Sail Date: May 2006
This was our second cruise and our first on RCLL. My wife and I sailed the Southern Caribbean on Adventure of the Seas to celebrate our one year anniversary. Let me begin this review by saying we spent many weeks reading reviews of the ... Read More
This was our second cruise and our first on RCLL. My wife and I sailed the Southern Caribbean on Adventure of the Seas to celebrate our one year anniversary. Let me begin this review by saying we spent many weeks reading reviews of the ship and ports and tried to gather as much information as possible to squeeze out the most of our 7 days at sea. There were a lot of helpful entries that we used to make our cruise a very fulfilling experience. I had read a few negative reviews as well, and I have to say this...what you get from a vacation is what you give. If you go in with a positive attitude and look for fun...you will get just that. We live in Southern California and our itinerary was to fly to San Juan on Saturday, spend the night there and embark on Sunday afternoon. Our flight left our local airport at 6:10 am. We arrived there around 5:45 am and were told that it was too late to board the flight. After an unsuccessful plea to sneak us on board, we ended up renting a car and driving to Los Angeles International to catch a flight out of there. It ended up being an advantage for we arrived in San Juan 30 minutes earlier. My wife and I really liked Puerto Rico. It was our first time together outside the U.S. so that may have contributed to our 'awe'. San Juan has a 'rainforest' climate and we soaked it all in. We stayed at the Hyatt Dorado which was gorgeous!! Unfortunately they are shutting the hotel down in late May which is sad. During our short stay we appreciated the weather, clear ocean, lizards and local foliage. We had rented a car and the next morning we packed up and headed toward the pier (which was about a 30 minute drive from our hotel). The freeway system in Puerto Rico is very confusing. We got lost a couple of times (because I wouldn't ask for directions...its a guy thing) but we finally ended up at the pier! After dropping off our car, we took a taxi to the ship. Embarking was a breeze. We were in a suite so we had priority in our boarding which we took full advantage of. From stepping out of the taxi until stepping onto the ship took about 20 minutes max. The first sight of this awesome vessel was amazing! Absolutely monstrous! We arrived just after 2:00 pm so we went straight for our suite. The suite was nicer than expected. It was nicely designed and all of the room we would need. We had a private balcony and I read a few opinions regarding balconies. We absolutely loved our balcony and used it each day for breathing the ocean air during our 'at sea' times to having a room service meal to smoking my cuban cigar. I will have a balcony on every cruise I will ever take again. Our bags weren't going to arrive till around 6:00 pm or so, so we headed to the Windjammer cafe. Its a buffet style restaurant and we snatched up a couple of plates and began filling them with food like little kids in a candy store. We picked a seat by a window and sat there with big smiles on our faces eating chicken and roast beef and potatoes and whatever else we could grab. We looked at each other with that expression that said "We make it...we're finally here." After lunch we ordered our first alcoholic beverages (Yellow Bird for Janette and some fruity rum drink for me) and then played our only round of miniature golf (just to say we did it). We were exhausted but still explored some of the ship before we fell asleep around 8:00 pm. Day 2 - At Sea. We woke up refreshed with a spring in our step. Janette and I are very young at heart and are very active for a couple of 40 year olds! We couldn't wait to get our vacation into full gear! Breakfast at the Windjammer was the start of our day. We had spent the previous 12 weeks on a pretty strict diet and workout program that we stuck to with great discipline. But our reward was eating whatever we wanted on the cruise. We took full advantage of that. Pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns, toast with jelly, coffee, OJ...you name it, we probably consumed it. (Just an early reference, we both only gained 4 pounds on the cruise...chalk it up to metabolism I guess) An hour after breakfast we went to the fitness center (which was very nice) and had our only workout of the cruise. We spent the afternoon out at the pool drinking the "Drink of the day" (they will have a different one each day on the cruise..that day it was Razzonade). We swam and listened to a Caribbean band and soaked in the sun. We were just basking in our vacation. The smells of rum and tanning lotion filled the air. In the afternoon we toured the ship some more and wanted to experience a piece of every room. We played cards in the Seven Hearts Room...had a drink in the Blue Moon Lounge...etc. We stopped into the casino and decided to play some blackjack. About 30 minutes of playing we noticed we were up $55 bucks and decided to quit and use the money shopping in one of the ports. Dinner in the main dining room that evening was formal night. I didn't want to haul a suit jacket so I had no formal wear. Our seating was at 6:00 and it was around 4:00 pm. I was now becoming obsessive about wanting to attend the formal dinner so I called the on-board tailor and asked if it was too late to rent a tux. He said "I'll be right up to measure you" and was in our suite about 15 minutes later with a tape measure. After reluctantly having my inseams measure by this guy, he took my measurements and had a tux delivered by 5:00 pm. This was the beginning of the AWESOME SERVICE we would experience on our trip. We donned our outfits and headed to the main dining room. The main dining area is comprised of 3 floors (decks 3,4 and 5) We were on deck 3. It was a elegant room and beautifully designed. Our waiter's name was Sayit. The waiters were very attentive to our needs...remembered all of our names and were great. The food was great! I've read reviews good and bad about the food, but come on now...the chef is cooking for over 3200 people and did a darn good job. We each had double strawberry cheesecake for dessert...mmmmm. After dinner we headed to the Promenade. It is like Main St. in Disneyland. Shops lining down the deck with a few pubs and a cafe tucked in. I stopped at a shop for a high end cigar. We headed to the Connoisseurs Club for me to smoke it. The conisseaurs club is a smoking lounge complete with leather couches, dark lighting and mahogany finish. My wife and I just looked at each other with love in our eyes as I puffed away. It was one of my highlight moments of the cruise. We then returned to our suite to watch the ocean...a little TV...and we were out like babies. Day 3 - Aruba. Aruba ended up being our favorite port of call. For a few reasons. The first being this was the first island we have ever been on plus the hype of being in Aruba. After breakfast we exited the ship and stepped onto shore. We rented a taxi from who, I believe, is the only female taxi driver on the island and asked her to show us the highlights of the island for $40 an hour. The rate seemed high but we didn't barter it down. She took us to see the high end hotels, the natural bridge, the ostrich farm and the ocean. We had an ATV excursion at 1:30 so we had to get back. It was around 1:00 when we returned so we didn't really have time to eat before a bus took us to our excursion. My wife rolled her eyes when she heard 2 months ago that I booked 'ATV Mania'. She was being a trooper though and we arrived at our excursion. There was only one other couple that was there and our tour guide (Luis) showed up. He gave us a quick run down on how they operated, donned us with helmets and told us to drive around this field for 10 minutes for practice. These things had some kick! They topped out at 45 mph and really stuck to the road. After practice he told us that it was time to go. I have to be honest, when I booked this excursion I had no idea where we would go on these things, I thought we might just ride around on the sand for a couple hours....boy, was I wrong. We started out and headed down a main street. Yes, a main street with cars and busses! We rode in a single file line with assigned numbers. (I was #5, the last in the pack) Luis took us to see the gold mines....the natural bridge...the highest point in Aruba and the rock formations. Taking dirt roads and main streets, we literally rode tip to tip and end to end on Aruba! It is only 19 miles wide and 6 miles up and down but we saw the whole thing! What an experience. It was the absolute highlight of the trip for my wife Janette! She said "I never had so much fun in my life". There are many excursions to do in Aruba, but I highly recommend this one if you want to see the whole island going 45 mph and having a blast. After ATV Mania, we took a taxi to Arashi Beach to watch the sunset. They say the sunset in Aruba is the prettiest on earth. I think they were right. When the sun was setting, all of the warm colors of the rainbow blended together to set the stage for this awe inspiring sight. I took about 6 pictures at various stages of the setting sun. Absolutely gorgeous. After soaking in the ocean, we took a taxi back to the ship. We had a late dinner at the Windjammer and headed to bed....not buying one thing in Aruba. Day 4 - Curacao. Breakfast at the Windjammer filled us with French Toast, grits and the rest. A couple of cups of java and we were on our way. We had no excursions in Curacao which allowed us more freedom to see the island. We started by taking a taxi to the Hato Caves. It was a unique tour of the limestone caves complete with stalagmites and stalactites, beautiful rock formations and fruit bats! After that we took the taxi to Kon Tiki Beach to spend a few hours. The beach was a popular party beach which included a rainforest themed outdoor restaurant, full bar, volleyball net, and water sports rentals. We had the special of the day "Bacon cheeseburgers" which helped us feel at home again. There were these large lizards that befriended Janette and she appeased them by feeding them her lettuce. A couple of rum smoothies later and we found ourselves basking in the clear lagoon cooling off. Afterwards we found a couple of lounge chairs under the shade of a palm tree and relaxed for awhile. It was around 3:30 and the ship left at 5:00, so we scurried back. On the dock, there was a vendor giving out free rum tastings. We tasted the orange and pistachio and much to my amazement, bought a bottle of the pistachio for $10. Around 5:00 pm when the ship was departing, there is a place where you can watch the crew on the bridge called the "Peek-a-boo bridge". The captain was in there and off we went. He stayed on the bridge for about 15 minutes and got up to leave, waving his hand to the appreciative crown applauding through the glass. Tough job he has. Back on the ship, we played in the casino and won another $140! Dinner that night was the great! It was semi-casual and for the first time, all of the 4 groups were there together. We had lobster bisque and filet finished off by cheesecake and a chocolate brownie. One of the ladies at the table had brought her own wine and was filling everyone's glass. I was more than happy to taste the wine. Near the end of dinner, the waiters broke out into a Mambo dance in which most of the diners (including Janette and myself) grabbed an unfamiliar waist in front of us and began dancing around the main dining hall. Our waiter was a big ham and was the most animated of the waiters. After dinner the photographers were staging photos in front of a backdrop of the Titanic stairwell. We got to don period costumes and had our picture taken. It turned out pretty good actually. I didn't mind spending $19.95 on this photo. After walking around the ship, we headed to bed. Day 5 - At Sea. We had our only breakfast in the main dining area. By chance we had our evening waiter, Sayit the Ham. He was more low key (Thank God) and our breakfast was wonderful. The eggs were fresher than the Windjammer and the service was top notch. After breakfast, we picked up some of our photos including the photo from formal night where for some reason I looked like Elvis. We played some ping pong, soaked in the huge fitness center jacuzzi and reluctantly weighed ourselves. Much to our amazement, we only gained 2 lbs apiece. A miracle considering the gluttons we were. We did do a lot of physical activity, so that may explain it. We decided to order room service lunch. We ordered pizza, hot dogs and cookies. The staple to any nutritious diet. We had read in earlier review that the Ice show was "not to be missed", so we asked out stateroom attendant (who was AWESOME!) to get us some tickets. She had them on our bed by 3:00 pm that same day. The show started at 5:00 and we were there 20 minutes early with a drink of the day in hand to get a good seat. The show began and I was totally amazed. A LOT better than I would have expected. They hired some very talented skaters. Great show. After the show, we proceeded to lose $80 at the casino. No big deal..we were still way up! That evening we went to the Schooner Bar to see "Barry from Boston" play some Elton John hits. He was ok. Very cookie cutter lounge singer. Dinner tonight was at Portofinos. We reserved Portofinos the first night we were on board and even that early, it was almost completely booked. We managed to get a 7:30 reservation. We were excited to eat here because of all the positive reviews I had read. Man, I was not disappointed! From the moment you are greeted at the door, you are dipped into an ambiance of elegance, class and service. They take tremendous pride in the 'little' details of making your experience a memorable one. We soaked in every nuance of our dinner. From the 4 different types of bread they start you off with, to the 4 courses that delighted our palate to the dessert tray that had us shaking our heads in pleasant disbelief, it was one of the finer dining experiences I have EVER had. Even if the food was just adequate, the service alone was enough to make this night one of the more memorable nights in our vacation memories. We called the maitre'd over to praise her staff and she was just beaming. She said that meant so much to her and that was their goal. After that fantastic dinner, we headed over to the conisseaurs club for my last cigar of the cruise. Just completing my dining experience...(my wife is awesome by the way! She hates smoke and was a trooper when I indulged in my cigars). Around midnight we headed to the nightclub called Jesters. It was 80's night, which suited us just fine and we danced the early morning hours away to Prince, Duran Duran, Michael Jackson and more! Afterwards we went down to the pool where we sat on a lounge chair under the stars and settled in....we were in bed shortly thereafter. Day 6 - Day 6 was interesting. Probably my favorite day on the trip. The Port was St. Marteen. We had our first and only snorkeling excursion at 1:15 pm so we had the morning to explore the island. We did that by renting a jeep right off the pier. That was an interesting event, for when we approached the 6 windows of rental companies, we had reps calling out to us with different prices for our attention. "$40"! Yelled one guy. "$30" Yelled another....then I heard a woman yell "$10". Curious, my wife and I stopped at her window. I looked her in the eye and said "10 dollars? Are you sure". She politely said "No". We moved to the guy who quoted us "$30". For 30 bucks, we rented a jeep for an hour to tour the island. The island has a French side and the Dutch side (where the port was). Taking the road we jammed around the island. We stopped at a tucked away place where there were a few outdoor shops that sold Rum (what else), clothing, etc. We purchased some rum from this lady who hand decorated the bottles. They were awesome! Her 3-legged dog named Angel fell in love with my wife! There was also a one eyed cat. We must have been close to a nuclear waste dump or something. We then headed back. We met on the pier around 1 pm for our snorkeling excursion in Shipwreck Cove. The boat pulled up and there was a crew of 5 rastafarians there to greet us with big smiles. We boarded and took a short trip to Shipwreck Cove. Even the name of the Cove was inspiring enough. We arrived and dropped anchor. My wife was terrified because she hates getting her head wet in fear of water going up her nose. The mask solved that problem. We geared up and in the water we went. The water was crystal clear! Not like the California beaches we were used to. We swam around in a group of about 20 and saw various shipwrecks from WWII and other older ones. We were in about 20 feet of water so I was able to dive down and touch the ships. There were a school of curious (and hungry) fish following us around. My wife was a trooper and did very well. She really enjoyed it. There was a 5 foot barracuda that was following our group around which unnerved some of them. There was also a large Mahi Mahi that was hanging around. If he only knew how delicious he was, he might think twice about hanging around humans. Afterwards we took the boat home and a couple of the crew made some "rum punch" for those who wanted to drink. I was one of those. I had about 4 or 5 of them. Drinking them like fruit juice. Trust me, they weren't fruit juice. My wife claimed later that my speech was slurred and I walked into a pole. I had to take her word for it. All I know was, I was feeling pretty good! After we docked, I stumbled off the boat and we boarded Adventure once again. We took showers in our stateroom and got ready for our 5 pm couples massage. We were really looking forward to this! Still fairly intoxicated I joined my wife at the couples massage. We waited in what they call "The relaxation room". Our 2 massage therapists came in and said "Are you ready". There was one guy and one girl. Being a typical guy, I thought to myself "There is no way I am letting some dude give me a massage"! We went into the massage room and they told us to dress down to our skivies and get under the sheets. My wife then told me that she would feel more comfortable with the female masseuse. After a couple minutes of my futile attempt to win the argument...I was stuck with the guy. Stiff as a board I laid there and let him dig his elbows into my back and shoulders. Remember, I was still pretty buzzed so this was a bit surreal for me. Getting a couples massage from some dude from Australia while fueled by Rum Punch. After about 15 minutes I let my guard down and around the 30 minute mark I was snoring. After my wife woke me up we paid the $260 charge and headed to Johnny Rockets for dinner. Another fantastic meal at JR! A bacon burger and a vanilla malt for me this time! My wife had a burger and Strawberry shake. Who cares about the few dollar cover charge, that's some good eating! We were the only ones in the restaurant while a thunder storm carried on outside. We walked around the ship and went to bed. Day 7 - St. Thomas. We had to do an immigration check at 7:30 which was a bit inconvenient but expected after 9-11. We had a bike tour on Water Island at 9:30 so we had breakfast then headed out. There were only 4 of us in the group. Water Island is about a 20 minute ferry ride from St. Thomas. We had a nice guide and arrived at the island. The bike tour was fun but a bit too much work for our 7th day on a cruise while hungover. I don't recommend it. We played on honeymoon beach and headed back. In St Thomas we took a cab to the world famous Megan's Bay. Rated one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world. It was a gorgeous beach with a stunning backdrop. After an hour or so, we snuck onto a tour bus and headed back to the ship. The driver was hilarious and thought he was a comedian. He drove like a madman and almost killed the entire group 3 or 4 times with his reckless driving. We got back to the ship around 4 pm and were exhausted! We decided to order room service dinner and eat on our balcony. Went to the casino afterwards and lost $100 in about 15 minutes. We then put our gratuities into envelopes and delivered them to our waiters and stateroom attendant. Our stateroom attendant was the highlight of the service group. She was awesome! We packed, placed our bags outside our room and fell asleep within 5 minutes of our heads hitting the pillows. Day 8 - Debarking. We had a flight out of San Juan at noon so we were one of the first groups off the ship. We got off quickly, hailed a cab and headed for the airport. We had to wait at the terminal for a couple of hours and killed time by playing cards and reading. We then boarded the plane on with our FIRST CLASS tickets and rode first class back to Los Angeles. Our first FIRST CLASS trip ever! Just amazing! We arrived home safe and sound. Our pets were doing fine and our house didn't catch on fire. Overall. Had a wonderful and memorable trip! A great anniversary with the love of my life! Cruises are simple...you get what you put into it. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
This was my first cruise so I had no idea of what to expect. I cruised with an old friend that I met up with once we were on board. My flight to San Juan was uneventful. Once at the airport, things got a little chaotic. The airport is ... Read More
This was my first cruise so I had no idea of what to expect. I cruised with an old friend that I met up with once we were on board. My flight to San Juan was uneventful. Once at the airport, things got a little chaotic. The airport is fairly small and crowded. I followed the crowd to the baggage area where no one knew which carousel was for our flight. After a fairly long wait, our bags appeared. Some bags were dripping wet from a storm in Atlanta. A tip here is to put plastic between layers of clothes in your suitcase to prevent too much damage. After gathering our bags we located the Royal Caribbean transfer people and after a great deal of confusion and very crowded conditions, we were finally on our bus and on our way to the ship. From this point on, everything went beautifully. We had no trouble once at the pier and I was on board within 30 minutes. After touring the ship and checking out our cabin, it was up to the Wind Jammer to eat. There was a very broad range of selections on the buffet, so it was hard to choose. Everything was good. It was fairly crowded, but they were prepared for this and had all lines open and running. Food in the dining room was also very good. There were always enough choices to suit everyone. Our waiter, Mecik, was wonderful. He was very efficient, but also friendly and helpful. We never missed a dinner and were never disappointed. Food was so plentiful and convenient, that we only ate one breakfast in the dining room. Again, the service was great, although we were seated with a rather rude and demanding couple. The quality of food at breakfast was very good, and the juice was not watered down as it was in the Wind Jammer. For us, it was usually just easier to go grab something there-watered down juice and all. We did have room service one morning, and service, selection, and quality were quite good. The Cafe on the Promenade always had coffee and some sort of snacks available. This was very convenient for us. The entertainment on board was excellent. Our cruise director, Richard Spacey, was a real hoot. He seemed to be everywhere during the cruise. The Ice Show was not to be missed, even though it was a bit of a nuisance going to pick up the free tickets. This was only to ensure that everyone who wanted to see the show would be accommodated. All the other shows were also very good-we only missed one during the week. I was surprised that they weren't better attended. Also, the entertainment in the bars, around the pool, and on the promenade was excellent. I can't say enough about the variety and quality. Everything from classical guitar, to island music that was all just great. They even had game shows and such at night. They were hysterical. A couple were R-rated, but they were advertised as adult entertainment, so everyone was forwarned. We had a balcony cabin, which was well worth the extra money. The room was small, but well designed and it had plenty of storage. The bathroom was small as well, but never a problem. Our cabin steward was really good, although some friends we met on board weren't quite as lucky as we were. Everything was always ship shape whenever we returned to our cabin. The emphasis on the ship was the public areas, and they were never a disappointment. There was plenty of seating available on deck, but inconsiderate people would come and reserve 2 or more seats each-I heard one couple say they had seats in the shade and in the sun. There were signs posted prohibiting this, but the staff did nothing to stop them. In fact, most of the time-there were more empty seats with towels or something on them than there were people sitting in them. This is probably my biggest criticism of the entire cruise. Shore excursions were enjoyable. We studied long and hard prior to the cruise trying to figure out what we should do. We ended up booking all our shore excursions online prior to the cruise. We opted to use these rather than venture out on our own since we were 2 single women. Also-it was a lot easier to have everything set up for you ahead of time and not have to worry about anything. It may have cost slightly more, but we thought it was well worth the expense. We did a total of 5 excursions and all of them were good. I highly recommend the Swim, Snorkel, and Swing excursion on Aruba. Be sure and take an underwater camera. Other people we met didn't sign up for anything ahead of time as they were afraid they'd have wasted their money if the weather was bad, since usually the excursions go on as planned. As it turned out, weather was gorgeous all week so that didn't matter, and since they hadn't booked ahead of time, the most popular excursions were sold out. This cruise had 2 days at sea, which was plenty for me. There is a lot of time spent trying to sell you things, but I just ignored it all and no one was pushy. Bingo seemed like a big event, but when I went to check it out it was $30 and I declined. I don't know if that was the only price there was, but for me, it wasn't worth it. The same goes for the casino. It stayed very busy and I went through it several times, but didn't spend my money there. The Art Auction wasn't my thing either, but my friend went to one and had a ball and bought some art. There were plenty of other things to keep you entertained, from swimming to table tennis to towel folding classes. I didn't use the fitness center, but we did check out the rock climbing wall and walked the track. Also-the spa offers just about everything. I had a manicure and pedicure and my friend had a massage. We were both pleased with the services we received. One warning-if you want to use the spa services during at sea days, so does everyone else, so reserve your space as soon as you board the ship. Disembarking was a breeze. In fact, it went so quickly we were at the airport more than 2 hours before our flight. I would recommend this cruise to everyone. There were all types and ages of people on board. There were a lot of honeymooners and there were couples celebrating their 50th wedding anniversaries. There seemed to be wealthy people and an equal number that scrimped and saved for the vacation of a lifetime. As for me, I've already started saving for my next cruise. Alaska, here I come! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
We are in our early 30s. This is our fourth cruise, having sailed 1st on Carnival Triumph, 2nd on RC Navigator, 3rd on Celebrity Constellation and this cruise - RC Adventure. We felt that this cruise was probably tied with our favorite ... Read More
We are in our early 30s. This is our fourth cruise, having sailed 1st on Carnival Triumph, 2nd on RC Navigator, 3rd on Celebrity Constellation and this cruise - RC Adventure. We felt that this cruise was probably tied with our favorite cruise which was Navigator. We left a day early to go to San Juan. We decided to not pack any checked luggage this time and it proved to be a major time saver, both in the airports and at the port. We would highly recommend it. We arrived in San Juan and easily arranged for a taxi to our hotel at the Caribe Hilton. The people in the orange shirts would fill out a form and hand it to you, that seemed to save any disputes about pricing with the taxi. It was about $20 to the hotel. We reserved the hotel on Priceline and found that it was a beautiful resort. We got a room in the villas and had a small balcony with a beautiful view. This place was nice enough that wed consider going there for a week-long vacation - beautiful pools, a beach, a bunch of restaurants. The only thing we noticed was that the food was quite expensive in the restaurants ($25/pp for a fajita buffet). We slept in the next day and had breakfast at Starbucks (also at the Caribe). We relaxed a while and grabbed a taxi with two other couples to the port. $10 each couple which included a tip for the driver. It was very easy and we arrived in about 15 minutes. Breezed past the line of people who had checked luggage and went straight to the check-in area, saving at least 45 minutes. Checking in was also a breeze - it was very smooth. We had preprinted our information online which saved time also. We got there around 12:30 p.m. and there were no lines or waits to get on the boat. Went to our room, unpacked. From the time we left the hotel until we were finished unpacking was one hour, so we thought that was pretty good. We explored the ship, went back out and bought some alcohol (there is a little shop right inside after your luggage goes to the scanner - we just brought down a backpack and carried it back onto the ship), and then went back to have some lunch. The ship was beautiful, not quite as nice as the Navigator, but very nice nonetheless. We found that it had nearly all the same things as the Navigator except for the extra specialty restaurant and the pyrotechnics in the main theater (and probably some other things we were not aware of). Departure from San Juan went well, we sailed off at 10 p.m. We had made it to the dining room and met our tablemates by then. Our waiter, Sayit from Turkey, was absolutely awesome. His assistant was very good too. We thoroughly enjoyed their service and the dining room food throughout the ship, commenting it was the best service weve had out of our 4 cruises. We did try Portofinos one night and found that the food was perhaps only slightly better than the dining room but the service was much poorer and our meal was very slow. At least this time, we did not feel that it was worth the extra $20/pp. Monday was a day at sea. We relaxed and enjoyed the ship. We also had our Cruise Critic meeting and we got to meet several of the nice people we had chatted with online prior to sailing. Tuesday was Aruba. We went to Palm Beach - $1/pp by bus each way. It was a nice beach, but hotel properties all along so we found it difficult to find a place to sit that was not on hotel property and out of the sun (the weather was very warm - close to 90). We stayed a while and then came back to the ship on the bus again. We went out after a shower, food and nap to explore. Walked to Carlos N Charlies but did not stay. Went to an internet cafe and got ½ hour of time for $2.50 which is much cheaper than the ship ($.50 a minute with slow internet connections on the ship). Decided to stay on the ship and watch the beautiful 1 a.m. sail away. Overall, we were a little disappointed with Aruba but felt maybe we couldve seen more of it and it wouldve been better. Wednesday was Curacao. This port was beautiful. There was a long brick pathway lined with flowers and trees that led to the ferry that you must take because the bridge is under repair. The area is very clean and they are working to repair to bridge. We took the ferry across into town and went to the area by the post office where we again caught a bus (look for the BUS on the license plates instead of TAX which are taxis) for $1/pp each way to Mambo Beach. After the taxi driver dropped off some of her friends, we arrived at Mambo Beach. It cost $3/pp to get into the beach but some other people who came earlier (at 9:30 a.m.) said they did not have to pay. The beach was absolutely beautiful and we were able to rent chairs with umbrellas. There is a break of rocks further out that we swam out to and the water was just gorgeous. We heard other people also got massages on the beach, rented snorkeling equipment and the like. We stayed a while and went back to the ship. We stopped in town at another internet cafe and looked around some. We went back to the ship. This was a very nice stop. Thursday - Day at sea. Went to the ice skating show and it was fabulous. Absolutely do not miss this if you go on any of RCs bigger ships. We continued to be amazed at what the skaters could do on the small rink and in a moving ship. The lady that performed on the ring suspended from the ceiling was amazing also. Friday - St. Maarten. We went to our favorite spot - Orient Beach - having been there two other times. Took a taxi for $7/pp each way. Rented a jet ski for $40 for a half hour. Rented chairs and umbrellas for $7/pp which included a drink each and use of the bathrooms. Watched all the dogs on the beach and saw a water spout (tornado over the water) which was pretty neat. Went back to the ship after stopping in the shops by the port. Saturday - St. Thomas. Tried to call home from port and the phone we tried was not working well. Went to Magens Bay ($8/pp each way plus $4/pp to get into the beach). It was on a Saturday so a little crowded but not bad at all. Sat in the shade and swam in the water for a while. A lot of people were commenting on the big fish and turtles they saw there; would guess it wouldve been a nice spot to snorkel. The water is so calm and clear. This is a beautiful beach as well. Came back and did our shopping at the mall by the pier and got all our souvenirs bought. Sunday - San Juan. Disembarking was also smooth. We had to be out of our rooms by 8 a.m. but went down, had breakfast, sat around a very short time before our number was called. We got off the ship quickly and through customs quickly. Grabbed a cab to the airport (again using the orange shirted guys) for $26 for 4 people. Arrived at the airport by 10:30 a.m. and breezed through check-in again by using the computers and printing out our own tickets, bypassing the checked luggage lines. Sat at the airport and waited to go home. Some general comments about the ship. The ship is beautiful. We found the staff to be friendly and would often or almost always greet you when meeting you in hallways. We found the service of our room stewards to be just a little bit lacking compared to the other times, but the beds were still made, clean towels, towel animals, etc. We got a promenade room which was fun to look down and see what was going on, and theres a small extra couch area by the window which was nice. I cant say we really used the window as much as we thought we would, but then again, we are the type of people who generally get an interior room and figure we spend so little time in the room, it really doesnt matter. Entertainment - Excellent. We found the production shows to be completely amazing as we noticed on the Navigator. The four singers were excellent, top notch. We enjoyed these shows very much. The two shows/parades in the Promenade were very fun also. The Drifters were excellent - we didnt really know if wed enjoy this but found we enjoyed the show and the music very much. The comedians were so-so but some people did like them. We did not go to the impressionist. We thought the Love and Marriage show was hilarious like on the other RC ship. We had seen the gentleman juggler before but he was also very good. The cruise director Richard Spacey and his staff did a good job also. Activities - Also excellent. These big ships are so amazing because you can really be as much or as little involved as you like. On our first sea day, we just chose to not do anything but lay around and read books. You never felt like the activities were being pushed on you (like bingo on Carnival) and you could completely chose to ignore them while still doing whatever you wanted. On our second sea day, we decided to try the rock climbing wall and inline skating, both of which were very fun. We decided we shouldnt have waited so long to try some of this stuff because it was really a neat experience doing those things on the ship overlooking the ocean. Ship Areas - The pools were okay, usually kind of crowded, and the hot tub seemed just not quite warm enough for our taste. We did take a tour through the spa but did not use their services as we found them kind of spendy. We did use the gym one day (or maybe a couple days) and the treadmills seemed adequate, the gym was clean and very nice. After those couple days, we decided to just keep eating!! After we got back, we had to go to a different beach - South Beach! The kids program seemed to be well run and the kids appeared to be having fun. The Promenade is really neat. The shops seemed to be open a lot and the prices were fair for their souvenirs and also convenient to just pick up some things on the ship. Food - See above. Overall, excellent. The dining room food was always excellent. You could easily order whatever you wanted and our tablemate frequently ordered two main dishes each night and we also ordered more than one desert a couple nights. Portofinos was excellent also, probably had we had better service it wouldve seemed at least some better than the dining room. Windjammer food was always good, but not as good as the dining room. The Cafe on the Promenade also had good deserts and small sandwiches that we enjoyed when coming in from ports mid afternoon. Johnny Rockets was good - we had a coupon so we did not have to pay the cover charge (Crown N Anchor) - the onion rings are good and also the oreo ice cream sundae which was huge. The shakes are so-so. We did not try room service. A couple minor complaints. Smoking does not seem to be in a designated area. On our last cruise, it was strictly port side so you could clearly avoid it if you wanted to. Did not appear to be the case on this ship and if you are nonsmokers, it is kind of annoying. There did not seem to be as much Karaoke on this ship and it was at odd times (like midnight) which is something we enjoyed on the Navigator - they had a contest and everything at the end - but that is really a very minor complaint. The internet service is very slow but that seems to be standard on all the ships weve been on. Its hard to think of much else to complain about - again, just minor complaints. We love RC and will definitely have to think hard about cruising with anyone else. Also Cruise Critic is an excellent resource for everything you need to know about cruising. If you cant find something you need, all you need to do is post and you can find an answer from fellow cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2006
We arrived a day early and stayed at the Caribe Hilton. That was a wonderful hotel and had the best pool I have ever seen. Getting to the ship was an adventure. We were planning to taking a taxi, but a tour group was leaving at the same ... Read More
We arrived a day early and stayed at the Caribe Hilton. That was a wonderful hotel and had the best pool I have ever seen. Getting to the ship was an adventure. We were planning to taking a taxi, but a tour group was leaving at the same time and the bellhop talked to the bus driver and got us on the bus for free. A little tip to the driver upon arrival and we avoided the cost. The line at the pier was huge. We stayed in line for at least an hour. We should have waited a little later in the day. We had arrived at around 1:00, but 2:30 would have been better. We had a cabin with a balcony and it was well worth it. I could sit on the balcony when my wife was getting ready, and it made a great place to be when entering and leaving port. As a matter of fact, when leaving St. Maarten, we ordered a cheese plate and a bottle of wine from room service and sat on the balcony as we left port. We were in the Mozart dining room, and as we were traveling without our kids were seated with three young couples from New York. We didn't have anything in common with them, but it was fun to listen to their conversation! We had a death in the family while underway, and the concierge was incredibly helpful. Calling rates are over $4.00 per minute, but they waived the charges so we could make arrangements. We made all of our shore excursions in advance, but had to cancel snorkeling in Aruba due to the family emergency. We were able to pick up a snorkeling trip in St. Thomas instead, and it worked out well. I highly recommend the America's Cup racing in St. Maarten. What an incredible chance to do an actual race on an America's cup yacht. We were on the Stars and Stripes (The winner of the 1987 America's Cup Race). Disembarkation was much smoother and less hassled than embarkation. We found a cab right away and he gave us a tour of San Juan on the way to the airport. I love Royal Caribbean. It's my favorite cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2006
Warning! This review is long and detailed because I know that researching ships is difficult. I am including a lot of information. I went on this cruise with my family (I am an older teenager) and found it to be wonderful. It was our ... Read More
Warning! This review is long and detailed because I know that researching ships is difficult. I am including a lot of information. I went on this cruise with my family (I am an older teenager) and found it to be wonderful. It was our first cruise in general and with Royal Caribbean, and it certainly will not be our last. We decided to fly to San Juan a day early and found out that this idea was great in that our plane to San Juan (direct flight) was delayed 3 hours because someone dropped a cell phone into the plane's toilet. I know, weird. Anyway, when we arrived in San Juan, there were people in orange shirts who write up sheets that say where you are going, how many bags you have and the price which you give to the taxi driver. We stayed in the Hotel Milan in Old San Juan, and found it to be a decent hotel. We were lucky because that very weekend was a culture fest on the street and so all night long there was music and food. We were able to experience some Puerto Rican culture during out short stay. Embarkation The next day, we went to the port around 1-1:30 and found that embarkation was smoother than expected. I would highly recommend checking in online and printing out the contract because it made embarkation much easier. Food The food throughout the ship is very good. The Windjammer buffet is very good, but isn't exceptional. The buffet serves the same dinner as the main dining room yet I liked the dining room better. The main dining room is a huge elegant room that is 3 floors high and has 3 parts: the Mozart, Strauss and Vivaldi dining rooms. We ate in the Vivaldi, which is the bottom floor, our waiter was Benjamin from the Philippines, and the assistant waiter was Jeydall from Nicaragua. They were both very nice and the service was excellent. After the first night, they both knew our names and they knew to give us diet cokes right away when we sat down. The food was always wonderful and well portioned. I must say, the desserts are excellent, and if you cannot pick from the list, just ask for whatever ones and split it with someone! That is what I did anyway. We bought the unlimited soda package for everyone in my family, and while it cost $160 for 4 people, it is worthwhile because every CAN of soda is $1.50. We really made it worth the money. We didn't eat at any of the specialty restaurants and stayed with the included food. The Cafe promenade had good desserts, sandwiches and pizza, and is open 24 hours. Ship The ship was huge and it was a workout to walk around (which was perfect after all those desserts). The dEcor was nice and there were nice art and sculpture-light things in the promenade. Entertainment This was my favorite part. The cruise director, Richard Spacey from the UK, was hilarious! He made the ship really fun to be aboard. He was always at the main shows and always had a joke and danced to his theme song (Tequila!). My favorite part he did was "Rich's Top 10 Questions" where he listed the stupidest questions people asked him, like, "Is this island completely surrounded by water?" or "What elevation are we?" I went to all the production shows and the ice show and they were all fantastic. There was clearly a lot of work put into them, and the fact that we were on a rocking boat made it all more impressive. As a teenager, I went to the teen club, the Optix, almost every night. The first night on board, I met many people and as the week went on, we split further into different groups and I hung out with several people whom I like a lot. There were also several comedians who were outstanding. I was laughing so hard to entire time. Activities There was so much to do on the ship, and the sports area was very cool. There was a mini golf course, a rock climbing wall, an in-line skating area, a basketball/volleyball court and a golf simulator area, not to mention the pools. The rock climbing was fun and harder than it looked. I should warn you though about the pools, they are chlorinated salt water. I guess it is easier to maintain. On the pool deck there are several bars and all around the ship there is always live music going on. Cabins We stayed in a room with a balcony and a pull-out couch. The room was enough for the four of us, and surprisingly all the clothing we had brought fit well in the closet and drawers. The bathroom really could not get any smaller, but it was functional. I highly recommend getting a balcony room because it is relaxing to sit in a quiet outdoor area and it is also a good place to dry towels and swimwear. Ports of Call Our itinerary for the week included St. Thomas, St. Martin, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. I really liked going to 5 islands in 7 days because every day you wake up, you see another gorgeous island awaiting you. What wasn't so great was St. Martin, because while the island was beautiful, the weather was horrible. The locals there said they have never seen so much rain come down at once, it was like a tropical storm. Not really though. In St. Thomas we went to Magen's bay. We had been to that island before and knew where to go. The beach is beautiful there and it is wise to go as soon as you get off before everyone else gets there, because it gets busy. We then went to town and did some shopping, yet not too much since it was the same as the last time we went. In St. Martin, we were scheduled to do a snorkeling excursion but it was cancelled due to rough waves (and eventually that rain) so we hopped onto a different excursion called Beach Rendezvous where we got a really short tour of the island as we drove to the beach called Orient Bay. The beach itself was absolutely beautiful and we were lucky to get some swimming in the powerful waves (because it is on the Atlantic Ocean) before the heavy rain set in. You should be warned though that this beach and all others are "European Style" and Orient bay also has a nudist colony on it, so some nudity may be viewed. The shopping in St. Martin is great, better than St. Thomas price-wise and it is a good place to get jewelry. In Antigua, we did the stingray snorkel and swim excursion and it was very cool. We took taxis then speedboats to an area in the middle of the sea where it was much shallower (I think it was man made), fenced and were there were stingrays. Supposedly they are friendly, but seeing those eyes and everything else buried in the sand scared me. Yet it was fun to snorkel around and see the reef and the fish. In St. Lucia, we did the Pirates Expedition were we went on a ship used in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies (it is a random ship in the bay scene). The crew onboard was funny, and one guy named Gyra was really funny. We sailed to an island about 1 hour away from the port and we had an hour to explore or hit the beach. My dad, brother and I hiked to an old military port and that was a huge workout. The whole time you are hiking at a really steep angle. Once we made it to the fort, the view was amazing. You could see for miles and the Pitons (the two mountains) were even visible in the distance. I would recommend this excursion because it is enjoyable. We did some shopping in the area right next to the dock, but we couldn't go to town because everywhere was closed since it was a Catholic holiday. The prices in St. Lucia are expensive, but aren't too bad. I was disappointed that I couldn't go see the Pitons up close because it was an hour away and we didn't have time, yet I am very happy because the captain (Captain Remo of Norway) took a detour and sailed right passed them, and even though it was getting dark, they were still magnificent. In Barbados, we did the Turtle Encounter excursion which was really cool. We took a boat to an area where there are turtles, and unlike the fenced in area of Antigua, they were free to swim around. The turtles would swim around and you could touch them and snorkel around to see fish and more turtles. We snorkeled with turtles for about 30 minutes, and then we sailed to another area where there is a sunken barge and a very large reef. You should be warned that there are jellyfish in the area, and while there is a harmless type, there are tiny ones that sting (not poisonous though) and I got stung a lot and it burns for a little while. Then from there, we went to a secluded beach which was one of the most beautiful ones I have been to. The sand was so soft and clean and the beach had nobody else on it. We then shopped in town, and downtown is like any other populated city area, not the cleanest or the friendliest area. Now the prices in Barbados are really expensive and if you want to buy souvenirs for people, make sure to finish your shopping before getting to this island. Normal mugs that are $5 in other areas are up to $13 here. In the end I loved every island and was glad I picked this itinerary. Overall Royal Caribbean is a wonderful cruise line and I highly recommend it. Last recommendations I would give is to not pack towels! There are towels given to you to use at the beach and the pools. Towels just use up space in suitcases that are eventually needed for stuff bought during the trip. Also, remember to pack formal wear, dresses/skirts for women and suits for men. There are 2 formal nights, and if you don't want to dress up, the Windjammer is always casual. Also, the main dining room is not the place for shorts and flip flops. Trust me, you will feel out of place. In the end, the worst part of the trip is coming home to realize you have gained weight and that you have to start cleaning and cooking again. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2006
All first Time Cruisers from CT: 1 w/12-year old boy/girl twins; 1 with 18-yr. old son & other w/16-yr. old and 9-yr. old girls & 8-yr. old boy. Researched several cruise lines (Cruise Critic and other sites). Wanted a more ... Read More
All first Time Cruisers from CT: 1 w/12-year old boy/girl twins; 1 with 18-yr. old son & other w/16-yr. old and 9-yr. old girls & 8-yr. old boy. Researched several cruise lines (Cruise Critic and other sites). Wanted a more up-scale environment, able to dress-up for dinner, have activities to keep all ages occupied, & decided to make more ports of call in case, as 1st time cruisers, we felt bored on ship, sea-sick and needed land, and also wanted to visit islands we hadn't been to in order to decide on later vacations sites. A couple of us are prone to motion sickness and had Bonine or patches, plus the Dr. on board hands out motion sickness pills free of charge if you need it. We had NO motion sickness and we were definitely not bored on ship! CHECK-IN/EMBARKATION: Rating: Excellent. Arrived San Juan day prior to embarkation to relax and took a $12 cab from hotel in Isla Verda section of San Juan to pier - just a 15 minute ride. Expected embarkation (2 p.m.) to be tedious with long lines. WRONG!! Arrived about 1 p.m., gave bags to the longshoreman(don't forget to bring singles to tip.) Walked right into cool, comfortable building and was handed a small card to fill out (seats provided). Took 2 minutes and we got on the short check-in line. RC had ice water, lemonade and large cookies (free). By the time I finished my refreshment we were actually checking-in and heading up the escalator to the gangplank. Stopped for ship's photographer to take our pic against welcome sign, which we later bought. Set foot on ship and at check-in desk received our SeaPass cards which are room keys and ship credit cards. Got kids registered for Kid's Club. Next stop: our rooms which were ready!! We were stunned at how efficiently check-in was handled. Off to a great start . . . By the way, we knew in advance that luggage DOES NOT arrive any time soon, so make sure you bring a carry-on with bathing suit and something casual to change into for dinner the first night. Our luggage arrived "early" around 5:30 p.m. We noticed that many passengers were receiving luggage well into the evening. (They leave your luggage outside your room so you don't have to wait around for it. We went to the pool for the afternoon and explored the ship.) MUSTER: 8 p.m. first night only; went very quickly and efficiently. ROOMS: Rating: Excellent. We had 2 adjoining balcony rooms, starboard side, on Deck 6; one for us/one for kids. Larger family did the same and 1 family did 1 Superior Room with pull down bed for the 18-year old. Our rooms were spotless and had plenty of storage. We were well aware staterooms are very small compared to regular hotel rooms so we were not shocked or disappointed. By the way, I had the best sleep I have had in ages. The beds were surprisingly very comfortable and roomy (king size when you put the two twins together). Note: Initially, we looked at a Jr. Suite w/balcony on Deck 7 or 8 which meant 2 full fares and 2 of the cheaper fares for 2nd/3rd guest in room thinking it would give us the extra room we like and also save money. Well, our agent priced out the 2 adjoining Deluxe/balcony rooms (1 deck down from the Jr. Suite) with meant we were paying 4 full fares (2 full in each room). We ended up SAVING a SIGNIFICANT amount of money and we gained an additional bathroom which was a great time-saver. We would definitely stay on this deck in these type roomed again. We used the balcony each morning and it was both a relaxing and exciting way to watch the islands come into view as we were coming in to dock. Starboard side on this cruise itin. had the best views. Our room attendants were terrific. Beach towels are provided in the room also. We also noted that with all the families on board, we never encountered any unruly, bratty, noisy kids. Hallways/rooms were quite and public areas were quiet and relaxing. We all mini-golfed; kids loved the age appropriate clubs even the ones that initially said they didn't want to go. My twins went back and forth as they wanted. The younger kids were escorted to/from by a parent. They only used it after dinner for a couple of hours. Rave reviews. FOOD/DINING OPTIONS: Rating: Excellent. Since we live in lower Fairfield County, CT and are only about 1 hr. from NY and 2 from Boston, we travel a lot and eat at a lot of high-end, gourmet restaurants (kids included). All food is included in your price. Since we were up early for excursions we ate in the Windjammer cafe every morning. It is buffet with plenty of seating. Food was the same every day, but so much variety you could have a different breakfast everyday. Prepared perfectly. Lots of fresh fruit, homemade grits/oatmeal, eggs, omelets to order, even turkey sausage, juices, yogurt, cereals, bagels, lox, and on and on. Never got to the main dining room for breakfast but they serve Eggs Benedict and things like that. Lunch at buffet: same: very varied and well prepared. Dinner: we ate in the main dining room every evening because we all sat at 1 table. At first it was just 2 families at the 6 p.m. with kids and the 1 family 1/18yr. old at 8:30 seating. They wanted to be at a large table, but were assigned their own table. The next day they asked if they could switch to our table at 6. Every effort was made by RC and we ended all together. Both times, our table was at the glass overlooking the ocean. Service is impeccable. One evening, John, ordered the lobster tail for his entree and when served quietly observed, "Oh, this isn't going to be enough." (None of us are overweight, by the way.) The head waiter overhead him and 3 more tails were immediately brought out to John's total shock! Main dining menu is terrific; has a children's menu, and selection of meat, chicken, pasta choices cooked plainly (just herbed chicken breast or plain steak) for people who are picky eaters, and of course the other main selections. Every appetizer, entree and desert had a vegan choice and a healthy/diet type choice. The cold soups were exceptional. All the food was excellent and no one at our table had nothing but raves. My picky eater son tried the Jamaican Jerk Chicken and loved it. He was able to try new things, because we assured him that, even though we don't waste food as a rule, if he tried something and really didn't like it, he could order something else. Luckily he tried a lot of new things and ate them. The kids alternated food choices between the "fancy" food selection and the basic selections. Another thing: we all take only milk, not cream, in our coffee and after the first night's request for milk, we never had to ask again. As I said, the service is impeccable. One night the Captain came over to our table and was talking to the kids and answering their questions. ROOM SERVICE: included in price. We never used. OUr friends did a couple of mornings. They put in a wake-up call request and breakfast request the night before. They got their wake-up call with a "and breakfast will be up in 5 minutes." and it was! Pampered! DRINKS NOT INCLUDED IN PRICE. We and other family decided to purchase the 7 day wine bottle plan to be cost effective. Whatever is not consumed at the end of the cruise you can bring home with you, but we finished all ours (and we're not big drinkers.) We also bought the soda plan for the kids; unlimited soda, juice at dinner and on the ship. They put a sticker on their Seapass Cards. We never got around to trying some of the pubs or even the midnight buffet which we heard was terrific. By the way, if you really do not want to eat a a specific seating time in the main dining room or dress up formally on 2 formal nights/country casual on other nights this is not necessarily the cruise for you. TIPPING: We just used the little sheet of suggested amounts they leave with you in the room the night before disembarkation. We had excellent service and tipped accordingly. It goes on your SeaPass card which makes it a lot easier. Upon disembarking if any charges on the SeaPass you just pay by personal credit card or cash or traveler's checks to settle-up. EXCURSIONS: Rating: Very good/excellent. All of us pre-booked on-line a snorkel/swim with sea turtles/shipwreck/beach break in Barbados. It was excellent. We chose to do the a.m. excursions so we could do what we wanted in the p.m. on the island(s). Went to the Boatyard in Barbados as recommended by the excursion guy. $3 per person to go on the beach which included a ticket for a beverage of any kind. Cute open-air restaurant for lunch. Highlight was rope swing off a large pier into the ocean and the sea trampoline. Beach was pristine, sugary white sand; rented lounge chairs and umbrellas. Was a Monday and not crowded at all. Recommend this for families. Next stop St. Lucia. We did not pre-book any RC excursion here. I went on-line and found International Pony Club since my kids and I like to ride horses. We tend to like to be with the "natives" and not always on packaged excursions. We decided on the 2-hour tour for $50 (only!) per person. John/his son booked RC deep sea fishing. All others booked this, but at the last minute 1 family decided to try a RC excursion (booked on the ship) to the volcanoes. The one they really wanted was sold out so chose this one. Said it was only OK; mostly on bus with little bit of hiking. Wished they had stayed with the horse excursion after hearing our wonderful experience. Anyway; e-mailed our info to www.InternationalPonyClub.com. They met us with a sign in the building on the pier right on time (9 a.m.) Van to Club and we paid by credit card. They asked us if we were experienced riders. Have some great Creole horses for experienced riders and some "auto-pilots" (ours). 2 guides Robert and a young (21-yr. old) nicked named Lizard. They saddle up the horses, and get you on. You follow up a path and over to the other side of the island the Atlantic side to Cas-en-Bas Beach. Now, be aware, while riding you will really see how the natives live. Ride was relaxing. We loved our guides especially Lizard. He had such a warm, friendly, relaxing demeanor. He was great with the kids. At Cas-en-Bas there is a few huts. One selling items (of course), a hut (restaurant) with surprising good food, and ok bathrooms that need to be flushed by pouring water down the toilet. Also a piece of the space shuttle had washed on shore and NASA came down and said it could stay. Anyway; they unsaddled and unbridled the horses and we got to ride in the ocean. It was wonderful. Lizard said my son took to riding really well and I asked if Lizard could take Chris for a trot/canter up the beach, which he most happily did. Then, he had the twins stand up on the horses and took photos so they could impress their friends. Also, the guides take great pictures with your camera. Interestingly, when I got back home, I picked up a copy of Conde Nast Traveler at the library (July or August issue?) and International Ponly Club was featured as a must do on St. Lucia along with a full color page picture. My son had a slight redness on his shoulders and the guide picked an aloe vera and had us rub it on him. (It worked, and we were so impressed with what a wonderful experience we had.) If you like to get off the beaten path once in a while and are a bit adventurous, I highly recommend International Ponly Club for families with kids about 5 and up. Took 1 other RC excursion in Antigua. Catamaran snorkel/beach break. Very good. RC does an excellent job of getting people of the ship and having clearly marked and organized excursions. The ships GYM is like a Bally's and also has steam rooms. Extra classes of Yoga, Pilates, Personal Trainers are $10 extra but gym is free. The spa is extra. We all had massages and/or facials including the kids. Book early for the times you want. We also had "formal" pictures taken by the photographer (they announce when and where.) Decided to purchase a couple for X-mas cards. You are under no obligation to purchase even if you have them take it. My husband and Jim golfed at Mahogany Run in St. Thomas and loved it (a pre-booked RC excursion.) St. Maarten: went straight to Orient Beach on the French side to Bikini Beach(the family beach). You probably will see a naked person or 2 heading back to their own beach. All the kids were not freaked out when a couple of men/women walked by naked. They are used to seeing art and sculpture of naked people. Also, we told them that most Europeans are not as ashamed or freaked out over naked bodies; mostly Americans are so don't make a big deal of it and they didn't. Orient Beach is spectacular. Rented chairs/umbrella. It has good bathrooms/showers, shops, and places to eat. NOTE: Do not bother shopping in St. Thomas. We were there years ago and the shopping was great. Not anymore. Shop in Castries, St. Maarten. We know our gem/jewelry prices and quality very well and Castries had significantly the best prices. Also wait to the last night on the ship to shop. Prices go in 1/2. Also, when passengers are off the ship in port, the ship is quite empty so bear that in mind, too. We all concurred that we never felt crowded even the day we were at sea and all were using the facilities. THE SHOWS/ENTERTAINMENT: All are included in your price and were excellent. We loved the ice show, the shows in the evening were very well done (we are used to going to Broadway as adults only and with the kids). Saw the original Drifters and I thought since they were before my time I might not like them. They were great! and the kids who had no clue even enjoyed the music. The comedian one night was truly funny. The cruise line really knows how to schedule dinner seatings, shows, clubs/dancing so you won't have to worry about choosing one thing over another. Use your Cruise Compass which posts each day's events/times. I took a highlighter with me and highlighted each evening what we kind of wanted to to each late afternoon/evening since we were off the ship all day. DISEMBARKATION: Rating: Good. We knew in advance that you have to have your bags packed and outside your room by midnight and out of your room by 8 a.m. Based on your flight time, you are assigned a group # and time to leave the ship. You have to kind of hang around the public areas until called (library, pool, etc.) The waiting was a slightly bit tedious, but not terrible. Lines off ship move pretty quickly. Luggage is lined up in a huge warehouse type building so you have to walk around and find your pieces which have colored tags. Doesn't take long. By the way, we booked the RC transfer from the ship to the airport. 1 family did not and just grabbed a cab from the ship to airport for $12 total and saved about $75. You don't need to take the RC transfer; you can save a lot of money just taking the cab. The pier is only about 15 minutes from the airport. All of us travel a lot and all agreed that this was one of the top vacations. The 18-year old was a bit bored on the ship but he didn't have a friend with him to do stuff at night (clubs, etc.) We all decided to go on another RC cruise in 2 years. We highly recommend Royal Caribbean and the Adventure class of ships for families with school age kids. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
RCCL's air arrangements worried us. They used Delta from Toronto with a connection in Atlanta. There was enough time on the outgoing for switching planes. Everyone without kids refused to let you by in Puerto Rico, even when the ... Read More
RCCL's air arrangements worried us. They used Delta from Toronto with a connection in Atlanta. There was enough time on the outgoing for switching planes. Everyone without kids refused to let you by in Puerto Rico, even when the stewardess requested help to get us off first so that we won't miss the ship, it was a matter of all for themselves. Getting a family of 5 (2 teens and 1 child) racing from Terminal A to C in 40 minutes on the return was not easy. Even passengers from the same cruise with their nags bumped by almost injuring the youngest. But, Delta and RCCL do know their business! We were on the last bus to the ship whipping around street corners and they paged me as I stopped for 1 fast washroom break in the cruise terminal! We were checked in and on board with 2 minutes to spare, they told us when the Windjammer Buffet would be closed and all the luggage was safely in our adjoining cabins (Cannot say that everyone on board had their luggage. By the 3rd night on board in a makeover session, the cosmetologist mentioned that a few passengers had not seen their luggage yet. Early disembarking due to flight arrangements was smooth. This was our 2nd RCCL cruise but our 6th cruise as a family on Aug 20. The Meet & Mingle should not have been scheduled with a 5p.m. party on the 2nd day on board every other cruise&folks do not like to dress up extra early in formal wear to attend the party. The morning timing would have been better for most. Overall, the food was better than good. Seafood Tempura, Lobster, Jerk Chicken, delicious sugar free desserts were my favorites. My husband is vegetarian and enjoyed his meals and choices. Our fussy pasta child liked the variations too. Sayit our Waiter and his Assistant Leilani were superb. The Head Waiter ensured that the kids dinners were nut-free once he heard about their allergies. Those at table wanting 2 appetizers, extra soups, entrees, desserts were all accommodated on a regular basis. We were lucky with fun loving table mates. Sharon, our Cabin Steward was meticulous, considerate and with her helpers, the messy teens we have were most impressed. She tried her utmost to fulfill our needs/quirks on the adjoining door, the bedding, the sleeping teens who cannot move after a late night of mini-golf or dancing, the quick naps before early seating dinner (without any disturbances), the teen fights. What a gem: she even consoled our sad child when she thought that only the teen cabin had chocolates, when she was avoiding disturbing her early-to-bed-with-slight-1-day-cold time. On board, our 10 year old suddenly changed from last year's trip and decided to spend less time in Adventure Ocean but the time she did spend there was much fun! She checked the activities and decided on her own daily. She made friends and the counselors ensured that she did not have treats with nuts. The teens did their own thing and used the COMPASS to plan their activities. I think they met up with the friends we made on board more than we did at night since I was exhausted most nights and couldn't make any of the night time pool parties etc., but they still kept to curfew. The staff used the COMPASS to curtail many of the raucous unsupervised kids' activities, reminding them of the rules. For the side excursions, we puttered around Barbados on our own since we had stayed there a couple of times before on family vacations and knew our way around. We used the early cheaper shuttle to town and shopped before we took a taxi (van) to pick up the order I had made prior sailing via the Net with Warrens SuperCentre. They are so helpful and courteous and doing it this way saved time and bother & I wanted local snacks and drinks. He also took us to Malibu as we requested to shop in their little store. Sad to say there will be a take-over of the manufacture of Malibu Lime so I had to settle for Coconut Malibu. Those of you not using the lines' excursions may want to be in touch with Fabian for St Lucia, Lawrence of Antigua, Tim (affiliated with Godfrey for St Thomas) and Bernard for St Martaan (used by a Cruise Critic Couple we met - they found him quite flexible, while we were happy with the tour offered by the ship and that was good too:it is my favorite island with the Dutch side the better one for me). These are all from the Cruise Critic sites and we agree with the rave reviews. You will not go wrong with them. Fabian accommodated my tour request (showing high flexibility and consideration, not a routine tour guide!) and is so polite and knowledgeable. We had great bread (my kids do not like bread but they loved this loaf, almost shaped like a rolling pin), Plaz Kassava's bread with fish (adults choice) and Cherries (kids' choice) was a hit. I hope to get the recipe. He even bought us mangoes and had different drinks on board his van for kids as well as adults. Great touring (discreetly took care of entrance fees, local beggars) and explanations of the Pitons and Soufriere, but he even took us to the Convent (from my previous life) I wanted to visit. He obliged and joined us for fruit cake and guava and passionfruit juice and got us back on time safe and sound. Good guide who goes with the flow! Lawrence suits his moniker and our Cruise Critic pals went touring while we were dropped off at Turner Beach & the food is excellent, the beach vendors are not pests, the facilities were clean. He came back on time as we requested with our pals to do the end of their tour. Tim is St Lucian and obviously like his job and meeting people, and his new home of St Thomas. He is so adaptable. Those who arranged to meet him early got more shopping time as he returned for late risers and they got less shopping time. Then he manages to drop folks at the beach, gave us more time for pictures or to look around (our 10 yr old was ecstatic to find a fantastic selection of shells at $1 at the shopping centre at the beach) as he waited for those of us who took a bit longer and decided to not swim but continue the tour. He returned for the swimmers after dropping us off right at the ship where we met friends wanting to do some quick shopping at the pier. Entertainment on board was quite good most of the time. Bobby Arvon of the Happy Days Theme Song voice is a great entertainer. Some of the Staff Skaters on "Cool Art, Hot Ice" were good, some need more practice & sorry folks I am a Canadian hooked on Good Skating. Special Guest Star Yulia Ayupova is superb. "Can't Stop The Rock" with the RC's Singers and Dancers was well done (esp liked the dance routines, great versatility in these staff entertainers, singers & my kids wanted to stop me from waving and singing to some of the best music I have heard). Beatlemania was also good nostalgia. "Velvet Rope" was passable but needs some work in the Asian Theme used. I was glad that I did not make it to the Farewell Spectacular. We saw it on the cabin TV & I don't think that the live audience liked Barnhart's humor.  Overall, our Explorer cruise last year had a better Skate Show and we enjoyed the Shopping Shows far more there. But, on the whole, we enjoyed this cruise even with some aging carpet, some unattended public washrooms, problems with upper dropped bunks in a couple of cabins. RCC, we will continue vacationing with you! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
The Adventure of the Sea was a very nice ship. The staff was very friendly and most helpful. The only staff member that was MIA was our headwaiter. He only came by the table two or three times, (one of those was the last night looking ... Read More
The Adventure of the Sea was a very nice ship. The staff was very friendly and most helpful. The only staff member that was MIA was our headwaiter. He only came by the table two or three times, (one of those was the last night looking for his "TIP"). He never asked our names or if there were any special needs he could help with. Other people on board were also unhappy with their headwaiter as well. The major disappointment I had was when we were docked in San Juan. On past cruises the ship dock near Old Town. It was a easy to do a walking tour of Old Town before the ship set sail. Now the dock is a good 4 miles from Old Town. A long walk or a $10 taxi ride. I wish there was some type of Old Town Shuttle to take cruisers to "TOWN". Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
Although we had not traveled this itinerary in the past, this was our fourth RCCL cruise. My husband and I traveled with our oldest daughter and her husband and my brother and sister-in-law, this was not the first cruise for any of us. ... Read More
Although we had not traveled this itinerary in the past, this was our fourth RCCL cruise. My husband and I traveled with our oldest daughter and her husband and my brother and sister-in-law, this was not the first cruise for any of us. We arrived in San Juan at 12:30pm, we did not expect to board right away, but we had purchased the transportation from the airport to the ship and after collecting our baggage only had about a 10 minute wait until we boarded a small bus to the ship. The driver was very pleasant and funny. Having printed our Sail Passes from the website, boarding was easy, no lines we got right on. We deposited our carry ons in our rooms and went up to the Windjammer for lunch. We then just leisurely roamed around the ship. When our bags arrived at about 4:30, we unpacked, changed and went to the Sports Bar on the Promenade for a drink before our Main Seating dinner. The food all week was excellent, as were are servers Domingo and Maria. They were conscientious and very pleasant. The one area we all had a problem with was fellow passengers that showed up for the 6:00pm seating at 7:00pm, knowing that there was a second seating at 8:30pm. The poor staff was serving dessert and entrees at the same time. Not an easy task with the volume. Also, on the evenings when the dress code was formal, there were passengers coming into the dining room in shorts!!! I think at the very least the time factor has to be enforced. I can remember going on cruises where the doors to the dining room were closed 30 minutes after the seating time and latecomers were not allowed in. This may seem harsh, but it got people to dinner on time. Our stateroom attendant was unobtrusive, but available, have no complaints in that area. The excursions were very good except for one part of the snorkeling excursion in Aruba. The Aruba Sailaway Beach and Snorkel Cruise...the staff was fantastic, the snorkeling location was great (a shipwreck that attracted beautiful fish), but the lunch was awful. They to us to a dock off the hotels and the restaurant was right there, very convenient. But the restaurant staff and food was not. They handed you a full plate as you walked in, tried to jam us all into a few tables and were quite rude. The pasta salad was warm (never a good idea), the beans were cold and the one chicken leg and single rib were rather tasteless. Dessert was warm fruit salad, yeah right. We enjoyed another snorkel excursion in St. Maarten....Captain Morgan's Sailing adventure, while the snorkeling as not as great, sailing on a 70' schooner was a blast. The captain barbecued on lunch right on board and it was great!. We don't really regret either one. My husband and son in law went on a scuba excursion in Curacao, they thought they would enjoy diving off the beach rather than off a boat. What they don't tell you is that you have to trek all your gear quite a ways and then swim to the location. By the time you get there you are already tired. Not a great start to a dive. The cruise director, Richard Spacey, was one of the best we have experienced. Not just enthusiastic, but also very reachable, he was all over the ship talking to everyone. Seemed to really enjoy his job. The entertainment was pretty good, we only missed one show due to exhaustion, the sun really gets to you. Had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS- 8/27/2006 by MikeC5426 (Arlington, VA) This 7 night cruise attracted my partner and me for a few reasons. First, the cruise departed from San Juan, PR (which we have not visited before). Second, it was a southern ... Read More
ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS- 8/27/2006 by MikeC5426 (Arlington, VA) This 7 night cruise attracted my partner and me for a few reasons. First, the cruise departed from San Juan, PR (which we have not visited before). Second, it was a southern Caribbean itinerary and we would get to visit Aruba and Curacao (we had been to St. Maarten and St. Thomas on previous cruise vacations). Third, the cost was very reasonable for a balcony room. We arrived in San Juan on Saturday morning (8/26) and stayed at the beautiful Ritz Carlton. We spent the day relaxing and caught about two hours of the rain from Tropical Storm Ernesto that luckily didn't interfere with our vacation. Sunday we visited Old San Juan. We enjoyed shopping along with a quick lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. EMBARKATION -- We took a cab from the Ritz Carlton to the AOS which was around $25 (including tip). We arrived at the ship around 3:30pm. To sum up in a single word- chaos! The cruise staff didn't seem to have control of anything going on and there was no direction on why we were standing in this long line or why we were even standing there. After asking we found out that it was just to drop your luggage off with the porters. NOTE: If you do not tip the porter, they will ask you once and again very loudly for a tip! This happened to the gentleman in front of us. We are familiar with this process and had our $2/per bag tip ready. However, for those who are not familiar-- it is wise to tip them at least something. Once we dropped off our luggage you have to go back around and wait in a second line to enter the building. This process seemed to be quicker and we were at the counter in less then 15 minutes. They checked our passports, Royal Caribbean paperwork, etc. They authorized the credit card for the SeaPass account and handed each of us our SeaPass boarding card. The entire process was about an hour from exiting the taxi to entering our stateroom. Overall, it was very chaotic but nothing that we stressed out about. STATEROOM -- #7340, Superior Oceanview Stateroom. We booked a balcony 'run of the ship' through Expedia.com we found out a couple of weeks before we were upgraded to a superior oceanview. This room has two twin beds (can convert into queen-size), private balcony, sitting area and a private bathroom. Size- 202 sq. ft., balcony 50 sq. ft. We were expecting a Deluxe which is a bit smaller- 173 sq. ft., balcony 47 sq. ft. Overall, the room was a generous size with decent closets and drawers for our clothing, suits, toiletries, etc. The suitcases fit nicely under the bed. The fridge was tiny and filled with a few cokes, candy bars, etc. so we had to make room for the bottled water that we brought. The electrical outlets were lacking and there is no iron (we brought a travel iron). The decor of the room was run down and tacky. It was aquas, pinks, etc. that made us think they hit a clearance sale from a 1980's bedding and curtain distributor. The sheets are paper-thin (you can see the mattress fabric through it), couch was very rough, stained pillows on the couch and a mattress that is about 3 inches thick--- I am NOT joking!!! The towels and any other type of fabric, linen or towels you could see right through it. The deck had two chairs and a small table and it was a decent sized balcony. Summary of room- generous in size but the amenities are poor. The bedding is beyond poor and can make for seven nights of uncomfortable rest if you are used to sleeping in a bed with any type of plushness. THE SHIP (PUBLIC ROOMS)-- After we dropped off our carry on bags, we walked around the ship. Our stateroom was located near the library. The library was nicely decorated with plush sofas and couches (a far cry from the stateroom) and the internet cafe was above. The library overlooked the promenade below which was very impressive. We proceeded to the Strauss dining room to check out our table. The dining room is 3 stories and it was decorated very nicely with beautiful chandeliers. We proceeded to the Lyric Theater- it was stadium style with a balcony. It was very large and impressive in size. Jester's night club was 2 stories and the most impressive room I have seen on a cruise to date. It was very nicely decorated and plenty of room for sitting or dancing. The second story overlooked the dance floor. There were lots of lights, fog machines and flat panel televisions. ENTERTAINMENT -- Low budget equals poor entertainment! I don't want to list the entertainers as I will everyone has their own opinion. The two 'Broadway' style shows were filled with mediocre singers and dancers. The cruise director- Richard Spacey was the only memorable person as far as the entertainment was concerned. He was friendly, funny and could grab the audience's attention. Too bad he couldn't do a routine one night on his own! I have also never been on a cruise ship where the audience fills up less then half of the seats! Overall a two out of ten stars! Jesters Nightclub- an hour each night was devoted to 70's or 80's (which we like). However, from midnight on it went to hip hop and Spanish reggae music geared for the under 25 crowd. It was a good place to sit and enjoy a drink and people watch. Ed Manego is the piano bar was fantastic and could be quite funny at times! The R&B group 'Sol Play' was also a great treat in the Imperial Lounge- make sure you make their Motown show! FOOD SERVICE -- The restaurant food was pretty decent! We ate in the dining room for most lunches as well as dinners. The Windjammer cafe is reliable (if you like microwaved food) or leftovers under a heat lamp. The Cafe Promenade in the evening has decent sandwiches and the pizza is very good. We went once to the Johnny Rockets on board- the service was great and the food was just like the restaurant. Our service in the restaurant was good and reliable (but not great). There were very few options after dinner- no 24 hour places like Holland America and I believe only one midnight buffet which we didn't attend. We tried the Portofino and three times was promised a call back for a reservation which we never received. We had some friends go and they said the steak was great and the pasta dishes were so-so. BAR SERVICE -- The bar service was slow and the drinks were hit or miss. The prices were high (but seemed average to other cruises we have taken). All drinks of the day are $8.95. Make sure to not request the souvenir glasses or you will be charged an extra $2 on most specialty drinks. PORTS of CALL -- Day 1- Depart San Juan at 10pm Day 2- At Sea Day 3- Aruba (Fantastic port of call! I highly recommend renting a 4x4 and driving the island and beaches! The sunset was gorgeous and rivaled Hawaii's) Day 4- Curacao (Very cool island- great shopping and bright colored buildings) Day 5- At Sea Day 6- St. Maarten (Never cared much for it here. However, they have really built up the arrival port area. Enjoyed most of the day on the ship) Day 7- St. Thomas (Took a ferry to St. John- the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean-- in my opinion) Day 8- Arrived San Juan at 7am EXCURSIONS -- None. Typically we do these but decided to do it all on our own this time. Renting a car and driving around the island on your own is a great way to see the island on your own time! It ran about $75 for the day- much less then the ships excursions! PASSENGERS -- There was a high number of locals on the ship (my guess is over 50%). Some crew members were telling us that they sell the remaining rooms at cost to fill the ship (a couple of hundred dollars for the week). I personally don't have any issue with this but other passengers were very 'offended' by all of the announcements in English and Spanish. Some of the shows and nightly entertainment were also all in Spanish. If this is a problem for you then I do not recommend this cruise for you. We met many great passengers from San Francisco, Dallas, NYC, DC and Puerto Rico on board. It was a very diverse crowd and personally I found that refreshing. DEBARKATION -- Royal Caribbean rushes passengers out of their stateroom and off the ship. We had to be out of our stateroom by 8am sharp (the room attendant was knocking by 8:10am). There was no orderly exit- just a very long line once you got off the ship. They asked you to wait in the public lounges, and not in the gangway area, until their number was called. Most passengers did not comply, several times people had to climb over people lying on the stairs! CONCLUSION -- Royal Caribbean can't handle near 3,200 passengers! How in the world are they going to handle close to 5,500 when the new class of ships comes out in 2008? I have never been on Carnival before but from what I have heard Royal Caribbean is very similar in the quality of the ships and mediocre service. We most likely won't return to Royal Caribbean. We admit we have been spoiled by Holland America and Norwegian. We don't regret the experience as we enjoyed the wonderful ports of call and we met many wonderful new friends. It was just the overall experience, poor service and entertainment that was nowhere up to par for us. You live, you learn! :) Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
What a great vacation. We went for the first time in this cruise the week of september 24 to october 1st 2006. We are a couple in our 30's, with two little girls of 5 and 7 years old. Cabin Our cabin was #6358 a balcony one, it ... Read More
What a great vacation. We went for the first time in this cruise the week of september 24 to october 1st 2006. We are a couple in our 30's, with two little girls of 5 and 7 years old. Cabin Our cabin was #6358 a balcony one, it have a bed, a sofa-bed for the girls and the beautiful view from the balcony. The check in process runs smoothly! For Kids Parents For those parents reading this review, I would like to tell you that the kids adventure program is great. Our kids love it, and stay there when we visit the different ports (because they want to avoid to walk and to sweat), and in the night too. There are one spanish talking (bilingual) person for each group, which makes our girls to feel comfortable. The one thing our girl doesn't like is that the pools are of salted water...so that keep the girls far from them...and that's really unfortunate because the water slide is really fun. They have a different activity every night and the one our girls really enjoy was the Pirate Night, where the adventure ocean staff members make-up them like pirates, and each kids paint their own pirate bandana, and then went to the theater, the main restaurant, etc...and take a nice picture so you can buy a memory of your little pirate. Ah! almost forgot they enjoy to "skate" in the ice rink (one day they have two hours exclusive for families with kids to skate). My oldest daughter (the one with 7 years old) do the rock climbing and ring the bell! Restaurants We have breakfast and lunch in the buffet "Windjammer"...the breakfast is the same every day: fruits, cold and hot cereals, omelettes, breads, etc...but in the lunch you can find a little (something) different every day. One day we have breakfast and lunch in the main restaurant and have a great experience. All nights we went to dinner in the main restaurant where we share the table with another Puerto Rican family and a couple of the United States. The waiter and his assistant were great, so friendly. The food is delicious, something for every taste! Shows Well I only see the Cool Art - Hot Ice show, which is beautiful! My husband and daughter went to see the Gaucho Show and they really have fun. Ports As this is our 4th cruise in the same route, and we are travelling in a tight budget we do not visit all the islands again. So in Aruba we only go down to buy some gouda cheese; in the St. Maarten we went to Orient Beach to make parasailing in couple...my husband and I have a really good time. In Curazao we went to the Curacao Sea Aquarium, a little but beautiful place...where you can see different feeding shows during which visitors can touch and learn about the animals. Apart from the feeding shows, the park also offers training demonstrations (shows) with its sea lions and the dolphins. A great experience. Overall, the cruise is beautiful, the service is great, the food is delicious. If you like to know something else, please write me to ralip28@aol.com...have a nice cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
Cruisers  Me  Jess  30  5th cruise, 1st RCI DH  Dave  31  4th cruise, 1st RCI Julie and Glenn  early 30s  have done a few cruises, 2nd RCI (they did the Aruba route on the Adventure for their honeymoon 3 years ago) Cara and Scott ... Read More
Cruisers  Me  Jess  30  5th cruise, 1st RCI DH  Dave  31  4th cruise, 1st RCI Julie and Glenn  early 30s  have done a few cruises, 2nd RCI (they did the Aruba route on the Adventure for their honeymoon 3 years ago) Cara and Scott  early 30s  2nd cruise  both on RCI (first one was a family cruise to Alaska 5 years ago) Julie and Glenn and Dave and I flew out of Hartford on 9/17 (embarkation day) and met Cara and Scott at the ship. They had flown down from Boston on Friday. Flight was uneventful, landed at about 11:30. We had our luggage, grabbed a cab and were at the pier in less than an hour. The longest part of that was waiting for them to get the luggage off the plane, and our garment bag was the LAST piece to come out! The cabs are really well organized in San Juan. We got in line, told them how many, how much luggage and where we were going, and they gave us a ticket with a price already on it. For 4 of us, 6 pieces of luggage and 3 carry-ons it was $25 to the pier, we gave the driver $30. Once we got to the pier it was a little confusing, none of the lines are marked. We figured out which was the luggage line and got in that, then got in the line to get through security. We had our Set Sail pass already filled out online so we got right in line to check in. It looked really long&but from the time we got out of the cab to the time we were checked in and had our Sea Pass cards was no more than 20 minutes!! Once we had our cards we headed to the ship&through security again to get our pictures taken (for security), up the gangway to get our pictures taken again (to buy later), and then through another security check point and then we were on the ship!! Total time from landing to walking through the doorway to the ship  just about an hour and a half! On a side note  we had thought about buying booze in the duty free shop at the port, glad we didnt, they were taking it at the last check point before you got on the ship. Cara and Scott did get a couple bottles on in their checked bags though. By this point it was only about 1 so our rooms werent ready. We headed to the Promenade and checked all that out. Dave and I made reservations for Portofinos for Wednesday night and then we headed to the dining room to check out our tables. Cara and Scott got stuck at a table across the dining room from us, so we asked to have them switched and were told to just come to dinner that evening and they would see what they could do. Scott went back down and sweet talked them later and they ended up creating a table for just the 6 of us. Dave and I bought the 7 bottle Platinum wine package at this point also. The guys headed up to the 19th Hole to get a drink and see if any football was on, and the girls headed to the Windjammer for lunch. Julie and I bought the soda package and it was definitely worth it. After that we went back to get the guys and headed to our rooms. Dave and I (and Julie and Glenn) had a Promenade Room on the 8th deck, Cara and Scott were in a hump balcony on the same deck. We unpacked our carry ons, I changed into my bathing suit and we headed out. I sat by the pool while Dave went to get something to eat, then we found Julie and Glenn and explored the ship for a couple hours. I made an appointment for a seaweed massage when we got to the spa&more later. We went back to our rooms at about 5 or so and our luggage was there. We spent the next couple hours unpacking and napping. Muster was at 8:30 so we got ready for dinner, did that, and then headed to dinner for 9. Ill review food and service later. After dinner we just hit the casino, walked around a bit, grabbed late night pizza at the Promenade Cafe and turned in. It had been a long day! Day 2  at sea. We got up and went to the Windjammer for breakfast. Dave and I found a couple chairs by the main pool (one in the sun for me, one right behind it in the shade for him) around 10 and settled in. The others found us and joined us for a while. The girls decided to try the dining room for lunch today since it was only offered today and one other day (Antigua). The boys played shuffleboard and then went to Windjammer. We all went to the wine tasting at 3:30&it was ok¬ the best one Ive ever been to. If you have a 2 for 1 coupon, do it, if not, its probably not worth the $10 each. After all that we met at the Solarium (adults only pool) and hung out there until about 5:30-6 and went back to our rooms to nap and relax before dinner, it was formal night. At around 7:45 we met at Cara and Scotts room, had a drink, and then went to the Promenade for the Captains Cocktail hour. After dinner we all changed and hit the bars on the ship. I know during the week we did a couple shows, hung out at Jesters, hung out at the Duck and Dog, and gambled a few times, I just cant remember what nights!! Day 3  Barbados. Cara and Scott wanted to snorkel so they booked an excursion through the ship. Not sure which one it was, but they loved it. The rest of us grabbed a cab and headed to The Boatyard. The cab was $8 per person, The Boatyard was $15 each. The fee included use of all their facilities, a chair, a free drink, and a shuttle ride back to the ship. For another $2 we got a HUGE umbrella. Niko helped us out all day, he was awesome. This place was beautiful. The water was gorgeous, they had water trampolines and little inflatable rock wall you could climb, they also had a rope swing. There were some vendors pushing stuff, but they were nice, took no for an answer, and generally didnt bother us much. We spend a few hours there and then headed back to the pier at about 1:30. There were some shops so walked around a little, didnt buy much. Once back on board we dropped our bags off and had lunch at the Windjammer and headed to the Solarium. Julie and Glenn went to Portofinos for dinner, the rest of us went to the dining room and then hung out at various places after dinner. Day 4  St. Lucia. Cara and Scott went on their own again and did the Aerial Trek through the ship. They LOVED it. Dave and I had done it in Puerto Vallarta on our honeymoon and loved it, too. The other 4 of us booked an island tour through the ship. We were on an air conditioned bus and they took us through the city and out into the country. We stopped at a look out to take pictures of the island and our ship, and then headed to a Batik fabric making shop. It was really neat and they had UNBELIEVABLE prices on clothing, bags, and various other items. After that they took us to the other side of the island where we could see the Atlantic on one side and the Caribbean on the other. Next was a stop at a beach for a couple hours&the beach wasnt the best, and the vendors were pushy, but the water was gorgeous. After the beach they took us back to the ship. It was already 3 at this point so we went to Johnny Rockets for lunch -- well worth the $4 charge&YUM. After that it was our usual routine of the Solarium, relaxing in our rooms, dinner and drinks/bars. Dave and I did Portofinos for dinner and then met the rest of them. Day 5  Antigua. I had my massage at 8 and then we decided to all take a cab to Runaway Bay on the recommendation of the ship. BIG mistake. It was right near a swamp and cow pasture so it smelled, and the facilities werent great. It rained most of the morning, too, so that didnt help. We stuck it out for a couple hours and then went back to the pier. The vendors here were AWFUL. We barely walked around, just went back to the ship for lunch. It had been raining most of the day and the sun was coming out so we did the Solarium thing again! Day 6  St. Maarten. Our original plan was to do Orient Beach, but the boys and Cara were beached out so we just took the water taxi to the one right across from the ship. It was awesome. We rented chairs ($20 for 6) and umbrellas and hung out for a couple hours. The water and service were awesome and the vendors werent pushy. When we had had enough we shopped&this is the best place to shop. After shopping we kind of all split up and grabbed a water taxi back to the pier&we had decided earlier that we would meet at Fat Tuesdays before getting back on the ship. WE all eventually made it, Cara and Scott decided to shop more, the rest of us went back to the ship about 4:30 (had to be back by 5). Cara and Scott found some great deals and were among the last to board! Back to the Solarium for our usual! Day 7  St. Thomas. Cara and Scott decided to just shop in the morning so we made plans to meet them at the Paradise Point tram at 1:30 and the rest of us got a cab to Megans Bay. This place is gorgeous. While the beach itself isnt the best, the views and the water are breathtaking. Also, its a private beach so that meant NO VENDORS!!! We rented chairs and found some shade and just relaxed. Around 12:30 it started to sprinkle so we took our time packing up and got a cab to the tram to meet Cara and Scott. Once we were all together we headed to the top. The views were the best we had all week, but everything up there is EXPENSIVE. We took the tram back down and walked back to the ship. Julie and Glenn stopped to shop, the rest of us headed to the Solarium for the last time. They met us and we stayed until we really HAD to leave to get ready for dinner. Day 8  Disembarkation. We were group 3. Our flights werent until 6PM so we stayed in our rooms until 8 and then went to the dining room for breakfast. We took our time eating and then waited for a while in Studio B. Our group was called before 9, but we hung out until about 10. We timed everything right. From the time we left Studio B to the time we were in a cab was ½ hour&this was getting off the ship, waiting in line to get our bags, getting our bags, going through customs, and checking in for our flights! We took a cab to Old San Juan, walked around a bit, hung out in a couple bars, had lunch, and went to the airport for about 3. We had already checked in so we just had to do security. We were at our gates by 3:45&hit the duty free and just hung out. Flights home were uneventful. Food  Overall very good. We were never disappointed with our choices in the dining room. We asked the first night for shrimp cocktail and got it every night. The lunch in the dining room was great. The Windjammer wasnt the best. They had the same lunch everyday and it was never very hot. There were a few items that were fantastic&everything else was just ok. The breakfasts were a little better&the made to order omelets were great&worth waiting in line for. We only did breakfast in the dining room on the last day and it was very good. We did breakfast from room service one day and it was perfect&they called right before they brought it up so we were ready, and it was always good. Johnny Rockets was exactly what we expected. All you can eat fries and onion rings, they were yummy, and the burgers were awesome. Service  Excellent for the most part. Our room steward was David Johnson. He was very nice, very efficient. Our room was always clean. The only bad thing was that he didnt always take the empty glasses we would end up with at the end of the night. The service in the Solarium was awesome. We spent a LOT of time there and the waiters and bartenders took very good care of us! Our dining staff was the best Ive had in 5 cruises. Our waiter was Tyrone from South Africa. He was fantastic. We stayed a while after dinner talking to him almost every night. This was also the first cruise where the head waiter spent more than 5 minutes all week at our table&he stopped to see us every night. Spa  Great. The staff was very nice and my massage was great. It was 1.5 hours&a 20 minute seaweed wrap, shower, 10 minute dry wrap, shower, and then a massage. The technician who helped me was great and didnt try to push any products on me. Entertainment - The only good show that we saw was the Beatles tribute one (can't remember the name) and they were awesome. WE had a tons of fun. Right after them there was a really good comedian. We also saw El Goucho...wasn't terribly impressed with him. What he did was cool...it just took a long time. The Love and Marriage game show was hilarious as usual, as was the Quest. The singer in the Duck and Dog was good, but not terribly friendly and not open to requests. Ship  It was beautiful, we didnt even get to experience a lot of it! I dont think Ill do 5 ports in a week again, I feel like we missed to much of the ship. There were places were didnt even see! Our room was an inside room overlooking the Promenade. While I LOVED having a balcony in the past, I would book this category again for the price. It was nice that it had the window to the Promenade, it didnt feel like a true inside. The only thing I would change is the location, I would go towards the middle of the Promenade&we were at one end and we couldnt really see what was going on. Cant wait to cruise RCI again!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
What: Adventure of the Seas 7-day Southern Caribbean (Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, St. Thomas) out of San Juan Who: my husband and I (9th and 8th cruise respectively  first RCL), 4 friends (3 cruises  first RCL) traveling from Columbus ... Read More
What: Adventure of the Seas 7-day Southern Caribbean (Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, St. Thomas) out of San Juan Who: my husband and I (9th and 8th cruise respectively  first RCL), 4 friends (3 cruises  first RCL) traveling from Columbus Ohio. We range in age from mid-30s to mid-40s. When: Departing September 10th, 2006 DH and I came down a day before everyone else. We flew from Cincinnati, rather than our home airport of Columbus as the airfare was about ½ the price. We stayed at the Sussex Hotel on the Cincinnati airport property the night before we left  park and fly special, 11 days of parking and one night room for $139. The hotel is under renovation, and is due to become either a Sheraton or a Marriott this fall. Note: We were on the second floor, but there are no working elevators right now. That meant that we needed to be physically able to drag our bags upstairs. The next morning we flew out on "Ted" through Chicago - no delays, uneventful flight. Once in San Juan, we taxied over to the Intercontinental Hotel. The hotel is awesome, the staff fantastic. One negative though. Their fabulous pool area is under construction through October of 2006. They are willing to send you to the Holiday Inn which is very close by if you dont want to swim in the ocean. Since we had booked through Hotwire, they were unable to give us a refund (I was really looking forward to that pool), however they did provide us with other considerations to make our stay more pleasant. To be completely truthful, the staff were some of the nicest people we have ever met - we received outstanding service. If you stay, make sure you get a massage in their spa  very nice. A note about Hotwire: You choose your hotel by the amenities, and then make a binding selection, without knowing the name. However, if those amenities are not available when you arrive, Hotwire claims that they are not responsible. Make sure you read the T&Cs carefully, and if the amenities are important to you, vs. a place to rest your head this may not be the way you want to book your hotel. We spent 3 days in San Juan. 2 of our friends opted for the slightly less expensive Coral by the Sea hotel. For the difference of $40 per night, they had a hotel that did not provide washcloths, gave only a single towel  slightly larger than a hand towel, and failed to make the beds. In San Juan my husband and I were pretty lazy. We did walk around Old San Juan (free drinks in the visitors center!) one day, giving our friends a bit of a tour (weve both been before), and we did go kayaking in the bioluminescent lagoon at Farjado. We used a tour company called Eco Action Tours. They picked us up at the hotel and provided us with a great tour (total cost ~$60 per person). Our friends went to El Yunque on Sunday before we boarded - we laid around on the beach and sucked down "voodoo buckets", and we ended up getting to the pier around 6:00 pm. There was hardly anyone there  no waiting in line, and we were on board in about 10 minutes. The Ship Adventure of the Seas is beautiful  and huge. By day 7 we finally figured out where to go, just in time to get off. We had an inside cabin on deck 8. The only thing that I noticed that was different from other ships was that we could hear the group of people staying in the cabin to our left. We spent a lot of our ship time in the gym (decent equipment, but not great), the Solarium (adults only pool area that hardly anyone finds), the Casino (4 losers, 2 non-players), the dining room and the WindJammer. We also did a round of mini-golf at 2 am the first night. Never made it to the rock climbing wall. Did see the ice show (great) and a couple of the production shows (best entertainment that Ive seen at sea). We also saw the parade on the first night in the promenade  it was a little weird, but we were willing to go with it. Went to the wine tasting (we are platinum status on Celebrity, so we had the free coupon)  the cheese served with the wine was quite tasty. I enjoyed most of the wines, and learned a few more affordable varieties that I can stock at home. I want to quickly note some special staff members that made our cruise awesome  first the dining staff, Mustafa, our headwaiter was wonderful and always made sure we had some type of chocolate treat. Edmund, our waiter was always around with a smile, dinner recommendations, advice and information. Also our cabin steward Janice, who made sure our cabin was clean and tidy, and took excellent care of any of our special requests  always with a smile and a personal greeting. The Islands Aruba We were off the ship by 9am. DH and I were doing the ATV Mania tour, 2 of our friends were taking the Island and Butterfly Farm tour, and 2 were just walking around town. Both tours were excellent and everyone had a good time. After the tours, we wandered around town for a bit, and bought a few things. For those of you looking for diving supplies, Red Sail is right on the corner of the duty-free area coming off the ship. If youre looking for a mens dress shirt and tie, forget it, there are none to be had. We went to Carlos N Charlies for dinner and a margarita by the yard (between $12-15 depending on what you order, vs. the $25 at Sr. Frogs in Grand Cayman), and then 4 of us headed for the Pub Crawl. Originally Carlos N Charlies was the last stop on the crawl, but it has been removed. We went to 4 local/tourist bars. The driver and guide were a lot of fun, but I still think we should have stayed at C&C. We all made it back to the ship by 12:30. Curacao None of the excursions at Curacao appealed to any of the group, so we decided to just wander the town and shop. We strolled around for a couple of hours and then went back to the ship to relax and enjoy the pool. Curacao is picturesque from a distance, and we took a few very nice photos. St. Maarten We booked a tour with Joyce Prince for the day. She took the 6 of us around the island in her SUV, and basically let us choose where to go, when we wanted to stop, and gave us ideas on where to eat and what to see. We shopped a bit in Phillipsburg, drove to Marigot, and had lunch in view of the old fort. We spend the last hour at Orient Beach, and she brought us back to the beach. Joyce was very prompt, personable, and knowledgeable about the island. We thoroughly enjoyed our day with her. St. Thomas 4 of us took the Buck Island Snorkeling Tour. We went out in a mid-sized sailboat (the Jolly Mon) with only the captain and first mate (a husband and wife team named Gary and Gayle). Each boat holds a maximum of 6 guests, so you get a semi-private tour. We sailed for about 40 minutes to Buck Island, and then jumped in to snorkel around. Gayle was in the water with us, pointing out fish, types of coral, the wrecked ship, and a couple of octopus. After an hour of snorkeling, we got back on the boat and had some snacks and liquid refreshment. This was one of the best excursions that we have ever taken from a cruise ship. Im not sure why there were not many people signed up for it  maybe they didnt notice that only 6 passengers would be on each boat. After snorkeling, we went back to the ship to shower and then walked around Charlotte Amalie. We were the only ship in port, and the taxi drivers were thick on the ground. They are quite annoying in their attempts to drum up business  to the point that as we were leaving our taxi into town, another driver was asking us if we needed a taxi. We ate lunch at a place called the Greenhouse. 2 for 1 coladas and college football on the big screens, all served up with fresh seafood for a reasonable price. Disembarkation Disembarkation was a breeze. We had no trouble locating our luggage, and we were on our way in about 30 minutes. This was a 5-star vacation. DH and I plan on cruising with Royal for our next few cruises, since this vacation seemed to suit our age group and pace the best of the 4 lines we have traveled, though we might have to return to Celebrity to do Europe in a couple of years. 4 of 6 booked another RCL Caribbean cruise while on the ship. The other two booked an RCL cruise to Alaska, and will book the Caribbean trip while they are on the Alaska cruise. Cabin credit is a great thing. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
Background: We were a group of eight women traveling together. Prior to Cruise: We left Boston on a 9:45 flight to Puerto Rico and arrived at or around 1:40 p.m. Our luggage was easy to locate (tip: use those plastic Hawaiian leis on ... Read More
Background: We were a group of eight women traveling together. Prior to Cruise: We left Boston on a 9:45 flight to Puerto Rico and arrived at or around 1:40 p.m. Our luggage was easy to locate (tip: use those plastic Hawaiian leis on your luggage handles - makes them easier to spot) Got into a cab and headed to the Radisson Ambassador in Condado. Cab was $16.50 for four persons with luggage - not including tip. Hotel: It was okay. Since the casino is in the lobby it is very smokey smelling. We had rooms on the 5th floor with ours facing the burger king. We picked this hotel as it was only $150 a night and it had a nice pool with a bar on the top of the roof. Got some lunch in their Ambassador Grille. It was okay. Our waiter, Anthony, was fun and I think the Girls from Boston horrified him. Pool was nice but the pool bar was never open any time that we were there. Everyone was a little wiped out during the day so never made it to the Meet & Mingle planned at Senor Frogs with the Cruise Critic people. Our rule was no one went anywhere alone and since my group was taking a nap, I went back to the grille to wait for them and used my drink coupon. Met lovely people cheering for New York (hey Ray) and they tolerated this Boston fan in their midst. Met two shipmates while there (Hey mario & joe) and hung out with them once the girls showed up. Great guys and had fun with them off and on all week. Embarkation: Next day we decided not to head to ship until after 2:00 p.m. as we didn't want to wait in long lines and needed to pick up stuff at Walgreens since I had to throw stuff out at the airport. We caught cabs to the boat (what a trip). Got caught in this major traffic jam and our cab driver ended up driving over a median strip into the next lane and then zipped up these side streets to get us to the pier. (About $20) Once their we paid porters to take our bags and headed in. Went to the set and sail pass line and got in their. Here's a quick suggestion for large groups waiting in line. If you are in multiple lines and you have finished before your group, move off the side. Don't join them in their line while they wait. Makes it move much easier. Stood in line to get our picture done and got on the ship. By that time we headed to our cabins to check them out. Three cabins (two of them connecting) and we had 3 and 3 in the connecting rooms. Note: Do not use these cabins (6606, 6608 or 6610) if you want three in a room. Very small and our travel agent really dropped the ball on these. I am sure if they weren't where the bump was mid ship, they might be slightly, and I do mean slightly larger. Proceeded to the Windjammer for some lunch. Typical buffet type food. Salad bar (small); hamburgers, hotdogs, sandwiches and some hot dishes). When you go into Windjammer you can get plate and utensils as you walk in and there is a set up there or if it is crowded (which usually is the case) go towards the back and get your set up there as they have the same food back there. Went and toured the spa and the gym and made appointments for the spa for the week and to find out the gym hours (yes I went three times). Hung out by the pool and then went down to check on luggage and to get ready for the muster drill. Found our cabin steward and had him separate the beds - about the only thing he did right that week. After the drill we went to dinner. We were 2nd seating in the Strauss dining room at table 462. Had a great waiter, Cristien, and assistant waiter, Thiek. Some went to the welcome show and I checked out the shops and went to bed early  was beat. DAY AT SEA: We met for breakfast at the Windjammer and planned the day. Some of the ladies were going to buy one of the horses for the horse race at auction for us and others sat by the pool and enjoyed the sun. Did the shopping talk with Kelvin and bought one of those passport to savings books for $20 - had all these coupons in it for the different shops in the ports - came in handy. Went to the art auction (Hey Maverick and Andre) and proceeded to have a blast with the champagne and auction. Bought some animation cells and one a bottle of champagne for sitting in the front row and one a prize (art worth about $600) for one of the raffles. Headed back to the pool to catch up with everyone and watched the line dancing and pool games. Went to the Meet & Mingle and met some of the Cruise Critic people - hey Dr. Disney and Readheaded Mike and all the others. Proceeded to get ready formal night and headed off to the Champagne bar. They have this great card that you can get 10 champagne cocktails for a total of $43.13 (saving about 50% of the cost of 10 champagne drinks). Dinner was nice and food was okay. They definitely over seasoned most of the food this week. In the seafood risotto all you could taste was the seafood stock they used and the same with one of their saffron dishes throughout the week. Hit the casino after dinner and won $145 dollars. Headed off to bed after midnight sometime in order to get ready for Aruba. ARUBA: Only shopped in Aruba as I have stayed there many times in the past 10 years and have cruised in and out of their in the past 16 (first cruise actually left from Aruba). It has definitely been built up since my first visit and even since my last visit about 5 years ago. Made a suggestion to the ladies in the group to take the local bus ($1.00 each way) to go to Holiday Inn at Palm Beach and stay on the beach there. Water sports right there and the Holiday Inn has a pool bar that you can use. They did that after shopping and had fun. Got back to the ship had lunch and hung out at the pool to catch some more rays. Did the dinner thing and some of the ladies went to Carlos & Charlies to check it out. We hung out in Jesters for a while. CURACAO We walked the 15 minutes to the downtown area and the Floating Bridge was in service so we walked over it and checked out the shops and used my coupons. Since we bought the horse at auction (No. 6  Big Papi Ortiz) we found the only fabric store in downtown Curacao and proceeded to by ribbons and such to decorate our horse. Got very hot downtown so headed back to the ship and I proceeded to decorate our horse (used the hair pieces the ladies bought). He looked gorgeous. Once again hung out at the Solarium pool and vegged for a bit. Dinner this night was Caribbean night and while reading the posts everyone said this was the night to do Portofino. We had dinner at 8:00 in Portofino and it was fabulous. Had the Caprese Salad (little grape/cherry tomatoes with boccino mozzarella (little mozzarella balls) with oil and balsamic vinegar; then had the specialty salad that had candied walnuts, blue cheese and mixed greens (quite yummy) followed by broiled fish on risotto which was scrumptious. Now dessert was something else. We got the dessert sampler which had a mini tiramisu, mini chocolate molton cake, a panacotta and a crème brulee (which was more like a thick mousse than the brulees we are used too). DAY AT SEA: This was the day of the horse race. Being the horse's groom it had to come with me and as I was in the slot tournament, Big Papi came to the casino with me. I got knocked out of the last round but had fun. Took the horse to meet our jockey (way to go Donna) and proceeded to show him off and have fun in the sun. They got the horses ready for the race and had a contest on who was the prettiest. We were the best dressed horse but the winner had two bikini clad 21 year olds as their jockeys. Shout out to NHRA and their horse. Well the first race went and we came in second. Now it was time for the owners race and we ended winning that and got $600 for it ($75 a piece) and if you bet on our horse a $5.00 bet got you $12.00. It started to rain then so we all got ready for the second formal night. We went to the iceskating show which was great and proceeded to dinner. Oh and yes we had our winning horse with us as we had to show him off to our waiter and to return his tie that he let us borrow for our horse. Dinner was good and we headed to Jesters for music. They were doing a salsa thing up on deck but once it started to rain they came to jesters and all of a sudden the 70's 80's and hip hop music went completely latin. The DJ was asked by several patrons to maybe mix it up but they wouldn't. ST. MAARTEN Did the shopping thing again and ended up eating at one of the local restaurants for lunch. Very yummy Cuban pannini. But note that island time is very slow and be prepared to spend more than an hour or so at a meal. The rest of the group went to the beach and one of us yet again missed going into St. Maarten but she had an excuse. Too much fun in the hot tub and didn't get back to the cabin until around 7:00 ish. This was the day we did the preregistration for American Airlines. For $10 fee they give you the luggage tags and your boarding passes. Dinner again in the dining room. Food okay, desserts yummy and we love Vivian our after dinner drink man. He made our nights with the loving cups. ST. THOMAS Everyone but me and another person, took the ferry from Red Hook over to St. John for the day. I did my final shopping and had lunch at the Green House in downtown and met up with Mario and Joe again and had a nice afternoon while it downpoured around us. Took a cab back to the ship (we were originally going to walk). The others came in like drowned rats and we proceeded to get ready for dinner. Had more fun saying goodbye to Cristien, Thiek and Vivian and were probably one of the last ones to leave. Had finished packing and put the luggage out in the hallway and then off to the casino for my final donation and ended up winning $120. DISEMBARKATION What a zoo. We had put our tags on the bags the night before and were given two disembarkation group numbers (4 and 9). Asked the person at client service the difference between the two groups and she said only about an hour so we decided to go with group 9 instead. It turned out to be more like 3 hours between 4 and 9. Thankfully we had a 2:55 flight out but would have loved to have gotten off the boat and maybe gone to lunch (we got off around 12:30 ish). Did get to sit up on the top deck and proceed to get my final burn of the trip and got to meet the Captain's boss from Vancouver (Robert  very nice and very cute) Customs was a zoo. Between doing the announcements in English and in Spanish (which they both sounded Spanish) and getting through the doors and in lines it was not fun. Granted RCCL has nothing to do with this part of it but should have more than 4 people collecting Immigration Forms for a ship of over 3,000 people. Got the luggage and finally made it through customs. Brought the luggage around the corner to the American Airlines personnel and we got a cab and headed to the airport (around $21  with no luggage  more if you have luggage). Got through airport security and tried to find something to eat and got my seat changed to an emergency exit row for the leg room so burnt legs won't feel so bad. Landed and was home in Boston and at my front door by 8:30 p.m. Only bad things: Rude people. Don't want to paint the locals from Puerto Rico with the same brush but largely most of them were quite rude and pushy and but the bad definitely stood out more than the nice. Did meet a lovely couple from Puerto Rico as we pulled out from St. Thomas and we had a lovely talk about families and children. It seems that most had a tough time following rules posted. Smoking in the Solarium - signs on wall said no smoking. Children in the adults only pool (had to be over 16) and most of the kids I saw were under 10. Children, no make that toddlers, in the hot tub with their parents. There is a reason the sign state 16 and over - medical speaking I wouldn't want my toddler in a hot tub where the temperature is usually in the 80's or higher. Would you put your child in bathtub at that temperature - no, i don't think so. And if RCCL had all these cabins available at cheaper prices, why not upgrade the ones who already booked and then fill the other ones. Made no sense. Definitely would not sail out of Puerto Rico again unless it was after October. We had over 500 children on the boat and most of them weren't supervised by their parents. I know RCCL gives a better rate closer to the trip and they hope to make it up in sales on the ship but according to most of the crew we dealt with, the only ones really spending any money were the non-locals. Also couldn't believe how many full tables there were in the dining room during the week, but come the final night when it came to tips - those tables were empty. Not to say that they might not have done the automatic tips but most of them didn't. Don't even get me started on our cabin guy. He didn't do a great job at all. We left an empty bottle out on the balcony and it stayed there for 3 days before I threw it away. Oh and the supplies on the ship. I am non-beer drinker but the ship ran out of Budlight bottles on Tuesday and all light beer by Wednesday night, Thursday. Not too mention no grapefruit juice after a few days and bananas by Thursday. All in all probably won't do Southern Caribbean again unless it started from a different port and probably won't do RCCL in while. Now remember, this is just my take on the cruise and I am sure others (not the 8 of us or the other people I talked with) had a wonderful time. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
Our trip started from JFK. Just a note that the American Airline employees there are not very nice at 6 am. Anyway, our flight was great. We went to San Juan one day early. When you get your bags, go to the ground transportation booth ... Read More
Our trip started from JFK. Just a note that the American Airline employees there are not very nice at 6 am. Anyway, our flight was great. We went to San Juan one day early. When you get your bags, go to the ground transportation booth outside. Let them know how many people, how many bags and your destination. You will receive a voucher to give to the taxi driver. The taxi fares are reasonable. We stayed at the Sheraton in Old San Juan. The hotel and staff were nice.(Bar, restaurant, gym, pool) We strolled around Old San Juan for the afternoon. We had a late lunch at Senor Frogs. We were a group of 16, with different arrival times. Once everyone arrived we all ended up in Senor Frogs for the rest of the night. That was quite a fun evening and set the tone for the rest of the trip! On Sunday we headed to the pier at noon. The cab ride was quick and inexpensive. The line looked endless to check-in. We thought it would take forever. All of a sudden, they added additional people to take your bags. Once that happened, the check-in process was a whirlwind. It was so easy. We were on the ship by 12:30. We immediately went to the pool. Our first order of business was to make our reservations for Portafino. Since we were a large group, we wanted to get that done ASAP. The rest of the day we just explored the ship. It is beautiful! For dinner the first night, they let you wear whatever you wanted. Many people didn't have their luggage by dinner time, so you had to wear whatever you wore onto the ship. We were in the second seating. We had the best waiter ever!!! (Shout out to Randolph--you rock!!!) The food was good every night. No complaints from me!! Monday was an at sea day. I went to the gym in the morning. I did the aerobics class. It was ok. It was a little too "dancey" for me. It also lasted only 30 minutes. I also used the treadmills. They gym was nice-plenty of equipment to use. Never had to wait. We just hung out at the pool all day. Very relaxing. We purchased a horse in the auction. We ate lunch at the Windjammer most days. It was good--some things were exceptionally tasty. That night was the first formal night. All went well. We had purchased all of our excursions through the cruise line before we left home. We were looking forward to Aruba tomorrow! Tuesday we arrived in Aruba at 8 am. We went on the half day Jeep Safari at 8:30. It was a lot of fun. (FYI-make sure you wear something that you don't mind getting full of mud!) You see a lot of neat landmarks--you make a few stops during the tour and get to walk around and check things out. That night we went on the Aruba Bar and Pub Stroll. It takes place on a KuKoo Kunuku party bus. (Hey Big Daddy and Victor) They take you to 5 different bars. It was crazy!! We had soooooooooo much fun!! We met a fun group from Minnesota (Hey Chris! You were everywhere!!) I would highly recommend both of those excursions. We came back at whatever time, and went to the pool party on the ship. We ended up swimming, then hanging out in the hot tub until 1:30-2:00. Wednesday was Curacao. I regret not getting up earlier to check out the town. We were really lazy and just hung out until it was time for our excursion at 12:30. We ate breakfast at the Windjammer. It was fine, the same thing each day. That was ok w/ me. We went to a beach for the afternoon. It was a nice beach. A pretty uneventful day. Thursday was the second at sea day. Finally figured out that the best coffee is from the coffee shop on the 5th floor promenade. (no extra fee for just coffee) More pool games. They are so funny. Our horse that we purchased was ready for his big race today. He won for "best dressed". Then when it came time for the owners race, he didn't do so well. I think I was dead last. Oh well! We went to the 5:00 ice skating show. It was good. (they offer 3 other show times. You must have tickets for it. The tickets are free, but you need to pick them up on Monday) After the ice skating show, we had a "private cocktail party" that ended up being a surprise birthday party for me. (Thanks to my sis, Mari, for arranging it) It was a lot of fun. After that, we went to Portafino for dinner. We were a large group and a little loud after our cocktail party. (Sorry to those of you trying to have a nice quiet dinner) The food was excellent. It is definitely worth the additional charge. Thursday was also a formal night, but Portafino just asks that you dress "smart casual". Friday was St Maarten. We did the America's Cup Sailing Regatta. It was awesome and highly recommended. We were in the "Stars and Stripes" yacht. We won the race! Everyone had a hand in sailing. You do not need any experience. You can also choose to just be an observer. After the regatta, we had lunch and shopped a little. That night was the "Quest" game. Even if you don't want to play, you must watch. People will do the craziest things!! We won the game!! It was a lot of fun (although I did pull a muscle in my leg--it was all worth it to win that t-shirt!) Saturday was St. Thomas. We did the Ultimate Island Experience. It was a nice way to see a little bit of everything. After the tour, they leave you in town to shop. I was concerned with having enough time to get back to the ship. There is plenty of time and plenty of transportation. It only took about 10 minutes to get back to the ship from town. I did find the retail people quite pushy here. Worse than the other islands. We had lunch at Johnny Rockets. It was really good. I was pleasantly surprised. This was our last night--everyone was pretty calm. Time to pack and get ready to head home. We decided to use the option through American Airlines, for $10 per person, you can have your luggage checked from the pier all the way through to your destination. It worked well for us. The last night, we received our boarding passes for our flight. When you get off of the ship (which was easy) you get your luggage, go through customs and bring your luggage to the designated area. You then pick it up at the airport when you get home. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
We are a couple in our late 50s early 60s and this was our 7th cruise. We have sailed on RCCL,Princess and Disney. We flew from Philadelphia on Oct 1 which was the day of sailing and in fact met some members of our CC board in the ... Read More
We are a couple in our late 50s early 60s and this was our 7th cruise. We have sailed on RCCL,Princess and Disney. We flew from Philadelphia on Oct 1 which was the day of sailing and in fact met some members of our CC board in the airport. Flight was fine and we arrived on time. Getting our luggage in San Juan was kind of slow but we dis get it and headed for a cab. We met up with our CC buddies and got a cab with them and I think it cost us about $15 a couple. The lines were kind of long at the pier but we were through there within about 30 minutes. We dropped our bags in our room (it was after 2) and went to the buffet to gave a bite and then explore the ship. Unlike the review before me we found the ship to be in great shape. I will say when we first went into the room we were concerned about the bed. It was kind of sagging on one side,strange we slept better in this bed all week then we do at home. Yes the bedding is old but they are updating all the ships now. The room itself was great and the location was great for people watching. In fact we booked a PR room for Liberty in Oct next year. Many people have complained about large numbers of spanish speaking people on board, who care? Everyone I got on the elevator with send good morning. We did board in San Juan. Two years ago we sailed out of Bayonne,lots of people from New York and New Jersey. Just the way it works. We saw every show except the first night and we enjoyed them all. The ice show was great and the tickets were easy to get,just get in line and tell them which show you would like to see. Now the food,if you are comparing to 15 years ago then yes the food is not as good, but there is lots to choose from. I am not really a meat eater and by the second night our waiter(Edmund) had said something to our headwaiter(Mustafa) and he came to our table-whatever you want just tell us and we will do it Every night after the second night when I asked for shrimp cocktail(not on the menu that night) it was waiting for me. Also the buffet is always the same for breakfast ( isn't breakfast always the same in any place you eat it even if they have a menu) The lunch buffet which we ate every day always had the hamburger, french fries, but every thing pretty much changed. We ate in the dinning room every night and it was very good. The service was great. (thanks Edmund, Mandy, and Mustafa) We did Cosol's tour in St Lucia and it was long but very good. He was easy to find at the pier and the buses were very nice. We had 9 people in our bus total. The price $45 pp was well worth it. In St Thomas we took the tram up to paradise point and had a bushwacher at 10:30 in the morning,don't miss it. All in all my husband and I agree it was the best cruise all around we have done. Hope Liberty can match it. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
On October 14,2006 my wife and I flew from Boston to San Juan. The flight was fine, until it came time to land. When we started our approach, we pulled up, and circled the area 2x. The pilot finally told us that the runway was covered with ... Read More
On October 14,2006 my wife and I flew from Boston to San Juan. The flight was fine, until it came time to land. When we started our approach, we pulled up, and circled the area 2x. The pilot finally told us that the runway was covered with iguanas and we couldn't land! After about 20 min we were cleared to do so. Upon arrival we got our luggage without waiting too long, went outside and grabbed a taxi that took us to the Comfort Inn in Condado (near Old San Juan and 10 min from the cruise port). The hotel was very clean, Taxi rates are a set rate that are controlled by the government. This hotel room had great furniture and a large bed. The bathroom was spotless. The manager, Juan was very friendly and helpful. That night we took a taxi to the Intercontinental Hotel which is near the airport, to meet and socialize with new friends we met through the CC/RCCL Meet & Mingle. This was a great way to start our vacation. Being our 3rd cruise, all with RCCL, we arrived at the port, via taxi at 1145am; so we expected to get on-board AOS by 1230pm. We were wrong. The cruise port was chaotic, there was no organization, and in fact there were still people coming off AOS from the prior cruise. The U.S. Customs apparently are not as organized and able to clear the passengers as they do at other ports. (We did meet and speak to the AOS hotel director, Mr. Taggert, during our cruise, and he apologized for the almost 2 hours that we and the 3000 plus passenger had to wait in the heavy heat and humidity; RCCL has no control over how Customs functions). Anyway, we were on-board and at the Windjammer by 2pm, had lunch, walked around the ship and then had an informal Meet & Mingle gathering with about 10 new friends at the Blue Moon Saloon. Lots of fun. The ship left port at 10pm sharp and we enjoyed the view from the pool deck with our friends and a cocktail(actually-the drink of the day). We booked a balcony room on Deck 9. The views were spectacular. The room was fine for the 2 of us, but as everyone will tell you, the bathroom is a bit small. We had no other problems or complaints with the room. We were at the sea on Monday and spent it at the pool and had a good time. The band mega 4, was the best steel band we have heard, and bought their 1st CD. During the week AOS visited the islands of Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. On Barbados we went to Malibu Beach and spent a few hours. This was a good way to start our cruise. Relaxing. The next day we were in St. Lucia and rented a taxi with some friend and toured the island and ended up at the entrance to the Grand Pitons They were beautiful, but the sulfur smell from the old volcano was overwhelming. It took 90 min to return to port and all of us felt car sick because of the heat and swerving back roads up and down the mountains. We did some excursions, the best being the Tiami Catamaran out of Antigua on Wed. This took us down the southern coast of the island and eventually we anchored in the coral reef and went snorkeling, then back on board for a terrific lunch, then a cruise back north until we pulled into Deep Bay and were allowed to swim off the boat or take the tender to the beach for about 90 minutes of rest and some shopping from the natives that were on the beach. On the way back we experienced a strong torrential tropical downpour, but who cared . It was 90 degrees! This excursion was such a blast, with the run punch and beer flowing freely. On Friday shopped in St. Maarten because it was pouring rain and we cancelled our excursion to Orient Beach. Of course after shopping for about 2 hours, the sun came out. And it was too late to go to OB. The other nice trip was spending the last day at Maegen's Bay beach in St. Thomas. This beach is rated in Travel Channels Top 10 and they are right. Gorgeous and so picturesque. As for AOS, it was what we expected. Huge, lots to do, very clean, some great art work, lighting, decorations, very friendly and helpful staff. We had cruised the Mariner, its sister ship last year, so we knew what to expect. The food was average to good at the Windjammer. The main dining which we had for 6pm was excellent, as was our wait staff. The highlight was Portofino's. Outstanding in every way. You have to pay 20$ extra per person, but no complaints! Some shows were excellent, especially El Gaucho, others were okay. We did enjoy meeting our M&M friends nightly on the promenade, sometimes at the cafe, other times at the Gravity Sports Bar. We also met Capt. Per here, during the week, which was a thrill. Do not miss: the Love & Marriage Show, and the belly flop contest which is held poolside during the week. Richard Spacey, the cruise director is very funny and has a great crew working with him. Disembarkation was okay, nut were were delayed while standing on the exit ramp, for about 20-25 min. During the exiting U.S. Customs was somewhat rude to the passengers who asked questions, including us. Also, the chaos in and around the busses and taxis was disappointing. It was too busy and packed with confused people. Thank goodness there was a friendly and helpful RCCL staff person available to assist. We love RCCL and can't wait for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
We just got back from a 7 night cruise to the Eastern Caribbean for our anniversary and we had a great holiday. We're both Canadian, 25 and we don't have any kids. We've been to Varadero Cuba, Puerto Vallarta & Playa Del ... Read More
We just got back from a 7 night cruise to the Eastern Caribbean for our anniversary and we had a great holiday. We're both Canadian, 25 and we don't have any kids. We've been to Varadero Cuba, Puerto Vallarta & Playa Del Carmen Mexico on all inclusive resorts in the past 3 years but wanted to try out a cruise.The ship itself is amazing! I couldn't believe all that there was to do on the ship. It's got a bunch of pools and hot tubs scattered throughout the ship, a rock climbing wall, a rollerblade track and an ice rink along with 2 theatre areas among many other things. The evening entertainment was great and we only missed one show the whole time. The ice show was incredible and we really enjoyed the Love and Marriage game too. The other shows were all good to great, but make sure you don't miss those two. Our room was small but nice. Who spends much time in there anyways? As far as service goes, it was amazing too. We had a problem with our safe and they had a guy up to fix it in about 2 minutes. As for the restaurants, we ordered an apple juice and a cranberry juice the first night and never had to ask again. Our waiter/waitress never let our glasses run dry and were constantly attentive to our food requests. Lobster is my absolute favorite meal and our waiter just kept bringing Lobster tails out until I couldn't eat any more our second last night. My wife and I joked that they must have competitions between the waiters to see who can get their table to eat the most because they were constantly trying to bring us more food, which was some of the best food I've ever had. We ate like royalty. Even the Windjammer cafe buffet was great, although the service there wasn't what it was in the main dining area. I had read a bunch of reviews before going and the one thing I had wished there was more of was commentary on excursions, so I figured I'd focus on them for my review. I booked two online with outside companies and one with Royal Caribbean. Our first port was Barbados and I had pre-booked a tour of the island with a company called Glory Tours from Barbados because I had read a lot of good reviews about them. Big mistake. From their website and emails to me we weren't sure if we were supposed to meet them at 8:30 or 9:00 and for 2 weeks prior to the cruise I emailed them to clarify and they never responded. So we showed up at 8:30 just to be safe... and they never showed. We finally left at about 9:30 and went back to the ship. Not the way we wanted to start our first cruise. We decided to get a tour through the ship, but by then most of the excursions were already sold out. So we ended up doing one to Malibu beach which was actually quite nice and got a tour of the rum distillery. But we never got to see any monkeys and the Harrison's caves that I had wanted to see are under renovations for the next couple of months. Overall it was nice. Next was St. Lucia and again I had pre-booked a tour of the island online, so we were pretty nervous for how this one would go. We booked with Jungle Tours and it turned out that this was the BEST tour we did. Shal from Jungle Tours picked us up at 9:00 on the nose and toured us throughout the rainforest, taking us to two waterfalls, the drive-thru volcano and the Pitons. It was just us and an American couple in the back of his land rover, so it was great because the tour was really personal and we weren't getting herded around with 20 other people or anything. Everywhere we stopped the locals told us he was the best guy on the island. He was hilarious too. We asked him to turn on some music and when he asked what kind we told him to put in his favorite. So he put in not reggae or caribbean, but country music! It seemed so out of place to be driving through a rain forest with Garth Brooks belting out of the speakers, but it was fun. He took us to a restaurant on the beach by Soufriere and then had us back to the ship just in time. If you only do one tour I would recommend his. Next we went off to Antigua and this time I had planned to take a taxi. It turns out that the taxis on all the islands double as tour guides and will take you for tours of the island. So, that's what we did and our taxi driver took us to a natural formation called Devil's bridge and then to Long beach which is where the Pineapple resort is and it was beautiful! We rented snorkeling equipment and went right out from the beach and saw a ton of fish. My wife and I both thought that either this beach or Veradero Cuba's is the nice we've ever seen. Then our taxi picked us up and took us back to the ship for a grand total of $60. We did some shopping there but be warned, they are aggressive in trying to get you to by shirts, key chains, etc. Then we had a massage on the ship and it was expensive but was well worth the pampering we got. The next island was St. Maarten. We had pre-booked the Lotterie Farm tree top zip line tour through Royal Caribbean and it was great too. We went through a big obstacle course with about 25 stations ranging from rope bridges to zip lines. Be warned though, it is hard work, so if your not too fit you might be exhausted by the end of it. We enjoyed it but didn't think it was as good as the one we did in Puerto Vallarta because the highest zip line was only maybe 20 feet and the one in Puerto Vallarta was 90 feet. Then we did some time on a beach about a 20 minute walk from the ship and some shopping. This island was the cleanest one and the shopping felt just about like you were back home. No one really pressuring you while you were trying to look and there were some great prices. I think it was the best one shopping wise. Finally we hit up St. Thomas U.S. Virgin Islands. We did the Ultimate Island tour. We booked this through the ship again a couple of nights before after our Barbados disaster. We got to see some of the island, Magens Bay (which was also absolutely gorgeous and had fish swimming around your ankles only 2 feet into the water!)and Blackbeard's castle. Our guide was good but we were the only non-Americans on the tour and we felt he just tried to focus and cater on them the whole time. Oh well, like 90% of the boat was American or Puerto Rican, so I guess they cater to their largest clientele. Even still, it was a good tour. Blackbeard's castle wasn't quite as cool as I thought it would be because it was really just a 20 foot tower in the middle of a bunch of pirate statues but it was neat to see. We finished up there with some shopping and went back to the ship. So, overall I would definitely recommend booking through Royal Caribbean online for all of your tours (except Jungle Tours in St. Lucia). They seemed about the same price as doing it on your own and you know that you'll be taken care of and back to the boat on time with them. Getting a taxi to give you a tour might not be a bad idea either if you'd like a more personal tour, but it might be hit and miss whether you get a good taxi or not. We didn't hear of anyone who had a bad taxi but you never know. If you are buying gifts for yourself or other people St. Maarten's the place to do it, although St. Thomas wasn't bad either. If you have an early flight you might have a tough time catching it. The San Juan airport seemed like a gong show and we almost missed our 11:25 flight. We had to sprint from gate 2 to 29 to catch it as they were paging "last call" while we were still getting everything torn apart by the security station. And we were with the first group to leave from the ship, so if you get put in one of the later groups try to get switched to an earlier one at the reception desk on the ship. Based on the amazing food, service and entertainment I don't think I'd cruise with another cruise line next time. We had a great trip and hopefully this review helps you have a great one too! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
My husband and I, my Mother and Sister in Law booked the Southern Caribbean Cruise leaving from San Juan and joint to Aruba, Curacoa, St Maarten, St Thomas and back to San Juan. We flew down two days early and stayed in a perfectly ... Read More
My husband and I, my Mother and Sister in Law booked the Southern Caribbean Cruise leaving from San Juan and joint to Aruba, Curacoa, St Maarten, St Thomas and back to San Juan. We flew down two days early and stayed in a perfectly charming inn in the Condado area "At Wind Chimes Inn" Choose to stay there, absolutely excellent. We arranged a taxi from the Inn to the pier and that was about $30 for the four of us and eight pieces of luggage. The embarkation was the easiest and quickest we have ever encountered. Even though the brochure says boarding at 4 pm, we were on board and in our cabins by 1 PM and our luggage arrived soon after. Our cabin was on deck 6 forward on the starboard side. Cabins were very nicely done and our cabin steward Mary was a gem. My Mother and Sister in Law were next door. One thing to note, we did not hear any talking or noise (TV phones ect) through the cabin walls. This was a very pleasant surprise. Compared to other ships and other cruise lines, we found the washrooms to be smaller and with less amenities. Only one side of the vanity mirror opened to store things. Carnival Spirit had a basket of toiletries - deodorant, mouthwash, toothpaste, shampoo,body rinse and conditioner. There was a double closet with shelves inside. The linens were just like silk, very nice. The Windjammer Cafe was very good for breakfast but if you wanted an omelet, be prepared for a long line and wait. Only one omelet station but you could get egg beaters (low cholesterol). Food was plentiful and the servers were extremely helpful, even finding the rest of your party for you if you got completely turned around. We found the food in both the dining rooms and Windjammer to be actually uninspired. There really was not a huge variety like on other cruises we've taken. Angus steak for instance was to me, cut small pieces of round steak in a gravy sauce. The Puerto Rican vegetable medley was excellent. The ship was 85% Puerto Rican and on our trip there were 500 children. To be truthful, we never had a problem with either rowdy or rude kids. My Mother and I even asked kids (their parents were with them) if we could measure their wrists for "gold and silver by the inch bracelets". The Promenade Cafe was great. You could get a fresh cup of coffee 24 hrs a day and their pizza by "Mamma Mia" was the best. I would go down early and have a coffee by myself and not feel uncomfortable. The ship itself is beautiful, but I would not choose a cabin the faces into the Promenade of the ship. The Piano Bar just outside the Casino was great. Good music and very welcoming. My Mother spent an hour herself there just listening to the piano around 11 pm one evening. The most disappointing thing we found was the Captain's cocktail party. We never found it!! We took early seating for dinner because we would be able to take in the shows. We even asked some of the crew about the cocktail party and they didn't even seem to know. Very disappointing for Mom and Sister in Law. Finding the various pictures taken by the ship's photographer was an exercise in futility. The area was relatively small and seemed like hundreds of people milling around, all looking for their photos. Some of the assistants on the photo desk barely spoke English and weren't really interested in helping. We tool the Town & countryside tour in Aruba - fabulous. In Curacoa we swan with the dolphins - fabulous. In St Maarten - shopping in the morning (too many jewelry stores - go into the back street for little shops, Then a beach junket to Orient Beach - excellent. St Thomas - filled with carbon monoxide fumes, hawkers at every turn and absolute traffic gridlock - we won't go back there. We did not find the shops on board to be very "duty free" I actually priced out a watch on board and the same watch in Newark airport and it was the same price. All in all, we will not sail RCI again, we'll go back to Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
My wife and I arrived in San Juan from Newark on Continental Airlines on Saturday Sept 30th. Our flight was smooth and uneventful and we arrived just before noon as scheduled. We caught a $20.00 taxi to the El Convento Hotel in Old San ... Read More
My wife and I arrived in San Juan from Newark on Continental Airlines on Saturday Sept 30th. Our flight was smooth and uneventful and we arrived just before noon as scheduled. We caught a $20.00 taxi to the El Convento Hotel in Old San Juan (OSJ) for one night ($205) before our cruise. We have been to PR 5 times and never stayed in Old San Juan. The El Convento oozes spanish colonial charm and is a visual delight. Our room was simple but super quiet and cool due to the double door that seals the room off from the hotel hallway/terrace. All rooms open up onto the central courtyard which overlooks palm trees, a cafe and a tapas bar. After check in, we spent the day going all around OSJ. We stopped at the Parrot Club for lunch and had a Chocatini to toast our coming cruise. It was our first vacation in ten years without children and our 16th anniversary. The weather was great but hot. It was about 50F at home and we were not used to the heat. However, the El Convento is in the middle of everything you would want to do in OSJ so we made frequent rest stops to cool down and top off our wine glasses. While the El Convento is not near a beach it does have a rooftop pool and jacuzzi. We would have plenty of opportunities to swim in the caribbean while cruising. The hotel has a complimentary wine and cheese service from 6 to 7pm. The patio where the wine and cheese is served is immediately next to the pool area so we naturally took a few glasses of wine into the jacuzzi and totally enjoyed the hot caribbean air. We went to the Tapas bar at the Convento later in the evening and the food was terrible. I sent back my chorizos which tasted like canned cocktail wieners. My wife had crab empanadas which were mostly fluffy dough with very little of something inside that tasted nothing like crab. Don't waste your money on the food here. If you are looking for a place with old world charm and first world comfort stay at the El Convento for at least one night before the cruise. It was a far better start to our cruise than I had thought possible. OCT 1st We checked out around 11am on Sunday and caught a cab to to RCCL pier. It is too far to walk so do not attempt it. The check in was a mad house but I don't see how it could be otherwise with 3000 people boarding. We were on board by 12:45pm. When you enter the check-in area and finish getting your room assigned you will probably notice the duty free shop. Listen closely to the advice of the people in the shop regarding bringing liquor on board. I believe it is best to make sure you have your wine securely wrapped in your checked luggage but if you have any in a back pack and have it confiscated at the ships boarding area, be really nice to the gentlemen who confiscate it. They will always give it back to you at the end of the cruise but I am "convinced" that it can magically appear again while onboard given the right attitude on your part. Hint Hint. Adventure of the Seas was positively amazing. I had not been on a cruise ship since 1992 on a few "cruises to nowhere" out of Manhattan. We stayed in RM 8350. The balcony was fantastic. The bed was a bit thin but we were so tired every night that we could have slept on the floor and would not have minded. Overall the room was very good and the bathroom was roomy compared to what we have seen before. Our attendant, Janice from Jamaica, was very attentive and had a different towel animal prepped for us every night. A nice touch I thought. My personal favorite was the towel monkey hanging over our bed wearing my sunglasses. Our first day was a Day At Sea and we spent the entire day exploring the ship from top to bottom. I climbed the rock wall and my wife hit the jacuzzi. We had dinner every night with our table at first seating. Paul and Becky from Indiana, Allen and Yvonne from Texas, Rick and Wanda from Texas, Joy and Jane from Florida. We had a blast getting to know each other and we stayed late chatting just about every night. Our dinner company made our cruise very enjoyable and personal. Rick bet me I had never met someone who did what he did for a living. He peeled onions for a living. Funny but apparently lucrative!!!! When we woke up on Tuesday docked in Barbados we went out on the balcony and saw a rainbow. Our pre-booked Barbados Pirate Cruise Rum boat was cancelled due to technical difficulties. Never did find out exactly what that meant. We hit downtown shopping area and did some diamond shopping. I recently bought a two carat diamond so I am up to speed on prices and the 4C's. Diamonds were over priced by at least 50% and poor quality stones overall with no GIA certs just smaller less strict grading companies. I found diamond prices to be inflated through out the islands. A better deal can be had on the internet from reputable dealers. Antigua- We booked a helicopter tour to Monserrate to see the still erupting volcano that decimated the island ten years ago. $250 each for roughly a 45 minute flight. It was worth every penny. If you have never been in a chopper it really rides pretty smoothly so don't sweat it. Flying two passes at the volcano is amazing because the scale of the thing was something you cannot get from pics or movies. The pics I took look nothing like the real deal. On the way back we flew over the rear of the ship and it still looked huge. We were done with the chopper tour by 11am and raring to go. We went downtown and grabbed a taxi for $14 each to a beach. We swam at the beach for an hour or two and our driver waited for us and brought us back at about 2:30pm. We shopped for a bit and headed back to the ship. St. Lucia- We booked the Rain forest zip line tour. Our guide Gideon was funny and informative. He stopped to get us cocoa pods and guava from the roadside so we could try them. St. Lucia is stunningly beautiful and worth a return visit. The zip lining was awesome. If you do this bring something to cover your head like a buff or do-rag because the helmets are funky smelling even though they make a big show of cleaning them when you are done. Have one of the guides take your video camera with him on the zip line so you have a video of it. Our video really wowed the kids when we got home. This really is not a strenuous activity except for a 150 yard uphill hike. Everything else is really easy and fun. St. Maarten-Dutch side.- We did the Rhino Tour which is like a jet ski with pontoons wrapped around it. Lots of fun and really quite terrifying when you let the wife drive. We almost became one with a buoy, a yacht and another Rhino watercraft in only 15 minutes. We rode out of the bay to a beach a few miles away and snorkeled for about a half hour. The rhinos were fast and responsive but the excursion seemed really short. The shopping in St. Maarten was the best out of all the islands and it was by far the cleanest island. We didn't make it to Orient Beach on the French side (nude beach) but it seemed at dinner everyone was laughing about inappropriate sunburns...maybe next time. St. Thomas-In the AM we caught a taxi for $8 each to Magen's Bay. Absolutely tranquil beautiful beach. Small waves, warm water and lots of locals...all friendly and welcoming. The wife tanned and I got bored and swam across the bay. The water was flat like a pool...best swim I ever had as well as the best setting. We left around 11am for our SNUBA tour. I thought the SNUBA was a complete waste of time. Basically, you are tethered to a raft with an airsupply and a regulator with a twenty foot hose. We did this at the St. Thomas aquarium beach. It lasted for all of 20 minutes until the air ran out. A waste of money. The snorkeling in the aquarium area was really pretty good so save your money for something else. Snorkel or SCUBA but don't snuba. On our anniversary, OCT 6, the waitress brought us out a banana split with a candle and made a big fuss of it. Cruise entertainment- Live latin music band was really good on the 14th deck lounge. Disco was pretty good and started jumping after the latin band finished its sets. The latinas poured from the fourteenth deck down to the Jester Disco and jumpstarted the place. After dinner shows were all excellent except for Kenny Jones/James. He was a Star Search winner. Somebody tell him you cannot improve Motown songs and make them better. Bad move Kenny. The cruise director was awesome. Richard Spacey? Everytime he was around you knew he was going to make you laugh and he did. All of the staff did everything they could to make us enjoy the cruise and it worked!!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
For the most part we had a great time. Past trips to P.R. were never good so I was apprehensive about leaving from there but figured we were only flying in, sleeping over, and leaving, so how bad could it be? Then 2 weeks before we left ... Read More
For the most part we had a great time. Past trips to P.R. were never good so I was apprehensive about leaving from there but figured we were only flying in, sleeping over, and leaving, so how bad could it be? Then 2 weeks before we left for the cruise, we found reviews about how the locals get some special 2 for 1 deal and 90% of the ship would be P.R.s. That didn't phase me much except that it's not fair they pay less than everyone else. We rec'd our e-passes and I had taken care of the pre-processing for quick boarding but when arrived at 9:30am, we found we were at the end of a VERY LONG line. It didn't matter whether we were pre-processed or not. Even the Platinum level and other elite members had to wait in a long line, but not as bad. Unfortunately, RC members waited too long to set-up the info booth and ropes for organized lines. Most of those ahead of us were locals who travelled in packs of 20-60 members and it seemed each had 5 or more pieces of large luggage. We were speaking with a group in front of us - they said they take the ship twice a month to do shopping on the islands and always bring several empty suitcases to take the food and things back. They also showed us the nifty spiral-bound books they are given containing coupons for drinks and other things, luggage tags, etc. When we got up towards the front, we were detained because our 2 little bags didn't have the luggage stickers that the locals had - the ones we purchased and filled in per R.C.'s directions were not allowed. So after some pushing and being ignored by baggage handlers until the $10 bill came out, we were delayed. Then the officers inside kept barking orders, shoved forms in our hands to be filled out. When I showed the ones I had already filled in per my R.C. package, I was yelled at, told they were not valid, that I had to get out of line and do new ones; then yelled at which line to stand in, yelled at what line to enter the escalator. Now I understand why they have the rum samples available! Once on board, things went smoothly. We loved the adult swim area immensely. Our only complaint was the "locals" insisting their children were allowed in there and when asked to remove the children, perhaps go to the family pool area, it always erupted into loud drama and disgusting language, and of course, all members of their entourage had to be involved. If they travel on the ship so much, surely they understand the rules by now! The other thing we noticed was that they camped out within entire wings of the ship, including taking ownership of bathrooms and to enter into "their" area meant listening to their yelling or crude remarks. The prettiest restroom on the ship is the ladies room connected to the Portofino restaurant. There is a connecting door to the deck as well (proclaimed "locals" territory) but it is obvious by its decor that it is meant primarily for the restaurant. Since the locals had taken over the deck entirely, the took the bathroom as well. When I entered it, there were a dozen women in there in various levels of undress, some naked and bathing, feet in the sink basin, naked children sitting on the counter. And like another reviewer mentioned, filth. My husband had read the review and said there was no way it could have been that bad. Then I let him know I hadn't told him about it because I didn't want to disgust him or ruin his trip. But when I was using the restroom, suddenly, from the stall next to me, appeared excrement all over the floor. Yuck! And the woman left it!! Later, we went to Johnny Rocket's for lunch and I went to use the single ladies room after another local had vacated it and lo and behold, she apparently had just bent over and purged - it was all over the walls, toilet, floor... you get the idea. I hightailed it to somewhere without so much biohazard waste. Shortly after, I watched from the restaurant and some poor soul was there in biogear and giant hose to wash the place out. I would never trust that room to ever be bacteria-free. The only other issues we had with the locals was the pushing to be first in lines and greed. The ship announced a special buffet showing the chef's best - we just had dinner and didn't plan to eat but wanted to see the display. We were close to the front, somehow ended up being one of the last to enter. We had watched in amazement the amount of people pouring out of their restaurants to get to the buffet like their life depended on it. Rather than even look at what was before them, they grabbed the actual platters of items and took them! They took entire turkeys, all the chocolates, an entire basin of plasticware. We heard a couple of the officers say they would never offer that buffet event again - the chocolate alone was worth hundreds of dollars. Excursions - now I know this sounds silly, but we chose this trip solely because we saw the Travel Channel show about the ship and how it offered the Stars & Stripes excursion - actually driving the ship and hubby was so thrilled about the prospect. Unfortunately, there was so little interest from others that it was cancelled the day before he was to go out. I think this is where a major problem lies with the ship being 95% P.R. locals. On the upside, we took a credit and applied it to go to the Butterfly Farm in St. Maarten. We could have spent all day there but we only got a puny 45-minutes. Like most cruises, they rather dump you off in the shopping area in hopes you'll spend your pesos on their junk. For hubby and me, that means checking out the local bars and trying unique beers or local wine. Islands: Aruba is overrated - what a useless stop. Hubby's dad was a pilot and had disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle enroute to Aruba; we had always imagined it would be exotic. If it weren't for the usual Diamonds International and Tanzanite hawkers, I'm not sure there'd be much else to see. Curacao was just ok. St. Maarten was an improvement. St. Thomas seems to be everyone's big stop and I had heard that it was overly commercialized (like Aruba) so I wasn't sure I even wanted to go ashore. Well, I'm sure glad I did. Every area was BEAUTIFUL, especially Megan's Bay. If we can swing it, we definitely want to buy a condo there. Love it, love it, love it. We swam in Megan's Bay nearly all by ourselves, then had lunch on the deck of a shanty restaurant, then drinks in the attached deck bar. This was probably our best day out! Every time we think about that day, we smile. Before I go, I want you know about the great service we received from a bartender in the bar all the way upstairs - I don't recall the name but it is attached to the golf-theme bar. Raymond waited on us every day and he was awesome. Fun to talk with, lots of great ideas, very sweet man. I think he got rich off of our tips! Food - Forgot the most important part - food. I'm a former chef/caterer and son is chef, so our tastebuds are quite educated. The assigned restaurant food was just okay but better than what we had on Princess. We had booked our trip a year in advance and thought that would assure us our private table requested and in a good area. We found, once onboard, we were assigned to a broom closet that they entitled "auxiliary dining room". It was filled with mops, chairs on top of tables and other clutter when we first saw it. Then they seated us at a table for 12 (we asked for private table) and of the 5 couples that showed, none spoke the same language!! How ridiculous. It took much arguing to get assigned out in the main dining area and found we were the 3rd couple to be assigned to the horrid table - the former couples didn't like it either. We decided to pay the extra bucks and go to Portofino. It was such a nice experience and worth every penny. It doesn't come close to being as good as our son's restaurant but still couple levels better than the main dining. We didn't bother with the "fine dining" on Princess because the food is made by the same chefs, same kitchen - no point. But Portofino has their own chefs right there within the restaurant. We could only get in again on the last night. Next time, we will likely book early for a table every night. And despite the wines mostly being from California onboard, you can get some very nice Italian and French ones in Portofino. (Note: the wine tastings on Princess are TONS better and Princess offers afternoon tea - Royal should really think about improving in that area.) Disembarkation was a disaster but I'll let someone else touch on that AWFUL, TERRIBLE process. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
This is my first posting on cruise critic but my 24th cruise. I was travelling with my Mom, Dad and 16yr old daughter. I am 42.We flew on Delta from orlando to San Juan, no problems there. We had not signed up for transfers so went direct ... Read More
This is my first posting on cruise critic but my 24th cruise. I was travelling with my Mom, Dad and 16yr old daughter. I am 42.We flew on Delta from orlando to San Juan, no problems there. We had not signed up for transfers so went direct to the taxi stand. The cost for 4 pax was only $21.50. We arrived at the port to a long line. They start to check in around 12pm so we waited until the line started to move. They did arrange then to have a platinum line which made our check in quicker. We boarded the ship and were told out rooms would not be ready until 2pm. We were familiar with the voyager class ship so went to Windjammer for lunch. The food, service and choices were great. We then decided to look around the ship and find the teen room for my daughter. The ship is a beautiful and we were really looking forward to our week long cruise. We chooses this cruise as it went to Aruba and Curacao which are 2 ports we have not visited before. Our rooms was ready by 2pm so we went to investigate and make sure our connecting doors were unlocked. We found the beds very old and uncomfortable so will be better once they have undated the beds and bedding. Then spent a while checking out the cruise compass to make sure we did not miss anything and plan our day and evening. My daughter was looking forward to her teen programme as she loves these and as she has already completed 23 cruises so know the ropes as she says. She went to the teen room to meet everyone but came back after half hour not happy as she said that all the other teens don't speak much english and she does not speak spanish, so she decided to try the next day. We were then introduced to our cruise director at the welcome aboard show. His name is Richard Spacey and we were fortunate enough to see him on a previous ship so knew we would have fun with him. He is great, funny and the best out there. We had booked a shore excursion via RCCL in ARuba which was an off road jeep tour. 7hours long. This was great. Very dusty and bumpy but great. You end your day at a private island with a water park, lunch and drinks included. It was good to get clean. You can also snorkel for free and this was the best place I have found to see huge fish so close to shore. Aruba was really nice and I would love to go back. Next day Curacao, No tour just shopping. Again nice place and want to go back. I found St Maarten the best place for drink. St THomas is OK but prices higher as it is back in the US. Overall our cruise was great and we love RCCL better than any other cruise line, BUT I would not do this cruise again. I found most of the guests very rude and ignorant and heard many other people saying the same. My daughter tried the teen programme twice but both times no english was spoken so she stayed with her Mom but still had fun. Don't miss the Quest show and take part if you can it is so much fun, we came 3rd and won backpacks. She production shows are not as good as Carnival but still good. The ice show was good. Richard Spacey and his crew are great and I look forward to seeing him next year on another ship. One point I will say is that when disembarkation day comes around I hope you don't have a flight in the morning. Ours was 1pm and we made it with half hour to spare, so I would suggest an afternoon flight. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
Well this was my 2nd time cruising and it was almost enough to make me not do it again. One of the reasons for taking my second cruise was that it was so good the first time around. I feel bad because my expectations and reality were two ... Read More
Well this was my 2nd time cruising and it was almost enough to make me not do it again. One of the reasons for taking my second cruise was that it was so good the first time around. I feel bad because my expectations and reality were two different things. I was sold a package by RCL that they have a Gold standard and what they gave me was an tin platter. The stateroom for starters is worn out. The bed is worn out along with the skimpy hard pillows, the bed sheets and bed spread. I thought I was in a cheap motel room. As far as the ship itself goes, bigger is not better. I found that they sacrifice Quality for Quantity. The windjammer buffet had the same food for breakfast and lunch for 7 days straight. The only time it changes is at dinner time, and trust me its not a big change. I could go on and on but I won't, the bad out weighs the good by a far margin. If you want to spend good money and get a lousy return this is definitely the trip for you. I would like to say however that the employees that I came in contact with were very nice. My stateroom attendant and waiter and assistant waiter all did the best they could with the tools they had to work with. Towards the end of the cruise I was able to joke with them about the quality of RCL and even they couldn't help but laugh because they know RCL is a joke. All the ports of call I was happy with,San Juan,Aruba,Curacao,St Martin and St Thomas. My only suggestion is, just don't go there on Adventure of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
Hi we were on the same cruise as steve from ny and i have to agree with what he had to say this was our 4th cruise with rccl it will not be our last with them but i will research a little more. we too are from ny and left for pr a day ... Read More
Hi we were on the same cruise as steve from ny and i have to agree with what he had to say this was our 4th cruise with rccl it will not be our last with them but i will research a little more. we too are from ny and left for pr a day early stayed at ritz carlton resort casino hotel great place to be to start our 7 day cruise.staff at hotel were wonderful. but in the casino was when it first started for my husband and i there were a lot of locals at the slots and they were so rude...ok sunday after check out.when to ship to check in very smooth checked out our cabin which was great.took off for a cab ride to old san juan.cab driver not to friendly.shop workers very nice of course.on the way back to aos cab driver was very nice with a little tour of old and new san juan.one on the ship we received our luggage before our main seating for dinner.off we went ship was spectacular,staff was 98% nice but the ship was 85% locals and what steve said was so true they were rude,rude rude.what we paid for this well what can i say. dirty glasses left were ever bathrooms messy and always trying to jump lines. thank goodness we had great table mates and the other 15% of the ship felt the same way about this i think its time for a change to celeb.and princess .we did have a great time and were treated very well.sad that rccl don't read all cruise critic reviews they could learn a few things. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
Just got back from the Southern Caribbean on Adventure. This was our 4th cruise, all on RCCL. My husband and myself had decided to cruise alone, having always cruised with family or friends before. We came in the day before the cruise and ... Read More
Just got back from the Southern Caribbean on Adventure. This was our 4th cruise, all on RCCL. My husband and myself had decided to cruise alone, having always cruised with family or friends before. We came in the day before the cruise and stayed at the Sheraton Old San Juan (formerly the Wyndham). We were happy with the hotel, it had charm, was clean and was convenient to the pier. We had vacationed in San Juan recently, so we were not interested in taking in any sites, though we would strongly recommend Old San Juan and the forts. Okay, the ship....I always do my research pre-cruise so we were expecting the ship to be showing a little wear and tear. The ship was beautiful, very little wear showing, yes, some of the keys on the remote control had worn off and also on the safe, but it wasn't going to ruin our cruise. We decided to spoil ourselves a little and book a Junior Suite. We had a walk-in closet, a bathtub, and much larger 'living' area. The jr suites are so much roomier that we consider them well worth the extra money. The staff were friendly and attentive...catering to our every whim. The guest relations staff were the most accommodating we have had to deal with yet. Richard Spacey was our cruise director and he is the BEST! The entertainment had highs and lows. The high was "Spectrum" a group that sang mostly Motown and were excellent. The final show of the cruise was a bit lacking. The comic was so-so and then we spent quite a bit of time applauding the the crew. Yes they work hard, but it was a little over done. The food in the Windjammer was hot and plentiful with a large selection to choose from. The same menu was served for breakfast every day. We did not eat lunch. The food in the Dining room was good to great and the service was wonderful. The Puerto Rican Issue: Yes, we were out-numbered by about 8-2, but so what? I think they paid for their cruise, too. Yes, it got tiresome hearing Spanish everywhere you went.....maybe that's the way the rest of the world feels about English. There were people that were pushy, that talked to loud, that partied too hard. Some were Puerto Rican, some Danish, some American....rudeness doesn't have a particular ethnicity. We have to get over the idea that we own the cruise lines and they should cater to us. Learn a little Spanish and you might be surprised just how friendly Puerto Ricans are. Now back to the cruise. The itinerary was great with 4 ports and 2 sea days it was perfect. The weather was hot and humid. The locals were friendly and the beaches were beautiful. In Aruba we rented a jeep and toured the island. It is a strangely beautiful island. We ended our day at Baby Beach...very quiet and secluded. In Curacao we did a spur of the moment excursion and went on a dune buggy ride. We spent most of the time traveling on major roads, with heavy traffic, to a beach where we spent a half an hour. This is a good example of why you do pre-cruise research. In St. Maarten we rented a car and drove to The Butterfly Farm and Le Galion Beach. The butterfly farm was okay. The beach again was fairly secluded (warning - some nudity) and was great fun watching the wind surfers in the adjoining bay. A nice relaxing day. In St Thomas we went on a city tour. We went to Coral World which we thought was quite enjoyable. The shopping was the best in St Thomas. The area right near the ship, had a great selection, and was neat and clean. Overall, the ship was in good shape, but did feel a little crowded at times and could use more elevators! No problems either embarking or disembarking. Read Less
Adventure of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 5.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 0.0
Family 5.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 1.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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