Sail Date: November 2009
This was my second cruise and I sailed both with RCCL to the Caribbean. Last year was Mariner, this time was AOS. Ports included San Juan, Aruba, Curacao, Dominica, and St. Thomas. I arrived the day before to SJU. No major ... Read More
This was my second cruise and I sailed both with RCCL to the Caribbean. Last year was Mariner, this time was AOS. Ports included San Juan, Aruba, Curacao, Dominica, and St. Thomas. I arrived the day before to SJU. No major problems but I did not like San Juan's airport. It is old and they aren't doing much to make the process easier to navigate. My advice is to make sure you give yourself adequate time to depart from this airport (I'll give details in the end of my review). We (my co-workers and I) stayed at Hampton Inn. Embarkation was disorderly. We arrived by private transportation to the pier at 1130 am. A very long line was already formed outside the building. There are NO signs directing people where to go. The driver said to tip a porter well and we would be taken care of. we did. One of the members of our group was diamond so that ended helping a lot. The porter immediately took our luggage, and then directed us to a RCCL staff member. We basically cut the line (sorry, but that is where RCCL lead us). We were directed to another line (short for diamond and up members) inside the building and that is where we received our sail passes. We were instructed to take a seat (a bunch of white chairs were lined up inside this building). Hint-sit at the seats to the right because they will be let in first. At 12:15 they opened the big door and let people in. Two members of the group had manicure scissors in their checked bags so we received a call about 2:30 to go back outside so they could remove them (security won't remove them without your presence). There was still a long line outside. I'm sure embarkation was terrible for all those who had to stand in those long lines. Our group of four (two rooms) received all luggage between 4 and 9 pm. Muster drill was ok for us (we were in the dining room and were able to sit down). The captain spoke in length of the rules and regulations, and the policy and procedures...including pool rules, smoking rules, and drinking rules. A frequent cruiser said she had never had this done before. It was like they were expecting disorderly conduct. The staff member actually shushed us for whispering during this lengthy speech on why not to give alcohol to minors. They then repeated this information in several languages. First thing we did on board was look at the dinner table. It was a table of four but we wanted a larger table so we talked to the maitre d. He said he could not accommodate us the first night but that it would not be a problem for night two. We had early dinner seating. First night service was terrible. It took 25 minutes and asking three people for iced tea and service did not get better that first night. Thankfully we were moved for the rest of the days. Day 2-6 was better though not as good as it was on Mariner last year. It was not as personable and was slower. Last year the waiters knew our names, and always had the drinks ready. This year no one asked our name, and we always had to ask and wait for the same iced tea (except for night seven). The Head waiter was very nice and a lot more helpful this cruise. Last cruise we never saw the guy past introduction. Dinner should not take 2 and ½ hours though. Food was not as good either. It was easier to find a seat in Windjammer than before...they now have signs that say don't linger. THE WORSE PART OF THE FOOD SERVICE DEPT WAS THAT THEY STOPPED SERVING OJ for three days during breakfast. RED KOOL AID (YUCK) was the substitution. Only thing worse for kool aid for breakfast is watered down kool aid. Staff acted like this was no big deal. I think this irritated me the most. I can get over a lot of things but this is pathetic and inexcusable. Windjammer is same o same o. Cafe promenade was always acceptable, and room service was fast. Johnny Rockets was a waste of 5 dollars. We did not eat at the specialty restaurants. Cabin was the same as always. You pretty much know what you are getting before you get on the ship. Our room must have been last on the list because it was serviced around 1p and then again around 8p. The "make my room" sign meant nothing to the cabin attendant. I didn't care but it bugged one member of the group. I always left a note if I needed something different, and never had a problem. Other than that we never saw the guy. I'm not going to go over the ports except to say that Dominica was my favorite. I think excursions and past visits way to heavily on how a port rates so I won't go into much detail. Aruba and Curacao was more desert like while Dominica was lush and colorful. I also found the people to be friendliest on this island. St. Thomas was nice too. Entertainment was better on this cruise than the past. I enjoyed all the shows of this cruise. Last year's cruise shows were boring. I don't remember the names of the entertainers though. Casey was the cruise director. He was ok. My biggest complaint is that they seemed to force advertisement for RCCL every extra second. Love and Marriage even had a "commercial break" where they showed a spa commercial on the screens. We went to the crown and anchor get -together and it was nothing but advertisement. The captain spoke for several minutes and his whole speech was on all the different ports of the world RCCL ships sailed too. The second speaker was the on board travel agent. She gave her phone number, and working hours then spoke for 15 minutes on Oasis's amenities. That's it-gathering was over. I was suckered into a 25 minute RCCL commercial. This cruise was approx 70% Puerto Ricans. It was never quiet. There was always groups yelling in Spanish, and banging and jumping around the hallways and cabins at all hours. This is not a cruise for light sleepers. Drinks were about eight dollars per drink after gratuity. Bingo was 67.00 for win a cruise bingo. That was for 30 cards and 4 games. A massage was 100.00 when it was on special not including tip. I brought my own water bottles, and coke product on board. Internet was 55 cents per minute. I HAD to use the internet for work so I ended up spending about 80.00 after buying packages. I haven't received my cell phone bill but is is 2.50/min for using the cell on the ship. Disembarkation was easy. I chose to keep my luggage with me. My co-workers had their luggage out by 11 pm. It was all brought off the ship at the same time and organized by color. We just left the ship when we were done with breakfast (about 0845). No one checked the color.. I didn't even have a color. At no time was my passport checked. We left the port and went to the airport by private transportation. We arrived about 10am. Here are the helpful hints for SJU (I fly AA so it may be different for different terminals). There are porters available but I didn't feel I needed them (and I didn't). They would not give information unless you paid them. First thing is to get in line for agriculture check (it is outside) and have all luggage (including carry-ons) scanned and stickered. Then go to the kiosk and print boarding passes and pay for checked bags, BEFORE getting in the long line of dropping off the checked bags. I guess if you have already paid for checked bags, and printed boarding passes before arriving to the airport you can automatically get into the bag drop off line. A lot of people didn't realize this was the process so they had to get into the lines multiple times. There is a second line for people who want to change flights (it is off to the right). If you don't have checked bags (good for you! ? ) you can go directly to security with boarding passes after going through the agriculture check. Security line was long and slow. I'm a stickler for staying with my carry-ons, so I was adamant (but very nice) about not having my stuff sent through the scanner while there were still 5 people in front of me waiting to go through the metal detector. The security person was compliant but rolled her eyes. Stateside this is never a problem and I have never gotten attitude. I have no desire for my valuables to be out of my sight and unsecured while I'm stuck behind someone. It took just over an hour for me to get from the curb to the gate. My flight was at 1:40. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
Our trip was very adventurous to say the least . Our North West plane from Philadelphia was diverted for fuel reasons to Cleveland Ohio where 6 of us sat for three hours on the runway . Having missed the embarkation in San Juan and the ... Read More
Our trip was very adventurous to say the least . Our North West plane from Philadelphia was diverted for fuel reasons to Cleveland Ohio where 6 of us sat for three hours on the runway . Having missed the embarkation in San Juan and the first day at sea I had to really keep my attitudes and opinions in check . For those of you that have never missed the boat let me tell ya it can be ridiculously stressful. It does however give you great stories to tell for years after , more laughs than I ever expected . I called RCI the minute our plane schedule was upset and they were very sympathetic and told us getting on in Barbados would be fine and no trouble at all .So after 9 hours in Detroit we took 2 more planes and made our way to Barbados , arriving the next day at 3PM . Thank god for Marriott reward points. We did find a great family owned hotel , The Coconut Grove , and had as great a time as one can have without our luggage which North West had sent to San Juan on a plane without us . We finally recieved our luggage at 1:30 AM on Tuesday , the girls acted like it was Christmas a month early , anyhow it was an eventful begining to a very eventful vacation . Tuesday morning we headed early to the port 8 AM as we had prepaid for a snorkel excursion and had to be back out front at 9:15 . Now I don't know , trying to fly day of cruise with no insurance , because it was all my fault that we missed the boat ; but I would think that the security at the gangplank would have to be aware that anyone who missed a ship has been through a lot . As we entered the ship , security had our names on a list . I explained to the lady there that we needed to leave our bags and check in quickly as I couldn't get the $400 + we had paid for our excursion back . She said no problem it will only take a few minutes ; within 10 minutes our bags were whisked away to our staterooms (2). Than for the next 40 minutes we watched these people try to figure out the sea pass machine . Finally I said we gotta go we'll be back at 4 and the boat and the boat doesn't leave til 5:30 so since you said this only takes a few minutes an hour ago that should be plenty of time . We left 5 minutes later with our sea passes . I could have been more polite for that I'm sorry . When we finally arrived at our excursion 25 minutes late everyone , 10 others stood up and applauded . The good captain had waited! We had a great 2nd day in Barbados . Not playing with boat departure times ever again we were in our staterooms by 4:15 . We first noticed the peculiar balconies surrounded by metal and rivets. We have only been on 6 other cruises and this was our first with RCI . Usually we can talk to our connected stateroom but on RCI this is not possible . I can only explain it as it was like looking out of a portal with glass across the bottom half . Our glass was splattered all over with paint for the duration of our cruise . Cruise TV was much better than we were accustomed to . The beds were very comfy and the room was small but more than adequate . Our first night we went to Johnny Rockets and we are all big fans not having one where we live . At 6PM they stop having free ice cream and you have to buy their Ben and Jerry's . When we went back to our staterooms we noticed the brown soda ice melt glasses were still sitting on the counter , I had to take them out in the hall and ask for fresh glasses, 3 days of our 5 take a hint? We had undoubtedly been assigned to a real bumble head lazy attendant , the worst we have seen . We laughed about her all week . My father in law next door wrote his name on the dust in the mirror on the first day it was there when we left lol . From dirty towels left on the floor , dirty glasses and the never restocked mini bar , even though asked to , since it was half full in two days . We found the staff in general to be off putting or just plain rude . We just ignored it all . We were having a blast despite this ship , just being together . Everyday we had planned out so we were gone early and back late each remaining day . We felt that we were on a different schedule as everything was always closed for the first couple of hours when we'd come back in the afternoon . The only 24 hour food spot was a cafe in the promenade and it was small and packed at all times. We did see the Beatles show which was the best cruise show any of us had ever seen , Hands down! We went to the ice show after being pushed aside by a rude lady with a new york accent running for my seat next to my wife who was already sitting there , I let her have it . Stood, 5 min , not my cup of tea and left . I have seen every Disney Ice show for years and need a story to stay engaged . I'm still a kid! Love and Marriage show was a hoot , real good . Kudos to the cruise director , he's a riot ! Went to Portifino on St. Lucia night . Should have saved my money , pretentious and small portions. Didn't care for the wait staff , condescending to us . May be it's us , never thought were that classy to begin with . Two nights we went to the my time dining , this went off without a hitch . Our own 6 top with a waitress that was far and away the best we've ever seen , ran her team like a well oiled machine . They were always there , always. Food was ok , not great , but good enough. Went to Johnny Rockets last night , staff and food were again awesome . Liked the fact that you could turn your beach towels in on lido deck , our steward would have left them til they smelled like Epstein's locker . Pools and hot tubs were gorgeous and never crowded when we went . Seemed like a lot of activities to do but usually closed when we would go at night , rock climbing ,skating etc .. We just saw that we don't fit in on this boat , it must be us. Oh well . I have waited to give this review because a lot of times we were shocked , pretty much flabbergasted . Just not the cruise experience we are used to . All my bank tellers are RCI fans and they got mad when I told them we wouldn't be returning . People feel much stronger than I do . Sat with the family the other night and asked is it us or was that boat nuts . We all agreed that there were great times but that we had made them and the boat added nothing to our trip just a floating hotel with ok food , when we could stand to wait for it . After all we are definitely itinerary oriented having hit 22 different islands and counting . Maybe it was just one weak ship or maybe it was just a one lazy dirty cabin steward or maybe it was all we went through to get there and maybe the entire staff was over worked. Who knows but we won't be back and that's fine, there are too many options out there for our money . Our vacations are too precious . Going on another line , another first for us, in April! Happy Sails! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
Lets keep this short and not so sweet. Adventure of the seas is a beautiful ship that sails to mostly nice places , this being the 3rd time on board this ship , my wife Cindy and I along with two other couples , prepared for a well ... Read More
Lets keep this short and not so sweet. Adventure of the seas is a beautiful ship that sails to mostly nice places , this being the 3rd time on board this ship , my wife Cindy and I along with two other couples , prepared for a well deserved vacation of fun and relaxation . At the very onset we knew this wasn't going to be the relaxing vacation we thought it was going to be. We went to the Windjammer cafe for lunch and encountered the rudest, most hostile people I've ever met. these people were cutting in line shoving , pushing , cursing .We later heard they sold 1,400 tickets at discount to the people in puerto rico. these people were bringing boxes of cereal and packets of tea back to their rooms by the tray full.Luckily for us we ate at the dining room every day and for the most part they stayed away(guess they didn't bring clothing with them so they could bring more stuff from the ship home in their luggage)The shows were good and the entertainment was good but again we had to deal with these people. We loved the ports we visited except for Dominica .I complained to royal Caribbean about the rude behavior and lack of interest of policing or keeping everything orderly, but received the COMPLIMENTRY Oh well sorry you didn't like it. We will sail royal Caribbean again possibly but NEVER OUT OF PUERTO RUDE-O At the end of our cruise even the taxi driver complained about them , seems they have relatives pick them up and they suffer because of it. LAST WORDS OF ADVICE = CHOOSE SOME OTHER SHIP AND ANOTHER PORT , WHEN ONLY DISCOUNT TICKETS FILL THE SHIP ,THEY WILL FINALLY DO SOMETHING TO TRY AND GET PAYING DECENT PEOPLE BACK Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
We have cruised out of PR and never had any problems with embarkation until this cruise. We arrived at the port well after the supposed "peak boarding times" and still had to wait in line for well over an hour. The worst part was ... Read More
We have cruised out of PR and never had any problems with embarkation until this cruise. We arrived at the port well after the supposed "peak boarding times" and still had to wait in line for well over an hour. The worst part was having to carry and haul our own luggage through that line. The Royal Caribbean Reps were not helpful with any information or questions we asked. After hauling our own luggage through the line and lifting it to be placed in the bins, a porter asked us for a tip. It didn't end there: We then, had to stand in yet another long line to get our sea pass cards. The whole process took well over 2 hours. By the time we boarded, they were calling for everyone to get to their muster stations. Here, we got to stand in the drizzling rain with no cover for 45 minutes. Following that, an announcement for food at the Windjammer Cafe. Once again, we got to wait for 35 minutes in a mass crowd of people pushing, shoving, and yelling. Royal Caribbean decided to make the entrance even more crowded by placing tables and reps outside the doors selling their gear and soda cards. It was sheer chaos!!! The ship was beautiful and well maintained; but too large and crowded for our tastes. Thankfully, we had a balcony to escape from the crowds. A few days on board the Windjammer Cafe was so crowded that people were walking around with plates of food and nowhere to sit and eat. I think this is why so many dishes were piled up in the hallways all week. People had to escape to their cabins just to have somewhere to sit and eat. Our dining experience: We were seated with people who could not speak any English; so, it was very uncomfortable for all of us at the table. We requested a table change and were told none was available. We opted to eat in the Windjammer Cafe the rest of the week. The sixth day of the cruise, the Dining Room attendant called to change our table. We agreed to return to the dining room only to spend 20 minutes of the wait staff arguing over where to seat us. We were taken to 2 different dining rooms; then, seated at a wobbly table next to the clean-up area were the wait staff constantly hit my chair while emptying dirty dishes into the dish bins. We got a drink, it took the dining room attendant literally 40-minutes to return with our sea pass cards. We opted for pre-paid gratuities and were really peeved to learn that Royal Caribbean does not allow for any adjustments on pre-paid gratuities. So, we essentially paid the dining staff gratuities for an entire week of services not used--somehow this seems totally wrong. Shore excursions: We found the staff at the desk to be very unhelpful and unable to answer any questions we had concerning the ports of call. Thankfully, we had booked some excursions on our own. Royal Promenade: Stores are very limited. Carnival has a much better selection of stores and merchandise available. This area is always crowded; although there is a cafe available for snacks, there is never anywhere to sit. The cabin attendants were the best we ever encountered on any cruise. They were courteous, polite, prompt, and willing to do anything you requested. Also, we were never given the on board-credit we were to receive when we booked the cruise. We talked to the front desk several times. We were told they would "look into it and get back to us." They never got back to us. By weeks end, we were tired of asking and just wrote it off. Overall, Royal Caribbean really feel short of our expectations when comparing them to other cruises we have been on. True or not, we did tire of listening to fellow passengers brag all week about how "cheap" they got their cabins. We were told that Royal Caribbean discounts cabins to locals to fill their rooms. Great for business; but, not so great for those of us who paid full price. The debarkation process was smooth and efficient. Would I sail on Royal Caribbean again? Maybe; but, definitely during a different week when locals were not on holiday break and definitely on a smaller ship. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
As mentioned, this was the first time on RC and its a nice ship. We spent a few days enjoying San Juan and loved Old San Juan and would probably stay there next trip to Puerto Rico. The embarkation was fast and easy when we arrived at ... Read More
As mentioned, this was the first time on RC and its a nice ship. We spent a few days enjoying San Juan and loved Old San Juan and would probably stay there next trip to Puerto Rico. The embarkation was fast and easy when we arrived at 11:30 and we got into the rooms around 2. The room was nice, plenty of room for two and everything worked fine. We explored the ship and met several people, mostly diamonds and people with suites which allowed us some extra perks over the course of the voyage. We had drinks up on 14 and it offered an amazing view of the city. This trip stopped in Barbados, St Lucia, Antigua, St Maarten and St Croix. All nice ports and I discuss each below. As for the ship itself, the food is fine, nothing real fancy. Windjammer was good for a fast breakfast with plenty of selection. Getting a table was sometimes tricky, but not too bad. We ate lunch on the islands, but the dinner meals were fairly good. We had Suresh for a waiter and he was outstanding and made sure we were all happy with our meals and service. We did hit the ice show, which was very good, and the casino one night (too smokey on the other nights). We did not go to other shows and some of the music--such as the bar outside the casino--was way too loud to enjoy and have a conversation. There were two unfortunates about the trip. One was a serious problem in the spa, one we are still having discussions with the cruise line about. I would recommend that women and children be very careful when using a cruise spa. The other problem you will have on this cruise...and its due to the the rudeness of the Puerto Rican people. They are very friendly, but amazingly ignorant to how rude they are. It doesn't matter if they are young, old, male or female. These people will block doorways, stairways, the elevator. They never quite grasped the simple concept of letting people out of an elevator before entering. Jumping a line...these people are the champs. They also seem to wander around and will change directions without notice or without looking. I finally tired of trying to accommodate them after a few days, so there were a few that got bumped or knocked around pretty good. Maybe the cruise lines can offer a class on etiquette! One last comment, if you happen to be fortunate enough to leave a port with the Sea Princess docked next to you, get to the upper levels by 4:45. The Brits on board congregate around the pool decks to sing and wave their Union Jack. It was great to watch the 1,000 or so people have a great time singing British classics. Then, as we pulled away from the dock, they all turned and serenaded us to Rod Stewart's "I am Sailing" was a great memory. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
This was our honeymoon. Both of us have cruised before, both with RC as well. Let me first say that not everything we experienced was negative, we did have ALOT of fun and do not regret the experience at all. It was just not what we ... Read More
This was our honeymoon. Both of us have cruised before, both with RC as well. Let me first say that not everything we experienced was negative, we did have ALOT of fun and do not regret the experience at all. It was just not what we expected. I'll break down everything quite specifically so if you're interested in just one thing, look for the heading. For the rest, it's basically chronological. Trip there - Airport: (SJU) was OK but not the cleanest or most organized but we made it to our bags. Good news, taxi's were easy to find and not expensive at all. For the two of us it was $20 to the boat plus $2 per bag. RC's prepaid transfers were around $35 and you have to wait for everyone on that transfer bus to get their bags. We made it to the port atleast 15 mins before other people on our flight who used the RC transfers. At the port: Embarkation was looking to be difficult as there were several long lines. We expected to be waiting for atleast an hour once we saw the lines but the process was smooth - 25-30 mins total. On the boat - Room: Decent sized balcony stateroom. No real complaints, room was clean and about as well organized as could be. Nothing special, it was a place to sleep and smoke a cigar on the balcony. We did like that it was on the port side so we got some great views while in dock. Might want to mention - walls are a bit thin. I mean, we were on our honeymoon and could hear some "activities" in the room next to ours. Main Dining: The first night I was seething as we came down a few minutes late for our 8:30 seating and found that nobody had been let in yet. We stood for 25 minutes in a line before the doors were opened. All the while there was no explanation from the dining staff. No "come back at 9, we are experiencing difficulties", nothing. Luckily our table was a four top but we convinced the head waiter to reassign any other couple as we were hoping for a two top. While we sat at that four top table we were by ourselves and had a great wait staff - Benny and Dione from the Phillipines. Food was great with one exception for some overcooked salmon. We did not feel as if the quality of food had suffered in main dining. Prime rib is still the candy of meat and they brought me plenty. General Dining: We had no real complaints about general dining. It's buffet food, we expected what we got and made the best of it. If it didn't look appetizing we simply didn't pick it up, no biggy. The only thing we didn't like was the pre-cooked eggs. Oh, and the omlette station is no longer there - you must ask for omlettes from a waiter that will bring you an order sheet. On second thought, they may be a plus. Speciality Dining: We did go to Portofino one night and thought the food was excellent, though the service was not all we hoped for. The flourless chocolate cake was our favorite. **Fellow Cruisers**: I must say, we were warned via this website but were hoping it was just a fluke - it was not. We first experienced this problem while waiting in line for main dining the first night - we encountered the rudest family of Puerto Ricans. I can't even explain how frustrated they made me. No personal space and literally pushing. This continued through out the cruise with almost everyone I supposed to be a Puerto Rican. They would not show the slightest bit of courtesy while walking in hallways, not moving to one side, rushing in/out of the elevators without thought of anyone around. The screaming, the uncontrollable children, cutting in lines. Absolutely no seats available in the windjammer as this is where they spent most of their time (the one good thing - they didn't go anywhere nor did they do anything that would cost them additional money. Including going to main dining - as they would have to tip their waiters. It was a welcome solace.) There were rarely any chairs available at pools including the solarium which should be the childless place of peace - neither of us hate children as both of us do or have worked with kids, but families would have their children running about and would discuss/argue/correct them loudly. We rarely stayed for long. I could go into much more detail but I will suffice to say, we will not be sailing out of San Juan again. We discussed this with several other cruisers while on excursions who felt the same way. Entertainment: We did not go to every show or party but we did enjoy Can't stop the rock (a musical show) and The Quest (game show). We went to bingo several times and really enjoyed the assistant cruise director, Lucky Lulu and the rest. However, the cruise director, Mercedes Lafuente was not all what we have come to expect from RC. I feel that even though the cruise sailed from San Juan that RC should make sure all CD staff are well versed in english, especially the cruise director - Mercedes often repeated herself as if she was unsure of what she had said (in english) which was quite annoying. She seemed just a bit too "fake" and during The Quest, which she hosted, we thought she was quite rude. Lulu would make a much better cruise director as she is very engaging and funny. We want more Lulu!! On-board activities: We only went by the sports deck once or twice and both times the area was swarmed with San Juan natives, and thus, didn't participate. We didn't feel as though we missed much as we always found something else to do. Room Service: Was never more than 35 minutes even after busy dining times. Ofcourse we tip every time and that may have helped. We ordered something almost every day. The food was actually pretty good, specifically the bistro burger (I add an order of bleu cheese) and the florentine pizza. Gambling: Though we didn't spend more than 30 minutes total in the casino (and only about $5) we had fun playing .02 slots and video poker. We did go to bingo several times and won once (a cruise actually!). The drink specials at bingo are two for one - don't miss it! Ports of Call - Aruba: We chose to do excursions at every port of call, this time it was horseback riding at Rancho Notorious. I was concerned with riding horses at the first stop as I didn't want to be sore, but I was pleasantly surprised. The ride was about 20 mins with 12 of us total in a newer air conditioned van. Once at the ranch - which is set up as an old west dude ranch - we were set up by riding experience and assigned horses. I had never ridden before and was given the largest horse?! But I picked up quick and had a great time. The horses are well kept and docile. We rode through some back country and to the beach where we stopped for water and then rode back. The guides were great! We really had fun here! The island itself is a bit of a bore as it looks like Arizona with a beach. Not what we pictured a Caribbean island to be. Picked up some Cuban cigars at the cigar emporium in the mall foward and right of the dock. Note: Do not buy cigars right off the port as they are of low quality and rarely actually Cuban. Go to a notable store such as Cigar Emporium. If you want proof to bring back home ask for "tubos" as you will get to keep the metallic container that protects/seals the cigar. Curacao: We took a traditional tour excursion with stops at the museum (a bit boring), the Hato Caves (very fun but hot!), and the Curacao liqeur factory (so-so) - you can pick up genuine curacao products on the cheap here, we did. I believe it was called Discover Curacao. The guide was very knowledgable about the island and had alot of information. It was ok but we will find another excursion next time around. The island itself is Dutch and has alot of interesting architecture. We walked around a bit after the tour and had no problems. We did find another Cigar Emporium in the shopping district which is across the pontoon bridge from the port (to the right). Dominica: Pronounced Dohm-uh-neek-ah, not what you'd think, I know. The first thing I said when I opened up our balcony was "We're in Lost!". This island is absolutely beautiful! Not something you'd expect to see in the Caribbean as there are nine volcanoes, huge pitons and just lush/dense rainforest and black sand beaches. We went on the Dominica Favorites tour which is usually a large bus but we lucked out and got the "overflow" van with two other couples. Our driver, Ashton, was great. He was funny and answered any and all questions we could fire at him. He first took us to a spot high on a piton which overlooked the city and port with a great view of our ship. It's actually next to the president's house which was quite underwhelming. Then we drove to the falls (trafalgar I think it's spelled). Make sure to go past the viewing "dock" down to the rocks. Alot of fun to be had and great photo op's. We got local beers at the snack stand and then got back in the bus on our way through gorgeous country to the Emerald Pool. We made one stop for refreshments and restrooms and sampled a local juice then headed out. Finally at the Emerald Pool another guide walked us down about 15 minutes while pointing out interesting local plants, then to the pool. I saw some people jumping off a rock into the pool so I just had to try. I was the only one from our group that got in the water and it was cold! It was very fun and we will definitely make a note to come back again. There wasn't all that much to see or do once back at the port so we headed on in for a late lunch. St. Thomas (USVI): If you've been on a cruise, chances are you've been here at least once. While most choose to shop or head out to Coki or Meghans Bay, we did something a bit different. My wife chose this excursion because she thought it was "a romantic sailing to Christmas Island and Honeymoon Cove", well she was wrong. But boy was it ever a pleasant surprise!! We went with a chartered ship called "Bones". A pirate-type schooner with the funniest crew ever. My wife swears one of them is related to Matthew McConahey(sp?) as he had a serious Texas drawl and the greatest sense of humor. They first took us to Christmas Island which they called "turtle cove" so snorkel with turtles. That was great! Then we all loaded up and the drinks were flowing. All the beer "miller lite or blackbeard ale" or Virgin Island Pain Killer (some sort of magical rum concoction) you could drink with some chips and salsa to boot. We sailed to a secluded little beach called Honeymoon Cove. We literally had to jump off the boat and swim to shore! Yes, a dinghy was available but what fun is that? There we had a great BBQ and hung out on the beach for several hours. We then got back on board and party-sailed back to port where we were given the funniest "buy our t-shirt" pitch ever. We absolutely loved this excursion! The only problem was by the time we got back to port we had no time to shop for souvenirs, but as we were "well lubricated" at that point we simply didn't care. Please check out Bones if you are going to be in St. Thomas, worth every penny! Puerto Rico: We actually had a late flight and chose to do one more excursion that included an airport transfer. We went on a cattle-call type bus to the El Yunque rainforest. We were quite surprised once we got there as our only impression of PR was San Juan - not the prettiest or cleanest city we have visited. The rainforest and views were great though our guide could have been a bit quicker through the walking trail. He obviously loved his homeland and was proud of it but after seven days, we didn't want a school lesson. It was fun but we will not miss Puerto Rico. Disembarking - Very easy. I reccomend taking an excursion type transfer as this seemed to hurry us through Customs. Airport: Once again not the cleanest or most well organized airport. Plenty of guys walking around trying to sell "genuine gold necklaces" obviously stolen or fake. The USDA inspection was a joke. We were happy to pay $40 per person to get an earlier flight back. Note: We flew Jet Blue both ways, no real issues. Decently priced and the entertainment was decent. Final thoughts - Cons: We could have saved by directly booking with RC. We will never sail out of San Juan (or visit PR) again. Aruba as an island was quite boring. Pros: Dominica! Bones(usvi)! A good wait staff and responsive room service. Up in the air: I'm not sure that RC's quality as a whole has gone down, it may just be the boats out of PR as the crew makes less money (tips) and the boat is less profitable. I guess we will reserve judgement until the next cruise which has to be a 7-day Caribbean inside of one year. I think we will sail out of Port Canaveral as it's close to home. Unfortunately that takes Dominica (now my favorite) and St. Lucia (we have wanted to go) out of the mix. We will also try to directly book excurisions with the providers this time and report back. Let us know how you like the review! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
This was my 8th cruise but first with Royal Caribbean. Flew into San Juan the day before - checked out of hotel at noon - took a cab at 12:30 and literally walked right onto the ship - no problems at all. After I booked this cruise, I ... Read More
This was my 8th cruise but first with Royal Caribbean. Flew into San Juan the day before - checked out of hotel at noon - took a cab at 12:30 and literally walked right onto the ship - no problems at all. After I booked this cruise, I realized that Royal Caribbean did not allow you to bring a couple of bottles of wine on board in your luggage - we had a balcony for this cruise and were looking forward to having a glass of wine on our balcony before dinner so this was a bit of a disappointment. Also, there is orange juice at breakfast but if you want anything other than iced tea or lemonade at lunch or dinner you must purchase a water and juice card - This is a bit much in my opinion - have had juice on all the 4 other lines I have cruised. We ended up buying a 7 bottle wine package (195 +18% gratuity) Something about this package is that you can only get the bottles of wine in the dining room - not in the bars - I felt a bit weird carrying my partial bottle of wine around to have a drink poured in wherever we were going that night. So this was kind of a letdown. Also, we bought a bottle of liquor on St Thomas - told the ship about it and they put it away til disembarkation day - we were told to go to the Dog and Duck pub in the morning before getting off to claim it - We went 4 times to the pub to get it - each time the line was so so long - I bet some people had to get off before getting their bottle! We got off late and so didn't line up the first 3 times. It was total disorganization. However, as this cruise was on Spring Break and there were a lot of young people on the ship, one thing I was really impressed with is the announcements that were made a couple of times about zero tolerance for underage drinking - we saw none of this on board. I have been on a summer holiday cruise before where kids ran wild and spoiled the cruise for a lot of other people - this definitely did not happen on this cruise! People did bring kids into the adult pool - why I do not know - everything is marked no kids but I guess rules only apply to certain people?? The ports were great on this cruise, Aruba definitely the best deals for shopping, Curacao is just beautiful, Domenica totally untouristy but has 45% unemployment so it is a hard life for the citizens. St Thomas has beautiful beaches and a lot of pirate history. On Aruba the island tour from the ship was about $45, walked off the ship and offered the same thing for 30, a few more steps and it was 20 and we ended up on a great tour for $10 just before we got to the main street. So, I would not hesitate to tour on my own. so mediocre, Breakfast the same every single day, Lunch very similar every day and not very tasty food - I would say on par with any inexpensive buffet. Dessert was occasionally a nice surprise. We did My time dining and never had a problem getting in - the prime rib was excellent but the seafood was a letdown - The vegetarian meal was always a curry ...... Entertainment on this ship was good, lots of activities - Ice show, Ice skating,climbing wall, mini golf, basketball court, good gym, parades.... I thought that older kids would really love all the activities on this ship. The comedians were just bad IMO and the cruise director speaks very very quickly and with a heavy spanish accent, then says the same thing in spanish - very hard to follow what she is saying - She did appear to have a good time dancing with the entertainers though. The Duck and Dog pub had a great entertainer to sing along with and it was packed almost every night and lots of fun. Our room was very nice but.....Royal Caribbean has a real problem with the cleanliness of their laundry!!!!! We had a bathmat left for us one day that looked like someone had wiped up a bottle of red wine with it. At least 6 facecloths and 5 hand towels were left for us that had brown stains on them and one night I went to get into bed and my "clean" sheet had a huge brown mark on it - called the steward to get it changed and it took him 3 sheets to get a clean one. Lots of the towels had ragged edges too. Disembarkation was OK - we picked a later time as we were staying in San Juan one more night - Our time was 10:35 - we went and were told to come back in 30 minutes as they were late - when we came back there was not a single person, staff or otherwise at the location - we went to a different location, there were a few people there and we walked right off at about 11:15 - there were 2 lanes- one for US and one for International - we are Canadian and not a single other person in this line - went through customs in 2 seconds and then in a huge room with big coloured signs hanging from the ceiling - we were Red so found our suitcases under the red sign - It was really easy but there was hardly any luggage left by this time so that is probably why - went outside and it was really well organized - told the Cab dispatcher which hotel we wanted to go to and were there in a flash. Just a hint - even though cab fares are regulated in San Juan, one driver charged us $4 more than we had been quoted, one driver talked on her cell phone to a friend the whole time she was driving us (with one hand) but we also had 3 really good friendly informative drivers. I think that this cruise would appeal to families with older children as the activities are really geared towards them. I was happy that underage shenanigans were not tolerated. I was not very impressed with the food and I was disgusted by the lines and the cleanliness of them. I did not think the Cruise Director was very good. I would take this cruise line again if they were going to ports I wanted to see and if the price was right - It would not be my first choice. Also, please be back on the ship on time - at least 2 people were left behind at one of the ports - the next day was a sea day so they missed a lot and I am sure it cost them a lot of money to meet us too. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
First, I must say this cruise had been on my list for a long time so when we decided to go at the last minute, I was very excited. The arrival into San Juan went very smoothly. We got the embarkation building and there is not a single ... Read More
First, I must say this cruise had been on my list for a long time so when we decided to go at the last minute, I was very excited. The arrival into San Juan went very smoothly. We got the embarkation building and there is not a single employee there to direct you to the proper line, we found this to be a common theme throughout the cruise. That said, we were on the ship and in the room within 20 minutes and this was around 3 in the afternoon. Unfortunately it was raining in San Juan, so most people were in the Windjammer or in the Promenade. We ate lunch and proceeded to walk through the Promenade. We stopped the various "vendors" on the ship; such as Portofino, the Spa table, the Retail table...and I felt very pressured to sign up immediately for spa appointments, as I was told the appointments were becoming full and selling out. So, I made an appointment only to find out later in the week they had plenty of openings at a cheaper rate. This seemed very sneaky and disappointing, thus I cancelled my appointment. I love to spa and this actually ruined my experience with the spa. In addition, I wanted to book my massage treatments with a male therapist, only to be told that it was against Royal Caribbean's policy not to hire male therapist. Having been on RCI before and had male therapists. If truly is the policy, RCI just missed 700 dollars worth of revenue from me. In addition, the sauna was broken on the ship. The dining on the ship was not bad at all, nothing spectacular except for in Portofino, we actually dined there twice during the seven nights. We had a great and easy time dining at My Time Dining and the Head Waiter really took care of us each night. We never had to wait for a table and always had a great table. There would be either 2 of us or 5 of us for dinner and they always accommodated our last minute changes. There was only one night in the Main Dining Room where the menu was horrible, and I simply asked for my entree not to be served on the bone and they refused, thus I ended up ordering three apps. The bar staff did not seem friendly at all, except in the Schooner Bar. We had extremely rude service in the Sports Bar. The servers at the pool are great though. The shows were good, nothing to write home about. The Ice Show was tired but amazing athletes. The Cruise Director Mercedes was very pro Spanish speaking. I think a lot of time was wasted on translating during shows, events, etc. In the past, the Cruise Director was friendly and would be seen around the ship saying hello, checking in with guests, etc...Mercedes was only seen when she had a microphone in her hand and wanted to be the center of attention. The excursions were great, nothing bad to report at all. Dominica by far was amazing, St. Thomas Sky Ride to have a Bushwacker was great; however, the shopping in St. Thomas was very unimpressive. We were told there was a Chanel, Prada, and Hermes on the island, wrong. Gucci and Louis Vuitton, and wish we had known this in Aruba as the shopping there was much better and more diverse. Now the worst travel day of my life. We were scheduled to be the second group of the ship and was told to meet in the Ice Rink 15 minutes before scheduled time of 8.40. We arrived at 8.30 and at 9.10 was called to go back up to Deck 4 and there are some older couples with walking problems, folks with luggage, and trying to exit. So, at the top of the stairs, there is no one to tell you to go left if you are international and to go right if you are US citizen. This was a mess. So, finally off the ship to find our luggage. Wow...chaos. There are no signs to tell you where the Group/Color tags are located. The line was extremely long to go through Customs and we had extreme confusion on finding our luggage, and again no one from RCI to help. We finally find our luggage which was by the exit near Customs, but had to push our way to the bag of the line to exit. Once outside, there is no one to direct you and there are no signs to tell you where to go for the transfers. We walked down the sidewalk and finally found someone to help us. Our bags go inside a bucket truck and you are told to go to a bus. Our luggage were the first 4 pieces on the truck, and we were the last two on the bus. We arrived at the airport to wait 45 minutes for the truck to show up. We were running very late for our plane, we had to send our bags through the agriculture scan, then US Airways had one one person working the First Class check in, and the printer was broken. Then we go to the security line, with three people working and the line was immense. I have never seen such confusion and chaos in the airport and I have traveled around the world. Then we are on the plane and waited an hour at the gate, finally the captain says..."folks if you are on the plane, chances are your luggage is not, we only have about 10 bags on board. He stated TSA only had one baggage scanner for the entire airport. We have to leave to make connections in Charlotte." We knew we did not have luggage once we arrived to our destination, so went to the luggage counter to find that our bags were still in San Juan. They arrived the next night. Things to thing about: Take a taxi, not the transfer buses. Stay an extra day, so you don't have 3 cruise ships leaving the same day. Check the spa specials, don't be pressured the first night, they are not full. Eat at Portofino. Book excursions off the ship. Shop in Aruba, not St. Thomas. Have a Bushwacker (or three) in St. Thomas. YA YA!!! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
We arrived from Malaga to Barcelona and a taxi to the Ship for the 5 day cruise, on 15th May 2010, to see what Royal Caribbean is like. On arrival we was shown to the check in then passed the sales of the drinks and passed the boarding ... Read More
We arrived from Malaga to Barcelona and a taxi to the Ship for the 5 day cruise, on 15th May 2010, to see what Royal Caribbean is like. On arrival we was shown to the check in then passed the sales of the drinks and passed the boarding photo to which we declined and boarded told that to cabin would be ready at 13:00 and told that we could get a meal at Windjammers, we proceeded to try the cuisine, which did not fail to impress except trying to find a place to sit was a task as it was for every meal time in this restaurant The cabin was ok in some aspects but things like no tea making equipment, poor balcony furniture, an odd shape bed, draws that needed the attention of a carpenter, a TV out of the arc, if they put in flat screens then it would have made more room, and the reading material was second hand, apart from that it adequate The staff I felt had an up hill struggle to impress as the were of the best quality and the food in the Mozart restaurant was 5 star The ports that we visited were Villefranche - Sante first to which we were tendered to the shore and enjoyed the town and surrounding area and the lunch on the front was very good, we decided to buy a half bottle of wine and some pop, mistake, American policy you! Will only buy our alcohol no matter the size, the best of it there was no shop on board to purchase this. Cagliari, Italy was next, not very impressed as was also the comments from some of the other passengers, and the next port was Palermo, Sicily now this was a place to take a wide birth unless you are into poverty looking streets but was clean in most parts.The ship itself was nice but it seemed to lack something to spark the atmosphere into life and the policy of the company we felt was that all they wanted was your money even telling you how to shop, and high price for the internet wifi, The difference in class in sunbathing areas made me feel like some thing of times gone by. I counted 9 nationalities on the ship which to me means a clash of type of entertainment and sence of humour. This was our first time sailing with Royal Caribbean and if this was the result of their hosting our cruise then we are afraid to say no to any more sailing with them. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
This is our third sailing with RC. First was on the Navigator of the Seas a ok cruise. Second was on the Maiden Voyage 4 day to Labadee Extravaganza on Oasis of the Seas. Great ship lots of bumps on the road here. Substandard cruise ... Read More
This is our third sailing with RC. First was on the Navigator of the Seas a ok cruise. Second was on the Maiden Voyage 4 day to Labadee Extravaganza on Oasis of the Seas. Great ship lots of bumps on the road here. Substandard cruise director, just ok service though. Great service in Windjammer poor service in dining room. Great ship to be on though lots of freebies thrown in. Now on to review of Adventure of the Seas. Before the cruise stayed at Eurostar Grand Marina. The service here was great but the beds are rock hard. Also very expensive. Cant beat the location though everything including Los Rambles is within walking distance. If you cruise out of Barcelona make sure you take a day before and a day after to check out this great city. The people are great and very friendly and there is lots of stuff to see for free. Take a hop on hop off bus its a great buy. Embarkation. RC has this down we were on the ship within 1/2 hour great guidance by staff inside terminal lots of great direction. We cruised to Cannes, France, Florence and Pisa and Rome. Lots to do and see in these places. More on that in my port reviews. The ship itself was old but in pretty good shape standard Voyager class ship nicely decorated. The biggest opportunity here for RC in there extremely poor service and staff. Mercedes the cruise director was a very nice lady and very friendly she did everything bilingual since a lot of the crowd was Spanish not much wow with her though just ok. Some people don't like when a cruise director is bilingual but I think its good practice to respect the culture and people of Spain by speaking their language. In my experience the Spanish people are a very nice and family oriented folk. I fell in love with Barcelona because of that so I think its proper to speak both Catalan and Spanish (even though in my experience few people spoke Catalan, when they did they appreciated that I used the language).. Im also a drummer and percussionist with a big love for Latin music where there was plenty served up on this cruise. The band Musiclave was very good. Stateroom- We had a balcony stateroom and a good stateroom attendant Denis from St Vincent. He was the best thing on our cruise as far as service goes. The furniture on our balcony was awful you could find better chairs at a garage sale. It really was that bad. When I spend extra cash for the balcony I expect the furniture to be at least as nice as what I would put on my own balcony at home.The rest of the stateroom was nice and pretty spacious. The crew here was very disgruntled and I heard very vocal complaints about how poorly they are treated by RC. Not a happy bunch at all. Most said hi if you said hi first. But surely no wow and I think they were saying how because they feared their bosses and management. Surely not the way to get a crew to perform. I heard them gripe about how they had to pay for their uniforms and were only paid 25.00 per week. Not something I really want to hear on vacation. Dining-Only spent two days in the dining room food and service here was not very good. It wasn't bad there was just no wow. And I had our waiter actually tell me not to eat in the Windjammer because of poor service. I was floored by this comment the crew had already shared with me to much information (that I wasn't looking for I'm on vacation). But the Windjammer had pretty good service and the food was ok so that comment really put me off. The Royal Sirloin in the dining room was nothing more than the grilled steak from the windjammer with some nice salsa served on the side. The steak wasn't bad or anything like that. But it certainly was not on the level of being called Royal.The food here does not compare to what Ive gotten on Carnival though.Food was standard below average cruise fare,pretty good but nothing special. Deserts were the same thing equal whether you got it in the dining room or Windjammer. Matter of fact I got better service in the Windjammer on the Oasis of the Seas then I got in their dining room. RC is really lacking in dining room service (in my experience with them). The real advantage Royal Caribbean has over other cruise lines is they have shorter cruises to Europe. If the other cruise lines like Carnival picked up on this they would smoke Royal Caribbean. The shows- Royal Caribbean has the best ice shows at sea for sure. All that I have seen are very well done. But then again they have the only ice rinks at sea. The other productions were ok, nothing special though. I like the fact that they do have some very skilled variety show type acts involved. The talent they had on this ship was pretty good. Production shows put on by staff were ok. Just no wow.Carnivals shows put RC to shame as far asthe WOW factor. Meet the captain on board ship and he was really a great guy. Great personality and huge Canadian, Viking looking guy. Very jovial and friendly. As far as the perks of being a return cruiser Ive got to shake my head. The discount book I got was not worth the paper it was printed on. A couple decent deals but nothing of real significance. And boy they are really promoting the perks they are giving return cruisers. If anything they have taken more away than they have given back. And what happened with the turn down service and the little chocolate? May seem like a little thing but its all part of cruising. Plus I had to ask to have a couple towel animals whats up with that. Am I missing something here? Don't get me wrong I loved being in Europe and RC was ok but not enough to continue my business with them. This has been my third cruise with Royal and will perhaps have to be my last. I believe their staff is really the poorest I have seen in my limited experience. Some of this has to be due to upper management I believe. If you have a unhappy crew this many times can be tracked up the ladder. I will pay a little( or a lot) more now and go with Celebrity, Disney, and Princess. No big regrets about going on RC but I will take my cruise dollars some place else where I get better service from the crew. Remembering a guests name and hello and please and thank you goes a long way. Disembarkation was again a breeze RC has this down and is very well organized in getting people on and off the ship. Its the in between time that needs work. Stayed at the Renaissance Marriott in a Elite class room after the cruise. This hotel is superior if you are in Barcelona it would be good to check this place out. Far away from stuff but they do have a free shuttle that will take you into town and pick you up six hours later. Again it makes me a little sad to have to put my cruise dollars someplace else. But this is a investment of time and money. And with Royal Caribbean I am not getting a good return on investment so its time to move on. Read Less
Adventure of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 5.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 0.0
Family 5.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 1.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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