Sail Date: November 2006
This was my 5th cruise and is my first written review. Here are my observations of Adventurer of the Seas sailing out of San Juan, Puerto Rico on November 26, 2006 the down side - The cabin air conditioner worked on minimal the entire ... Read More
This was my 5th cruise and is my first written review. Here are my observations of Adventurer of the Seas sailing out of San Juan, Puerto Rico on November 26, 2006 the down side - The cabin air conditioner worked on minimal the entire time. Bathroom sink clogged frequently and intermittently had brown running water. After wiping down my room with clorox wipes, I found the door to the refrigerator to be filthy. I don't think it was ever wiped down from day of installation. The refrigerator was not cold enough to keep milk from going bad. The mattress was a thin cot with no box spring (which I have had on other ships). Re: passengers... majority were extremely rude and lacking in manners. Examples of rudeness displayed were: not allowing wheel chair passengers off elevator before they entered, allowing their children to run rampid on board, teenagers shredding toilet paper and watching it float down from upper deck, walking in front of professional photographer while taking posed pictures, entire family members sitting on floor in photo gallery sprawling their pictures on the floor to view while e others were forced to walk around them in small area, bumping into others without giving apology, using their cell phone to talk during nightly theatre show. One lady even raised her leg on top of a banister on promenade deck so she could pick her toe nails!! I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't witnessed it myself. I could go on about this bunch of classless people, but I won't. the upside- Although we didn't have enough people to have an official Meet & Mingle, I did meet up with two other couples who were extremely nice and made our socializing allot of fun. At our dinner time, we had a table for six. One couple never showed, but the couple who did, made our dinner time very enjoyable. Regarding our excursions; Our luncheon on Orient Beach in St. Maarten was a success and our snorkel experience at St. John was the best snorkel experience and I hope to go back there in the future. Re the staff: Very professional, polite and always willing to please no matter what the circumstance. We did have one major occurrence where our room attendant forgot to close our cabin door after cleaning our room and we discovered it had been left wide open for at least an hour while we were having dinner. The incident was reported and the attendant apologized. Also, I want to mention it was a pleasure to see hand sanitation stations before entering dinning areas on the ship. There was also one for passengers returning to the ship. In conclusion: I will never board a ship leaving out of Puerto Rico again. I will also read the reviews prior to booking a cruise from now on as I have learned they do have truth to them. And I would like to ask Royal Caribbean one question....Why would the crew not ask passengers to not block stairways and elevators by passengers sitting on stairs and floors in front of elevators, as well as those sitting on floor in Photo Gallery area to move??? Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
WOWWWWWEEEEEEE - did I cry yesterday coming home, I was sobbing in the taxi when we were told to wave goodbye I had the trip of a lifetime so thought I would tell you all about it as it was my first time with RCI. We sailed to Aruba, ... Read More
WOWWWWWEEEEEEE - did I cry yesterday coming home, I was sobbing in the taxi when we were told to wave goodbye I had the trip of a lifetime so thought I would tell you all about it as it was my first time with RCI. We sailed to Aruba, Curacao, St Thomas and St Martin. We had our flights arranged by RCI and everything went very smoothly and was booked into the Courtyard Marriot in San Juan - a lovely hotel in a fab location right on the beach. We only really spent the night there and had brekkie in the morning but couldn't fault the hotel from what we saw and the rooms were HUGE!! We decided on embarkation morning to make our own way to the airport which cost $20 but were so glad we did as we were on the ship by midday and it was all a breeze and hardly any queues!!! Yes there were a lot of Puerto Ricans (probably 80%) but they were lovely. You will always get the odd few that are rude but hey that goes with any nationality. First impressions of the ship were with our mouths wide open and we met some great bar tenders as soon as we got on board (you have to start drinking early!!). Windjammer was very busy but was to be expected so it didn't bother us too much. We were allowed into our room at 2pm and mum was in tears - for those of you that know I upgraded from an inside to Junior suite and it was lovely and a perfect size. Indeed we had room service every morning sat eating brekkie on the balcony. We were in cabin 9318 and couldn't recommend these enough as the location is totally perfect and no noise at all from the lifts. The first night was a bit of a nightmare - the welcome aboard parade was soooooo busy that I got a little annoyed but if you get there and wait early then it probably wouldn't have been as bad and you would have had a better view than we did. DAY ONE - AT SEA - laughed so hard at the sexy legs competition and spent all day in the sun with rarely a cloud insight...it was gorgeous. To be honest on sea days I was so surprised at the number of sunbeds available well into early afternoon and there actually wasn't that many kids around. Formal night again seemed a little horrendous and I was a little disappointed with that, the queue was too long for formal portraits which was a shame. DAY TWO - ARUBA - wow I loved this island so much!! We spent the morning on a RCI catamaran trip to a little beach which was excellent value for money and free rum punch so cant complain!!! I found Aruba to have the nicest beaches and would love to go back. The afternoon was spent shopping in town. We found with a lot of the islands that it was mainly jewelry and "tat" shops so actually didn't spend that much!! DAY THREE - CURACAO - we were due to do the Beach Express but unfortunately this was cancelled so we spent the morning in town shopping and then had rebooked on another trip with RCI which was a day at Kontiki beach by boat. The morning had seen quite a bit of rain so we were really pleased when it brightened up in the afternoon and it was a lovely beach to go to. DAY FOUR - AT SEA - pretty much the same as the first sea day...just lazing and watching the activities going on. We never even found the time to do ice skating, climbing or skating!!! The ice show was FAB and certainly one not to be missed. Formal night was also much better and more people seemed to dress up than on the first night. DAY FIVE - ST MARTIN - I wasn't too impressed with the island, ok it was nice but just didn't grab me. We did the Marigot & beach tour - Marigot is really pretty but not much to do there. The beach however was awful - we ended up being taken to the end of Orient Beach which was littered and covered in seaweed. Had a laugh watching the nudists though!! Bit disappointed with that trip really. DAY SIX - ST THOMAS - FAB island!!!! In the morning we went up to Paradise POint which was beautiful but made the mistake of having a Bushwacker at 9:15am....hmmmmmm woozy heads on the way down, those drinks are lethal but a must have!!! We then had the Ultimate Island experience which was really great in an open air taxi - we went for a wander round the island, Magens Bay and then to Blackbeards Castle still leaving time for shopping at the end!! Coming home was awful as I said but only as I was very sad. We met some great people on our table and our waiter, Filip, was adorable. Disembarkation was great and a breeze....everyone was very civil and there was no pushing or waiting in the way. We were a little disappointed with our cabin steward as you had to ask him 3/4 times to get something done which was frustrating. Dinner was great and couldn't complain about that - we ate in the dining room every night. Windjammer had the same food every day but we only used it on sea days so it didn't bother us at all. The highlight of the holiday had to be RICHARD SPACEY - the guy is amazing and made the trip for us. I think I need to line him up to be my next husband LOL Not to be missed would have to be the farewell show which was fantastic and of course Quest - I had tears of laughter rolling down my face!!! Hope that's a balanced view and feel free to ask any questions and look at the piccies. http://www.bexpics.fotopic.net/ Forgot to add - what did amaze me in the US was the lack of security at JFK airport...I have never seen anything like it in my life. In the UK we are used to seeing police with machine guns and sniffer dogs but there was nothing like that! On the way back we didn't even have our passports checked once at JFK - now what is that about!!!!! Also would never in a million years fly AA again - horrendous airline LOL Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2006
We took our first cruise in 2/06 with several members of my family. We had such a wonderful time on the Adventure that we booked the same cruise, same destination, same everything for the week of 11/19/06. Wow, how things can change in 9 ... Read More
We took our first cruise in 2/06 with several members of my family. We had such a wonderful time on the Adventure that we booked the same cruise, same destination, same everything for the week of 11/19/06. Wow, how things can change in 9 months. I've heard horror stories about embarkation, but to be honest we never had any trouble. From the airport to the pier and getting on board was no hassle. Just lucky I guess. The first problem we encountered was that it took until almost 8:00PM for our luggage to arrive in our rooms. Since we had been traveling since 4:00AM that morning, we really needed a shower and change of clothes. As it was, we had very little time to freshen up and make the muster drill. Our 2nd seating dinner at 8:30PM pushed back to after 9:00PM by the time we got there. From that point on our stay on board was very stressful. We have two children ages 5 and 9. They enjoyed the Adventure Ocean youth facilities, but I found the youth staff to be much less enthusiastic then they were on our first cruise. The biggest problem we had was that there was an extremely large group of locals from Puerto Rico, which makes sense since this is the home port of the ship and I've heard that they are offered favorable pricing in order to fill the boats. There were 50 girls celebrating their 15th birthday on the ship. We learned that the 15th birthday is a very big deal down there. 50 girls plus all of their families and friends. I don't think I would be exaggerating to say that nearly 60 to 75 percent of the passengers on the ship were part of this group. Or at least it felt that way. With a group this size they inevitably took over the ship. Every part of the ship was filled to capacity. They were some of the most inconsiderate and rude people I've come across. They screamed and yelled all over the ship. Ate food in the pool, yes, in the pool. Although they were notified to remove the food items from the pool, the remnants remained. There was no organization at the buffet line. They barged right in where ever they saw something they wanted. When I told them that there was a line and they should go to the back of it they played the "I don't speak English" game. When my sister, who speaks Spanish told them, they played the "I didn't know" game. Every time! They left their empty cups and plates in the elevators, on the stairs, in the bathrooms and everywhere else they happened to be when they were done eating. They congregated in every hallway, stairwell, public space, bathroom, etc... Security on the ship was non existent. I only once saw three security personnel walk through the promenade at the 1:00AM curfew one night to inform the kids under 17 to return to their rooms. However, the kids just moved to the stairwells. Every 10 minutes someone would shout at the top of their lungs "Yo Soy Poriqua", sorry for the spelling, which translates I believe into "I am Puerto Rican." And 500 or more people would shout back "Parque tu la sepa", again sorry for the spelling, which translates I believe into "Just so you know it" or something like that. The first day or two it was cute, but after 3, 4, 5, 6 days of it we were shell shocked. I overheard that there were 800 children on board. Clearly 90 percent were from this group. They were up all night running through the halls or hanging out in the library, Internet lounge, stairwells, promenade, etc... The 1:00AM curfew was a joke. Parental supervision didn't exist. In many cases the parents were worse than the children. The bathrooms on this cruise were the worst I've seen. Disgraceful in fact. My mother attempted to use one of the ladies rooms near the dining room one evening. At least 20 ladies from this group were in there talking and fixing their hair. She asked if they were waiting for a stall and they ignored her. After asking several times and being ignored several times she went for an open stall. Of course, no tissue paper. The bathrooms were dirty and the cleaning staff could not keep up with the mess. And I still don't understand why it takes 10 people to stand in line when only one of them is paying for photographs at the ships photo studio. Just when you thought not one more person could fit in that room, here comes 10 to 15 people pushing through. And I mean pushing. I finally left in frustration after 30 to 45 minutes waiting on line because it wasn't until they got to the register that they decided to sort through the pictures they wanted or not. I was equally frustrated with the ship's staff. They did absolutely nothing to control the crowds or enforce the ships rules. In fact, I believe they fueled the rowdiness and unruliness of the local group. Every show was preceded by the cruise director shouting "yo soy poriqua" and hundreds of people shouting back in return. Every ship sponsored activity was dominated by the group. The nightclub played only hip hop and gangster rap for 18 year olds. The cruise director and his staff seemed amused by it all. But they didn't have to navigate around the craziness to try and enjoy a vacation that a lot of money was spent on. The only times we had any peace was at port when we couldn't get off the ship fast enough. There were a few days when we wished we didn't have to get back on! In the end, we felt totally and completely alienated. It wasn't our cruise. It was theirs. It wasn't my vacation. It was theirs. The ship accommodated this group at the expense of everyone else. I might still cruise with RCCL again, but NEVER from PR. They acted like animals. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
Adventurer Of The Seas November 12-19, 2006 We booked this cruise mainly based on the itinerary, as we wanted to see both Aruba and Curacao on the same cruise. We had not been on RCCL before, but have cruised on their upper level line ... Read More
Adventurer Of The Seas November 12-19, 2006 We booked this cruise mainly based on the itinerary, as we wanted to see both Aruba and Curacao on the same cruise. We had not been on RCCL before, but have cruised on their upper level line Celebrity. For those that do not want to read the complete review, let me sum up our experience in one word, and that word applies to the ship, the staff, the cabin, the food and the ports of call - Excellent! We arrived in San Juan a day ahead of departure so that we would have time to visit El Yunque (the National Park rain forest). We have been in San Juan before so did not need to spend time in Old San Juan or other parts of the city. We stayed at the Westin Rio Mar Beach Resort, very near El Yunque. This is a very nice hotel and an easy drive from the San Juan airport. Following our exploring Sunday morning, we returned to the hotel, checked out and made our way back to turn in the car and transfer to the ship. We used Hertz for our car rental and they provided free transfers from their office to the port. This was a nice touch and saved us the cab fare. We arrived at the port about 5:30 pm, so there was very little line for processing. We were checked in and in our cabin by 6 pm. Remember to take some clothes for dinner in your carry on as the luggage may or may not arrive at your cabin in time. Note that the dining follows the assigned times for main or late, except late on the first day is delayed until 9pm due to the lifeboat drill at 815 or so. CABIN AND PUBLIC AREAS We were in an E category cabin, number 8288, starboard side. The cabin was quite nice, with queen size bed, sofa, coffee table, plenty of closet/storage space, decent sized bathroom, and a nice sized balcony. This cabin was almost exactly mid-ship and was a very convenient location. The cabin was extremely clean and our cabin steward Ann kept it that way the entire week. Without a doubt Ann was the best steward we have had on any of our cruises. In addition to the great service she was a wonderfully warm and friendly person as well. We particularly liked the lay out of the bathroom. The storage space in the bathroom is very good, and the counter room is more than adequate. The shower has a rounded sliding door which is so much better than a curtain. Given the generally small size of cruise ship bathrooms this one felt larger than usual, even though I am sure it was not. We also liked the fact that the balcony had floor to ceiling walls on each side for complete privacy. The balcony had two chairs and a small round table and was a wonderful place to eat room service breakfast. This is a big ship and carries lots of passengers but never felt crowded. There is such a variety of public spaces that everyone can spread out and find room. The promenade is a nice touch and is quite unique. It is fun to sit at one of the street side tables at one of the bars and watch the people walking by. The 24 hour pizza snack area on the promenade is a nice touch. We only had a slice of pizza there once but it was quite good. What is really nice about this area is the 24 hour coffee service serving really GOOD coffee. They use only Seattles Best coffee and it always fresh and hot. Unlike most cruise ships that serve barely drinkable coffee at best this coffee was so good that my wife, who seldom drinks coffee, enjoyed it. One hint  many people thought you had to pay for the pizza and other pastries and sandwiches served here since the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream service is in the same place. You do have to pay for the ice cream but the food is included as part of the cruise fare. Because of this misconception the area is seldom crowded. The public areas are very well done. Be sure to take time to observe all the art work scattered all over the ship, especially in the stairways. There are some very unique and interesting works. We may have missed it, but we never did see any kind of ship tour or art walk offered during the days at sea. On one of our Holland American cruises this was offered and it was extremely interesting. If this is not offered it should be as the artwork is well worth exploring. The pool area is very nice and has more than enough chairs available. We seldom used the general pool area as we preferred the quieter and adult only Solarium area, which has one pool and two hot tubs and plenty of chairs for lounging. This was always a nice quite relaxing place to get some sun and some pool time. I will say that everyone seemed to respect the adult only rule. Only once during the whole cruise did I see any child in the area, and she was probably close to 12 and with her mother and no one said anything about it as it was not a problem. The signs request 16 and up only. The general pool was much more active with bands playing lots of the time and many activities going on. This of course resulted in a louder atmosphere, but again it was not a rowdy area. In fact I was impressed at how well behaved everyone on this cruise was. There were only about 300 children on the ship (based on the numbers given out by the Captain during his welcome aboard speech), and we never once saw any child misbehave or create any kind of scene. The gym is one of the best I have seen on a cruise ship with state of the art equipment and lots of it. There was never a wait for equipment and everything was in top condition. The staff kept the equipment and the facilities in the gym sparkling clean. We did not use the spa facilities but they looked to be excellent. The Spa is located just above the gym and the two are connected internally by a spiral stair case. My wife did use the hair salon for a cut and styling and was happy overall with the service, although it was a bit on the pricey side (this is one of the two things that we would have skipped - see below for the other). There are so many bars and gathering places that one can always find one to their liking. A wide variety of live music is on tap around the various bars and public areas and if a person needs quiet the library and quiet lounges are available as well. Beer and liquor prices were typical of any cruise line or top hotel bar, not cheap but not outrageous either. Each day had special drink of the day offerings usually at around $5.95 and keep the glass type of pricing. FOOD AND DINING We requested and received second seating for dinner (8:30) and were seated at a table for 6. Our table mates were great and we hit it off well with the other two couples, becoming quite close to the couple closer to our age. The main dining room is spread across three levels, on decks 3, 4, and 5. We were on the top level, next to the railing that looked down into the other levels. Each level has a different dEcor but all are quite tasteful and roomy. The noise level is not unreasonable for the number of people in the room. Our server and assistant server were excellent in every respect. They were polite, efficient, and very knowledgeable about the food selections and did not hesitate to recommend the dishes they thought best. The food was at all times excellent and the variety offered provided everyone with adequate choices. We did not opt for the Wine and Dine package, choosing to buy wine as we wanted it. Some evenings we would buy only a single glass and others we would choose a bottle. We found the house Chardonnay to be quite good and since it was the lowest priced of the choices that saved us a bit of money. Desserts were excellent and a broad variety was offered. Friday night's menu offered lobster and it was excellent and there was no problem to ask for more it wanted. Overall we rated the food and service in the main dining room excellent. We only used the buffet dining twice, once for lunch and the morning we disembarked. We are not fans of buffets and really do not like to eat there. However, the food in the buffet was very good and a wide variety was on offer. The dining area of the buffet is large and roomy and offers excellent sea views from large windows. Those passengers that prefer buffets for dining will not be disappointed. On all mornings but one (other than the last day) we used room service for breakfast and ate on our balcony. The room service orders were always prepared correctly, delivered on time, and were fresh and hot (if hot food was ordered). We found room service to be the most efficient way to have breakfast and get ready for a day on shore on the days we were in port. We also used room service one late afternoon after a day ashore for a small pizza and again it was delivered when promised and was very tasty. One morning we had breakfast in the main dining room and that was quite good as well. We dined at Portofino, the specialty restaurant, Thursday evening. Since this was the second formal night we opted to dress that way, even though the dress code for Portofino states elegant casual we were one of the few couples in formal dress that night, so apparently the dress code for the main dining room does not apply here. We felt it should have. The food was excellent, the service excellent, and the dining room pleasant. However, this is the second activity that we would choose not to do again. It was just not different enough from the excellent food and service in the main dining room to justify the $20 per person cost. We did not feel that we wasted our money  everything was excellent. It is just that the food and service in the main dining room is so good that it is hard to compete with. The one thing that we did not like that even here, after paying $20 for dining, they still wanted to charge extra for espressos or cappuccinos after dinner, just as in the main dining room. One would think the $20 would have also covered that. Again, the experience was nice. We just did not think the differential was there to justify the $20 per person. We did not partake of either of the two late night buffets. We looked at the grand buffet and it was of course impressive with the ice carvings, the food art and so forth. ITINERARY This, along with RCCL's reputation, was the main reason we chose this cruise and we were not disappointed. It could not have been better. After our first day at sea we arrived at Aruba and were able to leave the ship shortly after 8 am. We had reserved a 4-wheel drive vehicle with Hertz. The various car rental companies have booths set up right at the dock and the cars are located in a parking lot just adjacent. Very convenient. I suspect that one could haggle with the vendors and get a better price rather than reserving ahead as there seemed to be lots of cars available. However, we were the only ship in port so that might not be true on a busy day. Regardless, we paid $60 for the day plus gas and it was worth every cent. We did not have a Jeep but it was a 4WD small SUV type vehicle that allowed us to drive around the whole island. This is needed because the undeveloped side of the island has only dirt roads and some are pretty rough. A normal car could not circle the island but would have to backtrack several times. We went clock wise, traveling along Eagle Beach, Palm Beach, then to the light house, over to the Chapel, then the natural bridges, via the back country to San Nicholas and a stop at Baby Beach for swimming. Baby Beach is fabulous. We then went into San Nicholas and had lunch and a beer at Charley's Bar (not to be confused with Carlos and Charleys in Oranjestad), an Aruba landmark quite a place with good food and cold beer. We then made our way back to turn in the car, returned to the ship to clean up and then back into Oranjestad for a bit of a walkabout before returning to the ship for dinner. The next port was Curacao. We have for years wanted to see the waterfront buildings of Willemstad with the famous painted facades and seeing them in person did not disappoint. What a great sight. We chose to do the Trolley Tour, booking it as an excursion with the ship at $32 per person. Here is a big hint  if there is only one ship in port as we were, walk into town across the swinging bridge, go over to the trolley stop and buy it there. Walkups are only $10. The other $22 is because they take out from the port by taxi downtown and then back to the port if desired after the tour. Unless you can not walk for 10 minutes for just have to drive over the big tall bridge do it your self and save $22 a person. Of course if there were several ships in port then the Trolley could be sold out. The day we were there is was not and they were selling seats to walk ups as we boarded the tram. All that aside, the tour is interesting and informative and gives a very quick overview of the city and the history and it was very enjoyable. After the tour we spent the remainder of the day just strolling about, shopping a bit, and having a nice relaxing day. We really enjoyed Curacao and found it to be very pleasant. We did not get out to any of the beaches so do not know what they are like. We departed Curacao at 5pm. The next day was a sea day and then we arrived at St Maarten, where we had also reserved a rental car for the day. We paid only $24 for the day for a very small car and spent $10 on gas. It was more than adequate for our needs. St Maarten/St Martin is quite small and we were able to see the complete island, with several stops to walk some beaches, have a drink and snack, walk about downtown Marigot, and back to turn in the car in about 4 hours and this was not rushing it at all. St Maarten/St Martin turned out to be our favorite island based on the beaches, the scenery and the friendly people there. It is definitely on our must return to list. We did not do any major shopping, other than some small souvenirs, here. Our table mates did find the shopping to be excellent and purchased some major items of jewelry as well as watches and a digital camera. They felt the prices were very good. The next port was St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. This has to be one of the prettiest ports in the whole Caribbean and of course the shopping is world famous. After leaving the ship we hopped on one of the taxi tours outside the dock and spent a couple of hours seeing the main points of the island. We had been in St Thomas before and have also been to St John, so after the tour we did a bit of shopping, had lunch and a drink, and did some more shopping! We returned to the ship poorer than when we left but with some nice little sparkly things! Final port was back to San Juan, where we arrived early. As we had an early flight we were in the E (for early) group for disembarking and we were off the ship by 730am and at the airport, with luggage, by 815am and then checked in and through all the security and so forth by 830am. Very easy and very direct. I have no idea how it was for the later departures. Since on this cruise you clear USA immigration when you arrive in St Thomas (actually done on board the ship before you are allowed to go ashore) the only thing that happens in San Juan is the customs and that was very fast. We used the RCCL transfers at $13 apiece and they were fine. OTHER THINGS One question that always comes up is about bringing on wine or beer or other booze. We had several small bottles (the airplane size) of gin in our suitcase and a six pack of small bottles of tonic water in the backpack, as we like to sit on our balcony and have gin and tonics before dinner. There was no problem with bringing those on. We also twice purchased a bottle of wine on shore and simply placed in our backpack, along with 4 loose bottles of beer and again we were not stopped. I suspect that the combination of the age of the person bringing on the booze/wine, along with the amount, dictates how strict security is. We were told by one crew member, in confidence, that as long as one does not get carried away with quantities that usually security will turn a blind eye. Worked for us, but it is not like we shorted the cruise line. Our on board bar tab was still a fair amount. The entertainment was top notch every night. Be sure to see the ice skating show with the professional ice skaters. It is well done and the skaters are excellent. The comedians and variety show are good and the one musical song and dance show was excellent. The entertainment overall is excellent. Up on the activity deck there is the rock climbing wall, miniature golf, basketball court, and in-line skating. We did the golf and it was fine. We thought about the rock wall but decided against it. Deck 12 has an excellent jogging/walking track with 5 laps to a mail. I used that every morning early and it was usually pretty busy. Another thing we liked was the passenger mix. Since this cruise departs San Juan it is quite popular with people that live in Puerto Rico. Our cruise, with a total of 3000 passengers had about 1400 from Puerto Rico, which gave the cruise a nice mix of cultures and languages. The on-board announcement were made in both English and Spanish and we had the pleasure to meet several Puerto Ricans and learn more about their culture and island. Another thing that really impressed us was how well behaved everyone on board was. We did not once see any rude people or encounter any loud or rowdy behavior. This was definitely not a party boat but rather a group of people together that wanted to see some wonderful islands, enjoy some great food and service, and have a nice relaxing vacation. We give an A+ on all counts. As I said earlier this was our first time on RCCL but it will not be our last. Even though they position Celebrity as their upper level line, we thought that RCCL was better in most respects than our experiences on Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
Greetings from Curacao! I am sitting by the pool writing the first half of my review after a great day at the Underwater Park in Curacao. My wife and I decided that if we didn't start writing now we would forget half the things we ... Read More
Greetings from Curacao! I am sitting by the pool writing the first half of my review after a great day at the Underwater Park in Curacao. My wife and I decided that if we didn't start writing now we would forget half the things we wanted to include in our review. Betsey and I signed up for this cruise with some trepidation. We wanted to go to Aruba and our friends told us we were crazy not to try a cruise, so we decided to do both  the seven- night Southern Caribbean cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas. On this cruise we would hit three islands that we have not visited before (Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten) and we are always happy to go back to St. John's (a short ferry ride from St. Thomas). This was our first cruise. Day 1  Arrive and Cast- Off We spent time doing our homework prior to the cruise so we were well prepared for Sunday boarding. After an uneventful 10:00 AM flight from Boston (we booked our own) we arrived in San Juan, P.R. and took a taxi to the cruise terminal. With Sail Pass in hand we navigated the luggage and Sea Pass lines in less than thirty minutes, arriving in our room before 4:00 PM. Our starboard- side, Deck 8, balcony room was already made up and we were greeted by Manualita  our room attendant. She was cheerful and took time to explain everything to us since we were first time cruisers. Manualita personified the personality and helpfulness of all the staff we met during our stay. After some of the reviews we read concerning room cleanliness and bed comfort, we were more than satisfied with our accommodations throughout the trip. As far as we're concerned the D-2 category room was more than adequate for a couple celebrating their 25th Anniversary. As tired as we may have been from the day's activities, we never went to bed without first standing out on the balcony and enjoying the peacefulness of the Caribbean Sea. Absolutely beautiful! Sunday afternoon we went exploring. I was amazed at the size, beauty and cleanliness of the ship. With over 3,000 people booked for the cruise we never once felt rushed or cramped for space. There are so many facilities for, just about anything that there is always room. We headed for the Dining Room at 6:30PM (early seating) and met out waiters Lorenzo and Hugo. These guys waited on us throughout the week and they were fantastic. Treated us like ROYALTY (forgive the pun) at our 6-person table. After the first night they never forgot those special things we liked. How the staff can remember the personal touches, when serving 3,000 people that change every week, is beyond me. After 2 hours of good conversation, excellent appetizers, prime rib and NY Sirloin cooked to perfection, and decadent deserts, we headed off to the pool or I should say  POOLS. There are 3 separate pool sections on Adventure. A water slide pool for the kids on the aft deck, the main pool area amidships and an Adults Only pool area forward of the Main Pool. This setup allows plenty of room for everyone, even on At Sea days. Day 2  At Sea Our first At Sea day was spent exploring the ship, and relaxing by the pool. Having an At Sea day as the first full day gives you a chance to relax and get in the proper mindset for vacation. We got our tickets for the Ice Show, sampled the Drink of the Day and enjoyed breakfast and dinner in the main dining room. A conservative suit was appropriate for the first Formal Night and the food was excellent. Following dinner we headed to the Promenade for the Captain's meet and greet. Free drinks (the first and last time for that) and people watching for the rest of the evening. The activity on the Promenade went well past midnight. It was a very pleasant and relaxing day. Day 3  Aruba We arrived in Aruba on Tuesday morning and took a short taxi ride to the Airport where we had pre- reserved a Jeep for the day. The $54.00 price at Alamo was half of what the other car rentals were charging. We headed off with map in hand to find the beaches. We enjoy snorkeling and, unfortunately, we didn't find Aruba to be a great snorkeling spot. Maybe we were looking in the wrong places. Hard to tell, however, since Aruba has to be the worst island to find your way around. Highway signs are few and far between and we were frequently lost. We did manage to see the California Lighthouse (much ado about nothing), Baby Beach (oil refinery smokestacks and shallow water) and Palm Beach (excellent swimming spot). We went to M**** Beach for snorkeling  a few fish but not as good as other islands. We returned to the ship at 6:30 PM and headed to the buffet for dinner. The Windjammer Restaurant buffet was very good. Following dinner we headed to the Promenade to watch the parade of Ghouls and other assorted scary or comical creatures  the Halloween extravaganza. After a short review we headed to Studio B for the Ice Show. Working with about half the space of a typical rink, the performers put on a great show and we returned to the promenade for more Halloween madness. We ended the night at the Halloween bash in Studio B. The Ice Show venue was turned into a haunted dance floor and the place was absolutely packed. Richard Spacey Cruise Director led the party with a level of enthusiasm and humor that never waned throughout the week. I don't know what he's taking to keep up the energy level but I'll take some! Day 4  Curacao Wednesday morning we found ourselves in Curacao. We headed off the ship and found a taxi driver who took us to the Underwater Gardens  otherwise known as Spanish Waters. We were going to take the cruise excursion, but for $20-25.00 each way we were able to spend as much time as we wanted at the beach. We hooked up with Stanley in his green van (Curacao Plate TX-195) and we were at the beach in a quick 15 minutes. We arranged with Stanley to pick us up at 1:30 PM and he arrived right on time. It gets a little dicey in Curacao because the ship leaves at 5:00 PM and you don't want to be late. We saw a few people running up to the gangplank as we were preparing to leave  you don't want to cut it that close! The Underwater Garden beach was a great spot  plenty of shade areas, lounges, facilities and a bar/restaurant. The snorkeling was absolutely great with plenty of fish varieties; a sunken sailboat and we saw 2 stingrays gliding by. I would say this site is almost as good as Trunk Bay in St. Johns. Four hours was more than enough time to enjoy the site and leave the skin un- burned for another day. On our return I headed for Johnny Rockets. Maybe I wasn't in the mood and just felt I had to try it or maybe it was the time of day. In any event it was not the highlight of the trip. The hamburger was OK the fries and onion rings were less than satisfactory. With a $9.00 price tag ($3.00 to sit, $3.95 for the shake and 15% gratuity) the least they could do is give you a refill on the shake. Wednesday night's dinner was Caribbean Night  the red Snapper was excellent. Unfortunately, I was still enjoying the Johnny Rockets experience and couldn't finish the fish. Following dinner we headed to the Rock and Roll review in the Lyric Theatre. The theatre provides stage resources that allow production of a first rate show and the seats are more comfortable than many big theatres I have visited. The singing and dancing were excellent, helped by the Aruba Mamas a concoction of rum, rum, rum, and a few juices. We left the theatre and headed to the Promenade for people watching and a snack. Back to the Theatre at 10:30 PM for the Love and Marriage show. Once again, the Cruise Director Richard Spacey made the show. Of course the 3 competing couples gave him plenty of material to work with. There were a couple of newlyweds (5 days); a couple married 30 years and a third veteran couple (40 years). I can't remember when I laughed so hard, although I was concerned about a lightening strike (1 couple admitted to having sex in a church). We finished off the first half of the trip a little after midnight. Day 5  At Sea The breakfast buffet at the Windjammer was excellent and we headed to the pool for a much-needed day of relaxation by the pool. Richard Spacey Mac's the Belly Flop contest and then we headed down to the 4th floor Dining Room for a tour of the kitchens. 5:00 Bay Breezes by the pool set us up for our 6:00 PM reservation at Portofinos the upscale restaurant on the 11th floor. I highly recommend reserving a night for dinner here. The $20.00 per/person charge is well worth the price. We started with the shrimp appetizer, followed by the New England clam chowder. I elected to have the Seafood Pasta in an appetizer portion; my wife chose the ribbon pasta in a cream sauce with mushrooms and marzipan cheese. Both selections were first class. For the main course I selected the Filet Mignon and my wife opted for the skewered seafood. The Filet was as good as I have had at any high- end beef restaurant and well complimented by truffle mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables. My wife's seafood came to the table on a long skewer and was assembled by the waitress at the table. The grilled seafood included lobster tail, scallops, shrimp and salmon. We finished off the dinner with the dessert sampler  Tiramisu, Crème brulee, Chocolate Cake and Custard and coffee. The food was highlighted by impeccable service from our server  Mary. Just make sure you give yourself a good 2 hours for the experience. Following dinner we headed for the show at the Lyric Theatre  a comedy and song act that we enjoyed but met with mixed reactions from the audience. Day 6  St. Maarten We hit the road early, heading for Dawn Beach. We had read it was one of the better snorkeling sites on the island. We had considered the Pinel Island Tour, but we wanted to leave time for shopping in the afternoon. We got to the beach around 10:00 AM and explored the reefs for a couple of hours. The waters were wavier than we have found at other snorkeling sites and the clarity and variety of fish was not as good as we expected. We headed back early, changed and headed for the shops of Phillipsburg. After 2 hours of beating off vendors we headed back to the ship unscathed and able to hold on to most of our cash. We headed for the pool to cool off and a 5:00 libation. Lorenzo and Hugo were at their best during dinner, as usual. Following dinner we headed to the show  and then headed off to our room. A word of warning  at the beach I elected to not wear sunscreen since we were only staying a short time. Within an hour and a half I was burned to a crisp. Day 7  St. Thomas We elected to take the excursion to St. John's Trunk Bay. This is our favorite beach and the best place we have found for snorkeling. The excursion is a little pricey at $57.00 each. However, if you were to go to St John's on your own it would cost you just as much by the time you got a cab to Red Hook, took the ferry to St John's and then got a cab to Trunk Bay. With this excursion the ferry picks you up right at the ship and we were able to snorkel for a full 2 hours. Saturday night's dinner and show were excellent and we headed back to our room to pack. Sunday Departure Based on what we had read from other reviews we were expecting a long wait on Sunday morning. Fortunately, we did not experience the problems others described. We were in group 1 due to a 12:50 PM flight. We were in line early and we were through the customs process and had our bags within an hour of the start of the process. We were at the Airport Terminal by 10:00 AM plenty of time to spare. Summary For those folks considering their first cruise, as the NIKE commercial says Just DO It. We are definitely hooked on cruising as our first vacation option. Prior to the cruise I had a number of concerns, including:  Crowds  Running from one place to another on the ship's schedule Quality of food and cleanliness of accommodations  Seasickness I have to say that not one of my concerns materialized during the trip. We never felt the slightest bit queasy; we did whatever we wanted, when we wanted, for as long as we wanted. It was easy to make our own transportation options at each port. Taxis were plentiful and using a taxi allowed us to spend a longer time at each location. I think our highest taxi bill was $20.00. The ship was kept as clean as or cleaner than any hotel I have stayed at and we met some interesting people. The food and service were first class. Portofinos is well worth the $20.00 charge. I've been told that RCCL is a middle-of-the-road cruising option. If this is true, I can't imagine how we could have improved on the food, service or entertainment we experienced on this trip. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
We began our cruise out of Puerto Rico and had no problems getting onto the ship or into our room. From the taxi, it took no more than 20 minutes. Our luggage arrived before dinner. It is worthwhile to bring a carry-on with items to help ... Read More
We began our cruise out of Puerto Rico and had no problems getting onto the ship or into our room. From the taxi, it took no more than 20 minutes. Our luggage arrived before dinner. It is worthwhile to bring a carry-on with items to help you freshen up though. The first dinner begins somewhat later and does not have a dress code. Our room in the front of the ship was spacious in order to accommodate our family of five. The view through two large windows was a nice touch throughout our entire stay. On the other hand, most of the activities including dining, gangway and the lounges are on the aft side which means that you have to walk the entire length of the ship several times a day. In addition, there seemed to be more movement in the front of the ship. The food was much better than we expected. Breakfast is always the same but lunch and dinner change daily. We went to Portofino's and it was nice but we are still not sure if it was worth the extra money. I don't know if this was true with others, but our servers in the main dining room seemed to rush us through the meal. With our three children (8, 10, 12), we were looking forward to some private time. Unfortunately, after the first three hour session, our kids complained about being bored at adventure ocean and we could not get them back there for the rest of the cruise. Our kids were excited about the pool until they realized that it was more salty than sea water. They also did not return. Instead, there were lots of board games, ice-skating (at scheduled times), miniature golf, rollerblading and rock-climbing. Lots to do for the kids but not necessarily independently. Even though we have children ourselves, the large number of teenagers can transform the experience. We had read the previous reviews about the number of Puerto Ricans on the ship. Although there were no quincineras going on, the ship was pretty much dominated by Puerto-Ricans. At least 75% of the passengers are from Puerto Rico. Many events are done in Spanish and English. We have to agree with other reviews in that many Puerto Ricans can be less considerate than the typical passenger. There can be significant crowding and an unruly atmosphere that undermines any hope of a peaceful vacation. My wife says that she would never leave out of Puerto Rico again. The cruise offers lots of activities on sea days but most of the activities are intended to generate income for the cruise line. These activities including tastings, spa seminars, camera demonstrations etc . . . The same type of street-side vendors you experience in malls and ports of call, also find their way into the promenade deck which otherwise is very nice. The ice skating show, comedy and the dance shows were very good. The singers didn't come across too well on the sound system. All in all, the trip was very nice, the service was excellent and we all enjoyed ourselves. Nonetheless, we certainly would not consider going on this same cruise again. We did not book any excursions as we opted to rent a car at each port to explore on our own. Pros: 1) nice room 2) good food 3) nice common areas 4) ice skating and comedy show 5) easy embarking and disembarking 6) good gym Cons: 1) cruise dominated by Puerto Ricans 2) bathroom, small and smelled bad right from the beginning 3) commercially minded activities 4) Adventure Ocean (kids program) Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
We cruised with RCI on the Adventure of the Seas in December 2006. This was the first cruise for myself, and my husband's fourth cruise, but his first with RCI. I will first review the ship experience and follow up with our shore ... Read More
We cruised with RCI on the Adventure of the Seas in December 2006. This was the first cruise for myself, and my husband's fourth cruise, but his first with RCI. I will first review the ship experience and follow up with our shore excursions. We went to Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and St. Thomas, leaving from San Juan, Puerto Rico. We flew into San Juan the night before embarking and had no problem with our hotel (Holiday Inn Express) or the flight. The hotel was right on the beach but not close enough to the port so we had to take a taxi ($15). Embarking on Sunday was no problem at all - DEFINITELY check in online and get your SetSail pass because it makes checking in so much easier and faster. We arrived at the dock around noon and were on the ship by 12:15. Our rooms were not ready until 2:00 so we ate at the Windjammer Cafe and explored the ship until then. I found out about the "Puerto Rican issues" about a week before our cruise by reading some reviews on CruiseCritic.com. I would say that about 75-80% of the passengers on the cruise were Puerto Rican. At best, this issue was a nuisance, and at worst, it put a real damper on our vacation. We found most of them to be rude, loud, drunk and obnoxious. We talked to a few bartenders on board and found out that RCI is not selling out the rooms so they discount the room rate to $200 a person, which is why many PR's can afford to go on the cruise. As someone who paid over $1k a person for our room, this irks both me and my husband. I will note that a PR couple we dined with each night were very nice, upper-class people who did not fit the bill of most of the PR's on the ship. So, not everyone is loud, obnoxious and rude (shoving people out of the way on elevators, cutting in line, talking so loudly that everyone can hear your conversation, lots of yelling and running in halls at all hours of the night), but the majority of the passengers were. We were told by many people that RCI was "higher class" and nicer than Carnival, but my husband has cruised on Carnival and said that he enjoyed the experience much more with Carnival. This really put a damper on our experience and because of our dissatisfaction, we will not be cruising with Royal Caribbean again. The boat itself is OK. There is always something to do and it seems like a great boat for children and teenagers. I did really appreciate the adults-only pool as it was much quieter with no children around. We also utilized the gym as it is very spacious with lots of equipment. The entertainment was OK. Richard Spacey, the Cruise Director, is a blast and is definitely the highlight of the entertainment every night. The two Broadway-like shows featuring the RC Singers and Dancers were good, but not overly impressive. They also had a few comedians who were good. If you go, definitely attend the Love and Marriage game show - I think that was the best entertainment all week. Food is also OK. I was not overly impressed with food at the Windjammer but it's also not so bad, either. It's nice when you just want regular food. The food at dinner was good, but it is not so unique that you can't get the same food at a restaurant back in the states. Our head waiter, Christian, was fantastic and very funny. The rooms are not bad and we did spend a lot of time in them. We had a balcony which I definitely recommend. Our suite attendant, Daniel, was excellent. We also received a complimentary bottle of champagne since it was our honeymoon. We had an early flight before 11 a.m. out of San Juan so we received an early disembarking pass. Disembarking was easy and only took about half an hour. We did not have to go through customs at all and walked right off of the boat. Our shore excursions to Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and St. Thomas were all very good. In Aruba, we did snorkeling with the Pirate's snorkeling (or something like that), and took a schooner out to several snorkeling sites, including the sunken WWII ship. Unfortunately this excursion was a tad ruined by two PR couples who, I kid you not, came along just for the free rum punch. They did not even snorkel! Along with being loud and obnoxious, they were also drinking heavily and it kind of ruined the experience. In Curacao, we did an island tour which went to the Curacao museum, sea caves, the Curacao liquor factory, and the shopping district. We really enjoyed this excursion as our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the island. In St Maarten, we went on an ocean kayak and snorkel excursion, which was also a lot of fun and highly recommended. For St. Thomas, we took another island sightseeing tour from one of the open air taxis. If we ever go back to St Thomas, I want to snorkel at Magens Bay - this has got to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world! Royal Caribbean might be nice if you embark from a different port other than San Juan, but overall, as a first-time cruiser, I just wasn't that impressed with RCI or Adventure of the Seas. We may try Princess if we choose to go on another cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
We are a married couple and experienced cruisers in our 50's traveling alone on our 12th cruise half of which are on RCL (Platinum level in Crown & Anchor). This cruise was on the Adventure of the Seas for the Southern Caribbean ... Read More
We are a married couple and experienced cruisers in our 50's traveling alone on our 12th cruise half of which are on RCL (Platinum level in Crown & Anchor). This cruise was on the Adventure of the Seas for the Southern Caribbean itinerary from San Juan to Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas. This was the best cruise vacation we ever had. Why? The itinerary, aft balcony room, the ship dining (food & service), and no children (of ours anyway and the others stayed mostly out of sight). We had three cruise goals that were all met: relaxation (the less stress, crowds, and schedules the better); great snorkeling (we got it at Curacao and to some extent at Aruba); and plenty of alone couple time (the balcony and comfy bed fit the bill). So I can't give much advice on most of the ship board activities or shore excursions. We took only one of the latter and limited the ship activities to choice entertainment in the large show theatre or Crown & Anchor or Cruise Critic member events. This is a Voyager class ship and the first of that class ship for us. Personally, this is too big a ship for me. If it had not been for the balcony room, I probably would have been an unhappy cruiser. We are both active, but we did not take advantage of the remarkable activities on board that this class of ship has rock climbing, skating (ice & in-line), miniature golf. But they all looked great from the cruise video, much used by children and their parents, and would make this a really fantastic cruise to take for school age children and up. The week before we left I rented cars on-line at the three Dutch ports that are safe and fairly easy to drive in - Aruba, Curacao, and St. Maarten. We did this to save money on excursions, to explore the two small islands we had not visited before ( Aruba and Curacao), and to have our pick of snorkeling sites and beaches with fewer crowds. We spent an average of $65 on each island for good to excellent vehicles with reputable vendors at the pier recommended by CC members (thanks to all of you for your posts!). I will summarize first and then get detailed later. DO NOT pick this ship if:   1.   You don't want a big ship with crowds.  The ship is over three football fields long (1020 ft.) and supposedly holds about 3100 passengers. That makes a difference when you're trekking to ship dining and activities and for elevator (which is worse than average).  The cruise director said we had 3500 aboard.  That makes a difference around the pools and the jammed and chaotic buffet dining in the Windjammer, especially at breakfast.    2.  You are bothered by the large number of large Puerto Rican families.  We estimated the PR passengers to them to be 65%.  Frankly, this did not bother us at all.  Without them we would have missed meeting one of our all-time favorite dining companions,  a fine upper middle class and educated family of 4 from Ponce, PR (we love you, Juan, Ida, and children).  We much preferred them to drunk, loud, and rowdy young people (the Carnival stereotype).  Who cares if they speak Spanish a lot around you?  Everything on board was also in English and we missed nothing important. 3. Shopping is Your Cruise Priority. In my opinion, the only significant shopping port was St. Thomas. Although some would also count Saint Maarten/St. Martin, I found Marigot high-end shopping had diminished since my last visit in 1999. This was a heavy water sports cruise - beaches,diving,boating, and snorkeling. 4. Docking close to town is important. This ship is so large that it can only dock at the piers further from town in St. Thomas (new pier at Havensight Mall), Curacao (Mega Pier), and San Juan (farthest away from Old Town). So there are longer walks or cabs and less opportunity to go to and from the ship for multiple activities throughout the port days. But this is the only cruise itinerary we have had that had zero tenders, which may be an offsetting plus for many. This ship is great for families, disabled in wheelchairs (elevators, wide halls, no tenders in port), and those who want a variety of fabulous ports with long port days. My TIPS on making the most of your cruise vacation on this ship are: 1. Check in on line with Royal Caribbean at least two weeks prior to departure and print out your Sea Pass. This gives you special check-in lines and counters at embarkation they are at the far left side of counters. It does speed up the process. 2. Get a balcony room to get away from the crowds and to enjoy the truly magnificent views arriving and leaving these scenic and special ports. 3. Avoid the Windjammer for breakfast - order room service or go to the dining room if you want relaxation without the crowds. The food choices may be more limited, but that is offset by the lower stress. This is where the criticisms on this board about the Puerto Rican passengers are on point. 4. On Monday get your tickets to one of the four free Ice Shows on Tuesday and Thursday - check the Cruise Compass schedule for the hours and go early for best selections. This was truly the most outstanding and unusual entertainment we have seen on any cruise ship. Beautiful, awesome, and spectacular. And look at the warnings on the ticket about which dining seating fits with the show time and on Thursday the later show conflicts with the Platinum/Dining special event that night. 5. Eat at Portofino's the specialty reservation only restaurant on board was well worth the $20 pp cover charge. It was a relaxing 2-1/2 hour dining experience that made us feel like a half day in the spa. I recommend booking on the Tuesday/Aruba night because that's the only night the ship is docked at night. So we had no movement at all and it was divine. And don't believe those who say the food is equivalent to the dining room. I had some of the best food in years anywhere (of course we are from Michigan so our comparison is, shall we say, more limited). The service was sublime and personalized. When the waiter heard us say we were taking our wine bottle to our balcony, he brought us two wine glasses and a plate of special dessert tidbits to take with us. 6. Wait until later in the week to book the spa. Throughout the week the spa prices dropped dramatically at least 30% to the point they became equivalent to a large US city by Thursday. This is the first time I have seen this happen on any ship. I attributed it to the Puerto Rican clientele under using the services. They had a unique special deal of any three services for $99 for 20 minutes each - neck massage, stone massage, exfoliation, and others. It dropped to $89 by the end of the week. My husband got only the full 60 minutes but I was in there over 90 minutes because of the treatments I picked. The regular massages dropped from $120 down to $75 by Thursday. Embarkation: We did not stay in San Juan pre- or post-cruise. Our only non-stops from Detroit (4.5 hours) are on Sundays and leave plenty of time at both ends to board and leave the ship. So we flew the same days as the ship departed and arrived on Sundays. The taxi dispatcher outside the terminal fixed us up with a van to the cruise dock with a 20 minute ride and fare of $21 plus tip. We boarded at 3:30 pm and so avoided the rush. The bags arrived by 7:00 p.m. before second seating dinner. Pack your swimsuit/deck clothes and a change for dinner if you don't want to risk being in your same clothes through dinner. Debarkation: Fast for us. We booked our only RCL excursion- the 2-1/2 hour city/Old Town tour for $27. A bargain considering it includes transport to the airport. We were the first to depart the ship. You pick up your bags when the excursion group is called at the port, go outside where the bag handlers for the luggage transfer trucks ask to take them, and board the small tour buses clearly marked with your group number and tour name. And our bags were at the airport outside when we arrived (four hours before our flight) being well guarded by RCL or their agents. Sunday We did nothing due to being tired from travel other than unpack, eat a mid-afternoon meal at Johnny Rockets (no cover charge for Platinum members once a cruise and worth it even for the $3.95 cover), meet our tablemates for a short light dinner (too stuffed with the burgers), and to bed early with no entertainment. Monday At sea and we needed it after the travel and late night sail away the previous night. My only task that day was getting ice show tickets, making the Portofino reservation for the next night, and reading up on Aruba in my guide books. Tuesday Aruba and the longest port day of 17 hours. the ship arrives at 8 a.m. and doesn't depart until 1 a.m. the next day. We took the car to Baby Beach on the far southeast corner and found no fish that day. It had rained heavily the night before and the water was choppy and too cloudy. So we left and drove all the way to the northwest side via the interior route that passed the Alto Vista Chapel (worth the visit for its unique barren hillside location) and the California Lighthouse. We checked out the snorkel beaches just south of the lighthouse rejected Arashi due to crowds and settled on Malmok. At least we think we got these names right the beaches on this side had no signs so we had to go on the CC descriptions and the rental car map. Malmok had a parking lot. The beach was narrow, flat, and rocky  bring water shoes to wear before putting on the fins. The snorkeling was OK, but we did better at the unnamed beach just to the south. It had really beautiful white sand and better fish. It is only 50 yards from Malmok on a foot path at the far left side of the parking lot. You can't see it from the road, but it's beautiful. This lovely day ended with a long dinner at Portofino (the prawn risotto, mushroom pasta, and beef filet were fabulous), the shows on board, and our private sail away on our deck as we left Aruba with my husband smoking his cigar on the balcony. One of the fun things to watch is the party buses coming back to port within the hour before sailing. Your fellow very happy (intoxicated) passengers leave the funniest party bus I've every seen  it had flashing lights and played Dixie on its horns. Wednesday Curacao was my husband's favorite port and the one to which he wants to return. The road signs are better than Aruba, but not what we are used to in the states. With CC advice we spent the day at the best private beach club and snorkeling site we have experienced in the Caribbean  Playa Porto Mari. The best snorkeling we have had outside Hawaii  bathtub clear water (but no pretty coral like Hawaii) with glorious and unusual fish meeting you at every turn. We spent only $10 here for admission that included the beach chairs, palapa, two soft drinks, restrooms/showers, and a very clean and cared for environment. You can get details at the web site (playaporomari.com) but beware that the driving directions there are wrong. I think this was the night the Beatles look-alike group, Revolution, performed. We loved it. Thursday At Sea. More relaxing on the balcony and eating where and when we wanted. Friday St. Maarten/St. Martin. This was the most miserable driving of all the islands we visited due to the heavy traffic getting out of Phillipsburg and rude/fast drivers. But we managed to circle it clockwise, get into and out of Marigot which was no small task on this busy day (where my husband stocked up on Cuban cigars), and find a so-so spot on the northern end of Orient Beach. We spent a big part of the day trying to find the secluded beach we visited in 1999 with the tip of a cab driver. We know it was on the east side and I thought it was just on the north side of the French/Dutch border. After looking at several beaches in the vicinity we gave up and went to Orient. It was too crowded and expensive for me. We had to spend $20 for the chair rentals twice Curacao and not worth it. This was my favorite island up to this cruise and now I'm not too sure it is anymore. Saturday Using a very old Frommer's guide book we got a taxi to Limetree Beach 5 minutes ($16 out/$8 back) from the pier. Absolutely beautiful and almost no people. The only problem was we kind of crashed it. It is now a time-share named Blackbeard's. We would have paid for the chairs, but the beach was virtually deserted and could find no one to pay. We spent our time lounging around and taking pictures of each other on the rocks and in the surf (husband's a professional photographer). We got a taxi back to Havensight Mall where the ship was docked and visited a few jewelry stores there to buy earrings for our daughter. This was a great cruise for us. But consider whether it's the right one for you given what I've said. The itinerary can't be beat. The food was acceptable to great for the mid-priced cruise market. But I would prefer a smaller ship. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
This was our fifth cruise, 2nd with RCI. We've cruised on Princess and Celebrity and on Voyager of the Seas. My husband and I are in our early 50's. We flew into San Juan 2 days early and stayed at the Intercontinental. Although ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise, 2nd with RCI. We've cruised on Princess and Celebrity and on Voyager of the Seas. My husband and I are in our early 50's. We flew into San Juan 2 days early and stayed at the Intercontinental. Although the hotel is an old one, the room was nice and clean and the pool area had just been redone. The people that worked there were very friendly and helpful. The first day we just relaxed around the pool and went to dinner with friends who live there to a restaurant for the locals, El Alcazar. Although the menu was in Spanish and the waiters only spoke Spanish, the food and service was excellent, thanks to our Spanish-speaking friends. Saturday we went to OSJ. Because the San Sebastian festival was going on, traffic was bad and the city was crowded. We saw some of the historic sites and enjoyed the festivities. There was crafts, music, food, singing and dancing, parades, and crowds of people having a great time. In the evening, we went to El San Juan Hotel next to where we were staying. The lobby and lounge were beautifully decorated and a great place to people watch. I had the best chocolate martini. Sunday we arrived at the cruise dock at 11:30 am and the doors had just opened. We were having a drink on the top deck by noon. The weather today and the rest of the week was perfect, sunny in the mid-80's. We had a balcony cabin on the deck 7 which I had switched from deck 6 because the balcony wall was more open. This was a good decision. Our cabin attendant was great and very pleasant. The bed was comfortable. The food in the Windjammer was ok but getting a drink was practically impossible. I was surprised that there was no outside grill with burgers and pizza like on the other ships we had been on. We ordered room service every day for breakfast which was always prompt. The dinners in the dining room were okay and our wait staff very attentive. We ate dinner in Portofino's which was excellent. Not your typical Italian restaurant, very gourmet. The cruise director was ok, not very exciting. The first production show was good and the Love and Marriage show funny, although I was surprised that they were still asking the same questions they asked 5 years ago on VOS. I got a manicure and pedicure later in the week to get out of the sun for a few hours. The manicurist was good but it was very expensive even with the $10 coupon from our coupon book. In Aruba we took a taxi to Eagle Beach which had some of the whitest and softest sand. There were chairs on the beach but we were told they were for the people staying at the hotels across the street, and that we would be kicked off eventually. We used them anyway since we only planned to stay a couple of hours and weren't bothered by anyone. In the afternoon we went shopping. The stores on the main street and in the mall were upscale with prices to match. I found some Aruba aloe products that I wanted at a pharmacy on one of the streets behind the shopping mall. The prices were half of what they wanted in the "better" stores. We had snacks and drinks at Iguana Joe's. I was disappointed with Curacao. There were many pretty pastel colored buildings to see along with the floating bridge. However, I found that most of the items sold in the stores were tacky (I wasn't shopping for jewelry or perfumes). We walked around taking in the architecture that the travel books recommend and ended up on a street that I didn't want to be on. Cut our sightseeing short and headed back to the ship. Also, there is a lot of construction in the port area. Went to the shopping talk for Sts. Maarten and Thomas which is a waste IMO. St. Maarten has a very nice dock area and we took a taxi into town for some shopping. We had lunch at the Blue Bitch Cafe on the beach. That evening we saw another production show, Behind the Velvet Rope, which was very good. In St. Thomas we went on the BOSS excursion, which was an underwater motor scooter. This was great and the crew was extremely helpful and were real characters. Bring a water camera because they will take pictures of you while underwater riding the scooter. In the afternoon we rode the tram up to Paradise Point for some wonderful scenery and a delicious drink (Bushwhacker). It was a wonderful cruise. There were very few young children. The cruise director said there was over 2000 people from the US, of which 250 were from Puerto Rico. We saw quite a few young Puerto Rican girls celebrating a special occasion, and they all looked beautiful on formal night. I did not see any rowdy or rude behavior as previous cruisers have mentioned. The only thing I was dissatisfied with was the selection of lounges. I found that on the Caribbean Princess the bartenders were more personable and the lounges nicer. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS, SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE, JAN 14 - JAN 21, 2007 OVERVIEW This was a fantastic cruise vacation. We were a group of 3 couples, all friends and neighbors who live on the same street. I think this is THE best cruise ... Read More
ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS, SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE, JAN 14 - JAN 21, 2007 OVERVIEW This was a fantastic cruise vacation. We were a group of 3 couples, all friends and neighbors who live on the same street. I think this is THE best cruise one can take in the Caribbean. It combines both a fabulous itinerary and the most impressive ship I've been on in 10 cruises. THE SHIP The Adventure of the Seas was my first Voyager-class ship, after having sailed on 3 Radiance-class ships and the Grandeur Of The Seas. I was blown away! The Royal Promenade is phenomenal. It's great to have a central location for shops, numerous bars, a cafe, and Guest Relations. One couple booked a cabin overlooking the Royal Promenade. Their cabin even had an additional couch, so we used their cabin several times for pre-dinner drinks. On the first night of the cruise we watched one of two parades that ran through the Royal Promenade. The rest of the ship was just as impressive. Two common areas that stand out was the night club, Jester's, which was very cool in a medieval theme, and Studio B, an ice skating rink at sea! PASSENGER MAKEUP As we are 3 couples in our 30's, we liked that this cruise had a large mix of ages, with an overall younger average than on any cruise we've been on. Almost everyone we met was very nice and having a good time. We very rarely had to deal with rude people. Most onboard were from the Unites States and Canada, and a smaller percentage were San Juan locals, who were just as nice as everyone else. THE SERVICE As has always been the case with us on Royal Caribbean, the service was outstanding. Our waiter Aris and assistant waiter Xumbo provided excellent dining service each night. Our cabin steward Jules was also terrific. We like the fact that he always seemed to be around in the hallway whenever we needed something. He was able to deliver on every one of our requests, and our cabin was cleaned soon after we left for breakfast or dinner each day. ENTERTAINMENT We really liked the entertainment on the ship. We are not fans of the Production Shows, so we didn't see any of them. But we did enjoy the two comedians that we saw. The 1st comedian was part of the opening night show; he also performed a late night adults-only set. He was pretty good. The 2nd comedian was hilarious; I would pay to see him perform again. Additionally, the ice skating show was terrific. I was skeptical that I would enjoy an ice skating show, but I was proven wrong! I really enjoyed all the Beatles songs that were played during the show. EMBARKATION / DEBARKATION The Pan American pier in San Juan is very well run. We arrived at the pier at around 11 am, hoping to get on the ship early. However, the previous cruise was slow in debarking, so even though we got our SeaPass cards right away, they weren't letting anyone on the ship. No worries, instead we took a cab to Old San Juan and Fort San Cristobal, which we planned on doing anyway. Note that upon boarding the ship, our rum we had hoped to enjoy in our cabin was taken from us. It was later delivered to us Saturday morning, the 2nd to last day of the cruise. I think alcohol put into the checked luggage would be fine. Debarkation was a breeze. We signed up the American Airlines valet service at $10 a person. After locating our bags at the pier and simply walking them past U.S. Customs, we handed them to AA personnel and didn't have to worry about them again until we arrived home. As taxis in San Juan charge $1 per bag, the cost for this valet service comes out to be even less. Plus we had our boarding passes already with us, delivered to our cabin during the cruise. There was hardly a wait for a taxi to take us to the airport; as I said earlier, the pier is very well run. PORTS OF CALL SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO San Juan is often a port of call on Caribbean cruises, so this was like a port bonus. We stayed at the Caribe Hilton, which we booked through Priceline by naming our own price. We liked this hotel. Our room was in the new tower. The room was very modern and updated. It had a flat panel TV and a big bathroom with a large shower that had two types of shower heads. The property had a nice pool area, with a swim-up bar, and a good beach. We had dinner at the Spanish restaurant. The food was excellent, albeit a bit pricey, but what I would expect for a resort. We all enjoyed our visit to Fort San Cristobal the next day. ORANJESTAD, ARUBA In the morning we went to Eagle Beach. This was an excellent beach; no snorkeling, but calm water and very fine white sand. I thoroughly enjoyed this beach (travel mates, you know what I mean!). In the afternoon, we did the Jolly Pirates Sail, Snorkel, Swim, & Swing excursion that you can book through the ship. This was a lot of fun. We went to two snorkeling spots: one spot was unique due to the massive number of fish (huge schools), the other was unique because it was at the sight of a sunken WWII German ship. We also stopped to make use of the rope swing on the ship, which everyone enjoyed. Even the bus ride back to the ship was fun, as the bus played rock music that people could sing along too. After an enjoyable dinner at Johnny Rockets on the ship, we went back out in the evening, stopping at Iguana Joe's, the casino, and finally an Irish Bar. It was a treat to go ashore in the evening, something I wish more itineraries would provide. WILLEMSTAD, CURACAO This was my favorite island that we visited. I had prearranged with Nelson of TioTaxi (www.tiotaxi.com) to take us to the beach. At 9 am, there he was at the pier waiting to take us to Porto PlayMari. This is my favorite Caribbean beach of all time. For $5 you get entrance to the facility and a comfortable lounge chair. The beach has white sand and beautiful, turquoise blue water. It is surrounded by small cliffs. There are no hotels and no jet skis, just tranquility. The water was very clear, and the snorkeling was quite good. It's about a 20 minute drive to the beach at a cost of $10 pp each way. It seems that taxis are a bit expensive in Curacao, but this beach was well worth the cost. We enjoyed Nelson's commentary during the drive and would recommend him for taxi service or for an island tour. After lunch on the ship, we went shopping in Willemstad, a quaint little town on the water with a strong Dutch influence. My wife loved it! PHILIPSBURG, ST. MAARTEN We rented two jeeps on this island, visiting Friar's Bay Beach (very nice, quiet), Orient Beach (crowded), and the French town of Marigot. We wanted to rent with Hertz, but they wanted to charge us $95 per jeep (I was expecting $75 each after researching on Cruise Critic), so we went with an independent, Reynolds. This was a mistake. The jeeps he rented were hunks of junk. At least they didn't break down and we can all laugh about it now. This was my second visit to St. Maarten/St. Martin and it is my least favorite Caribbean island. There just seems to be a lot of junk along the road and buildings in disrepair. CHARLOTTE AMALIE, ST. THOMAS FOR CRUZ BAY, ST. JOHN We took the $10pp cab ride from Havensight to Red Hook, and then took the ferry ($5pp) over to Cruz Bay. Here we rented two dinghies from Noah's Little Arks (www.bookitvi.com/nla.htm). The cost for a whole day, with gas and insurance, for a 14-footer was $205 (seats 4 people); the cost for a 12-footer (seats 2) was $160. This was a fun excursion, even though our first beach landing was a bit adventurous (had trouble getting the motor to lift up). The only downer was that the waves were quite choppy, preventing us from landing at two of St. John's better beaches, Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay. SUMMARY We had an awesome time. This ship and itinerary are top notch. What are you waiting for, go book this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
We just returned from the one week southern caribbean cruise.  We had not cruised for 15 years so we are basically first time cruisers.  Normally we go the a caribbean island resort and stay for 7 to 10 days.  We flew out the day before ... Read More
We just returned from the one week southern caribbean cruise.  We had not cruised for 15 years so we are basically first time cruisers.  Normally we go the a caribbean island resort and stay for 7 to 10 days.  We flew out the day before the cruise which I heartily recommend.  Winter weather, being what it is, left many scrambling to make the ship, and several who had to fly to Aruba, the first port, to get on board.  We stayed at the Embassy Suites prior to the cruise which is ok for one nite.  We got there by 4pm the day before the cruise.  There is an Outback Steak House so we ate immediately.  Also a 2 hour free cocktail hour, and  free breakfast the following morning.  However, the next morning we walked 2 short blocks to the ocean and toured the Intercontinental which was, hands down, a much nicer hotel and $50 cheaper. If traveling w/o children I would heartily recommend it.   Sunday we boarded ship around 3pm and walked with on with our printed seapass. Our luggage did not make our room until after dinner but everyone was very casual, having just arrived, so it was fine.  We had an inside stateroom with no window but it was all that we needed.  It was very clean and we had a wonderful steward who brought us ice, coffee every morning, and extra pillows for my husband.      We did not participate in any cruise expeditions as figured we could do them cheaper.  In Aruba caught the public bus right off the pier to Palm Beach ($1.50pp) and rented beach chairs on the beach for $10 apiece.  Very relaxed and no schedule.     We love Curacao.  Shared a cab for $12 ea way to the Hilton Resort which sold day passes for $6 apiece to use beach and all facilities.  Relaxing and again, no schedule.      Unfortunately we did not get to go to Orient Beach in St Maarten as I woke up nauseated and had the runs.  I was in bed all day while my husband sat on deck and read.  Maybe it was a little food poisoning, don't really know but was fine the next morning.     In St Thomas took at cab to Secret Harbor Resort, $20 ea way, and rented beach chairs for $5 pp.  An absolute wonderful beach, resort.     Sea days are crowded but fine.  There were practically no children on board which was good.  We often went to the adult pool.  One day a mother and 12 year old were in the hottub and attendants made the child get out of the tub.  She did but sat on the edge the entire time her mother was in the tub. Parents who think everyone should enjoy their children need to think again.  Employees were  attentive and polite.  I like the food, but generally food served to the masses, ie not of a high caliber restaurant but certainly sufficient.      Disembarking you have to be out cabin by 8 am and wait.  We got off at 10.  We chose to go on  a side path to the beach by the intercontinental and rent beach chairs vs spending the day in the airport.  There were mini vans to take people on tour of old San Juan, stopping for shopping, and lunch then taking passengers to airport by 1:30 for $50 per couple. Vans  were lined up outside the pier.  Going thru the airport was quick and not a bad wait when one plans an activity to fill in the day.  We did do the luggage handling thru the pursers office which made life a whole lot easier.  Ship takes bags the nite before, we pick up after going thru immigration, and there are airline reps right outside who take our luggage.  The luggage is taken to the airport, and we didn't have to deal with it until picking it up in our home airport.  Cruise line also printed our boarding passes and placed them in our stateroom the night before. This ran us $40 which was well worth not dragging luggage around the entire day.      We would go Royal Caribbean again.  Some airport acquaintances had been on a Carnival cruise and had not one good thing to say so beware.         Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
This was our first cruise, and we were traveling with our 2 boys, ages 7 and 9. We also traveled with 8 other family members, and this was their first cruise as well! We chose Adventure of the Seas because of the ports, Aruba, Curacao, St. ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and we were traveling with our 2 boys, ages 7 and 9. We also traveled with 8 other family members, and this was their first cruise as well! We chose Adventure of the Seas because of the ports, Aruba, Curacao, St. Martin and St. Thomas. We booked a room with a balcony, located on the 9th floor near the elevators. This location turned out to be perfect since it was so convenient to stairs and elevators. The ship is awesome and is great condition, offering so much for the traveler to do. We flew to San Juan a day early in case we had snow up here in New England. We stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel, which was beautiful. The hotel room cost about $215, but well worth it. The hotel was right on the ocean, and featured a nice pool, hot tub and of course, the beach. We arrived at the pier about 12:15 pm and had prepared myself to deal with long confusing lines. However it was very organized and we were on the ship in 20 minutes! We enjoyed lunch in the Windjammer where we spotted many other travelers wearing their New England Patriots jerseys! It was the night of the big game against the Colts. So it was easy to make some new friends. We were in our rooms by 2 pm and had our luggage by 4:30 pm. Our room and balcony was nice and had more storage than I expected. Due to the big football game, the muster drill was not held that first night, but instead the next morning at 10 am when we were at sea. The first night dinner was not that tasty, but many people were rushing thru dinner to get seats for the game..so it didn't seem to matter much. Our waiters and staff were very friendly and always made dining a treat. We watched the game in the sports bar on the Promenade which was a blast  especially when the Patriots were winning! We finished watching the game in our room, depressed with the outcome. But heck, we were on a cruise  so cheer up! The ship left dock about 20 minutes earlier than expected at 9:40 pm. The next day was a sea day, so we climbed the rock wall (ok, I didn't climb, but my husband and boys did), played basketball, mini golf, etc. It was a beautiful day, but hot under the direct sun. We visited the pools for a little while, it was the only time the ship feel somewhat crowded. It was the 2nd week for the new cruise director, but he is experienced and got the crowd going for a men's sexy legs contest. We went to the Cruise Critic meet and mingle where we met some new pals and were lucky in the raffle! We went to the orientation for the Adventure Ocean club and were impressed with the staff. The boys loved the club and they took them to Johnny Rockets during formal night dinners (no extra charge). The boys would visit Adv. Ocean club most nights after dinner and we would visit the casino. The club staff was very well trained and professional. We made sure to tip the Adv. Ocean staff on the last night of the cruise. The service on the ship was very good however our state room attendant was lacking in consistency. One day we had no toilet paper, and no spare either. And even though we used the laundry service, he didn't remember to give us new laundry bags. So I couldn't send out the laundry as much as I wanted to. Some days we had a bath mat, and other days it was missing in action. Aruba: we had booked the Seaworld Explorer on line prior to the cruise. It cost $134 for the 4 of us, pls $20 in roundtrip taxi ride. It was good, but not excellent. We arrived back from the boat ride around 2pm and went to the Renaissance Hotel to see if we could get a day pass to their private island, which were available. Passes for adults cost $50 each, includes lunch, a drink and watersport. Kids are free, but no lunch (or cocktail either!) The island was beautiful and I wished we had spent the whole day there. Lunch was good and they also didn't charge us for the kid's meals either! Curacao: we went to the Sea Aquarium, and then the beach next door to it. Cost for sea aquarium for the 4 of us was only $45.00. It is not a fancy place, but still very interesting. St. Martin: we went shopping and then to Divi Little Bay beach, where we rented chairs, towels and an umbrella. The port is very organized with nice shops right at the pier. Cab ride was $16 each way for 4 people. My husband bought a watch on this island for a good price, better prices than the other islands. St Thomas: we took a cab ride ($32 for 4 people) to Megan's Bay which is gorgeous! The taxi ride was scary since the roads are so winding and they drive on the opposite side the road&the driver took us to a high lookout over the beach first so we could get some fantastic photos. We rented some chairs and snorkeling equipment and stayed for several hours. Lunch was tasty pizza slices. The beach facilities are not glamorous by any means, but the beauty of the beach makes up for it. After the beach, we went to the St Thomas skyride to Paradise Point. Cost for $18 for each adult, and I think $9 for kids. Somewhat pricey but the delicious frozen Baileys Bushwhacker drinks make us forget the ticket price. The view is nice and you can see the cruise ship as well. We didn't see too many shows on the ship, but the Ice Show was fantastic. I had figured it to be a lame ice capades, but it was so much better than that! My husband and I used the fitness center a few times as well. It was clean and gave us a chance to burn off some calories! Leaving the ship was very organized and we were in the 2nd group which was called at 8:20 am, even thought our flight was not until 2 pm. Getting the luggage was easy enough (once we remembered the tag color!) and the taxis were awaiting us. Traffic was light going back to the airport. We had a fabulous time on our first cruise and can't wait to return to AOS again! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
Background Information We decided to treat our adult children to a "retirement cruise"and the Adventure's Southern Caribbean cruise seemed to guarantee good weather and interesting ports.This was our third cruise but the ... Read More
Background Information We decided to treat our adult children to a "retirement cruise"and the Adventure's Southern Caribbean cruise seemed to guarantee good weather and interesting ports.This was our third cruise but the first for the kids.We picked the AOS because of the variety of onboard activities available for the younguns(21-30) Bad Start!!! We thought we'd start it off right with a stretch limo to the Buffalo airport from our St Catharines Ont.home.Great idea with champagne,OJ,muffins ETC .The limo driver thought we were going the next day so our best friends got up at 7:30 and got us there on time. We landed in San Juan-lots of cabs(vans).They'll give you a pre determined price to where you're going-keep the paper to save an argument later.We book our own air and go the day before so we don't have to worry about weather or connections and we can get aboard early.Relax...remember Embarkation Do your SEA PASS at home as it saves time at the pier.Go to the ship early.We got out of the cab at 11:45 and the seven of us were aboard at 12:05.Lots of time to check the ship(it is HUGE),have lunch,drinks by the pool and get to your cabin.Anthony(he was great) had our cabins ready by 2:00.We "let go" at 10:00 with a set sail party around the pool Ship Information We have sailed on the Zaandam and Legend of the Seas before and the Adventure dwarfs both.The ship was spotless and showed very little age for a ship that entertains 3500 guests a week.Even with that number of passengers it didn't seem crowded.We never stood in a line for longer than a couple of minutes except when we disembarked.There were lots of deck chairs although they might not be near a pool,unless you get there early.Every crew member we met was friendly and helpful.The ship is actually a destination and will take you a long time to see it all and you won't use all the amenities available but you certainly won't be bored. Activities We don't participate in organized ship activities but there was lots to do.For ship enthusiasts don't miss the Q&A session with the senior officers.It is informative and interesting and they do want to hear what you have to say.Richard Spacey was the cruise director but has moved to the Freedom.He was the best we've seen in our limited experience.Always check your daily Cruise Compass for the next days activities and important info. Service The service was excellent.Anthony,our stateroom steward,was attentive to our every need and knew what to do and where to go in every port.The room was always prepared to perfection. Our dining room steward,Hemant,was fantastic.We looked forward to dinner every night because of his service with his assistant Cecil and wine steward,Ronna.Even the head DR steward ,whose name I can't remember, was a lovely lady who spent time at our table every evening. On deck the bar staff were plentiful and friendly but one stands out,Mark Phillips ,from Trinidad, was funny and always remembered what everyone drank. I do believe that the reason this crew was so great was because of Capt.Nyseter.He was around the ship often and would often be seen speaking with passengers.Anytime you mentioned his name around the crew they always spoke highly of him and seemed genuine in their comments. Shore Excursions In Aruba,we booked the Sail,Snorkel,Swim,and Sail.For about $45,this was the best excursion I've ever been on .It is even better than the write up because the bar is open as soon as the boat leaves the dock and the snorkeling was perfect.Take the 2 o'clock tour so you can tour the town in the morning,have lunch and then leave. We took a tour of Curacao,which was fair.It is a neat Dutch Carib. town to walk around .Others said the scuba and snorkeling was great and I'd do that if I went again. St Martin is great for shopping.We went "low key" that day.Had a nice lunch,shopped and returned early.Friends rented a car($75) and toured the island and said it was great.Rentals are near the dock. In St. Thomas we hired a cab to take us to a beach and just relaxed for the day. Stateroom We had a balcony cabin on the stern of the ship.I booked this because the balconies are twice the normal size.The cabins are all the same size but the extra room outside allowed us to enjoy our smuggled wine with our family before dinner.The room is not as large as on Holland America ships but it is suitable.They really should upgrade the bedding soon as they are getting a little thin.I understand this will happen soon.The stern cabins do have an obstructed view.You do not look directly down at the sea,which was a bit of a disappointment.One good thing is you can stow your suitcases under the bed which saves closet space. Dining The quality of the food was good.The presentation was also good.It wasn't extraordinary but we were pleased.The wait staff was very helpful when suggestions were asked for,and Hemant was always right.Order the wine package on day one.We ordered the seven bottle package and it was about $180.The wine selection was very good.We like the late seating because it gives us lots of time to get ready for dinner after a busy day in port. Entertainment Do not miss the skating show!There will be lots of tickets.It is offered Tues. and Thurs.night and it is the same show so choose according to you itinerary. The nightly shows were basic cruise entertainment.The entertainment on this cruise was not nearly as good as we had on the Legend in March.The choreography of the "Broadway "shows was disappointing. The singer in the English Pub ,Ian Millar,was phenomenal.He had the place packed every night. Disembarkation This took longer than it should have but it started late because of a problem with another ship and we were late arriving.There are two exits to the gangway.Get off near the bow and you'll save yourself 20 minutes.Altogether it took us 50 minutes to get off.Another hint ...if you can't find your luggage in the color coded area that it is supposed to be in, there is a lost and found area for those whose tags were ripped off. Summary After I booked this cruise I became aware that the majority of the passengers on this cruise would be residents of Puerto Rico and some of the reviews I read were not very complimentary towards them.It is true that 75% of the passengers are from PR and that all messages will be given in two languages but other than the fact they spoke little English there were no problems.I was very concerned prior to boarding but very pleased after we were aboard. We were very happy with our cruise.RCCL has done a great job with these large ships.This is not a ship for quaint, quiet times.It is a busy ship and perfect for families.I would definitely cruise on this class of ship again and I would recommend this itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
This was our 4th cruise. one on Princess,one on celebrity and two on RCCL. Flew from Orlando on Jet Blue(Live in Tampa,better connection and prices) Air Line is great. Stayed at the Courtyard on Isle Verde. I must really admit that getting ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise. one on Princess,one on celebrity and two on RCCL. Flew from Orlando on Jet Blue(Live in Tampa,better connection and prices) Air Line is great. Stayed at the Courtyard on Isle Verde. I must really admit that getting to the Hotel from the Airport was not that much of a problem. I do recommend carrying small bills because you have to take a cab, Hotel shuttles don't exist. The Hotel itself was wonderful. I am sure I paid more that I should have, but I am on vacation, and It was my Birthday,and I can work the rest of the year to pay it off. We planned this trip with another couple that are lifelong friends,who flew in later that day. We were also very lucky that by pure chance we met another couple from Pittsburgh that we stuck up a friendship that lasted the entire cruise and hope it will continue. Ok onto the cruise review I am new at this so bear with me.  Getting to the ship from the hotel was a piece of cake just tool a can was there within 30 minutes. All six of us were checked in by the internet. A hint ask for a porter if you are traveling in a group and have a lot of luggage. We were on the ship within 20 minutes,went to the Windjammer and had a long leisurely lunch. Baggage arrived about 3PM and were unpacked by 4pm. I will try not to bore everyone with my opinions about cruising,only to say if you have done this before you know how it feels to be on the ship. The Adventure of the Seas has so much to offer. I found a good mix of quiet time to busy time. I must have been in the Minority but I did very well THANK YOU.. in the casino won two good jackpots on the same slot machine two nights in a row. I had no issues with the quality or quantity of food. Did the Mystery Dinner theater at Portafino's which was fun, I just wasn't all that impressed with the meal. As Far as Shore excursions,with the exception of Aruba we pretty much got off the ship and went shopping, In Aruba we rented a jeep,toured the Island and as a group went to Rancho Notorious and went Horseback Riding on the beach at sunset(this was one of my wife's highlights) getting off the ship and to the airport was no problem (sad to get off the ship)again remember to have cab money. The only two things that I would warn traveler about is (1) If you plan on bring home duty free Liquor You cannot bring it on as carry on. So make room in your check in luggage (2)Most shops and services close in Aruba at 6:00pm irregardless of what your car rental agreement may say I had to pay extra after the fact. That's it Would we do it again I a heartbeat. Any questions E-mail me will respond Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
My husband and I are in our late twenties. This was my 3rd and his 2nd cruise with RCI. We left from San Juan and traveled to Aruba, Curacao, St. Maartin, and St. Thomas. We flew into San Juan on American the day before embarking and ... Read More
My husband and I are in our late twenties. This was my 3rd and his 2nd cruise with RCI. We left from San Juan and traveled to Aruba, Curacao, St. Maartin, and St. Thomas. We flew into San Juan on American the day before embarking and stayed overnight at the Embassy Suites next to the airport. Both of our flights departed late because of weather conditions in the midwest delaying our flight crews (both times the plane was at the gate waiting with us). The Embassy Suites was in walking distance of the beach and had a really nice pool area, although the live entertainment in the lobby area near the casino was quite loud and could be heard in the living room area of the suite. The free drinks from 5-7 were a plus but the hot breakfast buffet was just OK. We had printed out our set sail passed and arrived at the pier around noon where we met total chaos. There were no porters to help you with you bags and you had to wait in a long line to check them in. On top of that it was hard to find anyone to give you information on what to do and to get luggage tags (we upgraded at the last minutes when the prices dropped so our original luggage tags sent to us were no longer correct). On the plus side the line did move quickly and by the time you got your bags taken care there was no really much of a line to wait in to check in. All in all we were on the ship and in the windjammer by 12:45pm. Since booking the cruise we had been keeping up with the member reviews and were a little worried by the recent number of reviews complaining about the bad behavior of some of the Puerto Rican passengers. I don't know if we picked a good time to go or just got lucky, but we had no such issues. Yes there were some Puerto Ricans on the cruise, but no more than any other nationality, and we did not notice any bad behavior from the ones we did see. Before the cruise, we noticed the rates had dropped on the rooms. We called and they upgraded us to a Junior Suite and we got $300 back. The room was nice and spacious. It included a walk-in closet and full sized bath tub. We enjoyed our larger balcony as well. Our room steward Maricio did a great job of keeping it clean and made neat towel animals. You don't usually get robes in the junior suites, but we asked for two and received them that night. The food was overall good. The Windjammer could have used a little more variety. We sat at the first seating at a table of eight. My husband's parents went on this cruise as well and we sat with them and two retired couples from Iowa. They were very nice and made for great dinner conversation. We took advantage of the putt putt course and the rock climbing wall, but we spent most of our free time on the ship sitting poolside. We did go to the gym several times. It has all the equipment you would ever want. We even took a free muscle pump class. In the ports we did the following: Aruba: We booked the See & Sea tour through the cruise line. It was a sightseeing tour on a bus that also included a trip on a boat called the Sea World Explorer. You go below deck and the hull has plenty of glass so you could see the ruins of a German ship. It was fun, but you could get sea sick very easy on it. The area around the pier was pretty much the same collection of shops in all ports, selling the exact same stuff. Overall, Aruba was our least favorite stop. Curacao: We booked a snorkel trip with a company called Curacao Actief that we had read reviews about on this board. They are an up and coming company for these excursions, and on our day, had a lot of people. They had to rent an extra car to transport all of us. They paid a taxi driver to pick up folks from the ship and that would have been fine, but it would have been nice if they had armed with a sign so we could find him easier. The snorkeling was great. We went to the sunken tugboat and to another beach that had better snorkeling and was less crowded. When we booked it, their website said there was a third snorkel stop on the half day tour, but instead they took us to an old abandoned hospital and old fort. When we got back, they changed their website to reflect this new itinerary. Since we booked just a half day of snorkeling, we got a chance to walk across the floating bridge into town. It looks very nice and scenic, but the shops were once again, the same stuff. St. Marten: We booked an excursion through the ship that took us shopping in Marigot for an hour and then took us to Orient Beach. The beach is beautiful and there are in fact naked people walking around. St. Thomas: This is where you want to buy your liquor and electronics. The prices were cheaper than on the ship and you get a bigger duty free allowance. We bought liquor at the AH Riise store and they boxed it up and delivered it to the ship. Our stateroom attendant delivered it the room that night. We checked to liquor as it was packaged and it survived the flights home intact. We booked an island tour which included a beach stop through Sunny Liston. We went to Sapphire Beach for a couple of hours which was good snorkeling. The downside was of course you had to rent chairs and the food was outrageously priced. The important part was that it was a beautiful beach and was very relaxing. San Juan: Our flights home left late in the afternoon so we booked a tour of Old San Juan through the cruise line. This meant that we were in one of the first groups to get off the ship. Overall, disembarkment went pretty fast. It took us a while to find one of our suitcases, as it had been turned sideways and we couldn't see the tags, but there were cruiseline personnel in the luggage area that helped us find our last bag. After we got our bags, we loaded them onto a big truck which took them to the airport and we were put on a bus for our tour. This would have been fine, but once again there was little direction of what to do, and luckily I had read a review and knew that our bags would not be on the bus with us. The tour itself was good, in part due to our great driver, although there was a festival going on and traffic was really bad because the streets were only open to pedestrian traffic. Overall, we had a truly wonderful vacation and would chose this cruise again in a heart beat. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
This was the first cruise I had been on with RCI. It was my wife and I's honeymoon - and it sure was a great one! We sailed the southern Caribbean (San Juan, Aruba, Curacao, St Maarten, St Thomas) the third week of January. Prior to ... Read More
This was the first cruise I had been on with RCI. It was my wife and I's honeymoon - and it sure was a great one! We sailed the southern Caribbean (San Juan, Aruba, Curacao, St Maarten, St Thomas) the third week of January. Prior to departure, we filled out all the necessary information online and printed off our SetSail pass. I definitely recommend doing this, as it shortened the time it takes to get onto the ship initially by quite a bit! We flew into San Juan a day prior to the first day of the cruise and stayed at the Radisson Ambassador in downtown San Juan. We already had prepaid vouchers for all of our transportation everywhere regarding the cruise, and it all went very smoothly. We didn't venture out too far from the hotel though, and went to a couple small restaurants in the immediate vicinity for entertainment. We met in the lobby of the hotel to be transported to the pier at 1:00pm on the first day of the cruise. It was a very short drive to get to the pier, and with the SetSail pass we were on the ship within 15 minutes of getting out of the bus at the pier. Our stateroom was ready by the time we were on the ship (2:00pm), so we took a look out from our balcony, and then set out to explore the ship. ARUBA: This island was our second favorite on the itinerary. We rented an SUV from Avis (as soon as you get off of the boat you'll see many rental car places) and just took our own tour of the island. The Avis woman gave us a very good map, and drew out some key places to visit on the island. We ended up driving across the entire island (only 20 miles), and had lunch at a small restaurant on the water on the south-eastern tip of the island. It was awesome! We walked around downtown a bit as well, but didn't do much shopping. CURACAO: We weren't very impressed with this island, the shopping was not very good. A lot of stores with the same kind of junk. It wasn't a very clean island either. We ended up walking across the bridge and sitting at a cafe for a few hours snacking on some local cuisine (very good!) and watching ships come in and out of the harbor. Very relaxing! ST MAARTEN: We did some good shopping here with some gift certificates we had received from the cruise ship (read below to see how we got these!). We got a map drawn by "that Yoda guy" and he personalized it by drawing our itinerary on it for us, along with autographing it. We didn't do any excursions or anything, but we were well entertained by just walking around to all of the stores here. It was much cleaner than Curacao. ST THOMAS: We took a cab to the opposite side of the island to Magan's Bay. We had read it was a wonderful beach, and it more than lived up to it's reputation. We got to the beach by 9am, and found a great spot next to a few palm trees to lounge out for the day. Did some swimming and walked up and down the beach. Probably our best day on any of the islands. I definitely recommend going to Magan's Bay on your own. The cruise excursions that stopped by there only stayed for a couple hours, while we spent about 6 hours there and really enjoyed ourselves. A beautiful beach... As far as the 'rumors' of all the Puerto Ricans on the ship. I have news for you all... I was very scared prior to entering the ship, and I will happily go on another RCI cruise out of San Juan. One night the cruise director gave a quick rundown of how many people were on the ship from each country represented, and Puerto Rico consisted of 240 of the 3200+ people on the ship! Give me a break with this 75%+ junk... Of those 240, many were teenage girls there, and could be a bit annoying, but we happily took it all in stride, because we were there to relax... We ordered room service EVERY morning for breakfast and ate it on our balcony. I definitely recommend doing that! It sure beats your standard 'wake up call'! We sat at a table for 10 in the second seating for dining, and met some wonderful people. A family of 4 at our table was from Argentina, and were very fun to talk with! Also, the 'flourless chocolate cake' is AWESOME! Our server saw how much we enjoyed it and gave us a plate of it to take back to our stateroom with us that night! :) We also ate at Portofino's the first night on the ship (didn't have to dress up at all), and on the final night of the cruise. Very good food! Go hungry!!! Also, my wife and I participated in the "Love & Marriage" gameshow. We ended up winning the game and won a lot of great prizes. (The map from "that Yoda guy", a diamond pendant from Diamonds International, an original painting, a bottle of champagne, a Razul treatment at the spa for the two of us, and a free dinner at Portofino.) Since they air the show on the RCI network the entire cruise, we had many people come up to us and make comments on some of our answers the rest of the week - but it was all in good fun. :) Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
We are an unmarried couple in our mid-50s taking our first serious vacation together. My SO was very, very negative on the cruise concept, after a miserable experience on Carnival 15 yrs ago. I pushed for the cruise, and by the first night ... Read More
We are an unmarried couple in our mid-50s taking our first serious vacation together. My SO was very, very negative on the cruise concept, after a miserable experience on Carnival 15 yrs ago. I pushed for the cruise, and by the first night on Adventure of the Seas, my guy was a total convert. We can hardly wait for our next cruise! The ship is fabulous, the Promenade is just breathtaking. We loved the artwork and decor, the many, many distinct activity centers, the lovely dining room and theater - it was all great. We love to dance, and there were many possible venues for that ranging from the piano players in the lobby and Schooners Bar, to the combo groups on the Promenade, to the salsa or rock bands in the lounges. Per my previous experience on Royal Caribbean, the quality of the musicians was excellent - and on a ship this large, there is always great music happening somewhere. (For the younger set, Jesters disco features music that we prefer to avoid!) We were mistakenly assigned to early seating, but got change to late. We sat with three other couples and had such a great fun that we were generally the last to leave the dining room! Embarkation was smooth and fast. Filling out the online forms really make the process easy. We were out of the cab and on board in less than 30 minutes. Be sure to pack summer clothes in a carry-on bag so you can enjoy the pool, etc right away. We love the large ship experience, but hate the crowds it brings in port. We try to do our own thing on shore. In Aruba, we rented a car and drove to the California lighthouse and the back side of the island. Aruba is very arid, and the back side of the island is like a moon-scape - almost no vegetation, just barren rock, but overlooking the beautiful blue ocean. We visited the collapsed natural bridge site, still interesting, and the nearby ruins of the gold processing factory. We had lunch at the infamous Charlie's Bar in San Nicholas (do not confuse with Carlos & Charlie's) a local legend with an incredible collection of bric-a-brac covering every solid inch of the walls and ceilings. We stopped at the beach at the end of the day, but the wind was blowing the sand too hard to make it pleasant. We headed back to AOS, and decided dinner on board with our wonderful table-mates and fabulous wait staff was not to be missed, even though the ship does not leave until 10PM. Curacao was our favorite port, so picturesque and unique. We hired a taxi for a quick city tour and a visit to the oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere (after the Spanish inquisition, the Jews of Spain found refuge in liberal Holland, forming the backbone of the Dutch merchant class during the age of exploration - thus a significant Jewish population in Curacao). Made the mistake of working out an arrangement with a well-spoken gent at the taxi line, but the cab driver who actually took us around spoke English poorly and didn't know much. The tour guides mentioned on the Cruise Critic boards seems too expensive, but might be worth it. We had booked ahead with the Dive Bus so that my boyfriend could dive. Mark was great - we highly recommend the Dive Bus at the-dive-bus.com. They are British expats running a great business doing shore dives. Curacao is unique because there is great diving accessible from shore and many sites offer good snorkeling at the same locations so it works well for groups that want to do both. Also, the timing is flexible allowing time for other port activities. We took it easy in St. Martin, went to the over-crowded Orient Beach. If you go, walk to one end or the other to get away from the crowds. Also, the prices for chairs and beer get better as you get further away from the taxi drops. We booked a private sail boat for St. Thomas, which I highly recommend. For about $125 you can take six people on a sailboat for the day. The trip includes a full cooked lunch on real plates w/ cloth napkins, all the booze or soda you can drink, stops at one or two snorkel sites over at St. Johns, and a lovely day out on the water away from the crowds. This time we sailed with Kathleen on Highpockets; I have previously sailed on Lou with Capt. Max. Google will lead you to both of these charter boats, and if they are full, they will refer you elsewhere. So much better than packed catamarans or phony pirate ships! Complaints: The bedding on AOS really needs an upgrade. I think it is scheduled, but the bed was not comfortable. The production shows were not as good as my previous experience - the talent was great and production values outstanding, but the mix of songs was really strange - forgettable numbers from forgettable movies. And there was no magician; the magic or hypnotist are often my favorites and they were missing on this cruise. Compliments: The staff was outstanding, the cruise director Mike was funny and polished, and all the typical activities -- Love and Marriage, Quest, poolside antics - were predictable but fun as ever. The comedians, Two Funny Guys, were great. (The late night guy was mediocre.) Two of the show singers did cabaret-style jazz in the club on Deck 14 one night, and that was outstanding. Even on a ship this huge, I did not feel crowed. The food in the Windjammer was good, and it was always quick - we could almost always find a seat with a water view. The best part is that Royal Caribbean and AOS converted my boyfriend to a cruise fan! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
We traveled on the Adventure of the Seas out of San Juan on February 4, 2007. We arrived a day ahead and stayed at the Radisson Ambassador Plaza. We had a large room with a balcony looking towards the ocean a block away. There was a great ... Read More
We traveled on the Adventure of the Seas out of San Juan on February 4, 2007. We arrived a day ahead and stayed at the Radisson Ambassador Plaza. We had a large room with a balcony looking towards the ocean a block away. There was a great Mexican restaurant called Tijuanna nearby where we had dinner and several places to choose from for breakfast. RCI and the hotel were very organized with the luggage. We left ours with the bellhop early in the morning and walked around the area before returning for the bus to the pier. We arrived at the pier at 1:15 and were on board in fifteen minutes, it couldn't have been faster or easier. There were two lines on the left for passengers who's luggage was collected by RCI and one line on the right for people arriving on their own with their luggage. That line was barely moving as priority was given to the others who had paid for the transfers. Once onboard we were totally amazed by the ship. It was incredibly large and just fabulous, the pictures didn't do it justice. Our cabin was very nice and conveniently located to the elevators and stairways. We were on Deck 10, just behind the bridge which was a very quiet and still area of the ship. Just one thing of note, if your cabin has an adjoining door to its neighbor there is only a chair and not a sofa. Not that it mattered because most of the little time we spent in our cabin was spent on the balcony. The balcony was wonderful! We slept with the door open to hear the waves and could just open our eyes at dawn to watch land appear as we arrived at new ports. We had breakfast there most mornings and you can't beat ending your day out there under the stars. A balcony is a must! We were so grateful to have gotten one of only twelve tables for two in the dining room and ate there every night. The food was wonderful and the service even better. We chose the early sitting and were glad we did because there was so much to do in the evenings. The dining room was also great for breakfast and for lunch on sea days. We didn't eat in the Portofino and only went into the Windjammer twice. Everyone else seemed to enjoy the food there but it was lacking in fresh salads and vegetables and the desserts were just too tempting. Johnny Rockets was great and we liked the light fare available at the Cafe Promenade during the day. Thank goodness for the size of the ship because we needed to do laps around the decks to wear off the food. We each purchased the soda and juice package which was well worth it to us. There is no need to use the insulated container that comes with the package, we put ours right into the suitcase. You can order soda and juice anywhere on the ship at anytime and get it in glasses. We went on this cruise considering the ship as our destination and didn't plan much for the ports. We did the Atlantis Sub Expedition in Aruba which was great and really recommend the Walking Tour of Old San Juan we did on the departure day. Willemstad, Curacao was a beautiful town and we spent a few hours walking around there. But mostly we enjoyed the ship. My husband's favorite place was the adult-only Solarium and mine was the sun deck above it, both just steps away from our cabin. There were few kids onboard during our week but still this area of the ship was much quieter and less populated than the main pool/sun deck area. The gym was well equipped and working out was never as enjoyable as it was with the wonderful views. There was so much to do that you are spoilt for choice and just can't fit it all in. The entertainment were very good, especially the ice show. There is music to suit everyone's tastes somewhere on the ship. Relaxing at the end of the evening in a hot tub to yourself was a great treat. There were 3200 people of all ages onboard but the ship is so large and there is so much going on that you're rarely aware of them. Especially if you stay on board when everyone else is in port, then it feels like you're the only ones there. The service on the Adventure was excellent. Thank you to Idesy, our cabin steward, and Peter and Gede in the dining room for making our trip so enjoyable. A special thank you to Charles and the staff at the Photo Shop for finding and reprinting a missing picture on the night before we departed. Everyone on board was just so pleasant and made the week so memorable. It took us a few days to find the intercom dial on the desk so we could hear all the captain's announcements but we did hear the one about swimming to the next port if you miss the sail away, although apparently a few people didn't and got left behind in at least two of the ports. Everything on board follows a strict timetable which was much appreciated when we were trying to fit in as many events as possible. Disembarking was as organized as embarking. We had booked the Walking Tour of Old San Juan through RCI so we had priority in departing. Our luggage was taken directly to the airport. We took our carry-on on the tour bus but left it with the bus driver while we walked through the beautiful old city. The bus picked us up at the end of the tour and delivered us to the airport where our luggage was waiting under guard for us. We really enjoyed this tour and would love to return to San Juan and Curacao again. The cruise was absolutely fantastic and we may just take it again because there was so much we didn't do and see. But next time, we'll stay for two weeks because we were just relaxing into it when we had to leave and come back to cold snowy reality. One other thing, I suffer from motion sickness. At the first sign of seasickness, I started taking all natural ginger root capsules and they worked beautifully so I highly recommend them. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
We had a great a great cruise.... our 8th....(Disney,Princess and RCL) While we had fun and enjoyed great weather and wonderful ports, it certainly wasn't up to the to the level of past cruises. Like everything else, corporate ... Read More
We had a great a great cruise.... our 8th....(Disney,Princess and RCL) While we had fun and enjoyed great weather and wonderful ports, it certainly wasn't up to the to the level of past cruises. Like everything else, corporate cutbacks have impacted everything on the ship so it not all the same experience it was 10 or even five years ago. However, the prices in real inflationary dollars have actually gone down for cruises so I guess you get what you pay for in that sense. We left Boston on Sunday (day of cruise) nervous about this as last time we sailed from PR we went down the day before. No problem with the direct 7:00 am flight from Boston we were on the ship in record time. It was one of the easiest embarkations ever. We did not spend the money to get passports (thanks to the advice of fellow board member scher-see her review this board) and no problem with that this year. Cabin: Checked into our inside cabin which was standard with no surprises. Food: This was area of biggest area disappointment. Thought the variety in the Windjammer has diminished and lots of low cost fare i.e plain pasta and pizza, hot dogs. The dining room has gone down hill in a big way. The steaks were very thin --choices limited--whatever happen to the interesting dishes? Still, it was acceptable and hot like your average Sheraton food. The service was tough too. I do not fault the servers as I think they are a bit overwhelmed and being asked to do too much. I had to ask for ketchup three times and finally had to find it for myself. I wanted my caesar dressing on the side but never rec'd. This may sound petty but it is just such a contrast to earlier experiences. I think the tips would really motivated the staff in the past now it just seemed cursory. In the past we would always give a little extra over and above the suggested amount as we always asked for and rec'd lots of extras--that is just not the case anymore. Excursions: We did not do any excursions this trip as just did cabs to the beaches on our own which worked out fine and saved $$$. Kid Club: My son always enjoys the kids club and I find the staff friendly and helpful. Activities: OK. another small point.....after many RCl cruises how many times can you handle the same old sexy legs, belly flop, the quest, and for the kids pirate night. While fun, there are so many repeat cruisers would it really be that tough to come up with a few new ideas for pool games and general recreation. (limbo, volleyball anything?) Had fun playing trivia with my fellow cruisers. Entertainment: This is supposed to be ship of young to middle aged families but I find the entertainment to be a bit outdated for my age. The motown and 50's stuff is really for my parents generation. It might be more fun to have some more modern acts and family stuff like a magic act for instance--- but I really don't care that much either way. Ports of Call: This is one of the best cruisers ever for great weather and beautiful beaches. My friends went Eastern the same week and had coolish weather. We did all beaches and Orient beach in St. Maarten and Trunk bay in St. John are two of my favorites. Summary: Despite the few negatives, I would highly recommend this ship and itinerary to anyone. What I have learned from my repeat cruises, is that you can have a good time on any size ship. Just go with the right attitude, visit places you want to see, and relax and enjoy the good times with your family and get to know your fellow cruisers --you can meet some good friends. Enjoy!!! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
Precruise My wife and I took booked this cruise on the AOS in January, when our late spring vacation plans changed. I wasn't sure if we would find anything suitable, but was incredibly pleased with this cruise. I'm still not ... Read More
Precruise My wife and I took booked this cruise on the AOS in January, when our late spring vacation plans changed. I wasn't sure if we would find anything suitable, but was incredibly pleased with this cruise. I'm still not sure how such a perfect cabin was available, but I'm definitely not going to complain! But more on the cabin later. Although this was our third Caribbean cruise, it was our first on Royal Caribbean. The others were on Celebrity. We enjoyed our cruise tremendously, but concluded that we prefer Celebrity when just the two of us are cruising. We believe that the AOS would be perfect, though, for families with children. Unlike our other two cruises, we were able to fly down the day before our cruise. Unfortunately, because we booked so late, the cruise line could book our flights but not our hotel. I went online and booked a room at the San Juan Beach Hotel in the Condado area. After counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds, it was finally time to board our direct flight to San Juan. We were very thankful that we had booked our flights through the cruise line, as we had heard horror stories during the week of families not making it to their cruises because of flight problems due to the Valentine's Day storms along the east coast. Because I didn't think that the transportation vouchers from the cruise line would get us from the airport to our hotel (since we didn't book the hotel through the cruise line), we took a taxi. I had read some reviews about our hotel that had me a bit anxious. While the hotel could definitely use some fixing up, our room was quite large and had a wonderful view of the ocean. It was musty, though, which did not help the cold I had come down with. After checking in and taking a quick nap, my wife and I decided to walk around the area to find somewhere to eat. After all, it was a glorious, sunny, hot day and we had just escaped from the bitter cold of the Northeast. We started out by walking away from the hotel area towards Old San Juan. We stopped at a map and decided to keep going. An hour-and-a-half later (approximately 4.5 miles, I think), we arrived in Old San Juan hot, very sweaty, exhausted, hungry and thirsty. (What I haven't told you is that my wife had total hip replacement surgery last September, and even though she has been doing remarkably, that was the furthest I think either of us had walked in years! She really did well!) We soon found a wonderful Italian restaurant called Al Dente. I must admit, I was quite embarrassed as the front of my shirt was soaked with sweat, but the staff graciously ignored it and eventually I cooled down. The food and atmosphere was absolutely marvelous. Of course, that perception might have been heightened by the fact that our long, long walk had made us ravenous! After our lovely and relaxing dinner, we took a cab back to the hotel, as I wasn't going to make that mistake again. When we told the taxi driver that we had walked to Old San Juan from Condado, he was incredulous. Even though it was fairly early when we returned to the hotel, we decided to go to bed and watch some TV. Well, we couldn't keep our eyes open, so decided to turn in for the night and not set the alarm. This was a good thing; we slept for 12 hours! The one significant advantage of this was that, on previous cruises, we were always exhausted the first full day of the cruise. Not this time! When we did finally wake up in the morning, we got ready for the day and walked to a Walgreen's to buy some cough medicine for me. We also stopped at a small restaurant next to the Walgreen's for breakfast. We got back to the hotel, checked out and took a cab to Pan American Cruise Terminal, where our cruise began in earnest. The Ship While I had read that the Adventure was big, I didn't quite realize how huge it would be! Massive is probably the best word to describe it. Our taxi dropped us off at the cruise terminal and we got in a short line to drop off our luggage. We had arrived sometime between 11:15 and noon. Entering the huge terminal hall, we found absolutely no lines. We quickly made it through security and check in and were crossing the gangway onto the ship. The ship was very colorful, more so than Celebrity but not as much as we would imagine Carnival to be. Remembering suggestions from the Cruise Critic boards, we went and bought our soda and juice sticker at a bar on the Promenade for the week. I really liked the souvenir mug we got; I'm sure we'll use those a lot at home. We stopped by a table for Portofino's and made our reservation for Wednesday night. Then we found out how to sign up for computer access and did so. We appreciated the computer access so we could check our email. However, we wish the speed of the computers and Internet connection were a bit quicker, as it was very easy to rack up quite an expense very quickly. Following this, we took the stunning glass elevator to Deck 11 and the Windjammer Cafe, where we had lunch. Before entering each dining facility, the ship staff requires people to wash their hands. I must say that I was quite pleased to see this health precaution. The food at the Windjammer had quite a bit of variety. There were the standard buffet selections as well as carved meat. However, I was disappointed with the quality. Most selections had an institutional sameness about them rather than distinct flavors. Of course, with over 3,000 passengers, this is probably understandable, but it was still a let down. I was surprised that there was not more cut fruit than there was. One aspect, though, that I really appreciated was the sugar free desserts. The service was friendly and the staff did an excellent job clearing plates and keeping our soda mugs full. The area, as well as the whole ship, was kept quite clean. Finally, 2 p.m. came and we were allowed to go to our cabins. Our cabin was a Junior Suite on the port side of Deck 10 (Cabin 1634), which was the highest deck with cabins. We were incredibly fortunate that our cabin was midship, just down the hall from the Royal Suite. We were astounded as we walked in. The cabin was much more spacious than I had imagined. Just inside the door was a decent-sized bathroom (with a good-sized tub) on the left and a large walk-in closet on the right. The closet had a nice amount of shelf space and racks for hanging clothes. On the left side of the main part of the cabin was the queen size bed and a sitting area with a loveseat, small coffee table, and two armchairs. On the right side of the cabin was a long set of cabinets that included a vanity with a large mirror surrounded by lighting, TV, desk and lots and lots of cabinets for storage. But the best part of the cabin was the large balcony. Though not very deep, it extended the width of the cabin, so we could sit quite comfortably and not feel cramped at all. We especially appreciated the partitions separating us from our neighbors. They were much better than the ones on Celebrity. And, instead of a metal wall on the sea side, the balcony wall was thick glass topped by a beautiful wooden handrail. We spent a lot of time on the balcony, especially on the second sea day going from Curacao to St. Maartan, as the sun was primarily on the other side of the ship that direction. It was very hot and uncomfortable on the first sea day, going from San Juan to Aruba. One of the special treats coming back from dinner each evening was to discover what kind of towel animal our steward had made for us while we were out. Such fun! We spent a good bit of time on Sunday and Monday exploring the ship. It has lots and lots of activities available. We didn't do any of the more exotic activities like rock climbing or inline skating. We did want to play a round of mini-golf, but ran out of time. We really liked the Promenade. I thought the antique auto was a classy addition to the area. We spent a bit of time, and money, in a few of the shops. One shop had very nice ties for just $10 and my wife was able to buy a replacement Swarovski Christmas ornament at a lower price than we saw anywhere on land (including the States). Sunday evening we attended the Meet & Mingle. It was great actually meeting the people we had been reading and conversing with on the Cruise Critic board. The ship's staff had goodies to eat and even gave away some door prizes. I would recommend every Cruise Critic to attend this event if offered on your ship. We also made appointments for one of our cruise extravagances - a massage in the spa. We made the appointments for Monday, the first day at sea. Such a delight! In fact, because I decided to book a second massage on Wednesday, my wife did the same. We found the spa staff very friendly and professional. I would have liked to have had a third massage on Friday, but decided I had spent enough. I did, though, lose my resolve and bought some of the products my masseur recommended. And I am very glad I did. My wife and I have used a muscle relaxant gel and oil on our shoulders and necks almost every night since we came home. We can definitely tell a difference in our comfort while sleeping and even when work gets tense the next day. Besides the activities on the ship and times to pamper ourselves, eating is one of the prime reasons we like to cruise. For this cruise we requested a table for four to eight persons. We were really glad we got one for eight, although we were lonely the first night as we were the only ones there. In fact, I felt very badly for our waiter and assistant waiter, as we were the only ones at three of their tables. They both were delightful and did a wonderful job remembering our preferences each night. The remainder of our tablemates joined us Monday evening and we had an enjoyable time the remainder of the week. Each night we were given a different menu. Each menu had some standard alternative fare, such as a steak. But the rest of the menu usually revolved around a theme of some kind. There were always an abundance of choices. I really enjoyed the chilled fruit soups. The portions were nicely sized during the week and the food was fairly tasty, although not quite up to the standard set by Celebrity on our previous cruises. Wednesday night, which was Caribbean night in the dining room and would not have been my favorite, we ate at Portofino's, the specialty restaurant. We felt it was definitely worth the additional charge. We had an absolutely perfect table, with a floor to ceiling window overlooking the sea in front of us. Because we made our reservations for early in the evening, we did not have anyone on either side of us for much of the meal, so we really soaked in the specialness of the evening. The food was generally delicious and beautifully presented. The waiter and assistant were very attentive and kept our sodas full! I even took pictures of every course we had! The only course I did not like was a seafood pasta that had that "fishy" taste you tend to get when the seafood is not quite fresh. We were so full by dessert that we didn't know what to get. Seeing a sampler option at the top of the dessert menu, we both got that, not knowing that it would be small versions of all four specialty desserts! They were all superb. We decided to have lunch on Thursday, the other sea day, at Johnny Rockets. We didn't mind the small charge for eating there, as it was a fun alternative to the dining room or Windjammer Cafe. We were seated at one of the outside tables, which was very enjoyable. We gobbled down the fries and onion rings the waiter brought for our "appetizer", even getting seconds, or was that thirds?? The sandwiches we got were tasty as well. Each evening after dinner we went to the show in the Lyric Theater. They were generally enjoyable, although I felt the sound technician allowed the music to blast through the speakers. With my musical background, I enjoy many types of music and like to savor it. However, most of the music during the shows was much more like being shouted at than sung or played to. The performers were energetic and accomplished. While I enjoyed all of the set changes and other technical aspects of the Velvet Rope production, I did not enjoy most of the musical selections or the production's concept. For a family-oriented ship, I thought it was a bit too adult-oriented. By far, the best show of the week was the ice show. I was amazed at how much the skaters could do on such a small piece of ice. I also enjoyed all of the acrobatic work during that show. I wish we could have seen it at least one more time during the week. One of the parts I liked best was how close many of the seats were to the rink. This is really a show not to miss and was one of the highlights of our time on the ship. The Ports One of the reasons we picked this cruise, besides the fact that it had two days at sea, was that we had not been to three of the four ports of call. We were very pleased with the itinerary, as we got to see several different types of islands. Our first port was Aruba. We had reserved a car from Hertz before we left. After getting off the ship, we headed to the Hertz booth and got our car. The attendant was very nice and after finishing the paperwork, we were off. We spent the day driving around the island, beginning at the California Lighthouse, visiting the Alto Vista Chapel and the Natural Bridge, and then walked along Baby Beach. We didn't find Baby Beach very crowded and really enjoyed its beauty. We also really enjoyed watching the crashing surf at the Natural Bridge site. We were quite surprised at the arid and rocky land. After leaving Baby Beach, we drove up to the resort area and had lunch at a nice cafe, where the sandwiches were huge! We decided to return the car a bit early. On the way back, I stopped to fill the car up with gas. This attempt did not go well, and I definitely felt like the stereotypical "stupid American". First, I couldn't figure out which side of the car had the gas cap. Then, when I handed my credit card to the attendant, she told me to do something I couldn't understand, as she didn't speak English. I thought maybe I needed to turn my car around, which I clumsily did. That still wasn't good enough for her and, finally, after a hysterical pantomiming bit, I realized that she wanted me to go into the station to prepay. When I did, the clerk, in reasonably good English (fortunately), asked how much I wanted to put on my card. I had no idea, as the gas was by liter rather than gallon. I asked her just to fill it up, but she was pretty insistent to get an exact amount. I told her $10, but asked if she could just get it filled up to whatever it needed. She went out and told the attendant, and after some discussion together, I think that's what they did, as it came to around $13. I do try to honor the culture when I visit places, but I'm sure I gave the locals there a real chance to laugh! I guess I wouldn't do so well on the Amazing Race! After we returned the car, we walked around the shops downtown. I don't think we bought anything other than a collector's spoon. We returned to the ship and rested a bit before dinner. Because the ship didn't leave port until late night, we stood on our balcony looking at all of the colorful lights before heading off to bed. Curacao was the second port. Curacao is not too far from Aruba, but the island did not seem nearly as dry as Aruba did. We didn't have much planned for Curacao, but found the area around the harbor delightful. We thoroughly enjoyed the bright colored buildings. We walked across the Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge and visited several shops. My wife took lots and lots of pictures. St. Maartan/St. Martin was the third port, and we had been greatly looking forward to our visit there. This island was the only one for which we had signed up for an excursion. Unfortunately, we found out the night before that it had been cancelled. Disappointed, we went to the Excursion Desk on the ship to get some alternative recommendations. The staff at the desk was the most unhelpful of any on board, and gave us the impression that they really didn't want to be bothered helping us figure out if another excursion or something else would work. So Friday morning after breakfast, we headed out on our own to visit the Butterfly Farm. We hired a taxi with a delightful retired supermarket clerk driver. We had a phenomenal time at the Butterfly Farm. The netted area with hundreds, if not thousands, of butterflies was huge. We joined a guided tour and learned a lot about butterflies. In some ways, we might have been better off not going on a planned excursion here because we took our time watching the butterflies and getting lots of pictures. When we were done, we asked the staff to call a taxi. After numerous calls, they finally got one to come out to get us and take us to Marigot, the capitol on the French side of the island. We didn't spend very long in Marigot, but did walk through the streets taking pictures and looking in shops. We joined a couple from another ship in a taxi back to Philipsburg. We spent some time shopping. We enjoyed this part of Philipsburg, but were surprised that we didn't find any jewelry or a camera lens that we were looking for at prices we wanted to pay. We did buy some handmade Belgian chocolates to take back to my office and the couple that were helping us with our dog. I was a bit nervous about leaving the chocolates at the shop to be delivered to our ship, but they made it to our cabin later that night. We also bought some linens. Our favorite island was St. Thomas. We had been there several times before on both business and cruises, and we have a dear artist friend who lives on the island. She picked us up at the pier at 9 a.m. and we spent a wonderful, enjoyable day together. We began by getting our shopping out of the way. My wife found a lovely ring at Cardow's, probably our favorite jewelry store in the Caribbean, and a Swarovski necklace at a shop down the street. We also bought a lens for her camera at Boulchand's $50 less than at any other store and almost $100 less than we had seen it on Amazon. Before heading off to other places on the island, we visited the gallery where our friend had one of her prints being shown. After getting the shopping out of the way, we headed off to find a place for lunch. We started by visiting Mountain Top, which has a gorgeous view of Magens Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Then we drove to a hotel with a restaurant overlooking the harbor with our ship. The main restaurant was not open, but we did take some beautiful pictures. We finally ended up at Secret Harbor, which we soon realized was an excellent choice. We had an absolutely delicious lunch and relaxed at our table looking over the beautiful beach and small harbor. After lunch we walked around the beach and sat at the end of a dock watching colorful fish dart by. After we left Secret Harbor, we drove to Sapphire Beach, where our friend's daughter had been married several years ago. We had a lovely time walking along the beach and sitting on a chaise looking over at St. John. We drove around for a while longer and stopped at another overlook with a spectacular view of the harbor before heading back to the ship. I think this was our favorite day, especially because we got to spend some quality time with a dear friend and reminisce. Debarkation and Final Thoughts Debarkation went fairly smoothly, although not quite as smoothly as embarkation. This was the first time we really had to wait in line, and it can probably be best described as mass chaos. We used our transportation voucher and took the small bus to the airport. We paid the extra fee to check our bags directly with the airline at the pier and get our boarding passes. We were so very glad we did that, as the flights were quite full. We actually got our boarding pass Saturday night in our cabin. The flight back to Boston did not go as well as the one to San Juan. First, we sat around the airport for a long time, and then our departing flight was delayed. We had a connection through JFK in New York that did not go smoothly at all. We were running late, but seemed to have time to make it when we landed. However, we sat on the taxiway for about 30-45 minutes because of one issue another that was keeping us from the gate. We started to get very concerned about making the connection. We had to get to a different terminal for our connecting flight, as did a good number of people at the back of the plane. We appreciated the people in the back of the plane who actually paid attention to the flight attendant's request to let those of us with tight connections out first. Apparently, no one in the front of the plane listened to the announcement. We hurried as best as we could to our connecting gate, only to find out that there was a mechanical issue and our flight was delayed. There was also a winter storm coming, and we had really hoped to get out before it got too bad to fly out. We finally boarded the small regional jet. Because of the deteriorating weather, we ended up sitting in the plane for almost 2 1/2 hours before we finally took off for Boston. Fortunately, they let us use our cell phones so we could tell our friends who were picking us up that we were running late. But we did make it to Boston eventually and got home a bit after midnight - about three hours later than we had planned. Unfortunately, one of our checked bags didn't make it to Boston with us. Fortunately, it was the suitcase with all of our dirty clothes. This experience, combined with all of the news reports from the week before and since, have pretty well convinced me to do whatever I can to avoid connecting through JFK. All in all, this was a wonderful cruise. It provided the rest and relaxation that we really needed and we will have many wonderful memories from it. For those who read through this very long review and would like to see our pictures of the ship and ports, please visit http://picasaweb.google.com/readingdoc. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
We cruised on the Adventure to Southern Caribbean on Feb. 11 from San Juan. Itinerary was Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and St. Thomas, 2 days on sea. We booked this cruise for the 60th birthday of my mum, travelled together with my dad and ... Read More
We cruised on the Adventure to Southern Caribbean on Feb. 11 from San Juan. Itinerary was Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and St. Thomas, 2 days on sea. We booked this cruise for the 60th birthday of my mum, travelled together with my dad and my friend, we are both in the 30th. After cruising on the NCL Jewel to Eastern Caribbean last year and on a small Greek ship in the Mediterranean we booked the Voyager class ship because of its size. Could not imagine all the features like shopping arcade and ice rink ! To summarize overall - we were just amazed and impressed - the ship is wonderful and even more impressive than we ever expected. We would definitively use it again. Staff was wonderful without any exception, no problem at all with Puerto Ricans on board as some mentioned in their reviews. But to be honest, one of the crew told us, there are just 270 of Puerto Ricans on board and there are weeks with majority of them, and then it can be bit louder. But to be honest, all the Puerto Ricans we met were absolutely nice and we love their positive mentality. And we just had problems with a rude and loud group of Americans, everybody left the part of the deck because they drank beer, beer, beer, so loud that you could not stay on this deck ! So there are this kind of people from all countries. Our arrival: We arrived the day before (highly recommended) and stayed at the Courtyard Miramar. Wonderful hotel, close to Airport and Harbour, nice rooms, continental breakfast included. 10 minutes by taxi from airport and to the pier. Embarkation: We went to the port 11 AM, were among the first in the line. Could drop off luggage and waited until they opened the doors 11.45 AM. We had printed the sail set pass and could use the counters for that, were on board shortly after 12. Rooms to cabin corridors are closed until 2 PM, although some people just went in and drop off their hand luggage in their cabins. We did also at 1.30 PM and it was fine for the stateroom attendant. Cabin: We had two balcony cabins category D2 on deck 8 forward, 8230 and 8232. They we just wonderful. Only remark is the bad quality of the beds, they are really a shame. But as I read all beds on the ship will be replaced within the next weeks - really time for that. But except that the cabin was great, bathroom big enough and the balcony worth the extra money. Food: We were satisfied by quality and quantity. Breakfast buffet was very nice, usual cruise food. we never tried breakfast in the dining room. Once we tried dinner at Jonny Rockets Steak house. Nice and good burger but I would not do it again, I recommend to eat there for lunch and not miss dinner elsewhere. Once we spent the $ 23 for Portofinos for my parents wedding anniversary and it was outstanding. Food and service is worth the extra money - we highly recommend it. Once we had casual dinner at the buffet at Windjammer, also very good but nothing special. All the other evening we had dinner at the main restaurant. Shows: Were absolutely great, especially the both musical shows, absolutely broadway quality. Make sure that you see the ice show. You have to get free tickets - but worth to spend 10 minutes in the line for that. Ports: We did not book any trip with the cruise line and highly recommend it if you are used to organize yourself. At Aruba we rented a car online weeks before at National just to be sure to get a Jeep at National, arriving there we learned that they don't have Jeeps because they are overbooked - a rude girl just said - we don't have a car for you ! So we booked one at the booths in the Port, just went around the island, saw the lighthouse and some beaches. At Curacao we just went downtown and looked around, booked a 2 hour tour downtown in an open bus and JUST LOVED it. They bring you to a free tasting at a liquor factory and show you the island and beaches - great tour and only 20 dollar for each person. At St. Maarten we booked a car again at the Port, drove the the French side and went to WAIKIKI BEACH - highly recommended. Wonderful beach with all facilities, great beach bar. One recommendation, we rented both cars at local agencies, would not do it again, got wrecks in both cases. We decided to go to Avis and Hertz again next time and spend some extra money (of course we will avoid National forever after this episode on Aruba !) On St. Thomas we went off the ship and they offer tours in open buses right at the Pier, paid 25 dollars per person to get a 2 hours tour - highly recommended, after that drop off at Downtown and went shopping. St. Thomas is our favorite island ! They offered this tour on NCL and originally did at RCL, on board they told us they changed to air conditioned bused because people complained that the trolleys don't have A/C !! To be honest, this tour is the highlight of the cruise, don't waste you time in an air conditioned bus - get a feeling in an open bus, its just great and big fun !!! Just get off the ship and these trolleys are right there ! Disembarkation: Was organized perfectly. We got disembarkment number 9, meaning to get off the ship as from 10.30. Numbers are called. Since we could get our rented car as from 9 AM we decided to go down at 9, nobody asked about our number and we were off the ship within 10 minutes. Found our luggage in 5 minutes and were in our rented car 15 minutes later. After the cruise we stayed on Puerto Rico for another 5 days, stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton Palmas Del Mar in the East of the Island - wonderful. Overall: We loved ship, Itinerary and crew. Sometimes you can see the age of the ship at some carpets and chairs, but overall its in a perfect condition. We loved the promenade, the solarium pool for adults only and Portofino most. If you go on the Adventure you will have a GREAT TIME !!! All other facilities on the ship are just great, from the Ship Shape fitness center, the minigolf parcour to the climbing wall. Much more than you could use on a 8 days cruise - but fun to have. Compared to NCL we would rate the food a little bit lower at RCI, but of course the Voyager class ship is exceptional and activities and public rooms and shops on board are much better than on any other ship. Again - only negative remark on the beds - but this will be improved soon. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
My husband and I (51 & 50 yrs. old) departed San Juan on 2/11/07 on Adventure of the Seas. We have been on several cruises in the past, but this is the largest ship we have ever travelled on. We were EXTREMELY PLEASED with the entire ... Read More
My husband and I (51 & 50 yrs. old) departed San Juan on 2/11/07 on Adventure of the Seas. We have been on several cruises in the past, but this is the largest ship we have ever travelled on. We were EXTREMELY PLEASED with the entire experience & would DEFINITELY recommend this ship and itinerary to all of our friends! We have been working in the Caribbean for the last 14 months and have had the opportunity to visit many of the islands (about 20). The itinerary for AOS was excellent. We loved all of the islands we travelled to. We had just booked our trip at the end of January as we were returning to the States through Puerto Rico, so it was a last-minute decision. Even our cabin exceeded our expectations! We did not have any pre-trip hotels as we were flying in from Anguilla that same morning (less than an hour flight). Embarkation was a smooth process. We were able to board the ship at ll:45 a.m. We went to the Windjammer for a nice lunch and then explored the ship (which was great fun!) until 2 p.m. when we were let in to our stateroom. The ship is so beautiful - we were like two kids in a candy shop walking through the Promenade that first day. We didn't know where to look first. The personnel on the ship were extremely helpful and everyone seemed to really enjoy what they were doing. My only minor complaint was that my husband had his teeth whitened onboard. The seminar said it would be only $199.00, but by the time he bought the follow-up products it was over $530.00. I thought this was rather misleading. I had my hair cut & highlighted in the Beauty Salon by Laura from Spain. She was fantastic - very knowledgeable and kind. The food on board was excellent. We ate dinner on Valentine's Day at Portofino. It was a great dining experience - very relaxing. Well worth the extra charge. On Aruba we rented a moped. The cruise ship highly recommends you NOT do this, but we had rented one in Bermuda and enjoyed it so much, that we went ahead and rented another. It was great fun. We rode to the California Lighthouse, the Natural Bridge, different beaches and basically all around the island. In Curacao, we shopped and enjoyed the beautiful and colorful architecture. When we arrived in St. Thomas, we took a taxi and then the ferry to St. John, which is a gorgeous island. St. Thomas is much more crowded and rather dirty. We liked St. John MUCH better. We went to Trunk Bay and snorkeled and then had a picnic lunch. It was great. As for St. Marten, we had lived next door on Anguilla for about 14 months and so had been to St. Marten many times. We didn't feel the need to explore there, so just did a little shopping and then returned to the ship to relax by the pool. We especially liked the Adult Pool in the Solarium, which was very relaxing. As for the entertainment, my favorite was the Ice Show. I didn't think the comedians were all that funny. All in all, we had a fabulous week and hated to see it end. We have been fortunate to have seen many beautiful places, but I would rate this vacation as one of our very best. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
This was our tenth cruise in seven years, needless to say we are hooked. Never had a bad cruise only a few bad experiences. Overall we have been very lucky. We've sailed the Southern Caribbean 5 times from San Juan and the Western ... Read More
This was our tenth cruise in seven years, needless to say we are hooked. Never had a bad cruise only a few bad experiences. Overall we have been very lucky. We've sailed the Southern Caribbean 5 times from San Juan and the Western Caribbean 3 times from Miami. Also sailed twice from Boston (once to Bermuda and once to Canada). On this trip we sailed from Miami on Royal Caribbean for the second time on the Explorer of the Seas and stopped in Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Grand Cayman. My hope is that I can pass along some tips and advise that may help folks who may be looking to go an a similar cruise. Before the cruise: Do your homework. The internet and travel agent have lots of deals that vary widely in price. Avoiding holidays and school vacations can save you some money if you can do it. If you book your cruise and you later see the price has dropped you may be entitled to a refund. Other ways to save money are last minute deals that some web sites offer and "repositioning cruises" where the cruise line has to seasonally move a ship from one port to another (for example a ship may repositioned from the Caribbean to New York in the Spring time so if you don't mind not arriving and departing from the same port this may be for you). Before we go on a cruise we take out what we call "Blizzard Insurance". Flying out of Boston in the winter can be risky - flights can easily get delayed or canceled due to weather (I worked for the FAA in Boston for 7 years - trust me on this one). If you are planning to fly the same day you set sail you run a real risk of literally missing the boat. Our "blizzard Insurance" policy is basically nothing more then leaving home at least a day (and usually 2 or 3 days) before we set sail. This not only ensures we don't miss the boat but it gives us a few days of pre-vacation to explore the departure port (Miami, San Juan etc). This was our first cruise where we had a balcony and I think we are now spoilt for future cruises. It is going to be hard to go back to an inside cabin after this. On past cruises the cabin was simply a place to change, sleep and shower. A balcony changes that dynamic radically. At night we would leave the sliding glass door open and enjoy the sea air and sound of the ocean. In the mornings we would order room service and eat on the balcony where in the past we would run right up to the dining room. And even though we spent plenty of time on the public decks hanging out there is something nice about sitting and reading out on your private deck. Don't get me wrong - I've had 9 wonderful cruises without a balcony and we only took one this time because we found a good deal. Ports: Miami We stayed 3 nights in South Beach at the Clay hotel. The Clay is very reasonably priced and in a fantastic location but one warning - due to its location among restaurants and clubs that stay open late and are quite loud you may not like it here if you go to bed before 3 AM. We will probably stay elsewhere next time - but only for the noise. Otherwise I would recommend the Clay. There is lots to do in South Beach. Ocean Drive is full of lots of clubs, restaurants and shops in fantastic old art deco buildings. And if you really like art deco you have to walk the few blocks to the Wolfsonion museum on Washington. The beach at South Beach is great and very busy. You can also drive or take a city bus north and try Haulover Beach which is just north of Bal Harbor. When your sick of eating and people watching on Ocean Drive you can check out the Lincoln Rd open air mall. Lots of indoor and outdoor dining, shops, galleries etc. And if you are willing to walk a few blocks north there is a stunning (and quite large) memorial to the Holocaust. If you venture to downtown Miami check out Bayside Market place. It's basically a mall but it's by the water and has restaurants, entertainment and you can take various water cruises from there for around $20 and up. On our boat ride we saw dolphins and Gloria Estephans house. One thing I must add - our first night in Miami we had dinner in BED (that's the name of the restaurant - Beverage Entertainment and Dining). You literally eat your dinner on a bed. Very cool, trendy and especially comfy. The foods pretty good too. BED is on Washington and there isn't a sign outside telling you where it is (why the secrecy? who knows. The web site does have lots of photos of celebrities hanging out there). Belize We booked an excursion through Royal Caribbean for the Wildlife adventure tour. It was a bit pricey but seeing as it was our first trip to Belize we decided to splurge. We started our adventure on a river boat ride up the Belize river where we saw crocs, monkeys, iguanas, bats and all sorts of plants and birds. We then stopped for lunch where a bus was waiting to take us on a tour that stopped at a very cool zoo. The trip was a bit pricey but we had a great time. Costa Maya There is a barrier reef by Costa Maya that they say is second only to the great barrier reef in Australia. We took a snorkeling excursion here that I have to say was probably the best snorkeling trip I have yet to take for no reason other then the coral is so close and so spectacular. One recommendation - the waters were a bit choppy and myself and a few other were a bit nauseous after. It might not be a bad idea to take a Bonine before you leave. In the port of Costa Maya they have a beach and pool right by the pier open to the public. Very nice facility and the pool is open to everyone and has a swim up bar. Cozumel This was our third trip to Cozumel. The first time we went to the ruins at Tulum which is a fantastic experience but is a bit of a long journey. The second time we took a cab to a nearby beach. This trip we took an island tour from a local driver we met on the pier. The tour was $25 and took us across the island, stopped at the local Mayan ruins (not nearly as impressive as Tulum but well worth seeing). The tour then continues around the south coast stopping at a few points of interest along the way. Al in all the trip was just under 4 hours and the guide was very knowledgeable (which was especially nice when we toured the ruins). Grand Cayman This was our second trip to Grand Cayman. The first was a few years ago and before the death of Steve Irwin so we took the amazing excursion where you swim with the stingrays. This trip we opted to take a $4 shuttle ride to the 7 mile beach. A wonderful beach day. We rented chairs ($5 each). The water and sand were great and you can get food and cocktails right there on the beach. Well worth it for a low cost fun beach day. Excursions The plus to taking a ship excursion is that they guarantee that the ship wont leave without you. The downside is they cost more. In most ports there are lines of people waiting to take you on private tours and excursions that are much cheaper then you would pay through the cruise line. Sometimes you can even haggle the price down even more. And there are generally cabs or shuttles waiting to take you to local beaches or shopping. In some ports (like Aruba) there is a decent public bus system. Ship What hasn't been said about this ship? Amazing! A comic on the ship summed it up by saying "I have traveled by many means of transportation in my life - but this is the first time I have traveled by Mall". Highlights of the ship include the quiet "adults only" pool deck and the miniature golf course. The rock wall, rollerblading and ice rink aren't half bad either. Rumor has it that the next generation of the Royal Caribbean ships will include a monorail and through an arrangement with Disney a version of "Pirates of the Caribbean" so realistic that the pirates actually kill some of the passengers. I can' wait! Seriously - even though there are thousands of folks on the ship you rarely feel crowded. Food Food and service were great but the highlight for me was LOBSTER NIGHT! Here's a tip - don't eat lunch that day and be prepared to order 3 or more lobster tails! I felt like Homer Simpson "mmmmmmm lobster! and keep 'em coming" On previous cruises we only ordered room service for breakfast on days where we had to be off the ship early for an excursion. A balcony makes eating in your room that much nicer - so we did it several times this trip. But not for dinner - we had to much fun with our table mates and the food and service were too good to miss that meal in the dining room. Speaking of table mates - we've generally been quite lucky with the folks we've been paired off with but it's a roll of the dice. So be warned. I have a feeling that the cruise lines use some sort of compatibility software to determine who to seat with who. Or maybe people are just friendlier at sea. Whatever the case you may want to request a private table if you have any doubts. One food tip - on beach days I sneak fruit and pastries off the ship in my backpack to have a snack on the beach. You're not supposed to do it so if you get caught don't tell them you heard it from me. Drinks The bar prices are generally reasonable and there are always daily specials. You also are not pressured to order drinks in any of the clubs and bars and you can bring your drinks from one to another. If you go to any of the ship parties that offer free drinks one tip - stock up! The freebies wont last forever so grab a few before you go - you can take them anywhere including the other bars and clubs. Shopping There are actually some pretty good deals on the ship. The duty free liquor is actually quite a bargain. Other then that I generally don't do that much shopping on vacation but do remember that in alot of ports you can haggle quite a bit. One tip - if you ever stop in Jamaica stock up on Blue Mountain coffee (we bought over $100 worth). It's some of the best coffee in the world and isn't easy to some by in the states. A friend just ordered some online for $50/lb. Casino We played blackjack everynight after dinner and actually left the ship up by about $80 (our last cruise we were up $150 - our next cruise we'll probably lose $300). They have low limit tables which is nice but unfortunately unlike casinos on land the drinks aren't free. Tipping One tip about tipping. Unless the service really stinks don't be a cheapskate. These folks work really hard and that is how they make most of their money. Although I still don't understand why we are expected to tip the head waiter - he's management, he should be salaried and paid by the cruise line. Luggage I learned an important lesson this trip - a lot of baggage looks the same. Case in point. We go off the ship (along with 3,000 other people) only to find a woman walking off with our large rolling suitcase ("it looked just like mine" she said). Had we shown up a minute later she would have been long gone.. I am tying neon ribbons and painting unique designs on all our checked baggage for the next trip. Also - when you get on the ship be sure and keep things you may need on the first day (sunscreen, swim suits medications etc) in your carry on luggage. Your checked luggage could take hours to get to your room. And on the topic of luggage I have a rather unusual method I use that my wife makes fun of me for. But I have since learned that there are others out there that do what I do. I pack my good clothes for dinner and evening use but I pack my old crummy T shirts and socks for running around during the day and to the beach. Then every night I throw them away. It makes space in my luggage, creates less laundry to bring back and helps me clean my closet of all those clothes that are taking up too much space. As long as you don't mind people seeing you in your old Depeche Mode t-shirt at the beach go for it! Also - on the day I fly I wear old work pants and shirts that are too warn to wear to work - after checking in to the hotel, into the trash they go and on go my nice vacation duds. Overall Cruising is nice in that you unpack in your room once and every day your in a new place. Some folks don't like being at sea or find the smaller inside rooms a little claustrophobic. If you're not sure then I suggest taking a short (3 or 4 day) cruise for your first one. Theres also a bit more of a sense of community on a ship then at a hotel which I happen to like. There is generally lots to do onboard when your not in port and I cant ever remember getting bored on a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
My wife and I have cruised 5 times before but this was our first on RCCL and we could not have had a better time. We did the Southern Caribbean on the Adventure of the Seas and both of us had a blast. Wow what a huge ship but all week long ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised 5 times before but this was our first on RCCL and we could not have had a better time. We did the Southern Caribbean on the Adventure of the Seas and both of us had a blast. Wow what a huge ship but all week long we never felt cramped or crowded in anyway. We were amazed how fast and easy it was to go from the airport shuttle to our room onboard in approx 20 minutes. We filled out the easy pass online and it really saved time at the boarding terminal. My wife and I also liked how the ship does not set sail until late at night so if you want to get off the ship in San Juan or you can stay onboard and enjoy the ship. The size of the terminal is also good for people who have trouble walking. I had just had my hip replaced 8 months before the cruise and I had no trouble walking through the terminal and onto the ship, it was very easy. My wife and I cant wait till we sail again out of San Juan On the AOS. THE SHIP--Huge,but not too huge that you felt lost. My wife and I never felt crowded in anyway all week. Because of the wonderful staff it made very easy getting around the ship the first day. We had a JR suite looking for the extra room space when our friends stopped by. I was a bit surprised by the size of the room for the money I spent for the suite. I have gotten larger rooms for less $$$$ on other cruise ships. The room was always neat and clean but just a bit smaller than I wanted. My wife and I also had little bit of a stiff back by weeks end. Guess the mattress wasn't the best but I hear a bunch of them were to be replaced. The service of our room steward made the stiff back a little bit easier to deal with. Dont let the horror stories about the Puerto Rican people scare you off. My wife and I found the Puerto Rican people and the entire mix of other people onboard the ship to be friendly and entertaining to talk with. We saw no signs of out of control people anywhere. I did see over 3,000 people having fun just as my wife and I did. THE STAFF--The staff onboard the AOS were the best my wife and I have seen for a cruise staff. Our Waiters "SAJ & BRUNO", the bar staff, the pool servers and our room steward "Stanley" made our week at sea wonderful and that we cant wait to sail again on a RCCL ship. The only glitch in the service all week was our second day at sea I got a call from the information desk saying they had my luggage to come down. I know this was a mistake because I had all my luggage already so I went down to the desk. When I got there the girl behind the desk said oh it was a mistake and the real owner had the luggage back. I though they could have called me back to cancel me coming down there for nothing. ARUBA--Our first stop and it was the first visit for my wife and I. We did the Atlantis Sub Adventure. We had a great time looking at colorful fish, sunken ships and beautiful coral from 150 ft under water. The Atlantis staff does a great job giving you a guided tour above and below the water. The sub is kept very clean, the staff is very friendly and if you don't scuba dive this is for you to see breath taking views. Back on land my wife and I walked along the main street shopping and stopping by Senor Frogs and Carlos & Charlies for lunch & dinner. We did make it back to the ship for coffee and cake. CURACAO--Our second stop on the cruise. My wife spent the entire day shopping in town and I spent my day on the ship with friends. The area has a bunch of very attractive styled buildings and homes. I think I saw every color in the rainbow on a home there in Curacao. If you like walking this is the stop for you. ST MARTIN--Our third stop on the cruise. My wife and I did the butterfly farm and beach break on Boo Boo Beach. We enjoyed the butterfly farm but the beach was a little bit of a let down for the price you pay. The beach chairs were dirty and bunch of them were broken. The beach was very pretty but you only spend 90 minutes there and cant enjoy it. I also thought the extras on the beach(drinks-spa treatments-water crafts) were all over priced. The massage lady was so bored from lack of customers she climbed up on her table and went to sleep. My wife and friends went back out into town of ST MARTIN to do some shopping. My wife got a great deal on a digital camera she was looking for and saved around $150 from the price you would pay in the states. We liked the Dutch side beaches better because they were a short walk and a ferry ride away from the ship. The other beaches on the French side were a bus ride away. ST THOMAS--Our fourth stop on the cruise. My wife and I did the cable car ride to the top of lookout point and had a drink called a "BUSHWACKER". If you get off the ship in ST THOMAS you must have a BUSHWACKER and food at the lookout bar/restaurant. We spent several hours at point lookout where we also saw a bird show thats a must see for adults and kids. Birds riding bikes and walking on a wire. Most of the birds also speak which was interesting to see. We rode the cable car back down the mountain at which time my wife had me shopping again. ST THOMAS was a nice stop because it was duty free and had great prices on alcohol and t-shirts to bring home. ENTERTAINMENT--My wife and I visited just about every form of entertainment the ship had in the week. The ice show is a must see, but get your tickets early because they go fast. Amazing performers on such a small ice rink and a moving ship. The singers and dancers were great. The comedy acts were funny. The musical entertainment around the ship all week covered all types of listening for everyone. The poolside games are a must see also if you want a good laugh. The hair chest contest and the sexy legs show will give you sore sides from laughing. DISEMBARKING--We were off the ship by 9:30am and that went just as smooth as getting on the ship did. My wife and I purchased our air flight from RCCL and we found out how much of a plus that was. When we got to the terminal part where you give the airline your luggage our boarding passes were already there behind the counter which saved us at least 2 hours from having to stand in the check in line at the airport. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
Spent 3 days precruise in San Juan at the Caribe Hilton. Got it on Priceline and couldn't believe the wonderful room we were in!! On Sun. we left for the ship and arrived at 11:45. When we got on board I looked at my watch and it was ... Read More
Spent 3 days precruise in San Juan at the Caribe Hilton. Got it on Priceline and couldn't believe the wonderful room we were in!! On Sun. we left for the ship and arrived at 11:45. When we got on board I looked at my watch and it was 12:04. The most painless and best embarkation we've done. Had PR cabin, and it was clean and nice. Didn't spend too much time there, but plenty of storage and bathroom was nice. Like the shower doors better than curtains. Bedding is terrible and really needs replaced. Ask for an eggcrate, it really helps!! Ship is beautiful. Promenade is fun!! Champagne bar is great as is the bartenders there!! Food was great in dining room and it was fine in the windjammer buffet. We went to Portofinos one night and it was unbelievable both in taste and presentation. Had breakfast 3 times in the dining room and the food was better than in the windjammer. Ports: They were all great. Curacao was our least favorite, Aruba and St. Martin our favorites. Just our opinions as others will differ. Cd is good, but people said Richard Spacey was so much better, it was a let down. No problems with any people on board. Not that everyone was great, but there was rudeness from all. To be expected from over 3000 people. We only saw 3 incidents. We toured in Aruba with a huge group of Puerto Ricans and we had so much fun. They included us and made it very fun for us. Did not go to all the shows. They were good, the ones we saw. Ice Show is fantastic and should not be missed. Debarkation was easy and painless and the fastest we have ever done. We were off the ship and to the airport by 9 a.m for a 1 o'clock flight. Best cruise so far. We will most likely do this one again!!!!! One last thing, for all the chair savers out there,,they did not allow it on this sailing. I would get a chair around 8 a.m. on sea days and watch the staff go around collecting towels and items. Our tablemates talked to them and they said if after walking around and 30 mins. had passed, the items were taken. It was something to watch the people come back and surprise!!!!!!!!!! So, if you are going to save chairs, someone better sit there with them!!! Read Less
Adventure of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 1.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.0

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