only about 30 minutes getting through the lines and on our way to the ship. It was the first time that we had our arrival photo taken in the dark. Most people behaved rather well trying to not cut lines and go as quickly as possible having their documents out. Most were trying to be kind in a difficult situation. On Monday, I had left my robe and pajamas on the bed. When we came back to the room, they were not to be found. I looked around, under, and behind everything. I finally called the attendant. He came in and looked also. He then called someone (the person that had actually done our room; not him). Of course the conversation was not in English. Once off of the phone, he went around the bed on the balcony side reached down behind the nightstand between the wall and balcony curtain and brought up my robe and pajamas. I just stood there with my mouth open! How could that have happened? I was speechless. It was Tuesday night that we got our first mints- yeah! Our pool towels were taken away and not replaced on Monday after our day at sea. We had to sign for towels poolside just to have towels the next day. The towels reappeared then the next day. On Monday, I asked for the drink special advertised at $5.95 in the compass and was charged $10.29. They were to correct the charge. I am still waiting. We had always been told that muster had to be done the first day. It was required before the ship could go out to sea or so many miles away from port. Just to let you know, we did not do muster until 10:30 the next morning. What if something had happened that night? I was amazed. I honestly think that the atmosphere was not conducive to muster on Sunday anyway after all the problems with just getting on board. There were a lot of unhappy people with a lot of talking going on. I am still amazed that muster was really put off until the next morning. Right after the muster, the cruise director announced that ice show tickets were available NOW. Come and get your ticket NOW. Do you know how many people were pushing and shoving to get those tickets? It was total chaos. Why did he choose that time to make such an announcement? Maybe he wanted us to NOT forget the day before too quickly! We scheduled a bike ride exploration for Tuesday on Aruba. It was around 3:30 pm on Monday that we got a call stating that it had been cancelled. RCCL stated that they had just received a notice that the exploration had been cancelled. Funny thing though, an envelope with a letter stating the cancellation had been delivered much earlier that morning. Now if they had JUST received a notice, who knew hours earlier that morning and took the time to type up a letter and get it to our room? The truth is much easier to deal with! Makes you wonder if the exploration was ever really available in the first place. Humm-mm-mm. The dinner menu one night had listed Rib Eye. I love rib eye steaks. What you order and what you get are sometimes different. I got prime rib. How does one get Rib Eye and Prime Rib mixed up? I am not a meat cutter but I know when I go to a restaurant and order Rib Eye I don't usually get Prime Rib. Prime Rib was available one other night and it was listed as Prime Rib. Go figure. The Beef Tip was excellent on the one night. It melted in my mouth. It was great! Room Service was good. Food was good. Service was timely. Good job. We are big coffee drinkers in the morning so we learned to order two coffees. The cream was really special for me. Thanks. This was our first cruise with a balcony. It would be nice if RCCL could put all the smokers on one side or at the back. Not everyone enjoys cigar and cigarette smoke, especially the stinky cigar smoke. We could not go out on the balcony one night as the gentleman one deck down and one room over really enjoyed his cigar. The wind blew his smoke right up to us. I hope he enjoyed his cigar at our cost of not getting to enjoy our balcony. He ruined our night. He was smoking one other time, but the smoke was not blowing up to us. One day we went to the solarium. It is so nice. We were in the pool. We had placed our shoes at the side. When we were finished, my husband's shoes were gone. We found them later off to the side of the ship. A little annoying! We had asked for a cheese tray to be at our table for dinner. We are still waiting for the first tray. Yes, we could have asked again, but after a while; it is just not worth repeating. We had no problem getting a cheese tray each night on the Majesty. Thanks Majesty. The toilet in our room would not flush on two different days. The toilets in other areas on the ship were not flushing either. The one ladies room on either 4th or 5th, I forget, was totally disgusting. They apparently had already closed two stalls as the door showed occupied and no one was in either of them. That left one stall open and guess what? You are right- it didn't flush either. Why would they close some and not all? We were late for dinner as I had to go back to my room to use the bathroom. Luckily, ours was working. We had never had that problem before. It is hard to believe that you are on a 500 million dollar ship and the toilets won't flush. The water is another issue. Our water for the entire week was yellow. Finally the last day, I took a photo of a wash cloth to show the color of the water. In the morning when you first turned on the water in the sink it would stain the cloth. I am not joking. I will enclose photos if I can to show you. Some other cruisers were saying the same thing about their rooms. Those traveling above the 7th floor didn't seem to have the problem as badly. I used the laundry service for the first time. I needed my gown pressed for one of the formal nights. The service was excellent. My gown was pressed very nicely and only cost $4.00. Thanks. RCCL really took care of me on that. One night my husband and other table guest ordered extra lobster. They got it without any problems. Head server was more than glad to get it for them. We were second dining guests. We also ordered extras on other nights and had no problems getting anything that we wanted. Now, drinks were a different thing. The first and second nights we were never asked if we wanted anything else to drink. Water was an automatic. Tea was different. Finally the third night we were asked re: drink orders and didn't have any other problems. The one guest liked beer. I heard him say he had waited an hour and still hadn't seen his second beer. To get seconds on drinks you had to ask at least once or twice and wait awhile. They really wanted to push the wine. Apparently the head servers were in charge of the wine as they apparently had done away with the wine stewards (this is what we were told by RCCL). We were also glad that the captain only came to dinner once for the entire week. Our service was not so great the night he was there. Not sure why!! Our head server offered choices and he was usually right. He had good taste. He also gave us tips re: the ports each night to prepare us for the next day. We got more information from him then anyone re: just stuff in general about taxi fares, where to go, what to shop for and not shop for, etc. He had a lot of good information. The assistant server was okay. No one at the table could understand anything that he said. He just mumbled and muttered all the time. It is funny how we can still remember our very first head server and assistant server from our very first cruise. LeeAnn and Amin were great. I might remember this waiter in years to come. There was just something special about LeeAnn and Amin. Maybe because it was our first cruise. (Servers names intentionally left out.) Another thing that I noticed about service on the ship-- We stood in line for the service desk. It is roped off and states to enter here and exit here. We were about the 4th people back to get waited on. The line was moving well. We were up to the 2nd people to be waited on and a group of 4-5 came right up to one of the clerks without waiting in any lines and believe it or not, the clerk waited on them. How rude. Maybe not so much rude for the group of 4-5 people as it could have been a language issue to understand where to go or what to do; but major rude for the clerk to proceed to wait on them instead of directing them to the line like everyone else. Also, at the coffee cafe a lady was placing an order for pizza. She was getting food for several. There was hardly any pizza out. The trays were about empty. The server found more pizza to meet the order. The lady continued to place orders for sandwiches and desserts. The server stopped serving the lady and started to clean up the empty pizza trays and restock the area and finally as in a theatrical production acted like she didn't know that the lady was still standing there waiting to be served. The lady and I both were taken back by the server's intentional attitude of not serving the customer. Could the cleaning up and restocking been done after completing the service to the one customer? The server could have easily asked me to wait, as I was next in line. Very rude! At one port we were right by the Golden Princess. I stood in amazement one morning watching this lady prepare the breakfast table on the balcony. There was enough room on the table for 2 coffee containers, 2 plates, 2 coffee cups, and tableware. There were four chairs on the balcony. Two were large with cushions that appeared to recline. Two chairs were just regular sitting chairs. There appeared to be three tables, two small and one large. Our balcony had two sitting chairs without cushions. The table would hold service for one. We both ate with our plates in our laps, our coffee cups on the floor, our juice glasses on the side rail by the window. We put the coffee pots on the floor along with the sugar container and cream. The plate covers were also put on the floor. The table was used to hold the tray that had the fruit, jellies, pastries, etc. Do you get the picture? It is not a good idea to get room service if you aren't willing to eat it like you are on a picnic. The table needs to be larger. Speaking of our balcony. I got a drink during the week. The day we left the ship, the glass from that drink at least 3 days prior was still on the deck with the straw still in the glass. HUM -mm-mm. The ship in general appeared to be dirty. The buttons for the elevators were consistently filthy. Speaking of elevators- the elevators would be full and believe it or not at the next stop 2 or 3 would manage to get on. You would think that there wasn't going to be another elevator all day with the way some people insisted that they just had to get on just because the doors opened. There should be some sort of an alarm. One man loudly stated, " We are already packed in here like sardines". It didn't matter. Of course the others probably didn't speak English at that moment in their life. St. Thomas and Meagan's Bay- the beach is nice. Too bad that the locals decided to play their boom box the day we were there. I don't mind music, even loud music; but that constant boom, boom, boom that vibrates your body is more than I can take. I stood it for two hours. I couldn't take it any longer. We left. We had spent $12.00 to get to the beach, $6.00 to get in, $11.00 to rent a chair and mat (not counting the deposit), and $8.00 for pizza and drink. Now don't forget to add in another $12.00 to get back to the ship. Grand total is $39.00 for two hours. We asked one of the bar ladies about the noise. Her first comment was yeah it is annoying. It is just what the locals like to do. When we went into the shop to get our deposit back for the chair and mat rental, my husband explained to them re: the boom, boom, boom. He explained that we would have like to stayed longer, but couldn't tolerate the vibrating boom, boom, boom. The lady in the shop just looked at us. For some reason, no one seemed to care what we thought. RCCL staff would ask things like-" are you enjoying yourselves" and "are you having a good time"? We would start to explain some of the things that just seem to not be of standard for RCCL and they would totally ignore our statements. I actually told one lady in the casino that this was probably the worst trip that I had ever been on. She had absolutely no comment at all. She changed the subject quickly. If RCCL doesn't want to know, then they really shouldn't ask. I could handle that better. My husband and I both thought that the food in the Windjammer was not like it use to be. Hot dogs with saukraut and hamburgers were the main items. I remember a much better variety in years past. The Crown and Anchor coupon book had less appeal to me this year as well. The booklet states; "savings as big as the adventure you'll find on every cruise". On the inside cover there is a statement re: " it's also our way at RCI of showing you how much we appreciate your loyalty". Let me tell you about some of the coupons- 1) 10% off of one spa or salon service, 2) one single jackpot bingo card- but note that it can't be used at the jackpot (does that make sense), 3) wine tasting (my husband doesn't drink), 4) buy $10.00 of slots and get $2.00 free, 5) 5% off of RCCL logo merchandise, 6) wine discount of 10% (only for wine under $50.00) after you buy one bottle, and 7) Ben and Jerry's 25% off after you buy one and some others re: coffee, photos. Someone else reading this might help my memory, but I believe that in years past the gift shop coupon was for 10% on any merchandise from the gift shop, not just RCCL logo mdse. Correct me if I am wrong. Correct me on this as well, please. I asked some other cruisers why there was a special night just for "Latin". There was a Latin parade and some special Latin performance in one of the lounges. I didn't remember any of this from before. I was told that since we left from PR that RCCL offers some big savings to the people of PR if the ship is not full. One couple told us that the tickets on Saturday sold for $250.00. I believe that the cruise director told us that over 600 cruisers on board were from PR. That is good for them. I am glad that they got the opportunity to save. I paid $3,048.30 for the two of us. Did I get a special parade or special entertainment in a lounge? NO! One night I went down to the photo gallery to see our photos. I looked for about 10-15 minutes and finally asked one of the staff if all of the photos were out. They assured me that all photos were out. I explained that I had been looking and could not find any of mine. I was told to just keep looking. After another 10 minutes, I went to another RCCL employee and asked the same question and got the same answer. At this point I was getting a little upset. I looked again for another few minutes. I went back to the last RCCL employee again and asked if they could find the negatives, as the photos were not anywhere to be found. He sighed did an eye roll and followed me. I explained that I had put all of our photos together the day before and that they were now nowhere to be found. I showed him the wall where I had last left them. He smiled (smirked) and proceeded to pull out a wall that had been shut with all of our photos right where I had left them. I was furious! If the first employee had helped me a little more, it would have saved me a lot of frustration. Yes the photos were out, but how was I to know that I should have unlocked the door that held our photos from behind? That was not my job. I wonder how many others had looked for their photos? The wall was full of photos on two sides after the door was opened. Hum-mm-mm. On the last day while going through customs, they had us in groups. So many were allowed downstairs to form a line to get through customs. If you are familiar with this process you will understand how everyone goes as quickly as possible to get this job done and over with. Now visualize two escalators full of people and being routed in 5-6 different directions. Now visualize the room full and people still coming down the escalators with no place to go. Got the picture. It was about to be a trampling accident waiting to happen. RCCL kept loudly saying, don't stop at the bottom of the escalators, keep moving. What RCCL didn't realize is just where were the people supposed to go? The room was packed. They had no emergency button to push to stop the escalators. It was a bit scary just watching the people running into each other let alone being one of them. Also, our line was not moving at all. An elderly couple was at the front of the line and was just not fast enough to get a running start before someone from another line jumped in front of them. People were coming over from three rows away to get to the agent intended for our line. Finally someone noticed what was going on and went up to the man and woman and verbally encouraged them to move! They were so worried about cutting line and getting in front of someone. How kind of them. RCCL should have people down there doing some coordination with who goes where and when. One of the couples at our table felt that the Captain was not personable. It really didn't matter to me, but apparently it did to others. They stated that on other cruises the Captain would walk around meeting and greeting people on the ship. He made himself visible to the public. This Captain certainly did not. Honestly, he was probably afraid to. We did receive a plate with a few goodies on it, a postcard of the ship, and a card taking the opportunity to thank us for our patience and understanding with the events that occurred on boarding day. RCCL regretted that the boarding process was not up to their standards and understands that the labor dispute that arose unexpectedly on Sunday complicated our arrival onboard and may had impacted the beginning of our vacation experience. RCCL hoped that we would enjoy the rest of our cruise. At the airport in PR, the gentleman was very kind to fix our previous seating problem and got us seats together for both flights home. Thanks! Well to make this long story short, I guess one could say that it was the combination of a lot of little things that just kept going on and on all week that really bothers the both of us. The ordeal at the airport was unbelievable. Why wasn't Carnival and Princess affected? The inconsistencies that we got as to what the real problem was is a little puzzling as well. I have invested a lot of money with Royal Caribbean. We both have full time jobs and work hard. We take one vacation, one week off for the entire year and I have to say, this past week was not at all what I envisioned. Yellow water and non-functioning toilets on a 500 million dollar ship is totally ridiculous. We usually book our next cruise prior to leaving the ship. This is the first year of three that we did not. I am not sure what loyalty I will have with RCCL. I have encouraged many of my friends and family members to use RCCL and I know that many have. Now I have to take a serious look as to what I will do in the future. I am afraid that I am currently Decrowned and Unanchored with the Crown and Anchor Society of RCCL. The yearly vacations were something that I looked forward to all year. I have been "glowing" over the excitement of this cruise and now I just feel numb. What do I say when my co-workers (approx. 100 men and women) and my husband's co-workers (approx. 30 men and women) ask us how was our vacation? Do we tell them the truth? Do we give RCCL an exception this time? What if our friends go on a cruise and experience what we did. I would feel somewhat responsible. I heard several first time cruisers say that they probably would not go on another cruise. I am not sure how royal the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line is now. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
This was our 3rd RCI cruise. This was the most disappointing cruise ever. Normally our favorite place on RCI cruises is the Schooner Bar, which on this ship, was empty every night. Not sure if it was because the piano player wasn't ... Read More
This was our 3rd RCI cruise. This was the most disappointing cruise ever. Normally our favorite place on RCI cruises is the Schooner Bar, which on this ship, was empty every night. Not sure if it was because the piano player wasn't very good, or if the ship cliental didn't prefer that. The Latin bar was the most popular. RCI employees did say that the Schooner Bar on this ship was not as popular as it is on other ships. I will have to agree. Our favorite was on the Mariner (piano player was outstanding). Talked to several RCI employees, all seem to be new to RCI. Felt like this was the training ship for RCI. Service wasn't great. Although, our stateroom attendant was awesome! RCI employees also confirmed that the cruise is heavily discounted to the local Puerto Ricans. Our ship was 80/20. We definitely felt in the minority. I hate to say it, but people on this ship give Puerto Rico a bad name. The men were the most classless people I have ever seen. Several times, my daughter felt violated by their stares and comments. My daughter usually hits the disco and meets people her own age to hang out with on the rest of the cruise. However, this time she didn't feel comfortable out on her own. Food was well below average. We have sailed on the Explorer and the Mariner before and the food was outstanding. Talked with people that were sailing on the Golden Princess. They said their cruise was full of local Puerto Ricans as well. I will sail with RCI again out of another port. If I ever want to do another Southern cruise out of Puerto Rico, I will make sure we get with a large group of people. Did not hit any shows, except the Ice Show. The Ice Show was great. The Love & Marriage & Quest were great as well. Comments from other passengers were that the production shows were not up to par. The best thing about this cruise was we got plenty of rest. We also found out when we got there we had been upgraded to a balcony cabin. This is where our stateroom attendant was at his best. All of our luggage had been tagged for our original room. We told him, and within 30 mins he had our luggage in our room. The downfall is we asked the gentleman at check in what we need to do about our luggage. He directed us to another line, and when we finally got thru the line, we were told to talk with our stateroom attendant. Recommend a shore excursion the day of disembarkation. You get off the ship quicker, and very few people in search of their luggage at the same time. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
Let me begin by giving you a little background. I am 43 years old and this was my 12th cruise (4th with RCI). DW (40) and I did this one alone. Since this is my review, most of the observations will be from my perspective, so you will find ... Read More
Let me begin by giving you a little background. I am 43 years old and this was my 12th cruise (4th with RCI). DW (40) and I did this one alone. Since this is my review, most of the observations will be from my perspective, so you will find me bouncing between we and I in the details that follow. We had early seating (6:00) in the Mozart dining room at a table for 2. I am one of the few (on this board) who choose to fly in on the day the cruise sails. Out of 12 cruises, I have only gone in early twice (New Orleans & Hawaii) for pre cruise tours and activities. My cruise began on Saturday, November 20 at 6:00 p.m., as DW and I drove to Philadelphia for our flights to San Juan. Went to Geno's Steaks for a REAL Philly Cheese steak (overrated). We stayed in the Microtel Hotel and took advantage of their stay and park program. I did arrange my own air, and I chose PHL over BWI and saved $200 per person. We had very short lines for check-in and security. The plane left at 7:00 and we arrived at SJU ground transportation at about 11:30 a.m. We were on our way (via taxi--$21.50 for 2) to the ship by 11:40 a.m. We arrived at the Port of San Juan around 12:15 (a lot of traffic around the port). The check-in line was short, and check-in took about 10 minutes. Unfortunately, they were still disembarking so we were directed to the chairs for Suites and C & A Diamond/Platinum members. We were in the front row! Had to wait about 45 minutes before they started boarding. DW and I were the 2nd and 3rd ones on the ship! I chose a JS cabin (1312). This room is located on the beginning of the hump (starboard) deck 10, between 2 suites. The balcony is very private, and for the first time (because of its location) I didn't have to leave my balcony for smoking neighbors. My only complaint here is that the balcony is very narrow (see pictures on webshots). After we dropped off our carry-ons, went to the Windjammer for lunch. After lunch, we explored the ship. Adventure of the Seas is a beautiful ship, but some of the deck lounge chairs were downright disgusting. If they can't be cleaned, they should be replaced. The shows The welcome aboard show was a real clunker. The juggler was pretty bad, but the comedian was OK. Then we got highlights of Velvet Rope and Can't Stop The Rock. For me, they were low lights, and I didn't bother going to any of the shows. I did go to the Quest Game, which is always a blast. I saw the Love & Marriage show on RC-TV. It was really funny too—I'm sorry I missed it in person. The Food The food was great. It was always hot (very) when it arrived at our table. Our headwaiter was Lloyd, and his assistant was Steven. At the first dinner, I asked for lemonade, and we had it the rest of the cruise w/o having to ask. For some reason, there was a shortage of lemonade, so Steven arranged to get syrup from one of the bars. He made the lemonade for us each night. The formal nights were Monday and Thursday. I only had dinner in the dining room, preferring to have breakfast & lunch at the buffet. The buffet food was good. We also used our free coupon to try Johnny Rockets, and it was good also. It seems that the wait staff is a bit over worked. While our service was good, (food always hot) I have NEVER seen a headwaiter have to pitch in and help so much. This headwaiter actually earned his tip. My only complaint about the Windjammer is that if you go during prime time, forget about finding a place to sit. The Ports Since this was our third southern Caribbean cruise, my goal was to relax and enjoy the beaches. In Aruba, we went to Palm Beach and spent the day there. It was not crowded, but we had to deal with several passing showers. In Curacao, we just walked around the town and shopped (since we had passing showers here too, DW wasn't about to let her hair get messed up—so no more beaches). In St. Maarten, we shopped (both DW and I purchased new watches). We also went to Lucky Too gift shop where we purchased alcohol. This place has the best prices (see the picture—St. Maarten 11 on webshots). After shopping, we returned to the ship to drop of our bags, and then hit the island again. Then it happened—we took a tour of the Divi Resort. In St. Thomas, we went shopping again. This was the only day that it didn't rain!! Disembarkation What a sharp contrast to what I experienced on Carnival! It may be the fact that I chose to take a RCI San Juan (Old San Juan and Bacardi) tour, so we were the second group off the ship. We were cleared to leave the ship at 8:25 a.m., had our luggage by 8:40, and were on the tour bus by 8:45. If you have a late flight, I highly recommend taking an RCI tour in San Juan. The tour left at 9:10 a.m. and we arrived at the airport at 1:30 p.m. There was a short line to check in at American, and then it was off to the AA Admiral's club. Purchased a Day pass to the Admiral's club ($75 for 2) where there were comfortable lounge chairs, light refreshments and TVs (so I could watch the football game). DW thought $75 was a lot to pay, but quickly changed her mind when she saw how crowded the gate area was when we went to board the plane. I also had a T Mobile hotspot day pass, ($9.99) so I could surf the web while waiting in the Admiral's club. In conclusion Like all my cruises, this was very enjoyable and relaxing. For those who worry about cruising over a holiday, I did not see a lot of unruly children. In fact, most of the children I encountered were well behaved. Also, there have been a lot of negative reviews regarding the number of Puerto Rican citizens on ships out of San Juan. My observation was that there was a few that were loud and obnoxious, and some were rude, (not moving out of the way, sitting on stairwells) but that didn't deter me from my ultimate goal—having a nice relaxing vacation. I was disappointed that no Christmas decorations went up during the week. The all-important questions are: · Will I cruise over Thanksgiving again? Absolutely! Booked Serenade of the Seas for Thanksgiving 2005. · Will I cruise RCI again? Heck Yeah! I should attain Diamond status after the Serenade cruise, then I'll try Celebrity and Princess. · Remember; take this review with a grain of salt. Your cruise is what YOU make of it. What you have read are my personal views and opinions, which will help you when you cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
11/12/04 - Friday My friend Sandra flew into Orlando from Colorado. Picked her up from the airport at 5:30 p.m. and met my mom, dad, best friend Mary and her husband Barry for dinner. Went home and to catch up with Sandra, relax for a few ... Read More
11/12/04 - Friday My friend Sandra flew into Orlando from Colorado. Picked her up from the airport at 5:30 p.m. and met my mom, dad, best friend Mary and her husband Barry for dinner. Went home and to catch up with Sandra, relax for a few hours and headed to bed. 11/13/04 - Saturday Up early and were at a local restaurant for breakfast with my mom and dad by 8:00 a.m. Headed to my parents to meet our car service that was taking us to the airport. We flew out of Orlando International Airport. They arrived before 9:00 a.m., scheduled to be there at 9:15 a.m. Packed up the van and off we went to the airport. Our flight was on Spirit Airlines at 12:05 p.m. We arrived at the airport before 10:00 a.m. Line to check in was not long at all. Changed our seats to an exit row for more legroom. Security wasn't bad either. We were through in about half an hour and on our way to the gate. Grabbed some coffee and found some seats to wait for our flight. We boarded around 11:40 a.m. Were off the ground on time. Arrived in San Juan at 4:00 p.m. AST. We were met by a transportation company who was waiting for us at baggage. We grabbed our bags, then a porter and loaded into a minibus to head to the Embassy Suites Hotel & Casino. The hotel was very nice. When we arrived Bobby was standing outside waiting for us. Check in went without a hitch. We had a 2-bedroom suite. Which consisted of a king suite with a living room and an adjoining room with 2 queen beds and another bathroom. With 4 people this was the best way to go since 3 of us were women. Met the Cruise Critic gang for drinks at happy hour the hotel holds from 5:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. every evening. We had a great time meeting everyone and getting to know each other. Ron was supposed to land at 2:20 p.m., prior to our arrival, but because of delays due to snow in Rhode Island, he did not make it to San Juan until 11:30 p.m. That is another book all itself, and will let Bobby elaborate on this in his review. After drinks we all went to Outback Steakhouse for dinner. We had a reservation for 7:00 p.m. There were 18 of us. The restaurant was kind enough to hold space for our large group. I had talked to them a week prior to arrange this. Dinner was a lot of fun. The food was great and we all left full. Went to the casino for a little bit to talk and hang out for a little while. All retired pretty early. I stayed up with Bobby to go pick up Ron at 11:30 p.m. His luggage did not make it to San Juan with him. Another long story. Grabbed a taxi back to the hotel and said good night. We were all going to meet for breakfast at 8:30 the next morning. 11/14/04 - Sunday Day of departure. We all met for breakfast at 8:30-9:00 a.m. Enjoyed sitting with everyone and chatting over breakfast. The Embassy does a great spread for breakfast that includes made to order omelets, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, hot cereal, pastries, etc. After breakfast we went to pack up and take our bags downstairs to meet the transportation company that was taking us to the pier at 11:00 a.m. There were on time and we were off for the pier by 11:00 a.m. The line at the pier was pretty long, but went really fast. We were checked in in no time. Since Ron's luggage didn't make it to San Juan Bobby, Ron and I headed to the mall to get Ron some clothes for the trip. Bobby had airline insurance that allowed him to go shopping for Ron on them. We found tons of stuff for Ron and had fun shopping. Were back at the pier and on board by 3:00 p.m. I was in aft cabin 9390 (corner aft). Size of the room was the same as a normal balcony cabin. Our balcony was larger than a normal balcony, but was triangle in shape. I loved the balcony but would rather have had 9392, which was a huge balcony. We met Sandra and headed to the Windjammer for lunch. Took a tour of the spa and gym. Bobby booked a facial and Sandra booked a full body treatment for our first day at sea, Monday. At 5:00 p.m. we met the Cruise Critic group for the first time at the Solarium Pool. Finally nice to put faces to the screen names after talking for about a year. We mingled for an hour with everyone and headed back to the cabin to see if our luggage had arrived. To our amazement it had. I unpacked and relaxed until the muster drill at 8:30. Muster drill was short and sweet as usual. Headed back to the cabin to return the life vests and head to dinner at 9:00 p.m. We had late seating and the first night was at 9:00 p.m. and all other nights were at 8:30 p.m. Late seating worked out great. Dress for dinner was casual. For dinner I had the onion tart, tomato soup, spinach salad, Cod, ice cream and Fondue. We had a table 482 on deck 4. Table for 8, which was our immediate group. Our waiter was Kibwe she was from Trinidad & Tobago and our assistant waiter was Cesar. They were both great. After dinner was the Welcome Aboard Show. Was ok, nothing spectacular. The entertainment on the AOS was not as good as he shows we experienced on the Voyager last year. After the show we went to the casino for some drinks and to watch Bobby play craps. Were in bed by midnight. 11/15/04 - Monday Day at sea. Today was Sandra's birthday. Had breakfast delivered to the cabin. Myself, Bobby, Sandra and Ron ate together on Bobby's balcony. He had a huge balcony. Went to the pool for a few hours. Saw Tom and Chris at the pool. Chris and Tom volunteered for a ship shape dance on the pool deck. Tom was so cute with his blow up duck. Was a nice day, but not enough sun. At noon we headed to the Windjammer for lunch. Food was good, not very hot though. After lunch we went back to our cabins for a nap. Our Meet & Mingle party was tonight at 5:00 p.m. We all met around 4:30 p.m. so we could have enough time to mingle before those who had early seating had to leave. The party was held in the Blue Moon Lounge on deck 14. RCI served iced tea, lemonade and finger foods. They also gave everyone ID holders and a Cruise Critic pin. After the party I went to the Promenade to shop with Ron and look around. We found the helicopter pad. It was a nice night outside, not breezy at all which was very surprising since we were at the very front of the ship. Tonight was the first formal night. Everyone was dressed to the nines and looked great. I had Escargot, Caesar Salad, Lobster Bisque, Beef Tenderloin, Salmon and Grand Marnier SoufflE. We all had after dinner shots (YUMMY). Went to the Headliner Show after dinner. Not very good in my opinion, but that is ok. Off to the casino for a bit for a drink and minimal gambling. Headed to the Cafe Promenade for coffee and then went to bed around 1:30 a.m. 11/16/04 - Tuesday - Aruba. Today we pulled into Aruba and it was raining. We weren't sure if our excursion would still happen or not. Went to breakfast in the dining room at 7:30 a.m. Eggs Benedict and salmon plate (YUMMY). We were off the ship by 8:45 a,m, for our jeep tour with ABC Jeep Tours. Ten of us went, the 8 from our group and Tim & Nikki joined us from Cruise Critic. The tour was pretty cool. Very bumpy and rough at points, especially the road if you can call it that to the Natural Pool. We saw the natural bridge, stacked rocks, ostrich farm (hilarious) and the natural pool. Weren't able to walk down to the natural pool for snorkeling due to rough seas and it being closed. The ride back down was just as scary as the ride up. Thank you Tim for doing the driving. You were amazing. Stopped at a local restaurant for lunch that was included in the tour. We had chicken, rice, French fries and salad. Was pretty good. The tour operator took us back to the pier and we did a short amount of shopping. Was able to pick up a magnet, t-shirt and some sand in bottles for work gifts. Tonight we were dining in Portofino. There were 14 of us for dinner. We had reservations for 7:00 p.m. They were able to give us 2 tables next to each other. The atmosphere was great, as well as the food. Well worth the $20 extra per person. I had the goat cheese soufflE, seafood soup, mushroom pasta, halibut and Tiramisu. Tonight's show was the Love & Marriage show. Boy was it hilarious. Laughed a lot. Went to the casino after the show again for a cocktail and some gambling. Bobby usually does very well with playing Craps. Were back in the cabin and in bed by midnight. 11/17/04 - Wednesday - Curacao. Docked around 8:00 a.m. Raining outside again. Slept in until 8:00 a.m. Met for breakfast in the Windjammer. We were supposed to go to the all-inclusive resort, Breezes, today. But with the weather so crappy we decided not to. Roamed around the ship for a while and had a Latte at the Cafe Promenade. Went back to the cabin to relax for a little bit and wait for the rain to stop. Hooray the rain finally stopped and were able to venture out into town for some shopping. A lot of vendors on the street that heads to the floating bridge which you walk over to get into town. I bought 2 wind chimes a magnet and a large bag. Saw Mercy and Michael at a local pub and sat and chatted with them for a while. Renee mustered up the guts to have her picture taken with 3 iguanas. One on each shoulder and one on her head. What a face, the picture is priceless LOL. Got to see the floating bridge open to let some boats through. Headed back to the ship around 3:00 p.m. for some lunch at the Windjammer. After lunch I went to the gym with Ron, Sandra and my mom. Did the treadmill and bike for a half hour. Was a good workout. Then sat in the large hot tub for about 15 minutes to relax and sooth the muscles. After the workout it was time to start getting ready for dinner. The show tonight was Velvet Rope and was at 7:00 p.m. before dinner. Show was so loud it hurt your ears. All in all it was ok. Tonight for dinner I had liver pate, crab cake, clam chowder, Caesar salad, lamb chops, steak, apple cobbler and tapioca. The good thing with dinners is you can order multiple items from the same course. We were all pigs. Tonight the seas were rough. Some of us weren't feeling all too well. Ron got ill at dinner, which we thought was seasickness, but it turned out to be food poisoning from lunch in the Windjammer that day. Tonight's show was The Quest... I saw this on the Voyager last year and it was hilarious, but could not make it to the show tonight. Was not feeling well at all. I left everyone and went to bed. Everyone said it was great. Renee got to participate. Wish I could have seen it. Bobby and Ron missed it too due to Ron being ill. Bobby finally took Ron to the medical facility at midnight for fluids and medication. What a bill it came to and it was RCI's food that caused it... but will let Bobby tell the full story. 11/18/04 - Sea Day. Slept in until 8:30 a.m. Went to the dining room for breakfast at 9:30 a.m. The dining room was more relaxing for breakfast and had better food than the Windjammer. I had eggs Benedict again and granola with yogurt and fruit. Not very much sun today. Very cloudy but not raining. Went to the pool for a little while to try to get some sun. Didn't really work out that way. Was getting too breezy. Went to the dining room for lunch. Had a turkey wrap (was very good) and a quesadilla. For dessert it was coconut crème Brule (YUMMY). After lunch we went to the Promenade for some shopping. Bought 2 T-shirts, a much, cooley and a magnet. Went back to relax until it was time for the ice show at 5:00 p.m. The ice show was pretty good. Can't believe the tricks they can do on such a small area of ice. Went the Cafe Promenade for coffee and then to get ready for dinner. They had sushi at the Island Grill today. It was so good and very fresh. This was a nice snack before dinner. Tonight is the second formal night. Everyone looked great as usual. Tonight at dinner I had a salmon appetizer, mushroom pastry, cream of asparagus soup, lobster & shrimp, prime rib and crème Brule. Tonight's show after dinner was the best show of the trip. They were 2 comedians "2 Funny Guys." Oh my gosh they were hilarious. After the show it was off to the casino and to bed around midnight. Early day for St. Maarten the next day. 11/19/04 - Friday - St. Maarten. Ordered coffee to be delivered in the cabin. Went to the dining room for breakfast. We were planning to go to Orient Beach today, but the weather was not cooperating. So we met Nick & Danyell at the courthouse in St. Maarten at 10:00 a.m. They took us to the jeweler they use all the time. 3 people from our group got awesome deals on jewelry. My mom got a silver diamond cut ankle bracelet, Sandra got a gorgeous tanzanite gold and diamond ring and Steve got a great gold and diamond wedding band. All were awesome prices and a steal. Walked down Front Street for a bit waiting for the 2 rings to be sized. Sat on the beach at a bar for some beer and sodas. Steve was approached by numerous vendors to buy stuff. He finally gave in to buy a baseball cap... heheheh At 1:00 p.m. the jewelry was due to be finished and we were going to hire a cab to take a tour of the island. Stopped at a lot of picturesque spots, Fort Lois and saw some famous people's homes. We were also able to stop at Orient Beach so we could take some pictures and say we were there. Club Orient is off to the far right. I saw fully naked people right there in the open. Not shocking but didn't think they would be that close. Were back on board by 4:00 p.m. for snacks and coffee at Cafe Promenade. Then off to the cabin for our daily nap. I am normally not a nap taker but they were very much needed on vacations. Always felt revitalized afterward. We sailed at 5:30 p.m. and were able to sit out on our balcony and watch us sail off into the sunset. We had a very pretty sunset tonight. Passed by the Queen Mary 2... she is huge and very breathtaking. The show tonight was at 7:00 p.m. before dinner. "Can't Stop the Rock," was not impressed at all with this production show. After the show was dinner at 8:30 p.m. I had scallops, caprese salad, roasted garlic soup, salad, chicken marsala, shrimp scampi and mint chocolate cake. Off to the casino for a drink and to bed around 12:30 a.m. 11/20/04 - Saturday - St. Thomas. Were up at 6:30 a.m. for immigration check. Went down at 7:00 a.m. and the line was huge. But it went really fast. We were out in about 10 minutes, it was amazing they went that quickly. At 7:30 we all met for breakfast in the dining room. What a miracle, today we had SUNSHINE... Today was our best excursion. We did a ½ day sail with New Horizons, which included lunch. There were 25 of us who signed up to do this private excursion. We sailed to a beach at St. John. The water was crystal clear and the scenery was beautiful. We sailed around 9:00 a.m. and were back around 1:00 p.m. The half-day excursion was perfect. We had enough time to do some shopping back at the pier to get last minute things. Got a calendar, T-shirt and a magnet. Ron found a watch he really wanted that was $20 cheaper than the ship. Bobby found one of his colognes. Headed back to the ship to start packing, relax and get ready for the show at 7:00 p.m. and dinner. Tonight's show was the Farewell Variety Show. What can I tell you... the juggler couldn't juggle, the comedian was very boring... we left in the middle of the comedian act. Went to the casino bar to meet some of the Cruise Critic gang for pictures and to exchange addresses and information at 8:00 p.m. Got a group picture with all of us. Dinner tonight was sad... it was the last time we were all going to sit together and laugh and laugh. Our group was amazing. There wasn't a time we weren't laughing about something. For dinner I had an egg roll, shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad, and I can't remember the rest. Forgot to write the last dinner in my journal. But it was very good. We all went the casino for last chance gambling and drinks. We stayed up until 1:30 a.m. trying to spend all the time we could together. Couldn't keep our eyes open anymore so headed to bed. 11/21/04 - Disembarkation Day. We were up and ready for breakfast by 7:30 a.m. Ate in the dining room. Had eggs Benedict and sausage. Tried the herring but didn't care for it. This was the only thing I didn't like the entire cruise. While we were at breakfast we heard them call people with flights before 2:00 p.m. could get off the ship. We finished our coffee and chatted for a bit them gathered our things and started venturing off the ship. This was the easiest disembarkation I had ever been through. There was no line getting off the ship. Only a short line going through customs. You have to show your passport here again with your declaration form. Went and found our luggage and grab a porter right away. He led us through the crowd, gave the agent our declaration forms and got us to a taxi. Six of us got in one taxi to the airport and Bobby & Ron got in another to head to the Caribe Hilton. We were at the airport by 10:00 a.m. Our flight was on American at 1:14 p.m. Short line to check in at the American ticket counter. Were able to change our seats to an exit row for more legroom and off to the gate to wait until they boarded the plane. The airport is very small compared to Orlando. Not much in choices if you wanted snacks or coffee and they were pretty pricey. Grabbed a Latte at the concession stand for $3.00.... the ship was cheaper LOL. A vending stand was set up where we could grab a sandwich to take on the plane for the flight home. Our flight boarded around 12:40 p.m. We were ready for take off by 1:00 p.m. And no wait for take off. The flight was uneventful. They played Spiderman 2 for the flight home. Landed in Orlando at 3:00 p.m. EST. Off to get our luggage. Our car service was waiting for us by baggage like they said they would be. Gathered our luggage, said our goodbyes to Renee, Steve and Sandra and off to head home we went. Overall: Other than Ron's delayed flight, lost luggage, bad weather and food poisoning we had an awesome cruise. We had a blast with our group. We didn't let the minor things ruin our fun. Never made it to the miniature golf or Johnny Rockets. Our only complaint was the rude and obnoxious people we encountered. They would shove, push, scream, yell, and were the rudest people we have ever encountered. You could say excuse me to get by and they wouldn't move. You could be standing in a group talking and they would knock you over when they passed. Teenagers would be screaming in an elevator at friends in another elevator and shove you to the point of losing your balance to get out. These are just a few examples of what we witnessed and went through. I don't know if we chose a sail date that happened to pull these types of rude people with the discounted rates being offered to residents of Puerto Rico or what? Many people have confirmed that RCI sells at a real discount to fill the AOS to residents of Puerto Rico and the customers that take advantage of these really discounted rates are not the norm and can give the good people of P.R. a bad rap. The rude people we encountered were all residents of P.R. This is not to say that all P.R. residents are like this, but our experience with people from P.R. on this sailing was not a pleasant one. This did not in any way put a damper on our cruise just gave us a bad taste for sailings out of P.R. for future cruises. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2004
This cruise was not up to our expectations. For such a nice ship it was filled with locals who got cut rate deals in San Juan just to fill up the ship. They made the experience much less than it could have been otherwise because they ... Read More
This cruise was not up to our expectations. For such a nice ship it was filled with locals who got cut rate deals in San Juan just to fill up the ship. They made the experience much less than it could have been otherwise because they comprised over 600 guests on our cruise. For the most part they were rude, obnoxious and took every opportunity to cut in front of you when waiting in any line and would not even let you off of the elevator. Every instruction on the ship and announcement was in English and Spanish with no concern given to any other nationality that was onboard. The Puerto Rican guests clogged all of the lines and were indifferent to any other passengers on the ship. You had to push your way through them to get anywhere. We went on a cruise with another couple who paid for a Junior Suite, but got upgraded for free to an Owner's Suite because RC ran out of Junior Suites. We paid $ 1,500 more than they did for a lower grade Suite. You would think that they wouldn't be so stupid as they could have upgraded us and given our room to our companions and everyone would have benefited. But they aren't that sophisticated and they made no effort to explain why they would do this knowing it would make one party very unhappy and that the upgrade wouldn't be a secret. The service in the main dining room was below average since the staff was overloaded. Our level on Deck 3 had only two bar waiters so getting a drink or some wine took a real effort on your part. If you wanted to get service you had to slip them some money and then they would take excellent care of you. Until then you were just in line like everyone else and you might not get a drink until 1/2 way through dinner. The menu for the first 3 days was terribly simple and unexciting, but it did pick up the last 4 days. It is the same menu every cruise and published in the cruise directory in your stateroom. We had a suite and in room snacks were delivered every day at about 1:30. We didn't know this when we ate the tuna and salmon at 5:30 and I believe this was the reason I became ill that evening. Drink services are screwed up. If you buy a soft drink card you can get all of the Coke, etc. you want, just not in a can like those who pay for it with cash, or charge it to your room. Coffee cost money at any bar, but was free in the dining room, or by room service, or at the self-serve joint on Deck 5. The Concierge lounge is stocked with a fair amount of drinks and a smattering of cheap appetizers from 5:30 to 8:30 pm, the rest of the time you could get coffee, or a soft drink, but you weren't supposed to take them out of the lounge. The staff we spoke with were not happy about the situation on the ship and the number of non-tipping locals has ruined the earning potential of the entire staff who depend on tips like the dining room staff and stateroom staff. Our stateroom attendant was lucky that most of his clientele were in suites and he only had a small percentage of inside rooms full of the non-tippers who paid less than 1/2 of what you will pay to cruise. This is according to people on the ship and even the local bus transfer drivers who cruise all of the time since it is so cheap and they get such a good deal. I would never recommend this cruise to anyone until Royal Caribbean ends its policy of filling up the ship with low paying guests and improves its service staff morale. The ports of call are great and included Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and back to San Juan the dump of lot. The port is surrounded by slums of decaying buildings. If you do cruise you will find that on the 6th day of the cruise you will have to get up early for immigration in St. Thomas by 9:00 AM. On the 7th day they just want you off of the ship ASAP. No in room dining for breakfast, service in the 1 dining room that was open was too slow to accommodate the people trying to eat and many were turned away because of the delay. We got a donut and some self-serve coffee and considered ourselves lucky to get off of the ship. The offloading process is a joke with them calling about 1/2 the passengers to leave by 9:00 AM in one giant gnarly mess. Celebrity breaks the process down into smaller groups so you know when you are getting off of the ship the night before. RC just blindsides you and wants you off the ship so they can fill it up with discount passengers again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2004
We were on the Christmas sailing 12/19/04. The air travel to San Juan via American Airlines was a nightmare, had to wake up 3 kids at 5:00 a.m. to get on the 8:00 a.m. flight. We got to the airport 2 hours before our flight and stood in ... Read More
We were on the Christmas sailing 12/19/04. The air travel to San Juan via American Airlines was a nightmare, had to wake up 3 kids at 5:00 a.m. to get on the 8:00 a.m. flight. We got to the airport 2 hours before our flight and stood in line at Los Angeles airport for about one hour and 20 min. When we got to the counter at 40 min before the flight we were told the computer shut down for this flight 5 min. prior, and rebooked us for 11:00 p.m. flight. By this time we had no ride back home, and our pre-paid hotel at San Juan is bunked. No apologies by any of the reps. To make the matter worse on the return flight home, they delayed the flight 4 hours, making our wait at the airport about 6 hours. Fort Lauderdale airport was air conditioned freezing cold and we all got the flu. Have super warm clothing available. Sweatshirt and long pants not enough. The ship: When we got to embarkation, we paid $900 for an upgrade from inside to a balcony, no free upgrades, and we asked. The rooms were basically identical with exception to a grungy narrow balcony, totally not worth this much money, balcony-not inviting, spent maybe total of 1 hour on it the whole week. My sister however was able to upgrade from balcony to owner's suite for $900, and the room was fantastic with flat screen large tv, 2 sets of windows and roomy sitting area + concierge service which seemed nice. Food: Princess was a lot better, especially the lunch buffet, which reminded me of dorm food in college. Dinners were nice. Scheduled activities: Morning stretch class -- one morning instructor did not bother to show up. Long driving contest on golf simulator -- cancelled without notice, they gave the time slot away to paying customers, can you beat that? Roller blading track is a joke, as is the slide in the swimming pool, no one was on these two places the whole time we were on. We signed up for AOS thinking our kids would enjoy the amenities like rock climbing and ice skating etc. but we were wrong, they didn't want to do much of that stuff. We could have gotten a cheaper deal and better food on Princess, like the last time we went on it to Alaska. We did do the America's Cup Regatta -- everyone loved it even though it was hard work. In St. Maarten we rented jet skis at the Little Bay and the kids loved that even more, super fast for 1 hour. It seems there were more cool activities you can do on St. Thomas and St. Maarten. In Curacao we took a 2 hour city tour -- adults liked it kids thought it was a wasted time. they then drove us to the beach (forgot the name) and then went snorkeling at the ship wreck -- best snorkeling here. Did this on our own. We saw organized tours arriving (about $40). Did canoeing for $15(hour) great deal, also did sea-doo, kids thought it was too slow compared to the jet skiing at St. Maarten. The town of Curacao was really pretty and walking distance to the ship, however everything closed by the 6:00 p.m. when we got back. There is no extended Christmas shopping hours here obviously. Aruba -- Went 4 wheel driving to The Natural Bridge -- long and bumpy ride. 1 advice is to eat before you get there, we arrived at lunch time and 1 restaurant available was not very appetizing looking and it took another 1 hour to get back to the ship even via the fast paved roads, and we were all hungry by then. Palm Beach-no fishes here, we rented a catamaran which turned out to be a bargain $20 for 1 hour. Parasailing was too brief for the price. These vendors approach you for the activities right on the beach, and then you bargain with them for wide range in prices. The entertainment was pretty good. We had a special Russian comedian  -- Yakov Smirnoff. The other regular comedian was also very funny, and of course the ice show was very good. Bingo was pretty expensive I think we paid $25 for the cards. The jackpot was won by some young man for over $7,000. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2004
I am sadly back from my first cruise on the AOS. It was the Southern Caribbean route and was fantastic! We went to St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Aruba, Curacao. The ship looked and is amazing! It is clean and just spectacular! We were on the ... Read More
I am sadly back from my first cruise on the AOS. It was the Southern Caribbean route and was fantastic! We went to St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Aruba, Curacao. The ship looked and is amazing! It is clean and just spectacular! We were on the 8th floor inside cabin with a toddler and the room size was just fine. My parents had a balcony room on the 6th floor and that was really nice. The food was good, not great but good. I was never disappointed. There is always something to do on board and always something to eat! I loved the Cafe Promenade! Every night we would sit and have a cup of tea and cookies or cake and just people watch. It was so nice. The weather was perfect. There was some rain but it didn't last long at all. Curacao I didn't enjoy any part of it. the people were rude, weather bad, stores not so great...just nothing special. The Yakov Smirnoff show was funny. He was the comedian on board. I saw another review that said it wasn't good but we as well as many others thought he was funny even though it did seem like he was reciting his resume for us. The ice show was fantastic. The Island Grill buffet was good too. Always good food. Lines were never bad at all. Boarding the ship was very quick and painless. The departure was a little slower but really not that bad! One bad thing....CHAIR HOGS! It was disgusting! There were NO chairs available around the pool by 8:30 a.m.! People did the usual, dump towels and walk away forever!!! We actually got in an argument with a guy who was saving like 8 chairs, one of them had nothing on it and he claimed it was his! The nerve of some people...we ended up with the chair in the end and also ended up shaking hands with the man after lots of swearing. We went to Megans Bay Beach excursion in St. Thomas. WASTE OF MONEY! It was crowded and over rated! Don't do it...go to Orient Beach. Shopping was the best in St. Maarten for Louis Vuitton fakes and great jewelry! My mom, sister-in-law and myself all bought diamond jewelry in Aruba though...actually I bought my ring on the ship and love it!! Had a great time, would do it again in a heart beat! P.S. the service was great too! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2004
I just returned from the cruise this evening and wanted to put thoughts to paper before they get forgotten. I enjoyed my cruise very much and am a first-time cruiser. I went with my family including 2 children one age 3 and one age 1. We ... Read More
I just returned from the cruise this evening and wanted to put thoughts to paper before they get forgotten. I enjoyed my cruise very much and am a first-time cruiser. I went with my family including 2 children one age 3 and one age 1. We specifically chose the Adventure of the Seas for its Adventure Ocean program catering to children age 3 and above as long as they are out of diapers. We used the Adventure Ocean a couple times but I was somewhat disappointed in the fact that although it showed a very full calendar of events for each day, often the children were placed in front of a video and did nothing more than "veg out." A strange phenomenon which occurred on our cruise and I am not sure if it is a regular thing on this ship is that there was an enormous group of Puerto Ricans aboard the ship -- they were definitely in the majority of passengers on the ship. This of course would not be a problem at all except for the fact that my child spent time in the Adventure Ocean program with children and counselors who spoke mainly Spanish. Maybe this is why they did not have as many activities as previously planned. Another issue I have in terms of child friendliness is the fact that no children in diapers or swim diapers are allowed in ANY of the pools at ANY time. This of course meant our younger child was not permitted to enter any of the pools (including the children's pool) because of the swim diaper. If you have a young child who is not potty-trained and needs a swim diaper forget about this ship or forget about going to the pool which is what we pretty much had to do. Their many signs about health concerns regulating the fact that children in diapers are not allowed in pools is questionable as I never saw anyone checking the various water levels at any time AND the pools are open 24 hours a day and frankly I am more concerned with what an ADULT does in that pool at 3 a.m. than a baby any day! This policy was very irritating and certainly complicated matters for us in terms of being able to enjoy time on the decks by the pools. Another thing is that many of the activities in the evening did not start until well past most of our bed times -- 11:30 for some people is rather late.... we were able to attend a few events which were held at more reasonable times but with 2 small children getting to bed at a reasonable time is also important for the parents... We used the "Cyber Cabin" service which was to provide us internet in our cabin. For the steep price of $100 we received a very pathetic dial-up connection which was out half the time. We were needless-to-say extremely disappointed in this service although the $0.50/minute charge on the ship to use their computers was not much better either. Royal Caribbean really needs to improve this service. I also was surprised at the fact that Royal Caribbean did not provide lotion in their cabins -- a small little item which can be found in most cheap motels and would certainly have been appreciated on the cruise. Our evening waiters were unbelievable -- they were extremely attentive and had excellent memories and were always very quick to be of service to us. Each night we would return to our cabin and find the attendant had created a new towel animal to the delight of our children. It was wonderful to say the least. The ports are what they are -- we did not take part in any of the arranged excursions as we found the prices to be very steep. Instead we opted for renting cars in some ports, taking cabs in other ports and water ferries in other ports to get around. None of us were big shoppers and we would often spend half a day at a beach. The infirmary on board was extremely helpful to all of us and were well equipped for some of the medical issues our family had. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2004
ITINERARY: San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemstad, Curacao back to PR. Dec. 19-26, 2004. Topics written about: embarkation, food/dining facilities, the stateroom, ... Read More
ITINERARY: San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemstad, Curacao back to PR. Dec. 19-26, 2004. Topics written about: embarkation, food/dining facilities, the stateroom, activities, shows and each port of call. Helpful tips included. Embarkation: We arranged our own flight for the day of departure, but booked transportation from the airport to the ship through RCI; it was $13.00 one way. You'll find an RCI agent by your luggage carrousel; wheel your luggage out to the bus [or use & tip a porter]; board the bus and they drop you off at the line to enter the boat. They take your luggage [no tip] and deliver it to the boat [usually arriving between 6:00-8:30 p.m.]. This is less hassle than taking a cab. There were unmarked 2 lines: the one closest to the street was the longest. It is for folks who arrive by cab and need to process their luggage. The short line by the wall is for folks who arranged transportation with RCI [luggage taken care of]. It was fairly quick. There is a photo machine they use to take your [horrid] picture, but the photo is not placed on your plastic ID card. :) Ship time: Atlantic time, which is what Puerto Rico is on, as well as all the islands that were visited. AOS was a clean, attractive ship. The service personnel are from 62 different countries [none from the USA] and are well trained to perform their duties courteously. Misc: This was our first cruise. We have 5 kids, the youngest is 17. We read countless reviews and Q/A's in cruise forums to get an idea of what we were in for. We brought Bonine [Meclizine HCI] but didn't need it. There were a few times we felt the rock of the boat, but is was minor. There were 380+ Puerto Ricans on the ship and a goodly percentage of folks of Hebrew decent, so you noticed food and activities that were geared to them. All folks seemed polite and the many families with children kept them under control. FOOD: All ship food supplies are purchased in Florida. We are not gourmet or picky eaters. If you enjoy [Old] Country Buffet and Perkins, you'll find the food similar and some better [esp. seafood]. J. Rockets: a recent change -- there is now a $3.95/person cover charge to enter Johnny Rockets, but the food doesn't cost anything additional [except pop, juice and malts]. Dining room: Lovely surroundings, attractive table settings, pleasant music and pretty presentations of the meals. The waiters wait until all parties have arrived before taking your order. If you don't like your table, just ask Jamal, the assistant head waiter, what else is available to switch to. It took us an average of 1 hour 20 minutes to get through the dinner. It was pleasant and went by quickly. We had first seating [6:00]. Information about the dinner menu is posted outside the dining room or can be had by calling 0 and asking about the entrees. Most soups and all seafood were very good. The lamb and shrimp scampi were delicious. Most desserts were visually attractive but blah tasting, with the exception of apple crisp, cherries jubilee and a custard. A tasty dessert should find you wanting seconds; we often left desserts half eaten. We experimented, ordering 2 appetizers, salad, soup and entree. One appetizer our table mates ordered was lemon grass soup. Finding it bitter, they rejected it and requested a different appetizer. So, having seconds and making changes are acceptable. There were 2 formal nights and the rest were business casual. Dining room breakfast and lunch is somewhat casual with open seating and only served on level 3. Cafe Promenade: 5th floor, open 24 hrs. Coffee, tea, packaged-powered hot chocolate are available, plus a limited selection of fruit and food items. The food here comes with the cost of your cruise. They expect you to tip these folks, though. Pizza is served here, it's the frozen type. Beverages: tap water, coffee, ice tea, hot tea, lemonade, milk and [juice only for breakfast] is included with the cost of the cruise. Seattle's Best brand coffee was enjoyed by many. All other beverages [juice during lunch & dinner] will cost you extra in any eating/drinking location. Ice cream: The ice milk-like soft serve product is described as ice cream, but it is not. Two employees called it frozen yogurt. It comes in chocolate, strawberry, vanilla and twist. The locations are all on 11th floor: 2 in the Windjammer buffet, one just outside the glass double doors between the stairwell and elevator and the other at the kiddy pool with water slide. None of them open up before 11:00 a.m. I don't know how late they are open. We got use to the taste and ate it mainly because it was cold! Windjammer Buffet: There are plenty of food choices. We ate 5 breakfasts, all lunches and 1 dinner here. There are 3 lines; the line in back had pizza and a couple other things the side lines didn't have. We experimented by taking a tablespoon of most everything to find out what was the tastiest. Again, most things were fine, some were very good and a few were "just there." The meatballs with mushroom gravy were very tasty and so was the salmon. The desserts suffered from the same problem as in the dining room: lovely but only average or blah tasting. The fresh pineapple was sweet. The omelet station has Egg Beaters or you can request egg-white-only omelets. THE ROOM: We had a balcony stateroom on 7th level, toward the aft of the boat. There was adequate closet and shelf space. The combination safe was large enough for two large cameras. A refrigerator was in the room. You can bring food down to your room from the buffet and put it in the fridge. Room service is included in the price you pay for the cruise, but, they expect a tip. Daily, all room attendants make the cutest towel animals that are placed in your room; these are not for keeping. The paper "Cruise Compass" is delivered to your room between 6-7:30 p.m. It contains an insert with general information about the upcoming port of call and a map of the shopping district. The room TV has numerous channels with 2-4 different continuous broadcast movies each day. One of the daily movies is broadcast in 3 foreign languages plus English. ACTIVITIES: Never available prior to 9:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. Putt-putt golf: simple, flat course and that lacks obstacles; usually open. Rollerblades: short narrow maze-like track. Hours of opening usually only 4-7:00. Ice skating: This was VERY seldom open. When it was, you were limited to 45 minutes. You must wear slacks and bring a sweater; it is cool in there. Adequate amount of plastic boot, sharp hockey skates available. The ice is pocked due to hard wear from the practicing show skaters. Rock wall climbing: although there are 4-5 stations usually only 2 are manned with attendants. Most days it was open for only 2-3 hours. Twice it was open for 4-5 hours. Golf simulator: usually open 4:00-6:00 [or 7:00], by reservation. Swimming pools/hot tubs: 24 hrs/day; no lifeguards. The area around the main pool and basketball court blares rock music, making it difficult to concentrate if you are trying to read. Volleyball: 4:00-6:00 most days [after basketball shuts down]. Basketball court: open play, usually around 9:00-4:30. Most frequently it was occupied by men between 17-28. Library: adequate books, no magazines. Business room: 6th floor had summarized, condensed newspapers [5 foreign and one USA] each day. Movie screening room: very small theater with a screen 5' x 8'. Crafts: offered during sea days only [30 minutes]. Shuffleboard: on 4th level, open "24 hours." Jogging path: unusable; it is really a skinny walk path between 2 rows of reclining deck chairs. Photos: they did a nice job. They cost $10 - $20/photo, depending on the size [most were $15]. You can decline their photo-takes when they come to the tables, if you want. Promenade: 5th floor. This is mostly bars and lounges with liquor, jewelry and clothing stores, plus the Cafe Promenade. Other: there is a variety of music, dancing and numerous "pick up" lounge/bars on decks 3, 4, 5 12, and 14. There is a BIG push for shopping/buying: announcements on the overhead, TV purchasing info shows, buying seminars, etc. SHOWS: 9:00 and 10:45, lasting 45 - 60 minutes; in the Lyric Theatre. They were all okay. Day 1: 10:45 p.m. only: comedian, juggler and the RCI Singers and Dancers. Day 2: Stand-up comedian. Day 3: RCI Singers/Dancers with a rock music review from 1950's - 2000. Most was from '70s to present. The volume was deafening. Day 4: Comedian. Day 5: Ice show: Cool Art, Hot Ice. This was the BEST one. During the second half the music was too loud. They purposely pipe in "smoke-like haze" from the right side of the auditorium, but not from the left side. It affected vision, so we switched sides. Day 6: RCI Singers/Dancers: the production "Velvet Rope." 7:00 and 9:00 only. Music volume was better. Day 7: Comedian, juggler and the RCI Singers/Dancers -- 7:00 and 9:00 only [because it was Christmas, they had a second 45 minute ice show at 1, 3, and 5]. PORTS of CALL: This applies to all ports: All hotel tourist areas were lovely, clean and nice. But the rest of the islands have narrow streets, cramped small buildings of hodgepodge construction and varied upkeep, and excessive congestion, especially in the main cities. Yes, there are general road maps available, but they are mainly worthless because most roads and streets are unmarked; occasionally you'd see a street sign. Parking in any of the port cities is nearly impossible -- street parking is all taken and there are few parking lots. We rented cars in St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Curacao [we canceled the latter, as congestion was nuts!]. We'd advise against renting a car, rather use the taxi or in Aruba use the public bus. There really isn't anything to see on any of the islands besides beaches and scattered lookouts with vista views that all started to look alike after a while. Except for St. Thomas they all drive on the right side. If you are determined to rent, reserve in advance. In each port you'll find local venders right at the port announcing they have island tours available. These folks are sanctioned by the local port authority and have ID. You'll find they offer small van/bus tours that cover the major points of interest for the island [ranging from 2 - 3 hours]. The cost is significantly less than the equivalent RCI tour. We took 2 of these and were very pleased. All cities have places to rent snorkeling equipment, so you can take a taxi or bus to the best snorkeling area and do it yourself. Some tours are best arranged by RCI, but are costly. Downtown areas consist mainly of high priced tourist stores selling jewelry, watches, cameras, liquor, tobacco, knick knacks, clothes, tourist trinkets and dishes. The water temperature at all the islands ranges from 80-82 degrees; after 50 minutes of snorkeling we started to feel chilled. San Juan, Puerto Rico: Starting and ending point of the cruise. Warm, muggy. Most of it looked like the lower economic neighborhoods of Mexico. Cars drive fast and many don't obey the rules. We took the RCI City & Bacardi Rum Distillery Tour [$30] on the day we returned to port. It says not to book it if your flight leaves before 5:30. Our flight was at 4:00 and we booked this on the Internet, anyway. The tour guide asked how long we wanted the tour to last; most of us agreed that we wanted to be back by 2:00. The tour pick up was right outside the airport immigration area; luggage was loaded onto a locked truck. The stay at the fort was too short and too long at the rum factory. Two free drinks came with the tour. For us non-drinkers, we had a choice of alcohol-free pina colada or pop. The tour got us back to the airport about 1:45. All things considered the tour was a reasonable deal. Check in was simple and quick, but the line to scan our carry-ons was long and slow. Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas: You should greet everyone from your waiter to the bus driver with "Good day" or "Good morning." St. T. is warm, muggy, with lots of hills, mini mountains and many narrow poorly maintained streets with STEEP inclines. Once exiting the ship you must walk thru Havensight shopping mall to get out of the area. Avis rent a car is across the street; gas was $2.43/gal. Tourist brochures are in stores; the tourist office, located on the block where the P.O. is was closed for remodeling. Our street map came from Avis. You'll see occasional numbered road signs. It is a 1½ mile walk to the downtown area, which consists mainly of high priced tourist stores selling jewelry, watches, cameras, liquor, tobacco, clothes and dishes. There is a bus, but it isn't frequent or reliable. We parked in the pay lot just east of Fort Christian Museum and toured the museum [$3.00]. We drove to The Mountain Top to see the view of Magen's Bay; to get to it you must go thru a string of shops. The view is lovely, but haze decreased visibility. Drake's Seat is just a side-of-the-road stop with another view of Magen's Bay. We drove to Coki Beach [nice] which is right next door to Coral World [C.W is open daily 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., $18 entrance]. At Coki beach we rented snorkeling equipment [$10]. There is no admission fee; free restrooms/shower; vendors have chairs; drinks, etc. Plenty of fish, particularly because people feed them dog biscuits. Due to the haze we skipped the skyride up to Paradise Point [located 1 block to your left, as you exit the Havensight shopping area]. Traffic is usually bad on "highways" 38, 45, 43 and traffic was at a standstill, taking almost an hour to get back to the port, so plan accordingly. St. T Internet Cafe access: The very personable Marty Fredericks [from the States] runs a business [Resort Vacation Clubs] and offers 15 minutes of free access, pop or water and restroom usage to cruise and hotel tourists. He's open 9-2 and sometimes until 4. He'll ask if you're interested in seeing a 7 minute presentation about the club. We declined because we can't sunbathe [and do limited swimming due] to a bout with skin cancer. To locate: find the post office; stand in front and look up the hill just past the small park. The building isn't labeled. Either it or its shutters were painted blue. The uniformed person standing in front of the P.O. can help if you ask were Marty's place is. Philipsburg, St. Maarten: Weather: warm, not very humid. Tourist info is right there at the port. Behind the building are independent tour operators. We rented from Alamo and they picked us up at the port. Traffic was slow heading west toward the airport and after the airport it was at a standstill. It seems there is a bridge that raises to let boats in/out; that plus people stopping and chatting cause traffic. We drove the main road all around the island. The nice homes weren't visible from the street due to high walls and vegetation. There was scarcely a street sign to be seen and we drove by guessing. The traffic was bad in Marigot and things are poorly labeled or unlabeled. After asking and hunting we found Fort Louis. [If you find the Texaco station head 1 block west, turn right into an alley that heads for a old Catholic church. Turn right and go around the back of the church, head partly up the incline and park. Walk up the hill, turn right when you see the steep road. At the top is the stairs to the fort remains]. The view is beautiful. Sadly, the government doesn't believe in maintaining their historic sites. We drove around where the average citizen lives and found it depressing. Leaving Marigot we wanted to stop in Grand Case, but due to lack of signage, passed thru without realizing it. We tried to find the various points of interest labeled on the map, but due to lack of signage, missed most everything. We saw a developer's sign for Orient Beach and drove thru the lovely high rent district. We followed the sign to Oyster Beach [Fr. side] and Dawn Beach. The latter was spelled differently, so we passed by. The road to get to it is VERY steep going up and down. The parking was in the grass by what looked like a not well kept up small bar/restaurant. The powdery beach was nice [pay for chairs, huts]. The waves were about 2-3' high and some toplessness was noted. The traffic at 2:00 was at a snail's pace as you got close to the Great Bay Salt Pond [40+ minutes to crawl our way to the port]. There is a water taxi [$5/for all day] at the pier that takes you into Philipsburg, if you are just going for shopping. There is an Internet cafe in town and one at the pier, but neither were open. Four passengers from our ship were left behind, they arrived at 5:37 and the boat had already pulled away. Oranjestad, Aruba: Weather: warm and not so humid. It was mostly flat with lots of cactus and divi divi trees. Aruba is nice, cleaner and the transportation system is organized. Here all beach shore is public property, even if private homes or hotels are on it. The best free map we saw was in the back of "Aruba Experience" which is a tourist booklet. The bus runs every 20 minutes and costs US $1.15 or $2.00 for round trip w/a transfer. The bus terminal is across the street from the pier on the main drag, L.G. Smith Boulevard. If you want to see the 25 min. movie, Aruba Panorama, just walk 2 blocks down to the pink Renaissance Marina Hotel's Crystal theater [inside the casino area, cost $5.00, shown on-the-hour between 11 & 5]. We had booked, paid and confirmed a tour with De Palm but they screwed up and didn't run the tour and had no space to put us on a substitute. They told us to come back tomorrow!! We returned to the port and found private operators giving the same land 2 hr. tour for $10.00!! Winston Simon [5'5", 50 year old black male with small oval sunglasses and a straw hat] stands in the walk promoting the tour [Preketchie Tours was printed on the white 20 passenger air conditioned bus, but not on him]. Tours times: 9, 11, 2:00. We took the tour and were satisfied. The driver, Big Mac, had a touch of humor as he pointed out everything. We saw the Ayo rocks, natural bridge, gold mine ruins, Arashi beach, Calif. Lighthouse and homes of the well-to-do and typical residents. Along the way to these, he pointed out all sorts of things. A couple got off the tour at Arashi beach to go snorkeling. They took the bus back to the port. I realized I had left my camera on the tour bus. When we returned to town, I talked to Simon and he arranged to get it from Big Mac and put it in the Port authority office. :) We got off at the Aruba Grand Hotel and walked along the north side fence to Palm beach area to rent snorkel equipment [$12.50]. You must have a credit card, but can pay the bill in cash. Do not snorkel at Palm beach, per other passengers it was very poor snorkeling. We went back out to the road and caught a bus that said hotels and flashed Malmok after that. Most buses stop at the end of the hotel row and the bus that goes to Malmok only comes every 35-40 minutes. It drops you off at a dirt circle, which is Malmok. Just head north down the road for 2 blocks and you'll see Arashi Beach grass huts to your left and all the catamarans in the water. There are no facilities, we put $ and papers in a Ziplock baggie and tucked it in my swimsuit. Our clothes, towels and glasses were fine on the beach. Snorkeling is best done before 1:00 p.m. When finished, walk back down to the dirt turnaround at Malmok and hop the bus back to the bus station. Admission to the Butterfly Farm is $12.00; it is right next door to the Aruba Grand hotel. Internet cafe: Walk straight to L.G. Smith Blvd.., turn right and go 1/5th of the block and look right for Inter Transfer. They have pay phones and Internet; the latter is $1 per 15 minutes. Willemstad, Curacao: We took a tour that cost $15.00 for 2 hours and saw the few high points of the island. There is one guy with a sign that says he'll take off with 6-8 in his taxi van. The other guys sign doesn't say that, but he was more pleasant. Sometimes they charge $20, confirm the price with whomever is driving. If the weather and timing were better, we would have gone to the Sea Aquarium [$18]. If all you are going to do is shop, just turn right and follow the walk path by the ocean [3 blks] until you come to the pontoon bridge. Once you cross it there is a better visitor info booth with many more maps and other information than the one at the port. For the Internet cafe: go straight ahead as you get off the pontoon bridge, walking 2 blocks. KF Chicken is on your left and the place is kind of just before KFC, 15' down a narrow alley like walk path. It is called Swift Internet. The price was $2.00 for up to 30 minutes. Nice owner. Many of the downtown streets are marked, but the signage basically quits outside the downtown area. Traffic was awful and there is no place to park so we canceled the car. If the pontoon bridge opens to allow boat traffic, just take the free water taxi boat. All the little museums and the synagogue charge $2 or $3 admission. Read Less
Adventure of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 1.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.0

Find an Adventure of the Seas Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise