Sail Date: February 2007
Let me start out by saying we had a great cruise!!!!!!!! We are a family of 4, me 45 my DH 48 and my children DS 17 and my DD 13. On Wed Feb 14th there was a very big ice storm on the east coast and our departure was for the 16th. The ... Read More
Let me start out by saying we had a great cruise!!!!!!!! We are a family of 4, me 45 my DH 48 and my children DS 17 and my DD 13. On Wed Feb 14th there was a very big ice storm on the east coast and our departure was for the 16th. The airports were a mess for 2 days on the east coast and we were nervous about getting out with out a problem but we did great at Newark airport on Continental. The lines were very long and if you were not there 2hrs in advance you might have missed your flight, but we were there, got on our flight, and were only delayed on the runway for an hour. There were people screaming they were going to miss their flight because of the long lines, I sort of felt bad for them but sort of did not, reason being. it has been pretty well known for years you need get to the airport 2hrs before your flight that is what we did and had no problem but I would bet anything on the fact these people were late because they figured no problem we don't have to be there 2 hrs in advance and then when it was getting to close to their flight leaving they started screaming. We arrived in San Juan and had no problem at the airport, went right to the Embassy Suites in Carolina checked into our room and thought the hotel was very nice. They have a free buffet made to order omelet breakfast, and happy hour with drinks and popcorn and some sort of a chex like mix, every night from 5:30 to 7:30. The pool is very nice, there is some plane noise because it is beside the runway entrance to the airport, but I think that planes landing are very cool and fun to watch anyway. The sun in PR is very hot. My daughter had a friend from home who was visiting her grandparents that live in PR, around the block from our hotel, they are Puerto Rican, she stayed with them for those 2 days and had a real PR breakfast, and she had a blast with them. We stayed from Friday to Sunday and checked out around noon and headed straight to the Adventure of the Seas. We were on in minutes, the only problem I had there was we got out of the cab with 6 huge heavy bags and then had to get on a line and we had a hard time with all of our carry ons and the 6 bags moving them all up in line. I think a porter should have come up to us at the curb and checked our bags immediately instead of us having to move them all up in line. Anyway we were on board in minutes. We did go right to our rooms and they were not ready yet, but they let us put our carry on bags in the bottom of the closet and then we left to walk around the ship. We headed to the Windjammer ordered the 2 kids soda cards for the 7 days and then checked out the wine and decided not to get a package because we are not big drinkers and felt we would be better off buying them by the bottle. We went and made our reservations for Portofinos and had a hard time getting the time we wanted. We were 8 people and wanted the second formal night at 8:00 and that was already gone so we took 7:00 we knew a family from home going on this ship and had made arrangements with them prior to the cruise to have dinner in Portofinos they had a daughter who was friends with mine from school so we had that in common already. Let me also add in, my daughter would have not been as happy if this friend or acquaintance was not on the ship (unless she met another person to hang out with on the ship) she needs someone other then us to keep her happy. But the two of them did not meet other kids (which I blame on them). We also stopped to check out where our table was in the dining room, we had asked for a very large table because we wanted to dine and talk with other people, and we had signed up for this cruise about 1 year prior, and when we got there they showed us the absolute first table when you walk into the dining room, where everyone is walking right past you bumping into you, it was a terrible location and needless to say it was for 6 people, which means it was the 4 of us and a couple, I do not understand why this was a problem, not a big table and probably the worst location in the dining room. We asked to switch and was told the only table available was a table for 8 but there was a 17 year old and an 11 year old, I jumped on it, one of the best decisions we made all week. We were with the greatest family from the Boston area and we clicked. Hi to Cathy, Chuck, Rachel, and Derick. The conversation immediately went to Colleges, and Rachel was going to Roger Williams in Rhode Island next year and we had just went and looked at the school for my son, in Nov and loved it and thought it was beautiful, so the conversation flowed the rest of the night. We had previously been on the Voyager of the Seas 4 years ago, so we sort of knew what to expect on this sister ship. It was truly similar. And it looked very clean for the age. We remembered from the last cruise what annoyed us the most, was people who left their garbage and empty and even full glasses just lying where ever because they could not wait until they found the proper way to dispose of them, and the first elevator we got to, this was already evident that it was going to be this way again. Our rooms were a different story, my DH and I had an E1 Balcony room with the kids in a promenade room directly across. There room was fine and very nice, our room smelled, it had a dank humid smell and an odor like an old age home, we were not happy. We told our cabin steward and they did everything they could to rectify the problem they even shampooed the carpet. It still smelled. Here is the part I did not like, after going down to the desk and being told housekeeping said it did not smell, I was furious and said I would like the head of house keeping to meet me in the room stand next to me look in my eyes and tell me this room does not smell. If she or he could do that I will except that my room does not smell and deal with it. She said okay housekeeping would meet me there in 5 minutes, she came and looked me in the eye and said this room smells. She said it smells like wet carpet (remember they shampooed the carpet) and did not let it dry with the fans on. So they gave us a new room to sleep in for the night, which when we went to check out smelled like cigarette smoke, so we let the fans run until midnight and then pulled the plug and slept in the room anyway. I still have not unpacked. In the mean while we went to our Meet and Mingle and met all the people I have been talking to for the last year on these message boards, it was very nice, and meet some great people who we saw throughout the week. One couple in particular, we became pretty close with. Our sons seem to have found each other as friends and hung out together throughout the vacation. Big high to Debbie and her family, we really enjoyed meeting and spending time together. Especially St John, but you will hear about that later in the review. The next day the nice women from housekeeping came back and said it still smelled. They would try to find us another new room, now remember my kids are across the hall from us. After 2 days of not unpacking at about 5pm I finally said forget it I will deal with the smell so I unpacked, guess who called around 5:30, you got it, and they found us a new room about 5 doors down. This one smelled fine. We moved in and unpacked. It would have been better for us to have the room right across from our kids but this was the next best thing. I did not let this ruin our first 2 days although it was a big nuisance. The windjammer was just as we remembered. There was no sushi that I found. I don't understand why RCCL does not keep up with the food trends. Also the midnight buffet was terrible compared to the one on the Voyager that was magnificent. They really seem like they are trying to cut corners it is evident. The first day was a sea day and yes there were chair hogs. I was not going to wake up early to get chairs this time, but my husband was going to the gym early and asked if I wanted him to save chairs and I said you might as well or we might not get any, I am glad he did, or we would have not. I did see someone from RCCL tell another passenger there is a fifteen minute rule, if no one is at the chair in fifteen minutes you can move there stuff. I did see chairs empty for hours at a time, it is a problem. Next day was Aruba we had a big group the people from home (4) and our new friends, our table mates, (4) and us (4) all go to the beach by the Radisson, It was a beautiful day (I was told the water was rougher this week then last week) we got 2 papules, 6 chairs and 6 floats for all of us, the men and the kids went and rented wave runners and the women floated and sunned in the water. When everyone got back from waverunnering we all went and ate lunch at the place on the pier (I don't remember the name) and they said the water was so rough it was coming up from under the pier into the restaurant and it had never happened before. Lunch was yummy and not to expensive. We spent the rest of the time on the beach and then as we were leaving to catch the bus back to the ship we stopped at the pool at the Radisson and took a dip. The Radisson was beautiful and would stay there if ever in Aruba. They had these big parrots they put on the kids shoulder and arms so we could get great pictures. We got back by the dock and did a little souvenir shopping and then walked back to the ship. Next stop Curacao, We got off the boat and ran into our friends from home, which happen to be Jewish also and were walking to the same place, the oldest temple in the Western Hemisphere, so it was nice we were able to go together. It was very interesting to see it is still used today and has a floor made of sand. My son is hooked on the fact that he is going to come home and tell our Rabbi to take the ugly orange carpet out of our sanctuary and replace it with sand. We then walked around Curacao for a little bit of souvenir shopping and then took a cab to Mambo beach, not one of my favorite spots, I thought it felt a little dirty (facilities and such) but we walked down the beach some and found a hotel restaurant on the lagoon section and sat and ate lunch there, it was pretty, my son was happy when he found out the drinking age was 16. We packed up and our driver met us at 3:00 and then we went back to the ship. Next day was a day at sea, I got up and went out to save the chairs around 7:30, but I did not leave the chairs, my family came out around 9 and my daughter did not come out until around 9:30 and when I realized my son was not coming I gave up his chair. He found a friend and I really never saw him the rest of the cruise, except at dinner we always eat at home together so he knew dinner was a must every night. I played bingo sat in the sun, nothing really special about cruise days to me. We did however plan on not eating breakfast that day, and have an early lunch at Johnny Rockets, they open at 11:30 on sea days and thought we would avoid any long lines by being first. We also were eating at Portofinos that night so an early lunch would leave us plenty hungry for a big dinner. We do have Johnny Rockets five minutes from our house, but due to the unhealthiness of it we never eat it and of course all of your eating sensibilities go to pot on a vacation so that was a treat. I found that sitting at Johnny Rocket there was a heavy vibration from the ship it was a little uncomfortable and then that night we went to Portofino's which was directly above Johnny Rockets and had the same uncomfortable vibration. We never felt this on the Voyager of the Seas. It was not a great feeling to have while you are supposed to be fine dining. I thought Portofino's was not as fabulous as everyone said on the message boards, I thought it was good but I was very satisfied with the dining room food, not that the dining room food was outstanding but it was very decent. Our next stop was St Martin. We were supposed to do the Sailing Regatta which I had prepaid on my American Express card and when we got to our room there was a message that the excursion was cancelled and it would be credited to our sea pass account which was being paid for by our new RCCL credit card, so we could rack up double points on this cruise for onboard credit for our next cruise. So I complained that I paid for the excursion on my AMEX and I wanted my AMEX credited not my RCCL card and they said they could not do it. Which is unfair, all of the expenses that I would get double points on onboard, such as drinks and bingo and everything would get completely wiped out and I would loose any points. So let's say I drank 350.00 worth of drinks, I would get 700 cruise credit points, but if they credit that account 350.00 from the excursion paid from Amex the 350 in drinks gets to be a Zero dollars and wipes out all the points. I complained big time and would not take no for an answer. I paid it by Amex and wanted it credited to Amex. They just said no, after a few day I finally said I just want to be compensated for those points, I earned those points I deserve those points and if you can not credit the right account at least give me the onboard credit for my next cruise equal to those points. After much fighting they figured out a way to get me those points back, but it took a lot of complaining and stubbornness on my part, and I should have not had to go through that, they were rightfully mine. Anyway in St Martin we just ended up taking a taxi to the Little Divi bay beach resort. It was very nice and had a lovely day. Our taxi driver never showed up at the time we told him, but we got another ride back from another driver. We did not go to town to do our shopping but they did have small shops by the boat. The following day was probably our favorite. This was St Thomas, although we did not stay in St Thomas We met up with Debbie (Cruise Novice) and her family and we took the cab to the ferry to the cab to the beach. Our initial cab ride was somewhat of a riot because they tried to squeeze the eight of us into a open air cab and we were really short room for 1 more, so after standing there and saying we can't fit, I said to the guy if my daughter has to sit on my lap we all want a discount, so we got 1 dollar each off of our very hairy ride to Trunk Bay. It was like a roller coaster and my daughter had to hold on for dear life because we thought she might fall out but it really was a big laugh and a lot of fun. Anyway this is the most gorgeous Island you have ever seen. Like living in a postcard, we were all in awe. Debbie and I said we could die here and be very happy. The water was crystal clear, the beach was pristine with white sand and the view was amazing. Debbie and my husband went snorkeling on the trail and they said it was unbelievable. The fish were beautiful; my husband said there were plaques under the water explaining some of the fish. The funniest part was that Debbie had read on the boards about the mean lady at the snack bar and she truly was. We called her the snack bar Nazi and my son said to Debbie's son "just state your order pay and move to the side" for all of you Seinfeld fan's you will know what he is talking about. She ended up yelling "listen up people there is no more cheeseburger got that everyone" and then the boys had told us she got in this huge fight with a customer saying they did not pay and then that was the talk on the beach. We did run into a family in the water we knew from home and they were staying in St John and said it was awesome, they were at the Westin but I heard it was expensive. I will look into it I would love to go and just hang in St John for a week. The island was clean, and pristine. Anyway back to the ship, we took the long ferry back to Charlotte Amalie and did some shopping Debbie's and my daughter were getting those embroidered bracelets from every port that said the name of the Island on them, so we walked around St Thomas for a hour, the cab drivers were extremely annoying, as your walking and shopping every driver would ask you if you wanted a ride even though you were not even trying to make any eye contact with them. Debbie and I started getting annoyed stopped saying no thank you and Debbie's very polite daughter kept saying no thank you. I got to the point where I would just say "later" and then they would drive off. Finally we need a cab, the sun was beaming down, and what looks like a short walk back to the ship is actually pretty far especially in the hot sun, got back to the ship stopped at the Promenade and really enjoyed sitting with our new friends. The ship was filled with people from Mass, New York and Canada, we found a few from NJ and very few from PR. They even asked at one point applaud if you are from PR and they said that this particular cruise had very few compared to others. It was a truly enjoyable week, even though we had some issues my family had a great time. One thing I found stupid and unusual was that for the muster drill, my kids, because they were in a odd number room right across from us, were in a different muster group then we were. Now if your boat was sinking would you get in one life boat and let your kids get in a different one, so we pointed it out to one of the ship employees and he said don't worry we do this all the time and it is all okay, my husband said to him, in a joking way, "wait let me guess, your single and have no children". He said yes he was, we laughed we sort of figured that out. We were not to concerned about this procedure because we pretty much figured we would not have to do this during our cruise so we let it go but really do not agree with the procedure. Departing from the boat was not a issue, they gave us a group 4 to get off the boat and they gave my kids a number 9 group, figure that one out, we went down to the desk and they gave us more group 4 passes but they should have known, In the mean time our table mates were in a group 1 and they had a 10:00 flight I thought they were cutting it short but they were told by the ship no problem. We were not worried about getting off quick because we were staying one more day, we went back to the Embassy Suites and got a really lousy room this time but it was only one night so we let it go. We took a cab all the way back to Old San Juan to walk around go to El Morrow and eat dinner. We got there immediately a bum came up to us and would not leave us alone, and my daughter started freaking out. Then we walked to El Morrow and now my daughter was petrified the whole way. It was a very windy day and there were hundreds of PR flying kites at El Morrow, the scenery was beautiful, the fort was cool, and then we walked back around to shop and look for a place to eat dinner. I had read about the Parrot Club and Aquaviva and another restaurant, and wanted to eat there but heard it was a little pricey, but it was our last night and we figured why not, so we went to Aquaviva, I was not impressed, the food was mediocre, I live very close to NYC and we have some very awesome restaurant by us and I was not loving anything we ate. Anyway we took a cab right back to our hotel and when we walked in it was still happy hour, my husband wanted to enjoy that and I was tired but I told him I was going to the room and would come back down to meet him, but I laid down for a minute and my eyes started closing, the next thing I heard was the phone ring and with my eyes still close I knew it was my husband wondering where I was, so I let my son answer the phone I knew he would tell him I was asleep and that would be the end of that, but what my husband had told my son it that our friends, our table mates who were supposed to get off the ship for a 10:00 flight never caught their flight in time and checked into the Embassy suites and we went and hung out with them it was a great surprise for us, but I'm sure they were not to happy about not getting on their flight . Anyway they got a new flight the next day at 3 and ours was at around the same time. In the mean time we hear there is a snow storm hitting the east coast, starting around 6 pm and ending bringing around 2 to 4 inches then we hear up to 6 inches, we figure we are okay because it would end early morning, temp would be around 40 and it would be gone by the time our flights were due in. Our plan was to wake up early eat breakfast spend 2 hours at the pool and the go to the airport around noon. We got to the eat breakfast part when a women said if we have a flight out today we should go to the airport 4 hours before, because she was there at 6 am for a 8 am flight and it was 400 deep with people waiting to just check their baggage and there was only 1 person behind the counter, so she missed her flight because she could not even get her luggage checked. So my plan for spending a few hours at the pool and then going to the airport became a panic of we have to leave now to make sure we get our bags checked. We left at 11 got to the airport breezed through every line and were checked in and through security in 15 minutes. I was pissed, but I was glad with all of her information and the snow back at home that our flight was on time and we were all checked in and we made it home ½ hour earlier then our flight was due in but we did have to circle for 15 minutes before landing. It was awesome. Happy to sleep in my own bed, happy to drink our own coffee, weather home stinks, but glad we were lucky enough to be able to afford, do, and have a very wonderful vacation with my family and meet some wonderful people along the way. Our next trip is Explorer of the Seas Holiday cruise out of Bayonne NJ for 12 days. No air, looking forward to that. Any questions I would be glad to answer. I know this is a very long review and I know I still left some things out. Debbie please feel free to add to this. We have to keep in touch, my email is Recurrev@aol.com Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
We cruised during Feb. 07 school vacation week. The ship was clean and nice in appearance. We did not notice any of the problems others complained of about the AOS in other posts. Despite this being school vacation week, we did not have ... Read More
We cruised during Feb. 07 school vacation week. The ship was clean and nice in appearance. We did not notice any of the problems others complained of about the AOS in other posts. Despite this being school vacation week, we did not have any problems with kids misbehaving on the ship as others experienced other weeks. Yes, pool chairs were hard to come by, but we're not big pool people. Did enjoy the adults only pool; very peaceful and relaxing. Flights were booked on JetBlue by the cruise line. We liked the comfy seating on JetBlue.. but booking this way turned out to be a big mistake because they waited until the last minute to book and stuck us with connecting flights with lengthy layovers, instead of direct flights. We booked our cruise last fall, so why did they wait so long to arrange the air? And it was no cheaper; others we spoke with flew just as far for half as much as we paid. This left a sour taste in our mouths. My main complaint was with the food in the dining room: very mediocre. Our 23 year old daughter summed it up by saying, "If this ship were a restaurant, I'd never tell my friends to go there!" Some examples come to mind. My wife ordered Chicken Marsala which consisted of Tyson chicken tenders topped with some mysterious sauce that bore no relation to "Marsala" at all. She thought it tasted just like the chicken in the McDonald's Happy Meal! I ordered steak two nights on the trip and both of them were at most 1/2 inch thick (thin, that is) and pretty small, maybe 6 inches across... a poor excuse for what's supposed to be fine dining. Our table mates had the same steak problem. They liked their meat well done and had to return it four times before they got one cooked the way they wanted. I like mine rare but that's almost impossible to get with such a thin cut of meat. The lamb chops she ordered another night were so tough, she couldn't eat them. Wondered if this was due to early prep then heat lights to keep them warm... or if they were just bad chops to begin with. Maybe both? Desserts were not good quality, either. I found that many of them contained a lot of gelatin, probably to help them keep better. This was true of most of the pies and some other items. Not up to the high standards you expect when you pay this kind of price. We plunked down over six grand for the three of us in a balcony room, airfare included. Lousy flights, not direct, but did like the comfortable seats on JetBlue, lots of leg room. Got there so late Sunday night that they would not admit us to the dining room and sent us upstairs to the buffet. The girl there tried kidding with us, saying, "Sorry, we're closed now!" After travelling for almost 12 hours, this went over with us like a lead balloon. Not funny. Windjammer buffet was typical buffet food, about the same unexciting stuff we've had on some of the all- inclusive resorts' buffets we've been to. The first night, my wife took the chicken dish, only to find out that it was thighs - dark meat- a corner cutting measure again.Wasn't bad, wasn't great. You'd expect better on a cruise, shouldn't you? The other major complaint we had was the *very* slow service at dinner, at the first (6pm) seating. Our table was in the rear of the dining room, next to the big center staircase. Our waiter, "Sanjay", consistently served us dead last in the entire room! He had two tables, one big one with 12 people plus ours with 7. Every night, we found ourselves watching neighboring tables enjoying dessert when we were just getting our entrees! No excuse for this. I took photos with date/time stamp to mail to RCI ... they need to know. By the time we were finishing our dinners, our tables (Sanjay's tables) were among perhaps four in the dining room still with people at them... while the wait staff was running all over the room yelling at each other, "Cmon, we've gotta get this place cleaned up before the next seating!" This did not make for "fine dining" .. it was embarrassing, to say the least. To be fair, it might be possible that the kitchen was screwing Sanjay by getting our food to him last, keeping him waiting around, but he never told us that. Don't know the real reason, but know what? I don't care. We should have asked to be moved to a new table but kept hoping things would improve. They didn't. Speaking of table seating, we were put with two other couples a few years older than us.. ok.. but our 23 year old daughter was the only person of her age at the table and felt like a fifth wheel all week. We should have made a move but didn't.. on the other hand, the staff making seating assignments should have given her some consideration and been more sensitive, putting us with a family. Overall, the ship was clean - no complaints there. Some people I spoke to on the ship with us felt the staff was not very friendly and did not go out of their way to be welcoming. That didn't bother me, personally, because I don't go on a cruise to socialize with their staff. Having said that, our stateroom attendant, Louis, was by far the friendliest we met. He made a few small mistakes on towels (2 instead of 3) but was happy to remedy matters with a good attitude. He was the only staff member to whom I gave an extra tip. Again, my main complaint is with the food and dining service. I plan to write to RCI to let them know we were pretty disappointed. Seems they're cutting corners to max their profits. Took side trips on each of the 4 islands and had no complaints. I'm sure we could have done similar trips for less money if we'd booked privately but chose to take the easy way out. Comment on the booking system: We've cruised before on Norwegian where they have a huge customer service desk dedicated to taking reservations; RCL only has one very busy guy with limited hours to book them all. There is an interactive TV system you can use but the interface needs a lot of work (get a good web designer to fix this!) and it has no text descriptions of the tours on it, forcing you to refer to the book they give you, which is annoying and awkward. Only half of the tours have videos (brief at best) but this is not something you find out until you try to view one; if it is missing, the system throws you back to the beginning of the list so you have to scroll way down to where you just were. Who designed this? Our balcony room was in the middle of the ship on deck 7, so had a very smooth sailing experience. Seas were pretty calm anyway for our trip, so no complaints. Would recommend the balcony room as it is nice to view the islands while coming into port; it also helped because of the 3 of us. My wife likes to get up early and read out on the balcony. My side of the king-size mattress (two twins joined together) was crushed by people sitting on it... to the point where I felt like I was rolling out of bed if too near the edge. Time to replace it! Entertainment: the ship's own singers and dancers seemed pretty professional and hard-working. However, the original shows they had to work contained a lot of unfamiliar music which did not click with us (in our mid-50s) or our daughter (23). I'm a radio announcer, so know a thing or two about music; our daughter is a Broadway music fan and knows a lot of shows well. Comedian Jimmy Carroll was clean (rare these days) and pretty funny; I'd watch for him in another venue sometime. The Motown show, performed by a "tribute" foursome named "Spectrum", was very professional and well-received. This was our first Royal Caribbean cruise, after taking three on Norwegian. I think the food was better on Norwegian. We also prefer their "freestyle" dining where you are not locked into a seating time or table with others you may or may not relate to (daughter's view especially). I'm not in a hurry to book again on Royal Caribbean. Will shop around for another line next time and hope for some decent food. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
Hello! Us- We are a couple with 3 kids(2 of them stay at home)that have travel 39 times we are a little older but still good. Embarkation- We live in EL CONDADO PLAZA so we know about san juan and the rest of puerto rico so that day we ... Read More
Hello! Us- We are a couple with 3 kids(2 of them stay at home)that have travel 39 times we are a little older but still good. Embarkation- We live in EL CONDADO PLAZA so we know about san juan and the rest of puerto rico so that day we just get in the cruise. Ship- I have go 9 times in RCI and we have never feel as we feel now. Yes its HUGE but i have go on the freedom of the seas so it's not the biggest i have go on.As i said i have go on other rci cruises so i know whats the ship have Rock climbing,ice rink and more great things.The promenade its one of the largest in the class but the freedom class have one more largest, its great to take a sit and drink a coffee or eat a cookie but in Princess you have more great cookies and coffee. Food-I have to admit that they serve more great food than Burger King, what was that it was mediocre and very poor amount of serve.The windjammer cafe its a poor buffet,in November 11 i go on the crown princess and they have more great variety of food in their buffet than the adventure. Gym- It was Ok it was big and very nice touch with the jacuzzi inside of it. Kids- i just go with my older kid of 11 years this cruise was a gift to him because his birthday was 2 weeks before than the cruise but he told me that he don't want to go to the adventure ocean because he wants to do more great things but the 3 day he was very bored and ask me if he can go to the kiddie place and i was in shock because In the princess,NCL and celebrity he have never told me that even in the carnival so i cant believe it. Rooms- its the only touch of goodness in this ship i love it its more biggest than other cruise rooms. Service-they were very friendly and good people they make a great job in service to ME. Entertainment- You have many things to do but if you are younger for us the adults theres nothing cool to do just ice rink but if you wanna broke one bone, the theater was OK great performance and great dancers.For kids YES theres great things to do. Public rooms-It have a lot of them but just a few were good as the promenade and the pools. Ports of call-they were great but i have go to all of them i just get down on curacao to buy things on the mini-mall disembarkation- It was the more slowest in my life i stay in the cruise 5 hours i cant believe it it was very but very slow summary- If you want to explore,relax,discover,never be bored and get a little more of pounds go to other cruise line but if you wanna have your worst vacation select RCI.i wont recommend this line to anyone just to my enemy because it will be a torture, in may im going on the emerald and i will tell how its princess... Happy Cruising!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
Cruise Departure: 3/4/07 My wife and I booked this cruise as our first cruise. We loved every minute of it, and feel there is no other way to travel now on vacation. We will definitely be going on a cruise for our next vacation. We ... Read More
Cruise Departure: 3/4/07 My wife and I booked this cruise as our first cruise. We loved every minute of it, and feel there is no other way to travel now on vacation. We will definitely be going on a cruise for our next vacation. We started in San Juan (10 PM departure), had a day at sea, stopped in Aruba (leaving next day at 1AM), and then stopped in Curacao (departing at 5:00PM), another day at sea, then stopped in St. Maarten (departing at 5:30PM), and last stopped in St. Thomas (departing at 5:30PM). Travel to San Juan: We ended up flying to San Juan, PR a day in advance and had plans to see the El Yunque Rainforest which is supposed to be an incredible rainforest. Our flight on USAIR was delayed out of DC by two hours and then we lost an hour not realizing that PR is an hour ahead of EST. Because of this pointless delay we were not able to go to see the EL Yunque rainforest because it closed at 6PM and we would have just had to turn around once we got there. We rented a car from Charlie's Car Rental (a local company). I had heard really good things about them on this website. I was not really impressed with them overall though. It was a cheaper option, but it seemed like everyone had the same idea. There shuttles are as frequent at the airport as AVIS or any of the big car companies, as well. So it took a longer time than normal to get our car since there was a line for the shuttle, and then a long line at the rental facility to check out. One benefit is that you can check out at the airport and then drop off in Condado, PR where you will receive a free shuttle ride to the cruise terminal for no extra charge. It's hard to find the Condado location, and overall they are not very friendly. I love renting from AVIS because they'll just drop you off at your car if you're a preferred member and you won't have to stand in line to get your car. Another disadvantage, is that if you don't buy Charlie's insurance and want to go with your own insurance, you have to sign a waiver saying that they can charge your credit card for whatever damage, regardless of who is at fault, and then you have to deal with the insurance company. A little sketchy if you ask me. There were some spring breakers in front of us also that were not able to get a car. Apparently it is a company policy that no one under the age of 24 can drive, even with a fee. Hopefully that is posted on their website. Our first night we stayed in a hotel called the Coral Princess Inn. I would HIGHLY recommend staying at this Inn in Condado. It is a wonderful location that is just beautiful and a huge value for the price. Most hotels in San Juan average over 300 dollars a night and we payed half of that and felt as though these accommodations were much better. The Inn is well kept and all the rooms have flat panel televisions, and jacuzzi's as far as I know. The rooms can be small, but you can get a larger room if you'd like. The tropical gardens on sight are amazing, and the hot tub on the roof is pretty neat too, a very open caribbean like atmosphere. You will most likely have to pay 10 dollars to park at a lot about a block down from the hotel, with unlimited access for 24 hours. We also booked a spa appointment at the Zen Spa for my wife in Condado. She had a horrible experience at the spa where we requested a female massage therapist and ended up getting a male therapist. They do not have separate changing facilities, and the showers are simply individual stalls with curtains were the men and woman share them. The male therapist was a scum bag also, my wife is very reserved and ended up getting sexually assaulted by the therapist. The Spa is investigating the issue, but if it were up to me, I would stay away from the spa and just get a massage on the ship. Very shady place, and it was highly ranked on spafinder.com, which was odd. It was an unfortunate experience that could have ruined our vacation if we had let it, but we were determined to have a good time. :) Overall I wasn't very impressed with Puerto Ricans, I have read bad things about them before, but I was determined to be positive and friendly as maybe tourists are rude to them. But it is true when they say that they can be pretty rude, and they are horrible drivers. There were a few friendly ones, but our experience overall was pretty bad with Puerto Ricans. Sad since we are all one UNITED STATES. The Cruise: We were planning on going to see Old San Juan but ended up heading to the Cruise ship around 4PM. My goodness, was this a large ship. Didn't have any problems with check in as we breezed through the short line, and had filled out all our documentation beforehand. It probably only took us twenty minutes between the time that we got to the pier until we were on the ship. Pretty easy. Maybe it was because we had showed up later than everyone, I'm not sure. When we boarded the ship we questioned whether we were really on a ship or in a floating city. It was absolutely amazing! I couldn't believe the size of the ship. We were having so much fun on the ship that we decided to stay on and not get off to go check out Old San Juan. We ended up having an interior Promenade room with a bay window looking into the Promenade. There is a bench in the window and we thought this was pretty amazing to be able to watch all of the people. Later in the cruise we found out there were 3,266 people on board which I found hard to believe, since at times it seemed like the ship was empty and we did not ever feel crowded. We never had to wait in lines for anything either, which I thought was amazing. The room did not feel small either for us as a couple. We found our room very relaxing and enjoyed just hanging out in it when we had the time. The bathroom was a little small, but I did not find it uncomfortable once during the whole week. There is plenty of storage space in the cabin, and we just stored our suitcases under the bed. The only complaint that I had about this room, was that we had a cabin with adjoining door to the next cabin, and we had neighbors that liked to listen to their TV pretty loudly. It seemed like the door was paper thin and aloud a lot of noise to come through. Although it didn't bother us since they never had it on when we wanted to sleep. You could also check you Sea Pass Card balance on the interactive TV or book shore excursions. There was also a channel dedicated to the position of the ship on a map, and it gave you all the information about the ship, you also had a live feed into the promenade, which we didn't use much since we had a window into the promenade. A neat feature about the ship was that they had an intercom knob near the vanity that piped in classical music, and we would leave it on at night while we slept. We found it very peaceful and soothing along with the slight rocking of the ship. We both said we have never slept better. Our room was made up twice a day, and my wife especially loved the towel animals every night. The ship did seem to rock an awful lot during the cruise but we didn't mind since we didn't get sea sick. The crew said it was the worst they have felt since the ship has stabilizers and it is so large. My wife was very nervous about taking a cruise and getting sea sick, but she didn't have any problems. A lot of people did have patches behind there ears which seemed to prevent them from getting motion sickness, and work very well. We didn't see anyone the whole week that appeared sea sick. The food was wonderful and seemed to compare with many five star restaurants on land. We loved sitting in the Windjammer when we would depart the ports and have a snack (great floor to ceiling windows with a panoramic view). There is tons of food to be had 24 hours a day on the ship. Check out the pizza in the Cafe Promenade. Don't miss the free champagne before dinner the second night, or at the art auctions throughout the cruise. There is also free liquor tasting in the General Store. Check out the daily compass (schedule) for times. Drinks ran about $5.95 for mixed drinks, and the drink of the day came with a pretty neat souvenir glass (plastic in the pool areas, and glass at all other bar areas), which I thought was pretty neat. I thought these were fair prices for drinks, and they made them pretty strong. Beers ran an average of $4.95, for the bottle. A good deal was if you got a Fosters beer for $5.95 it came in a huge can that seemed to be the size of 2.5 beers. I thought that was a pretty good deal. The service was incredible, and better than any we have ever received. At dinner it seemed like you didn't even have to ask for things, they almost read your mind and knew what you wanted. You could ask for multiple portions of lobster or whatever, or try multiple dishes of entrees or appetizers. My wife was a little braver than I was and tried many things such as escargot (snail), which she said she really enjoyed. Room service was great and free, the only extras were Johnny Rockets ($3.95pp cover charge (plus tip), and Portofino's $20pp cover charge) We did not feel the need to try these options since there was so much available. The shows were outstanding! I thought that they were almost as good as broadway shows if not at the same caliber. I couldn't believe that we were on a ship with all the special effects and such. The comedians were hilarious and had us laughing non-stop the whole time. We found them better than what you would see on Comedy central, and I'm pretty sure they've been on the show before as well as performed in Las Vegas, etc. The ice show was amazing and is definitely worth getting tickets for (free). We didn't have to wait in line, and even at the show it seemed like they weren't checking for tickets, so anyone could have come in and stood and watched. The activities were awesome and there always seemed to be something going on that we wanted to do, sometimes there were two things at once that we wanted to go to. I carried the Compass (daily schedule) around with me at all times and found this to be the greatest help. One issue is that at sea days if you want to sunbathe it is best to get up to the pool deck by noon in order to get a lounge chair. There are plenty of other places to sunbathe though. The pool games are a lot of fun, and pretty neat to watch. There is plenty of other activities on board though if you are not into that. They have lots of neat midnight buffets and parties during the week in which they make amazing art out of food and ice. Pretty neat stuff! Plenty of options for music lovers as every genre of music has live entertainment throughout the ship every night, late into the night hours. We especially enjoyed the Latin music group and thought it was neat to them dancing and enjoying the music. There are also 17 bars on the ship, pretty amazing, so you're never too far from a drink. The sports bar is pretty neat and often overlooked, with some of the tables being surfboards. My only bad experience was at one of the deck parties when the latin band was playing live music, two gay men ended up grinding together in front of everyone which we found very disturbing and ended up leaving. This was late at night after midnight though, and fortunately there were no kids watching. All the ports of call were amazing, and it’s hard to say which one was our favorite: Aruba: We rented a 4X4 Jeep Wrangler for the day and ended up doing a off-road tour on our own. I bought a travel book called “Frommers Caribbean Ports of Call” and found it to be the best overall book for this trip. It has a 4X4 tour that is great. I also did a lot of research online beforehand. Although the roads aren’t well marked it is pretty easy to find your way around the island since it is pretty small, and the locals are very friendly and will gladly give you directions. You can also tag along with one of the excursion jeep tours if you don’t feel comfortable doing it on your own. They all seem to start at the California lighthouse (I think at like 9AM). We rented a jeep wrangler from Top Car Rental for 70 dollars for the day and they let you have the car until 6PM. We were definitely glad we rented a wrangler as the roads going along the West Coast and down into the “Natural Pool” were very rugged and required a lot of clearance sometimes driving over very large rocks, and fairly steep grades although I wouldn’t say it’s as bad as some people make it out to be on Trip Advisor. I am glad that I didn’t have to do it in the smaller 4X4’s though. The natural pool was amazing and a definite must stop and see spot. The fish are beautiful and I even saw a Green Moray Eel hiding in the rocks at the natural pool. Very neat!! We also drove along the western coast which looks more like a desert (very neat though). If you go to the natural bridge store, fallen down in 2005, and there is a baby natural bridge right next to it, be prepared to pay 50 cents to use the rest room. I would suggest finding a place in the desert to just go, there is plenty of secluded spots unless. Take plenty of fluids also. We also went to Baby Beach stopping at Wendy’s along the way to pick up some French fries to feed the fish. The fish were very beautiful and would eat right out of our hands. They would swarm around us, and the parrot fish would even nibble on your fingers, which my wife thought was very neat. The coral wasn’t very colorful though, but the fish were pretty neat. We saw some needle nose fish as well as a wide variety of others. Be prepared to pay in cash for gas though, it cost us $4.00 a gallon, and you had to estimate how much to put in since it was dispensed in liters. Curacao: I really loved Curacao, the colorful buildings and Amstel beer (not light) were amazing. Regular Amstel beer is amazing and I wish they sold it in the states instead of Amstel light. It was so good! We ended up renting a car and splitting it with some friends we met on the cruise. (they are amazing and we will most likely be friends for life now) We traveled to Port Marie Beach and hung out at that beach snorkeling most of the afternoon enjoying the wide variety of fish and sea life. Watch out for the sea urchins. The didn’t appear to be in the sand or beach, but they do hide under coral and look like they would be very painful. Also if you go out beyond the swim lines, fire coral grows on the swim lines, and make sure you don’t touch this or come into contact with this either. The reef is a little deep for snorkeling and it is my understanding that Curacao is one of the best places in the world for diving. You could have done a dive for half a day for $45 (including all the equipment) at this location, but we didn’t have enough time. This is much much cheaper than what the cruise lines offer though. St. Maarten: This was the only place that we did one of the cruise line excursions, because you could not book it on your own. We did the America’s Cup Sailing Regatta. The excursion lasts for 2.5 hours, but you are only sailing and racing for about 45 minutes. It is a very fun excursion though that lets you race against other boats. The three boats that were racing that day were Stars and Stripes, True North, and Canada II. It was pretty neat to know that these boats had actually raced in the America’s Cup, and to hear their history as well as the history of the America’s Cup. Definitely something I was glad I did once, but I don’t think I’d do it again, as $87/pp is a little steep. Phillipsburg, was a neat place to shop, didn’t buy much but it kind of looked like a really nice shopping mall in the Caribbean. Do go for the dollar beers, they are a steal and you can pick one up right out of the fridge located in the stores along the strip. Also you can take unlimited trips from the cruise terminal to the city for $5/pp per day on the water taxi, a good deal considering it’s 3 dollars for one way. St. Thomas: We took a cab to Magens bay in the morning which charged us 8 dollars a person, in which they will not negotiate. Then they charge you 3 dollars per person to get into the beach. It was well worth it however to see this beautiful beach. It was the clearest water I’ve ever seen. Another surprise was how mountainous St. Thomas was. It was very pretty, and was one of my wife’s favorite stops. Just make sure you have a lot of cash on you. There are some local buses for the locals, and you have to be pretty investigative to figure out were the stops are. These buses only charge you a dollar though, and supposedly the code word that we heard from the locals is “are you heading to the country”. Strange but it seemed to work, cause they told us were the dollar bus stops were. I wasn’t too overly impressed with the shop prices and after comparing all the places were we stopped found that the liquor prices were overall the cheapest in San Juan Airport past the security inspection, which was great cause you could just carry the liquor on the plane with you. A few examples of prices were a liter of Mandarin Orange Absolute for 8.95 or a bottle of tangeray (sp?) gin for 10 dollars. All very cheap prices compared to the states. Overall this was a wonderful vacation and we will definitely cruise with Royal Caribbean again. There seemed to be a lot of cruisers who were very loyal to RCCL, that had a lot of experience with RCCL and other cruise lines. I think there was a couple that had gone on over 200 cruises, which was amazing. The crowd was a good mix of all ages. We didn’t see too many kids on board, and there wasn’t an abundance of Puerto Ricans like the other reviews stressed. This was definitely a diverse cruise though, with lots of Europeans and South Americans, Canadians and of course Americans from all over the states which we thought was pretty neat. They made a lot of the announcements in like 5 languages and all of the Cruise Compass (schedules) were in various languages. There were a lot of experience cruisers that had been on more than 25 cruises and we asked them a lot of questions on which cruise line they liked the best, and they all seemed to say RCCL. A lot of people gave mixed reviews about Carnival saying that those ships are a more wild and things can get out of hand on those ships with college students and trashy people. But I don’t know cause I’ve never been on a Carnival cruise. We almost booked the Destiny ship that leaves out of San Juan though, and we’re glad we didn’t. We enjoyed the crowd and the days at sea, which gave us more time to explore the ship. My wife and I are in our mid twenties and we really had a blast on this ship, so it seems like you can be any age and have a blast on these mega liners. I would definitely cruise with RCCL again, and can’t wait till my next vacation comes up! We can’t see taking any other vacations now except for cruises! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
We just recently returned from our March 18th cruise aboard the Adventure of the Seas. Thank goodness the cruise itself was wonderful because it was a comedy of errors right up to the time we boarded the ship. Originally, we booked with ... Read More
We just recently returned from our March 18th cruise aboard the Adventure of the Seas. Thank goodness the cruise itself was wonderful because it was a comedy of errors right up to the time we boarded the ship. Originally, we booked with RCCL aboard the Serenade of the Seas out of San Juan. We loved the itinerary - Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, and St. Martin. BUT - not even a month after booking it, the airfare, and a non-refundable hotel stay through Priceline, we got word from RCCL that they were dry-docking the Serenade and the cruise we booked was cut to a 5 day - minus the Barbados and St. Lucia stops. Unfortunately, those were the two ports we've never visited and were interested in - not to mention the fact that we weren't interested in just a 5 day cruise. SO....we decided to go with the Adventure of the Seas since it also left out of San Juan - a day later. This meant that we had to rebook our air - RCCL reimbursed us the $100 pp re-ticketing fee. They also gave us a $200 cabin credit, and we got a free upgrade from outside cabin to balcony D2. But we did have to stay a 2nd night in San Juan since the ship was leaving a day later, and we couldn't get Priceline to add a 2nd night to the hotel we already had for the 1st night, so we ended up having to book a different hotel for the 2nd night. OK - here's where it gets crazy......most of you will remember the terrible weather some of us had in the eastern part of the US that St. Patrick's Day weekend - flights canceled all over the place.....Our AA flight was departing from Cleveland and we were lucky enough to have a connection in Dallas so we felt pretty confident that we'd be ok since we weren't getting tangled up in the mess on the east coast. Well, we boarded the plane - and 45 minutes after we were supposed to leave, the capt announced that they were experiencing a possible mechanical problem with the engine - eventually we were asked to take our belongings and get off the plane. We waited for over 2 hours at the gate and finally were told that the problem was fixed and that we'd re-board. We did, then waited and waited.....the pilot again announced that they were still hearing a noise in the engine and we had to take our belongings and get off the plane. He said it was his call but he would not fly the plane as long as he was hearing what he was hearing. We definitely appreciated the decision he made - but what a mess it caused everyone because it was nearly impossible to find flights with 4 available seats going to San Juan when we needed to be there. Luckily, they found a flight on NWA leaving the following morning that would get us into San Juan at around 2:00 PM. We'd at least get in the day before the cruise left. AA also put us up in a hotel in Cleveland - but our rooms at the hotel in San Juan that we had prepaid were left empty - and non-refundable ? Of course the "adventure" didn't end there......I only packed sandals.....of course, the next morning there was 4" of fresh snow on the ground, and we had no walkway to the plane, so we had to pull our carry-ons outside, trudge through the unshoveled snow in sandals, struggle up the snow and ice covered stairway to get into the plane. Good God - would it ever end? Finally, we landed in San Juan - temp is 85....that's more like it! The four of us got into a van/cab, and headed for our hotel - the IHP Hotel Consulado. Now, we're accustomed to older vehicles in some of these area so we weren't alarmed at the condition of the van, but the driver kept pulling off the side of the road to use his cell phone which we thought was sort of weird. Eventually, he told us that there was something wrong with the cab....he had to call a friend to come and rescue us. SO....we had to unload all of our luggage from the broken down van and reload it into the 2nd van. The IHP Hotel Consulado....that's another story....we booked this hotel through hotels.com. We really did a lot of research - actually had 2 other hotels booked but we canceled those reservations because we heard so many great comments about the IHP on tripadvisor.com. The hotels are VERY expensive in San Juan so we felt good only having to pay $110 for this hotel. The first thing we noticed when we pulled up in front of the hotel was a large construction project that looked like it had been abandoned years ago - right across the street. Ok - it's just one night - no biggie......but when we checked in and got a 6" long skeleton key for the door - I kinda worried. The rooms are so in need of updating. There is virtually no hot water, cracks in all the walls and floors...our friends' room was the worst though - it smelled so moldy they just couldn't stand it. And there was such a huge gap between the door and the door jam you could actually see right into the room! Our first night in San Juan... Before dinner, we decided to stop at Pueblo in Old San Juan and stock up on some "beverages" for the cruise. Liquor is very cheap there and they box it up for you. We wrapped it up in clothing really well and packed it away in our "checked luggage" for the cruise. I read about a nice restaurant in Old San Juan called La Barrachina - I made reservations from home and we were glad we did. We ended up going to the dinner show which was neat. They have a nice bar there that's in an open air courtyard, complete with parrots, etc. We had planned to do some shopping after dinner - which was about 9:00 or so BUT Old San Juan completely shuts down on Saturday night. Nothing is opened - except restaurants. So we headed back to the hotel area where a few shops were still open. We did take a walk to the beach just a couple blocks from our hotel BUT once we stepped onto the sand we saw that it was a pretty crowded gay beach. We decided to go back to the hotel, and call it a day. Sunday - 1st day on the Adventure of the Seas We got to the pier at around 11 AM and we went right to the front of the line because of our Platinum status. We were onboard at 11:30, took our carry-ons to our cabin, and headed up to the Windjammer for lunch. The ship is in great shape and has probably the best crew we've ever had with maybe the exception of the Legend of the Seas. That's one thing about Royal Carib. Ships - you can always count on good food, great accommodations, and great service. At least that's been our experience.... We loved our wait staff in the dining room. Head waiter, Diana; waiter, Lolly; and Asst. waiter, Katut - just wonderful!!! And the new bedding was there in all cabins and very comfortable! Also, the entertainment on this ship is wonderful - try not to miss any of the shows...just great! Aruba - 1st port We've been there before and there's not a whole lot to see except for the great beaches. We decided to do the DePalm Island excursion and we really enjoyed it. The snorkeling was just OK because the water was pretty rough but the fish we saw were just gorgeous. The food and drinks are all included, plus they have a pretty neat waterpark there - lots more to do than what we expected, and great facilities. Curacao - 2nd port We loved this port - Williamstad is so colorful and we did quite a bit of shopping after spending a day at the beach. We took a cab to KonTiki beach and we just loved it there - beautiful facilities and a protected beach - very calm water. We had a great day here - there is a fee to use the beach and chairs, etc. so be forewarned. St. Martin - 3rd port We've been to St. Martin before.....the traffic seems so congested so we decided to stay away from shopping in town. Again, we took a cab to Orient Beach and spent the day enjoying the warm sun and ocean. The waves are pretty big here so if you like to body surf - this is the place. One end of the beach is clothing optional, the other is a little more conservative. There's also a fee for chairs and umbrellas. We did shop a little when we got back to the pier - there are a few nice shops there. St. Thomas 4th and last port We've been to St. Thomas several times so we opted not to do a sight-seeing tour. With the terrible winter we had this year in Ohio, we just wanted to take full advantage of the warm weather and the beautiful beaches - in St. Thomas we took a cab to Coki Beach because the water there is calm and the snorkeling is really good. We just loved it there - saw tons of fish and just had a great time. Again, there's a charge for chairs and umbrellas but you can negotiate prices here. We got there fairly early and were lucky enough to find a shady area under some trees so we didn't need the umbrellas. Disembarking This went so smoothly - not a problem at all. AA flights back home - of course....they lost our luggage!! Overall....we had a great time - Royal Caribbean has never let us down. We did the Diamond Princess 2 years ago and we'll never do Princess again - we're so glad Royal Caribbean has maintained their standards. I know they're not perfect, but if you don't have fun on their cruises - it's probably your own fault. PS We finally got our luggage 2 days later - but now we just laugh about the negatives we experienced on this trip....after all.....we took the "Adventure" of the Seas ;-) Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
AOS 3/25/07 -4/1/07 Review Getting there: Indianapolis to San Juan, lay over at Washington Dulles, cost $425 pp Left 6:05am arrived 1:01pm --- Smooth flight, however just made the flight because a thunderstorm knocked out our electricity ... Read More
AOS 3/25/07 -4/1/07 Review Getting there: Indianapolis to San Juan, lay over at Washington Dulles, cost $425 pp Left 6:05am arrived 1:01pm --- Smooth flight, however just made the flight because a thunderstorm knocked out our electricity at some point after midnight. We miraculously woke up at 4:20am and made our flight by the skin of our teeth! The airline won't accept luggage less than 30 minutes before your flight. Do you know we were putting our luggage thru at 5:35am, it was meant to be San Juan airport -- pleasant surprises, security checked every person to ensure they had a baggage claim for each piece of luggage they were taking out. Getting a taxi was really easy, $16.50 for 2 of us and luggage to the Marriott stellar Casino - stayed 2 nights prior to cruise Check in at the Hotel, easy, was able to upgrade to an ocean view room for $50/night. Well worth the price, the view was amazing! We saw a whale on Saturday morning from our balcony, how cool!!! We had bought some vodka at the duty free shop after getting off our plane and went to agrees for some cranberry juice, we had our own little happy hour on our balcony with a great view. We had two guest service people who were very accommodating Idalith and Milca. We felt that they really were trying to ensure we had everything we needed. They even did things we didn't ask for to make our stay nicer. The beds were splendid. I really love this hotel, it's very nice. My only complaints the outside bar closed very early on Friday, perhaps 7:30pm or 8pm. We were really enjoying the weather. On a positive note, they made one of the best Mojitos I've ever had. So we went to dinner at a place by a man from the states that does business there at least 5-6 times a year. I highly recommend Buenos Ayres (spelling), a restaurant located behind agrees, down the block a bit. I had the flank steak, how yummy! Cost of the hotel, thru priceline including taxes $161 for Saturday, RCCL matched the price due to canceling our reservation on Serenade (it went into dry dock). Because we booked thru RCCL we had transfers and was able to send our luggage from the hotel. Instead of busing it over with everyone else, we spent the day in Old San Juan. It was nice, we didn't do our research and wandered around. We did manage to get to the street where the forts were. We toured fort crist (something) -- it was cool. We had lunch at what were told to be Old San Juan's only ocean view restaurant -- skip it, the wait for our lunch was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo long! It was Sunday when we toured. I believe there was some sort of political rally and protesting going on at the capital building. For whatever reason I felt a bit uneasy, I believe it had something to do with the US, I still have took the time to research it yet. Overall it was nice, we left Old San Juan about 5:30pm and took a taxi to the Pan Am Pier and getting on the boat was a breeze, I had checked in online before leaving for San Juan and had a Set Sail pass. After boarding, we went straight to our cabin. All but one of our bags were sitting outside our door. We walked in and I was a bit disappointed with the room, I had just come from a luxury hotel and went into a ship cabin, once I was over that things started looking up. Our room attendant Mario from Costa Rica, made sure I had my second bag prior to dinner, we had late seating. Mario was a wonderful suite attendant and made sure we had everything we needed. He even was able to get us robes even though we were only in a D1 level balcony, cabin 1374 on the starboard side. Note to all the new cruisers, don't be ignorant like me, they call Port side that for a reason, they were able to see all the ports except for St Maarten. Duh, I hadn't thought about that. We went to explore the ship before dinner. This ship is huge, it was really great. The thing that stood out to me during the whole trip is the SERVICE. It was definitely 5 star, every employee was extremely accommodating and did everything to ensure everyone was having a good time. My first drink was brought to me on the pool waiter's head, it was really neat. Every employee seemed very happy. On a funny note, I had left a note in the cabin on the second day requesting 2 robes. Mario misunderstood and thought we meant two beds, we walked into the room and had two twin beds. That was good for a giggle. He quickly resolved it the next day. We really lucked out on dinner mates. We had a table for 10 4 couples, and 2 single cruisers. We had a lady from Cleveland, a lady from New York, a couple from Colorado, a couple from England, and a couple from New Jersey, and of course us, from Indianapolis. Everyone came to dinner and conversation was very interesting. Our waiter was Engin from Turkey, the best waiter I've ever had in my life, and his asst Milan. Food was good, much better than an Outback etc... Not as good as a 5 star. I liked it. Lobster night was on Friday. On Sea days we spent much of our time at the pool bar. Beware the long island ice teas are strong, I had one too many on our first Sea day and went back for a quick nap before our Meet and Mingle and slept and slept and missed our party and almost dinner. I need to apologize to all those who put all the effort in. I really do regret not getting to meet everyone. Sea days were fun, RCCL really puts an effort to entertain us. Aruba One of my least favorite islands. Skip the town and country tour. Friends said snorkeling was fun. We did the Atlantis Submarine tour too. That was interesting. Caracau I thought this would be my least favorite island, not so. I had one of my best days here. MUST DO-- Spanish Water Snorkeling excursion, it was so cool, tons of colorful fish, very very cool! We directly went from the snorkeling excursion to the cabs in front of the ship and went to Kontiki (spelling???) beach, this place is beautiful, tons of thatch roofed bars, restaurants, movie perfect. We had lunch at Hemiways, it was really good food. We had loaded Nachos (very good). Do watch out, my boyfriend was walking on the rocks by the ocean here without watching his step and stepped on a black sea urchin , he said his foot felt like it was on fire. He lived though We went back, had a drink at the pool bar, then prepared ourself for dinner. We missed the 7pm show again! Dinner was great, I loved our table mates. We had 2 hour dinners every night! Sea Day : Fun, we had rough waters this cruise, good thing I don't get motion sickness. Shows not to miss: Love and Marriage - Hilarious Quest - funny Unfortunately I did not make any of the other shows, but I did go to Karaoke (spelling). We had good talent on our ship, No I did not sing, just was in the audience. St Maarten: Did the Pinel Island snorkeling tour. Caracau was so wonderful. Skip this excursion. Not worth it. We did some shopping for about an hour in Phillipsburg. Had lunch at the Pirate something??? We took the Water Taxi to Phillipsburg, Do this! When you get off the boat go to the main road turn left and the Pirate restaurant is the beach front restaurant across from the beach. The shrimp wrap was Yummmy! St Maarten was beautiful, green hills everywhere. It rained a bit that day. In fact it rained only 30 minutes after we got back to the ship. How lucky were we??? St Thomas We went directly to the taxi to the ferry to St John. We went from Charlotte Amalie to St John (45 minute ride leaves at 9am) It was a cold ride. From Cruise Bay in St John we took a taxi to Trunk Bay and stayed there all day. Admission is $4 and chair rentals is $7. Most beautiful place I've ever seen. About 1pm we took a taxi back to Cruz bay and bought ferry tickets to Red Hook in St thomas for the 3pm ferry. We had lunch at a place called the balcony at Cruz Bay. The view was magnificent. The food was good too. After the ferry we took a taxi back to the ship. We had a well deserved nap. We were sunburned, forgetting to reapply sunscreen. Sometimes when you are surrounded by beauty you forget bad things can still happen if you don't use prevention. We had to pack and have our bags out by midnight. It's a difficult thing to do when you need things to get ready in the morning but can't take more than 3 oz liquids on the plane. Oh, advice, bring shampoo etc... amenities and slim in the cabins. Also nice to have is binoculars to see the islands as you are arriving and leaving. This last night is the night you give your tips. Please tip your people well. I talked with them. The work 7 days a week for 6 months from 5:30am until 12:30pm and then get a 6 week break. I'm not sure what they make but they worked very hard for me. I flew on United and opted to pay $10 per person to have my bags sent to the airport for me. Well worth the money. You still have to go through customs. After leaving the boat you collect your bags and then take it to the United belt ( like curb side check in at the terminal) We then took a taxi to the airport. Leaving the ship was a breeze, one of the first people off. The airport was easy. If you need to buy last minute souvenirs, like I did, I didn't get much shopping done this trip, do it after you go through security. I paid 2X the amount for this cool Caribbean album as the duty free shop was charging, so I bought 2. Flight home: We were delayed an hour and a half while we were all boarded because of the aft bathroom overflowing. Good thing the nice lady at the counter upgraded us to the front of the plane. More leg room. Upon arrival to Washington Dulles airport. We RAN to our plane. It was far away. We barely made it and boarded and went to our seats. The airline attendant said they wouldn't be leaving for 20 minutes because so many planes were late. We were so happy we had made it. 20 minutes later they announced that they were requesting volunteers to leave the plane. It was a small plane and it was over the weight limit due to luggage. No one volunteered even though they were offering a free plane ticket. They then called 6 names. Only a couple went forward. Then they called my boyfriend's and my name!!!! What??? We were boarded well prior to half the people on the plane. They were removing people who paid the lowest fare. So we deboarded. They gave us a voucher for a free plane ticket, a hotel voucher, a $15 dinner voucher & $10 breakfast voucher each and booked us for the 8:16am flight. Good thing I had taken Monday off work. Our luggage flew without us. Isn't that against airline regulations to allow luggage to fly without the passenger??? Anyway, the path of least resistance right? The hotel was the Hilton at Washington Dulles, it was very nice. Our luggage was there when we arrived the next day, however just out in the open. We just went up to it and wheeled it out. Anyone could have done that. Oh well. Now we are home and missing our cruise. We definitely will be returning cruisers! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
Ahh I don't even know where to start. OK were are a married couple aged 29 & 31. We flew down a day early to San Juan out of JFK. Flight was uneventful, we even landed a 1/2 hour early. We went to the hotel to check in - Condado ... Read More
Ahh I don't even know where to start. OK were are a married couple aged 29 & 31. We flew down a day early to San Juan out of JFK. Flight was uneventful, we even landed a 1/2 hour early. We went to the hotel to check in - Condado Plaza. Since check in was at 3 we didn't expect a room to be ready for us. Not only was it ready, but we got upgraded from a city view to an ocean view room. The room was so pretty. The rest of the hotel seems to be under a major renovation. It seems needed. Otherwise perfectly suitable for a night. The next morning we checked out around 11:20 and were at the pier around 11:30. We waited on line at the pier for maybe 10-15 min, and went through check-in. Priority boarding was allowed for Junior Suites, although it didn't matter. We were early enough that there was really no wait once they opened the doors. We were on board by noon. Our cabins were ready precisely at 2pm. Once we boarded, we just wandered around the ship for a bit. Checked our table in the dining room. It was a 4 top on the second floor. We were a little worried but decided to keep the table. She looks very good, some minor wear and tear but nothing very noticeable. Just little things. We went to the Windjammer for lunch. It really was not that bad. We enjoyed what we ate. At 2 we went to our cabin Junior Suite Deck 9, 9608. I thought the JS was well worth the extra money. The size was great, never once felt crowded and having the full bathtub was a treat. Had no problem shaving my legs . Our cabin attendant was quite competent, although her name slips my mind. She knocked on our door early on day one and introduced herself and said whatever we needed to give her a call. At 5 pm our roll call group had an informal meeting at the pool bar. We had a nice turnout and met some people there that we ended up seeing the whole week. As luck would have it, through conversation we found out out table mates we none other than CC members we had been chatting with for months before the cruise! Hi Atty & Stacey Needless to say Our dinner mates were great and we ended up spending a lot of time with them for the duration of the cruise. Before dinner we went for a drink in the Duck and Dog. I believe we ran in to WillSam & Diane there but I may have my nights confused lol. We had dinner in the dining room that night.It was ok. Definitely edible. For the most part the food didn't quite wow me. Some things better than others, but food is very subjective. I know I am going to get a lot of grief for this but my husband and I did find the dining room food better on our last Carnival trip on the Pride. I can't quite remember what we did after dinner but I am sure it will come back to me. Sea Day 1/Aruba/ Sea Day 2 I woke up fairly early on the first sea day. Hubby slept in. I took my stuff and went to grab a quick bite at the Windjammer. Went out by the pool, It was around 8:30ish. There were plenty of seats available at this time, even right next to the pool if you wanted it. I stayed by the pool for a couple of hours. the weather was great. My DH got up and we went back down to the pool. Got a couple of new chairs on the deck of the sky bar. Perfect view of the pool. More crowded at this time. We didn't do too much this day but relax. This was the first formal night. Everyone was dressed up and looked great. The food in the dining room was decent. We had still yet to see the bar waiter. The head waiter had been to our table both nights. Actually he came to our table every night. He was the most personable head waiter I have ever seen. Some people say they never see their head waiter but we saw ours the entire time. He stopped by every night to chat with all his tables. Aruba was our first port of call.I got up early and did some shopping as our tour was not until one. We did the Aruba See & Sea. It was a bit boring but we got to see most of the island. Aruba was our least favorite island on this trip. It just did not do too much for us. The second port was Curacao. We did the Sea Lion swim which was absolutely awesome. CC members and also our table mates were on this excursion with us. If you are at all interested I would def. look into this tour. It was more than worth the money. This is also the night that our service in the dining room started to decline. Our waiter was SLOW. 3/4 of the dining room was emptying out before we even got our salads. Drink waiter still never came to our table, even though he went to the table next to us every night. I tried to flag him down more than once but to no avail. We also ordered a bottle of wine that sat at the waiters station for over 20 min. before it was brought to us. This also happened another night. We had to get the head waiter to bring them to us and he opened and poured for us. This is my only major complaint for the whole cruise. The second sea day was as relaxing as the first. It was rocky and I had to stop by the pursers desk for some motion sickness pills. We had lunch in the dining room and it was probably the best meal I had on the ship. At this point I left my camera in the dining room. When I realized it I ran back and it wasnt there. I checked the pursers desk and they did not have it. I ran back down to the dining room to check again and our head waiter and another employee informed me that it was just taken up to lost and found. Phew! The guys were very sympathetic as I was almost in tears. St. Martin/St. Thomas/Disembarkation Day 6 brings us to St. Martin. We got up and left the ship. There is a cute little shopping area right off the ship. We didn't buy anything here, only browsed. We hopped a cab and went to Orient Beach. The cab was cheap enough $6 pp. We got to the beach and walked up and down finally renting a chair and umbrella at Kontiki. There were places with better deals, but they were packed. We got chairs right near the waters edge. The beach was beautiful. I don't usually swim in the ocean, but the water was warm and calm. We stayed there for quite a while. Around 2:30 we grabbed a cab into town and did some shopping. I bought a bottle of that guavaberry liquor. We priced some electronics but did not purchase. I found matching earrings to a necklace I bought earlier in the week. St. Martin had the cheapest cigarette prices of all the islands. While I was making a purchase later on at one of the shops near the pier we somehow lost our credit card (I know, I seemed to have butterfingers last week) It was only a matter of minutes from when we lost the card to when we went to board the ship. As we were boarding DH dipped his card and an alarm went off. I got so scared, thought we were in trouble for something. The girl at the entrance said did you lose your credit card. The card had already been returned to the ship! Our luck was holding! Same problems at dinner that night, now including the most obnoxious people at the table next to us. They were putting their beer cans on the floor and stomping on them to crush them, fighting with all the servers. They were horrid. Thank god not my at my table. I forgot to mention earlier if they are on your sailing DO NOT MISS JOHN JOSEPH w/ JOHNNY B. They were hysterical. The most enjoyable act I have seen on a ship. Also forgot to mention, we caught the ice show on the second sea day and enjoyed it a lot. Day 7 brought us to St. Thomas. We had booked the underwater scooter excursion. We had originally booked for 8:30 but they called us and said that one was canceled, come at 1. No problem. We went through mandatory immigration check. Totally quick and painless. We went shopping in the morning. I found decent liquor prices in St. Thomas. Bought a couple of bottles of Johnny Walker Blue. You can't beat the price. Also bought some crystal. The excursion in the afternoon was fun although I could not take the scooter down as far as some people. I could not get my ears to pop due to the pressure and it was very uncomfortable. They were very helpful though and gave me a few options. I chose to stay closer to the surface so I scooted around only a few feet down. I was still able to see everything, and I missed nothing. After our group went we had a ton of time to snorkel. There were a ton of fish to see. Totally worth it. After we got back on the ship I wandered around to take some photos of places I had missed and played a quick game of mini golf just to say I did. This night we had our last dinner in the dining room. We were finally served promptly but bar waiter still yet to be seen. I was totally depressed as it was the last night of our cruise and we had to leave in the morning. Disembarkation. We were out of our stateroom by 8. Went to the dining room for breakfast. It was pretty good. As we were finishing up our number was called. The line was quite long and took us a while to get off the boat. By the time we hit customs, all we needed was our declaration. They did not check passports, ID nothing. I thought this was odd. It was then off to the airport for our flight home. RANDOM: The weather was great for the entire cruise. Sea days a little rocky though. We didn't make it to to many of the shows. I don't like sitting for the show before dinner, (we had late seating) so those are the shows we missed. Mike Hunnerup was the cruise director and I thought he was fine. He was visible all throughout the ship if that is your thing. The price of drinks was reasonable. I had a couple of different types of martinis and they were pretty strong. Def. more alcohol than mixer. The frozen drinks seemed a little light on liquor though. I was never pushed to buy a souvenir (sp?) glass, they always had them in the plastic glass. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
March 4th to March 11th, 2007 Royal Caribbean Southern Cruise out of San Juan, PR. Ship : Adventure of the Seas, 10 PM Departure Stops : Aruba, Curacao, St. Marten, St. Thomas Taxis : Airport to El Canario in Candido was $19 El ... Read More
March 4th to March 11th, 2007 Royal Caribbean Southern Cruise out of San Juan, PR. Ship : Adventure of the Seas, 10 PM Departure Stops : Aruba, Curacao, St. Marten, St. Thomas Taxis : Airport to El Canario in Candido was $19 El Canario to Ship was $20 We had 4 people and 5 bags. Hotel : El Canario by the Lagoon was good. Clean and to the point, nothing fancy People were nice, felt safe in San Juan. Neighborhood not the greatest but safe and a block from the ocean. Walked a few blocks for breakfast and ate at a neat place with an ocean view. It as called HACIENDA DON JOSE CONDADO.Good food. Cab to the pier was quick. Got on at 1:00. No congestion, went real quick. Old San Juan is neat, been there before. ON Board : No ethnic issues at all. People were very behaved, 3260 were on the ship, Over 2000 were USA. Food and service was very good, waiter offered as much as we wanted. Good waiter from Jamaica(Richard), personable and did the extras. Hit it off with the people at our table. One couple from Hershey, the other from Toms River Jersey. Ship was excellent, seas were rougher than our Eastern Cruise. The hand washing facility when entering the Dining room or buffet was an excellent idea. Exercise facility was great. Nice internet room, $.50 a minute or $25 for 1 hour. Seems our room on the Zuiderdam was nicer than the Adventure of The Seas. Our beds were adequate. Noticed the staff loading new mattresses on our deck on the last day. Looked like they were doing an upgrade. Maid was great, room was very clean. On the 5th deck there was an eatery where you could always get pastry, Pizza, and sandwiches. Every morning I would go there for a coffee, the coffee there was outstanding. 5th deck promenade was a nice feature, shops, bars, food. They had 2 parades there. Neat. Entertainment : Entertainment was good to very good. The ship's dancer's and singers were OK, not nearly the caliber of the broadway shows on the Zuiderdam. Guest performers were outstanding ! There was as standup comedian (Joseph) working with a piano player. They were excellent. Another comedian was excellent. The Drifters were there and sang all of their hits (Up on the roof, ...) saw them during the cruise and complimented them. They stayed on for the next cruise and flew out of Aruba after their gig. They had a great act ! Ice skating show was good, some had a tough time doing the axels. Small rink made it tough to maneuver. Weather : Weather was 80 to 85 every day, no rain. Got a break there. Weather was very good for air travel. No problems there. Islands: Took 2 Island tours, Aruba and St. Martin. Ordinary in a way, but relaxing being on an air conditioned bus. Aruba didn't seem to have the glitz I expected, maybe I expected too much. The Aloe factory was interesting. St. Marten tour was very nice. Curacao was a high point, tourism is 4th for income. Seemed to be industrialized and showed ambition. Lot of tables to have a lunch and drinks by the bay. Drink prices were reasonable. The pontoon bridge we crossed over the bay from dock to town was interesting. We saw it opened when ships needed to get in or out. It swung open and was propelled by a motor on one end. We docked outside the bay, but 2 liners were docked inside. Disembarkation : Signing up for the San Juan tour when getting off the ship was the way to go. $27 pp. We met in the Imperial lounge and exited the ship promptly at around 8 AM. Very convenient, no waiting. Our luggage was thrown onto a separate truck and we were asked for Vouchers, which confused us. All I received were 4 tickets and a stub the same size as the ticket showing what we paid. I did not have a voucher . Perhaps the stub was the voucher. Not sure on this one. They let us go anyway. The 4 tickets were handed to the bus driver on the bus. The only problem was when in line with our luggage at the truck a guy went right to the front of the line with a load of bags. I felt like punching him ! The only snafu of the trip was finding our luggage at the airport. There was no way to identify what bags belonged to what airline on the truck so the bags were offloaded at different departure points ( 2 or 3 ). We were not told how to find our bags. If all the bags were dropped off at one point and we were told where then it would not be a problem. This needs to be cleared up. Airline Checkin : FYI, Royal Carib offered an airport checkin on the ship for American and United airlines. For $10 pp you could check your bags and get your boarding passes and eliminate checkin at the airport. You would not see your luggage until you got home. Next time I would do that because the airport checkin was a zoo! There was a 1 1/2 hour line to get to the checkin counter. It's too bad all the cruises start and end on Saturdays and Sundays. It throws a lot of people together at one time in one spot. Because the lines snaked around you had to be careful you were in the right line for you airline. It's a good idea to get to the airport at least 2 1/2 hours ahead of time. TIPPING : Tipping procedure was confusing. We had to go to the business desk and indicate we wanted the tips to be charged to our rooms. We received a sheet for each room which contained 4 detachable slips and 4 envelopes for the Waiter, Waiters helper, Maid and Head waiter. The sheet indicated the usual tip amount for each person. The slip was to be placed into the envelope and handed to each person on the last day. On Holland American the tip was included in the overall cruise price. All in all a very successful Cruise ! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
My husband, daughter (27), and son (24) left for a wonderful cruise aboard the Adventure of the Seas on March 11, 2007. We flew into San Juan on Sunday, and arrived at the airport at approximately 1 p.m. Embarkation was quick. We got our ... Read More
My husband, daughter (27), and son (24) left for a wonderful cruise aboard the Adventure of the Seas on March 11, 2007. We flew into San Juan on Sunday, and arrived at the airport at approximately 1 p.m. Embarkation was quick. We got our sea passes, and placed our carry-on luggage in our cabins (two Promenade cabins: 7603 and 7601). My son and husband went to the Fort, while my daughter and I went to Dooney & Bourke, where we purchased two purses. Then it was back to the ship. Our previous cruise was on the Navigator of the Seas. When we began exploring the Adventure, we remarked how it felt as if we had not even left the Navigator. The Adventure is in excellent shape, and is a beautiful ship. We did not have the beds/bedding replaced in our cabins, but I did ask for the egg crates, and that helped out immensely. We enjoyed the captain, Per Arne Kjonso, and looked forward to his daily musings - at times lengthy, but enjoyable nonetheless. The Entertainment: Excellent Day One: Sarah and Daniel - excellent; Eric Lyden, comedian - hilarious, and the Royal Caribbean Dancers and Singers. Day Two: The Original Drifters - EXCELLENT. They performed their hit songs. Later that evening, Eric Lyden gave a late-night adult comedy show. Absolutely hilarious. The audience egged him on. Day Three: The Ice Show, "Cool Art, Hot Ice" - Not to be missed - we went on Thursday evening. Day Four: The Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers, "Can't Stop the Rock" - We enjoyed this production; it was the better of their two performances. Day Five: El Gaucho (interactive comedy, music, and visual effects): excellent; as well as the ice show, "Cool Art Hot Ice". Day Six: The Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers, "Velvet Rope" - we were not as impressed with this performance. Day Seven: Carl Banks, comedian: Excellent; Sarah & Daniel: Excellent; and, the Royal Caribbean Dancers and Singers. As well, there were many other entertainment venues around the ship. We played a couple of trivia games in the Schooner Bar, and enjoyed the performers in the Duck and Dog and the Schooner Bar. We always enjoy Quest, and this week's game did not disappoint. This is adult comedy, and not to be missed. If anyone can be easily offended, they should not attend. I could go on and on about the entertainment. There really was so much to do. The Ports: Excellent Itinerary Aruba: My husband and son did the snorkeling excursion through the ship, while my daughter and I took a taxi to Palm Beach (we were dropped off at the Radisson). On the way back to the pier, we simply took a bus: price for two -- $2.50 U.S. This was very easy. Beautiful beach. My husband and son enjoyed their snorkeling excursion as well. One of the highlights of our trip was dining at the Flying Fishbone in Aruba. I had made reservations upon the advice of BuyReallyLow. This is such a romantic spot, and the ambiance is exquisite. The tables are at the waterfront in the sand. The food was delicious, and the views of the sunset breathtaking. It was approximately a twenty-minute taxi ride to get there. We all agreed that we would return to this restaurant upon our next visit to Aruba. Curacao: It was an overcast day, and we did not have any excursions planned. The weather did not prove enticing for a day at the beach, so we basically crossed the floating bridge, shopped, visited the Jewish synagogue and the floating market. St. Maarten: My husband and son did the America Cup sailing regatta excursion. They have wonderful memories and pictures. My daughter and I shopped, and then took a taxi to Orient Bay. What a beautiful beach!!! There are many beach activities available here, including jet skiing, snorkeling, and parasailing. St. Thomas, USVI I reserved Godfrey Tours (www.godfreytoursvi.com) about two months prior. We had used Godfrey Tours two visits' ago to St. Thomas, and felt he provided an excellent service. He did not disappoint. This tour costs $25 U.S. per person. However, for this price, Godfrey picked us up at the pier at 9 a.m. and drove us into town for shopping. At 11:45, he picked us up and took us on a two-hour tour of the island with many photo stops along the way. Godfrey is very proud of his island, and provides a very informative narrative throughout the journey. He then gives a choice of beaches: Meagan's Bay, Sapphire, or Coki. We chose Sapphire, a very beautiful beach. He picked us up at 3:45, and we were back at the ship at 4:15. Godfrey has two safari vans. He offers an excellent service for this price. Food: VERY GOOD - EXCELLENT Dinners in the dining room were excellent. We were seated at a table for eight - great company-- and all seemed to be very pleased with their selections of food. We ate, as mentioned previously, at the Flying Fishbone in Aruba, and the next day in Portofino's. Portofino's is a must. What an excellent meal for $20! My daughter and I ate breakfasts and lunches in the Windjammer, while my son and husband ate in the dining room when it was open for breakfast and lunch. They also ate at Johnny Rocket's and at the midnight buffet. They enjoyed everything. Meet & Mingle: It was great meeting people with whom I have been chatting over the last few months. Some of us were notified of an incorrect meeting time at 11 a.m. on Monday, when the actual meeting time was 5 p.m. in the Blue Moon Lounge. For this error, we were surprised with a bottle of champagne in our stateroom. Kathleen Tucker, Cruise Critic's President and Publisher, was on this sailing. It was great meeting and chatting with you, Kathleen. Cruise Staff: We liked Mike Hunnerup, the cruise director. He was not obnoxious, and had a quirky sense of humor. Our stateroom attendant and dining staff really aimed to please. Summary: This was our fourth cruise. Previously we had sailed on the Enchantment, the Radiance, and the Navigator. While all our cruises were wonderful, I think that this one was the best. It seemed as if people had a good time, and the ship, entertainment and itinerary were fabulous. What a great adventure we had aboard the Adventure. I'll be happy to answer any of your questions. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
This was our fifth cruise (4th with RCCL) and third on a Voyager Class ship. It was our first in any type of Suite. We arrived the day before departure in San Juan (as we had about 10 hours of travel from Las Vegas to San Juan) and stayed ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise (4th with RCCL) and third on a Voyager Class ship. It was our first in any type of Suite. We arrived the day before departure in San Juan (as we had about 10 hours of travel from Las Vegas to San Juan) and stayed until the day after disembarking. The cruise was from March 4-11, 2007. The weather every day in every port and at sea was sunny and hot with highs in the mid 80s. The seas on the sea days were rough (didn't bother us but our assistant waiter did get sea sick)and winds got up to 40-50 MPH at times. Saturday March 3-Arrived in San Juan with no problems after a red eye and layover in Philadelphia. Checked into the Courtyard Marriott Miramar (ask for Tony he was very helpful) which was relatively between the airport and the Pan Am Pier. It was a nice hotel although there was only one elevator (hint...there is a service elevator behind the main elevator which was much less crowded). A lot of cruise passengers were staying there for both our sailing and the Carnival destiny that left the same as us. There were also lots coming off both ships and staying on the back end so the lobby can get very crowded. Spent the afternoon and early evening walking around Old San Juan and enjoyed a nice dinner and Pina coladas. Sunday March 4-After a nice breakfast at Bistro de Paris at the hotel, we headed off to the pier about 11:15-11:30 (which is late for us as we are normally there by 10-10:30). There was a small line when we arrived (maybe 100-200 people) waiting to get into the terminal. However, when the line began moving, it moved fast and we were checked in and on board before noon. We had priority check in with our suite but it didn't make a difference because of how fast they moved everyone through. Checking in Online saved a lot of time First impressions of the ship were that she has held up very nicely with time. I didn't notice any major signs of age except for some chipped paint on the point guy statute on the promenade (which was a favorite picture spot and people were actually sticking his finger in their noses) and some elevator buttons didn't light up/work. The cabins weren't ready until 2pm and the doors were shut. Our routine is to immediately make our spa and specialty restaurant reservations. We were somewhat disappointed that even though we were one of the first on the ship, the first 4 spa appointment times were tried were all taken already by "VIPs." We had never encountered that before. We made our appointments and reservations at Portofino and then headed to the Windjammer. The food at the Windjammer was, IMHO, not as tasty as it had been on either the Vision or the Navigator but it was still plentiful and good. Seating was, surprisingly, not a problem. One thing that was different was that they had crew members serving every dish at the windjammer (my guess is they had a little sickness the cruise before). This lasted for I think the first two days of the cruise. At 2pm, we got to check out our cabin. As I said, this was our first Junior Suite. We have previously been in Promenade and Balcony staterooms. I must say that the extra space was very nice as was the bathtub as opposed to the "transporter" tubes that other cabins have for showers. We actually had more storage space then we knew what to do with and the walk in closet was very nice. On our sailing, we did not have the new bedding as we were told by our stateroom attendant that they had delivered the wrong shape of mattresses. While our balcony was bigger than our other balconies on prior cruises, it was not that great of a difference. We had two chairs, a small table and a lounge chair on our balcony. At 5pm we met up with a bunch of the Roll Call people and then back to check for the rest of our luggage. All of our luggage arrived with no problems (some had started arriving shortly after 2). Dinner the first night was very good (unfortunately, it would go downhill from here and the food and dining room service was about the only thing on the whole cruise that was not as spectacular as prior cruises). The welcome aboard show was as expected and the cruise director Mike Hunnerup was IMHO very good. Monday-At Sea The seas were very choppy and rough (I felt movement a lot but it never bothered me). Our routine for the first sea day is relax and spa. After a nice breakfast in our cabin, we headed out to the Discover Shopping Show and bought our Savvy Traveler Books (Now I know there are some strong opinions about both the shopping guide and the books. Let me say that we do our research at home and we enjoy the books and the "free Junk" the shops give away in Port. It is a type of treasure hunt for us and our young daughters love all the "jewelry" they get...so we don't get the book for the savings per se but for the fun of tracking the stuff down and for little things we can give our kids) The rest of the day was spent in the spa and relaxing. My one complaint about the spa is the hard sell they put on you at the end. I understand why they do it and don't mind them trying to upsell me, but when I say I don't want something, I don't like getting a response like "Well, its your body and if you don't want to take care of it so be it." To me, that sorta deadens the nice massage experience I just had. We had our official Meet and Mingle Meetup and it was great seeing everyone from the roll call thread (hey Kent, Shannon, Chris, Diane, Penny, Pam, Robyn, Kerri, Claudia, and everyone). I will leave my dinner observations for a summary at the end. The entertainment was the Production Show velvet Rope which I wasn't too hot on although the singers were very good. Late night comedy was a blast and extremely funny. Tuesday-Aruba Aruba brought an early morning and horseback riding. Normally, I book a blend of excursions between private tours and through the ship if nothing private is available. This cruise however, nothing was standing out at me from private operators so all the excursions were through RCCL. The horseback riding was very nice...the ride itself was well over an hour and took us through some neighborhoods as well as down by the water. The horses were not as tame as I've seen in other ports and one woman actually got bucked off her horse. All in all though it was a very nice excursion. After taking shower number 2 for the day because of the heat and dust from riding, we headed into town mainly just walked around and did shopping. DW managed to get her Pink Iguana at Iguana Joes and we enjoyed a nice afternoon of shopping and people watching. We also started a new tradition of trying to find the customs house to get our passports stamped. We returned to the ship for Shower Number 3 of the night and dinner at Johnny Rockets. After dinner we met up with several people at Carlos & Charlies for a few hours. As the ship didn't leave until 1am, we had a blast watching the drunk late returnees to the ship (several of whom we recognized from Carlos & Charlies). Wednesday-Curacao. I had read about how important it was to be up early to see the ship pull into Curacao as it was supposed to be very cool coming into the channel etc. with the pontoon bridge. So, I dragged DW up to the bow EARLY in the AM. Braving 30+ MPH winds, we were disappointed because the Adventure was too big to dock in the channel (As I should have known). Curacao was very pretty. We did the sea lion swim at the Seaquarium which was a highly enjoyable excursion. The rest of the day was spent wandering around town and enjoying the Dutch architecture. DW and I are not "beach" people so we tend to stay away from the beaches during our trips. The entertainment comedy and it was again quite good. This was the evening for our Portofino dinner. I've never eaten at a Portofino before on any of the other ships so I was curious to see if it compared well to the Chops I've been to. While the food and service were excellent (much better than the dining room) my preference (being originally a midwestern guy from Ohio) is still with a good meat and potatoes meal from Chops. I would however highly recommend Portofino and would book it again on a future cruise. Thursday-St. Maarten. Yet another early morning as we had tickets for the Loterie Farm Treetop adventure. This was the best excursion of the trip IMHO. It was physical climbing through the trees and ladders but it was well worth the money. The bus trip over gave us a view of both the French and Dutch sides of the island. After the excursion, we spent the remainder of the day wandering through town and then back to the ship for the ice show. Everyone says the ice shows aren't to be missed and this was our third ice show. It is amazing how the skaters do what they do on such a small sheet of ice especially given the rocky seas. The ice show is not to be missed. The entertainment was either The Original Drifters or the Second Production show (Can't Stop the Rock). We didn't see the Drifters but did enjoy Can't Stop the Rock. It was a much better show than the Velvet Rope show earlier in the week. Again the singers (Hi Dani) were very good. Friday-At Sea. The second sea day was filled with naps, relaxing and just bumming around the ship in general. This would be a good time to discuss the dining room. Overall, this dining room experience was the worst I've had on any RCCL ship. Our tablemates were wonderful, we actually somehow got a 4-top with tablesmates who were also on our roll call so it was really cool. Our waiter and assistant waiter however were not up to normal RCCL standards. It appears that the service went downhill as the week wore on. We later learned that our assistant waiter was brand new (it was her first week in the dining room and only second week on board and she was sea sick). However, the little things were missed (like cokes waiting for us when we sat down). We were presented with more bread though than any human could possibly eat. It took a very long time for our waiter to arrange wine (one night our tablemates' wine sat unopened for 15 minutes on the wait station until finally they had the head waiter open and pour it). Several times, they had to go and find their bottle and refill their glasses as our waiter would disappear and our assistant waiter wouldn't come around once she made her second pass with the bread. A couple of nights, we did not get our entrees until after the bartender had been around hawking the after dinner liquor shots. Although we were always in our seats at 8:30, we never made it out of the dining room until almost every other table had emptied. The food, while acceptable, was not as tasty as I found it on prior cruises and the cuts of meat were fattier than prior cruises. I don't take cruises for the fine gourmet cuisine though so it was all very acceptable. Saturday-St. Thomas. This was a bit weird for us as we had always had the last day be a sea day so it was strange to be in port the day before we were scheduled to depart. We did a discover scuba diving excursion as neither DW nor I am certified but wanted to try it out. The excursion was very cool and we got to both scuba dive and snorkel. The remainder of the day was spent strolling through St. Thomas and people watching from a cafe. The evening brought another trudge through dinner and then the farewell show which was, IMHO, the best of the farewell shows from any cruise. Sunday-San Juan. Time to get off the ship...I hate this day. Although there were hiccups with the dining room, the cruise was excellent and I would recommend the Adventure to anyone. As DW and I didn't have a flight until Monday, we were in no hurry to get off the ship. We lounged in our cabin enjoying the balcony for one last time and then wandered up to the pool deck to hang out. We did not end up getting off until they had made the "Last Call." Customs was nothing more than handing our form in and we breezed through the whole process. It was quite depressing seeing people already lined up to board though as we were catching our cab back to the Courtyard. A few notes about entertainment etc. Overall, I thought the entertainment on this cruise was better than my prior cruises. The comedians were very good and the RC Singers and Dancers were the best I've seen. The piano player in the Schooner Bar was very good (although my favorite all time is still Matt Yee) and we enjoyed several nights listening to James in the Schooner Bar. The staff was very friendly and helpful and we received excellent service for the most part. One odd thing was that in the "English/Irish style Pub" on the Promenade, they didn't have a beer like Bass on tap. Made for interesting discussions when we wanted to order a Black and Tan before dinner. A quick note about the demographics. There is an ongoing discussion about cruises out of San Juan and the "local" factor of there being a lot of Puerto Ricans on board and disrupting things. My views on this are that the people who complain the loudest are usually the ones who have no business being on a vacation where they are likely to encounter different cultures. That being said, I did not notice any of the rude or pushing behavior that others have complained about. Yes, there were announcements in Spanish. There were also announcements in French and German. Yes, there were some activities that were done in Spanish but who cares? No, I did not see hordes of rude Puerto Ricans or anyone else pushing, running, cutting in line, or anything else. I believe that on our cruise, there were like 2500 Americans, of which 250 or so were Puerto Ricans. The rest of the 3200 people were Canadian, Mexican, Panamanian, and from various European countries. One of the reasons I like cruising is the international flair of the trips (yes I realize that a lot of it is faux and not representative of the country but I still like getting a small taste). Overall, I really enjoyed the trip and loved the ship. The layout is very familiar to anyone who has been on a Voyager class before (although I did prefer the balcony makeup on the Navigator as opposed to the balconies being in the superstructure as on Adventure and the older Voyager class). The ship was clean and looked great. Having San Juan as the departure port was a nice change compared to Miami or some other mainland port although the plane ride was very long. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
This was our second trip on the Adventure of the Seas out of San Juan and it was great again, wonderful ship, easy to get around, lots to do all day and night, just a few negative comments, the food is great at some points but can be a bit ... Read More
This was our second trip on the Adventure of the Seas out of San Juan and it was great again, wonderful ship, easy to get around, lots to do all day and night, just a few negative comments, the food is great at some points but can be a bit boring as well, deserts were consistently good and the Cafe promenade was wonderful for snacks and coffee at any time. Entertainment was good just not as much happening at night as we are used to on Norwegian Cruise lines in the past, only one hour at a time of Karaoke or Rock a Rokie and with such a large ship a lot of people were disappointed with that. Too much Bingo Bingo Bingo after hearing that fifty times over the loud speaker I wanted to choke the guy! Pool music was good but short at times too, line dancing was supposed to be for a hour but the girl doing it (assistant cruise director no less) said her throat was sore so she was cutting it short by 15 minutes, then when the cruise director didn't show up to do the sexy legs contest proceeded to do that for a hour. Ice show is alright but if you go to actual ice shows this is not something you have to see like everyone says. Johnny Rockets was just basic food nothing to pay extra for. San Juan is the biggest problem with this trip, a 3 hour wait with 15000 other cruise travelers is no fun. I will not travel through there again they don't get it that everyone was saying never again to San Juan. We did have a great time and will use Royal Cruise line again just not through San Juan Puerto Rico. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
This was our 4th cruise with RCCL, but our first cruise to the Southern Caribbean. Our ports of call were San Juan, Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas. We loved the itinerary. Our only complaint was that the last two days were ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise with RCCL, but our first cruise to the Southern Caribbean. Our ports of call were San Juan, Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas. We loved the itinerary. Our only complaint was that the last two days were port days. (We prefer a sea day at the end to unwind and relax before going home.) We flew into San Juan from JFK in NYC a day ahead and stayed at the Howard Johnson Carolina on Isla Verda Ave. We paid $155 w/an AARP discount...which was a steal from what we could tell! Most rooms in San Juan start at $200 a night. The hotel was a bit older, but clean and in a convenient location. We loved flying in a day ahead, as this allowed us to arrive at the ship well rested at noon the next day. We had filled out our set sail passes online and breezed through check in. We were in our cabin within 20 minutes of getting out of our taxi. (A word to the wise...ask your cab driver what the fare is BEFORE you get in the cab! We were told at our hotel that it should run around $10 to get to the pier. When we were dropped off, the driver asked for $22.00. We found out at the port that we had been ripped off...it should have been $10!) We dropped our carry on luggage in our stateroom (which was not quiet ready since we arrived so early) and had lunch in the windjammer. Then we took off for Old San Juan and spent the afternoon shopping and visiting The El Morro Fort, which was beautiful! Our first day was a sea day. We were told that the ship had room for an additional 300 or so passengers, which probably explained why we never had to wait for anything all week and why we always found a lounge chair at the pool without any problem. The week before was a college spring break week and we heard it was very full. We found the ship to be extremely clean...much more so than our last cruise on the Mariner (although it could just be because the ship was less crowded.) The crew was VERY friendly and the atmosphere was much more relaxed, and children better behaved than previous cruises. The food was okay, but nothing to write home about. Our dining room waiter (Dalton) was very distracted all week. He was nice enough, but not a very good waiter, in spite of the fact that he told us he has been working for RC for 12 years! I think he was overdue for a vacation! All the other servers we encountered were wonderful, as was the rest of the crew. Many went above and beyond the call of duty! We had 7 sunny, warm, but windy days. We were told that this is the windy season. If you put your book down at the pool, it was likely to blow away! We had sand blowing all over us on the beach at St. Maarten, which was a bit annoying, but the breeze kept us cool, so I guess we shouldn't complain! Our Cruise Director Mike was wonderful, as was the security staff at the gangway. They were extremely pleasant and made a serious effort to say your name and pronounce it correctly each time you got on or off the ship. The RCCL Singers and Dancers were amazing! We took the backstage tour, given by a dancer from New York, Alexis, and we now have new respect for these entertainers! From the audience, they make everything look so easy! It is amazing to see the tiny space they have to do their many costume changes! The ices shows were also wonderful and should also not be missed. We were lucky enough to get seats front and center and actually had ice shavings hit us as the skaters stopped right in front of us. All of the entertainment on board is top notch and one of the main reasons we continue to cruise with RCCL. We booked our first excursion though RCCL. We decided to see the French side of St. Maarten, as we had seen the Dutch side last year on the Mariner. The excursion took us for an hour of shopping in Marigot which was much more expensive than on the Dutch side. Then we went to Orient Bay Beach the three hours where lunch was provided at the Boo Boo Jam Restaurant...a very crowded, touristy area of the beach. I would not recommend this excursion. Overall, we had a great week and would choose this ship and itinerary again in a heartbeat. We find RCCL to be a great value for the money. We have never cruised any other cruise line, but met many passengers who have and they ALL say they like RCCL the best! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
Our sailing dates were March 25-April 1 on Adventure of the Seas. This cruise was just my wife and I. My fifth cruise, her seventh. Last spring break we enjoyed the Navigator of the Seas with our 2 daughters. We were so impressed we joined ... Read More
Our sailing dates were March 25-April 1 on Adventure of the Seas. This cruise was just my wife and I. My fifth cruise, her seventh. Last spring break we enjoyed the Navigator of the Seas with our 2 daughters. We were so impressed we joined the Crown and Anchor and booked the AOS for this spring break to the southern Caribbean. After reading all of the wonderful insights on these boards we decided to fly to San Juan on Saturday the 24th. The horror stories of O'Hare at spring break really solidified the decision to go a day early. Our flight was scheduled for 3:30...we were air born by 5. All in all not too bad! Arrival in San Juan was routine. We got a cab from the airport to the Radisson Ambassador. The method for getting a cab is a bit hectic, but heck, just being in San Juan made everything good! The cab driver took us to the wrong hotel at first, but we were just minutes from ours, so that was no problem either. We grabbed a late night bite at the Ambassador, caught up on the NCAA scores, wandered through the casino and were in bed by 1 a.m... Sunday morning, with relaxing time on our hands, we walked up the street and bought a few essentials we had forgotten at Walgreens. We walked back to the hotel up the beach. The sand and surf were just fantastic after a winter in Chicago. We returned to the Ambassador and found a wonderful, peaceful rooftop pool! At 11:45, we checked out, and grabbed a cab to the pier. Even though all of our documents told us 4:00 check-in, again thanks to these message boards, we hoped we would be able to board the ship. By 12:10 we had our first plate at Windjammers. As we made our way from the embarkation gangway to Windjammers we realized that the AOS was not only as beautiful as the NOS, but a carbon copy as well. The only difference being that Vintages is replaced by the Sports Bar. We had packed pool attire in our carry-ons. We were in lounge chairs by the pool enjoying fantastic weather and some frozen something or other drink by 1:00 p.m... We had a great time watching the ship and pool area fill up. In summary, embarkation was so quick, it is almost a blur! Monday and Thursday were our days at sea. Getting deck chairs was not a problem for us either day. I do not have a lot of respect for guests that save chairs by the pool and elsewhere. I think one chair per person is plenty, but... The ship was definitely full! Early Monday morning, my wife had booked us massages, or rather, spa treatments. It was great. However, I can do without the sales pitch at the end. Amazingly during the week, I could cure all of my ailments with 2 more treatments and buying a couple of elixirs from the spa. :-D Please let me enjoy the experience without the hard sell at the end. The fitness equipment is second to none. Anyway, both days at sea were great. We lunched at Windjammers. We didn't feel much of a need to explore the ship as it is identical to NOS. We felt like we pretty much knew our way around! Neither my wife nor I had been to Aruba. We booked an excursion to the Butterfly Farm, Aloe Factory, and Natural Bridge for the morning. The Butterfly Farm was really interesting. My wife is an avid gardener and she tries to attract local species of butterfly at home. I do think she could have spent the entire day here. The 'Aloe Factory' was merely a trip to a store...yuck. The Natural Bridge was very interesting and beautiful. Upon returning to the ship we immediately got a cab and headed to Eagle Beach for the afternoon. Gorgeous, peaceful, not crowded at all. All of the adjectives that we read pertaining to the beach were true. We went back to town and enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Don Carlos. Disappointingly, they did not have any live lobster, which we had heard are out of this world, we had a great dinner though. The next day in Curacao, we booked a trip to the Ostrich Farm and Aloe Farm. The Ostrich Farm was fascinating. Aloe farm was better that Aruba, but... We wandered into town upon returning to the ship. Very cute, fun town to experience. St. Maarten is a family favorite. Last year, my wife found her Christmas/birthday/valentine/anniversary gift in St. Maarten. 132 jewelry stores we were told!!! This year she was determined to find another gift!!! The morning was a bit drizzly, so I accompanied her as she went on her pursuit. After lunch we just rented a couple of chairs and umbrella on Great Bay. Saturday in St. Thomas we just grabbed a cab to Magen's Bay. Shopping had been accomplished in St. Maarten, so as it was our last day, we just relaxed and beached it. We had kicked around the idea of going to St. Johns and find a beach, but as the week wore on, that sounded like too much effort!!! All in all, these 4 ports were just great. We thoroughly enjoyed each of them. Our dining experience was definitely first class. The dining room had the same menus as all of these ships, but very enjoyable. We ate at Portofinos twice. We went on our first night as we were leaving San Juan. We had a window table and the atmosphere, food, and service were outstanding. We decided to return later in the cruise so we could enjoy the items we didn't have on the first trip! We also pre purchased a wine package that we enjoyed at dinner. We really didn't take part in much of the organized entertainment. The Casino and Champagne Bar served that purpose. I have to give a shout out to the 2 bartenders at the Champagne Bar. Jerry and Jennifer were just outstanding, and they managed within a couple of days to attract a number of regulars to their bar. Unfortunately, bartenders are on a rotation, and Jerry was off to a new venue the following week. Our stateroom was identical to the previous year. They is plenty of room in the cabin and balcony for 2 of us. Sunday, leaving and going home was very organized and easy, even though I don't think anyone wanted to leave. I am very thankful we flew American as we were able to check our bags all the way through to Chicago. The only bad part of the entire trip occurred on the way home. We were delayed 3 hours leaving Miami for Chicago. With school the next morning...oh well a tired Monday!!! To summarize, we had a wonderful trip. The ship is great. The staterooms are great. We loved the itinerary. So much so in fact I think we are going to book the trip next year. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
Hello all my fellow CC'ers! Here is the lengthy AOS review I promised while aboard the most beautiful ship I have ever seen (albeit this was my first cruise)!! Here is a link to see all of our pictures. I'm sorry, you might ... Read More
Hello all my fellow CC'ers! Here is the lengthy AOS review I promised while aboard the most beautiful ship I have ever seen (albeit this was my first cruise)!! Here is a link to see all of our pictures. I'm sorry, you might have to create a login for this, but it's free...and the pics go along well with the stories! http://photo.walgreens.com/share/p=701201177101125769/l=9039649/g=4934616/cobrandOid=1009/otsc=SYE/otsi=SALB Note: Skip "Day 1a" if you don't want to hear about my nightmare airline experience. Day 1a: Well the dream vacation didn't exactly start out as planned. At one point of our early morning start from Hartford, CT, it looked as though we were going to miss our cruise (or at least day 1 of it). We arrived at the airport over 2 hours early in anticipation of a smooth flight down to PR with plenty of time to get aboard. Our American Airlines flight was scheduled for 7:25am, which would get us to San Juan around 11:30a. However, around 7am, a general announcement was made that said there was a mechanical problem with the plane and that there would be a delay...not sure how long. OK, I wasn't too worried at this point as we could definitely afford to lose an hour or 2 and still have plenty of time. Well, just around 8:30am, we hear this announcement: "Unfortunately, this has turned into more than just a delay as this plane will not be able to fly this morning...all passengers may want to consider making alternative travel plans...call this 800 number for help re-booking..." Here was my reaction: NOOOOOOOO!!!!!! How could these people do this to me?!?! I have been waiting for this day for almost a year, planned it perfectly and now it's ruined?!?! Well I called that number and sat on hold for a minute. I told the woman on the other end to get me and the other 3 in my group to San Juan by 4pm at the latest (knowing I had more time than that but just in case). She said there was a 9:20am flight on US Airways that would connect in Miami, but get us to San Juan by around 3pm. PERFECT! This would work just fine! Now all we needed to do was get our bags back from AA and run to the other terminal (now we had to re-check our bags and go through security again). In any case, we go to the baggage claim where AA said our stuff would be and of course, there's nothing there but an empty belt. Unfortunately, this was the morning of Easter, so there wasn't enough people on staff for me to yell at. I was so mad, because now, we would obviously miss the 9:20am flight. So back to the phone I went...this time, I did not have as much luck as the first. The AA agent I was speaking to told me that I now had to call US Air, as my reservations have been transferred to them and there was nothing AA could do anymore. OK, so I called US Air and the woman told me that I needed a confirmation number to access my account. I told her the whole situation and that I wasn't given any confirmation number, but she said there was nothing she could do to access my reservation. I was just about to go postal (excuse the expression) in the terminal when another couple that was trying to catch AOS told me that the original flight was now back on and that is was leaving at 12:30pm. Apparently, AA was flying in another plane from NY. So as a reconciliatory gesture, AA bought each passenger a hamburger from McDonald's...no I am not kidding...this was there way of keeping everyone happy after the morning of misery...and the sad thing is...it worked. Day 1b: We arrived in San Juan about 4:30pm, 5 hours later than we wanted to. Nevertheless, we were pretty well rested, as the new plane we flew in on was HUGE and had 4 seats in the middle row of the plane...so we were able to use some rows as beds and spread out to take a nap on. We got our luggage and easily grabbed a taxi for the pier. About 15 minutes later, the anticipation was incredible as AOS was now in sight!! We pulled right up to the pier about at about 5:15pm (the taxi ride was about 20 minutes long). For the 4 of us, it was $25 + tip. We then waited to give our bags to the porters. They tagged our bags and placed them in the pile waiting to be inspected. We then headed inside to get our SeaPass cards. Naturally, I was directed to the slowest moving line, so it took about 15 minutes to finally receive our cards. After that, it was on to the ship. We didn't stop for that annoying camera-person waiting to take your picture as we boarded the ship...we looked like crap from our morning charade and we really just wanted to get on the ship!! Once we were on, we were in complete awe of the beauty and sophistication of this marvelous ship. Since it was now so late, we headed straight for our cabins so we could put down our carry-on luggage. My dW and the other couple we were travelling with had balcony rooms right next to each other (6334 and 6336). While I was pretty impressed with the size of the room and the balcony, the bathroom was still pretty cramped. This goes especially for the shower...I couldn't soap-up without it looking like I was attacked. After that, we headed for the Windjammer for some late lunch since our dinner was not going to be until about 9pm (after the muster drill). I was impressed with the quality and selection of food in the Windjammer all week. For breakfast, there was 4 buffet-style lines going at all times with all kinds of food (Pancakes, Fr. Toast, Waffles, Eggs, omelettes, Assorted Breads and Pastries, Bacon, Ham, yada yada yada. At lunch, there was always salad, hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, pasta, rice, some sort of meats, sandwiches, wraps, etc. It was always hard not to fill up too much at lunch in anticipation of dinner. BTW, we must have had about 20 self-serve frozen yogurts during the week. After the Windjammer, we went back to our room for the muster drill. It was pretty uneventful, as we put on our life jackets and headed to the dining area. After the muster, we were hoping that our luggage would be delivered to the room...of course, they were not. Luckily, I had packed an extra set of clothes in my carry-on, so I took a quick shower and slipped into shorts and a t-shirt. My travel-mates were not as lucky (or smart). We had to go to dinner that night very informally, as our luggage did not end up arriving until almost midnight. Our tablemates were awesome and we made good friends with them throughout the week. Jeff, Michelle, Fran and Jeff #2 were the best matches for our personalities...lucky us!! I think I had a steak the first night which was pretty good. After dinner, we went to the "welcome aboard" show where we met our cruise director Mike Hunnerup. Mike was very friendly and could be seen all over the ship all week. He encouraged people to come up to him and say "G'day" as he is Australian. The show consisted of a preview of the week's feature shows...the first was a strength and agility show put on by two french gymnasts. There we doing some ridiculous poses that required the strength of 10 horses. You could obviously see from afar that this pair was built ford tough. After that, the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers did a couple of numbers and previewed their two shows "Velvet Rope" and "Can't Stop the Rock". Then comedian John Wing closed the night out with a pretty decent PG-rated, act. Day 2: This was the first at sea day of the week. We got up kind of late (around 9:30am) and waited for our room service breakfast to arrive. We were pretty happy with the quality of the room-service food, although there wasn't a huge selection and our fellow travelers did not care for it as much. In any case, we headed to the pool deck around 11am on a gorgeous, 85 degree day. Needless to say, the pool area was completely jammed. Not a free chair in sight (in the sun at least). So we headed up one deck and found some chairs towards the front of the ship (around the track). We didn't really care since it was much quieter in this spot and had less kids running around. We planted ourselves there and laid out. We got two of the daily drink specials which were Strawberry Creamsicles or something like that. These were the best drinks we had all week. They cost $8.25 each, but you could keep the glass (which we liked very much). I left the group at around 1pm to go join the Texas Hold 'Em tournament in Casino Royale. Unfortunately, I thought it started at 1:30, but it really started at 1pm. So I decided to play some blackjack instead. This proved to be a good move since I won about $150 in 30 minutes. I then headed back out to get some more sun and to hit the pool. We went in the very crowded adult-only pool to avoid the kids...but only dipped in for a few minutes because it was so packed. After showering up and unpacking, we walked the promenade and explored the shops. Nothing too outstanding to speak of, although we did end up buying a few things. We headed up to the "Blue Moon Lounge" for our CC meet and mingle!! We met some of the folks that we had chatted with for months (Hi Jim, Gary, Lori, Anne, etc.) After that, we got into our formal attire and headed to the early production of "Velvet Rope". The show was pretty good, nothing spectacular, but definitely an entertaining show. After that, we headed towards the dining room and waited in line for a professional picture. We then had dinner with our whole crew. That night, there was a roasted duck on the menu that was excellent. After dinner, it was back to the Lyric Theatre for the comedy of Rondell Sheridan. He was the funniest of the 3 comedians for the week and he had about a 45 minute set. After he was done, we waited around for the R-rated comedy return of John Wing. He started off pretty terrible, but ended the set on a roll. Day 3: We woke up about 9am and stepped out on the balcony (starboard side) to see a clear blue ocean with a thin strip of sand. We were in Aruba!! Once again, we scarfed down our room serviced breakfast and got ready for the day. We made it out of the ship by 10:30am and headed for the Renaissance Hotel (which was only about a 10 minute walk). There were a few locals trying to sell island tours, but they were not too annoying. We had heard on CC that the Renaissance has their own private island with a gorgeous beach...and boy was that an understatement. After paying $50pp at the front desk, we were given 3 tickets: 1 for admission to the island, 1 for a complimentary lunch and beverage of your choice and 1 for free water sports equipment rental (excluding motor sports). The hotel has their own ferry which actually picks you up in the middle of the lobby then takes you out (right past the docked AOS) and to the island. We arrived just in time to see an iguana feeding which attracted like 20 iguanas of all sizes for a perfect photo op!! The beach is split into a "family" side (kids) or an adults-only side. There were not too many children on the family side, but we still opted for the adult side. We were surprised to see a whole flock of gorgeous pink flamingos right on the beach. We got some great pics here too. The weather was great and the water was crystal clear. We had lunch around 2:30pm at their cafe on the "family-side". The food was surprisingly tasty and the beverages were great (nothing like a frozen drink on the first day at the beach). All in all, this was totally worth the $50. We re-entered the ship around 5pm, exhausted from a full day in the sun. We had perused through some of the jewelry stores, but didn't find much. I showered up and took some time to relax, while dW went to the gym (which by the way she thought was more than adequate for a ship). We had reservations at 7:30 for Portofino's. I was a bit disappointed because I would be missing "Italian Night" in the main dining rooms, but I heard it was nothing special (except for the entire waitstaff singing "O Sole Mio"). The quality of food in Portofino's was excellent. They had an extensive wine list, although we declined since we are not big drinkers. The waitress looked at us like we had 3 heads after we declined the wine menu. In any case, they serve you like a 5-course meal over a leisurely 2 hours. They even ask if you any plans after dinner, as to warn you of the time it takes to get served. With all the food coming at us, it was a perfect pace. As is the case with the main dining room, you can order as much or as little food as you want from the menu. So after the bread, a few appetizers, salad, soup, a nice filet and 2 desserts, it was bed-time for me. We managed to stumble around the ship for a few nighttime views of Aruba, but we were done in by this wonderful dinner. Again, worth the extra $20pp. Day 4: We woke up about 9:30am for another room service breakfast. After that, we headed out for Curacao. We did not have anything planned here, so it would be a leisurely day of walking and shopping here. After walking past the construction of a new Renaissance hotel, we reached downtown Willemstad. There was a car/buggy rental service right in front of us, but we were not interested. RCL actually issues a warning against such rentals right in the daily compass (I guess a lot of people were getting into accidents). The "removable" bridge was already disassembled, so we took the ferry across the inlet to the other side of the city. There were well defined avenues for shopping and some cafes lined up along the streets as well. We walked around, stopping in a few shops looking for knock-off handbags. There was a pretty wide selection of them in a few stores and the pricing was not so bad. Dw decided to pass as she had her heart set on a Guess bag she saw on the ship. The day was super-hot and pretty muggy. We wound up heading back to AOS around 2pm for a dip in the pool. My friend Miles and I actually headed for the bball court first. There was probably 15 or so people playing, mostly teenagers. We played a couple of games then hit "The 19th Hole" bar for a refresher. We were soaking with sweat, but luckily not many people we back from the Island yet to notice us in the bar. We headed back to shower up and hit the casino some more. After winning about another $100 at Roulette, I went straight to the shop to buy the Guess bag that dW wanted so badly. After dinner, we headed to studio B for the 50's, 60's and 70's dance party. This was a lot of fun as the band was playing all our favorite songs from these years. The band was excellent and the place turned into American Bandstand. The entertainment crew dressed up as the "Almost Village People" and danced to some of their famous tunes. It was a very fun night. Day 5: We woke up late...around 10:00am. We decided to tryout the Windjammer for breakfast since it was an at-sea day. There was definitely more selection up there than for the room service. We made the decision to eat breakfast here for the rest of the week. After breakfast, we headed up to the pool area to try and find some chairs. We didn't even bother looking around the pool, since we had learned our lesson on Tuesday. We went straight up to the same spot we had chosen on Day 2, but still had a hard time finding chairs. Eventually we did, but it was already time for me to head over to the Casino to sign up for the Hold 'Em Tourney. I headed over around 12:30pm and was surprised to find that the first table (of 7) was already full. So I signed for the second table and went back for a quick drink at the pool bar. I returned for my seat at the tourney around 1:45pm and my table started around 2:15pm. I got really lucky in the tourney...the first hand I doubled up and coasted from there. Then I caught a miracle 10 on the river to seal the deal. I won $325 (needless to say, the casino was good to me this trip). After taking in some sun up on deck, we went back to shower and get into our formal wear. We went to the ice show at 7pm in Studio B. We got there nice and early so we had front row seats. The show was excellent. The amount of tricks they can do on such a small ice surface was very impressive. This was easily the best show of the week. After our last formal dinner, we headed back to our room for some r&r on the balcony. Day 6: After we got ready for the day, we headed out onto St. Maarten. This island was gorgeous! The new port is huge and there were actually 2 other (smaller) ships docked as well. We caught a taxi to Orient Beach for $10pp. We got some nice views of the island from the windy road to the French side of the island. The beach was magnificent...the sand was fine and the water crystal clear. You could see St. Bart's in the distance which the cabbie described as the "new playground of the rich and famous". He said that celebs and rich folk would fly into St. Maarten and either charter a plane or take a yacht over to St. Bart's (niiiiccceee). Where the taxi dropped us off is on the "top optional" part of the beach. I would say that 10-15% of the women were actually topless. The cabbie did tell us that a bit further down was a nudist resort, so be aware that you may see some of that as well. While we saw a few old men in g-strings (ew), there was one guy who was letting everything flow as he ran through our side of the beach. Even though there were a lot of kids around, I don't think I would bring mine there because of this. After we had enough sun, we headed back to downtown Phillipsburg for some shopping. We didn't find the jewelry prices to be as much of a bargain as we had heard they would be. There are definitely many stores to chose from, but prices were pretty standard. We did visit "The Yoda Guy's" store. Apparently he was the guy who created the Yoda models used in Star Wars. He has all sorts of authentic memorabilia from the movies and he is really an interesting guy to talk to. After we were ready to return to the ship, we tried to get on the water taxi back to the pier, but found that you had to buy a round trip from the pier side in order to get back over. In other words, there were no one-way tickets back to the pier. We thought that was pretty stupid, but nevertheless, we summoned a cab instead. After another $6pp, we got back on the ship. We took a dip in the hot tub for a while then lined up to watch all of the last minute sprinters try to beat the 5:30pm sail time. It was pretty funny, as both our ship and the Ocean Village ship next to us had rows of people lined up on each deck to cheer on these poor souls. As we departed the pier, the Ocean Village ship gave us a nice send off with a few pulls of the horn and a plethora of waving cruisers. Before dinner, we attended the second performance of the RC Singers and Dancers, "Can't Stop the Rock". The scenes and songs were different than the first show and again it was pretty good. Still nothing to write home about though. This night in the dining room was "Captain's Night". dW LOVES lobster, so she was very excited. We figured the lobster tails that were offered would be pretty small, so we ordered a total of 4 plates for her. To our surprise, the tails were actually pretty big, so she had a lot to eat (she ate it all anyway). I had the prime rib which was pretty good too. I am completely blanking on what we did after dinner...so I guess it wasn't too much to get worked up about. Day 7: Well this was the last full day on the trip and we stayed very busy. We were instructed on Day 6 that we would have to meet with immigration officers BEFORE 9am this morning. This did not make us very happy, especially since we were getting pretty warn out at this point of the cruise. In any case, we arrived at the dining room at 8:59am with passports and SeaPass cards in hand. We walked around the room (there weren't really any lines as I guess we were last) and basically flashed our ID's at a few immigration officers. Cruise Director Mike then put a smiley face on our cards indicating that we had gone through the process and we headed to the Windjammer for breakfast. After breakfast, we got off the ship and grabbed a taxi to the St. John ferry. We heard that St. Thomas was nice, but the snorkeling on St. John was not to be missed (another CC recommendation). The taxi to the ferry was $10pp and took about 25-30 minutes with all the traffic. Then the ferry was $5pp each way. We had to wait about 10 minutes for the ferry to arrive, then we had to wait about 20 minutes while they unloaded. Apparently, most people that are staying on St. John take this ferry...so people had bags and bags of luggage to unload. After we baked in the sun that entire time, we finally embarked on the 10-15 minute ferry ride. When we got to St. John, we hoped 1 more cab to Trunk Bay. The taxi ride was $6pp. Luckily, we had another gentleman from St. Croix who was very knowledgeable about the island and he made the driver stop at an AMAZING lookout over Trunk Bay. He actually told us that the exact view from that point is the same image that is on the license plates in St. John (and I can see why). We finally arrived at Trunk Bay and had to pay another $4pp for access to the "State Park". We did and went to the beach. WOW! This was certainly the most romantic, gorgeous and possible the most beautiful spot I have ever laid eyes on. In any case, we rented snorkel equipment for only $5pp (with a $25pp deposit that you get back). The snorkeling was truly incredible. You didn't even need the equipment because the water was so clear. But when you looked underwater, it seemed like you were in the middle of a big fish tank. So many types of sea-life and beautiful coral. As we were getting out of the water, we saw a huge stingray feeding on the sea floor. I can't believe how shallow it was...seriously in about 4 feet of water! We got about 30 seconds of a "rain shower" here, then it cleared right up. We then started the long trek back to the ship. I really wanted to stay longer, but we knew we needed to head back. As it was, we got back just in time for the all aboard at 5pm (we saw the people lining up to watch the sprinters). Before dinner, we attending the farewell show. It featured the french gymnasts mentioned previously and another comedian (PG-rated). Then the RC singers and dancers came out along with the entire cruise entertainment staff to say thank you and farewell. We attended our final dinner and said goodbye to our tablemates and waitstaff. They had a little "song and dance" to say farewell as well. After dinner, we went to the "Quest Adventure" gameshow. The staff did very well hiding what this was really about all week, but we had a feeling it would be good (since it was recommended for adults only). I won't say much, but let's just let the pictures speak for themselves...(see: dressing up like a member of the opposite sex). It took a while to unwind from this show...it was a blast. But alas, we had to head back and pack our bags...the cruise was over. Day 8: We took advantage of the RCL/American Airline program that lets you check your bags and get printed boarding passes right from the ship. The cost was $10pp, but I would have probably paid up to $50. Thank god we didn't have to lug around our 4 big suitcases all day (we overpacked). We were in group 10 to disembark, which was the last group to leave the ship. According to the compass, we should have had until around 11:30-11:45am to leave the ship...however we waited until the final final call around 10:45am to leave. It was funny because everyone though we were doing a B2B cruise...we must have been asked about 5 or 6 times if we were staying around for another go (I just responded: "I wish"). I was SHOCKED to see the lack of security leaving the ship. We walked right through customs and immigration WITHOUT being checked! Apparently, they thought everyone was gone, so they left too! In any case, we had about 8 hours until our flight, so we were left with a long day ahead of us. We went to the main mall in San Juan (Plaza de las Americas). It was a very nice mall with all the stores you would find on the mainland. We had lunch at Margarita's and then headed to the airport. We waited and waited...anticipating a delay or even a cancellation due to the crappy weather in the northeast. However, we left on time and flew right into Hartford (we tossed and turned like popcorn in a bag and couldn't see the ground until about 12 seconds before we landed...but we were safe). Like I said, this was easily the best trip I have ever taken and I cannot wait to do it all over again. I hope you all enjoy your trips! If you have any questions, feel free to ask! Thanks! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
This was a gift cruise from my fabulous mother-in-law for her 3 sons & spouses. It was our 3rd time on Adventure of the Seas, in the same cabins. I'll write a summary of our trip, and answer questions if you have any. Pre-Cruise ... Read More
This was a gift cruise from my fabulous mother-in-law for her 3 sons & spouses. It was our 3rd time on Adventure of the Seas, in the same cabins. I'll write a summary of our trip, and answer questions if you have any. Pre-Cruise in San Juan: Holiday Inn Express. Arrived Friday. This is not a fabulous place, but they have upgraded the rooms. They had all new bedding (like they're putting on the ships). It is easy to maneuver from. We always walk to this little Mexican restaurant, walk to casino(s), and cab to Old San Juan. We like it and the price is right. Embarkation was painless and quick. We arrived at the pier around 10:30 a.m. and were on quickly by 11:00-11:15. Very quick process. Went directly to the Windjammer (as cabins not ready), ate lunch and by that time cabins ready. We dropped off our carry-ons. DH changed went to Solarium w/his brothers and I went off to see the ship (again). Weather, for the first time in 4 years, was not the best. It was showering when we arrived at the ship, and showered off and on for the first couple of days. It did not hinder us, but might have some others. Food - we thought the food was outstanding this trip. The deserts in the Windjammer, however, left something to be desired (in our opinion). We ate in the dining room each night except Aruba night (had to do Carlos & Charlie's). Our waiter, Cyrus (Table 270) was absolutely fabulous! Anything we wanted, Cyrus made happen, whether on the menu or not. He was the best. The food in the Windjammer was good each day - a nice variety and very tasty. Johnny Rockets is always good, if you want a great burger, hot dog, fries or onion rings. Cabin - we had balcony cabin #8532. Stacy, our attendant, was a jewel. The new bedding, which I believe has been completed on the ship, was very nice. I will say, however, that the bedding is a real inconvenience for the room stewards. A lot of extra work taking the pillow(s) and "sham" thing off and storing in a bag each night and putting back on the next morning. The duvet's are extremely heavy and hard to manipulate. I feel sorry for the stewards...much extra work. Casino - is what it is. I won some and lost more, but had a good time doing so! Connoisseur Club - DH & brothers used the club. If you have never seen it, it is a beautiful room and never smells of smoke. Leather furniture, very nice. Disembarkation - we were in early disembarkation. We were off the ship by 7:30 and on our way to the airport. Painless. Summary - ship in great shape. Workers constantly varnishing, painting, fixing, etc. There were young people aboard, but no issues at all. Never a problem getting chairs either by the pool or in the solarium. Only saw the ice show, and it was great, as usual. Bingo.....played each time but never won. If you have any questions, I'll be glad to try and answer them. We only went to one beach (Coki in St. Thomas). We really like Coki beach. Have been to St. Johns, but prefer the closeness of Coki. Palla Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
WHAT A WONDERFUL CRUISE.We sailed on AOS week of 042907.Everything went smooth from the very beginning.The Limo picked us up on time. The airport was easy although my suitcase weighed 67 lbs and I had to pay an extra 25 bucks. Our flight ... Read More
WHAT A WONDERFUL CRUISE.We sailed on AOS week of 042907.Everything went smooth from the very beginning.The Limo picked us up on time. The airport was easy although my suitcase weighed 67 lbs and I had to pay an extra 25 bucks. Our flight was on schedule and was a smooth flight into Puerto Rico.We went a day early so we could have a restful night. Stayed at the Holiday Inn Express.A little slow at check in but a nice place. Had a nice Dinner then explored the casino.Lost a bit of money then found a party at the beach. Next day checkout was a bit hectic and the elevators were very slow and small.There was 4 of us and lots of luggage... Cab ride was smooth to the port. Everything went well there as well. The porter was great. Took all our luggage tagged it and we never saw it again till we went to the cabin. Getting checked in was so easy.We were checked in in 10 minutes had 3 shots of something on the way up to the ship that was yummy and we were having lunch at the Windjammer by 1200pm. We hung out at the Pool bar with our favorite bartenders Jose and Giavanni.They made the best Pina Coladas on the ship. Went to our Junior Suite about 300pm and all our luggage was waiting for us. We unpacked and were dressed for Dinner by 600pm. We had wonderful Waiters Ajit (honey) and Eric (bunny). The dining room was elegant.We partied till 100am.We loved our lobby bartender Jerry.He was so funny and made a good Chocolate Martini. and then we went to the Suite .The couch (bed) was not comfortable at all but I brought an air mattress with me and boy did that come in handy. All our excursions were awesome as well.At sea day one then day 2 Barbados.That was a blast. Snorkeled for the first time ever and that was so much fun except when the Turtle scared me half to death and I swallowed half the ocean. Day 3 was St Lucia what a beautiful Island but so many poor people there..Day 4 was Antigua another beautiful place. They were having the sailing races that week so many nice Sail boats.Day 5 was St Maarten my favorite place for bargains.Shopped till I dropped and spent most of my hard earned money there.Day 6 St Thomas.Went to the Mountain Top had a Banana Daq Not as good as they were 15 years ago and much more expensive..No deals in St Thomas everything was high priced..Then back on the ship for the Journey home. Disembarkment went very smooth. We were off the ship and the porter had our luggage by 1030. He took it We followed and never saw the luggage again till we got to Sweet home Chicago .Took a tour of Puerto Rico to kill time before we went to the airport since our flight wasn't till 428pm.The tour guide was a hoot.He dropped us at the airport and our flight was on time and a smooth ride home. To end the cruise on a wonderful note. The limo company picked the 4 of us up in a brand new Cadillac Escalade 22 passenger LIMO.What a great ending to a PERFECT TRIP...ROYAL CARIBBEAN is the Best cruise line as are all the employees that work on the Ship.Everyone was wonderful and very kind Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
EMBARKATION We arrived at SJU about noon on our day of departure and were on the ship by 12:30. We were allowed into our rooms promptly at 2:00 p.m. This was my 6th cruise since 8/05, all with Royal Caribbean. All other trips were on her ... Read More
EMBARKATION We arrived at SJU about noon on our day of departure and were on the ship by 12:30. We were allowed into our rooms promptly at 2:00 p.m. This was my 6th cruise since 8/05, all with Royal Caribbean. All other trips were on her smaller ships including Majesty, Empress and last, but not least, Sovereign of the Seas. Even though it rained on the first two days almost non-stop, it did not deter from the overall cruise as the first day following departure was a cruise day. Adventure of the Seas is a first class ship and I must add very clean. The Promenade was quite impressive with all the shops, cafes, sports bar, etc. The architecture of this ship was beautiful. My impression of the dining room is that it, in my opinion, is not the prettiest for being a big ship. We did not bide well with our waiter. He was one of the worst I ever had on a cruise soliciting annoyingly each time we dined there. I will end here as I'm sure others on this very same voyage had better experiences, at least I'm hoping the entire staff isn't that way. STATEROOM We had a Superior Oceanview in the aft of the ship which was very, very quiet. We did have 40 mph winds on one or two nights and it did some rocking, but not enough to bother either of us. The new bedding was beautiful and very comfortable. The bedspread was white with silky stripes in the fabric and the contrasting dark green pillows were quite attractive. The bed was between a queen and king in size and very comfortable. We also had a couch which could have, and should have, been cleaned. Our bathroom was not small, but not large by no means, but it was only the two of us with one being in the bathroom at a time so sufficient spacing. Only gripe here was that there was very little hot water ONLY on the first day. The closet was quite large with side shelves and sufficient hangers. We had an excellent balcony, again not large, but not too small with two chairs and a small glass table. We had room service for two breakfasts and at those times we brought the oval glass coffee table onto the balcony which sufficed. The luggage (3 large pieces) fit under the bed, but they also had two other comforters in plastic bags stored under there as well. Don't know what that was all about. We had a mini-bar and a safe as well. Our balcony was on the port side and we had great views in all ports except St. Thomas. The sun always rose on our side of the ship which was fantastic. The moon was also on our side and it was almost full moon with the glittering off the water. Awesome display! DINING We had first seating at a table for six. Only two of our dining tablemates showed up on the first night. We got along great from the start. I won't repeat myself about our waiter. He is the reason we didn't eat more than two nights in the dining room. There are many complaints about the food on this ship, but I found it all to be quite palatable. It could have been a little bit hotter, but no real gripe there for us. Many selections to choose from in the Windjammer. CASINO Although I did cater to the casino while my husband stayed in the room and read, I did not hear many machines "going off" with bells blazing and lights twirling. I did "hit it rich" on one machine (20,300 pennies to be exact; yes, pennies). I allotted myself a certain amount per day for gambling and did not take my room card to be tempted to charge more onto my account. Enough said. PORTS We both really enjoyed the ports of call. Although our flight was from PHL to SJU, we did not take the time to explore San Juan itself as we wanted to spend the time in port to explore the ship and become somewhat familiar with it. In Aruba, we rented an air-conditioned Jeep and bounced our way around the island. What a great way to explore! This island is absolutely mindboggling. So beautiful. We drove from the desert into mountains, climbed atop huge rocks (almost slipped off with flip-flops on in a high wind at the top, wrong move on my part...wear sneakers). Curacao we rented a Toyota Camry and drove north exploring on our own again and found a great snorkeling beach in the middle of nowhere with parakeet-like birds. On the way, we went by what may have been salt flats with pink flamingos. Great picture taking opportunity. Saw some who rented scooters to do the same trip. Would not recommend that mode of transportation. One couple in front of our car almost lost it. Guess he wasn't too experienced and I wondered why he would attempt this feat. To each their own. Not for me. In St. Marten we took the ferry ($5 r.t.) in the a.m. and then took a taxi ($20 one way) to Orient Beach in the afternoon winding up smack dab in the middle of "The Orient Beach Club". We looked around a bit before choosing to "participate" and found an umbrella and two lounge chairs ($18) and did a little bit of skinny dipping. What an experience, a freeing one at that. Would highly recommend it. Don't knock it until you try it. Just do these people a favor should you decide to go explore. If all you come for is to gawk, then stay on the clothed side. The people who really want you to look at them will undoubtedly come your way at one point in the day regardless of what side you are on. St. Thomas was a big disappointment again, as I had been there on an earlier cruise. The captain negated to tell us that the town shops would be closed all day on Saturday when we were in port due to their yearly carnival parade in town. We would have gone elsewhere to do something had we known more than a half day ahead of time. GENERAL INFORMATION We never sit our luggage out the night before disembarking because we know that we are going to see them again if we don't do that. We also were off the ship at 8:15 and on our way to the airport via private taxi versus RCL busses (curious as to why the same trip back to the airport was $22.50??). Our room steward(ess),Jenny, was excellent. If you have excellent service they DO appreciate an extra incentive to continue giving impeccable service. I did just that mid-week and we never had to ask for anything extra...no ice, no refill of our mini-bar, etc. Another couple we met never saw their steward the whole week. They ran out of towels, ice, etc., and their room always smelled of smoke and they don't smoke. He never introduced himself to them. As for our waiter, he better get another profession and attitude. You can guess what his tip was from us. Normally, I wouldn't even think of not leaving a tip less than what is expected, but I have notified RCL that this did not make me happy at all. This waiter also asked me for our room number. What did he need our room number for??? Very, very suspicious. Be careful who you give your room number to. This was an excellent time of year to travel to the Southern Caribbean. The ship had very few kids running about and the kids who were on this trip were very well behaved. Some people seem to be concerned about the Puerto Rican population on this particular itinerary. We had no problem whatsoever. Live and let live is our motto. Cultures are different and we can accept those differences. I can only say, other than our waiter's service, there was just one other thing that bothered me that had absolutely nothing to do with Royal Caribbean and that was the two canvas boxes with handles at curbside on our arrival for departure at the airport. There apparently were a pair of fighting roosters in those bags crowing their heads off. Poor things! I will not hesitate to continue to choose RCL for our next cruise (or quite possibly my next cruise as I travel a lot by myself). All I can say is "Get out there!" Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
This was our first cruise. Overall, it was a great trip and I would do it again in a heartbeat! There were a few negatives, but not enough to put us off from another cruise. Arrived in San Juan at 11:30 Sunday morning. Very uneventful ... Read More
This was our first cruise. Overall, it was a great trip and I would do it again in a heartbeat! There were a few negatives, but not enough to put us off from another cruise. Arrived in San Juan at 11:30 Sunday morning. Very uneventful from getting off the plane to getting to the pier. Everything proceeded quickly and we were in the Windjammer having lunch by 12:45. At 2pm we were in our cabin. The cabin was very nice. A queen size bed, and a sofa. I don't believe our deck had the new bedding, but it was comfortable enough. The bathroom was small, but it didn't really matter. The balcony was just right. Had 2 chairs and a table. Our room steward was Simon. He was incredible! He introduced himself right away, and he had an incredible sense of humor. We always had plenty of ice and on the first day I asked for 2 extra towels. He made sure we always had the extra's every day. They do encourage using towels more than once which was no problem for us. The ship itself was beautiful. I always found it very clean. The dEcor was interesting and well done. It certainly was large! Food-this was one of the disappointing parts of the trip, however I was warned by others on this board that the food was not as good as other ships. I found that the Windjammer breakfast buffet left a lot to be desired. The waffles, French toast and pancakes were almost always underdone and usually cold by the time I got to the table. The oatmeal was tasteless. The fruit did not seem to be ripe enough. I wound up having boxed cereal most mornings. The exception to breakfast was to have it in the dining room, I think on deck 3? That food was very good. We did have dinner one night in the Windjammer and that wa much better than breakfast. We had a very nice young waiter that night. His name was Deckster, Very friendly and helpful. Dinner in the dining room was very good. My husband is a big eater and had no problems getting seconds. Our Waiter was Keith and the assistant was Kathy(I think). Both were wonderful! We had very nice tablemates. Hi to Cherie and Skip from N Carolina! The other couple, Nell and Hans were from Holland and spoke very little English. We did manage to communicate a bit. The pool- yes, we did see chair hogs, but didn't let it bother us. We just went up a deck and could still hear the music and walk down for a dip. It was crowded on sea days. We stayed on board in Curacao and got great seats that day! The Spa-I had a massage and a facial. The massage was done by Louisa who was an absolute doll and very good at her job! The facial was done by Mindy, also very sweet . The is some pressure to buy products, but I know how to say no thank you! It can be very expensive if you fall into it. The gym-yeah, they had one! LOL! I did take a peak and it looked great, but I was on VACATION!!! The Casino. I won 250.00 at the slots! They also had great drinks there. That is actually the only place I drank on board. I highly recommend the mint chocolate Martini or the Mojito. Excursions-we were on our own in Aruba and St Maarten. Walked around the town and shopped. Did not get off the ship in Curacao. Did the Maegans Bay excursion in St Thomas. In St Marteen, we and another couple we met at the taxi stand hired a driver for a 3 hour drive around the Island and stopped for 45 minutes at Bikini beach, right next to Orient Bay Beach. It was pretty awful..the cab ride that is. First of all, he had very little AC. Then at every stop for pictures, he brushed the bottom of our shes off so there would be no sand in his van. We stopped for gas and had to stop so he could pay his mechanic. Having little or no AC wiped us out and we passed on the formal dinner that night. Entertainment-we enjoyed everything we saw. The Ice show was beautiful! The love and marriage game was very funny. El Gaucho was hysterical! The cruise director( G'day Mike!!) was very friendly to all. Leaving the ship was pretty uneventful. We had a 1pm fight and were off the ship by 8:45. We took advantage of American Airlines luggage deal, where they take it from the pier to the airport. Made life easier. I'm sure I've left something out, but it was something I will do again. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
7 Apr - We got to San Juan around noon time. Our luggage took about 30 minutes to come out. We went outside, got a ticket and grabbed a taxi in less than 15 minutes. We stayed at the Marriott Stellaris Hotel. Absolutely a beautiful hotel ... Read More
7 Apr - We got to San Juan around noon time. Our luggage took about 30 minutes to come out. We went outside, got a ticket and grabbed a taxi in less than 15 minutes. We stayed at the Marriott Stellaris Hotel. Absolutely a beautiful hotel with all the new renovations they just made. Unfortunately our room wouldn't be ready until 4pm. We changed into shorts, left our luggage with the porters for storage and jumped into a taxi to go to Old San Juan. My daughter wanted to go to the Coach outlet to spend her graduation money. The taxi dropped us right on there. Great prices, good selections and I even bought a purse too. Got more of a discount on it but more on that later. We chose to do a quick lunch at Wendy's,then walked around a little before heading back to the hotel about 3pm. We sat on the beach admiring the great view and soaking up the warm sun until our room was ready. The room was gorgeous, fluffy new bedding, flat screen TV and marble bathroom. We ate dinner in one of their 3 restaurants. Can get pricey but good food. We were asleep by 10pm from our long day of traveling. 8 Apr - We were up by 9am, ate breakfast at the hotel, grabbed a taxi to the Pier by 11:15 and were on the ship by noon! We had the whole day to explore and relax. There weren't many people on the ship just yet. We made our Spa appts, ate some lunch, I sat by the pool while my daughter ran off to the teen club to meet friends. It was a nice warm day, the waiters were already out and the band was playing music. At 3pm we went to see our cabin. This was the first time we had JS and I was anxious to see it. We had the center hump cabin. It was pretty large compared to the balcony cabins we usually book. I would say it was the equivalent size to a hotel room, walk in closet, tub in the bathroom, lots of storage space, seating area and larger private balcony. You could see up and down the ship from our balcony. At 4pm we met a few of our M&M friends by the pool bar for an hour. It was nice to finally meet everyone. We had the early seating and had asked for a large table. Since it's just my daughter & I we always like to meet new people. To our surprise they gave us a table for 2! My daughter was immediately disappointed and so was I. We sat there the first night but my daughter had it changed for the next night. We didn't go to any shows that night. My daughter made some friends immediately and was off and running. I continued to explore the ship. I absolutely love the promenade, always my favorite place to walk, people watch and I like all the shops. Of course my first shop is jewelry. They had a pretty good selection and the prices weren't bad. But it was only the first night and I wanted to shop/compare to the other islands. After having a drink in the Promenade I headed to bed about 11pm. 9 Apr (Sea Day) - I was up on deck 12 to claim my lounge chair by 9:30. It wasn't very crowded at all, it got more crowded as the day went on but not unbearable. I really didn't much chair hogging at all. They had the usually Sexy Legs Men contest and for the first time, I volunteered to be a judge. I picked Mr Sexy Legs! It was actually lots of fun and a good way to end my afternoon in the warm sun. It was extremely hot that day with little wind. Back to the cabin to shower and get ready for dinner to stop at the M&M. There were quite a few people this time. Cheezy & company had trouble getting in with their flight but we were all glad they made it! Off to dinner, they seated at a table for 8 but there was only another family of 3. We hit it with them immediately, great people from WI (Todd, Laura & son Drake). My daughter & Drake were close in age so that was a plus. They were together the balance of the cruise with a group of 10 kids. We had wonderful waitstaff, Reganald and Riche', food is always good. I'm not really picky. After dinner I went to the production show. I usually like the shows but didn't like this one at all, actually left after 30 minutes. I found the music, costumes and decor depressing. I ended up going to the Promenade to browse, people watch and have a drink. 9 April - Forgot to mention it was our first formal night. They had plenty of photographers set up from decks 3-5 to take photos. Lines moved very quickly. The next formal night would Thursday (second sea day), 12 April. 10 April (Tues) - Aruba finally!!! We decided to walk into town around 10am, do some shopping and go to the Renaissance Hotel to use their private island for the day. It's only a 10 minute walk from the port area. We did stop at Diamonds International to get the Aruba charm for my daughter's bracelet. She's been collecting them since our trip in January. We paid $50 per person at the hotel, went downstairs in the hotel and waited for their small ferry boat to take us to their island. I got some great pictures of AOS on our way out to the island. The price included use of all their water toys, lunch, drink, ice cream and beach chair. The food was actually very good, I had a burger and my daughter had a club sandwich. The island was wonderful, it was surrounded by a reef so the water was calm, clean and the beach was white sand with flecks of pink. There were hammocks in the sun and shade, lots of beach lounges, waitress service, a small store, flamingos and lizards wondering around. There was plenty of palm trees for shade too. We stayed for about 4 hours, took the ferry back into town and shopped a little more. After dinner I took my tablemates with me to the Crown & Anchor welcome back party. The drinks and appetizers were free and quite good. Afterward we went to the show, cannot remember the comedians name but he plays the dad on the show "That's So Raven". He was extremely funny, PG rated and put on a great show. 11 April (Wed) Curacao - We decided not to do an excursion that day. We took a taxi into town. I liked the town with it's cobblestoned streets, small shops and different colored buildings. The small flea market had some cute bags, necklaces, etc and what I liked about it, they didn't badger you to buy anything. The town reminded me of Germany a lot. There was a ferry that you take from the pier into town but the water was very choppy and my daughter opted not to take the ferry, she gets sick on smaller boats. Had a quiet night walking on upper deck and inside at the Promenade. There was something different each night for sale, jewelry, watches, sweatshirts etc. 12 April (Thurs) Sea Day - I was on deck 12 to sun about 10am, a little more crowded than the first sea day but still lots of lounges. They had the belly-flop contest for men and the horse racing that afternoon. The band entertained most of the afternoon on the deck and the weather was nice. I decided to take advantage of one of the Spa Specials this night; $99.00 for a choice of three different treatments. I opted for the hot stone massage, facial and reflexology. We went to the ice show before our main seating for dinner. The show was even better than the first one we saw on NOS two years ago. It always amazes me how they can do so much in such a little space. Well worth seeing! 13 April (Friday) St Maarten - Our excursion was to Orient Beach (French) side of the island. Orient Beach has become my absolute FAVORITE beach in the Caribbean now! It was gorgeous, white sands, mountains along the side, miles of great beach, clean clear waters, and interesting little shops/eateries. Yes we did see some nudity, mostly topless women but after seeing a couple, the novelty wore off, lol. Let's face it the women that tend to go topless shouldn't, . It was about a 30 minute bus ride from the port. It included lunch, chicken for me and ribs for my daughter plus a drink. Lounges were included but if you wanted an umbrella it was an extra $3.00, well worth it because the sun was intense. Lots of locals walking around pedaling their goods, not obnoxious about it though. My daughter had the top of hair braided for $30. Afterward 2 hours at the beach, you could either be dropped off in center of downtown to shop or back to the pier. We shopped of course. I bought my daughter an inexpensive Guess watch, I got tanzanite studs and we took the water ferry back to the pier for $3 each. Dinner was lobster night. I don't eat seafood. Everyone raved about how good it was. Didn't go to the show, opted to sit in the Promenade for the entertainment, singers and small band playing. 14 April (Saturday) St Thomas - Going through immigration was very quick on the ship. You had to have your seapass card and proof of citizenship. You went to the deck 5 dining room and we were in/out in 5 minutes. They mark your seapass card with a smiley face and you can get off the ship. We went to the shops near the pier. I have a local jewelry I like and wanted to buy a citrine ring (Majestic Jewelers). I ended also buying a tanzanite w/shell opals too because of the great prices. We were supposed to go to Magen's Bay. Unfortunately we decided to stay on the ship because we were so tired of the sun. The ship was very quiet and the pool area was great to relax with everyone off the ship. We packed i the afternoon, always a sad day when you have to pack knowing you will be off the ship the next day. I prefer to have a sea day the last day before we leave. We went to the show, they showed the AOS in review DVD, a good comedian (sorry I'm bad with names) and the production singers. The last night I just wondered around the ship, taking in all the sites one last time and enjoying the ship. 15 April (Sunday) San Juan - We met our tablemates for breakfast at 8;30 and took our time for breakfast. We all had late flights that day and were in no hurry. We had all taken advantage of the American and United Airlines taking our luggage/getting our boarding passes option. I would definitely do it again in a heartbeat, $10 per person. Getting off the ship was effortless, short line and no problems, 10-15 minutes tops. After dropping off our luggage to the airlines, we took a taxi into Old San Juan for the day. We got dropped off at Barrachina restaurant to leave our carryons with them while we walked around. I love Old San Juan, we explored the walkway along the channel, the shops and then came back to Barrachina for lunch. It was very yummy, I had the chicken nachos. After our late lunch, we grabbed a taxi to airport. Absolutely no waiting outside for American at all. Since we had our boarding passes, we only had to go through security and we were at our gate. Luckily flying into Philly, we didn't get hit with any delays with the Nor'Easterner. We were actually early. All in all it was a wonderful spectacular cruise on AOS. The voyager ships are our favorite ships currently. If you have any other questions, just let me know or you can email me at AnneR40@yahoo.com Happy Cruising!!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
First of all I would like to Thank Cruise Critic . com for all the help and info I gathered on the boards. This was our Fifth cruise third Royal. First for the east coast, the others were the Mexican riviera and coastal short cruises to ... Read More
First of all I would like to Thank Cruise Critic . com for all the help and info I gathered on the boards. This was our Fifth cruise third Royal. First for the east coast, the others were the Mexican riviera and coastal short cruises to Ensenada. We booked our cruise while on the last day at sea in april 2006 booked on ship through Royal. All air hotel and transportation was booked also through Royal around june of 2006. I liked the convenience having everything done and nothing left to bother with. Friday evening left LAX on the redeye nonstop to San Juan arrived too early to check in . Finally checking in got a good night's sleep and took a small self guided tour around old san juan and the forts . Took a cab ( to save the trouble going back to the hotel) To the ship and to my surprise , was onboard the AOS in less than 10 yes ten minutes. online docs and seapass already to go luggage transferred for us , started our tour of this beautiful ship. I did not encounter any loud drunken or rude individuals all week, Take all the reviews with a grain of salt! Dining was fair to good our waiter and assistant were not as good as previous dinners but they tried. Portifinos was worth the extra for the service the quiet atmosphere and good food . The sampler dessert was very good! Activities were good although need to be organized differently because I found them to crowd together too much. Ice skating show was good then run to the room change for formal dinner. The Meet and Mingle in the blue Moon was fun although again organization left little time to mingle and head off to get pics before dinner. Yes formal night. I didn't really get acquainted with our fellow minglers. I found the connoisseurs club very relaxing after dinner cigars most every eve conversations pleasant with other cruisers. The golf simulator on deck 12 was fun nothing more than a colorized indoor driving range. (swing the clubs etc!) Ports aruba not a place I think I would go out of my way to visit again. Curacao found a tour off the boat for $15.00 apiece a 2 1/2 hour informative tour of the island. not a bad deal . Again wouldn't go out of my way to visit again. St Maarten Took a Rental car with our Dinner companions Paul and Treska from Canada (wonderful couple) around the island on our own and had a great time. Stopped at three different beaches all were very nice. Tis one I could return to. YA moN St Thomas Godfrey tour... found this on critic boards. Stores for shopping were closed because of carnival in town. I really don't go on a cruise to shop I'M on vacation . Tour of the island very informative and the the choice of three beaches to swim relax etc! We chose coki point just like gilligans island.... Very clear water my wife really enjoyed this beach as did I. This was our favorite port and would love to go back and spend some time here!!!!!!!! We met some very nice people on this cruise and had a very enjoyable time with each of them, as this is what really made the trip memorable. WHERE TO NEXT?..................? Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
Stayed pre-cruise one night at the Caribe Hilton (Condado area). It was a beautiful resort, but eating in the hotel was quite expensive. EMBARKATION: Arrived at Pan Am port at 12:15 pm. Checked in and was on board Adventure by 12:40 pm. ... Read More
Stayed pre-cruise one night at the Caribe Hilton (Condado area). It was a beautiful resort, but eating in the hotel was quite expensive. EMBARKATION: Arrived at Pan Am port at 12:15 pm. Checked in and was on board Adventure by 12:40 pm. Easiest check-in out of our 12 cruises. STATEROOM: Clean upon arrival. Plenty of storage room and adequate balcony for 2. The only negative was that we were in a room that connected with an adjacent stateroom and the conversations during the day were somewhat loud. This was not RCCL's problem. We chose this room and didn't realize there could be a problem. Luckily, our neighbors went to bed earlier than us so at night the problem didn't exist. 2nd SEATING DINING: Wait staff (Paul from India and Helen from Philippines) were great. Always cordial and provided prompt service each night. Food was fair. WINDJAMMER CAFE: The omelets are very good and worth standing in a short line for. Everything else was good too, except there was never tuna salad at the buffet, only at Johnny Rockets and afternoon tea. Had it once at Johnny Rocket's and it was disappointing. We were hoping that RCCL was using Celebrity's recipe which is great. But they weren't. ALTERNATIVE DINING: Portofino's was FABULOUS and worth the extra $20 per person. Can't say more, except don't miss it. ENTERTAINMENT: We made the show every night but one and all were good to great. The ICE SHOW is not to be missed. It's amazing. In 12 cruises I believe the entertainment on this ship was the best we've had. SERVICE: Our service in every area was really good. We did talk to other passengers that had not experienced the satisfaction that we did, but most of our contacts were with those from the Philippines which we've always found to be more eager to please. Our only bad service was with Martin at the Exploration Desk and the folks in the Photography Studio. Their automatic viewing system was always "down" and they were not eager to assist with finding photos. The response was "our system is updating so come back later". Well, we tried to view pictures 3 different times on 4 different days and the system was never working, so we left without purchasing any pictures. That was good for our seapass account. EXCURSIONS: Aruba (Were there from 8 am - 1 am) - Rented a jeep (independent of RCCL)to tour island in, went to Palm Beach for afternoon and shopped on the way back to ship. Cost $75 Curacao - Did Dolphin Encounter (Booked through RCCL). It was fabulous! St. Maarten - Shopped on Dutch side in the morning. Shared the cost of a car and driver with another from ship ($25 per person) for 3 hr tour of French side and Orient Beach. Very nice to see the "other side". St. Thomas - Downtown was closed due to Carnival so we shopped at Havensight Mall and then rode the tram up to the top and had a few BUSHWACKER'S before making our way back to the Adventure. They were very, very good and the view was breathtaking. DISEMBARKATION: We were off by 8 am because we had booked a rainforest tour through RCCL ($36 per person). The rainforest was beautiful, but the tour guide and bus used was just ok. Stayed 1 night Post-Cruise at Marriott Stellaris Resort & Casino which was in a very nice area (Isla Verde) with a great restaurant selection OVERALL: This was our 12th cruise and 3rd with RCCL. Our 2 other RCCL cruises had been "fair". We were skeptical about this one going in but were not disappointed at all. We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and could not have asked for a better itinerary, ship or staff. We will go again on RCCL and the voyager class ship. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
This was my first cruise. I went with four friends (since elementary school) to celebrate all of us turning 50 yrs old. We talked about this trip for five years and planned it a year before we sailed. We book a grand suite online and ... Read More
This was my first cruise. I went with four friends (since elementary school) to celebrate all of us turning 50 yrs old. We talked about this trip for five years and planned it a year before we sailed. We book a grand suite online and were assigned to suite 1588. We originally were going to have all five of us in the suite but opted to split the group using an inside cabin directly across the hall from the suite (worked out great!!). We arrived at different times on Saturday, April 21st and stay at the Courtyard by Marriott in Miramar. We originally were going to book at the Sheraton Old San Juan because of the convenience, but at over $400 for one night, we changed our minds. We took a late check out at the hotel and taxied to the Pan American Port ($20 taxi for five). Good thing we did not stay at the Sheraton because the Pan American port on the other side of the lagoon! Royal Caribbean allowed people to check in and drop luggage, but we were not able to go the stateroom until after 2:00 pm. We went into town. We arrived back at 6:30 pm and went to our room. Our suite was just great. Plenty of room for the three of us. A large bed and a fold out sleeper (which was just a little too firm). We had our room decorated for the birthdays and had ordered a cake. The bathroom was a good size with a soaking tub. I would have preferred a bathroom with a separate toilet, but this was still very nice. Because we had a grand suite, we had access to the concierge lounge on the 9th deck. Happy hour type food in the evening. You can have soda, beer, wine and mixed drinks just cannot leave with them (no problem). The employee was very helpful with some excursion issues and it was a nice place to sit for a little bit. The ship is beautiful and I never felt like there were 3,000 other passengers or over 400 children on this cruise. We had two days on the ocean which gave us time to lay around the pool and we still did not feel overwhelmed. The ship had the regular shows, comedian (who I did not get to see) a song and dance show (passed) and Ice show (Passed but my friends all saw it and said it was very good). The Quest game which I participated in (a lot of fun- bring a lot of junk with you) and the newlywed game (old but fun-someone told me the questions were the same from a cruise they took 2 yrs before). The dining room (Vivaldi) was beautiful and we ate dinner each night was a wonderful family from Ohio. Our waiters were excellent and the food was good. We had one night in Portofino's which was fabulous!!!! I did the Aruba Jeep and De Palm island excursion and had a great time. I saw people riding around in ATCs and thought that looked like a lot of fun. Had a great time on the excursion and especially at De Palm Island which was an all inclusive lunch, equipment, chaise lounge event. They have a small water park for children. Did the Dolphin swim on Curacao which was fantastic! I did not think I would be able to go into the water with the dolphins but I did and enjoyed every minute. On St. Maarten I did the Butterfly farm and Marigot. Would not recommend this excursion. The Butterfly people have their heart in the right place to protect butterflies, but due to time constraints, we had little time to actually walk among the butterflies and take pictures (maybe 15-17 minutes). We then drove to Marigot and had only 45 minutes to shop. (I am not a shopper but this just was not enough time). Back at St. Maarten, there is a water taxi ($3 one way/ $5 round trip) that is near the ship and will take you to the downtown section Last, we went to St. Thomas and took the ultimate excursion to Blackbeard's tower except it's not really Blackbeard's tower, it was named that by the U.S. Military when the island was purchased in 1917. We did go to Maegan's Bay for swimming which was very nice considering how hot it was. I huge iguana walked took a stroll through the sand right past us. I had a wonderful time on the cruise and the Ship was great. The public areas were laid out for easy access. I had a partial body massage in the spa and was disappointed after the massage when I was pressed to buy $300 in salts and oils for continued therapy. There are so many things to do on the ship that we never made it to the rock climbing wall or go ice skating. They had a latin night pool side which was fun. Except the couple of small complaints, I would go on this cruise again. Cannot say enough good things about the trip. We were very sad it ended so soon and after three days still a little depressed!!!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2007
My wife, 2 children, and I are first time cruisers and I'm going to write this review for the first time cruiser. I hope to capture all the things I wish I knew before I got on the boat for others. We decided on the Adventure of the ... Read More
My wife, 2 children, and I are first time cruisers and I'm going to write this review for the first time cruiser. I hope to capture all the things I wish I knew before I got on the boat for others. We decided on the Adventure of the Seas because we currently live in Puerto Rico and the port is close by, the Adventure is thought to be the best boat from Puerto Rico (i.e. Biggest, most amenities, and newer), and my kids had their heart set on going ice skating. We are living down in Puerto Rico as expatriates temporarily. We have 2 daughters, aged 10 and 8. We sailed on April 8, on Easter day. We got a ride to the pier around 11:15 am and hauled our bags to the luggage pick up area. The porters look like they are from a moving company vs. uniformed. Doesn't really matter, but it is just a little different than what I expected to see. We had 6 bags. The porters like to remind you that they work for tips. I flipped them a few dollars after they threw my bags into a container pile. We then got in line. We waited maybe 20 minutes and the line began to move. They checked our passports going into the building. I had them all lined up with photos exposed to keep things moving quickly. Lots of people had to fumble around for their ID's to get in, but in all fairness it was not obvious exactly what we needed to get through the door until you got close. Inside the terminal, it got a little confusing. We had our Set Sail Pass all ready to go. I believe this expedited the process. The organization was a little confusing as to how they were coordinating the multiple lines, but we just went with the flow. It took us approximately 20 minutes to get through the line in the terminal and get our cards. We headed toward the ship and passed the Bacardi cart. We knocked 2 flavored shots back for free which set a nice tone to start our cruise. They took each of our photos for the embarking and disembarking process for the islands to store into the computer. Then it was up and away into the escalator and subsequent ramps. We headed to the 4th floor of the ship. They took our photo (first of many, many photos!) and we crossed the plank to board the ship. As we entered, a Canadian employee began to welcome us in Spanish. We had a good laugh because he really struggled in Spanish. We let him finish (it was a slow, deliberate welcoming) and we let him in on the joke when I responded "thank you very much!" We had a good laugh with him. While the boat is certainly big, I was surprised that it was not bigger. The beam was not as wide as I had imagined. I think I've read too many reviews as to how big the ship was and, since it is my first cruise, I imagined it to be bigger. First thing, we got our kids checked in with bracelets. We had no idea what they were for until later that night, but they are for identifying which muster station the minors are to report to if they are not with their parents in an emergency. The kids wore them for the whole cruise, as expected. We headed for the Promenade on the 5th floor. We began to familiarize ourselves with the boat a little. We purchased the soda passes for my wife and kids. It was $6 per day for adults and $4 per day for the kids. They tack on 15% gratuity for a grand total of $112.70! You have to sign up for the whole week or skip it altogether. I passed. While my wife certainly is not, I'm cheap and couldn't bear the thought of making a $50 investment in soda for the week for myself. We learned as we went through the week that the drink passes were not that great of a deal and we would pass on them the next time and pay as we go. More on that later. We headed up to the buffet in the back of the boat for lunch. We sat in the very back (The Island Grille) and enjoyed the perched view over San Juan. It was a perspective of the city we had not previously enjoyed. You are not going to hear a lot of details about food in this review. The food was decent, but not super spectacular. We found the buffet adequate. The family ordered drinks to go with lunch (soda for my wife, water for my younger daughter, lemonade for my older one, and unsweetened iced tea for me). Now, for a quick lesson on drinks... Lemonade, fruit punch, water, coffee, and iced tea are included free of charge. So, now that I spent $112.70 on these soda cards, my kids drank mostly free stuff through a lot of the cruise. Go figure! I drink a lot of diet soda (don't like the sweet drinks) and fell in love with the iced tea. It was nice to go without carbonation. Now we explored the ship. It was almost 2pm and we were able to get to our room. We booked the cheapest room we could get. We did this for 2 reasons. First, this is not the big break away from the cold type of vacation for us like it was for most of the folks from the states. It was a nice week break from home, but not my big trip of the year. Hitting the beaches was nice, but is not nearly as special for us as it is for the shivering Upstate New Yorkers or the folks freezing in Detroit. We were not going to go all out and spend a lot of money (remember, I'm cheap). Second, we are planning a trip to Europe and were testing out how well the kids could travel with us. The room was commensurate to a sleep car on a train and we wanted to see how the kids would react to it. They did surprisingly well. Net, we booked an inside room for the 4 of us. We actually could have paid a little less (~$60) by booking 2 separate inside rooms, but we did not want to be separated. We dropped off our carryon bags, changed into bathing suits, and headed for the deck. We dipped in the pool a little bit and milled around to get familiar with the ship. The captain informed us that there were over 1000 children on the boat this week. That is more than I ever saw posted and he was asking for help in managing the crowd. I never had any problems with kids running around (sure some did, but they are kids), but nothing out of control. The boat is pretty well designed for families and it looks inviting for bringing children. The sports area in the back of the ship has rollerblading, basketball court, rock climbing wall, and mini golf which we played that afternoon. The Meet and Mingle crowd agreed to meet at the Pool Bar at 4 pm. I dropped in to say hi. Nice bunch of people. We agreed to meet at the official Meet and Mingle the next evening. We went back to find 5 of our 6 bags waiting outside of our room at approximately 5pm. That was a relief because I changed room reservations approximately 1 month prior to boarding. We had already received our documents with our old room number. They do not issue you new documents with a room change, so I was nervous that our bags would get lost for a while. I manually relabeled our bag tags (with envelope labels) so it was clear where they were supposed to go. Our room attendant, Alberto, was there and I informed him that there is still one more bag that we are expecting, but was glad that we got our stuff before dinner without a hitch. We began unpacking. I was very impressed with how well designed the room was. Four people with 6 big bags were well accommodated for. Every inch is designed for use. We put our passports, money, camera, and camcorder into the safe. Our 6th bag arrived shortly thereafter. We headed for our dinner at 6:30pm. We were stuck in the very back corner of the room. We met another family at our table from Virginia who were very nice and we had good interaction with, but the other seats were empty for the whole cruise. It was hard to see what was going on in the rest of the dining room, which was beautifully decorated. We later learned that we could have asked to be moved. Some experience cruisers informed us that this is the only job the Maitre 'D has and you should take advantage of it. Ok, lesson learned. After dinner was the muster drill. That was an interesting experience. We all jammed into a lounge and learned where we needed to report in case of an emergency. Then, it turned into us being a captive audience to buy all sorts of junk from them. This was just the beginning of the demonstration of what a captive audience we were. To be fair, I'm not the type of person that likes to be marketed to (e.g. I like to browse a shop before asking for help rather than be waited on), so this bothered me a little more than the average person. After the muster drill we continued to explore the ship. We found 90% of all the areas that night. We stayed up to watch the 10pm sail away even though the kids were tired. It was exciting to watch the El Morro fort go by from that vantage point as we swept into darkness and heard the motion of the sea. It was a very pretty setting. In conclusion, with all of the logistics on the first day, it certainly did not feel like a full day. It felt like less than half of a day. I can't imagine how the first day must be for people flying in. It must be exhausting. I don't know how they made it through the muster drill. Wait! I can feel the boat moving. We thought the ship was so big you would not feel anything. It doesn't move a lot, but you definitely know you are moving. The super queasy could have a problem, but my wife is a Dramamine Queen and she had no problem throughout the cruise. You will walk down the long hallways a little wobbly sometimes, but hat is about it. I stayed up with my little one who wanted to see the parade on the Promenade deck. They rolled the barrier lines out. Shortly thereafter, singers and dancers along with dress up costume animals, and people on stilts came by. It was like a Disney-like theme park type parade. I was a little worried since I've taken my kids to Disney over a half dozen times and I definitely wanted to do something else on this vacation. I almost lost it when my 8 year old told me it looks like Disney Studios to her. In many ways, the cruise felt like a Disney experience for grown ups. That's ok, but it was not what I expected. The next morning was a sea day and we went to the dining room for breakfast. The selections were more upscale, but there was less selection than the buffet upstairs. This was the last time we ate breakfast in the dining room. While the kids did well with the breakfast, the variety and simplicity of the buffet and the freedom to choose whatever you wanted worked much better for them. In addition, the buffet was quicker so we could start our day earlier. My impression of the dining room for breakfast and lunch was that it was more of an escape for adults from children. First thing after breakfast was to go rollerblading. That was surprisingly decent and it was completely empty. The track did not look like much, but it was more than adequate to move around. After a nice little workout, we went to get changed into long pants (requirement) and hit the ice skating rink. It is a little rink, but my kids loved the ice skating since they don't get much opportunity to do it. The rink was pretty empty since all of the pale white northerners were briskly roasting themselves at the pool for the first time in months. Needless to say, they all left a different color than how they started. It was pretty surreal to be in the Caribbean Sea on the way to Aruba while ice skating. After lunch, we hit the rock wall. My younger daughter made it to the top after some effective coaxing from the instructor and was so proud! She did better than her dad! We didn't get our Meet and Mingle invitation in our room and had no idea where it was going to be. Subsequently, we just didn't get our act together and missed it being busy having fun with the kids. In the end, it was really our fault. I was very disappointed and felt like I missed out on connecting with the others. We dressed up for formal night. I wore a suit and a tie which was par for the course in the dining room. There were a few in the over 50 crowd who donned tuxedos, but this was more of an exception than the rule. Women wore various levels of dresses. They go around and take photos during dinner. Now, it is time for another learning rant. We found the formal nights to be more trouble than they were worth. I don't aspire to dress up like this on vacation, since this is how I dress for work. When I get home, I can't wait to get the suit off of me. Packing all of the stuff, storing it in our tiny room, taking the time to change, fussing with the kids, etc. was simply not worth all of the hassle. Our tablemates were equally uncomfortable and we ditched the ties on the next formal night. Next time we cruise, we are just going to skip the formal nights altogether and save the suitcase space. The smart casual night, by the way, was completely indistinguishable from any other casual night. My wife used her smart casual outfit for the second formal night because she felt her cocktail dress was too fancy for the occasion. She went casual on the "smart casual" night which I honestly have no idea which night that was. After dinner, we went to the Lyric Theater for see a comedian do his routine. I don't know his name, but he was the father from the "That's so Raven" sitcom on the Disney Channel. He was very funny while being age appropriate for the kids. My wife and older daughter laughed and laughed. My younger daughter was upset because I think she was expecting to see the guy in his Disney Channel character. She felt ripped off since that was not what she expected. She quickly got over it. The kids were tired and they all went to bed and I went to the late night, adult comedy by myself. I think his name was John Wise. He was pretty funny, but not as polished as the previous performer. Obviously, some of his stuff was a bit edgier and I don't take any of that kind of stuff seriously, but some people had a mixed reaction to it. Tuesday, we arrived in Aruba. I woke up at 6:30 am while the rest of the family slept in, as usual. I jogged around the track on deck 12 (5 laps to complete a mile) while watching Aruba get closer and closer. We docked in Oranjestad right at 8 am, as scheduled. I was expecting to see a dry, desert-like island, but I was surprised at how flat Aruba was. I woke the family and we ate breakfast while the hordes disembarked. We went straight down to the 1st floor after eating with our backpacks. Getting off the boat was a breeze and I was pleasantly surprised given the size of the ship. You need identification and your Sail Pass Card. They run your card to track that you are now off the boat. You need identification to get back into the port for the Aruban authorities. The ship personnel said that this is an American requirement that the US insists that the islands follow. As it turns out, Aruba was the only place that checked for photo identification. Everyone else just checked to see that you had a Sail Pass Card. We brought multiple copies of our passports. We did not want to bring our actual passports with us to the beach and this was an acceptable practice. We did a little light kiosk shopping. The people of Aruba are very nice and hospitable. We crossed the street and got on the 10A bus to the "hotels." My wife was in Aruba over a decade ago and she wanted to return to the beautiful beach she was at, but she could not remember the name. We deducted it was Palm Beach. For $9.20 roundtrip for the 4 of us, we took off for Palm Beach. We got there, walked through one of the big hotels to the shore and were disappointed. My wife realized that this was not the beach she remembered. I saw how commercial it was and knew this was not where I wanted to spend my afternoon. We walked south down the beach until we hit a pier. We got the kids a bottle of water and were solicited politely for a timeshare. We kindly refused and began to chat with the gentleman about how crowded the beach was and we wanted to know how far Eagle Beach was. He told me he likes Eagle Beach better also and that is where the locals go. He pointed how to get to the bus and we hit the road again. Eagle Beach is wider, quieter, and has far fewer people. It was, however, extremely windy. We located a bunch of loungers with fixed straw roofed canopies and sat down. I looked around to see if there was anyone to pay for it, but there was no one I could identify. I figured if there was money to be paid, they would find me. It was so windy; the back of the lounger swung and nailed me in the back of the head while I was sitting up. Ouch! A gentleman did approach me, but informed me that the furniture was the property of the little hotel across the street (I think Little Divi is the name). I had no idea and informed him I'd move without any problem. He stopped me and simply asked that if his hotel patrons begin to fill up the beach, then please move for them. How nice is that?! That was my experience of Aruba. He didn't even charge me anything. We headed back for lunch on the boat and then went shopping again. I got an Amstel (hard to get in the states) and we picked up a few souvenirs. We spent only $25 the whole day. One other thing surprised me about Aruba. While my first language is English, my whole family is fluent in Spanish as well. Nearly everyone in Aruba was more comfortable communicating with us in Spanish than English. While everyone speaks English well, that was a big surprise. I was not expecting to speak Spanish in Aruba. We went back to the ship for dinner. We had the ice show tickets for that night at 9 pm. It didn't feel right to be in the port at Aruba until 1am, but sitting on the boat watching a show. From a logistics standpoint, I would have rather been walking Oranjestad and seen the ice show another day (either a sea day or an early port departure). That felt a little like a lost opportunity, but late nights on the town with the kids were not necessarily in the cards anyway. Wednesday, we arrived in Curacao. We got a late start after breakfast again. We never tried to be the first off the boat. Curacao is an island that I had the most trouble investigating. I later determined that information was not easily available because the Dutch have been wisely keeping it to themselves. The island is beautiful. It is much bigger than Aruba. The one thing I did know about Curacao is that this is the place to dive or snorkel. We did not want to do any of the foofy excursions from the ship. It was important to me to get lost ourselves and immerse into the local culture a little. I figured there was a lot of structure on the boat, so I wanted to approach the ports in an unstructured manner. We got a taxi to Caracas Bay where there is a sunken tugboat that is close to the shore and good for snorkeling. It cost $25 to get there and we arranged to be picked up at 1:30 by Alvin. There was a huge boat for snorkeling off the shore with over 50 homosapiens swimming all over the tugboat site that were from our ship. That was exactly what I did not want. I'm sure with that many people, it has to affect the marine life you'd see. There was a little shop at the shore where we arrived. We were expecting go snorkeling ourselves, but a young Dutch gentleman named David came out and offered us a snorkel tour for an hour to 90 minutes. He gave us wetsuits and offered snorkel gear, but we brought our own. He sat down with my family with a marine life book and gave us a quick, 5 minute review of the different sea life he was going to show us. Again, he spoke English and Spanish to us (he wanted to practice). Curacao was like Aruba in that regard and we were speaking a lot of Spanish. David took us out and we first headed under the pier there. He dove down up to 35 feet in some places and picked up marine life and brought it to us. I quickly realized that he knows these waters well and knows where to find all of this stuff. The first item was a "Donkey Dung Sea Cucumber." I held it while he snapped a photograph with the underwater camera he provided for us. My kids loved it! Sea urchins and wild starfish that I've never seen before were incredible. David showed us a huge variety of coral and he was very knowledgeable. He dragged our kids on a floatation device when they got tired and was fantastic. By the time we were done at the pier, all of the people on the snorkeling excursion from the ship were back on the boat and sped away. Now, it was time for us to go to the tugboat. We had it all to ourselves. We saw huge, colorful fish. David pulled out a banana and fed them. Wow! What a great experience! We had a half hour wait until our taxi was to arrive and I had a drink at the bar, which was included with the tour. I chatted with Jerry who worked at the dive shop also. I learned that they took over this little shop (www.downtowndiving.com) months earlier. Jerry, who was originally from Aruba, spent time explaining Curacao at a level that I was unable to through my own research. Curacao is very Dutch and it shows. I saw a lot of Dutch people here vs. Americans in Aruba. It was a European sideshow. I mentioned that I missed an opportunity to buy Gouda cheese in Aruba, and he asked Alvin, the taxi driver, to bring me to Albert Heijn to buy some. He said it is a great place to go. Alvin stopped there on his way and we went Dutch supermarket shopping. I thought I was in the Netherlands. Shopping for cheese in Dutch is a challenge. I wanted to make sure "oud" meant "aged" and I asked a pretty, bright blonde (almost stereotypical) Dutch girl if she could help me. She didn't speak much English and struggled to find the word, so we figured it out together. Just the kinds of experiences I enjoy. We got back to the ship with a 10 lb. wheel of Gouda ($100 worth of cheese for $29. Please don't ask what I'm going to do with all of that cheese). I put it in the refrigerator of our room and we headed back out to town. Willemstad, the port town, is gorgeous. Pretty pastel colors with Dutch facades. The layout of the town had a European feel too. We walked around the Otrabanda side of the city and picked up souvenirs. There is a ferry that shuttles you to the other side, named Punda, which is even more picturesque. We were worried about the time since we needed to be back on the ship by 4:30 pm and decided not to go to Punda. We did not want to risk missing the ship by some inefficiency of the ferry schedule although it looked to me like it went back and forth every 10 minutes. This is our next learning that we experienced. The captain told us to be back on the ship by 4:30 for a 5:00 pm sailing. They do really leave people behind if you are late. However, they do know who is not yet back on the ship. They start announcing people's names who are late and attempt to find them. They also can see a ½ mile inland from the top of the ship and keep an eye for people because they really don't want to leave people behind. Now, you would be a fool to tempt fate at 5:00 pm, but we realized that there was no reason to be ultraconservative (like we were) and be back on the ship by 4:00 pm. We could have easily returned at the 4:30 pm embarkation time without concern and we would have gone to Punda with that extra 30 minutes. Rookie mistake... Went spent $55 on cab, $60 for snorkeling, and $15 for the underwater camera. It was cheaper than the cruise excursion and I'm sure it was far superior in quality. I felt great supporting this little local business off the cruise ship tourist-trap path. I felt like I got a little slice of Curacao that way. This was our favorite experience on our entire cruise and we want to come back to Curacao for a week. Curacao is big, so renting a car is probably a better option if you want to move around a little more than we did. Back on the boat, we ate dinner. We went to a show called Velvet Rope. The kids had a lot of sun and, with the lights dimmed down, they were falling asleep. They walked out and crashed the minute the head hit the pillow. I'd like to think it did not have something to do with the fact that the show was incoherent and the transitions were rough. Honestly, I thought the show was so bad that I had no idea what it was all about. I got back to my room and read a description and at least figured out what they were trying to do. I wandered the ship that night. I tried to find all of the little corners I had not seen before to find the last 10% of the ship. The observation point at the front of the ship on the 11th deck is cool. You can see the captain's chair where they control the ship. But, the absolute best, not to be missed experience, is to go to the 4th level. Go outside and head toward the front of the ship until you have to go up a flight of stairs. Continue until you reach the bow of the ship and get on the helicopter pad (it is very dark, but keep going). If you do this on a sea day at night, you will experience the starriest night of your life. It is absolutely gorgeous. I did this every night of the cruise from that point on and took my family. It is no wonder that 1000's of years ago, people charted the stars. They were able to see them much better than we ever could with the naked eye. Don't miss it!!! It is worth the theme park admission. Thursday, the next sea day, was more of the same. This time I got to the top of the rock wall twice. A boat like the Adventure is handy for sea days. I'm not sure what we would have done without all of those amenities. Sitting at the pool is not a big deal for us. However, there were so many things on the Adventure that we never got to experience all of them. Formal night was dressed down. My picky-eater kids did amazingly well with the dinner nearly every night. I was not thrilled that my 8 year old ate chicken nuggets and French fries every night, but she was in heaven and we were on vacation so I let her indulge. Both found food they really liked and ordered it time and time again. Reynaldo (from the Philippines) was our waiter for the last 6 days and took good care of us. Dwayne (from Jamaica) was fantastic. He took time to show my 8 year old some amazing tricks with forks and toothpicks. He really made my girls feel special. Moshen was our headwaiter from Tunisia. He was pleasant and stopped by to say hi once each night. Honestly, I have no idea what his job was other than a little chit chat. You tip the headwaiter for his services, but I still don't know what that was for. That is something we never learned on this trip. That night we went to another show. This one was music based. It was interesting, but we, again, were tired. This time we all stepped out early. Friday, we arrived at St. Maarten. We grabbed a cab and went to Orient Beach on the French side. Everything was Dutch so far on this trip. So, now we wanted to go French. For $25 we got dropped off at the Bikini Beach section of the beach. We wandered a little bit looking for a place to drop our stuff down. We saw some nice loungers and walked over to Kakao Beach. The loungers (2) and umbrella were $25 for the front row and $20 anywhere behind. We got the front row. We got there early. Before it gets crowded the people from Club Orient, the nude part of the beach, like to wander up the shore fully nude. These are the few exhibitionists. We had to have a little chat with our girls to explain what that was all about. We made no big deal out of it, so the girls did not either. After 9:30 am, we did not see any more fully nude wanderers. All of these folks are well over 50 years old. There were some topless women on the beach. This comprised itself of less than 5% of the women and they were primarily French women over 50. We were surprised that this was the first place that we had seen any topless women. We thought we would have seen more on the cruise since Aruba and Curacao are also European influenced islands. The beach was gorgeous and is now my wife's favorite. We stayed until 2 pm. We headed back to Phillipsburg to do some shopping. Alain was our driver and he liked to talk so we had some fun. I sat in the front seat with him. He told us about the island, the people, what it is like to live there, the relationship with the French, European investment on the island, etc. It was all very interesting. Shopping in St. Maarten was pretty good. Prices seem to be better than any of the other islands. We were not "jonesing" jewelry or anything. Shopping is not my idea of a vacation endeavor, but we just wanted a couple simple memories and I wanted to sample the town. From there, we walked back to the boat. It was a 15 minutes walk. Another lesson learned was that the water taxi is a cute idea, but if you are not averse to walking, you'll probably get into town faster by foot. We should have rented a car in St. Maarten. They were cheap. Our tablemates got one for $55 and roamed the island while we spent $45 on taxi fare and went to 2 places. Next time I'll rent a car. The other thing we would do differently is eat at the second seating. We noticed that the early dinner impeded on a number of things. Sail aways from the ports were missed, sunsets were missed, and hurrying back to the port was a hassle with dinner right on the heels at 6:00 pm. Even with the kids, we could get a snack easily to hold us over to the late dinner. We found we were not even hungry at 6:00 pm because we tended to eat a later lunch anyway. To think that our kids would be too hungry to eat at 8:30 pm on a cruise ship is ridiculous. There is food everywhere! Woof! I don't know what we were thinking. Saturday, we arrived in St. Thomas. We had breakfast at the buffet. It was crazy up there because the dining room was not serving breakfast. It was hard to get a place to sit. The dining room was being used for customs/immigration. We needed to deal with customs/immigration since we are hitting a US port again. We were shocked at how efficient they have this down. We showed them our identification, they marked our passes and we are done. If you don't do this, they won't let you off the ship. They also scan your card, so they have any accounting for everyone. I saw a lady trying to convince security that she did pass through immigration, but she got sent back because she did not have the marking on her card. They need everyone to do this so they can "clear" the ship. Once off into St. Thomas, we decided to change our plans and go to Magen's Bay. We hopped into an open air taxi. The taxi drivers are loud, rough, and aggressive. You pile into their taxi until it is full and off they go. It is $8 per person to Magen's Bay including kids and it is regulated by the government. There is no other way to get there other than renting a car. This is St. Thomas' solution to provide employment to the island. There are a lot of taxi drivers and they wait in a long line for their turn to fill their taxi. They won't go until their cab is full. I figure they probably take 3 roundtrips a day to make a living and that is it. The rest of the time, they are off or are waiting in line for their turn. Once we got into the taxi, we're off on our 4 mile $32 ride when the taxi driver behind us accosts our taxi driver. They had a dispute over whose passengers we were supposed to be. So, we got thrown out of the cab in the middle of a hairpin turn going over the mountain and get into the other taxi. The new driver is mad so he is flying down the mountain at high speeds. I was inches away from getting gashed by the foliage in the taxi (remember that it is open aired!). We were a little scared, and I drive everyday in Puerto Rico so I'm pretty stalwart! We got to the beach and paid $3 per adult and $0.25 per child. Magen's Bay was beautiful. We laid out our towels under a sea grape tree for shade and enjoyed the beautiful tranquil beach. There were no motorized sports there, which made it peaceful. We took another taxi back for another $32 dollars to the pier (no other choice) and did a little light shopping before getting back on the ship. I will either take the bus or rent a car the next time I'm in St. Thomas. I know they drive on the left side of the road and the bus is a little bit of a walk, but I'm not willing to support that taxi business again. I felt a little "taken"and that left a bad taste in my mouth about St. Thomas even though we had a great time at the beach. That night, back on the ship, was primarily for goodbyes. We tipped everyone and packed our bags. They picked it all up from the hallway at around 1:30 am. We did see the end of another comedian show which was good. The stars were not nearly as bright since we were not far from Puerto Rico and the pollution of light from the island has a big impact on the visibility of the stars. Oh well. We got a number card in our room. They number you from 1 to 10 based upon your need to get off the ship. You get this on your final night. The folks with early flights are typically first. For some reason we had a number 2 on our departure schedule. I expected to be number 10 since we didn't need to get on any flight. Sunday morning, we got up at 7 am. We needed to shower and pack our carry-ons since our bags were already taken. We got to the buffet by 8 am and it was just as crazy as the day before. In retrospect, we should have taken the advice we got from our waiter. We should have woken up later and gone up to the buffet at 8:30 am. After eating, we found ourselves with nothing to do and we were ready to get off. We walked to front of the ship and down the stairs to the 4th floor and got right off the ship before 9 am. We handed in our customs card with no problem. They directed us to our designated bag area (Yellow 1) and we got our bags. We handed in our customs card with no problem and hit the street. We were picked up by my wife's family and headed for home. Some final thoughts: 1) There were over a 1000 kids on the ship due to the Easter holiday. The boat is designed for families. We sat with an older couple during lunch that made an off comment that they did not want to be around so many kids. If you don't want to be around children, for whatever reason, choose a more upscale cruise line. Otherwise, go with it. I did not observe anything inappropriate as far as people being inconvenienced by children. I did observe some uptight adults with extremely low thresholds of patience. 2) Yes, everything is in English and Spanish. You need to understand that you are traveling away from the mainland US between North and South America. A good percentage of the boat had Spanish speakers (roughly half), but nearly all Spanish speakers were bilingual. I am sophisticated enough in Spanish to realize that a great deal of the Spanish I heard was not Puerto Rican. Americans travel down to Puerto Rico to get on the boat, while some South and Central Americans travel up to Puerto Rico to get on the boat. Both languages are appropriate for the audience. If you don't want exposure outside of the American culture and only want to hear English, then you shouldn't leave the mainland US for travel. If you are going to travel to Puerto Rico and leave out of that port, you should expect to hear Spanish being spoken (it is the primary language of the home port). 3) I did notice that some things were not kid friendly. We did our best to respect all of the adult only aspects of the ship, but there was a moment or two where I found it very hard to do. The solarium area (adult only) is a walk through area to get access to the front of the ship. If the adults don't want kids walking through, then that is next to impossible. There are 2 large adult only Jacuzzis in the main pool area and 2 smaller ones for general use. The adult Jacuzzis are empty while the kids can't get room. I noticed some well behaved kids in the adult Jacuzzi which should have been no problem (unless they acted up), but this becomes an accommodation problem when you want to use a Jacuzzi with your kids, but can't get use of one. 4) I did not see any of the Puerto Rican dynamic I hear about in other reviews. I know the Puerto Rican culture well. While Puerto Rican people are not rude, they are inconsiderate in general. It is just not the way the culture is built and not meant with poor intent. They are, however, very warm and friendly. Interaction with other people is important and many rules of conduct are not so strict. Americans on the other hand are considerate, but can be rude. Rules are important and less value is placed on personal interaction. I did witness adequate consideration for others and thought everyone got along just fine. I think past reviews are from the intolerant complainers who expect everything to be like home. They are the ones with the big problem on this issue. The cultures are different. Just embrace it as an interesting difference. 5) The drinks are a little interesting on the ship. If you are trying to order something that is considered complimentary (lemonade, iced tea, etc.), it is only available in a few areas of the ship. You will not find them at any of the bars on the ship. They don't make it easy. You feel like the staff wants nothing to do with you if you do not want to buy a drink from them in the way that they send you away. That treatment was consistent enough for me to determine it was deliberate. Having said that, it is not that hard to get what you want once you know where to go. I did not attempt to bring any water, soda, etc. onboard and I am glad I didn't. I really did not see reason for it. I did see a person getting hassled by Security for having Kirkland water bottles on the deck while the staff was selling water. You can easily buy $1 water bottles on the islands and get water downstairs. Alcohol, on the other hand was very expensive. 6) It was a challenge to tackle an island on an 8 am to 5 pm schedule. Aruba's 1 am sailing was a noticeably nice exception. I'm guessing some of the concern is pulling in and out of some of the ports without visual light (for safety reasons) in addition to needing the time to get from one place to the next. I don't know, but it would be a big selling point if they could leave the ports later in the evening. 7) I was not able to comment much on the Adventure Ocean program because my kids did not want to do it. We signed them up and it looked interesting, but we couldn't get the kids to do it on their own. 8) Don't miss the Meet and Mingle. I felt uncomfortable about missing it during the whole cruise and definitely missed out on meeting a bunch of interesting people. In summary, we had a good experience on the cruise. The kids loved it. I did not like the captive audience aspect of cruising or the incessant marketing that goes on, but it is a good way to sample a bunch of islands. I don't think I will be a habitual cruiser like some die-hards, but I do think I'd take another to see a new set of islands before I leave the Caribbean. I like to savor my destinations and that is something that is hard to do on a cruise. However, I don't know a better way to visit a bunch of destinations in such a short period of time. I hope this helps and I'll definitely do a few things differently know that I know better. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2007
I am 37 and my husband is 39. This is our 6th cruise,1st 4 were with Carnival and our last 2 were with RCL. Personally, we both like RCL the best...seems to be a lot better profile of people on RCL. Trip from Dallas/Ft.Worth to San Juan ... Read More
I am 37 and my husband is 39. This is our 6th cruise,1st 4 were with Carnival and our last 2 were with RCL. Personally, we both like RCL the best...seems to be a lot better profile of people on RCL. Trip from Dallas/Ft.Worth to San Juan was great. We got there 1 day early so we could be at the cruise terminal by 11:00a.m. the first day and were were able to board by 11:30a.m. My husband bought a bottle of Crown Royal and stuck it in between some clothes and it made it to our room on the cruise just fine. If anyone does that they sell individual bottle cokes in the liquor store on the boat so you can take them to your room. I would like to write some tips that I wish I knew before our first cruise and this is just my personal opinion on some issues. Balcony room is a must 1. really look at the age of the ship before booking, even if the ship is old and been renovated it still is an old ship and it tends to rock and creek more (way less amenities also).......it will make or break a cruise if you are on an old ship. Adventure is newer and it is awesome. 2. there is no alarm clock in the room, there is wake up call service but even though you are on vacation you still need to know what time it is so be sure and pack a small one. 3. there is only 2 electrical outlets so if you need more plugs you you need to bring a plug outlet extender 4. anyone booking the spa or specialty dining needs to book the minute you arrive on the ship. They book up completely by the first night. 5. Ice show is a must see. The ice show is free however; you must get a ticket to enter and they book up also very early. 6. please do not feel it is a must on buying all the excursions on the trip. We did that our first 2 cruises and learned hundreds of dollars later to plan things on your own. 7. A past guest wrote to buy a book called "Frommers Caribbean Ports of Call" and that is an AWESOME book to get for only $16.99. you can plan things on your own for alot cheaper and it tells you step by step 8. if anyone wants to bring Cuban cigars back be sure where you buy them that they give you a generic box and pull all the labels off and you will not have a problem taking them back thru customs to the U.S. (we did not do this but were told by people who buy them on every trip what to do) 9. I realize it is against the rules to "save a chair" at the pool however;everyone does it and they do nothing to stop it. If you do not save a chair on sea days by 9:30a.m. they are all taken by the pool. 10. cell phones also work at sea now if you want to bring yours. Aruba- We rented a 4X4 jeep from aruba top car rental agency thru the internet website and were able to pick it up at the pier when we got off the ship for $80.00. We had a blast and all the street signs guide you in English as to what to see Lighthouse, natural bridge and natural pool. We also booked on line eating at 6:00p.m dinner on the beach at the www.flyingfishbone.com and it was well worth the $100.00(check out the website)AWESOME. It was also safe over the net to use your credit card Curacao- took a taxi from the pier to Hato Caves (must see) and took at taxi over to the beach at the Seaquariam ($15 p/p) chairs were included St.Martin- shopped all day, my opinion best shopping port better deals than in St.Thomas. I heard the Orient Beach is also the best beach on the trip to visit. St.Thomas- shopped and then took a private taxi to Sapphire Beach. We did spend alot of money on taxis this trip however;we did not do tours thru the cruise so we still saved money. I love to cruise so if anyone ever has a question about anything please feel free to contact me at parkplaceleasing@charterinternet.com and I will be glad to help! (its a long email address, sorry) Sara Read Less
Sail Date: May 2007
By way of background, we are a 50ish professional couple from California & each been on 6 previous cruises. Traveling with no kids. Fiance has been on RCL Voyager class for W. Carib cruise. I've never been on RCL previously, but ... Read More
By way of background, we are a 50ish professional couple from California & each been on 6 previous cruises. Traveling with no kids. Fiance has been on RCL Voyager class for W. Carib cruise. I've never been on RCL previously, but have liked Celebrity. Okay, we booked this cruise thru an internet agency as a post tax season getaway. Long way to travel from Ca, but cruise price & airfare were right. Too early in season for Alaska & not enough vacation time or $$$ for Europe. Flew on Sat morn via American Airlines from SF via Miami & arrived in San Juan Sat around 6 pm. Prenight hotel was Marriott Stellaris booked at $155 via Priceline. Absolutely gorgeous hotel. Just remodeled, flat screen tv, view room, beautiful pool, Tuscany restaurant in hotel was good. Left hotel Sun morning around 11:15 via cab to Pan Am pier for AOS. We got there too early at 11:30. About 150 people in line outside on a hot & humid day with no seating. Luckily the line started moving about 10 minutes after we got there. Had Set Sail passes printed at home & were on board ship by 11:50. First order of business was get up to Portofino & book dinners for Tues & Wed nights. We had a leisurely lunch in Windjammer on 11 deck and were in room around 1:45. Midship balcony on deck 7, portside. Excellent room. Brand new comfortable bedding, nice balcony, plenty of room. Found cabin attendant, Thomas & were able to ask for and receive bathrobes and 1 feather pillow for our use during the week. Thomas was always pleasant, courteous and extremely efficient. Entertained us throughout the week with his incredible towel animals. He deserved and received his above recommended gratuity. Then toured the ship. It is beautiful. Went to the dining room and discovered we were at a table for 10 in the 3rd floor Vivaldi room 4 ft. from the captain's table. The dining room is gorgeous & includes 3 levels. The staircase is unbelievable. Our tablemates included couples from NJ, Baltimore, NM, and Maine. Meals. We were main seating for dinner 6:30 on Sun & 6 pm thereafter. The food in the main dining room was better then I expected. Not up to Celebrity standards but always good. The prime rib was excellent, the duck and pork chop stood out, the onion quiche was very good, the mushrooms in puff pastry was good and the grand marnier souffle was excellent. The service could have been better. The waiter would get things, but it could take awhile. I did not enjoy having to catch the asst. waiter's attention in order to get water, coffee or bread. We also had breakfast in the main dining room 3 or 4 days. Really enjoyed it. They put tables together and we had really fun tablemates at breakfast. Simple things, but the juice and cheese danish were excellent in the dining room. We also had breakfast in Windjammer on 11 a few times. The omelette station is recommended if you want your food hot or eggs to order. Sometimes we would order coffee & juice via room service for early morn & enjoy it on the balcony before Windjammer or dining room for breakfast. Lunch was always at Windjammer and was inconsistent. Some of the food was good & some wasn't. Good pizza was always available. Before I forget, Cafe Promenade on 5 deck always had great pastries and pizza available. We had dinner at Portofino, the alternative restaurant on Tues & Wed nights. the setting, service and food were outstanding. Loved the saltimbocca & fillet and desert sampler including white chocolate creme brulee & tirimisu were great. The mushroom pasta was also super. One other thought on food, tried writing our own breakfast order on room service for breakfast in St. Thomas & got a call from room service saying NO, they were busy & only doing cold food or omelettes. Entertainment. The ice show was super. We saw it on Tuesday and Thursday. Kenny James was a headliner act and was fantastic. The Abba show was also great. The production shows were both bad & we walked out on them. Ports. Aruba was great. We booked the RCL excursion of afternoon sail, snorkel & swing which used Jolly Pirates & it was one of our best excursions ever. We're not sure if we liked the bus ride or boat ride better, both were so fun. The snorkeling at the German shipwreck was great & yes, I did do the swing. In Curacao we joined a minivan tour & were taken all over the island, including the caves. St. Maarten was mostly about shopping and pics from the water taxi. In St. Thomas we shopped and did the RCL excursion to beautiful Megan's Bay. Only glitch was the Capt announced 5 times the night before that we needed to clear immigration before disembarking in St. thomas & we would announce when that happened. He NEVER announced it & people's timing was thrown off. We met a few people that missed tours (including St. John's) because no announcement was made. Bad error! Disembarkation in san Juan was one of the smoothest we've ever had and we enjoyed touring old San Juan, El Morro & our post cruise night at El Convento. It was a great cruise & we feel RCL is a good fit for us. We booked the Panama Canal for next year while on board. Enough said. Even on Monday the San Juan airport was a challenge. It took us 1 1/2 hours to get thru. Most rigorous security we've seen. 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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