Sail Date: November 2006
WOWWWWWEEEEEEE - did I cry yesterday coming home, I was sobbing in the taxi when we were told to wave goodbye I had the trip of a lifetime so thought I would tell you all about it as it was my first time with RCI. We sailed to Aruba, ... Read More
WOWWWWWEEEEEEE - did I cry yesterday coming home, I was sobbing in the taxi when we were told to wave goodbye I had the trip of a lifetime so thought I would tell you all about it as it was my first time with RCI. We sailed to Aruba, Curacao, St Thomas and St Martin. We had our flights arranged by RCI and everything went very smoothly and was booked into the Courtyard Marriot in San Juan - a lovely hotel in a fab location right on the beach. We only really spent the night there and had brekkie in the morning but couldn't fault the hotel from what we saw and the rooms were HUGE!! We decided on embarkation morning to make our own way to the airport which cost $20 but were so glad we did as we were on the ship by midday and it was all a breeze and hardly any queues!!! Yes there were a lot of Puerto Ricans (probably 80%) but they were lovely. You will always get the odd few that are rude but hey that goes with any nationality. First impressions of the ship were with our mouths wide open and we met some great bar tenders as soon as we got on board (you have to start drinking early!!). Windjammer was very busy but was to be expected so it didn't bother us too much. We were allowed into our room at 2pm and mum was in tears - for those of you that know I upgraded from an inside to Junior suite and it was lovely and a perfect size. Indeed we had room service every morning sat eating brekkie on the balcony. We were in cabin 9318 and couldn't recommend these enough as the location is totally perfect and no noise at all from the lifts. The first night was a bit of a nightmare - the welcome aboard parade was soooooo busy that I got a little annoyed but if you get there and wait early then it probably wouldn't have been as bad and you would have had a better view than we did. DAY ONE - AT SEA - laughed so hard at the sexy legs competition and spent all day in the sun with rarely a cloud insight...it was gorgeous. To be honest on sea days I was so surprised at the number of sunbeds available well into early afternoon and there actually wasn't that many kids around. Formal night again seemed a little horrendous and I was a little disappointed with that, the queue was too long for formal portraits which was a shame. DAY TWO - ARUBA - wow I loved this island so much!! We spent the morning on a RCI catamaran trip to a little beach which was excellent value for money and free rum punch so cant complain!!! I found Aruba to have the nicest beaches and would love to go back. The afternoon was spent shopping in town. We found with a lot of the islands that it was mainly jewelry and "tat" shops so actually didn't spend that much!! DAY THREE - CURACAO - we were due to do the Beach Express but unfortunately this was cancelled so we spent the morning in town shopping and then had rebooked on another trip with RCI which was a day at Kontiki beach by boat. The morning had seen quite a bit of rain so we were really pleased when it brightened up in the afternoon and it was a lovely beach to go to. DAY FOUR - AT SEA - pretty much the same as the first sea day...just lazing and watching the activities going on. We never even found the time to do ice skating, climbing or skating!!! The ice show was FAB and certainly one not to be missed. Formal night was also much better and more people seemed to dress up than on the first night. DAY FIVE - ST MARTIN - I wasn't too impressed with the island, ok it was nice but just didn't grab me. We did the Marigot & beach tour - Marigot is really pretty but not much to do there. The beach however was awful - we ended up being taken to the end of Orient Beach which was littered and covered in seaweed. Had a laugh watching the nudists though!! Bit disappointed with that trip really. DAY SIX - ST THOMAS - FAB island!!!! In the morning we went up to Paradise POint which was beautiful but made the mistake of having a Bushwacker at 9:15am....hmmmmmm woozy heads on the way down, those drinks are lethal but a must have!!! We then had the Ultimate Island experience which was really great in an open air taxi - we went for a wander round the island, Magens Bay and then to Blackbeards Castle still leaving time for shopping at the end!! Coming home was awful as I said but only as I was very sad. We met some great people on our table and our waiter, Filip, was adorable. Disembarkation was great and a breeze....everyone was very civil and there was no pushing or waiting in the way. We were a little disappointed with our cabin steward as you had to ask him 3/4 times to get something done which was frustrating. Dinner was great and couldn't complain about that - we ate in the dining room every night. Windjammer had the same food every day but we only used it on sea days so it didn't bother us at all. The highlight of the holiday had to be RICHARD SPACEY - the guy is amazing and made the trip for us. I think I need to line him up to be my next husband LOL Not to be missed would have to be the farewell show which was fantastic and of course Quest - I had tears of laughter rolling down my face!!! Hope that's a balanced view and feel free to ask any questions and look at the piccies. http://www.bexpics.fotopic.net/ Forgot to add - what did amaze me in the US was the lack of security at JFK airport...I have never seen anything like it in my life. In the UK we are used to seeing police with machine guns and sniffer dogs but there was nothing like that! On the way back we didn't even have our passports checked once at JFK - now what is that about!!!!! Also would never in a million years fly AA again - horrendous airline LOL Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
Adventurer Of The Seas November 12-19, 2006 We booked this cruise mainly based on the itinerary, as we wanted to see both Aruba and Curacao on the same cruise. We had not been on RCCL before, but have cruised on their upper level line ... Read More
Adventurer Of The Seas November 12-19, 2006 We booked this cruise mainly based on the itinerary, as we wanted to see both Aruba and Curacao on the same cruise. We had not been on RCCL before, but have cruised on their upper level line Celebrity. For those that do not want to read the complete review, let me sum up our experience in one word, and that word applies to the ship, the staff, the cabin, the food and the ports of call - Excellent! We arrived in San Juan a day ahead of departure so that we would have time to visit El Yunque (the National Park rain forest). We have been in San Juan before so did not need to spend time in Old San Juan or other parts of the city. We stayed at the Westin Rio Mar Beach Resort, very near El Yunque. This is a very nice hotel and an easy drive from the San Juan airport. Following our exploring Sunday morning, we returned to the hotel, checked out and made our way back to turn in the car and transfer to the ship. We used Hertz for our car rental and they provided free transfers from their office to the port. This was a nice touch and saved us the cab fare. We arrived at the port about 5:30 pm, so there was very little line for processing. We were checked in and in our cabin by 6 pm. Remember to take some clothes for dinner in your carry on as the luggage may or may not arrive at your cabin in time. Note that the dining follows the assigned times for main or late, except late on the first day is delayed until 9pm due to the lifeboat drill at 815 or so. CABIN AND PUBLIC AREAS We were in an E category cabin, number 8288, starboard side. The cabin was quite nice, with queen size bed, sofa, coffee table, plenty of closet/storage space, decent sized bathroom, and a nice sized balcony. This cabin was almost exactly mid-ship and was a very convenient location. The cabin was extremely clean and our cabin steward Ann kept it that way the entire week. Without a doubt Ann was the best steward we have had on any of our cruises. In addition to the great service she was a wonderfully warm and friendly person as well. We particularly liked the lay out of the bathroom. The storage space in the bathroom is very good, and the counter room is more than adequate. The shower has a rounded sliding door which is so much better than a curtain. Given the generally small size of cruise ship bathrooms this one felt larger than usual, even though I am sure it was not. We also liked the fact that the balcony had floor to ceiling walls on each side for complete privacy. The balcony had two chairs and a small round table and was a wonderful place to eat room service breakfast. This is a big ship and carries lots of passengers but never felt crowded. There is such a variety of public spaces that everyone can spread out and find room. The promenade is a nice touch and is quite unique. It is fun to sit at one of the street side tables at one of the bars and watch the people walking by. The 24 hour pizza snack area on the promenade is a nice touch. We only had a slice of pizza there once but it was quite good. What is really nice about this area is the 24 hour coffee service serving really GOOD coffee. They use only Seattles Best coffee and it always fresh and hot. Unlike most cruise ships that serve barely drinkable coffee at best this coffee was so good that my wife, who seldom drinks coffee, enjoyed it. One hint  many people thought you had to pay for the pizza and other pastries and sandwiches served here since the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream service is in the same place. You do have to pay for the ice cream but the food is included as part of the cruise fare. Because of this misconception the area is seldom crowded. The public areas are very well done. Be sure to take time to observe all the art work scattered all over the ship, especially in the stairways. There are some very unique and interesting works. We may have missed it, but we never did see any kind of ship tour or art walk offered during the days at sea. On one of our Holland American cruises this was offered and it was extremely interesting. If this is not offered it should be as the artwork is well worth exploring. The pool area is very nice and has more than enough chairs available. We seldom used the general pool area as we preferred the quieter and adult only Solarium area, which has one pool and two hot tubs and plenty of chairs for lounging. This was always a nice quite relaxing place to get some sun and some pool time. I will say that everyone seemed to respect the adult only rule. Only once during the whole cruise did I see any child in the area, and she was probably close to 12 and with her mother and no one said anything about it as it was not a problem. The signs request 16 and up only. The general pool was much more active with bands playing lots of the time and many activities going on. This of course resulted in a louder atmosphere, but again it was not a rowdy area. In fact I was impressed at how well behaved everyone on this cruise was. There were only about 300 children on the ship (based on the numbers given out by the Captain during his welcome aboard speech), and we never once saw any child misbehave or create any kind of scene. The gym is one of the best I have seen on a cruise ship with state of the art equipment and lots of it. There was never a wait for equipment and everything was in top condition. The staff kept the equipment and the facilities in the gym sparkling clean. We did not use the spa facilities but they looked to be excellent. The Spa is located just above the gym and the two are connected internally by a spiral stair case. My wife did use the hair salon for a cut and styling and was happy overall with the service, although it was a bit on the pricey side (this is one of the two things that we would have skipped - see below for the other). There are so many bars and gathering places that one can always find one to their liking. A wide variety of live music is on tap around the various bars and public areas and if a person needs quiet the library and quiet lounges are available as well. Beer and liquor prices were typical of any cruise line or top hotel bar, not cheap but not outrageous either. Each day had special drink of the day offerings usually at around $5.95 and keep the glass type of pricing. FOOD AND DINING We requested and received second seating for dinner (8:30) and were seated at a table for 6. Our table mates were great and we hit it off well with the other two couples, becoming quite close to the couple closer to our age. The main dining room is spread across three levels, on decks 3, 4, and 5. We were on the top level, next to the railing that looked down into the other levels. Each level has a different dEcor but all are quite tasteful and roomy. The noise level is not unreasonable for the number of people in the room. Our server and assistant server were excellent in every respect. They were polite, efficient, and very knowledgeable about the food selections and did not hesitate to recommend the dishes they thought best. The food was at all times excellent and the variety offered provided everyone with adequate choices. We did not opt for the Wine and Dine package, choosing to buy wine as we wanted it. Some evenings we would buy only a single glass and others we would choose a bottle. We found the house Chardonnay to be quite good and since it was the lowest priced of the choices that saved us a bit of money. Desserts were excellent and a broad variety was offered. Friday night's menu offered lobster and it was excellent and there was no problem to ask for more it wanted. Overall we rated the food and service in the main dining room excellent. We only used the buffet dining twice, once for lunch and the morning we disembarked. We are not fans of buffets and really do not like to eat there. However, the food in the buffet was very good and a wide variety was on offer. The dining area of the buffet is large and roomy and offers excellent sea views from large windows. Those passengers that prefer buffets for dining will not be disappointed. On all mornings but one (other than the last day) we used room service for breakfast and ate on our balcony. The room service orders were always prepared correctly, delivered on time, and were fresh and hot (if hot food was ordered). We found room service to be the most efficient way to have breakfast and get ready for a day on shore on the days we were in port. We also used room service one late afternoon after a day ashore for a small pizza and again it was delivered when promised and was very tasty. One morning we had breakfast in the main dining room and that was quite good as well. We dined at Portofino, the specialty restaurant, Thursday evening. Since this was the second formal night we opted to dress that way, even though the dress code for Portofino states elegant casual we were one of the few couples in formal dress that night, so apparently the dress code for the main dining room does not apply here. We felt it should have. The food was excellent, the service excellent, and the dining room pleasant. However, this is the second activity that we would choose not to do again. It was just not different enough from the excellent food and service in the main dining room to justify the $20 per person cost. We did not feel that we wasted our money  everything was excellent. It is just that the food and service in the main dining room is so good that it is hard to compete with. The one thing that we did not like that even here, after paying $20 for dining, they still wanted to charge extra for espressos or cappuccinos after dinner, just as in the main dining room. One would think the $20 would have also covered that. Again, the experience was nice. We just did not think the differential was there to justify the $20 per person. We did not partake of either of the two late night buffets. We looked at the grand buffet and it was of course impressive with the ice carvings, the food art and so forth. ITINERARY This, along with RCCL's reputation, was the main reason we chose this cruise and we were not disappointed. It could not have been better. After our first day at sea we arrived at Aruba and were able to leave the ship shortly after 8 am. We had reserved a 4-wheel drive vehicle with Hertz. The various car rental companies have booths set up right at the dock and the cars are located in a parking lot just adjacent. Very convenient. I suspect that one could haggle with the vendors and get a better price rather than reserving ahead as there seemed to be lots of cars available. However, we were the only ship in port so that might not be true on a busy day. Regardless, we paid $60 for the day plus gas and it was worth every cent. We did not have a Jeep but it was a 4WD small SUV type vehicle that allowed us to drive around the whole island. This is needed because the undeveloped side of the island has only dirt roads and some are pretty rough. A normal car could not circle the island but would have to backtrack several times. We went clock wise, traveling along Eagle Beach, Palm Beach, then to the light house, over to the Chapel, then the natural bridges, via the back country to San Nicholas and a stop at Baby Beach for swimming. Baby Beach is fabulous. We then went into San Nicholas and had lunch and a beer at Charley's Bar (not to be confused with Carlos and Charleys in Oranjestad), an Aruba landmark quite a place with good food and cold beer. We then made our way back to turn in the car, returned to the ship to clean up and then back into Oranjestad for a bit of a walkabout before returning to the ship for dinner. The next port was Curacao. We have for years wanted to see the waterfront buildings of Willemstad with the famous painted facades and seeing them in person did not disappoint. What a great sight. We chose to do the Trolley Tour, booking it as an excursion with the ship at $32 per person. Here is a big hint  if there is only one ship in port as we were, walk into town across the swinging bridge, go over to the trolley stop and buy it there. Walkups are only $10. The other $22 is because they take out from the port by taxi downtown and then back to the port if desired after the tour. Unless you can not walk for 10 minutes for just have to drive over the big tall bridge do it your self and save $22 a person. Of course if there were several ships in port then the Trolley could be sold out. The day we were there is was not and they were selling seats to walk ups as we boarded the tram. All that aside, the tour is interesting and informative and gives a very quick overview of the city and the history and it was very enjoyable. After the tour we spent the remainder of the day just strolling about, shopping a bit, and having a nice relaxing day. We really enjoyed Curacao and found it to be very pleasant. We did not get out to any of the beaches so do not know what they are like. We departed Curacao at 5pm. The next day was a sea day and then we arrived at St Maarten, where we had also reserved a rental car for the day. We paid only $24 for the day for a very small car and spent $10 on gas. It was more than adequate for our needs. St Maarten/St Martin is quite small and we were able to see the complete island, with several stops to walk some beaches, have a drink and snack, walk about downtown Marigot, and back to turn in the car in about 4 hours and this was not rushing it at all. St Maarten/St Martin turned out to be our favorite island based on the beaches, the scenery and the friendly people there. It is definitely on our must return to list. We did not do any major shopping, other than some small souvenirs, here. Our table mates did find the shopping to be excellent and purchased some major items of jewelry as well as watches and a digital camera. They felt the prices were very good. The next port was St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. This has to be one of the prettiest ports in the whole Caribbean and of course the shopping is world famous. After leaving the ship we hopped on one of the taxi tours outside the dock and spent a couple of hours seeing the main points of the island. We had been in St Thomas before and have also been to St John, so after the tour we did a bit of shopping, had lunch and a drink, and did some more shopping! We returned to the ship poorer than when we left but with some nice little sparkly things! Final port was back to San Juan, where we arrived early. As we had an early flight we were in the E (for early) group for disembarking and we were off the ship by 730am and at the airport, with luggage, by 815am and then checked in and through all the security and so forth by 830am. Very easy and very direct. I have no idea how it was for the later departures. Since on this cruise you clear USA immigration when you arrive in St Thomas (actually done on board the ship before you are allowed to go ashore) the only thing that happens in San Juan is the customs and that was very fast. We used the RCCL transfers at $13 apiece and they were fine. OTHER THINGS One question that always comes up is about bringing on wine or beer or other booze. We had several small bottles (the airplane size) of gin in our suitcase and a six pack of small bottles of tonic water in the backpack, as we like to sit on our balcony and have gin and tonics before dinner. There was no problem with bringing those on. We also twice purchased a bottle of wine on shore and simply placed in our backpack, along with 4 loose bottles of beer and again we were not stopped. I suspect that the combination of the age of the person bringing on the booze/wine, along with the amount, dictates how strict security is. We were told by one crew member, in confidence, that as long as one does not get carried away with quantities that usually security will turn a blind eye. Worked for us, but it is not like we shorted the cruise line. Our on board bar tab was still a fair amount. The entertainment was top notch every night. Be sure to see the ice skating show with the professional ice skaters. It is well done and the skaters are excellent. The comedians and variety show are good and the one musical song and dance show was excellent. The entertainment overall is excellent. Up on the activity deck there is the rock climbing wall, miniature golf, basketball court, and in-line skating. We did the golf and it was fine. We thought about the rock wall but decided against it. Deck 12 has an excellent jogging/walking track with 5 laps to a mail. I used that every morning early and it was usually pretty busy. Another thing we liked was the passenger mix. Since this cruise departs San Juan it is quite popular with people that live in Puerto Rico. Our cruise, with a total of 3000 passengers had about 1400 from Puerto Rico, which gave the cruise a nice mix of cultures and languages. The on-board announcement were made in both English and Spanish and we had the pleasure to meet several Puerto Ricans and learn more about their culture and island. Another thing that really impressed us was how well behaved everyone on board was. We did not once see any rude people or encounter any loud or rowdy behavior. This was definitely not a party boat but rather a group of people together that wanted to see some wonderful islands, enjoy some great food and service, and have a nice relaxing vacation. We give an A+ on all counts. As I said earlier this was our first time on RCCL but it will not be our last. Even though they position Celebrity as their upper level line, we thought that RCCL was better in most respects than our experiences on Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
Greetings from Curacao! I am sitting by the pool writing the first half of my review after a great day at the Underwater Park in Curacao. My wife and I decided that if we didn't start writing now we would forget half the things we ... Read More
Greetings from Curacao! I am sitting by the pool writing the first half of my review after a great day at the Underwater Park in Curacao. My wife and I decided that if we didn't start writing now we would forget half the things we wanted to include in our review. Betsey and I signed up for this cruise with some trepidation. We wanted to go to Aruba and our friends told us we were crazy not to try a cruise, so we decided to do both  the seven- night Southern Caribbean cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas. On this cruise we would hit three islands that we have not visited before (Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten) and we are always happy to go back to St. John's (a short ferry ride from St. Thomas). This was our first cruise. Day 1  Arrive and Cast- Off We spent time doing our homework prior to the cruise so we were well prepared for Sunday boarding. After an uneventful 10:00 AM flight from Boston (we booked our own) we arrived in San Juan, P.R. and took a taxi to the cruise terminal. With Sail Pass in hand we navigated the luggage and Sea Pass lines in less than thirty minutes, arriving in our room before 4:00 PM. Our starboard- side, Deck 8, balcony room was already made up and we were greeted by Manualita  our room attendant. She was cheerful and took time to explain everything to us since we were first time cruisers. Manualita personified the personality and helpfulness of all the staff we met during our stay. After some of the reviews we read concerning room cleanliness and bed comfort, we were more than satisfied with our accommodations throughout the trip. As far as we're concerned the D-2 category room was more than adequate for a couple celebrating their 25th Anniversary. As tired as we may have been from the day's activities, we never went to bed without first standing out on the balcony and enjoying the peacefulness of the Caribbean Sea. Absolutely beautiful! Sunday afternoon we went exploring. I was amazed at the size, beauty and cleanliness of the ship. With over 3,000 people booked for the cruise we never once felt rushed or cramped for space. There are so many facilities for, just about anything that there is always room. We headed for the Dining Room at 6:30PM (early seating) and met out waiters Lorenzo and Hugo. These guys waited on us throughout the week and they were fantastic. Treated us like ROYALTY (forgive the pun) at our 6-person table. After the first night they never forgot those special things we liked. How the staff can remember the personal touches, when serving 3,000 people that change every week, is beyond me. After 2 hours of good conversation, excellent appetizers, prime rib and NY Sirloin cooked to perfection, and decadent deserts, we headed off to the pool or I should say  POOLS. There are 3 separate pool sections on Adventure. A water slide pool for the kids on the aft deck, the main pool area amidships and an Adults Only pool area forward of the Main Pool. This setup allows plenty of room for everyone, even on At Sea days. Day 2  At Sea Our first At Sea day was spent exploring the ship, and relaxing by the pool. Having an At Sea day as the first full day gives you a chance to relax and get in the proper mindset for vacation. We got our tickets for the Ice Show, sampled the Drink of the Day and enjoyed breakfast and dinner in the main dining room. A conservative suit was appropriate for the first Formal Night and the food was excellent. Following dinner we headed to the Promenade for the Captain's meet and greet. Free drinks (the first and last time for that) and people watching for the rest of the evening. The activity on the Promenade went well past midnight. It was a very pleasant and relaxing day. Day 3  Aruba We arrived in Aruba on Tuesday morning and took a short taxi ride to the Airport where we had pre- reserved a Jeep for the day. The $54.00 price at Alamo was half of what the other car rentals were charging. We headed off with map in hand to find the beaches. We enjoy snorkeling and, unfortunately, we didn't find Aruba to be a great snorkeling spot. Maybe we were looking in the wrong places. Hard to tell, however, since Aruba has to be the worst island to find your way around. Highway signs are few and far between and we were frequently lost. We did manage to see the California Lighthouse (much ado about nothing), Baby Beach (oil refinery smokestacks and shallow water) and Palm Beach (excellent swimming spot). We went to M**** Beach for snorkeling  a few fish but not as good as other islands. We returned to the ship at 6:30 PM and headed to the buffet for dinner. The Windjammer Restaurant buffet was very good. Following dinner we headed to the Promenade to watch the parade of Ghouls and other assorted scary or comical creatures  the Halloween extravaganza. After a short review we headed to Studio B for the Ice Show. Working with about half the space of a typical rink, the performers put on a great show and we returned to the promenade for more Halloween madness. We ended the night at the Halloween bash in Studio B. The Ice Show venue was turned into a haunted dance floor and the place was absolutely packed. Richard Spacey Cruise Director led the party with a level of enthusiasm and humor that never waned throughout the week. I don't know what he's taking to keep up the energy level but I'll take some! Day 4  Curacao Wednesday morning we found ourselves in Curacao. We headed off the ship and found a taxi driver who took us to the Underwater Gardens  otherwise known as Spanish Waters. We were going to take the cruise excursion, but for $20-25.00 each way we were able to spend as much time as we wanted at the beach. We hooked up with Stanley in his green van (Curacao Plate TX-195) and we were at the beach in a quick 15 minutes. We arranged with Stanley to pick us up at 1:30 PM and he arrived right on time. It gets a little dicey in Curacao because the ship leaves at 5:00 PM and you don't want to be late. We saw a few people running up to the gangplank as we were preparing to leave  you don't want to cut it that close! The Underwater Garden beach was a great spot  plenty of shade areas, lounges, facilities and a bar/restaurant. The snorkeling was absolutely great with plenty of fish varieties; a sunken sailboat and we saw 2 stingrays gliding by. I would say this site is almost as good as Trunk Bay in St. Johns. Four hours was more than enough time to enjoy the site and leave the skin un- burned for another day. On our return I headed for Johnny Rockets. Maybe I wasn't in the mood and just felt I had to try it or maybe it was the time of day. In any event it was not the highlight of the trip. The hamburger was OK the fries and onion rings were less than satisfactory. With a $9.00 price tag ($3.00 to sit, $3.95 for the shake and 15% gratuity) the least they could do is give you a refill on the shake. Wednesday night's dinner was Caribbean Night  the red Snapper was excellent. Unfortunately, I was still enjoying the Johnny Rockets experience and couldn't finish the fish. Following dinner we headed to the Rock and Roll review in the Lyric Theatre. The theatre provides stage resources that allow production of a first rate show and the seats are more comfortable than many big theatres I have visited. The singing and dancing were excellent, helped by the Aruba Mamas a concoction of rum, rum, rum, and a few juices. We left the theatre and headed to the Promenade for people watching and a snack. Back to the Theatre at 10:30 PM for the Love and Marriage show. Once again, the Cruise Director Richard Spacey made the show. Of course the 3 competing couples gave him plenty of material to work with. There were a couple of newlyweds (5 days); a couple married 30 years and a third veteran couple (40 years). I can't remember when I laughed so hard, although I was concerned about a lightening strike (1 couple admitted to having sex in a church). We finished off the first half of the trip a little after midnight. Day 5  At Sea The breakfast buffet at the Windjammer was excellent and we headed to the pool for a much-needed day of relaxation by the pool. Richard Spacey Mac's the Belly Flop contest and then we headed down to the 4th floor Dining Room for a tour of the kitchens. 5:00 Bay Breezes by the pool set us up for our 6:00 PM reservation at Portofinos the upscale restaurant on the 11th floor. I highly recommend reserving a night for dinner here. The $20.00 per/person charge is well worth the price. We started with the shrimp appetizer, followed by the New England clam chowder. I elected to have the Seafood Pasta in an appetizer portion; my wife chose the ribbon pasta in a cream sauce with mushrooms and marzipan cheese. Both selections were first class. For the main course I selected the Filet Mignon and my wife opted for the skewered seafood. The Filet was as good as I have had at any high- end beef restaurant and well complimented by truffle mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables. My wife's seafood came to the table on a long skewer and was assembled by the waitress at the table. The grilled seafood included lobster tail, scallops, shrimp and salmon. We finished off the dinner with the dessert sampler  Tiramisu, Crème brulee, Chocolate Cake and Custard and coffee. The food was highlighted by impeccable service from our server  Mary. Just make sure you give yourself a good 2 hours for the experience. Following dinner we headed for the show at the Lyric Theatre  a comedy and song act that we enjoyed but met with mixed reactions from the audience. Day 6  St. Maarten We hit the road early, heading for Dawn Beach. We had read it was one of the better snorkeling sites on the island. We had considered the Pinel Island Tour, but we wanted to leave time for shopping in the afternoon. We got to the beach around 10:00 AM and explored the reefs for a couple of hours. The waters were wavier than we have found at other snorkeling sites and the clarity and variety of fish was not as good as we expected. We headed back early, changed and headed for the shops of Phillipsburg. After 2 hours of beating off vendors we headed back to the ship unscathed and able to hold on to most of our cash. We headed for the pool to cool off and a 5:00 libation. Lorenzo and Hugo were at their best during dinner, as usual. Following dinner we headed to the show  and then headed off to our room. A word of warning  at the beach I elected to not wear sunscreen since we were only staying a short time. Within an hour and a half I was burned to a crisp. Day 7  St. Thomas We elected to take the excursion to St. John's Trunk Bay. This is our favorite beach and the best place we have found for snorkeling. The excursion is a little pricey at $57.00 each. However, if you were to go to St John's on your own it would cost you just as much by the time you got a cab to Red Hook, took the ferry to St John's and then got a cab to Trunk Bay. With this excursion the ferry picks you up right at the ship and we were able to snorkel for a full 2 hours. Saturday night's dinner and show were excellent and we headed back to our room to pack. Sunday Departure Based on what we had read from other reviews we were expecting a long wait on Sunday morning. Fortunately, we did not experience the problems others described. We were in group 1 due to a 12:50 PM flight. We were in line early and we were through the customs process and had our bags within an hour of the start of the process. We were at the Airport Terminal by 10:00 AM plenty of time to spare. Summary For those folks considering their first cruise, as the NIKE commercial says Just DO It. We are definitely hooked on cruising as our first vacation option. Prior to the cruise I had a number of concerns, including:  Crowds  Running from one place to another on the ship's schedule Quality of food and cleanliness of accommodations  Seasickness I have to say that not one of my concerns materialized during the trip. We never felt the slightest bit queasy; we did whatever we wanted, when we wanted, for as long as we wanted. It was easy to make our own transportation options at each port. Taxis were plentiful and using a taxi allowed us to spend a longer time at each location. I think our highest taxi bill was $20.00. The ship was kept as clean as or cleaner than any hotel I have stayed at and we met some interesting people. The food and service were first class. Portofinos is well worth the $20.00 charge. I've been told that RCCL is a middle-of-the-road cruising option. If this is true, I can't imagine how we could have improved on the food, service or entertainment we experienced on this trip. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
We are a married couple and experienced cruisers in our 50's traveling alone on our 12th cruise half of which are on RCL (Platinum level in Crown & Anchor). This cruise was on the Adventure of the Seas for the Southern Caribbean ... Read More
We are a married couple and experienced cruisers in our 50's traveling alone on our 12th cruise half of which are on RCL (Platinum level in Crown & Anchor). This cruise was on the Adventure of the Seas for the Southern Caribbean itinerary from San Juan to Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas. This was the best cruise vacation we ever had. Why? The itinerary, aft balcony room, the ship dining (food & service), and no children (of ours anyway and the others stayed mostly out of sight). We had three cruise goals that were all met: relaxation (the less stress, crowds, and schedules the better); great snorkeling (we got it at Curacao and to some extent at Aruba); and plenty of alone couple time (the balcony and comfy bed fit the bill). So I can't give much advice on most of the ship board activities or shore excursions. We took only one of the latter and limited the ship activities to choice entertainment in the large show theatre or Crown & Anchor or Cruise Critic member events. This is a Voyager class ship and the first of that class ship for us. Personally, this is too big a ship for me. If it had not been for the balcony room, I probably would have been an unhappy cruiser. We are both active, but we did not take advantage of the remarkable activities on board that this class of ship has rock climbing, skating (ice & in-line), miniature golf. But they all looked great from the cruise video, much used by children and their parents, and would make this a really fantastic cruise to take for school age children and up. The week before we left I rented cars on-line at the three Dutch ports that are safe and fairly easy to drive in - Aruba, Curacao, and St. Maarten. We did this to save money on excursions, to explore the two small islands we had not visited before ( Aruba and Curacao), and to have our pick of snorkeling sites and beaches with fewer crowds. We spent an average of $65 on each island for good to excellent vehicles with reputable vendors at the pier recommended by CC members (thanks to all of you for your posts!). I will summarize first and then get detailed later. DO NOT pick this ship if:   1.   You don't want a big ship with crowds.  The ship is over three football fields long (1020 ft.) and supposedly holds about 3100 passengers. That makes a difference when you're trekking to ship dining and activities and for elevator (which is worse than average).  The cruise director said we had 3500 aboard.  That makes a difference around the pools and the jammed and chaotic buffet dining in the Windjammer, especially at breakfast.    2.  You are bothered by the large number of large Puerto Rican families.  We estimated the PR passengers to them to be 65%.  Frankly, this did not bother us at all.  Without them we would have missed meeting one of our all-time favorite dining companions,  a fine upper middle class and educated family of 4 from Ponce, PR (we love you, Juan, Ida, and children).  We much preferred them to drunk, loud, and rowdy young people (the Carnival stereotype).  Who cares if they speak Spanish a lot around you?  Everything on board was also in English and we missed nothing important. 3. Shopping is Your Cruise Priority. In my opinion, the only significant shopping port was St. Thomas. Although some would also count Saint Maarten/St. Martin, I found Marigot high-end shopping had diminished since my last visit in 1999. This was a heavy water sports cruise - beaches,diving,boating, and snorkeling. 4. Docking close to town is important. This ship is so large that it can only dock at the piers further from town in St. Thomas (new pier at Havensight Mall), Curacao (Mega Pier), and San Juan (farthest away from Old Town). So there are longer walks or cabs and less opportunity to go to and from the ship for multiple activities throughout the port days. But this is the only cruise itinerary we have had that had zero tenders, which may be an offsetting plus for many. This ship is great for families, disabled in wheelchairs (elevators, wide halls, no tenders in port), and those who want a variety of fabulous ports with long port days. My TIPS on making the most of your cruise vacation on this ship are: 1. Check in on line with Royal Caribbean at least two weeks prior to departure and print out your Sea Pass. This gives you special check-in lines and counters at embarkation they are at the far left side of counters. It does speed up the process. 2. Get a balcony room to get away from the crowds and to enjoy the truly magnificent views arriving and leaving these scenic and special ports. 3. Avoid the Windjammer for breakfast - order room service or go to the dining room if you want relaxation without the crowds. The food choices may be more limited, but that is offset by the lower stress. This is where the criticisms on this board about the Puerto Rican passengers are on point. 4. On Monday get your tickets to one of the four free Ice Shows on Tuesday and Thursday - check the Cruise Compass schedule for the hours and go early for best selections. This was truly the most outstanding and unusual entertainment we have seen on any cruise ship. Beautiful, awesome, and spectacular. And look at the warnings on the ticket about which dining seating fits with the show time and on Thursday the later show conflicts with the Platinum/Dining special event that night. 5. Eat at Portofino's the specialty reservation only restaurant on board was well worth the $20 pp cover charge. It was a relaxing 2-1/2 hour dining experience that made us feel like a half day in the spa. I recommend booking on the Tuesday/Aruba night because that's the only night the ship is docked at night. So we had no movement at all and it was divine. And don't believe those who say the food is equivalent to the dining room. I had some of the best food in years anywhere (of course we are from Michigan so our comparison is, shall we say, more limited). The service was sublime and personalized. When the waiter heard us say we were taking our wine bottle to our balcony, he brought us two wine glasses and a plate of special dessert tidbits to take with us. 6. Wait until later in the week to book the spa. Throughout the week the spa prices dropped dramatically at least 30% to the point they became equivalent to a large US city by Thursday. This is the first time I have seen this happen on any ship. I attributed it to the Puerto Rican clientele under using the services. They had a unique special deal of any three services for $99 for 20 minutes each - neck massage, stone massage, exfoliation, and others. It dropped to $89 by the end of the week. My husband got only the full 60 minutes but I was in there over 90 minutes because of the treatments I picked. The regular massages dropped from $120 down to $75 by Thursday. Embarkation: We did not stay in San Juan pre- or post-cruise. Our only non-stops from Detroit (4.5 hours) are on Sundays and leave plenty of time at both ends to board and leave the ship. So we flew the same days as the ship departed and arrived on Sundays. The taxi dispatcher outside the terminal fixed us up with a van to the cruise dock with a 20 minute ride and fare of $21 plus tip. We boarded at 3:30 pm and so avoided the rush. The bags arrived by 7:00 p.m. before second seating dinner. Pack your swimsuit/deck clothes and a change for dinner if you don't want to risk being in your same clothes through dinner. Debarkation: Fast for us. We booked our only RCL excursion- the 2-1/2 hour city/Old Town tour for $27. A bargain considering it includes transport to the airport. We were the first to depart the ship. You pick up your bags when the excursion group is called at the port, go outside where the bag handlers for the luggage transfer trucks ask to take them, and board the small tour buses clearly marked with your group number and tour name. And our bags were at the airport outside when we arrived (four hours before our flight) being well guarded by RCL or their agents. Sunday We did nothing due to being tired from travel other than unpack, eat a mid-afternoon meal at Johnny Rockets (no cover charge for Platinum members once a cruise and worth it even for the $3.95 cover), meet our tablemates for a short light dinner (too stuffed with the burgers), and to bed early with no entertainment. Monday At sea and we needed it after the travel and late night sail away the previous night. My only task that day was getting ice show tickets, making the Portofino reservation for the next night, and reading up on Aruba in my guide books. Tuesday Aruba and the longest port day of 17 hours. the ship arrives at 8 a.m. and doesn't depart until 1 a.m. the next day. We took the car to Baby Beach on the far southeast corner and found no fish that day. It had rained heavily the night before and the water was choppy and too cloudy. So we left and drove all the way to the northwest side via the interior route that passed the Alto Vista Chapel (worth the visit for its unique barren hillside location) and the California Lighthouse. We checked out the snorkel beaches just south of the lighthouse rejected Arashi due to crowds and settled on Malmok. At least we think we got these names right the beaches on this side had no signs so we had to go on the CC descriptions and the rental car map. Malmok had a parking lot. The beach was narrow, flat, and rocky  bring water shoes to wear before putting on the fins. The snorkeling was OK, but we did better at the unnamed beach just to the south. It had really beautiful white sand and better fish. It is only 50 yards from Malmok on a foot path at the far left side of the parking lot. You can't see it from the road, but it's beautiful. This lovely day ended with a long dinner at Portofino (the prawn risotto, mushroom pasta, and beef filet were fabulous), the shows on board, and our private sail away on our deck as we left Aruba with my husband smoking his cigar on the balcony. One of the fun things to watch is the party buses coming back to port within the hour before sailing. Your fellow very happy (intoxicated) passengers leave the funniest party bus I've every seen  it had flashing lights and played Dixie on its horns. Wednesday Curacao was my husband's favorite port and the one to which he wants to return. The road signs are better than Aruba, but not what we are used to in the states. With CC advice we spent the day at the best private beach club and snorkeling site we have experienced in the Caribbean  Playa Porto Mari. The best snorkeling we have had outside Hawaii  bathtub clear water (but no pretty coral like Hawaii) with glorious and unusual fish meeting you at every turn. We spent only $10 here for admission that included the beach chairs, palapa, two soft drinks, restrooms/showers, and a very clean and cared for environment. You can get details at the web site (playaporomari.com) but beware that the driving directions there are wrong. I think this was the night the Beatles look-alike group, Revolution, performed. We loved it. Thursday At Sea. More relaxing on the balcony and eating where and when we wanted. Friday St. Maarten/St. Martin. This was the most miserable driving of all the islands we visited due to the heavy traffic getting out of Phillipsburg and rude/fast drivers. But we managed to circle it clockwise, get into and out of Marigot which was no small task on this busy day (where my husband stocked up on Cuban cigars), and find a so-so spot on the northern end of Orient Beach. We spent a big part of the day trying to find the secluded beach we visited in 1999 with the tip of a cab driver. We know it was on the east side and I thought it was just on the north side of the French/Dutch border. After looking at several beaches in the vicinity we gave up and went to Orient. It was too crowded and expensive for me. We had to spend $20 for the chair rentals twice Curacao and not worth it. This was my favorite island up to this cruise and now I'm not too sure it is anymore. Saturday Using a very old Frommer's guide book we got a taxi to Limetree Beach 5 minutes ($16 out/$8 back) from the pier. Absolutely beautiful and almost no people. The only problem was we kind of crashed it. It is now a time-share named Blackbeard's. We would have paid for the chairs, but the beach was virtually deserted and could find no one to pay. We spent our time lounging around and taking pictures of each other on the rocks and in the surf (husband's a professional photographer). We got a taxi back to Havensight Mall where the ship was docked and visited a few jewelry stores there to buy earrings for our daughter. This was a great cruise for us. But consider whether it's the right one for you given what I've said. The itinerary can't be beat. The food was acceptable to great for the mid-priced cruise market. But I would prefer a smaller ship. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
This was our fifth cruise, 2nd with RCI. We've cruised on Princess and Celebrity and on Voyager of the Seas. My husband and I are in our early 50's. We flew into San Juan 2 days early and stayed at the Intercontinental. Although ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise, 2nd with RCI. We've cruised on Princess and Celebrity and on Voyager of the Seas. My husband and I are in our early 50's. We flew into San Juan 2 days early and stayed at the Intercontinental. Although the hotel is an old one, the room was nice and clean and the pool area had just been redone. The people that worked there were very friendly and helpful. The first day we just relaxed around the pool and went to dinner with friends who live there to a restaurant for the locals, El Alcazar. Although the menu was in Spanish and the waiters only spoke Spanish, the food and service was excellent, thanks to our Spanish-speaking friends. Saturday we went to OSJ. Because the San Sebastian festival was going on, traffic was bad and the city was crowded. We saw some of the historic sites and enjoyed the festivities. There was crafts, music, food, singing and dancing, parades, and crowds of people having a great time. In the evening, we went to El San Juan Hotel next to where we were staying. The lobby and lounge were beautifully decorated and a great place to people watch. I had the best chocolate martini. Sunday we arrived at the cruise dock at 11:30 am and the doors had just opened. We were having a drink on the top deck by noon. The weather today and the rest of the week was perfect, sunny in the mid-80's. We had a balcony cabin on the deck 7 which I had switched from deck 6 because the balcony wall was more open. This was a good decision. Our cabin attendant was great and very pleasant. The bed was comfortable. The food in the Windjammer was ok but getting a drink was practically impossible. I was surprised that there was no outside grill with burgers and pizza like on the other ships we had been on. We ordered room service every day for breakfast which was always prompt. The dinners in the dining room were okay and our wait staff very attentive. We ate dinner in Portofino's which was excellent. Not your typical Italian restaurant, very gourmet. The cruise director was ok, not very exciting. The first production show was good and the Love and Marriage show funny, although I was surprised that they were still asking the same questions they asked 5 years ago on VOS. I got a manicure and pedicure later in the week to get out of the sun for a few hours. The manicurist was good but it was very expensive even with the $10 coupon from our coupon book. In Aruba we took a taxi to Eagle Beach which had some of the whitest and softest sand. There were chairs on the beach but we were told they were for the people staying at the hotels across the street, and that we would be kicked off eventually. We used them anyway since we only planned to stay a couple of hours and weren't bothered by anyone. In the afternoon we went shopping. The stores on the main street and in the mall were upscale with prices to match. I found some Aruba aloe products that I wanted at a pharmacy on one of the streets behind the shopping mall. The prices were half of what they wanted in the "better" stores. We had snacks and drinks at Iguana Joe's. I was disappointed with Curacao. There were many pretty pastel colored buildings to see along with the floating bridge. However, I found that most of the items sold in the stores were tacky (I wasn't shopping for jewelry or perfumes). We walked around taking in the architecture that the travel books recommend and ended up on a street that I didn't want to be on. Cut our sightseeing short and headed back to the ship. Also, there is a lot of construction in the port area. Went to the shopping talk for Sts. Maarten and Thomas which is a waste IMO. St. Maarten has a very nice dock area and we took a taxi into town for some shopping. We had lunch at the Blue Bitch Cafe on the beach. That evening we saw another production show, Behind the Velvet Rope, which was very good. In St. Thomas we went on the BOSS excursion, which was an underwater motor scooter. This was great and the crew was extremely helpful and were real characters. Bring a water camera because they will take pictures of you while underwater riding the scooter. In the afternoon we rode the tram up to Paradise Point for some wonderful scenery and a delicious drink (Bushwhacker). It was a wonderful cruise. There were very few young children. The cruise director said there was over 2000 people from the US, of which 250 were from Puerto Rico. We saw quite a few young Puerto Rican girls celebrating a special occasion, and they all looked beautiful on formal night. I did not see any rowdy or rude behavior as previous cruisers have mentioned. The only thing I was dissatisfied with was the selection of lounges. I found that on the Caribbean Princess the bartenders were more personable and the lounges nicer. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS, SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE, JAN 14 - JAN 21, 2007 OVERVIEW This was a fantastic cruise vacation. We were a group of 3 couples, all friends and neighbors who live on the same street. I think this is THE best cruise ... Read More
ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS, SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE, JAN 14 - JAN 21, 2007 OVERVIEW This was a fantastic cruise vacation. We were a group of 3 couples, all friends and neighbors who live on the same street. I think this is THE best cruise one can take in the Caribbean. It combines both a fabulous itinerary and the most impressive ship I've been on in 10 cruises. THE SHIP The Adventure of the Seas was my first Voyager-class ship, after having sailed on 3 Radiance-class ships and the Grandeur Of The Seas. I was blown away! The Royal Promenade is phenomenal. It's great to have a central location for shops, numerous bars, a cafe, and Guest Relations. One couple booked a cabin overlooking the Royal Promenade. Their cabin even had an additional couch, so we used their cabin several times for pre-dinner drinks. On the first night of the cruise we watched one of two parades that ran through the Royal Promenade. The rest of the ship was just as impressive. Two common areas that stand out was the night club, Jester's, which was very cool in a medieval theme, and Studio B, an ice skating rink at sea! PASSENGER MAKEUP As we are 3 couples in our 30's, we liked that this cruise had a large mix of ages, with an overall younger average than on any cruise we've been on. Almost everyone we met was very nice and having a good time. We very rarely had to deal with rude people. Most onboard were from the Unites States and Canada, and a smaller percentage were San Juan locals, who were just as nice as everyone else. THE SERVICE As has always been the case with us on Royal Caribbean, the service was outstanding. Our waiter Aris and assistant waiter Xumbo provided excellent dining service each night. Our cabin steward Jules was also terrific. We like the fact that he always seemed to be around in the hallway whenever we needed something. He was able to deliver on every one of our requests, and our cabin was cleaned soon after we left for breakfast or dinner each day. ENTERTAINMENT We really liked the entertainment on the ship. We are not fans of the Production Shows, so we didn't see any of them. But we did enjoy the two comedians that we saw. The 1st comedian was part of the opening night show; he also performed a late night adults-only set. He was pretty good. The 2nd comedian was hilarious; I would pay to see him perform again. Additionally, the ice skating show was terrific. I was skeptical that I would enjoy an ice skating show, but I was proven wrong! I really enjoyed all the Beatles songs that were played during the show. EMBARKATION / DEBARKATION The Pan American pier in San Juan is very well run. We arrived at the pier at around 11 am, hoping to get on the ship early. However, the previous cruise was slow in debarking, so even though we got our SeaPass cards right away, they weren't letting anyone on the ship. No worries, instead we took a cab to Old San Juan and Fort San Cristobal, which we planned on doing anyway. Note that upon boarding the ship, our rum we had hoped to enjoy in our cabin was taken from us. It was later delivered to us Saturday morning, the 2nd to last day of the cruise. I think alcohol put into the checked luggage would be fine. Debarkation was a breeze. We signed up the American Airlines valet service at $10 a person. After locating our bags at the pier and simply walking them past U.S. Customs, we handed them to AA personnel and didn't have to worry about them again until we arrived home. As taxis in San Juan charge $1 per bag, the cost for this valet service comes out to be even less. Plus we had our boarding passes already with us, delivered to our cabin during the cruise. There was hardly a wait for a taxi to take us to the airport; as I said earlier, the pier is very well run. PORTS OF CALL SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO San Juan is often a port of call on Caribbean cruises, so this was like a port bonus. We stayed at the Caribe Hilton, which we booked through Priceline by naming our own price. We liked this hotel. Our room was in the new tower. The room was very modern and updated. It had a flat panel TV and a big bathroom with a large shower that had two types of shower heads. The property had a nice pool area, with a swim-up bar, and a good beach. We had dinner at the Spanish restaurant. The food was excellent, albeit a bit pricey, but what I would expect for a resort. We all enjoyed our visit to Fort San Cristobal the next day. ORANJESTAD, ARUBA In the morning we went to Eagle Beach. This was an excellent beach; no snorkeling, but calm water and very fine white sand. I thoroughly enjoyed this beach (travel mates, you know what I mean!). In the afternoon, we did the Jolly Pirates Sail, Snorkel, Swim, & Swing excursion that you can book through the ship. This was a lot of fun. We went to two snorkeling spots: one spot was unique due to the massive number of fish (huge schools), the other was unique because it was at the sight of a sunken WWII German ship. We also stopped to make use of the rope swing on the ship, which everyone enjoyed. Even the bus ride back to the ship was fun, as the bus played rock music that people could sing along too. After an enjoyable dinner at Johnny Rockets on the ship, we went back out in the evening, stopping at Iguana Joe's, the casino, and finally an Irish Bar. It was a treat to go ashore in the evening, something I wish more itineraries would provide. WILLEMSTAD, CURACAO This was my favorite island that we visited. I had prearranged with Nelson of TioTaxi (www.tiotaxi.com) to take us to the beach. At 9 am, there he was at the pier waiting to take us to Porto PlayMari. This is my favorite Caribbean beach of all time. For $5 you get entrance to the facility and a comfortable lounge chair. The beach has white sand and beautiful, turquoise blue water. It is surrounded by small cliffs. There are no hotels and no jet skis, just tranquility. The water was very clear, and the snorkeling was quite good. It's about a 20 minute drive to the beach at a cost of $10 pp each way. It seems that taxis are a bit expensive in Curacao, but this beach was well worth the cost. We enjoyed Nelson's commentary during the drive and would recommend him for taxi service or for an island tour. After lunch on the ship, we went shopping in Willemstad, a quaint little town on the water with a strong Dutch influence. My wife loved it! PHILIPSBURG, ST. MAARTEN We rented two jeeps on this island, visiting Friar's Bay Beach (very nice, quiet), Orient Beach (crowded), and the French town of Marigot. We wanted to rent with Hertz, but they wanted to charge us $95 per jeep (I was expecting $75 each after researching on Cruise Critic), so we went with an independent, Reynolds. This was a mistake. The jeeps he rented were hunks of junk. At least they didn't break down and we can all laugh about it now. This was my second visit to St. Maarten/St. Martin and it is my least favorite Caribbean island. There just seems to be a lot of junk along the road and buildings in disrepair. CHARLOTTE AMALIE, ST. THOMAS FOR CRUZ BAY, ST. JOHN We took the $10pp cab ride from Havensight to Red Hook, and then took the ferry ($5pp) over to Cruz Bay. Here we rented two dinghies from Noah's Little Arks (www.bookitvi.com/nla.htm). The cost for a whole day, with gas and insurance, for a 14-footer was $205 (seats 4 people); the cost for a 12-footer (seats 2) was $160. This was a fun excursion, even though our first beach landing was a bit adventurous (had trouble getting the motor to lift up). The only downer was that the waves were quite choppy, preventing us from landing at two of St. John's better beaches, Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay. SUMMARY We had an awesome time. This ship and itinerary are top notch. What are you waiting for, go book this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
This was our first cruise, and we were traveling with our 2 boys, ages 7 and 9. We also traveled with 8 other family members, and this was their first cruise as well! We chose Adventure of the Seas because of the ports, Aruba, Curacao, St. ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and we were traveling with our 2 boys, ages 7 and 9. We also traveled with 8 other family members, and this was their first cruise as well! We chose Adventure of the Seas because of the ports, Aruba, Curacao, St. Martin and St. Thomas. We booked a room with a balcony, located on the 9th floor near the elevators. This location turned out to be perfect since it was so convenient to stairs and elevators. The ship is awesome and is great condition, offering so much for the traveler to do. We flew to San Juan a day early in case we had snow up here in New England. We stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel, which was beautiful. The hotel room cost about $215, but well worth it. The hotel was right on the ocean, and featured a nice pool, hot tub and of course, the beach. We arrived at the pier about 12:15 pm and had prepared myself to deal with long confusing lines. However it was very organized and we were on the ship in 20 minutes! We enjoyed lunch in the Windjammer where we spotted many other travelers wearing their New England Patriots jerseys! It was the night of the big game against the Colts. So it was easy to make some new friends. We were in our rooms by 2 pm and had our luggage by 4:30 pm. Our room and balcony was nice and had more storage than I expected. Due to the big football game, the muster drill was not held that first night, but instead the next morning at 10 am when we were at sea. The first night dinner was not that tasty, but many people were rushing thru dinner to get seats for the game..so it didn't seem to matter much. Our waiters and staff were very friendly and always made dining a treat. We watched the game in the sports bar on the Promenade which was a blast  especially when the Patriots were winning! We finished watching the game in our room, depressed with the outcome. But heck, we were on a cruise  so cheer up! The ship left dock about 20 minutes earlier than expected at 9:40 pm. The next day was a sea day, so we climbed the rock wall (ok, I didn't climb, but my husband and boys did), played basketball, mini golf, etc. It was a beautiful day, but hot under the direct sun. We visited the pools for a little while, it was the only time the ship feel somewhat crowded. It was the 2nd week for the new cruise director, but he is experienced and got the crowd going for a men's sexy legs contest. We went to the Cruise Critic meet and mingle where we met some new pals and were lucky in the raffle! We went to the orientation for the Adventure Ocean club and were impressed with the staff. The boys loved the club and they took them to Johnny Rockets during formal night dinners (no extra charge). The boys would visit Adv. Ocean club most nights after dinner and we would visit the casino. The club staff was very well trained and professional. We made sure to tip the Adv. Ocean staff on the last night of the cruise. The service on the ship was very good however our state room attendant was lacking in consistency. One day we had no toilet paper, and no spare either. And even though we used the laundry service, he didn't remember to give us new laundry bags. So I couldn't send out the laundry as much as I wanted to. Some days we had a bath mat, and other days it was missing in action. Aruba: we had booked the Seaworld Explorer on line prior to the cruise. It cost $134 for the 4 of us, pls $20 in roundtrip taxi ride. It was good, but not excellent. We arrived back from the boat ride around 2pm and went to the Renaissance Hotel to see if we could get a day pass to their private island, which were available. Passes for adults cost $50 each, includes lunch, a drink and watersport. Kids are free, but no lunch (or cocktail either!) The island was beautiful and I wished we had spent the whole day there. Lunch was good and they also didn't charge us for the kid's meals either! Curacao: we went to the Sea Aquarium, and then the beach next door to it. Cost for sea aquarium for the 4 of us was only $45.00. It is not a fancy place, but still very interesting. St. Martin: we went shopping and then to Divi Little Bay beach, where we rented chairs, towels and an umbrella. The port is very organized with nice shops right at the pier. Cab ride was $16 each way for 4 people. My husband bought a watch on this island for a good price, better prices than the other islands. St Thomas: we took a cab ride ($32 for 4 people) to Megan's Bay which is gorgeous! The taxi ride was scary since the roads are so winding and they drive on the opposite side the road&the driver took us to a high lookout over the beach first so we could get some fantastic photos. We rented some chairs and snorkeling equipment and stayed for several hours. Lunch was tasty pizza slices. The beach facilities are not glamorous by any means, but the beauty of the beach makes up for it. After the beach, we went to the St Thomas skyride to Paradise Point. Cost for $18 for each adult, and I think $9 for kids. Somewhat pricey but the delicious frozen Baileys Bushwhacker drinks make us forget the ticket price. The view is nice and you can see the cruise ship as well. We didn't see too many shows on the ship, but the Ice Show was fantastic. I had figured it to be a lame ice capades, but it was so much better than that! My husband and I used the fitness center a few times as well. It was clean and gave us a chance to burn off some calories! Leaving the ship was very organized and we were in the 2nd group which was called at 8:20 am, even thought our flight was not until 2 pm. Getting the luggage was easy enough (once we remembered the tag color!) and the taxis were awaiting us. Traffic was light going back to the airport. We had a fabulous time on our first cruise and can't wait to return to AOS again! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
Background Information We decided to treat our adult children to a "retirement cruise"and the Adventure's Southern Caribbean cruise seemed to guarantee good weather and interesting ports.This was our third cruise but the ... Read More
Background Information We decided to treat our adult children to a "retirement cruise"and the Adventure's Southern Caribbean cruise seemed to guarantee good weather and interesting ports.This was our third cruise but the first for the kids.We picked the AOS because of the variety of onboard activities available for the younguns(21-30) Bad Start!!! We thought we'd start it off right with a stretch limo to the Buffalo airport from our St Catharines Ont.home.Great idea with champagne,OJ,muffins ETC .The limo driver thought we were going the next day so our best friends got up at 7:30 and got us there on time. We landed in San Juan-lots of cabs(vans).They'll give you a pre determined price to where you're going-keep the paper to save an argument later.We book our own air and go the day before so we don't have to worry about weather or connections and we can get aboard early.Relax...remember Embarkation Do your SEA PASS at home as it saves time at the pier.Go to the ship early.We got out of the cab at 11:45 and the seven of us were aboard at 12:05.Lots of time to check the ship(it is HUGE),have lunch,drinks by the pool and get to your cabin.Anthony(he was great) had our cabins ready by 2:00.We "let go" at 10:00 with a set sail party around the pool Ship Information We have sailed on the Zaandam and Legend of the Seas before and the Adventure dwarfs both.The ship was spotless and showed very little age for a ship that entertains 3500 guests a week.Even with that number of passengers it didn't seem crowded.We never stood in a line for longer than a couple of minutes except when we disembarked.There were lots of deck chairs although they might not be near a pool,unless you get there early.Every crew member we met was friendly and helpful.The ship is actually a destination and will take you a long time to see it all and you won't use all the amenities available but you certainly won't be bored. Activities We don't participate in organized ship activities but there was lots to do.For ship enthusiasts don't miss the Q&A session with the senior officers.It is informative and interesting and they do want to hear what you have to say.Richard Spacey was the cruise director but has moved to the Freedom.He was the best we've seen in our limited experience.Always check your daily Cruise Compass for the next days activities and important info. Service The service was excellent.Anthony,our stateroom steward,was attentive to our every need and knew what to do and where to go in every port.The room was always prepared to perfection. Our dining room steward,Hemant,was fantastic.We looked forward to dinner every night because of his service with his assistant Cecil and wine steward,Ronna.Even the head DR steward ,whose name I can't remember, was a lovely lady who spent time at our table every evening. On deck the bar staff were plentiful and friendly but one stands out,Mark Phillips ,from Trinidad, was funny and always remembered what everyone drank. I do believe that the reason this crew was so great was because of Capt.Nyseter.He was around the ship often and would often be seen speaking with passengers.Anytime you mentioned his name around the crew they always spoke highly of him and seemed genuine in their comments. Shore Excursions In Aruba,we booked the Sail,Snorkel,Swim,and Sail.For about $45,this was the best excursion I've ever been on .It is even better than the write up because the bar is open as soon as the boat leaves the dock and the snorkeling was perfect.Take the 2 o'clock tour so you can tour the town in the morning,have lunch and then leave. We took a tour of Curacao,which was fair.It is a neat Dutch Carib. town to walk around .Others said the scuba and snorkeling was great and I'd do that if I went again. St Martin is great for shopping.We went "low key" that day.Had a nice lunch,shopped and returned early.Friends rented a car($75) and toured the island and said it was great.Rentals are near the dock. In St. Thomas we hired a cab to take us to a beach and just relaxed for the day. Stateroom We had a balcony cabin on the stern of the ship.I booked this because the balconies are twice the normal size.The cabins are all the same size but the extra room outside allowed us to enjoy our smuggled wine with our family before dinner.The room is not as large as on Holland America ships but it is suitable.They really should upgrade the bedding soon as they are getting a little thin.I understand this will happen soon.The stern cabins do have an obstructed view.You do not look directly down at the sea,which was a bit of a disappointment.One good thing is you can stow your suitcases under the bed which saves closet space. Dining The quality of the food was good.The presentation was also good.It wasn't extraordinary but we were pleased.The wait staff was very helpful when suggestions were asked for,and Hemant was always right.Order the wine package on day one.We ordered the seven bottle package and it was about $180.The wine selection was very good.We like the late seating because it gives us lots of time to get ready for dinner after a busy day in port. Entertainment Do not miss the skating show!There will be lots of tickets.It is offered Tues. and Thurs.night and it is the same show so choose according to you itinerary. The nightly shows were basic cruise entertainment.The entertainment on this cruise was not nearly as good as we had on the Legend in March.The choreography of the "Broadway "shows was disappointing. The singer in the English Pub ,Ian Millar,was phenomenal.He had the place packed every night. Disembarkation This took longer than it should have but it started late because of a problem with another ship and we were late arriving.There are two exits to the gangway.Get off near the bow and you'll save yourself 20 minutes.Altogether it took us 50 minutes to get off.Another hint ...if you can't find your luggage in the color coded area that it is supposed to be in, there is a lost and found area for those whose tags were ripped off. Summary After I booked this cruise I became aware that the majority of the passengers on this cruise would be residents of Puerto Rico and some of the reviews I read were not very complimentary towards them.It is true that 75% of the passengers are from PR and that all messages will be given in two languages but other than the fact they spoke little English there were no problems.I was very concerned prior to boarding but very pleased after we were aboard. We were very happy with our cruise.RCCL has done a great job with these large ships.This is not a ship for quaint, quiet times.It is a busy ship and perfect for families.I would definitely cruise on this class of ship again and I would recommend this itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
This was our 4th cruise. one on Princess,one on celebrity and two on RCCL. Flew from Orlando on Jet Blue(Live in Tampa,better connection and prices) Air Line is great. Stayed at the Courtyard on Isle Verde. I must really admit that getting ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise. one on Princess,one on celebrity and two on RCCL. Flew from Orlando on Jet Blue(Live in Tampa,better connection and prices) Air Line is great. Stayed at the Courtyard on Isle Verde. I must really admit that getting to the Hotel from the Airport was not that much of a problem. I do recommend carrying small bills because you have to take a cab, Hotel shuttles don't exist. The Hotel itself was wonderful. I am sure I paid more that I should have, but I am on vacation, and It was my Birthday,and I can work the rest of the year to pay it off. We planned this trip with another couple that are lifelong friends,who flew in later that day. We were also very lucky that by pure chance we met another couple from Pittsburgh that we stuck up a friendship that lasted the entire cruise and hope it will continue. Ok onto the cruise review I am new at this so bear with me.  Getting to the ship from the hotel was a piece of cake just tool a can was there within 30 minutes. All six of us were checked in by the internet. A hint ask for a porter if you are traveling in a group and have a lot of luggage. We were on the ship within 20 minutes,went to the Windjammer and had a long leisurely lunch. Baggage arrived about 3PM and were unpacked by 4pm. I will try not to bore everyone with my opinions about cruising,only to say if you have done this before you know how it feels to be on the ship. The Adventure of the Seas has so much to offer. I found a good mix of quiet time to busy time. I must have been in the Minority but I did very well THANK YOU.. in the casino won two good jackpots on the same slot machine two nights in a row. I had no issues with the quality or quantity of food. Did the Mystery Dinner theater at Portafino's which was fun, I just wasn't all that impressed with the meal. As Far as Shore excursions,with the exception of Aruba we pretty much got off the ship and went shopping, In Aruba we rented a jeep,toured the Island and as a group went to Rancho Notorious and went Horseback Riding on the beach at sunset(this was one of my wife's highlights) getting off the ship and to the airport was no problem (sad to get off the ship)again remember to have cab money. The only two things that I would warn traveler about is (1) If you plan on bring home duty free Liquor You cannot bring it on as carry on. So make room in your check in luggage (2)Most shops and services close in Aruba at 6:00pm irregardless of what your car rental agreement may say I had to pay extra after the fact. That's it Would we do it again I a heartbeat. Any questions E-mail me will respond Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
My husband and I are in our late twenties. This was my 3rd and his 2nd cruise with RCI. We left from San Juan and traveled to Aruba, Curacao, St. Maartin, and St. Thomas. We flew into San Juan on American the day before embarking and ... Read More
My husband and I are in our late twenties. This was my 3rd and his 2nd cruise with RCI. We left from San Juan and traveled to Aruba, Curacao, St. Maartin, and St. Thomas. We flew into San Juan on American the day before embarking and stayed overnight at the Embassy Suites next to the airport. Both of our flights departed late because of weather conditions in the midwest delaying our flight crews (both times the plane was at the gate waiting with us). The Embassy Suites was in walking distance of the beach and had a really nice pool area, although the live entertainment in the lobby area near the casino was quite loud and could be heard in the living room area of the suite. The free drinks from 5-7 were a plus but the hot breakfast buffet was just OK. We had printed out our set sail passed and arrived at the pier around noon where we met total chaos. There were no porters to help you with you bags and you had to wait in a long line to check them in. On top of that it was hard to find anyone to give you information on what to do and to get luggage tags (we upgraded at the last minutes when the prices dropped so our original luggage tags sent to us were no longer correct). On the plus side the line did move quickly and by the time you got your bags taken care there was no really much of a line to wait in to check in. All in all we were on the ship and in the windjammer by 12:45pm. Since booking the cruise we had been keeping up with the member reviews and were a little worried by the recent number of reviews complaining about the bad behavior of some of the Puerto Rican passengers. I don't know if we picked a good time to go or just got lucky, but we had no such issues. Yes there were some Puerto Ricans on the cruise, but no more than any other nationality, and we did not notice any bad behavior from the ones we did see. Before the cruise, we noticed the rates had dropped on the rooms. We called and they upgraded us to a Junior Suite and we got $300 back. The room was nice and spacious. It included a walk-in closet and full sized bath tub. We enjoyed our larger balcony as well. Our room steward Maricio did a great job of keeping it clean and made neat towel animals. You don't usually get robes in the junior suites, but we asked for two and received them that night. The food was overall good. The Windjammer could have used a little more variety. We sat at the first seating at a table of eight. My husband's parents went on this cruise as well and we sat with them and two retired couples from Iowa. They were very nice and made for great dinner conversation. We took advantage of the putt putt course and the rock climbing wall, but we spent most of our free time on the ship sitting poolside. We did go to the gym several times. It has all the equipment you would ever want. We even took a free muscle pump class. In the ports we did the following: Aruba: We booked the See & Sea tour through the cruise line. It was a sightseeing tour on a bus that also included a trip on a boat called the Sea World Explorer. You go below deck and the hull has plenty of glass so you could see the ruins of a German ship. It was fun, but you could get sea sick very easy on it. The area around the pier was pretty much the same collection of shops in all ports, selling the exact same stuff. Overall, Aruba was our least favorite stop. Curacao: We booked a snorkel trip with a company called Curacao Actief that we had read reviews about on this board. They are an up and coming company for these excursions, and on our day, had a lot of people. They had to rent an extra car to transport all of us. They paid a taxi driver to pick up folks from the ship and that would have been fine, but it would have been nice if they had armed with a sign so we could find him easier. The snorkeling was great. We went to the sunken tugboat and to another beach that had better snorkeling and was less crowded. When we booked it, their website said there was a third snorkel stop on the half day tour, but instead they took us to an old abandoned hospital and old fort. When we got back, they changed their website to reflect this new itinerary. Since we booked just a half day of snorkeling, we got a chance to walk across the floating bridge into town. It looks very nice and scenic, but the shops were once again, the same stuff. St. Marten: We booked an excursion through the ship that took us shopping in Marigot for an hour and then took us to Orient Beach. The beach is beautiful and there are in fact naked people walking around. St. Thomas: This is where you want to buy your liquor and electronics. The prices were cheaper than on the ship and you get a bigger duty free allowance. We bought liquor at the AH Riise store and they boxed it up and delivered it to the ship. Our stateroom attendant delivered it the room that night. We checked to liquor as it was packaged and it survived the flights home intact. We booked an island tour which included a beach stop through Sunny Liston. We went to Sapphire Beach for a couple of hours which was good snorkeling. The downside was of course you had to rent chairs and the food was outrageously priced. The important part was that it was a beautiful beach and was very relaxing. San Juan: Our flights home left late in the afternoon so we booked a tour of Old San Juan through the cruise line. This meant that we were in one of the first groups to get off the ship. Overall, disembarkment went pretty fast. It took us a while to find one of our suitcases, as it had been turned sideways and we couldn't see the tags, but there were cruiseline personnel in the luggage area that helped us find our last bag. After we got our bags, we loaded them onto a big truck which took them to the airport and we were put on a bus for our tour. This would have been fine, but once again there was little direction of what to do, and luckily I had read a review and knew that our bags would not be on the bus with us. The tour itself was good, in part due to our great driver, although there was a festival going on and traffic was really bad because the streets were only open to pedestrian traffic. Overall, we had a truly wonderful vacation and would chose this cruise again in a heart beat. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
This was the first cruise I had been on with RCI. It was my wife and I's honeymoon - and it sure was a great one! We sailed the southern Caribbean (San Juan, Aruba, Curacao, St Maarten, St Thomas) the third week of January. Prior to ... Read More
This was the first cruise I had been on with RCI. It was my wife and I's honeymoon - and it sure was a great one! We sailed the southern Caribbean (San Juan, Aruba, Curacao, St Maarten, St Thomas) the third week of January. Prior to departure, we filled out all the necessary information online and printed off our SetSail pass. I definitely recommend doing this, as it shortened the time it takes to get onto the ship initially by quite a bit! We flew into San Juan a day prior to the first day of the cruise and stayed at the Radisson Ambassador in downtown San Juan. We already had prepaid vouchers for all of our transportation everywhere regarding the cruise, and it all went very smoothly. We didn't venture out too far from the hotel though, and went to a couple small restaurants in the immediate vicinity for entertainment. We met in the lobby of the hotel to be transported to the pier at 1:00pm on the first day of the cruise. It was a very short drive to get to the pier, and with the SetSail pass we were on the ship within 15 minutes of getting out of the bus at the pier. Our stateroom was ready by the time we were on the ship (2:00pm), so we took a look out from our balcony, and then set out to explore the ship. ARUBA: This island was our second favorite on the itinerary. We rented an SUV from Avis (as soon as you get off of the boat you'll see many rental car places) and just took our own tour of the island. The Avis woman gave us a very good map, and drew out some key places to visit on the island. We ended up driving across the entire island (only 20 miles), and had lunch at a small restaurant on the water on the south-eastern tip of the island. It was awesome! We walked around downtown a bit as well, but didn't do much shopping. CURACAO: We weren't very impressed with this island, the shopping was not very good. A lot of stores with the same kind of junk. It wasn't a very clean island either. We ended up walking across the bridge and sitting at a cafe for a few hours snacking on some local cuisine (very good!) and watching ships come in and out of the harbor. Very relaxing! ST MAARTEN: We did some good shopping here with some gift certificates we had received from the cruise ship (read below to see how we got these!). We got a map drawn by "that Yoda guy" and he personalized it by drawing our itinerary on it for us, along with autographing it. We didn't do any excursions or anything, but we were well entertained by just walking around to all of the stores here. It was much cleaner than Curacao. ST THOMAS: We took a cab to the opposite side of the island to Magan's Bay. We had read it was a wonderful beach, and it more than lived up to it's reputation. We got to the beach by 9am, and found a great spot next to a few palm trees to lounge out for the day. Did some swimming and walked up and down the beach. Probably our best day on any of the islands. I definitely recommend going to Magan's Bay on your own. The cruise excursions that stopped by there only stayed for a couple hours, while we spent about 6 hours there and really enjoyed ourselves. A beautiful beach... As far as the 'rumors' of all the Puerto Ricans on the ship. I have news for you all... I was very scared prior to entering the ship, and I will happily go on another RCI cruise out of San Juan. One night the cruise director gave a quick rundown of how many people were on the ship from each country represented, and Puerto Rico consisted of 240 of the 3200+ people on the ship! Give me a break with this 75%+ junk... Of those 240, many were teenage girls there, and could be a bit annoying, but we happily took it all in stride, because we were there to relax... We ordered room service EVERY morning for breakfast and ate it on our balcony. I definitely recommend doing that! It sure beats your standard 'wake up call'! We sat at a table for 10 in the second seating for dining, and met some wonderful people. A family of 4 at our table was from Argentina, and were very fun to talk with! Also, the 'flourless chocolate cake' is AWESOME! Our server saw how much we enjoyed it and gave us a plate of it to take back to our stateroom with us that night! :) We also ate at Portofino's the first night on the ship (didn't have to dress up at all), and on the final night of the cruise. Very good food! Go hungry!!! Also, my wife and I participated in the "Love & Marriage" gameshow. We ended up winning the game and won a lot of great prizes. (The map from "that Yoda guy", a diamond pendant from Diamonds International, an original painting, a bottle of champagne, a Razul treatment at the spa for the two of us, and a free dinner at Portofino.) Since they air the show on the RCI network the entire cruise, we had many people come up to us and make comments on some of our answers the rest of the week - but it was all in good fun. :) Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
We are an unmarried couple in our mid-50s taking our first serious vacation together. My SO was very, very negative on the cruise concept, after a miserable experience on Carnival 15 yrs ago. I pushed for the cruise, and by the first night ... Read More
We are an unmarried couple in our mid-50s taking our first serious vacation together. My SO was very, very negative on the cruise concept, after a miserable experience on Carnival 15 yrs ago. I pushed for the cruise, and by the first night on Adventure of the Seas, my guy was a total convert. We can hardly wait for our next cruise! The ship is fabulous, the Promenade is just breathtaking. We loved the artwork and decor, the many, many distinct activity centers, the lovely dining room and theater - it was all great. We love to dance, and there were many possible venues for that ranging from the piano players in the lobby and Schooners Bar, to the combo groups on the Promenade, to the salsa or rock bands in the lounges. Per my previous experience on Royal Caribbean, the quality of the musicians was excellent - and on a ship this large, there is always great music happening somewhere. (For the younger set, Jesters disco features music that we prefer to avoid!) We were mistakenly assigned to early seating, but got change to late. We sat with three other couples and had such a great fun that we were generally the last to leave the dining room! Embarkation was smooth and fast. Filling out the online forms really make the process easy. We were out of the cab and on board in less than 30 minutes. Be sure to pack summer clothes in a carry-on bag so you can enjoy the pool, etc right away. We love the large ship experience, but hate the crowds it brings in port. We try to do our own thing on shore. In Aruba, we rented a car and drove to the California lighthouse and the back side of the island. Aruba is very arid, and the back side of the island is like a moon-scape - almost no vegetation, just barren rock, but overlooking the beautiful blue ocean. We visited the collapsed natural bridge site, still interesting, and the nearby ruins of the gold processing factory. We had lunch at the infamous Charlie's Bar in San Nicholas (do not confuse with Carlos & Charlie's) a local legend with an incredible collection of bric-a-brac covering every solid inch of the walls and ceilings. We stopped at the beach at the end of the day, but the wind was blowing the sand too hard to make it pleasant. We headed back to AOS, and decided dinner on board with our wonderful table-mates and fabulous wait staff was not to be missed, even though the ship does not leave until 10PM. Curacao was our favorite port, so picturesque and unique. We hired a taxi for a quick city tour and a visit to the oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere (after the Spanish inquisition, the Jews of Spain found refuge in liberal Holland, forming the backbone of the Dutch merchant class during the age of exploration - thus a significant Jewish population in Curacao). Made the mistake of working out an arrangement with a well-spoken gent at the taxi line, but the cab driver who actually took us around spoke English poorly and didn't know much. The tour guides mentioned on the Cruise Critic boards seems too expensive, but might be worth it. We had booked ahead with the Dive Bus so that my boyfriend could dive. Mark was great - we highly recommend the Dive Bus at the-dive-bus.com. They are British expats running a great business doing shore dives. Curacao is unique because there is great diving accessible from shore and many sites offer good snorkeling at the same locations so it works well for groups that want to do both. Also, the timing is flexible allowing time for other port activities. We took it easy in St. Martin, went to the over-crowded Orient Beach. If you go, walk to one end or the other to get away from the crowds. Also, the prices for chairs and beer get better as you get further away from the taxi drops. We booked a private sail boat for St. Thomas, which I highly recommend. For about $125 you can take six people on a sailboat for the day. The trip includes a full cooked lunch on real plates w/ cloth napkins, all the booze or soda you can drink, stops at one or two snorkel sites over at St. Johns, and a lovely day out on the water away from the crowds. This time we sailed with Kathleen on Highpockets; I have previously sailed on Lou with Capt. Max. Google will lead you to both of these charter boats, and if they are full, they will refer you elsewhere. So much better than packed catamarans or phony pirate ships! Complaints: The bedding on AOS really needs an upgrade. I think it is scheduled, but the bed was not comfortable. The production shows were not as good as my previous experience - the talent was great and production values outstanding, but the mix of songs was really strange - forgettable numbers from forgettable movies. And there was no magician; the magic or hypnotist are often my favorites and they were missing on this cruise. Compliments: The staff was outstanding, the cruise director Mike was funny and polished, and all the typical activities -- Love and Marriage, Quest, poolside antics - were predictable but fun as ever. The comedians, Two Funny Guys, were great. (The late night guy was mediocre.) Two of the show singers did cabaret-style jazz in the club on Deck 14 one night, and that was outstanding. Even on a ship this huge, I did not feel crowed. The food in the Windjammer was good, and it was always quick - we could almost always find a seat with a water view. The best part is that Royal Caribbean and AOS converted my boyfriend to a cruise fan! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
We traveled on the Adventure of the Seas out of San Juan on February 4, 2007. We arrived a day ahead and stayed at the Radisson Ambassador Plaza. We had a large room with a balcony looking towards the ocean a block away. There was a great ... Read More
We traveled on the Adventure of the Seas out of San Juan on February 4, 2007. We arrived a day ahead and stayed at the Radisson Ambassador Plaza. We had a large room with a balcony looking towards the ocean a block away. There was a great Mexican restaurant called Tijuanna nearby where we had dinner and several places to choose from for breakfast. RCI and the hotel were very organized with the luggage. We left ours with the bellhop early in the morning and walked around the area before returning for the bus to the pier. We arrived at the pier at 1:15 and were on board in fifteen minutes, it couldn't have been faster or easier. There were two lines on the left for passengers who's luggage was collected by RCI and one line on the right for people arriving on their own with their luggage. That line was barely moving as priority was given to the others who had paid for the transfers. Once onboard we were totally amazed by the ship. It was incredibly large and just fabulous, the pictures didn't do it justice. Our cabin was very nice and conveniently located to the elevators and stairways. We were on Deck 10, just behind the bridge which was a very quiet and still area of the ship. Just one thing of note, if your cabin has an adjoining door to its neighbor there is only a chair and not a sofa. Not that it mattered because most of the little time we spent in our cabin was spent on the balcony. The balcony was wonderful! We slept with the door open to hear the waves and could just open our eyes at dawn to watch land appear as we arrived at new ports. We had breakfast there most mornings and you can't beat ending your day out there under the stars. A balcony is a must! We were so grateful to have gotten one of only twelve tables for two in the dining room and ate there every night. The food was wonderful and the service even better. We chose the early sitting and were glad we did because there was so much to do in the evenings. The dining room was also great for breakfast and for lunch on sea days. We didn't eat in the Portofino and only went into the Windjammer twice. Everyone else seemed to enjoy the food there but it was lacking in fresh salads and vegetables and the desserts were just too tempting. Johnny Rockets was great and we liked the light fare available at the Cafe Promenade during the day. Thank goodness for the size of the ship because we needed to do laps around the decks to wear off the food. We each purchased the soda and juice package which was well worth it to us. There is no need to use the insulated container that comes with the package, we put ours right into the suitcase. You can order soda and juice anywhere on the ship at anytime and get it in glasses. We went on this cruise considering the ship as our destination and didn't plan much for the ports. We did the Atlantis Sub Expedition in Aruba which was great and really recommend the Walking Tour of Old San Juan we did on the departure day. Willemstad, Curacao was a beautiful town and we spent a few hours walking around there. But mostly we enjoyed the ship. My husband's favorite place was the adult-only Solarium and mine was the sun deck above it, both just steps away from our cabin. There were few kids onboard during our week but still this area of the ship was much quieter and less populated than the main pool/sun deck area. The gym was well equipped and working out was never as enjoyable as it was with the wonderful views. There was so much to do that you are spoilt for choice and just can't fit it all in. The entertainment were very good, especially the ice show. There is music to suit everyone's tastes somewhere on the ship. Relaxing at the end of the evening in a hot tub to yourself was a great treat. There were 3200 people of all ages onboard but the ship is so large and there is so much going on that you're rarely aware of them. Especially if you stay on board when everyone else is in port, then it feels like you're the only ones there. The service on the Adventure was excellent. Thank you to Idesy, our cabin steward, and Peter and Gede in the dining room for making our trip so enjoyable. A special thank you to Charles and the staff at the Photo Shop for finding and reprinting a missing picture on the night before we departed. Everyone on board was just so pleasant and made the week so memorable. It took us a few days to find the intercom dial on the desk so we could hear all the captain's announcements but we did hear the one about swimming to the next port if you miss the sail away, although apparently a few people didn't and got left behind in at least two of the ports. Everything on board follows a strict timetable which was much appreciated when we were trying to fit in as many events as possible. Disembarking was as organized as embarking. We had booked the Walking Tour of Old San Juan through RCI so we had priority in departing. Our luggage was taken directly to the airport. We took our carry-on on the tour bus but left it with the bus driver while we walked through the beautiful old city. The bus picked us up at the end of the tour and delivered us to the airport where our luggage was waiting under guard for us. We really enjoyed this tour and would love to return to San Juan and Curacao again. The cruise was absolutely fantastic and we may just take it again because there was so much we didn't do and see. But next time, we'll stay for two weeks because we were just relaxing into it when we had to leave and come back to cold snowy reality. One other thing, I suffer from motion sickness. At the first sign of seasickness, I started taking all natural ginger root capsules and they worked beautifully so I highly recommend them. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
Precruise My wife and I took booked this cruise on the AOS in January, when our late spring vacation plans changed. I wasn't sure if we would find anything suitable, but was incredibly pleased with this cruise. I'm still not ... Read More
Precruise My wife and I took booked this cruise on the AOS in January, when our late spring vacation plans changed. I wasn't sure if we would find anything suitable, but was incredibly pleased with this cruise. I'm still not sure how such a perfect cabin was available, but I'm definitely not going to complain! But more on the cabin later. Although this was our third Caribbean cruise, it was our first on Royal Caribbean. The others were on Celebrity. We enjoyed our cruise tremendously, but concluded that we prefer Celebrity when just the two of us are cruising. We believe that the AOS would be perfect, though, for families with children. Unlike our other two cruises, we were able to fly down the day before our cruise. Unfortunately, because we booked so late, the cruise line could book our flights but not our hotel. I went online and booked a room at the San Juan Beach Hotel in the Condado area. After counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds, it was finally time to board our direct flight to San Juan. We were very thankful that we had booked our flights through the cruise line, as we had heard horror stories during the week of families not making it to their cruises because of flight problems due to the Valentine's Day storms along the east coast. Because I didn't think that the transportation vouchers from the cruise line would get us from the airport to our hotel (since we didn't book the hotel through the cruise line), we took a taxi. I had read some reviews about our hotel that had me a bit anxious. While the hotel could definitely use some fixing up, our room was quite large and had a wonderful view of the ocean. It was musty, though, which did not help the cold I had come down with. After checking in and taking a quick nap, my wife and I decided to walk around the area to find somewhere to eat. After all, it was a glorious, sunny, hot day and we had just escaped from the bitter cold of the Northeast. We started out by walking away from the hotel area towards Old San Juan. We stopped at a map and decided to keep going. An hour-and-a-half later (approximately 4.5 miles, I think), we arrived in Old San Juan hot, very sweaty, exhausted, hungry and thirsty. (What I haven't told you is that my wife had total hip replacement surgery last September, and even though she has been doing remarkably, that was the furthest I think either of us had walked in years! She really did well!) We soon found a wonderful Italian restaurant called Al Dente. I must admit, I was quite embarrassed as the front of my shirt was soaked with sweat, but the staff graciously ignored it and eventually I cooled down. The food and atmosphere was absolutely marvelous. Of course, that perception might have been heightened by the fact that our long, long walk had made us ravenous! After our lovely and relaxing dinner, we took a cab back to the hotel, as I wasn't going to make that mistake again. When we told the taxi driver that we had walked to Old San Juan from Condado, he was incredulous. Even though it was fairly early when we returned to the hotel, we decided to go to bed and watch some TV. Well, we couldn't keep our eyes open, so decided to turn in for the night and not set the alarm. This was a good thing; we slept for 12 hours! The one significant advantage of this was that, on previous cruises, we were always exhausted the first full day of the cruise. Not this time! When we did finally wake up in the morning, we got ready for the day and walked to a Walgreen's to buy some cough medicine for me. We also stopped at a small restaurant next to the Walgreen's for breakfast. We got back to the hotel, checked out and took a cab to Pan American Cruise Terminal, where our cruise began in earnest. The Ship While I had read that the Adventure was big, I didn't quite realize how huge it would be! Massive is probably the best word to describe it. Our taxi dropped us off at the cruise terminal and we got in a short line to drop off our luggage. We had arrived sometime between 11:15 and noon. Entering the huge terminal hall, we found absolutely no lines. We quickly made it through security and check in and were crossing the gangway onto the ship. The ship was very colorful, more so than Celebrity but not as much as we would imagine Carnival to be. Remembering suggestions from the Cruise Critic boards, we went and bought our soda and juice sticker at a bar on the Promenade for the week. I really liked the souvenir mug we got; I'm sure we'll use those a lot at home. We stopped by a table for Portofino's and made our reservation for Wednesday night. Then we found out how to sign up for computer access and did so. We appreciated the computer access so we could check our email. However, we wish the speed of the computers and Internet connection were a bit quicker, as it was very easy to rack up quite an expense very quickly. Following this, we took the stunning glass elevator to Deck 11 and the Windjammer Cafe, where we had lunch. Before entering each dining facility, the ship staff requires people to wash their hands. I must say that I was quite pleased to see this health precaution. The food at the Windjammer had quite a bit of variety. There were the standard buffet selections as well as carved meat. However, I was disappointed with the quality. Most selections had an institutional sameness about them rather than distinct flavors. Of course, with over 3,000 passengers, this is probably understandable, but it was still a let down. I was surprised that there was not more cut fruit than there was. One aspect, though, that I really appreciated was the sugar free desserts. The service was friendly and the staff did an excellent job clearing plates and keeping our soda mugs full. The area, as well as the whole ship, was kept quite clean. Finally, 2 p.m. came and we were allowed to go to our cabins. Our cabin was a Junior Suite on the port side of Deck 10 (Cabin 1634), which was the highest deck with cabins. We were incredibly fortunate that our cabin was midship, just down the hall from the Royal Suite. We were astounded as we walked in. The cabin was much more spacious than I had imagined. Just inside the door was a decent-sized bathroom (with a good-sized tub) on the left and a large walk-in closet on the right. The closet had a nice amount of shelf space and racks for hanging clothes. On the left side of the main part of the cabin was the queen size bed and a sitting area with a loveseat, small coffee table, and two armchairs. On the right side of the cabin was a long set of cabinets that included a vanity with a large mirror surrounded by lighting, TV, desk and lots and lots of cabinets for storage. But the best part of the cabin was the large balcony. Though not very deep, it extended the width of the cabin, so we could sit quite comfortably and not feel cramped at all. We especially appreciated the partitions separating us from our neighbors. They were much better than the ones on Celebrity. And, instead of a metal wall on the sea side, the balcony wall was thick glass topped by a beautiful wooden handrail. We spent a lot of time on the balcony, especially on the second sea day going from Curacao to St. Maartan, as the sun was primarily on the other side of the ship that direction. It was very hot and uncomfortable on the first sea day, going from San Juan to Aruba. One of the special treats coming back from dinner each evening was to discover what kind of towel animal our steward had made for us while we were out. Such fun! We spent a good bit of time on Sunday and Monday exploring the ship. It has lots and lots of activities available. We didn't do any of the more exotic activities like rock climbing or inline skating. We did want to play a round of mini-golf, but ran out of time. We really liked the Promenade. I thought the antique auto was a classy addition to the area. We spent a bit of time, and money, in a few of the shops. One shop had very nice ties for just $10 and my wife was able to buy a replacement Swarovski Christmas ornament at a lower price than we saw anywhere on land (including the States). Sunday evening we attended the Meet & Mingle. It was great actually meeting the people we had been reading and conversing with on the Cruise Critic board. The ship's staff had goodies to eat and even gave away some door prizes. I would recommend every Cruise Critic to attend this event if offered on your ship. We also made appointments for one of our cruise extravagances - a massage in the spa. We made the appointments for Monday, the first day at sea. Such a delight! In fact, because I decided to book a second massage on Wednesday, my wife did the same. We found the spa staff very friendly and professional. I would have liked to have had a third massage on Friday, but decided I had spent enough. I did, though, lose my resolve and bought some of the products my masseur recommended. And I am very glad I did. My wife and I have used a muscle relaxant gel and oil on our shoulders and necks almost every night since we came home. We can definitely tell a difference in our comfort while sleeping and even when work gets tense the next day. Besides the activities on the ship and times to pamper ourselves, eating is one of the prime reasons we like to cruise. For this cruise we requested a table for four to eight persons. We were really glad we got one for eight, although we were lonely the first night as we were the only ones there. In fact, I felt very badly for our waiter and assistant waiter, as we were the only ones at three of their tables. They both were delightful and did a wonderful job remembering our preferences each night. The remainder of our tablemates joined us Monday evening and we had an enjoyable time the remainder of the week. Each night we were given a different menu. Each menu had some standard alternative fare, such as a steak. But the rest of the menu usually revolved around a theme of some kind. There were always an abundance of choices. I really enjoyed the chilled fruit soups. The portions were nicely sized during the week and the food was fairly tasty, although not quite up to the standard set by Celebrity on our previous cruises. Wednesday night, which was Caribbean night in the dining room and would not have been my favorite, we ate at Portofino's, the specialty restaurant. We felt it was definitely worth the additional charge. We had an absolutely perfect table, with a floor to ceiling window overlooking the sea in front of us. Because we made our reservations for early in the evening, we did not have anyone on either side of us for much of the meal, so we really soaked in the specialness of the evening. The food was generally delicious and beautifully presented. The waiter and assistant were very attentive and kept our sodas full! I even took pictures of every course we had! The only course I did not like was a seafood pasta that had that "fishy" taste you tend to get when the seafood is not quite fresh. We were so full by dessert that we didn't know what to get. Seeing a sampler option at the top of the dessert menu, we both got that, not knowing that it would be small versions of all four specialty desserts! They were all superb. We decided to have lunch on Thursday, the other sea day, at Johnny Rockets. We didn't mind the small charge for eating there, as it was a fun alternative to the dining room or Windjammer Cafe. We were seated at one of the outside tables, which was very enjoyable. We gobbled down the fries and onion rings the waiter brought for our "appetizer", even getting seconds, or was that thirds?? The sandwiches we got were tasty as well. Each evening after dinner we went to the show in the Lyric Theater. They were generally enjoyable, although I felt the sound technician allowed the music to blast through the speakers. With my musical background, I enjoy many types of music and like to savor it. However, most of the music during the shows was much more like being shouted at than sung or played to. The performers were energetic and accomplished. While I enjoyed all of the set changes and other technical aspects of the Velvet Rope production, I did not enjoy most of the musical selections or the production's concept. For a family-oriented ship, I thought it was a bit too adult-oriented. By far, the best show of the week was the ice show. I was amazed at how much the skaters could do on such a small piece of ice. I also enjoyed all of the acrobatic work during that show. I wish we could have seen it at least one more time during the week. One of the parts I liked best was how close many of the seats were to the rink. This is really a show not to miss and was one of the highlights of our time on the ship. The Ports One of the reasons we picked this cruise, besides the fact that it had two days at sea, was that we had not been to three of the four ports of call. We were very pleased with the itinerary, as we got to see several different types of islands. Our first port was Aruba. We had reserved a car from Hertz before we left. After getting off the ship, we headed to the Hertz booth and got our car. The attendant was very nice and after finishing the paperwork, we were off. We spent the day driving around the island, beginning at the California Lighthouse, visiting the Alto Vista Chapel and the Natural Bridge, and then walked along Baby Beach. We didn't find Baby Beach very crowded and really enjoyed its beauty. We also really enjoyed watching the crashing surf at the Natural Bridge site. We were quite surprised at the arid and rocky land. After leaving Baby Beach, we drove up to the resort area and had lunch at a nice cafe, where the sandwiches were huge! We decided to return the car a bit early. On the way back, I stopped to fill the car up with gas. This attempt did not go well, and I definitely felt like the stereotypical "stupid American". First, I couldn't figure out which side of the car had the gas cap. Then, when I handed my credit card to the attendant, she told me to do something I couldn't understand, as she didn't speak English. I thought maybe I needed to turn my car around, which I clumsily did. That still wasn't good enough for her and, finally, after a hysterical pantomiming bit, I realized that she wanted me to go into the station to prepay. When I did, the clerk, in reasonably good English (fortunately), asked how much I wanted to put on my card. I had no idea, as the gas was by liter rather than gallon. I asked her just to fill it up, but she was pretty insistent to get an exact amount. I told her $10, but asked if she could just get it filled up to whatever it needed. She went out and told the attendant, and after some discussion together, I think that's what they did, as it came to around $13. I do try to honor the culture when I visit places, but I'm sure I gave the locals there a real chance to laugh! I guess I wouldn't do so well on the Amazing Race! After we returned the car, we walked around the shops downtown. I don't think we bought anything other than a collector's spoon. We returned to the ship and rested a bit before dinner. Because the ship didn't leave port until late night, we stood on our balcony looking at all of the colorful lights before heading off to bed. Curacao was the second port. Curacao is not too far from Aruba, but the island did not seem nearly as dry as Aruba did. We didn't have much planned for Curacao, but found the area around the harbor delightful. We thoroughly enjoyed the bright colored buildings. We walked across the Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge and visited several shops. My wife took lots and lots of pictures. St. Maartan/St. Martin was the third port, and we had been greatly looking forward to our visit there. This island was the only one for which we had signed up for an excursion. Unfortunately, we found out the night before that it had been cancelled. Disappointed, we went to the Excursion Desk on the ship to get some alternative recommendations. The staff at the desk was the most unhelpful of any on board, and gave us the impression that they really didn't want to be bothered helping us figure out if another excursion or something else would work. So Friday morning after breakfast, we headed out on our own to visit the Butterfly Farm. We hired a taxi with a delightful retired supermarket clerk driver. We had a phenomenal time at the Butterfly Farm. The netted area with hundreds, if not thousands, of butterflies was huge. We joined a guided tour and learned a lot about butterflies. In some ways, we might have been better off not going on a planned excursion here because we took our time watching the butterflies and getting lots of pictures. When we were done, we asked the staff to call a taxi. After numerous calls, they finally got one to come out to get us and take us to Marigot, the capitol on the French side of the island. We didn't spend very long in Marigot, but did walk through the streets taking pictures and looking in shops. We joined a couple from another ship in a taxi back to Philipsburg. We spent some time shopping. We enjoyed this part of Philipsburg, but were surprised that we didn't find any jewelry or a camera lens that we were looking for at prices we wanted to pay. We did buy some handmade Belgian chocolates to take back to my office and the couple that were helping us with our dog. I was a bit nervous about leaving the chocolates at the shop to be delivered to our ship, but they made it to our cabin later that night. We also bought some linens. Our favorite island was St. Thomas. We had been there several times before on both business and cruises, and we have a dear artist friend who lives on the island. She picked us up at the pier at 9 a.m. and we spent a wonderful, enjoyable day together. We began by getting our shopping out of the way. My wife found a lovely ring at Cardow's, probably our favorite jewelry store in the Caribbean, and a Swarovski necklace at a shop down the street. We also bought a lens for her camera at Boulchand's $50 less than at any other store and almost $100 less than we had seen it on Amazon. Before heading off to other places on the island, we visited the gallery where our friend had one of her prints being shown. After getting the shopping out of the way, we headed off to find a place for lunch. We started by visiting Mountain Top, which has a gorgeous view of Magens Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Then we drove to a hotel with a restaurant overlooking the harbor with our ship. The main restaurant was not open, but we did take some beautiful pictures. We finally ended up at Secret Harbor, which we soon realized was an excellent choice. We had an absolutely delicious lunch and relaxed at our table looking over the beautiful beach and small harbor. After lunch we walked around the beach and sat at the end of a dock watching colorful fish dart by. After we left Secret Harbor, we drove to Sapphire Beach, where our friend's daughter had been married several years ago. We had a lovely time walking along the beach and sitting on a chaise looking over at St. John. We drove around for a while longer and stopped at another overlook with a spectacular view of the harbor before heading back to the ship. I think this was our favorite day, especially because we got to spend some quality time with a dear friend and reminisce. Debarkation and Final Thoughts Debarkation went fairly smoothly, although not quite as smoothly as embarkation. This was the first time we really had to wait in line, and it can probably be best described as mass chaos. We used our transportation voucher and took the small bus to the airport. We paid the extra fee to check our bags directly with the airline at the pier and get our boarding passes. We were so very glad we did that, as the flights were quite full. We actually got our boarding pass Saturday night in our cabin. The flight back to Boston did not go as well as the one to San Juan. First, we sat around the airport for a long time, and then our departing flight was delayed. We had a connection through JFK in New York that did not go smoothly at all. We were running late, but seemed to have time to make it when we landed. However, we sat on the taxiway for about 30-45 minutes because of one issue another that was keeping us from the gate. We started to get very concerned about making the connection. We had to get to a different terminal for our connecting flight, as did a good number of people at the back of the plane. We appreciated the people in the back of the plane who actually paid attention to the flight attendant's request to let those of us with tight connections out first. Apparently, no one in the front of the plane listened to the announcement. We hurried as best as we could to our connecting gate, only to find out that there was a mechanical issue and our flight was delayed. There was also a winter storm coming, and we had really hoped to get out before it got too bad to fly out. We finally boarded the small regional jet. Because of the deteriorating weather, we ended up sitting in the plane for almost 2 1/2 hours before we finally took off for Boston. Fortunately, they let us use our cell phones so we could tell our friends who were picking us up that we were running late. But we did make it to Boston eventually and got home a bit after midnight - about three hours later than we had planned. Unfortunately, one of our checked bags didn't make it to Boston with us. Fortunately, it was the suitcase with all of our dirty clothes. This experience, combined with all of the news reports from the week before and since, have pretty well convinced me to do whatever I can to avoid connecting through JFK. All in all, this was a wonderful cruise. It provided the rest and relaxation that we really needed and we will have many wonderful memories from it. For those who read through this very long review and would like to see our pictures of the ship and ports, please visit http://picasaweb.google.com/readingdoc. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
We cruised on the Adventure to Southern Caribbean on Feb. 11 from San Juan. Itinerary was Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and St. Thomas, 2 days on sea. We booked this cruise for the 60th birthday of my mum, travelled together with my dad and ... Read More
We cruised on the Adventure to Southern Caribbean on Feb. 11 from San Juan. Itinerary was Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and St. Thomas, 2 days on sea. We booked this cruise for the 60th birthday of my mum, travelled together with my dad and my friend, we are both in the 30th. After cruising on the NCL Jewel to Eastern Caribbean last year and on a small Greek ship in the Mediterranean we booked the Voyager class ship because of its size. Could not imagine all the features like shopping arcade and ice rink ! To summarize overall - we were just amazed and impressed - the ship is wonderful and even more impressive than we ever expected. We would definitively use it again. Staff was wonderful without any exception, no problem at all with Puerto Ricans on board as some mentioned in their reviews. But to be honest, one of the crew told us, there are just 270 of Puerto Ricans on board and there are weeks with majority of them, and then it can be bit louder. But to be honest, all the Puerto Ricans we met were absolutely nice and we love their positive mentality. And we just had problems with a rude and loud group of Americans, everybody left the part of the deck because they drank beer, beer, beer, so loud that you could not stay on this deck ! So there are this kind of people from all countries. Our arrival: We arrived the day before (highly recommended) and stayed at the Courtyard Miramar. Wonderful hotel, close to Airport and Harbour, nice rooms, continental breakfast included. 10 minutes by taxi from airport and to the pier. Embarkation: We went to the port 11 AM, were among the first in the line. Could drop off luggage and waited until they opened the doors 11.45 AM. We had printed the sail set pass and could use the counters for that, were on board shortly after 12. Rooms to cabin corridors are closed until 2 PM, although some people just went in and drop off their hand luggage in their cabins. We did also at 1.30 PM and it was fine for the stateroom attendant. Cabin: We had two balcony cabins category D2 on deck 8 forward, 8230 and 8232. They we just wonderful. Only remark is the bad quality of the beds, they are really a shame. But as I read all beds on the ship will be replaced within the next weeks - really time for that. But except that the cabin was great, bathroom big enough and the balcony worth the extra money. Food: We were satisfied by quality and quantity. Breakfast buffet was very nice, usual cruise food. we never tried breakfast in the dining room. Once we tried dinner at Jonny Rockets Steak house. Nice and good burger but I would not do it again, I recommend to eat there for lunch and not miss dinner elsewhere. Once we spent the $ 23 for Portofinos for my parents wedding anniversary and it was outstanding. Food and service is worth the extra money - we highly recommend it. Once we had casual dinner at the buffet at Windjammer, also very good but nothing special. All the other evening we had dinner at the main restaurant. Shows: Were absolutely great, especially the both musical shows, absolutely broadway quality. Make sure that you see the ice show. You have to get free tickets - but worth to spend 10 minutes in the line for that. Ports: We did not book any trip with the cruise line and highly recommend it if you are used to organize yourself. At Aruba we rented a car online weeks before at National just to be sure to get a Jeep at National, arriving there we learned that they don't have Jeeps because they are overbooked - a rude girl just said - we don't have a car for you ! So we booked one at the booths in the Port, just went around the island, saw the lighthouse and some beaches. At Curacao we just went downtown and looked around, booked a 2 hour tour downtown in an open bus and JUST LOVED it. They bring you to a free tasting at a liquor factory and show you the island and beaches - great tour and only 20 dollar for each person. At St. Maarten we booked a car again at the Port, drove the the French side and went to WAIKIKI BEACH - highly recommended. Wonderful beach with all facilities, great beach bar. One recommendation, we rented both cars at local agencies, would not do it again, got wrecks in both cases. We decided to go to Avis and Hertz again next time and spend some extra money (of course we will avoid National forever after this episode on Aruba !) On St. Thomas we went off the ship and they offer tours in open buses right at the Pier, paid 25 dollars per person to get a 2 hours tour - highly recommended, after that drop off at Downtown and went shopping. St. Thomas is our favorite island ! They offered this tour on NCL and originally did at RCL, on board they told us they changed to air conditioned bused because people complained that the trolleys don't have A/C !! To be honest, this tour is the highlight of the cruise, don't waste you time in an air conditioned bus - get a feeling in an open bus, its just great and big fun !!! Just get off the ship and these trolleys are right there ! Disembarkation: Was organized perfectly. We got disembarkment number 9, meaning to get off the ship as from 10.30. Numbers are called. Since we could get our rented car as from 9 AM we decided to go down at 9, nobody asked about our number and we were off the ship within 10 minutes. Found our luggage in 5 minutes and were in our rented car 15 minutes later. After the cruise we stayed on Puerto Rico for another 5 days, stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton Palmas Del Mar in the East of the Island - wonderful. Overall: We loved ship, Itinerary and crew. Sometimes you can see the age of the ship at some carpets and chairs, but overall its in a perfect condition. We loved the promenade, the solarium pool for adults only and Portofino most. If you go on the Adventure you will have a GREAT TIME !!! All other facilities on the ship are just great, from the Ship Shape fitness center, the minigolf parcour to the climbing wall. Much more than you could use on a 8 days cruise - but fun to have. Compared to NCL we would rate the food a little bit lower at RCI, but of course the Voyager class ship is exceptional and activities and public rooms and shops on board are much better than on any other ship. Again - only negative remark on the beds - but this will be improved soon. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
My husband and I (51 & 50 yrs. old) departed San Juan on 2/11/07 on Adventure of the Seas. We have been on several cruises in the past, but this is the largest ship we have ever travelled on. We were EXTREMELY PLEASED with the entire ... Read More
My husband and I (51 & 50 yrs. old) departed San Juan on 2/11/07 on Adventure of the Seas. We have been on several cruises in the past, but this is the largest ship we have ever travelled on. We were EXTREMELY PLEASED with the entire experience & would DEFINITELY recommend this ship and itinerary to all of our friends! We have been working in the Caribbean for the last 14 months and have had the opportunity to visit many of the islands (about 20). The itinerary for AOS was excellent. We loved all of the islands we travelled to. We had just booked our trip at the end of January as we were returning to the States through Puerto Rico, so it was a last-minute decision. Even our cabin exceeded our expectations! We did not have any pre-trip hotels as we were flying in from Anguilla that same morning (less than an hour flight). Embarkation was a smooth process. We were able to board the ship at ll:45 a.m. We went to the Windjammer for a nice lunch and then explored the ship (which was great fun!) until 2 p.m. when we were let in to our stateroom. The ship is so beautiful - we were like two kids in a candy shop walking through the Promenade that first day. We didn't know where to look first. The personnel on the ship were extremely helpful and everyone seemed to really enjoy what they were doing. My only minor complaint was that my husband had his teeth whitened onboard. The seminar said it would be only $199.00, but by the time he bought the follow-up products it was over $530.00. I thought this was rather misleading. I had my hair cut & highlighted in the Beauty Salon by Laura from Spain. She was fantastic - very knowledgeable and kind. The food on board was excellent. We ate dinner on Valentine's Day at Portofino. It was a great dining experience - very relaxing. Well worth the extra charge. On Aruba we rented a moped. The cruise ship highly recommends you NOT do this, but we had rented one in Bermuda and enjoyed it so much, that we went ahead and rented another. It was great fun. We rode to the California Lighthouse, the Natural Bridge, different beaches and basically all around the island. In Curacao, we shopped and enjoyed the beautiful and colorful architecture. When we arrived in St. Thomas, we took a taxi and then the ferry to St. John, which is a gorgeous island. St. Thomas is much more crowded and rather dirty. We liked St. John MUCH better. We went to Trunk Bay and snorkeled and then had a picnic lunch. It was great. As for St. Marten, we had lived next door on Anguilla for about 14 months and so had been to St. Marten many times. We didn't feel the need to explore there, so just did a little shopping and then returned to the ship to relax by the pool. We especially liked the Adult Pool in the Solarium, which was very relaxing. As for the entertainment, my favorite was the Ice Show. I didn't think the comedians were all that funny. All in all, we had a fabulous week and hated to see it end. We have been fortunate to have seen many beautiful places, but I would rate this vacation as one of our very best. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
This was our tenth cruise in seven years, needless to say we are hooked. Never had a bad cruise only a few bad experiences. Overall we have been very lucky. We've sailed the Southern Caribbean 5 times from San Juan and the Western ... Read More
This was our tenth cruise in seven years, needless to say we are hooked. Never had a bad cruise only a few bad experiences. Overall we have been very lucky. We've sailed the Southern Caribbean 5 times from San Juan and the Western Caribbean 3 times from Miami. Also sailed twice from Boston (once to Bermuda and once to Canada). On this trip we sailed from Miami on Royal Caribbean for the second time on the Explorer of the Seas and stopped in Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Grand Cayman. My hope is that I can pass along some tips and advise that may help folks who may be looking to go an a similar cruise. Before the cruise: Do your homework. The internet and travel agent have lots of deals that vary widely in price. Avoiding holidays and school vacations can save you some money if you can do it. If you book your cruise and you later see the price has dropped you may be entitled to a refund. Other ways to save money are last minute deals that some web sites offer and "repositioning cruises" where the cruise line has to seasonally move a ship from one port to another (for example a ship may repositioned from the Caribbean to New York in the Spring time so if you don't mind not arriving and departing from the same port this may be for you). Before we go on a cruise we take out what we call "Blizzard Insurance". Flying out of Boston in the winter can be risky - flights can easily get delayed or canceled due to weather (I worked for the FAA in Boston for 7 years - trust me on this one). If you are planning to fly the same day you set sail you run a real risk of literally missing the boat. Our "blizzard Insurance" policy is basically nothing more then leaving home at least a day (and usually 2 or 3 days) before we set sail. This not only ensures we don't miss the boat but it gives us a few days of pre-vacation to explore the departure port (Miami, San Juan etc). This was our first cruise where we had a balcony and I think we are now spoilt for future cruises. It is going to be hard to go back to an inside cabin after this. On past cruises the cabin was simply a place to change, sleep and shower. A balcony changes that dynamic radically. At night we would leave the sliding glass door open and enjoy the sea air and sound of the ocean. In the mornings we would order room service and eat on the balcony where in the past we would run right up to the dining room. And even though we spent plenty of time on the public decks hanging out there is something nice about sitting and reading out on your private deck. Don't get me wrong - I've had 9 wonderful cruises without a balcony and we only took one this time because we found a good deal. Ports: Miami We stayed 3 nights in South Beach at the Clay hotel. The Clay is very reasonably priced and in a fantastic location but one warning - due to its location among restaurants and clubs that stay open late and are quite loud you may not like it here if you go to bed before 3 AM. We will probably stay elsewhere next time - but only for the noise. Otherwise I would recommend the Clay. There is lots to do in South Beach. Ocean Drive is full of lots of clubs, restaurants and shops in fantastic old art deco buildings. And if you really like art deco you have to walk the few blocks to the Wolfsonion museum on Washington. The beach at South Beach is great and very busy. You can also drive or take a city bus north and try Haulover Beach which is just north of Bal Harbor. When your sick of eating and people watching on Ocean Drive you can check out the Lincoln Rd open air mall. Lots of indoor and outdoor dining, shops, galleries etc. And if you are willing to walk a few blocks north there is a stunning (and quite large) memorial to the Holocaust. If you venture to downtown Miami check out Bayside Market place. It's basically a mall but it's by the water and has restaurants, entertainment and you can take various water cruises from there for around $20 and up. On our boat ride we saw dolphins and Gloria Estephans house. One thing I must add - our first night in Miami we had dinner in BED (that's the name of the restaurant - Beverage Entertainment and Dining). You literally eat your dinner on a bed. Very cool, trendy and especially comfy. The foods pretty good too. BED is on Washington and there isn't a sign outside telling you where it is (why the secrecy? who knows. The web site does have lots of photos of celebrities hanging out there). Belize We booked an excursion through Royal Caribbean for the Wildlife adventure tour. It was a bit pricey but seeing as it was our first trip to Belize we decided to splurge. We started our adventure on a river boat ride up the Belize river where we saw crocs, monkeys, iguanas, bats and all sorts of plants and birds. We then stopped for lunch where a bus was waiting to take us on a tour that stopped at a very cool zoo. The trip was a bit pricey but we had a great time. Costa Maya There is a barrier reef by Costa Maya that they say is second only to the great barrier reef in Australia. We took a snorkeling excursion here that I have to say was probably the best snorkeling trip I have yet to take for no reason other then the coral is so close and so spectacular. One recommendation - the waters were a bit choppy and myself and a few other were a bit nauseous after. It might not be a bad idea to take a Bonine before you leave. In the port of Costa Maya they have a beach and pool right by the pier open to the public. Very nice facility and the pool is open to everyone and has a swim up bar. Cozumel This was our third trip to Cozumel. The first time we went to the ruins at Tulum which is a fantastic experience but is a bit of a long journey. The second time we took a cab to a nearby beach. This trip we took an island tour from a local driver we met on the pier. The tour was $25 and took us across the island, stopped at the local Mayan ruins (not nearly as impressive as Tulum but well worth seeing). The tour then continues around the south coast stopping at a few points of interest along the way. Al in all the trip was just under 4 hours and the guide was very knowledgeable (which was especially nice when we toured the ruins). Grand Cayman This was our second trip to Grand Cayman. The first was a few years ago and before the death of Steve Irwin so we took the amazing excursion where you swim with the stingrays. This trip we opted to take a $4 shuttle ride to the 7 mile beach. A wonderful beach day. We rented chairs ($5 each). The water and sand were great and you can get food and cocktails right there on the beach. Well worth it for a low cost fun beach day. Excursions The plus to taking a ship excursion is that they guarantee that the ship wont leave without you. The downside is they cost more. In most ports there are lines of people waiting to take you on private tours and excursions that are much cheaper then you would pay through the cruise line. Sometimes you can even haggle the price down even more. And there are generally cabs or shuttles waiting to take you to local beaches or shopping. In some ports (like Aruba) there is a decent public bus system. Ship What hasn't been said about this ship? Amazing! A comic on the ship summed it up by saying "I have traveled by many means of transportation in my life - but this is the first time I have traveled by Mall". Highlights of the ship include the quiet "adults only" pool deck and the miniature golf course. The rock wall, rollerblading and ice rink aren't half bad either. Rumor has it that the next generation of the Royal Caribbean ships will include a monorail and through an arrangement with Disney a version of "Pirates of the Caribbean" so realistic that the pirates actually kill some of the passengers. I can' wait! Seriously - even though there are thousands of folks on the ship you rarely feel crowded. Food Food and service were great but the highlight for me was LOBSTER NIGHT! Here's a tip - don't eat lunch that day and be prepared to order 3 or more lobster tails! I felt like Homer Simpson "mmmmmmm lobster! and keep 'em coming" On previous cruises we only ordered room service for breakfast on days where we had to be off the ship early for an excursion. A balcony makes eating in your room that much nicer - so we did it several times this trip. But not for dinner - we had to much fun with our table mates and the food and service were too good to miss that meal in the dining room. Speaking of table mates - we've generally been quite lucky with the folks we've been paired off with but it's a roll of the dice. So be warned. I have a feeling that the cruise lines use some sort of compatibility software to determine who to seat with who. Or maybe people are just friendlier at sea. Whatever the case you may want to request a private table if you have any doubts. One food tip - on beach days I sneak fruit and pastries off the ship in my backpack to have a snack on the beach. You're not supposed to do it so if you get caught don't tell them you heard it from me. Drinks The bar prices are generally reasonable and there are always daily specials. You also are not pressured to order drinks in any of the clubs and bars and you can bring your drinks from one to another. If you go to any of the ship parties that offer free drinks one tip - stock up! The freebies wont last forever so grab a few before you go - you can take them anywhere including the other bars and clubs. Shopping There are actually some pretty good deals on the ship. The duty free liquor is actually quite a bargain. Other then that I generally don't do that much shopping on vacation but do remember that in alot of ports you can haggle quite a bit. One tip - if you ever stop in Jamaica stock up on Blue Mountain coffee (we bought over $100 worth). It's some of the best coffee in the world and isn't easy to some by in the states. A friend just ordered some online for $50/lb. Casino We played blackjack everynight after dinner and actually left the ship up by about $80 (our last cruise we were up $150 - our next cruise we'll probably lose $300). They have low limit tables which is nice but unfortunately unlike casinos on land the drinks aren't free. Tipping One tip about tipping. Unless the service really stinks don't be a cheapskate. These folks work really hard and that is how they make most of their money. Although I still don't understand why we are expected to tip the head waiter - he's management, he should be salaried and paid by the cruise line. Luggage I learned an important lesson this trip - a lot of baggage looks the same. Case in point. We go off the ship (along with 3,000 other people) only to find a woman walking off with our large rolling suitcase ("it looked just like mine" she said). Had we shown up a minute later she would have been long gone.. I am tying neon ribbons and painting unique designs on all our checked baggage for the next trip. Also - when you get on the ship be sure and keep things you may need on the first day (sunscreen, swim suits medications etc) in your carry on luggage. Your checked luggage could take hours to get to your room. And on the topic of luggage I have a rather unusual method I use that my wife makes fun of me for. But I have since learned that there are others out there that do what I do. I pack my good clothes for dinner and evening use but I pack my old crummy T shirts and socks for running around during the day and to the beach. Then every night I throw them away. It makes space in my luggage, creates less laundry to bring back and helps me clean my closet of all those clothes that are taking up too much space. As long as you don't mind people seeing you in your old Depeche Mode t-shirt at the beach go for it! Also - on the day I fly I wear old work pants and shirts that are too warn to wear to work - after checking in to the hotel, into the trash they go and on go my nice vacation duds. Overall Cruising is nice in that you unpack in your room once and every day your in a new place. Some folks don't like being at sea or find the smaller inside rooms a little claustrophobic. If you're not sure then I suggest taking a short (3 or 4 day) cruise for your first one. Theres also a bit more of a sense of community on a ship then at a hotel which I happen to like. There is generally lots to do onboard when your not in port and I cant ever remember getting bored on a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
My wife and I have cruised 5 times before but this was our first on RCCL and we could not have had a better time. We did the Southern Caribbean on the Adventure of the Seas and both of us had a blast. Wow what a huge ship but all week long ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised 5 times before but this was our first on RCCL and we could not have had a better time. We did the Southern Caribbean on the Adventure of the Seas and both of us had a blast. Wow what a huge ship but all week long we never felt cramped or crowded in anyway. We were amazed how fast and easy it was to go from the airport shuttle to our room onboard in approx 20 minutes. We filled out the easy pass online and it really saved time at the boarding terminal. My wife and I also liked how the ship does not set sail until late at night so if you want to get off the ship in San Juan or you can stay onboard and enjoy the ship. The size of the terminal is also good for people who have trouble walking. I had just had my hip replaced 8 months before the cruise and I had no trouble walking through the terminal and onto the ship, it was very easy. My wife and I cant wait till we sail again out of San Juan On the AOS. THE SHIP--Huge,but not too huge that you felt lost. My wife and I never felt crowded in anyway all week. Because of the wonderful staff it made very easy getting around the ship the first day. We had a JR suite looking for the extra room space when our friends stopped by. I was a bit surprised by the size of the room for the money I spent for the suite. I have gotten larger rooms for less $$$$ on other cruise ships. The room was always neat and clean but just a bit smaller than I wanted. My wife and I also had little bit of a stiff back by weeks end. Guess the mattress wasn't the best but I hear a bunch of them were to be replaced. The service of our room steward made the stiff back a little bit easier to deal with. Dont let the horror stories about the Puerto Rican people scare you off. My wife and I found the Puerto Rican people and the entire mix of other people onboard the ship to be friendly and entertaining to talk with. We saw no signs of out of control people anywhere. I did see over 3,000 people having fun just as my wife and I did. THE STAFF--The staff onboard the AOS were the best my wife and I have seen for a cruise staff. Our Waiters "SAJ & BRUNO", the bar staff, the pool servers and our room steward "Stanley" made our week at sea wonderful and that we cant wait to sail again on a RCCL ship. The only glitch in the service all week was our second day at sea I got a call from the information desk saying they had my luggage to come down. I know this was a mistake because I had all my luggage already so I went down to the desk. When I got there the girl behind the desk said oh it was a mistake and the real owner had the luggage back. I though they could have called me back to cancel me coming down there for nothing. ARUBA--Our first stop and it was the first visit for my wife and I. We did the Atlantis Sub Adventure. We had a great time looking at colorful fish, sunken ships and beautiful coral from 150 ft under water. The Atlantis staff does a great job giving you a guided tour above and below the water. The sub is kept very clean, the staff is very friendly and if you don't scuba dive this is for you to see breath taking views. Back on land my wife and I walked along the main street shopping and stopping by Senor Frogs and Carlos & Charlies for lunch & dinner. We did make it back to the ship for coffee and cake. CURACAO--Our second stop on the cruise. My wife spent the entire day shopping in town and I spent my day on the ship with friends. The area has a bunch of very attractive styled buildings and homes. I think I saw every color in the rainbow on a home there in Curacao. If you like walking this is the stop for you. ST MARTIN--Our third stop on the cruise. My wife and I did the butterfly farm and beach break on Boo Boo Beach. We enjoyed the butterfly farm but the beach was a little bit of a let down for the price you pay. The beach chairs were dirty and bunch of them were broken. The beach was very pretty but you only spend 90 minutes there and cant enjoy it. I also thought the extras on the beach(drinks-spa treatments-water crafts) were all over priced. The massage lady was so bored from lack of customers she climbed up on her table and went to sleep. My wife and friends went back out into town of ST MARTIN to do some shopping. My wife got a great deal on a digital camera she was looking for and saved around $150 from the price you would pay in the states. We liked the Dutch side beaches better because they were a short walk and a ferry ride away from the ship. The other beaches on the French side were a bus ride away. ST THOMAS--Our fourth stop on the cruise. My wife and I did the cable car ride to the top of lookout point and had a drink called a "BUSHWACKER". If you get off the ship in ST THOMAS you must have a BUSHWACKER and food at the lookout bar/restaurant. We spent several hours at point lookout where we also saw a bird show thats a must see for adults and kids. Birds riding bikes and walking on a wire. Most of the birds also speak which was interesting to see. We rode the cable car back down the mountain at which time my wife had me shopping again. ST THOMAS was a nice stop because it was duty free and had great prices on alcohol and t-shirts to bring home. ENTERTAINMENT--My wife and I visited just about every form of entertainment the ship had in the week. The ice show is a must see, but get your tickets early because they go fast. Amazing performers on such a small ice rink and a moving ship. The singers and dancers were great. The comedy acts were funny. The musical entertainment around the ship all week covered all types of listening for everyone. The poolside games are a must see also if you want a good laugh. The hair chest contest and the sexy legs show will give you sore sides from laughing. DISEMBARKING--We were off the ship by 9:30am and that went just as smooth as getting on the ship did. My wife and I purchased our air flight from RCCL and we found out how much of a plus that was. When we got to the terminal part where you give the airline your luggage our boarding passes were already there behind the counter which saved us at least 2 hours from having to stand in the check in line at the airport. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
Spent 3 days precruise in San Juan at the Caribe Hilton. Got it on Priceline and couldn't believe the wonderful room we were in!! On Sun. we left for the ship and arrived at 11:45. When we got on board I looked at my watch and it was ... Read More
Spent 3 days precruise in San Juan at the Caribe Hilton. Got it on Priceline and couldn't believe the wonderful room we were in!! On Sun. we left for the ship and arrived at 11:45. When we got on board I looked at my watch and it was 12:04. The most painless and best embarkation we've done. Had PR cabin, and it was clean and nice. Didn't spend too much time there, but plenty of storage and bathroom was nice. Like the shower doors better than curtains. Bedding is terrible and really needs replaced. Ask for an eggcrate, it really helps!! Ship is beautiful. Promenade is fun!! Champagne bar is great as is the bartenders there!! Food was great in dining room and it was fine in the windjammer buffet. We went to Portofinos one night and it was unbelievable both in taste and presentation. Had breakfast 3 times in the dining room and the food was better than in the windjammer. Ports: They were all great. Curacao was our least favorite, Aruba and St. Martin our favorites. Just our opinions as others will differ. Cd is good, but people said Richard Spacey was so much better, it was a let down. No problems with any people on board. Not that everyone was great, but there was rudeness from all. To be expected from over 3000 people. We only saw 3 incidents. We toured in Aruba with a huge group of Puerto Ricans and we had so much fun. They included us and made it very fun for us. Did not go to all the shows. They were good, the ones we saw. Ice Show is fantastic and should not be missed. Debarkation was easy and painless and the fastest we have ever done. We were off the ship and to the airport by 9 a.m for a 1 o'clock flight. Best cruise so far. We will most likely do this one again!!!!! One last thing, for all the chair savers out there,,they did not allow it on this sailing. I would get a chair around 8 a.m. on sea days and watch the staff go around collecting towels and items. Our tablemates talked to them and they said if after walking around and 30 mins. had passed, the items were taken. It was something to watch the people come back and surprise!!!!!!!!!! So, if you are going to save chairs, someone better sit there with them!!! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
Let me start out by saying we had a great cruise!!!!!!!! We are a family of 4, me 45 my DH 48 and my children DS 17 and my DD 13. On Wed Feb 14th there was a very big ice storm on the east coast and our departure was for the 16th. The ... Read More
Let me start out by saying we had a great cruise!!!!!!!! We are a family of 4, me 45 my DH 48 and my children DS 17 and my DD 13. On Wed Feb 14th there was a very big ice storm on the east coast and our departure was for the 16th. The airports were a mess for 2 days on the east coast and we were nervous about getting out with out a problem but we did great at Newark airport on Continental. The lines were very long and if you were not there 2hrs in advance you might have missed your flight, but we were there, got on our flight, and were only delayed on the runway for an hour. There were people screaming they were going to miss their flight because of the long lines, I sort of felt bad for them but sort of did not, reason being. it has been pretty well known for years you need get to the airport 2hrs before your flight that is what we did and had no problem but I would bet anything on the fact these people were late because they figured no problem we don't have to be there 2 hrs in advance and then when it was getting to close to their flight leaving they started screaming. We arrived in San Juan and had no problem at the airport, went right to the Embassy Suites in Carolina checked into our room and thought the hotel was very nice. They have a free buffet made to order omelet breakfast, and happy hour with drinks and popcorn and some sort of a chex like mix, every night from 5:30 to 7:30. The pool is very nice, there is some plane noise because it is beside the runway entrance to the airport, but I think that planes landing are very cool and fun to watch anyway. The sun in PR is very hot. My daughter had a friend from home who was visiting her grandparents that live in PR, around the block from our hotel, they are Puerto Rican, she stayed with them for those 2 days and had a real PR breakfast, and she had a blast with them. We stayed from Friday to Sunday and checked out around noon and headed straight to the Adventure of the Seas. We were on in minutes, the only problem I had there was we got out of the cab with 6 huge heavy bags and then had to get on a line and we had a hard time with all of our carry ons and the 6 bags moving them all up in line. I think a porter should have come up to us at the curb and checked our bags immediately instead of us having to move them all up in line. Anyway we were on board in minutes. We did go right to our rooms and they were not ready yet, but they let us put our carry on bags in the bottom of the closet and then we left to walk around the ship. We headed to the Windjammer ordered the 2 kids soda cards for the 7 days and then checked out the wine and decided not to get a package because we are not big drinkers and felt we would be better off buying them by the bottle. We went and made our reservations for Portofinos and had a hard time getting the time we wanted. We were 8 people and wanted the second formal night at 8:00 and that was already gone so we took 7:00 we knew a family from home going on this ship and had made arrangements with them prior to the cruise to have dinner in Portofinos they had a daughter who was friends with mine from school so we had that in common already. Let me also add in, my daughter would have not been as happy if this friend or acquaintance was not on the ship (unless she met another person to hang out with on the ship) she needs someone other then us to keep her happy. But the two of them did not meet other kids (which I blame on them). We also stopped to check out where our table was in the dining room, we had asked for a very large table because we wanted to dine and talk with other people, and we had signed up for this cruise about 1 year prior, and when we got there they showed us the absolute first table when you walk into the dining room, where everyone is walking right past you bumping into you, it was a terrible location and needless to say it was for 6 people, which means it was the 4 of us and a couple, I do not understand why this was a problem, not a big table and probably the worst location in the dining room. We asked to switch and was told the only table available was a table for 8 but there was a 17 year old and an 11 year old, I jumped on it, one of the best decisions we made all week. We were with the greatest family from the Boston area and we clicked. Hi to Cathy, Chuck, Rachel, and Derick. The conversation immediately went to Colleges, and Rachel was going to Roger Williams in Rhode Island next year and we had just went and looked at the school for my son, in Nov and loved it and thought it was beautiful, so the conversation flowed the rest of the night. We had previously been on the Voyager of the Seas 4 years ago, so we sort of knew what to expect on this sister ship. It was truly similar. And it looked very clean for the age. We remembered from the last cruise what annoyed us the most, was people who left their garbage and empty and even full glasses just lying where ever because they could not wait until they found the proper way to dispose of them, and the first elevator we got to, this was already evident that it was going to be this way again. Our rooms were a different story, my DH and I had an E1 Balcony room with the kids in a promenade room directly across. There room was fine and very nice, our room smelled, it had a dank humid smell and an odor like an old age home, we were not happy. We told our cabin steward and they did everything they could to rectify the problem they even shampooed the carpet. It still smelled. Here is the part I did not like, after going down to the desk and being told housekeeping said it did not smell, I was furious and said I would like the head of house keeping to meet me in the room stand next to me look in my eyes and tell me this room does not smell. If she or he could do that I will except that my room does not smell and deal with it. She said okay housekeeping would meet me there in 5 minutes, she came and looked me in the eye and said this room smells. She said it smells like wet carpet (remember they shampooed the carpet) and did not let it dry with the fans on. So they gave us a new room to sleep in for the night, which when we went to check out smelled like cigarette smoke, so we let the fans run until midnight and then pulled the plug and slept in the room anyway. I still have not unpacked. In the mean while we went to our Meet and Mingle and met all the people I have been talking to for the last year on these message boards, it was very nice, and meet some great people who we saw throughout the week. One couple in particular, we became pretty close with. Our sons seem to have found each other as friends and hung out together throughout the vacation. Big high to Debbie and her family, we really enjoyed meeting and spending time together. Especially St John, but you will hear about that later in the review. The next day the nice women from housekeeping came back and said it still smelled. They would try to find us another new room, now remember my kids are across the hall from us. After 2 days of not unpacking at about 5pm I finally said forget it I will deal with the smell so I unpacked, guess who called around 5:30, you got it, and they found us a new room about 5 doors down. This one smelled fine. We moved in and unpacked. It would have been better for us to have the room right across from our kids but this was the next best thing. I did not let this ruin our first 2 days although it was a big nuisance. The windjammer was just as we remembered. There was no sushi that I found. I don't understand why RCCL does not keep up with the food trends. Also the midnight buffet was terrible compared to the one on the Voyager that was magnificent. They really seem like they are trying to cut corners it is evident. The first day was a sea day and yes there were chair hogs. I was not going to wake up early to get chairs this time, but my husband was going to the gym early and asked if I wanted him to save chairs and I said you might as well or we might not get any, I am glad he did, or we would have not. I did see someone from RCCL tell another passenger there is a fifteen minute rule, if no one is at the chair in fifteen minutes you can move there stuff. I did see chairs empty for hours at a time, it is a problem. Next day was Aruba we had a big group the people from home (4) and our new friends, our table mates, (4) and us (4) all go to the beach by the Radisson, It was a beautiful day (I was told the water was rougher this week then last week) we got 2 papules, 6 chairs and 6 floats for all of us, the men and the kids went and rented wave runners and the women floated and sunned in the water. When everyone got back from waverunnering we all went and ate lunch at the place on the pier (I don't remember the name) and they said the water was so rough it was coming up from under the pier into the restaurant and it had never happened before. Lunch was yummy and not to expensive. We spent the rest of the time on the beach and then as we were leaving to catch the bus back to the ship we stopped at the pool at the Radisson and took a dip. The Radisson was beautiful and would stay there if ever in Aruba. They had these big parrots they put on the kids shoulder and arms so we could get great pictures. We got back by the dock and did a little souvenir shopping and then walked back to the ship. Next stop Curacao, We got off the boat and ran into our friends from home, which happen to be Jewish also and were walking to the same place, the oldest temple in the Western Hemisphere, so it was nice we were able to go together. It was very interesting to see it is still used today and has a floor made of sand. My son is hooked on the fact that he is going to come home and tell our Rabbi to take the ugly orange carpet out of our sanctuary and replace it with sand. We then walked around Curacao for a little bit of souvenir shopping and then took a cab to Mambo beach, not one of my favorite spots, I thought it felt a little dirty (facilities and such) but we walked down the beach some and found a hotel restaurant on the lagoon section and sat and ate lunch there, it was pretty, my son was happy when he found out the drinking age was 16. We packed up and our driver met us at 3:00 and then we went back to the ship. Next day was a day at sea, I got up and went out to save the chairs around 7:30, but I did not leave the chairs, my family came out around 9 and my daughter did not come out until around 9:30 and when I realized my son was not coming I gave up his chair. He found a friend and I really never saw him the rest of the cruise, except at dinner we always eat at home together so he knew dinner was a must every night. I played bingo sat in the sun, nothing really special about cruise days to me. We did however plan on not eating breakfast that day, and have an early lunch at Johnny Rockets, they open at 11:30 on sea days and thought we would avoid any long lines by being first. We also were eating at Portofinos that night so an early lunch would leave us plenty hungry for a big dinner. We do have Johnny Rockets five minutes from our house, but due to the unhealthiness of it we never eat it and of course all of your eating sensibilities go to pot on a vacation so that was a treat. I found that sitting at Johnny Rocket there was a heavy vibration from the ship it was a little uncomfortable and then that night we went to Portofino's which was directly above Johnny Rockets and had the same uncomfortable vibration. We never felt this on the Voyager of the Seas. It was not a great feeling to have while you are supposed to be fine dining. I thought Portofino's was not as fabulous as everyone said on the message boards, I thought it was good but I was very satisfied with the dining room food, not that the dining room food was outstanding but it was very decent. Our next stop was St Martin. We were supposed to do the Sailing Regatta which I had prepaid on my American Express card and when we got to our room there was a message that the excursion was cancelled and it would be credited to our sea pass account which was being paid for by our new RCCL credit card, so we could rack up double points on this cruise for onboard credit for our next cruise. So I complained that I paid for the excursion on my AMEX and I wanted my AMEX credited not my RCCL card and they said they could not do it. Which is unfair, all of the expenses that I would get double points on onboard, such as drinks and bingo and everything would get completely wiped out and I would loose any points. So let's say I drank 350.00 worth of drinks, I would get 700 cruise credit points, but if they credit that account 350.00 from the excursion paid from Amex the 350 in drinks gets to be a Zero dollars and wipes out all the points. I complained big time and would not take no for an answer. I paid it by Amex and wanted it credited to Amex. They just said no, after a few day I finally said I just want to be compensated for those points, I earned those points I deserve those points and if you can not credit the right account at least give me the onboard credit for my next cruise equal to those points. After much fighting they figured out a way to get me those points back, but it took a lot of complaining and stubbornness on my part, and I should have not had to go through that, they were rightfully mine. Anyway in St Martin we just ended up taking a taxi to the Little Divi bay beach resort. It was very nice and had a lovely day. Our taxi driver never showed up at the time we told him, but we got another ride back from another driver. We did not go to town to do our shopping but they did have small shops by the boat. The following day was probably our favorite. This was St Thomas, although we did not stay in St Thomas We met up with Debbie (Cruise Novice) and her family and we took the cab to the ferry to the cab to the beach. Our initial cab ride was somewhat of a riot because they tried to squeeze the eight of us into a open air cab and we were really short room for 1 more, so after standing there and saying we can't fit, I said to the guy if my daughter has to sit on my lap we all want a discount, so we got 1 dollar each off of our very hairy ride to Trunk Bay. It was like a roller coaster and my daughter had to hold on for dear life because we thought she might fall out but it really was a big laugh and a lot of fun. Anyway this is the most gorgeous Island you have ever seen. Like living in a postcard, we were all in awe. Debbie and I said we could die here and be very happy. The water was crystal clear, the beach was pristine with white sand and the view was amazing. Debbie and my husband went snorkeling on the trail and they said it was unbelievable. The fish were beautiful; my husband said there were plaques under the water explaining some of the fish. The funniest part was that Debbie had read on the boards about the mean lady at the snack bar and she truly was. We called her the snack bar Nazi and my son said to Debbie's son "just state your order pay and move to the side" for all of you Seinfeld fan's you will know what he is talking about. She ended up yelling "listen up people there is no more cheeseburger got that everyone" and then the boys had told us she got in this huge fight with a customer saying they did not pay and then that was the talk on the beach. We did run into a family in the water we knew from home and they were staying in St John and said it was awesome, they were at the Westin but I heard it was expensive. I will look into it I would love to go and just hang in St John for a week. The island was clean, and pristine. Anyway back to the ship, we took the long ferry back to Charlotte Amalie and did some shopping Debbie's and my daughter were getting those embroidered bracelets from every port that said the name of the Island on them, so we walked around St Thomas for a hour, the cab drivers were extremely annoying, as your walking and shopping every driver would ask you if you wanted a ride even though you were not even trying to make any eye contact with them. Debbie and I started getting annoyed stopped saying no thank you and Debbie's very polite daughter kept saying no thank you. I got to the point where I would just say "later" and then they would drive off. Finally we need a cab, the sun was beaming down, and what looks like a short walk back to the ship is actually pretty far especially in the hot sun, got back to the ship stopped at the Promenade and really enjoyed sitting with our new friends. The ship was filled with people from Mass, New York and Canada, we found a few from NJ and very few from PR. They even asked at one point applaud if you are from PR and they said that this particular cruise had very few compared to others. It was a truly enjoyable week, even though we had some issues my family had a great time. One thing I found stupid and unusual was that for the muster drill, my kids, because they were in a odd number room right across from us, were in a different muster group then we were. Now if your boat was sinking would you get in one life boat and let your kids get in a different one, so we pointed it out to one of the ship employees and he said don't worry we do this all the time and it is all okay, my husband said to him, in a joking way, "wait let me guess, your single and have no children". He said yes he was, we laughed we sort of figured that out. We were not to concerned about this procedure because we pretty much figured we would not have to do this during our cruise so we let it go but really do not agree with the procedure. Departing from the boat was not a issue, they gave us a group 4 to get off the boat and they gave my kids a number 9 group, figure that one out, we went down to the desk and they gave us more group 4 passes but they should have known, In the mean time our table mates were in a group 1 and they had a 10:00 flight I thought they were cutting it short but they were told by the ship no problem. We were not worried about getting off quick because we were staying one more day, we went back to the Embassy Suites and got a really lousy room this time but it was only one night so we let it go. We took a cab all the way back to Old San Juan to walk around go to El Morrow and eat dinner. We got there immediately a bum came up to us and would not leave us alone, and my daughter started freaking out. Then we walked to El Morrow and now my daughter was petrified the whole way. It was a very windy day and there were hundreds of PR flying kites at El Morrow, the scenery was beautiful, the fort was cool, and then we walked back around to shop and look for a place to eat dinner. I had read about the Parrot Club and Aquaviva and another restaurant, and wanted to eat there but heard it was a little pricey, but it was our last night and we figured why not, so we went to Aquaviva, I was not impressed, the food was mediocre, I live very close to NYC and we have some very awesome restaurant by us and I was not loving anything we ate. Anyway we took a cab right back to our hotel and when we walked in it was still happy hour, my husband wanted to enjoy that and I was tired but I told him I was going to the room and would come back down to meet him, but I laid down for a minute and my eyes started closing, the next thing I heard was the phone ring and with my eyes still close I knew it was my husband wondering where I was, so I let my son answer the phone I knew he would tell him I was asleep and that would be the end of that, but what my husband had told my son it that our friends, our table mates who were supposed to get off the ship for a 10:00 flight never caught their flight in time and checked into the Embassy suites and we went and hung out with them it was a great surprise for us, but I'm sure they were not to happy about not getting on their flight . Anyway they got a new flight the next day at 3 and ours was at around the same time. In the mean time we hear there is a snow storm hitting the east coast, starting around 6 pm and ending bringing around 2 to 4 inches then we hear up to 6 inches, we figure we are okay because it would end early morning, temp would be around 40 and it would be gone by the time our flights were due in. Our plan was to wake up early eat breakfast spend 2 hours at the pool and the go to the airport around noon. We got to the eat breakfast part when a women said if we have a flight out today we should go to the airport 4 hours before, because she was there at 6 am for a 8 am flight and it was 400 deep with people waiting to just check their baggage and there was only 1 person behind the counter, so she missed her flight because she could not even get her luggage checked. So my plan for spending a few hours at the pool and then going to the airport became a panic of we have to leave now to make sure we get our bags checked. We left at 11 got to the airport breezed through every line and were checked in and through security in 15 minutes. I was pissed, but I was glad with all of her information and the snow back at home that our flight was on time and we were all checked in and we made it home ½ hour earlier then our flight was due in but we did have to circle for 15 minutes before landing. It was awesome. Happy to sleep in my own bed, happy to drink our own coffee, weather home stinks, but glad we were lucky enough to be able to afford, do, and have a very wonderful vacation with my family and meet some wonderful people along the way. Our next trip is Explorer of the Seas Holiday cruise out of Bayonne NJ for 12 days. No air, looking forward to that. Any questions I would be glad to answer. I know this is a very long review and I know I still left some things out. Debbie please feel free to add to this. We have to keep in touch, my email is Recurrev@aol.com Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
Cruise Departure: 3/4/07 My wife and I booked this cruise as our first cruise. We loved every minute of it, and feel there is no other way to travel now on vacation. We will definitely be going on a cruise for our next vacation. We ... Read More
Cruise Departure: 3/4/07 My wife and I booked this cruise as our first cruise. We loved every minute of it, and feel there is no other way to travel now on vacation. We will definitely be going on a cruise for our next vacation. We started in San Juan (10 PM departure), had a day at sea, stopped in Aruba (leaving next day at 1AM), and then stopped in Curacao (departing at 5:00PM), another day at sea, then stopped in St. Maarten (departing at 5:30PM), and last stopped in St. Thomas (departing at 5:30PM). Travel to San Juan: We ended up flying to San Juan, PR a day in advance and had plans to see the El Yunque Rainforest which is supposed to be an incredible rainforest. Our flight on USAIR was delayed out of DC by two hours and then we lost an hour not realizing that PR is an hour ahead of EST. Because of this pointless delay we were not able to go to see the EL Yunque rainforest because it closed at 6PM and we would have just had to turn around once we got there. We rented a car from Charlie's Car Rental (a local company). I had heard really good things about them on this website. I was not really impressed with them overall though. It was a cheaper option, but it seemed like everyone had the same idea. There shuttles are as frequent at the airport as AVIS or any of the big car companies, as well. So it took a longer time than normal to get our car since there was a line for the shuttle, and then a long line at the rental facility to check out. One benefit is that you can check out at the airport and then drop off in Condado, PR where you will receive a free shuttle ride to the cruise terminal for no extra charge. It's hard to find the Condado location, and overall they are not very friendly. I love renting from AVIS because they'll just drop you off at your car if you're a preferred member and you won't have to stand in line to get your car. Another disadvantage, is that if you don't buy Charlie's insurance and want to go with your own insurance, you have to sign a waiver saying that they can charge your credit card for whatever damage, regardless of who is at fault, and then you have to deal with the insurance company. A little sketchy if you ask me. There were some spring breakers in front of us also that were not able to get a car. Apparently it is a company policy that no one under the age of 24 can drive, even with a fee. Hopefully that is posted on their website. Our first night we stayed in a hotel called the Coral Princess Inn. I would HIGHLY recommend staying at this Inn in Condado. It is a wonderful location that is just beautiful and a huge value for the price. Most hotels in San Juan average over 300 dollars a night and we payed half of that and felt as though these accommodations were much better. The Inn is well kept and all the rooms have flat panel televisions, and jacuzzi's as far as I know. The rooms can be small, but you can get a larger room if you'd like. The tropical gardens on sight are amazing, and the hot tub on the roof is pretty neat too, a very open caribbean like atmosphere. You will most likely have to pay 10 dollars to park at a lot about a block down from the hotel, with unlimited access for 24 hours. We also booked a spa appointment at the Zen Spa for my wife in Condado. She had a horrible experience at the spa where we requested a female massage therapist and ended up getting a male therapist. They do not have separate changing facilities, and the showers are simply individual stalls with curtains were the men and woman share them. The male therapist was a scum bag also, my wife is very reserved and ended up getting sexually assaulted by the therapist. The Spa is investigating the issue, but if it were up to me, I would stay away from the spa and just get a massage on the ship. Very shady place, and it was highly ranked on spafinder.com, which was odd. It was an unfortunate experience that could have ruined our vacation if we had let it, but we were determined to have a good time. :) Overall I wasn't very impressed with Puerto Ricans, I have read bad things about them before, but I was determined to be positive and friendly as maybe tourists are rude to them. But it is true when they say that they can be pretty rude, and they are horrible drivers. There were a few friendly ones, but our experience overall was pretty bad with Puerto Ricans. Sad since we are all one UNITED STATES. The Cruise: We were planning on going to see Old San Juan but ended up heading to the Cruise ship around 4PM. My goodness, was this a large ship. Didn't have any problems with check in as we breezed through the short line, and had filled out all our documentation beforehand. It probably only took us twenty minutes between the time that we got to the pier until we were on the ship. Pretty easy. Maybe it was because we had showed up later than everyone, I'm not sure. When we boarded the ship we questioned whether we were really on a ship or in a floating city. It was absolutely amazing! I couldn't believe the size of the ship. We were having so much fun on the ship that we decided to stay on and not get off to go check out Old San Juan. We ended up having an interior Promenade room with a bay window looking into the Promenade. There is a bench in the window and we thought this was pretty amazing to be able to watch all of the people. Later in the cruise we found out there were 3,266 people on board which I found hard to believe, since at times it seemed like the ship was empty and we did not ever feel crowded. We never had to wait in lines for anything either, which I thought was amazing. The room did not feel small either for us as a couple. We found our room very relaxing and enjoyed just hanging out in it when we had the time. The bathroom was a little small, but I did not find it uncomfortable once during the whole week. There is plenty of storage space in the cabin, and we just stored our suitcases under the bed. The only complaint that I had about this room, was that we had a cabin with adjoining door to the next cabin, and we had neighbors that liked to listen to their TV pretty loudly. It seemed like the door was paper thin and aloud a lot of noise to come through. Although it didn't bother us since they never had it on when we wanted to sleep. You could also check you Sea Pass Card balance on the interactive TV or book shore excursions. There was also a channel dedicated to the position of the ship on a map, and it gave you all the information about the ship, you also had a live feed into the promenade, which we didn't use much since we had a window into the promenade. A neat feature about the ship was that they had an intercom knob near the vanity that piped in classical music, and we would leave it on at night while we slept. We found it very peaceful and soothing along with the slight rocking of the ship. We both said we have never slept better. Our room was made up twice a day, and my wife especially loved the towel animals every night. The ship did seem to rock an awful lot during the cruise but we didn't mind since we didn't get sea sick. The crew said it was the worst they have felt since the ship has stabilizers and it is so large. My wife was very nervous about taking a cruise and getting sea sick, but she didn't have any problems. A lot of people did have patches behind there ears which seemed to prevent them from getting motion sickness, and work very well. We didn't see anyone the whole week that appeared sea sick. The food was wonderful and seemed to compare with many five star restaurants on land. We loved sitting in the Windjammer when we would depart the ports and have a snack (great floor to ceiling windows with a panoramic view). There is tons of food to be had 24 hours a day on the ship. Check out the pizza in the Cafe Promenade. Don't miss the free champagne before dinner the second night, or at the art auctions throughout the cruise. There is also free liquor tasting in the General Store. Check out the daily compass (schedule) for times. Drinks ran about $5.95 for mixed drinks, and the drink of the day came with a pretty neat souvenir glass (plastic in the pool areas, and glass at all other bar areas), which I thought was pretty neat. I thought these were fair prices for drinks, and they made them pretty strong. Beers ran an average of $4.95, for the bottle. A good deal was if you got a Fosters beer for $5.95 it came in a huge can that seemed to be the size of 2.5 beers. I thought that was a pretty good deal. The service was incredible, and better than any we have ever received. At dinner it seemed like you didn't even have to ask for things, they almost read your mind and knew what you wanted. You could ask for multiple portions of lobster or whatever, or try multiple dishes of entrees or appetizers. My wife was a little braver than I was and tried many things such as escargot (snail), which she said she really enjoyed. Room service was great and free, the only extras were Johnny Rockets ($3.95pp cover charge (plus tip), and Portofino's $20pp cover charge) We did not feel the need to try these options since there was so much available. The shows were outstanding! I thought that they were almost as good as broadway shows if not at the same caliber. I couldn't believe that we were on a ship with all the special effects and such. The comedians were hilarious and had us laughing non-stop the whole time. We found them better than what you would see on Comedy central, and I'm pretty sure they've been on the show before as well as performed in Las Vegas, etc. The ice show was amazing and is definitely worth getting tickets for (free). We didn't have to wait in line, and even at the show it seemed like they weren't checking for tickets, so anyone could have come in and stood and watched. The activities were awesome and there always seemed to be something going on that we wanted to do, sometimes there were two things at once that we wanted to go to. I carried the Compass (daily schedule) around with me at all times and found this to be the greatest help. One issue is that at sea days if you want to sunbathe it is best to get up to the pool deck by noon in order to get a lounge chair. There are plenty of other places to sunbathe though. The pool games are a lot of fun, and pretty neat to watch. There is plenty of other activities on board though if you are not into that. They have lots of neat midnight buffets and parties during the week in which they make amazing art out of food and ice. Pretty neat stuff! Plenty of options for music lovers as every genre of music has live entertainment throughout the ship every night, late into the night hours. We especially enjoyed the Latin music group and thought it was neat to them dancing and enjoying the music. There are also 17 bars on the ship, pretty amazing, so you're never too far from a drink. The sports bar is pretty neat and often overlooked, with some of the tables being surfboards. My only bad experience was at one of the deck parties when the latin band was playing live music, two gay men ended up grinding together in front of everyone which we found very disturbing and ended up leaving. This was late at night after midnight though, and fortunately there were no kids watching. All the ports of call were amazing, and it’s hard to say which one was our favorite: Aruba: We rented a 4X4 Jeep Wrangler for the day and ended up doing a off-road tour on our own. I bought a travel book called “Frommers Caribbean Ports of Call” and found it to be the best overall book for this trip. It has a 4X4 tour that is great. I also did a lot of research online beforehand. Although the roads aren’t well marked it is pretty easy to find your way around the island since it is pretty small, and the locals are very friendly and will gladly give you directions. You can also tag along with one of the excursion jeep tours if you don’t feel comfortable doing it on your own. They all seem to start at the California lighthouse (I think at like 9AM). We rented a jeep wrangler from Top Car Rental for 70 dollars for the day and they let you have the car until 6PM. We were definitely glad we rented a wrangler as the roads going along the West Coast and down into the “Natural Pool” were very rugged and required a lot of clearance sometimes driving over very large rocks, and fairly steep grades although I wouldn’t say it’s as bad as some people make it out to be on Trip Advisor. I am glad that I didn’t have to do it in the smaller 4X4’s though. The natural pool was amazing and a definite must stop and see spot. The fish are beautiful and I even saw a Green Moray Eel hiding in the rocks at the natural pool. Very neat!! We also drove along the western coast which looks more like a desert (very neat though). If you go to the natural bridge store, fallen down in 2005, and there is a baby natural bridge right next to it, be prepared to pay 50 cents to use the rest room. I would suggest finding a place in the desert to just go, there is plenty of secluded spots unless. Take plenty of fluids also. We also went to Baby Beach stopping at Wendy’s along the way to pick up some French fries to feed the fish. The fish were very beautiful and would eat right out of our hands. They would swarm around us, and the parrot fish would even nibble on your fingers, which my wife thought was very neat. The coral wasn’t very colorful though, but the fish were pretty neat. We saw some needle nose fish as well as a wide variety of others. Be prepared to pay in cash for gas though, it cost us $4.00 a gallon, and you had to estimate how much to put in since it was dispensed in liters. Curacao: I really loved Curacao, the colorful buildings and Amstel beer (not light) were amazing. Regular Amstel beer is amazing and I wish they sold it in the states instead of Amstel light. It was so good! We ended up renting a car and splitting it with some friends we met on the cruise. (they are amazing and we will most likely be friends for life now) We traveled to Port Marie Beach and hung out at that beach snorkeling most of the afternoon enjoying the wide variety of fish and sea life. Watch out for the sea urchins. The didn’t appear to be in the sand or beach, but they do hide under coral and look like they would be very painful. Also if you go out beyond the swim lines, fire coral grows on the swim lines, and make sure you don’t touch this or come into contact with this either. The reef is a little deep for snorkeling and it is my understanding that Curacao is one of the best places in the world for diving. You could have done a dive for half a day for $45 (including all the equipment) at this location, but we didn’t have enough time. This is much much cheaper than what the cruise lines offer though. St. Maarten: This was the only place that we did one of the cruise line excursions, because you could not book it on your own. We did the America’s Cup Sailing Regatta. The excursion lasts for 2.5 hours, but you are only sailing and racing for about 45 minutes. It is a very fun excursion though that lets you race against other boats. The three boats that were racing that day were Stars and Stripes, True North, and Canada II. It was pretty neat to know that these boats had actually raced in the America’s Cup, and to hear their history as well as the history of the America’s Cup. Definitely something I was glad I did once, but I don’t think I’d do it again, as $87/pp is a little steep. Phillipsburg, was a neat place to shop, didn’t buy much but it kind of looked like a really nice shopping mall in the Caribbean. Do go for the dollar beers, they are a steal and you can pick one up right out of the fridge located in the stores along the strip. Also you can take unlimited trips from the cruise terminal to the city for $5/pp per day on the water taxi, a good deal considering it’s 3 dollars for one way. St. Thomas: We took a cab to Magens bay in the morning which charged us 8 dollars a person, in which they will not negotiate. Then they charge you 3 dollars per person to get into the beach. It was well worth it however to see this beautiful beach. It was the clearest water I’ve ever seen. Another surprise was how mountainous St. Thomas was. It was very pretty, and was one of my wife’s favorite stops. Just make sure you have a lot of cash on you. There are some local buses for the locals, and you have to be pretty investigative to figure out were the stops are. These buses only charge you a dollar though, and supposedly the code word that we heard from the locals is “are you heading to the country”. Strange but it seemed to work, cause they told us were the dollar bus stops were. I wasn’t too overly impressed with the shop prices and after comparing all the places were we stopped found that the liquor prices were overall the cheapest in San Juan Airport past the security inspection, which was great cause you could just carry the liquor on the plane with you. A few examples of prices were a liter of Mandarin Orange Absolute for 8.95 or a bottle of tangeray (sp?) gin for 10 dollars. All very cheap prices compared to the states. Overall this was a wonderful vacation and we will definitely cruise with Royal Caribbean again. There seemed to be a lot of cruisers who were very loyal to RCCL, that had a lot of experience with RCCL and other cruise lines. I think there was a couple that had gone on over 200 cruises, which was amazing. The crowd was a good mix of all ages. We didn’t see too many kids on board, and there wasn’t an abundance of Puerto Ricans like the other reviews stressed. This was definitely a diverse cruise though, with lots of Europeans and South Americans, Canadians and of course Americans from all over the states which we thought was pretty neat. They made a lot of the announcements in like 5 languages and all of the Cruise Compass (schedules) were in various languages. There were a lot of experience cruisers that had been on more than 25 cruises and we asked them a lot of questions on which cruise line they liked the best, and they all seemed to say RCCL. A lot of people gave mixed reviews about Carnival saying that those ships are a more wild and things can get out of hand on those ships with college students and trashy people. But I don’t know cause I’ve never been on a Carnival cruise. We almost booked the Destiny ship that leaves out of San Juan though, and we’re glad we didn’t. We enjoyed the crowd and the days at sea, which gave us more time to explore the ship. My wife and I are in our mid twenties and we really had a blast on this ship, so it seems like you can be any age and have a blast on these mega liners. I would definitely cruise with RCCL again, and can’t wait till my next vacation comes up! We can’t see taking any other vacations now except for cruises! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
We just recently returned from our March 18th cruise aboard the Adventure of the Seas. Thank goodness the cruise itself was wonderful because it was a comedy of errors right up to the time we boarded the ship. Originally, we booked with ... Read More
We just recently returned from our March 18th cruise aboard the Adventure of the Seas. Thank goodness the cruise itself was wonderful because it was a comedy of errors right up to the time we boarded the ship. Originally, we booked with RCCL aboard the Serenade of the Seas out of San Juan. We loved the itinerary - Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, and St. Martin. BUT - not even a month after booking it, the airfare, and a non-refundable hotel stay through Priceline, we got word from RCCL that they were dry-docking the Serenade and the cruise we booked was cut to a 5 day - minus the Barbados and St. Lucia stops. Unfortunately, those were the two ports we've never visited and were interested in - not to mention the fact that we weren't interested in just a 5 day cruise. SO....we decided to go with the Adventure of the Seas since it also left out of San Juan - a day later. This meant that we had to rebook our air - RCCL reimbursed us the $100 pp re-ticketing fee. They also gave us a $200 cabin credit, and we got a free upgrade from outside cabin to balcony D2. But we did have to stay a 2nd night in San Juan since the ship was leaving a day later, and we couldn't get Priceline to add a 2nd night to the hotel we already had for the 1st night, so we ended up having to book a different hotel for the 2nd night. OK - here's where it gets crazy......most of you will remember the terrible weather some of us had in the eastern part of the US that St. Patrick's Day weekend - flights canceled all over the place.....Our AA flight was departing from Cleveland and we were lucky enough to have a connection in Dallas so we felt pretty confident that we'd be ok since we weren't getting tangled up in the mess on the east coast. Well, we boarded the plane - and 45 minutes after we were supposed to leave, the capt announced that they were experiencing a possible mechanical problem with the engine - eventually we were asked to take our belongings and get off the plane. We waited for over 2 hours at the gate and finally were told that the problem was fixed and that we'd re-board. We did, then waited and waited.....the pilot again announced that they were still hearing a noise in the engine and we had to take our belongings and get off the plane. He said it was his call but he would not fly the plane as long as he was hearing what he was hearing. We definitely appreciated the decision he made - but what a mess it caused everyone because it was nearly impossible to find flights with 4 available seats going to San Juan when we needed to be there. Luckily, they found a flight on NWA leaving the following morning that would get us into San Juan at around 2:00 PM. We'd at least get in the day before the cruise left. AA also put us up in a hotel in Cleveland - but our rooms at the hotel in San Juan that we had prepaid were left empty - and non-refundable ? Of course the "adventure" didn't end there......I only packed sandals.....of course, the next morning there was 4" of fresh snow on the ground, and we had no walkway to the plane, so we had to pull our carry-ons outside, trudge through the unshoveled snow in sandals, struggle up the snow and ice covered stairway to get into the plane. Good God - would it ever end? Finally, we landed in San Juan - temp is 85....that's more like it! The four of us got into a van/cab, and headed for our hotel - the IHP Hotel Consulado. Now, we're accustomed to older vehicles in some of these area so we weren't alarmed at the condition of the van, but the driver kept pulling off the side of the road to use his cell phone which we thought was sort of weird. Eventually, he told us that there was something wrong with the cab....he had to call a friend to come and rescue us. SO....we had to unload all of our luggage from the broken down van and reload it into the 2nd van. The IHP Hotel Consulado....that's another story....we booked this hotel through hotels.com. We really did a lot of research - actually had 2 other hotels booked but we canceled those reservations because we heard so many great comments about the IHP on tripadvisor.com. The hotels are VERY expensive in San Juan so we felt good only having to pay $110 for this hotel. The first thing we noticed when we pulled up in front of the hotel was a large construction project that looked like it had been abandoned years ago - right across the street. Ok - it's just one night - no biggie......but when we checked in and got a 6" long skeleton key for the door - I kinda worried. The rooms are so in need of updating. There is virtually no hot water, cracks in all the walls and floors...our friends' room was the worst though - it smelled so moldy they just couldn't stand it. And there was such a huge gap between the door and the door jam you could actually see right into the room! Our first night in San Juan... Before dinner, we decided to stop at Pueblo in Old San Juan and stock up on some "beverages" for the cruise. Liquor is very cheap there and they box it up for you. We wrapped it up in clothing really well and packed it away in our "checked luggage" for the cruise. I read about a nice restaurant in Old San Juan called La Barrachina - I made reservations from home and we were glad we did. We ended up going to the dinner show which was neat. They have a nice bar there that's in an open air courtyard, complete with parrots, etc. We had planned to do some shopping after dinner - which was about 9:00 or so BUT Old San Juan completely shuts down on Saturday night. Nothing is opened - except restaurants. So we headed back to the hotel area where a few shops were still open. We did take a walk to the beach just a couple blocks from our hotel BUT once we stepped onto the sand we saw that it was a pretty crowded gay beach. We decided to go back to the hotel, and call it a day. Sunday - 1st day on the Adventure of the Seas We got to the pier at around 11 AM and we went right to the front of the line because of our Platinum status. We were onboard at 11:30, took our carry-ons to our cabin, and headed up to the Windjammer for lunch. The ship is in great shape and has probably the best crew we've ever had with maybe the exception of the Legend of the Seas. That's one thing about Royal Carib. Ships - you can always count on good food, great accommodations, and great service. At least that's been our experience.... We loved our wait staff in the dining room. Head waiter, Diana; waiter, Lolly; and Asst. waiter, Katut - just wonderful!!! And the new bedding was there in all cabins and very comfortable! Also, the entertainment on this ship is wonderful - try not to miss any of the shows...just great! Aruba - 1st port We've been there before and there's not a whole lot to see except for the great beaches. We decided to do the DePalm Island excursion and we really enjoyed it. The snorkeling was just OK because the water was pretty rough but the fish we saw were just gorgeous. The food and drinks are all included, plus they have a pretty neat waterpark there - lots more to do than what we expected, and great facilities. Curacao - 2nd port We loved this port - Williamstad is so colorful and we did quite a bit of shopping after spending a day at the beach. We took a cab to KonTiki beach and we just loved it there - beautiful facilities and a protected beach - very calm water. We had a great day here - there is a fee to use the beach and chairs, etc. so be forewarned. St. Martin - 3rd port We've been to St. Martin before.....the traffic seems so congested so we decided to stay away from shopping in town. Again, we took a cab to Orient Beach and spent the day enjoying the warm sun and ocean. The waves are pretty big here so if you like to body surf - this is the place. One end of the beach is clothing optional, the other is a little more conservative. There's also a fee for chairs and umbrellas. We did shop a little when we got back to the pier - there are a few nice shops there. St. Thomas 4th and last port We've been to St. Thomas several times so we opted not to do a sight-seeing tour. With the terrible winter we had this year in Ohio, we just wanted to take full advantage of the warm weather and the beautiful beaches - in St. Thomas we took a cab to Coki Beach because the water there is calm and the snorkeling is really good. We just loved it there - saw tons of fish and just had a great time. Again, there's a charge for chairs and umbrellas but you can negotiate prices here. We got there fairly early and were lucky enough to find a shady area under some trees so we didn't need the umbrellas. Disembarking This went so smoothly - not a problem at all. AA flights back home - of course....they lost our luggage!! Overall....we had a great time - Royal Caribbean has never let us down. We did the Diamond Princess 2 years ago and we'll never do Princess again - we're so glad Royal Caribbean has maintained their standards. I know they're not perfect, but if you don't have fun on their cruises - it's probably your own fault. PS We finally got our luggage 2 days later - but now we just laugh about the negatives we experienced on this trip....after all.....we took the "Adventure" of the Seas ;-) Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
AOS 3/25/07 -4/1/07 Review Getting there: Indianapolis to San Juan, lay over at Washington Dulles, cost $425 pp Left 6:05am arrived 1:01pm --- Smooth flight, however just made the flight because a thunderstorm knocked out our electricity ... Read More
AOS 3/25/07 -4/1/07 Review Getting there: Indianapolis to San Juan, lay over at Washington Dulles, cost $425 pp Left 6:05am arrived 1:01pm --- Smooth flight, however just made the flight because a thunderstorm knocked out our electricity at some point after midnight. We miraculously woke up at 4:20am and made our flight by the skin of our teeth! The airline won't accept luggage less than 30 minutes before your flight. Do you know we were putting our luggage thru at 5:35am, it was meant to be San Juan airport -- pleasant surprises, security checked every person to ensure they had a baggage claim for each piece of luggage they were taking out. Getting a taxi was really easy, $16.50 for 2 of us and luggage to the Marriott stellar Casino - stayed 2 nights prior to cruise Check in at the Hotel, easy, was able to upgrade to an ocean view room for $50/night. Well worth the price, the view was amazing! We saw a whale on Saturday morning from our balcony, how cool!!! We had bought some vodka at the duty free shop after getting off our plane and went to agrees for some cranberry juice, we had our own little happy hour on our balcony with a great view. We had two guest service people who were very accommodating Idalith and Milca. We felt that they really were trying to ensure we had everything we needed. They even did things we didn't ask for to make our stay nicer. The beds were splendid. I really love this hotel, it's very nice. My only complaints the outside bar closed very early on Friday, perhaps 7:30pm or 8pm. We were really enjoying the weather. On a positive note, they made one of the best Mojitos I've ever had. So we went to dinner at a place by a man from the states that does business there at least 5-6 times a year. I highly recommend Buenos Ayres (spelling), a restaurant located behind agrees, down the block a bit. I had the flank steak, how yummy! Cost of the hotel, thru priceline including taxes $161 for Saturday, RCCL matched the price due to canceling our reservation on Serenade (it went into dry dock). Because we booked thru RCCL we had transfers and was able to send our luggage from the hotel. Instead of busing it over with everyone else, we spent the day in Old San Juan. It was nice, we didn't do our research and wandered around. We did manage to get to the street where the forts were. We toured fort crist (something) -- it was cool. We had lunch at what were told to be Old San Juan's only ocean view restaurant -- skip it, the wait for our lunch was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo long! It was Sunday when we toured. I believe there was some sort of political rally and protesting going on at the capital building. For whatever reason I felt a bit uneasy, I believe it had something to do with the US, I still have took the time to research it yet. Overall it was nice, we left Old San Juan about 5:30pm and took a taxi to the Pan Am Pier and getting on the boat was a breeze, I had checked in online before leaving for San Juan and had a Set Sail pass. After boarding, we went straight to our cabin. All but one of our bags were sitting outside our door. We walked in and I was a bit disappointed with the room, I had just come from a luxury hotel and went into a ship cabin, once I was over that things started looking up. Our room attendant Mario from Costa Rica, made sure I had my second bag prior to dinner, we had late seating. Mario was a wonderful suite attendant and made sure we had everything we needed. He even was able to get us robes even though we were only in a D1 level balcony, cabin 1374 on the starboard side. Note to all the new cruisers, don't be ignorant like me, they call Port side that for a reason, they were able to see all the ports except for St Maarten. Duh, I hadn't thought about that. We went to explore the ship before dinner. This ship is huge, it was really great. The thing that stood out to me during the whole trip is the SERVICE. It was definitely 5 star, every employee was extremely accommodating and did everything to ensure everyone was having a good time. My first drink was brought to me on the pool waiter's head, it was really neat. Every employee seemed very happy. On a funny note, I had left a note in the cabin on the second day requesting 2 robes. Mario misunderstood and thought we meant two beds, we walked into the room and had two twin beds. That was good for a giggle. He quickly resolved it the next day. We really lucked out on dinner mates. We had a table for 10 4 couples, and 2 single cruisers. We had a lady from Cleveland, a lady from New York, a couple from Colorado, a couple from England, and a couple from New Jersey, and of course us, from Indianapolis. Everyone came to dinner and conversation was very interesting. Our waiter was Engin from Turkey, the best waiter I've ever had in my life, and his asst Milan. Food was good, much better than an Outback etc... Not as good as a 5 star. I liked it. Lobster night was on Friday. On Sea days we spent much of our time at the pool bar. Beware the long island ice teas are strong, I had one too many on our first Sea day and went back for a quick nap before our Meet and Mingle and slept and slept and missed our party and almost dinner. I need to apologize to all those who put all the effort in. I really do regret not getting to meet everyone. Sea days were fun, RCCL really puts an effort to entertain us. Aruba One of my least favorite islands. Skip the town and country tour. Friends said snorkeling was fun. We did the Atlantis Submarine tour too. That was interesting. Caracau I thought this would be my least favorite island, not so. I had one of my best days here. MUST DO-- Spanish Water Snorkeling excursion, it was so cool, tons of colorful fish, very very cool! We directly went from the snorkeling excursion to the cabs in front of the ship and went to Kontiki (spelling???) beach, this place is beautiful, tons of thatch roofed bars, restaurants, movie perfect. We had lunch at Hemiways, it was really good food. We had loaded Nachos (very good). Do watch out, my boyfriend was walking on the rocks by the ocean here without watching his step and stepped on a black sea urchin , he said his foot felt like it was on fire. He lived though We went back, had a drink at the pool bar, then prepared ourself for dinner. We missed the 7pm show again! Dinner was great, I loved our table mates. We had 2 hour dinners every night! Sea Day : Fun, we had rough waters this cruise, good thing I don't get motion sickness. Shows not to miss: Love and Marriage - Hilarious Quest - funny Unfortunately I did not make any of the other shows, but I did go to Karaoke (spelling). We had good talent on our ship, No I did not sing, just was in the audience. St Maarten: Did the Pinel Island snorkeling tour. Caracau was so wonderful. Skip this excursion. Not worth it. We did some shopping for about an hour in Phillipsburg. Had lunch at the Pirate something??? We took the Water Taxi to Phillipsburg, Do this! When you get off the boat go to the main road turn left and the Pirate restaurant is the beach front restaurant across from the beach. The shrimp wrap was Yummmy! St Maarten was beautiful, green hills everywhere. It rained a bit that day. In fact it rained only 30 minutes after we got back to the ship. How lucky were we??? St Thomas We went directly to the taxi to the ferry to St John. We went from Charlotte Amalie to St John (45 minute ride leaves at 9am) It was a cold ride. From Cruise Bay in St John we took a taxi to Trunk Bay and stayed there all day. Admission is $4 and chair rentals is $7. Most beautiful place I've ever seen. About 1pm we took a taxi back to Cruz bay and bought ferry tickets to Red Hook in St thomas for the 3pm ferry. We had lunch at a place called the balcony at Cruz Bay. The view was magnificent. The food was good too. After the ferry we took a taxi back to the ship. We had a well deserved nap. We were sunburned, forgetting to reapply sunscreen. Sometimes when you are surrounded by beauty you forget bad things can still happen if you don't use prevention. We had to pack and have our bags out by midnight. It's a difficult thing to do when you need things to get ready in the morning but can't take more than 3 oz liquids on the plane. Oh, advice, bring shampoo etc... amenities and slim in the cabins. Also nice to have is binoculars to see the islands as you are arriving and leaving. This last night is the night you give your tips. Please tip your people well. I talked with them. The work 7 days a week for 6 months from 5:30am until 12:30pm and then get a 6 week break. I'm not sure what they make but they worked very hard for me. I flew on United and opted to pay $10 per person to have my bags sent to the airport for me. Well worth the money. You still have to go through customs. After leaving the boat you collect your bags and then take it to the United belt ( like curb side check in at the terminal) We then took a taxi to the airport. Leaving the ship was a breeze, one of the first people off. The airport was easy. If you need to buy last minute souvenirs, like I did, I didn't get much shopping done this trip, do it after you go through security. I paid 2X the amount for this cool Caribbean album as the duty free shop was charging, so I bought 2. Flight home: We were delayed an hour and a half while we were all boarded because of the aft bathroom overflowing. Good thing the nice lady at the counter upgraded us to the front of the plane. More leg room. Upon arrival to Washington Dulles airport. We RAN to our plane. It was far away. We barely made it and boarded and went to our seats. The airline attendant said they wouldn't be leaving for 20 minutes because so many planes were late. We were so happy we had made it. 20 minutes later they announced that they were requesting volunteers to leave the plane. It was a small plane and it was over the weight limit due to luggage. No one volunteered even though they were offering a free plane ticket. They then called 6 names. Only a couple went forward. Then they called my boyfriend's and my name!!!! What??? We were boarded well prior to half the people on the plane. They were removing people who paid the lowest fare. So we deboarded. They gave us a voucher for a free plane ticket, a hotel voucher, a $15 dinner voucher & $10 breakfast voucher each and booked us for the 8:16am flight. Good thing I had taken Monday off work. Our luggage flew without us. Isn't that against airline regulations to allow luggage to fly without the passenger??? Anyway, the path of least resistance right? The hotel was the Hilton at Washington Dulles, it was very nice. Our luggage was there when we arrived the next day, however just out in the open. We just went up to it and wheeled it out. Anyone could have done that. Oh well. Now we are home and missing our cruise. We definitely will be returning cruisers! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
Ahh I don't even know where to start. OK were are a married couple aged 29 & 31. We flew down a day early to San Juan out of JFK. Flight was uneventful, we even landed a 1/2 hour early. We went to the hotel to check in - Condado ... Read More
Ahh I don't even know where to start. OK were are a married couple aged 29 & 31. We flew down a day early to San Juan out of JFK. Flight was uneventful, we even landed a 1/2 hour early. We went to the hotel to check in - Condado Plaza. Since check in was at 3 we didn't expect a room to be ready for us. Not only was it ready, but we got upgraded from a city view to an ocean view room. The room was so pretty. The rest of the hotel seems to be under a major renovation. It seems needed. Otherwise perfectly suitable for a night. The next morning we checked out around 11:20 and were at the pier around 11:30. We waited on line at the pier for maybe 10-15 min, and went through check-in. Priority boarding was allowed for Junior Suites, although it didn't matter. We were early enough that there was really no wait once they opened the doors. We were on board by noon. Our cabins were ready precisely at 2pm. Once we boarded, we just wandered around the ship for a bit. Checked our table in the dining room. It was a 4 top on the second floor. We were a little worried but decided to keep the table. She looks very good, some minor wear and tear but nothing very noticeable. Just little things. We went to the Windjammer for lunch. It really was not that bad. We enjoyed what we ate. At 2 we went to our cabin Junior Suite Deck 9, 9608. I thought the JS was well worth the extra money. The size was great, never once felt crowded and having the full bathtub was a treat. Had no problem shaving my legs . Our cabin attendant was quite competent, although her name slips my mind. She knocked on our door early on day one and introduced herself and said whatever we needed to give her a call. At 5 pm our roll call group had an informal meeting at the pool bar. We had a nice turnout and met some people there that we ended up seeing the whole week. As luck would have it, through conversation we found out out table mates we none other than CC members we had been chatting with for months before the cruise! Hi Atty & Stacey Needless to say Our dinner mates were great and we ended up spending a lot of time with them for the duration of the cruise. Before dinner we went for a drink in the Duck and Dog. I believe we ran in to WillSam & Diane there but I may have my nights confused lol. We had dinner in the dining room that night.It was ok. Definitely edible. For the most part the food didn't quite wow me. Some things better than others, but food is very subjective. I know I am going to get a lot of grief for this but my husband and I did find the dining room food better on our last Carnival trip on the Pride. I can't quite remember what we did after dinner but I am sure it will come back to me. Sea Day 1/Aruba/ Sea Day 2 I woke up fairly early on the first sea day. Hubby slept in. I took my stuff and went to grab a quick bite at the Windjammer. Went out by the pool, It was around 8:30ish. There were plenty of seats available at this time, even right next to the pool if you wanted it. I stayed by the pool for a couple of hours. the weather was great. My DH got up and we went back down to the pool. Got a couple of new chairs on the deck of the sky bar. Perfect view of the pool. More crowded at this time. We didn't do too much this day but relax. This was the first formal night. Everyone was dressed up and looked great. The food in the dining room was decent. We had still yet to see the bar waiter. The head waiter had been to our table both nights. Actually he came to our table every night. He was the most personable head waiter I have ever seen. Some people say they never see their head waiter but we saw ours the entire time. He stopped by every night to chat with all his tables. Aruba was our first port of call.I got up early and did some shopping as our tour was not until one. We did the Aruba See & Sea. It was a bit boring but we got to see most of the island. Aruba was our least favorite island on this trip. It just did not do too much for us. The second port was Curacao. We did the Sea Lion swim which was absolutely awesome. CC members and also our table mates were on this excursion with us. If you are at all interested I would def. look into this tour. It was more than worth the money. This is also the night that our service in the dining room started to decline. Our waiter was SLOW. 3/4 of the dining room was emptying out before we even got our salads. Drink waiter still never came to our table, even though he went to the table next to us every night. I tried to flag him down more than once but to no avail. We also ordered a bottle of wine that sat at the waiters station for over 20 min. before it was brought to us. This also happened another night. We had to get the head waiter to bring them to us and he opened and poured for us. This is my only major complaint for the whole cruise. The second sea day was as relaxing as the first. It was rocky and I had to stop by the pursers desk for some motion sickness pills. We had lunch in the dining room and it was probably the best meal I had on the ship. At this point I left my camera in the dining room. When I realized it I ran back and it wasnt there. I checked the pursers desk and they did not have it. I ran back down to the dining room to check again and our head waiter and another employee informed me that it was just taken up to lost and found. Phew! The guys were very sympathetic as I was almost in tears. St. Martin/St. Thomas/Disembarkation Day 6 brings us to St. Martin. We got up and left the ship. There is a cute little shopping area right off the ship. We didn't buy anything here, only browsed. We hopped a cab and went to Orient Beach. The cab was cheap enough $6 pp. We got to the beach and walked up and down finally renting a chair and umbrella at Kontiki. There were places with better deals, but they were packed. We got chairs right near the waters edge. The beach was beautiful. I don't usually swim in the ocean, but the water was warm and calm. We stayed there for quite a while. Around 2:30 we grabbed a cab into town and did some shopping. I bought a bottle of that guavaberry liquor. We priced some electronics but did not purchase. I found matching earrings to a necklace I bought earlier in the week. St. Martin had the cheapest cigarette prices of all the islands. While I was making a purchase later on at one of the shops near the pier we somehow lost our credit card (I know, I seemed to have butterfingers last week) It was only a matter of minutes from when we lost the card to when we went to board the ship. As we were boarding DH dipped his card and an alarm went off. I got so scared, thought we were in trouble for something. The girl at the entrance said did you lose your credit card. The card had already been returned to the ship! Our luck was holding! Same problems at dinner that night, now including the most obnoxious people at the table next to us. They were putting their beer cans on the floor and stomping on them to crush them, fighting with all the servers. They were horrid. Thank god not my at my table. I forgot to mention earlier if they are on your sailing DO NOT MISS JOHN JOSEPH w/ JOHNNY B. They were hysterical. The most enjoyable act I have seen on a ship. Also forgot to mention, we caught the ice show on the second sea day and enjoyed it a lot. Day 7 brought us to St. Thomas. We had booked the underwater scooter excursion. We had originally booked for 8:30 but they called us and said that one was canceled, come at 1. No problem. We went through mandatory immigration check. Totally quick and painless. We went shopping in the morning. I found decent liquor prices in St. Thomas. Bought a couple of bottles of Johnny Walker Blue. You can't beat the price. Also bought some crystal. The excursion in the afternoon was fun although I could not take the scooter down as far as some people. I could not get my ears to pop due to the pressure and it was very uncomfortable. They were very helpful though and gave me a few options. I chose to stay closer to the surface so I scooted around only a few feet down. I was still able to see everything, and I missed nothing. After our group went we had a ton of time to snorkel. There were a ton of fish to see. Totally worth it. After we got back on the ship I wandered around to take some photos of places I had missed and played a quick game of mini golf just to say I did. This night we had our last dinner in the dining room. We were finally served promptly but bar waiter still yet to be seen. I was totally depressed as it was the last night of our cruise and we had to leave in the morning. Disembarkation. We were out of our stateroom by 8. Went to the dining room for breakfast. It was pretty good. As we were finishing up our number was called. The line was quite long and took us a while to get off the boat. By the time we hit customs, all we needed was our declaration. They did not check passports, ID nothing. I thought this was odd. It was then off to the airport for our flight home. RANDOM: The weather was great for the entire cruise. Sea days a little rocky though. We didn't make it to to many of the shows. I don't like sitting for the show before dinner, (we had late seating) so those are the shows we missed. Mike Hunnerup was the cruise director and I thought he was fine. He was visible all throughout the ship if that is your thing. The price of drinks was reasonable. I had a couple of different types of martinis and they were pretty strong. Def. more alcohol than mixer. The frozen drinks seemed a little light on liquor though. I was never pushed to buy a souvenir (sp?) glass, they always had them in the plastic glass. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
March 4th to March 11th, 2007 Royal Caribbean Southern Cruise out of San Juan, PR. Ship : Adventure of the Seas, 10 PM Departure Stops : Aruba, Curacao, St. Marten, St. Thomas Taxis : Airport to El Canario in Candido was $19 El ... Read More
March 4th to March 11th, 2007 Royal Caribbean Southern Cruise out of San Juan, PR. Ship : Adventure of the Seas, 10 PM Departure Stops : Aruba, Curacao, St. Marten, St. Thomas Taxis : Airport to El Canario in Candido was $19 El Canario to Ship was $20 We had 4 people and 5 bags. Hotel : El Canario by the Lagoon was good. Clean and to the point, nothing fancy People were nice, felt safe in San Juan. Neighborhood not the greatest but safe and a block from the ocean. Walked a few blocks for breakfast and ate at a neat place with an ocean view. It as called HACIENDA DON JOSE CONDADO.Good food. Cab to the pier was quick. Got on at 1:00. No congestion, went real quick. Old San Juan is neat, been there before. ON Board : No ethnic issues at all. People were very behaved, 3260 were on the ship, Over 2000 were USA. Food and service was very good, waiter offered as much as we wanted. Good waiter from Jamaica(Richard), personable and did the extras. Hit it off with the people at our table. One couple from Hershey, the other from Toms River Jersey. Ship was excellent, seas were rougher than our Eastern Cruise. The hand washing facility when entering the Dining room or buffet was an excellent idea. Exercise facility was great. Nice internet room, $.50 a minute or $25 for 1 hour. Seems our room on the Zuiderdam was nicer than the Adventure of The Seas. Our beds were adequate. Noticed the staff loading new mattresses on our deck on the last day. Looked like they were doing an upgrade. Maid was great, room was very clean. On the 5th deck there was an eatery where you could always get pastry, Pizza, and sandwiches. Every morning I would go there for a coffee, the coffee there was outstanding. 5th deck promenade was a nice feature, shops, bars, food. They had 2 parades there. Neat. Entertainment : Entertainment was good to very good. The ship's dancer's and singers were OK, not nearly the caliber of the broadway shows on the Zuiderdam. Guest performers were outstanding ! There was as standup comedian (Joseph) working with a piano player. They were excellent. Another comedian was excellent. The Drifters were there and sang all of their hits (Up on the roof, ...) saw them during the cruise and complimented them. They stayed on for the next cruise and flew out of Aruba after their gig. They had a great act ! Ice skating show was good, some had a tough time doing the axels. Small rink made it tough to maneuver. Weather : Weather was 80 to 85 every day, no rain. Got a break there. Weather was very good for air travel. No problems there. Islands: Took 2 Island tours, Aruba and St. Martin. Ordinary in a way, but relaxing being on an air conditioned bus. Aruba didn't seem to have the glitz I expected, maybe I expected too much. The Aloe factory was interesting. St. Marten tour was very nice. Curacao was a high point, tourism is 4th for income. Seemed to be industrialized and showed ambition. Lot of tables to have a lunch and drinks by the bay. Drink prices were reasonable. The pontoon bridge we crossed over the bay from dock to town was interesting. We saw it opened when ships needed to get in or out. It swung open and was propelled by a motor on one end. We docked outside the bay, but 2 liners were docked inside. Disembarkation : Signing up for the San Juan tour when getting off the ship was the way to go. $27 pp. We met in the Imperial lounge and exited the ship promptly at around 8 AM. Very convenient, no waiting. Our luggage was thrown onto a separate truck and we were asked for Vouchers, which confused us. All I received were 4 tickets and a stub the same size as the ticket showing what we paid. I did not have a voucher . Perhaps the stub was the voucher. Not sure on this one. They let us go anyway. The 4 tickets were handed to the bus driver on the bus. The only problem was when in line with our luggage at the truck a guy went right to the front of the line with a load of bags. I felt like punching him ! The only snafu of the trip was finding our luggage at the airport. There was no way to identify what bags belonged to what airline on the truck so the bags were offloaded at different departure points ( 2 or 3 ). We were not told how to find our bags. If all the bags were dropped off at one point and we were told where then it would not be a problem. This needs to be cleared up. Airline Checkin : FYI, Royal Carib offered an airport checkin on the ship for American and United airlines. For $10 pp you could check your bags and get your boarding passes and eliminate checkin at the airport. You would not see your luggage until you got home. Next time I would do that because the airport checkin was a zoo! There was a 1 1/2 hour line to get to the checkin counter. It's too bad all the cruises start and end on Saturdays and Sundays. It throws a lot of people together at one time in one spot. Because the lines snaked around you had to be careful you were in the right line for you airline. It's a good idea to get to the airport at least 2 1/2 hours ahead of time. TIPPING : Tipping procedure was confusing. We had to go to the business desk and indicate we wanted the tips to be charged to our rooms. We received a sheet for each room which contained 4 detachable slips and 4 envelopes for the Waiter, Waiters helper, Maid and Head waiter. The sheet indicated the usual tip amount for each person. The slip was to be placed into the envelope and handed to each person on the last day. On Holland American the tip was included in the overall cruise price. All in all a very successful Cruise ! Read Less
Adventure of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 1.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.0

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