Sail Date: February 2008
My husband and i sailed on the Adventure of the Seas on February 10 to the 17, 2008. It was our 8th cruise, so we definitely have past experiences to compare it too. We vacationed with our brother and sister-in-law, who were first time ... Read More
My husband and i sailed on the Adventure of the Seas on February 10 to the 17, 2008. It was our 8th cruise, so we definitely have past experiences to compare it too. We vacationed with our brother and sister-in-law, who were first time cruisers. Six of our cruises have been on Carnival and one several years ago was on the much smaller Sovereign of the Seas. I was anxious to see if there were going to be any noticeable differences. Generally the RC ships have a higher star rating than alot of the Carnival ships, so I figured the standards would be higher. We didn't find this at all. That doesn't mean we were disappointed. We thoroughly enjoyed the entire cruise. We had our usual balcony room which was almost identical to Carnival ships. The food, service, cleanliness of the ship were all very comparable. Our room steward, Edwin, was the friendliest we've ever met. Very pleasant to talk to. Our waiter, Noel, and his assistant Wei Wei, did a wonderful job at making sure we enjoyed our meals. We shared a table with 4 other veteran cruisers and enjoyed their company very much. The ship was clean and the decor was beautiful. The entertainment was, well, very entertaining. We took in the ice show which was amazing for a moving ship and much smaller than usual ice pad. The show in the Lyric Theatre was tremendous. Very talented group of young people. Captain Tommy was comical and did a great job at keeping the ship steady, even though we had a windy week. I would definitely recommend this cruise to first timers or veterans. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2008
DH and I are part of a cruise group called, "It's 5:00 Somewhere". We are all from the Toledo, Ohio, area, and are all middle aged "empty-nesters". This was our third group cruise on RCCL - we also cruised in March ... Read More
DH and I are part of a cruise group called, "It's 5:00 Somewhere". We are all from the Toledo, Ohio, area, and are all middle aged "empty-nesters". This was our third group cruise on RCCL - we also cruised in March 2004 in Voyager OTS and in March 2006 on Explorer OTS. There were 28 of us on this sailing. DH and I have also been on three other RCCL cruises (in 2003, 2006, and 2007). We have additional cruises planned for Fall 2008 and Spring 2010. Our group decided to book this cruise in Summer 2006, not long after it was released for booking. We had cruised the Eastern and Western itineraries and wanted to go to some new ports of call. The Southern itinerary was a logical choice. A few people in the group had been to the southern ports before, but only one couple had sailed Adventure OTS before to the ports on this sailing. We booked through a local travel agent we that the group had used in the past in order to get the perks that come with a group booking. We did not all book at the same time, nor did we book airfare or hotels through RCCL or the travel agent. Each couple was responsible for getting to San Juan to board the ship on their own. Pre-Cruise Once we booked the cruise, we had to wait until April 2007 to book airfare to San Juan. We decided to fly down the day before, so that if there were weather or airplane related delays, we would not miss our sailing. We researched fares and flight schedules, and decided to fly out of Cleveland, OH, which is about 90 miles east of our home. We bought airfare through Cheap Tickets, fling Continental down and Delta back. Because our flight was scheduled to depart at 6:10 AM, we also decided to look into a park and fly package at a hotel near the airport. We ended up booking a room at the La Quinta Inn near Hopkins airport. For $83, we were able to spend the night, catch a shuttle to the airport, and leave our car at the La Quinta Inn for up to 14 nights free of charge. The La Quinta is not a fancy place, but it was conveniently located, clean, and had ample well-lit parking. The desk clerk was pleasant and helpful when we checked in. Our wake-up call came on time, as did our shuttle to the airport. We arrived at the airport about 90 minutes before our scheduled departure. We had checked in online before we left home, so baggage check went quickly. We checked three bags and each of us had a carry-on bag. At that time of morning, there was no wait at the security check point, and we went to our gate. The flight to Newark, N.J. was uneventful, and right on time. At Newark, we were delayed about 45 minutes because we were waiting for passengers coming from Montreal and Toronto, who had been delayed by weather in Canada. Once they and their luggage were aboard, our plane waited in line another 40 minutes to take off. Once in the air, our flight to San Juan was smooth and fast. Many passengers were going on cruises with a variety of different cruise lines. Our pilot was able to make up for some lost time and we arrived in San Juan just 40 minutes later than scheduled. We got our baggage and went to wait for a cab. The cab system in San Juan is very efficient, and soon we were on our way to our hotel. Our cab driver did not speak English, nor did he stop at stop signs. We almost hit a police car head-on and were almost broadsided by a truck on the way to the hotel. It was definitely a white knuckle ride. We needed a hotel room in San Juan for the night before sailing. Most of our group had booked rooms at the Comfort Inn in San Juan, and a few booked at the Holiday Inn. I decided to try Price Line, and was able to get a night at the San Juan Marriott Resort on Condado Beach for less than half the rack rate. I had never tried Price Line before, and had to bid repeatedly for a 3-star of better room, but the aggravation was worth it. As soon as we pulled up to the San Juan Marriott Resort, a uniformed porter was at the cab door to take our bags. There was no wait to check in and the clerk was polite and efficient, if not overly friendly. The lobby is large and what you would expect at a 4-start resort property. We went up to our room on the 9th floor, and our bags got there within 5 minutes. Our room was painted a sunny lemon yellow with white trim, and was very attractive. The A/C worked just fine, and the bathroom was huge. Furnishings were heavy wood (looked like mahogany), counter tops were black granite. There was a flat panel TV, and an alarm clock. The king bed must have had 8 pillows on it, and clean high quality linens. We had a "city view" room, which meant that the small balcony overlooked a building next door that appeared to be in the process of renovation. Because our room was toward the rear of the building, we only had to look to the left for a beach/ocean view. We decided to change and go to the beach before dinner. There was a pool bar and beautiful pool with a mosaic tiled bottom that we passed on the way to the beach. A towel attendant signed out towels to us. There were plenty of beach chairs and umbrellas available, but it was late afternoon and many people were going in for the day. When it was time for us shower for dinner, we noticed a nice selection of body soaps and shampoos in our bathroom. The shower had a "falling rain" shower head. We had made reservations at the Tuscany Restaurant, located on the ground floor of the hotel. We figured that since it was well rated by Frommer's and right there, it would be a good choice. The Tuscany Restaurant specializes in Italian food. The ambiance is what you'd expect in a good Italian place...dark and cozy, and Mediterranean-looking. We split a salad of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil, which was very good. DH ordered veal marsala, and I ordered veal piccatta. Since the side dish was sauteed veggies (which neither of is that fond of), we asked if we could substitute a pasta side. DH ordered mushroom risotto and I ordered farfalle with alfredo sauce. We assumed there might be a small substitution charge, but none was mentioned by our server. My food was very good, but DH was disappointed in his, saying the sauce contained little marsala, and tasted like a bland brown gravy. Both of us agreed that the veal was very fresh and tender. We both had dessert and split a bottle of red wine. We were a bit surprised by our bill when it came...over $144.00! We had each been charged $10.00 for the side dish substitutions. We knew our meal would be a little pricey, but we were not prepared for that. Next time we would not eat there. After dinner we walked to the nearby Walgreen's to buy a 12-pack of Diet Coke that DH always drinks on the ship, and then DH went to the casino for a bit. We went to bed early...we were tired and had had a busy day. All Aboard! After checking out of the hotel (we didn't bother with breakfast), we took a taxi to the cruise pier about 10:30 AM. A line was just forming to board the ship. After checking our baggage with the ship's porters, we waited in line until 11:45, when RCCL agents began allowing people inside to check in. Since we are platinum Crown and Anchor members, we were able to go through the priority check-in line. No one else was in it, so we walked right up to the counter to check in. Even for those who were not able to use the priority check-in, the process went very quick, and there were plenty of agents on hand. Within 15 minutes we had our Seapass cards, our photos taken, and were on Adventure of the Seas. We headed up to the Windjammer, which wasn't quite open yet, so we walked over to Portofino to make reservations for Wednesday night. By the time we had completed that, the Windjammer was open. There was a huge assortment of food on the buffet, including my favorite RCCL soup, potato and leek. There was something for everyone as there usually is at lunchtime...soup, salads, pasta and sauces, pizza, subs, burgers, etc. Our Cabin and Stateroom Attendant Staterooms were supposed to be open to guests at 1:00 PM, but stateroom attendants were still rushing around in preparation at that time. We were in cabin 7624, an E2 balcony on deck 7, port side, on the rear edge of the "hump". This was our first balcony cabin ever, and we splurged this time because, with the various discounts we were entitled to, the price was right. We had expected our E2 to be quite a bit larger than the interior cabin (cat M) we usually book, but, except for the balcony, the cabin appeared to be about the same size. Even so, it was clean and comfortable, and we had plenty of room. There were some maintenance issues, though. The light on the left side of the vanity mirror never did work during the duration of the cruise. We felt that this was something our stateroom attendant should have checked and had fixed before we arrived. Our phone did not work properly because spring on the button that pops up when you lift the receiver was broken. DH told the stateroom attendant, but nothing was done. We did eventually get a replacement phone on Wednesday evening after DH complained at the customer service desk. We had the air conditioning on the coldest setting, and it was just adequate, at best. The refrigerator cooled our sodas, but they were not cold. Our stateroom attendant was Leo. He was friendly, but not very efficient. Our room and bathroom were cleaned adequately, and we had nightly towel animals after the first night, but we never got ice in our ice bucket, except for the one night DH made a point of asking for a "big bucket of ice". That night, we got an overflowing ice bucket of the sort the beers on the pool deck are served in when you order them by the bucket. Leo never noticed the burnt out bulb in the vanity mirror, nor did he arrange to have the phone repaired after being asked. On sailing day, we asked him (and wrote a note for him) to empty the mini-fridge so we would have room for our Diet Coke. He only partially emptied it by the second evening, and we had just enough room for our sodas. On Wednesday evening, I left a note on our damp beach towels, asking for a towel exchange, so we would have fresh towels for the next day. He took the old towels, but didn't leave new ones. On the final evening of the cruise, Leo should have delivered tip vouchers to our cabin before dinnertime, as we had opted to put our tips on our Seapass account. At 6:00, the vouchers weren't there and we went to dinner without them. Between dinner and dessert, DH had to run to the customer service desk and get a set of vouchers printed up so that we could tip our waiter and other dinner servers. Of course, our vouchers were in the room when we returned from dinner...a couple hours too late. If I hadn't put our tips on our Seapass account, I would have left him less than the recommended tip. Day 1 - Sunday - Sailing After boarding, eating lunch, and checking out our cabin, we met friends down at the pool bar. Some were part of our group, and others were people we'd "met" on Cruise Critic. We had a great time, sipping foo foo drinks and rejoicing the fact that our cruise was finally here! The pool area was clean and inviting, and pool water temp was 81 degrees. The pool bar was busy. By the time I went back to check on our bags at about 4:00, they were outside our cabin door. Some of our friends cruising with us didn't get theirs until after dinner. Muster was at 5:30 PM. It went very smoothly, and was probably the quickest muster I've ever experienced. Captain Tommy welcomed us all aboard, but kept his remarks short before dismissing us. Our group of 28 was seated at three tables in the main dining room. This was the first cruise our group was seated as we'd requested...our tables were together, and everyone was assigned to the correct table. On the previous two cruises, the seating arrangements were incorrect....those times the TA blamed RCCL and vice versa. This time they did it right! Our waiter was Hakan, from Turkey, and our assistant was Natalie, from Trinidad and Tobago. Both did a great job, although Hakan's English was difficult to understand and he was somewhat soft spoken, so sometimes it was difficult to hear him in the noisy dining room. I was surprised to see prime rib on the menu the first night. I don't ever remember seeing it on the menu for sailing day in the past. The prime rib was probably the best I've had on a cruise, but the baked potato was tough and overdone. After dinner we unpacked and I stopped up at the sail away party on the pool deck. There were a fair number of people there, dancing, drinking, and having a good time. Some friends who were in a Grand Suite on deck 10 were having a small party, so we went to that. Their stateroom was beautiful, and large, but also a LOT more expensive. The sail away parade was at midnight...too late for many people, but we managed to stay awake long enough to go. The music and costumes were great, but there weren't nearly as many people at this parade as others I've been to earlier in the evening. Day 2 - Monday - Sea Day DH went to breakfast, and then went to save deck chairs for us in our usual spot on deck 12. Cruisers are no longer provided towels in their staterooms, as on our previous cruises. The towel exchange is on the pool deck, which makes much more sense. You give the attendant your cabin number, and he gives you beach towels. There was no mention of a fee for "losing" your towels, as in the past. We spent most of the day in the sun and water, taking breaks for lunch at the Windjammer. There was a PA announcement about getting tickets for the skating show, so a couple of us went to get those. By the time we got to Studio B there was a long line of people to get skating show tickets, but the line moved quickly and there were plenty of tickets. Early afternoon was spent watching pool deck games...tug-of-war, the Mr. Sexy Legs contest, and line dancing lessons. We worked on our tans until it was time for our private drinks party from 3:30 to 4:30 in the Cloud Nine lounge on deck 14. The party was a gift from our TA, to thank us for the group booking. The bar server was very nice, but on the slow side. We waited a much longer time for our drinks than we had on our last group cruise drinks party two years ago. Maybe this was to keep us from drinking very much. Most of us got two drinks, but a few people managed a third. Also, this time, there was no snack...last time we got trail mix. When the party ended, we went back and took quick showers before the Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle in the Blue Moon lounge at 5:00. Why they ever scheduled the Meet and Mingle to start an hour before main seating for dinner on formal night, I will never know. Of the 94 who registered, only about two dozen people showed up...most of the others were dressing for formal night. The young man from the Cruise Director's staff who mediated this was filling in for someone on vacation, and he seemed very nervous and unsure of himself. He did try, though, and was friendly and outgoing. DH won a RCCL ball cap. I would have loved to actually meet more people and do some mingling, had a better time been arranged for this. We skipped the formal portraits...no time with the Meet and Mingle at 5:00. Featured dinner entree was fillet of beef, which was tender, but a bit overcooked for my taste, and a shared bowl of linguine with mushroom sauce, which was surprisingly good. The pasta dish is new on the dinner menu since our last cruise. The captain's reception took place in the promenade between dinner seatings. The Cruise Director, Mike Szwajkowski, from Canada, introduced Captain Tommy and the other senior officers. Servers circulated with free champagne. The large crowd thinned when it was time for second dinner seating and the show in theater was getting ready to start. We didn't go hear the singer who was the featured entertainer that night. DH went to the casino, and I was tired, so I turned in early. Day 3 - Tuesday - Aruba This might have been my favorite day of the cruise. We booked the Sailaway Snorkel and Beach excursion (A06) through RCCL. It consisted of a sail on a catamaran to two snorkeling sites, a BBQ lunch, and stop at Palm Beach before sailing back to the ship...all with a generous open bar. The excursion was operated by Pelican Adventures, and the guide's name was George. He was funny, engaging and very well informed. We sailed to a reef that had many fish, and then to the shipwreck Atilla, from WWII. Most people did not have their own equipment, but there was plenty for everyone. We had brought our own snorkels and masks, but used the fins and vests provided. They even had size 14 fins for DH! Everyone was cautioned about drinking too much of the tasty (but potent) rum punch until we were done snorkeling. After snorkeling, we docked at the Pelican Adventures' tiki hut on Palm Beach for a BBQ chicken and rib lunch. Both the chicken and ribs were very good, although they were not hot. The pasta salad was delicious, but the corn on the cob was tough and chewy. We had about a half hour to enjoy Palm Beach, and then we sailed back to the departure dock, which was close to the ship. Aboard Adventure again, we exchanged our towels on the pool deck and showered in preparation for the Sunset Catamaran Cruise excursion, also booked through RCCL. The tour operator for this excursion is Red Sail, and the catamaran was larger than the one we were on for the snorkel trip. This excursion also included an open bar. The bar was more extensive and the drinks were strong and plentiful, although we didn't see anyone who appeared to have had too much to drink. It was a great venue for enjoying the beautiful Aruban sunset, making new friends, and taking photos. We pulled back up to the dock not too long after the sun had set and it was getting dark....perfect timing. Back aboard Adventure, several of us decided to have dinner at Johnny Rockets, since we'd sailed right through dinner. Our burgers were big and juicy and we had great service, but we were also the only ones there (there were eight of us). After dinner some of us went to the skating show. The skaters in this show were superior to those I've seen on previous cruises. A couple of them did triple jumps, no easy feat on such a small rink because of the speed needed to execute the jumps. I'd highly recommend the excursions we took in Aruba, as well as the skating show aboard the ship. Last, but not least of the day's activities was the Love and Marriage game (based loosely on the old TV show "The Newlywed Show"), a standard that never fails to entertain. CD Mike did a great job as emcee, and although there were no winners, per se, there were plenty of laughs. At the conclusion of the Love and Marriage, the CD's staff donned Roman-style togas and performed their funny version of "Fountains", in which they filled their mouths with water from pitchers and then posed, spitting out the water like ancient fountains. This was done to new age-y music, and was very funny...had to see to appreciate. Day 4 - Wednesday - Curacao At almost 9:00 AM, we got off the ship in Curacao and went to meet our guide for the day, Henry "Leo" Plaate (also known as Rent-a-Guide). Seven of us had gotten together via Cruise Critic (four out of our group and three members of a family from Montreal) to engage Leo's services for the day. We had researched Curacao on Cruise Critic (as well as other online sites), and many posters had referred to Leo, saying how much they had enjoyed having him lead them on island tours. Leo led us to a large air conditioned van, and off we went. Leo is a Curacao native, and is a virtual encyclopedia of the island's history, topography, culture, flora and fauna...not to mention that he knows the best beaches, places to shop, snorkel, eat, etc. There wasn't a question any of us asked that he could not answer. Because we all had cameras and snorkel equipment with us, we went to many of the best places to take pictures and snorkel, as well as getting a real overview of all Curacao has to offer. It was a fascinating, fun, and informative day well spent. We got back to the ship about half an hour before we had to board Adventure, just enough time to buy a Christmas ornament at the flea market that locals had set up under tents at the pier. Our entire day with Leo had only cost $50/pp, a real bargain, and the best money we spent on the cruise. Anyone interested in booking Leo's services need only to visit the Curacao forum on Cruise Critic for info. Once back in our cabin, we went out to the balcony to watch the "runners", those people who were running back to the ship so it would not leave without them...lots of cheering and clapping to embarrass them! DH and I had made reservations at Portofino with another couple, and at 7:00 PM, we went to dinner. Portofino is Adventure's specialty Italian restaurant, for which RCCL charges an additional $20/pp. The food actually is worth the extra money and is superb. Three of us ordered the roasted garlic potato soup as an appetizer. It was smooth and tasty, with just a hint of garlic. DH ordered veal, and the rest of us ordered fillet mignon, which was prepared to order, flavorful, and tender. We all had the dessert sampler, which was wonderful, but I was too full to eat it all. Service was attentive and leisurely...bordering on slow. It seemed to take an awfully long time for the server to bring out coffee to go with dessert. We were halfway through dessert before the coffee arrived. And when we were finished, it took her forever to bring the Seapass receipt that we needed to sign before leaving. By then, we were looking at our watches, and wondering if we were missing anything. DH and a buddy decided to retire to the cigar bar and I went to the promenade to catch the end of the 70's party there, and then it was time to head for Studio B for the Quest. For anyone who has never experienced it, the Quest is a sort of adult scavenger hunt, not to be missed by anyone over the age of about 16 or so. Without going into detail and ruining it for the uninitiated, let me just say it is a "must do" if you have a sense of humor and don't mind making a bit of a fool of yourself. Our team came in third place! A drink at the Duck and Dog pub topped off the night. Day 5 - Thursday - Sea Day By Thursday, we all needed a sea day to recharge our batteries for the final two ports of call. We went to our usual place on deck 12 to secure deck chairs, but it was so windy, we moved down to deck 11 and staked our claim on chairs in front of the Windjammer. Big mistake....by 10:45, those chairs were in the shade for the rest of the day. We moved out to benches adjacent to the port side pool to stay in the sun. Eventually the deck patrol person asked us to remove our items from the chairs we were not occupying. No one ever did occupy those seats after we left. Another tug-of-war was held on the pool deck, and then it was time for the belly flop contest. A friend of ours made a valiant effort, but the easy winner was a big biker dude, who was actually a really nice guy. Later in the afternoon, I tried my luck at Win-a-Cruise Bingo. Luck was not with me....I only had four of the eight required numbers to win. Guess I'll have to pay for the next one.... This was the second formal night of the cruise. Most of the cruisers at our table had lobster for dinner. Not being a seafood eater, I opted for a steak. DH ordered escargot for his appetizer, and when it arrived, it was not hot. When he asked for a replacement, it came promptly and was warmer, but still not piping hot. I had ordered my steak rare, and it was medium-rare to medium. It was not a very thick steak, and probably continued to cook on its way out to me. Following dinner, DH and I, and our tablemates went to the Blue Moon lounge on deck 14 for the Platinum/Diamond cruisers' reception. It was very elegant, with champagne and hors d'ouerves, and a string quartet playing classical music. It was a peaceful respite in a hectic week. But, as it ended, I realized I'd really have to hustle to get a seat at the show, Beatle Mania Live. Beatle Mania is a Beatles tribute band, and was the headline show for the week. They did sound a lot like the real Beatles and put on a good show, but they did not look like the Beatles, with the exception of the guy who was supposed to be George Harrison...he really DID look like George in his younger days. Five years ago, we saw another Beatles tribute band, Revolution, on Explorer OTS. I thought they were quite a bit better than Beatle Mania, but enjoyed the Beatle Mania show just the same. Just before I went up to our cabin for the night, I stopped by the Cafe Promenade for sandwiches to take to the beach for lunch the next day. We had packed a small collapsible cooler just for this purpose. Day 6 - Friday - St. Martin/ St. Maarten At 8:45 AM, 18 of us met at the Champagne bar, not to drink champagne, but to head to Orient Beach on the French side of St. Martin. It is one of our favorite beaches...white sugar sand, and sparkling turquoise water. Taxi vans hold 14 persons each, and the fare to Orient Beach is $6.00/pp, which is very reasonable for the 20 minute trip. The drivers are more than happy to point out landmarks as you pass them. It took two vans to get all of us and some other folks to the beach. Along Orient Beach, different interests control sections of the 2+ mile long stretch. Each of them rents out beach chairs and umbrellas, and some serve drinks and food. The rates vary from area to area, and we settled in at the Bikini Beach section, which is close to the taxi drop off. We paid $17.50 for two chairs and an umbrella. Beers were $4-5/each. We didn't realize at the time that if we'd walked maybe 100 yards to the Kon Tiki area, we would have paid about half as much for nicer beach chairs ($9/each with umbrella) and had ready access to much cheaper beers ($1.50-$2/each). We'll know better next time. Caution: Orient Beach is clothing optional, so if one is uncomfortable with nudity at the beach, this is not the place to go. There are not a lot of kids at this beach. At the far right (if one is facing the water) is the part of the beach operated by Club Orient, and most people on this part of the beach are totally nude. Cell phones and cameras are prohibited here, and it is considered poor form to stare, laugh, point, take pictures, etc., although sometimes it's hard not to! Our day at Orient Beach was somewhat windy and the ocean was quite rough. Only those who are good swimmers were in the water. I and a few others did some body surfing. It was a blast, even though our suits were full of sand by the time we got out of the water. We stayed at the beach until about 2:00 PM and then took a taxi back into Philipsburg (on the Dutch side) to do some shopping (taxi back to town was also $6.00/pp). There were some excellent jewelry prices here, and plenty to choose from, and most of us ladies (and a couple guys) went back to the ship with some bling. One can walk back to the ship from downtown, but it's a long hot walk. The best way to get back to the ship is by water taxi, $4.00/pp. There was a long line for the water taxis, so allow enough time to get back to the ship, so as not to be left behind when Adventure sails away. The trip on the water taxi provides a great photo op of the Adventure...one can see the size of the ship in contrast to the MUCH smaller sailboats in the harbor. It was on this evening that applications to pay tips on our Seapass account were due. We began to realize our cruise was going by way too quickly! We also reserved a copy of the Cruise in Review video to take home as a souvenir. After dinner I went to see the production show "Don't Stop the Rock", performed by the RC singers and dancers. This was really the only production show I saw in its entirety. The show seemed amateur and cheesy to me...I've seen much better on other ships, despite the good vocal performances by the lead female singer. The "Island Frenzy" parade in the promenade started at 10:45 PM, and was much better attended than the Welcome Back parade had been, probably because it wasn't as late. Again, there was lots of great music and costumes to put almost anyone in a festive mood. I went to the Cafe Promenade again for sandwiches to rake ashore in St. Thomas. After the parade, there was a poolside buffet and party on the pool deck, which I did not attend. This informal feast has taken the place of the standard midnight buffet, which has been eliminated from RCCL's cruises. Personally, I thought the grand buffets in the dining room were a huge waste of food and manpower, considering that most of the food seemed to be more photographed than eaten. But I do know that many long time cruisers do miss the traditional buffet. Day 7 - Saturday - St. Thomas It was hard to fathom that this was our last day! It was up early to go though customs in the dining room on the ship. Lines were long, but the process was well organized and we walked through quickly. A taxi took us to Coki Beach ($9/pp) on the north side of the island. Coki is one of the best places on St. Thomas to snorkel from the beach, and is just west of Coral World. Beach chairs cost $5/ea for the day. There are no umbrellas, but the beach is narrow, and there are plenty of palm tress and other vegetation for shade. The "Mailman", an island native and former beach bartender, now owns his own business on the beach, selling drinks and food from a building nestled in the vegetation right behind the beach. Drinks were $5-7/ each, for 16 oz. Some of us tried a drink called the "horny turtle", a light green frozen concoction full of alcohol that tasted a lot like frozen pistachio pudding. Beware: you don't taste the alcohol, but it's there! Several of us went snorkeling...fortunately the waters were a bit calmer than at St. Martin, and there were plenty of fish to see in the sea. DH and I had our sandwiches, but decided to sample the Mailman's jerked chicken platter for lunch. For $12, we got a healthy helping of jerked chicken, rice and beans, and fried plantains. It was one of life's more memorable meals, in a good way. Everything was absolutely delicious, and we felt the price was fair, considering the high price of food in general on these islands...everything has to be imported. Around 2:00, it was time to do some more shopping in the stores near the pier. DH got a nice deal on a Tissot watch...about 20% less than in the U.S., and no sales tax, a savings of an extra 7%, if he had bought the watch at home. We got back to the ship close to mandatory boarding time...it was the only time we had to wait in a line to get back on the ship. Back on Adventure for the last time, it was time for to start packing. Our last dinner in the dining room, our last drinks at the pub, the last few quarters in the slot machines, the last towel animal...lots of memories. I made it down to the farewell show, and was sorry I'd missed the juggler's full performance earlier in the week...he was great. When many of the crew got on stage to say their public en masse good-bye, I had tears in my eyes, as corny as it was! Departure Almost everything was packed, and the suitcases were out in the hall. DH decided to see if he could win back a bit of his deposit to the casino, and I sat out on the balcony a bit, reflecting a bit. Nope...wouldn't have changed a thing, except maybe that first dinner in San Juan. On Sunday morning, we got off when our group was called (we were grouped by color) and went to retrieve our luggage for our trip to the San Juan airport. Everyone's luggage was in a huge room, sorted only by color, so there were thousands of bags in each color section. It took us awhile to find our bags, but once we did, a porter was very helpful in getting them and us into a cab and off to the airport. Outside of the airport, we tore off the cruise ship luggage tags and got in line to check in. Bad move...everyone who still had their ship tags on was checked right through, but because we'd removed ours, we had to haul our bags to an FDA checkpoint for additional screening. It didn't take long, but was aggravating. After that, check-in went smoothly. Since the security level was at orange, going through the security check point took a longer than it had on the way down, but we had plenty of time. We were the first people to get to our gate. There were very few seats for all the people who would be on that plane, most latecomers either stood or sat on the floor. A troupe of Puerto Rican singers and dancers made their way through our terminal, entertaining all of us who were waiting to leave for other places. Our flights home were uneventful, although our connecting flight from New York's JFK Airport was delayed over two hours due to mechanical and runway delays (planes backed up to take off), and we didn't make it to our home in snowy Ohio until 2:00 AM. All in all, we had a great time, and I would highly recommend the Adventure for this Southern Caribbean itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2008
I give full credit to another CC poster, Caribbeanbound, for this excellent template that was used for a previous review which he agreed to allow me to use for mine. Part I - Precruise A. Inception We are a group of 14 that cruised the ... Read More
I give full credit to another CC poster, Caribbeanbound, for this excellent template that was used for a previous review which he agreed to allow me to use for mine. Part I - Precruise A. Inception We are a group of 14 that cruised the Adventure of the Seas March 9 departure from San Juan Puerto Rico. Our ages ranged from 6 to 76. We had a total of 5 kids in the Adventure Ocean kid's club. We had visited all of the islands on this cruise previously so we had some idea what to expect on each one. I booked the cruise through a reliable Travel Agent (TA) I found some time ago. I have never met this TA but she seems knowledgeable and puts up with my questions as well as processing any price reductions we find or she finds. She also provides little bonuses for using her services. We are Canadian but always book in USD with this US based TA. Our cruise experience prior to this was one Celebrity cruise (Galaxy), and 3 RCCL cruises (Splendour, Voyager and Explorer). Only Galaxy had left from San Juan while the others were Galveston and Miami. We much prefer San Juan departures as they tend to be warmer than Florida and the airport is much easier to navigate than Miami. We are trying to escape the cold so to cruise out of Miami where we could still need long pants makes little sense to us anymore. B. Cruise Critic We use the community chat boards on CruiseCritic.com extensively for cruise port hints and information. This review is my way of sharing and I hope it helps some others who are planning a similar cruise. C. Choice of Route, Cruiseline and Ship As I noted above, we chose this route because of the departure port. We wanted to fly far away from the cold. The fact that we had four excellent stops (Aruba, Curacao, St Martin and St Thomas) also helped in our decision. We are also partial to RCCL due to their excellent repeat guest program (Crown and Anchor) and we prefer the larger RCCL ships as they have more for us and our traveling party to do while onboard - something we missed while on the Galaxy earlier this year. D. Choice of Airline This was pretty easy. We could get nonstop flights on Air Canada and fly from Toronto to San Juan in just under 5 hours; or we could have saved $200 per person and spent 8 - 10 hours in the air and on the ground in the middle of winter at the outset of Canadian March Break to catch a connection down to San Juan. We chose efficiency over cost. I should note that most of our tickets were booked through my frequent flyer points so the cost difference noted above would be for those actually paying for tickets rather than for ourselves as we got ours for free. Flying hints: 1. Go non-stop if you fly. Each connection increases the possibility of lost luggage and additional flight delays. 2. Consider flying in to your departure port one day early. This can be a major stress reducer! (For this cruise, we flew out the day before in one of the worst snow storms that had hit Toronto are in a while. We were fine. Others in our party arrived 11 hours later than expected. Over 100 people had to join the cruise on day 3 in Aruba.). 4. Don't select your airline seats without first visiting SeatGuru.com. They have detailed airplane seating plans and hints about each seat for almost every planes flown by the major airlines. F. Choice of cabin Generally, the lower your cabin and the more central its location, the less you will feel the movements of the ship. In an attempt to save some money on this cruise, we opted for connecting inside cabins on deck 7. RCCL has a few connecting insides that we find works well for us and our two young daughters. They go in the cabin beside us but always have access to mom and dad through an internal door. (Note that being immediately above or below an active deck area or the dining room can be noisy.) Ocean-view cabins and cabins with verandas were more expensive at the time we booked. We typically choose insides when we sail but have also had a veranda. For us, the cost difference is not justified. For others, it obviously is. If you are new to cruising, I suggest trying both. G. Price When comparing prices, be sure you are being quoted a rate which includes all taxes and port fees and fuel surcharges. Less than reputable sites will quote cruise rates without taxes and fees. I thought the price we were originally quoted was quite reasonable for our room, ports, taxes, 7 day cruise length, a "Voyager" class ship, and an embarkation from San Juan. We paid $679 per person (including all port fees and taxes) for an inside cabin during March Break. (I include the cost information so those looking at Florida trips can figure out if it is worth the extra flight cost to go to Puerto Rico instead.). We also tend to book our next cruise while onboard which gives us $100 per cabin and we have RCCL shares which is another $100 per cabin and our TA gives us perks that total around $100 per cabin so, makes the cruise that much more affordable and gives us a nice starting point on our on board account. H. Passports I understand that passports are now required for travel. We brought our passports and experienced no problems with immigration or customs. I. Insurance We did not book any insurance. You may want to. Everyone's situation and reason for having insurance varies. J. Prebooking Excursions We book almost all of our excursions on our own. We have learned that there is no need to book excursions through the cruiseline UNLESS there is a chance you won't make it back in time to catch the ship's departure. However, it is important that you thoroughly research your excursions and the companies that provide them. CruiseCritic.com is an excellent resource for this. You can find recommendations in the Ports of Call threads K. Packing Packing Hints came from the CruiseCritic.com board. We packed for 2 Formal nights (suit or tux / fine dinner dress), 2 Semi-Formal nights (dress pants and dress shirt / dinner dress), and 3 Casual nights (golf shirts and Dockers, blouses and skirts), in addition to enough clothing to cover us for 11 days. Part II - Embarkation A. The Port We flew into San Juan, Puerto Rico the day before and stayed at the Holiday Inn Isla Verde where we had stayed a few months prior. The next day we left at noon and since we are Platinum Crown and Anchor members, we were given access to priority boarding lines that had us on the ship within 20 minutes. Our rooms were ready at 1:00 pm and we had our luggage at 4:00 pm. Departure time was 8:30 although they stayed a bit later trying to gather as many of the snow delayed travelers as they could. B. Explore The Cabin We were in cabin 7651, an inside category L cabin. The cabin was extremely well laid out. Lots of drawers and enough room in the closets for our clothes. Luggage fits nicely underneath the bed once empty and can be pulled back out as clothes become dirty and need to be put away. The bathroom has lots of room, and the shower was good enough. Hangers and robes were provided. The room safe is located above the TV behind one of the small doors. The desk featured a number of informational brochures including Sunday's event newsletter "The Daily Compass". Our cabin steward did a wonderful job throughout our cruise. C. Lifeboat/Muster Drill About two hours prior to leaving port at 6:00 pm, we participated in the mandatory lifeboat drill. The drill went smoothly and lasted 30 minutes. F. Dinner - 6pm First Seating Dinner on the first night was actually at 6:30 pm due to the muster drill. We selected the first seating. It is typically the more popular seating, especially amongst families with children. We did not find that the first seating interrupted our port activities in any way and we tend to plan around being back with plenty of time anyways. As we travel in a large group most times we end up being seated with our group amongst two or three tables. Those who are traveling in smaller groups will either be at a table for their group size or may be grouped with others at larger tables. I strongly recommend getting a large table. You will get a chance to make lifetime friends. You may want to have more alone time so you may not want this option. If you don't like your table mates or your table location, simply inform the Maitre'D and he'll try to find you another table. Part III - Food! The meals met our expectations. There was good variety. No one at our table ever needed to send back an undercooked or overcooked item. In fact, I would say that the food was better this past cruise than on some other occasions on RCCL. Celebrity still has a slight advantage in food but we did not go hungry. A. Always Available We were informed the first night, that the following items are available every night (even if they do not appear on the menu): Caesar salad, chicken, salmon, pasta and marinara sauce and a NY Strip steak. Kids were able to always order macaroni and cheese, chicken strips, chicken breast and steak. They could always order off of the adult menu as well. Similarly, adults can order off of the kids menu. B. The Best Breakfast Items Nothing stands out as overly special from the buffet although you can order omelets made to your liking and the same people will also cook you eggs how you want them if you do not want the precooked scrambled that are on the buffet. I tend to choose to assemble a sandwich (egg over hard, lettuce, tomato, cheese, toast...all from different sections of the buffet). One member of our group was thrilled to see smoked salmon at breakfast every morning. C. The Best Lunch Items I am not a big Johnny Rockets fan but if you like their burgers, you can get them onboard along with all you can eat fries and rings for $3.95. Other items cost more (milkshakes, soda, etc). D. The Best Appetizer Escargot! All appetizers were well presented. E. The Best Soups Tomato soup, Asparagus soup. The fruit soups are not personal favorites as it seems to me to just be like drinking juice rather than a cold soup. F. The Best Salads They were all good although I thought the dressing on spinach salad the one night was quite flavorless. G. The Best EntrEes The Prime Rib, Filet Mignon/Beef Tenderloin, Scallops, Duck a l'Orange, and Lobster Tails. Of course, you can always get a bad cut of meat and disagree but this is what we loved this time. H. The Best Desserts The small flourless chocolate cake wins the day again. It is part of a three piece sampler one night. I just ask for the other two pieces to be replaced by more of the chocolate cake. I. Room Service We ordered room service twice on this cruise and the food appeared quickly and did the trick. This service is free but a tip is always appreciated. J. Midnight Buffets Still have not seen one of these on all of our trips. I understand that they are being scaled back due to the sheer waste of food. L. Beverages We ordered wine with most of our suppers. We missed having a sommelier as is provided on Celebrity. It was up to us to figure out what we would like. Wine prices are as they would be in a land based restaurant. About double+ what you would pay at the store. Part IV - Entertainment A. Movies All the movies were shown in the Cinema. They were mostly releases from about a year ago. We did not watch any movies in the Cinema. B. Shows The Theatre is gorgeous, with comfortable seating and good sight lines. We found most of the shows to be entertaining. BeatleMania live was our favorite as they are an excellent cover band and we know all of the words. C. Casino Large casino filled with slot machines, one Craps table, one roulette table, and a few poker and blackjack tables. While underutilized, the Craps table was constantly manned in the evenings. The casino was open while at sea. Closed while in ports. It could get quite smoky. We noted that there is a dead time around 9:00 until 10:00 while most cruisers are either at second dinner seating or at the show. D. Spa Took a look at it and used some of the equipment a few mornings. Quite new equipment and well stocked. Never a lineup for anything. E. Outdoor Pools and Hot tubs. They were busy pretty much all day. We used them very little on sea days and chose to just relax in the sun. F. In-room TV There were a number of closed-circuit ship channels and satellite stations (Global CNN, ESPN, Eye on CBS, Cartoon Network, and a few others) available on the TV in the cabin. Pay-per-view movies were also available. You can also order room service and check your current account on the TV as well. Part V - Health Concerns A. Smoking There was no smoking in the restaurants or theaters. Smoking was permitted in the night clubs, casino, the smoking lounge, outside, and the port side of the ship. The air circulation in the casino and night clubs was generally poor. All it took was for one person to light up for the air to become very poor. Therefore we generally avoided these areas. We did not observe anyone abusing the smoking privilege. They had every right to smoke in various areas of the ship and they did. B. Pools and Hot Tubs We did not witness any babies in the pools or tubs. C. General Cleanliness of the Ship In a word: impeccable. You could not take a stroll without witnessing some type of cleaning going on at all hours. The ship was constantly being cleaned: floors, walls, fixtures, everything! They were not handing out sanitizing towels at the entrance to dinner nor were there the sanitizer squirters anymore. D. Viruses To the best of our knowledge, there was no outbreak on our ship. Kudos to our fellow passengers and RCCL personnel for their personal diligence. E. Seasickness We had calm seas the entire cruise. It was a bit windy one night but the AOS seems so big that it did not affect it much. You should remember that seasickness medicine is generally available free of charge from the pursers desk. Part VI - Ship Notes A. Ship and Crew We were very impressed with the ship and crew. Very friendly and competent. We have experienced the opposite in the past with RCCL as well so this was refreshing for us. The ship and furnishings were in very good shape. You could see some wear and tear but my carpets at home and work have the same. B. The Shops There was something on sale each day. The booze prices on the ship were guaranteed to be as good as, or better than, shops in the ports. C. Internet Service The good news: there are plenty of computer terminals with internet access on the ship. The bad news: it costs 55 cents per minute. You can get your cost down to around 35 cents a minute if you buy a bulk of minutes. The result: They were way underutilized. I never saw more than 6 people at a time using them. Most of the time, no one was using them. Connection time seems to be somewhat better than on prior cruises but if you are used to high speed at home, prepare to read a book while waiting for pages to load while onboard. D. Kids Our ship had about 700 kids on board. They behaved very well. Kids tend to be heaviest during the summer, school vacations and especially heavy on holiday cruises. Avoid the holiday cruises at all costs if you wish to avoid kids. This was Canadian March Break and it showed. Our kids loved the kids program and keep wanting to go back all of the time. In fact, we try to have them finished supper by 7:00 pm and then take them to kids club. We then enjoy the second half of our supper as adults on our own. Part VII - The Ports A. Oranjestad, Aruba We prearranged one activity here. We headed to MooMba Beach on Palm Beach for Jolly Pirates' "Sail, Snorkel, Swim, and Swing" from 9:30am to 2:30pm. You can easily get to Palm Beach via taxi for $10 or via local bus for $1.30 per person. There is a free shuttle from the ship to the cruise ship terminal. To catch a bus, simply exit the terminal, turn right, and cross the street to the Bus Terminal --- an orange building with white columns and benches. Take the #10 "Hotels" bus. Palm Beach has several stops. Get off at the Holiday Inn, walk through the lobby to the beach, turn right, walk about 100 yards to MooMba Beach. Jolly Pirate's office is just behind the large thatched roof beach bar. Check-in for Jolly Pirates was at 9am. It's $53 per person (less a 15% online booking discount) plus tip. We set sail in a pirate ship for three snorkel sites: two reefs and a WWII sunken German cargo ship. We also got to enjoy swinging off the ship into the ocean. (I was the only passenger to complete a back flip off of the swing rope - the crew then did triple flips with double twists etc to deflate my bubble!) We were fed a very tasty lunch which included pork ribs, chicken skewers, pasta salad, slaw, fried banana and a roll. The free bar offering up rum, whisky, Pirate Poisson, Pina Colada, sodas and water, was open the entire trip. Snorkels, masks, vests, and fins were provided. This is a very fun excursion for all ages. Recommended! We then spent some time at Palm Beach enjoying the sun and the water before heading back to the ship by taxi. B. Willemstad, Curacao We went to Playa Porto Mari here. Snorkeling was okay but not as great as we had hoped. But the drive to it was very nice and the beach was quite isolated and uncrowded - probably would head there again next year over Kontiki/Mambo which we did earlier this year. Snack bar prices were excellent $14 got us a grilled ham and cheese sandwich for one daughter, two dutch sausage sandwiches, a plate of french fries and 3 pop to drink. C. St. Martin We went to Orient Beach and while it was not very windy, the waves were a great size for our kids (6 and 9) and the water was surprisingly warm - warmest of all of our stops). Food prices here were significantly more. $14 got us one meal from the kid's menu. We had gone to Baby Beach (le gallion) last time and think we would stick with Orient now that our girls are a little older and can handle the waves. D. St Thomas We went to Megans Bay Beach. While it was nice, we would likely rent a cab for the day next time and do an island tour with a stop at Coki Beach by Coral World so that we can experience the millions of fish that encircle you there. E. Days At Sea We had only two days at sea. All of the rest of the travel was at night. There was no lack of things to do on the ship. Sea days can provide nice rest spites and allow us to get reenergized. Eat, play games, attend an auction, port shopping briefings, watch movies, attend shows, eat, nap, midday snack, cards, spa, pools, bars, eat, trivia contests, contests, read, chat with fellow passengers and crew, eat, shuffleboard, basketball, golf simulator, board games, darts, dance lessons, culinary demonstrations, wine seminar, Bingo, eat, rum tastings, shopping, gambling, exercise, dancing, art auctions, live entertainment, climb the rock wall, roller blade, play mini golf, eat, play volleyball, dodgeball... the list goes on! Part IIX - Tipping The service personnel on RCCL receive meager wages and rely on your tips for income. While RCCL says it is customary to offer gratuities to the ships personnel who service you on the voyage, it really is expected, and it's something you should figure into your cruise budget. I say it's expected, but the ship's personnel work long hours to service you and the other passengers. They genuinely do everything they can to service your needs. We generally tipped better than the RCCL guidelines, which are around $10 per day for regular cabins and $12.50 per day for suites. These are per person prices and kids pay full freight on tipping. Part IX - Crown and Anchor Club If you have taken a previous voyage and are not a member of the Crown and Anchor Club, sign up. It's free. Benefits include a C&A express line at Embarkation, priority Disembarkation, some small cabin welcome gifts, casino and spa discounts, cocktail parties, etc.. Part XI - Disembarkation and Customs A. Disembarkation Disembarkation or Debarkation ("exiting of the ship at the end of your cruise"). Breakfast was served in cabins, on the buffet, and in the restaurant. Disembarkation went smoothly. Earlier in the week everyone completed surveys which were used to prioritize passengers. Clearly those folks needing to catch plane and train connections or who were on escorted tours in San Juan had highest priority. Captain's Club members had priority within their color group. Color-coded Disembarkation luggage tags were issued to all cabins, and passengers were instructed to place the tags on their luggage. Disembarkation began at about 7:30 am. All passengers were instructed to sit in specific areas until their group number was called. We got up late, had breakfast, and waited for an hour before our group (Light Blue 3) was called. We handed our Customs Declaration Form to an official after getting our luggage. We retrieved our luggage in the passenger terminal, spoke to a customs official who accepted our customs claim form and headed for the taxi stands. We had cleared Immigration the prior day in St Thomas which made PR much quicker. B. Transportation Options to Airport Upon exiting the terminal with our luggage, we were informed that the airlines will generally not accept baggage prior to 2 hours before flight time (I have not been able to verify this however). Therefore if you get to the airport too early, you'll have to sit around with your luggage. When exiting the terminal building for transportation you will see two orange booths. The one on the left is for "Taxis". The one on the right is for "Sightseeing Tours". Here we were, at about 9:30am and our flight wasn't due to leave until 4:05pm. For $25 per person, we gave our bags to the sightseeing tour guide. He loaded the bags into the back of his air conditioned van, and we jumped in, took a seat and waited for the large van to fill. Once full (about 14 passengers), our driver left the port and headed for Old San Juan. He gave us information about the city, stopped for pictures, allowed us 15 minutes to tour the Capital, 20 minutes to explore Fort San Cristobal. He then dropped us off downtown to shop for 90 minutes. We grabbed a quick trinket and walked a block to the Cafe Puerto Rico for lunch. We loved this meal as it had a true PR flavor and atmosphere and it was where all of the Tour Drivers were eating. Always eat where the locals eat!. While not inexpensive, the food is outstanding and well worth the visit if you enjoy nice flavors. At 1:20pm we boarded the van and went to the airport. Recommended! This was a great way to spend some free time in San Juan and get to the airport with little difference in total cost over that of a taxi. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2008
Hello!! This was my second cruise on the Adventure--6th for me overall. Let me start by saying in terms of FUN this was the best cruise.....Service however was not what I expected. Maybe a correlation with older cruisers/stock price??? But ... Read More
Hello!! This was my second cruise on the Adventure--6th for me overall. Let me start by saying in terms of FUN this was the best cruise.....Service however was not what I expected. Maybe a correlation with older cruisers/stock price??? But enough of that. I was very happy with embarkation....I HIGHLY recommend staying in San Juan the night before....In addition to taking away the stress, we enjoyed San Juan and the first day of our cruise....Many first days are ruined by travelling...we were in a jacuzzi by 1pm! We stayed at the Condido Plaza--very nice!! This was undoubtedly the quickest we have ever been on the ship! Food: Was good, but not superb--but I do live in New York City, and am a foody, and I freely admit I am jaded....Appetizers were great--especially cold soups!!! Dinners were above average, but desserts were weak. If you are going on AOS--make sure you try the Vidalia Onion Tart. On the other end, don't order baked alaska--very disappointing.....Pastas were excellent, fish dishes average....I tried everything---I only had one night of one only one entree (yes....I know....) so I tried everything...if you love soup, this is the cruise for you. Entertainment: I thought it was great, but I didn't see the two production shows. The comedian, George Kanter, was about as funny in 45 minutes as anyone I have ever seen. And I have seen Carlin, Kinison, Schimmel, Dice, all live! The juggler was great, as was the ice show. I do NOT like the Beatles---overrated:), but the show was enjoyable--even for me! Cruise Director--I loved him! Lots of first time events--which was surprising since I am an experienced cruiser. The highlight was dodgeball--passengers against the crew--including the Captain--who is the youngest captain ever. He also was very self-effacing--his personal efforts were great--some highlights--"A day in the life of a CD" and "Fountains". I guarantee anyone who has seen this will say its a laugh. Most importantly, he minimized the "cheating" in "The Quest". Those of you who have been on RCI before know what I mean....Those who haven't--go see the show!!!! It was as good as any of the other Quests--and the CD makes a big difference here. Aruba--loved it! I didn't realize what a desert it was---lots of cacti! We did the Kukoo Kunuku bus---very fun! The beaches are great, very safe and upscale, a true delight. Curacao--very nice to look at, but not a great shopping area. The moving bridge is a sight! We did a snorkeling trip, which was a total disappointment. I wont mention them directly, but it involves "Spanish". Overall the worst port. They need more diversions, as well as better shopping--even my wife was disappointed. Saint Maarten---LOVED it--the best port. Great bars--visit "The Bitch Bar" if you can, very picturesque, great shopping, Guavaberries, overall excellent. We did an ATV tour, which was about as much fun as you could have if you have never done this before--hills, mud, speed--all the stuff I cannot get where I live! St. Thomas--did the BOSS adventure. I can truly say this was the best excursion ever---and I have been swimming with dolphins, and sting rays, ziplining, etc.....although many people couldn't do it because of claustrophobia... Basically, you take an underwater scooter with helmet around a shipwreck site. Only 200 of these in the WORLD, and 30 of them in St. Thomas. Once in a lifetime. Plus the crew was entertaining. A true pleasure.... Miscellaneous: Debarkation was the best ever... My wait staff at dinner was terrible. The assistant waiter in particular was horrible. Didn't remember drinks, forgot multiple seapass cards EVERY night for those who ordered wine, your basic debacle. Our stateroom attendant also had a bad attitude. Maybe I am being picky, but he made 3 snide comments about passengers, and IGNORED me when I saw him once and said hello---must have been at the end of his contract. The gym was excellent--lots of machines....much better than Norwegian and Carnival. Guest Relations, i.e. Pursers Desk, was not friendly. If anyone does the Art Auctions, Jay, the head of it, was very mediocre. A shame since the art itself was excellent. The at Sea days were good--but not great. On both days, if you didn't want to go to the production shows, there wasn't much else to do. The afternoons were very enjoyable, however. We got really hosed in a Trivia Contest--just the two of us, against a team of 8. We tied them, but lost in overtime. BOO! But the girl who ran the trivia was very friendly. BEST ADVICE--book a 6th floor room, near an elevator and the promenade! Our cabin position was awesome--6238. Down one floor to the promenade, and equidistant from the pool and gangway. Perfect! Overall, again--the most fun. But if you are looking for service, my experience was not great. If this is your first cruise, you probably will not even notice---go for it--everything else was great!0 Read Less
Sail Date: March 2008
My mother, my aunt and I cruise every March. We have done this for about 10 years now -- we also take a 3 or 4 nighter in Oct/Nov if we can. We are experienced cruisers and love every minute of it. We flew into San Juan on cruise day (I ... Read More
My mother, my aunt and I cruise every March. We have done this for about 10 years now -- we also take a 3 or 4 nighter in Oct/Nov if we can. We are experienced cruisers and love every minute of it. We flew into San Juan on cruise day (I know, I know) - our flight was about 3 hours delayed. It didn't really matter except that we were meeting friends in San Juan for lunch. Embarkation took all of 10 minutes, then we flew off the ship to meet our friends. Even tho we didn't sail until 8:30, everyone we saw as we were leaving said, "Make sure you're back by 5:30!!" It made for a short visit, and it was tough to leave that ship - but we had a good time -- We had an Owners Suite - which is really nice (there's so much storage space you almost don't use it all, but with 3 women, we need all the room we can get). The only problem we had was a funky smell. Our stateroom smelled like urine. Not near the bathroom, but next to the TV and in front of the balcony door. They were good about it, treated it first, then when that didn't really work, they shampooed the carpet -- still didn't fix it totally, but it was better. I have to admit I was a little disappointed. The ship is HUGE! Every cruise takes on its own flavor -- this year, for me, I didn't explore much (sorry). I generally am in the casino every night. I enjoyed the ship, I just didn't DO much. I was more into the relaxing part. FOOD: The food on this cruise was the best we've ever had. We had reservations for Portofino's because so many people on these boards said it was a must. Well, we cancelled ours because our food and our nightly experience was so good, we didn't feel it could be much better. Lucito and Krezzia were amazing and the food was unbeatable. We also ate in the Windjammer a few times and that, too was excellent !!!!!! YUMM-O to quote Rachel Ray. The ports were great -- Aruba, Curacao, St Maarten, St Thomas. We did one ships' tour -- Pirate ship, sail, snorkel and swing in Aruba -- that was great fun -- good snorkeling -- good time. Since it was flag day, everything was closed. No shopping in Aruba. (this was a trend over the week - a lot of the Caribbean was on vacation !) We took a private tour in Curacao (I will post on the Curacao board, too). I cannot say enough good things about Curacao-Actief ! I found them on CC, and I am only sorry we didn't book a full day (we booked a 1/2 because we had never been to Curacao and wanted to explore) Howard and Claire were the best, most fun guides we've ever had !! Howards laugh is so infectious !!! In St Thomas, we chartered a snorkel sail thru Rumbaba Charters. This excursion was amazing ! I found them on these boards, too - and Capt Bobby took us out for the most memorable snorkel trip I've ever taken. And while we were snorkeling, he and first mate Wendy prepared lunch - grilled ahi tuna (caught 2 days before) - it was the best fish I've ever eaten. While snorkeling, I saw 10, then 13 squid !! I've never seen that before and it was amazing !!! I will also post on the St Thomas board. St Maarten. We were going to take a cab to Orient Beach, but they had jacked up the price (it was Good Friday) and it was going to cost us over $50. We just didn't want to pay that for a cab ride to the beach. After we walked around the shops outside the ship, my mom decided to go back and my aunt and I walked about 10 minutes to the beach. Had a blast !!!!! Got a nice chair and umbrella from Livin Large (thats what his shirt said) - he was great -- got a bucket of beers and chilled OUT. Best day at the beach ever ! I don't drink beer normally -- I like the Corona!!! Lime me! I did notice that this ship rocked a little more than I'm used to -- I would assume that the larger the ship the less the movement -- it doesn't bother me at all, but if you're the least bit sensitive to movement, be forewarned. Debarkation was made easy by the luggage deal -- 2 nights before you dock, go to the Pursers' Desk (customer service) and pay $20 per person - they deliver your boarding passes and airline luggage tags. Put your luggage out, get it from the warehouse, drop it off at the airline counter and LEAVE. We didn't fly out until 6pm, so we left our luggage at 9:30 and didn't see it again until we got off the plane at home. LOVE THIS!! Not every airline has this service - we flew American and they did. You can find out on these boards who does and who does not. It is the BEST 20$ I've ever spent. We spent the day at the El San Juan Hotel, which is really a resort (and casino) - it was really beautiful ! just cabbed there from the dock, then cabbed to the airport. easy easy. I would highly recommend this cruise. We had a fantastic time - the only thing was it was TOO SHORT !!!!!! Safe journey -- Lisa Read Less
Sail Date: March 2008
We departed Minneapolis on March 30th, the day of the cruise. Thankfully we had great weather with no delays and arrived in San Juan on time at 1:40. We used the RCI transfers. The lines were long and we had to wait about 1 hour for ... Read More
We departed Minneapolis on March 30th, the day of the cruise. Thankfully we had great weather with no delays and arrived in San Juan on time at 1:40. We used the RCI transfers. The lines were long and we had to wait about 1 hour for transport to the ship. Next time I would take a cab to the pier. When we arrived at the pier there were no lines. I had completed the set sail pass on line and check in took no more than 3 minutes. The kids took off to explore the ship. My husband headed to Portofino's to make dinner reservations for Tuesday night. I dropped off our bags in the cabin. We had a balcony cabin on Deck 8 towards the back of the ship. This proved to be a great location as the dining room, windjammer, and pools were at the back of the ship. There was plenty of storage space. We really enjoyed the balcony. It was really nice sitting outside having our coffee as we came in to port. Cocktails before dinner were nice as well. The balcony isn't huge but so nice to be able to sit outside. We thought the food was excellent. The Windjammer was nice for breakfast, plenty to choose from. We were usually so full from breakfast that we didn't eat lunch. We did however pick up a sandwich at the cafe promenade in the late afternoon, as our dinner seating was late. We also ordered room service each morning for coffee and appetizers before dinner to have with cocktails in the late afternoon. Dinner in the main dining room was fabulous. We especially enjoyed the lobster and prime rib and the chef's recommendations each night. This proved to be the way to go. The service was outstanding. Veronica from Romania was our main waiter. The chilled soups were very good as well as the Vidalia onion tart, lobster bisque, salads. It was all so good. We had dinner one night at Portofino's. My husband got up the next morning and said that he had dreamed about that meal. This is a must especially for couples. We had the shrimp salad, mushroom ravioli, delicious breads, tomato basil soup, beef tenderloin and the chocolate desert platter. We were so glad we made our reservation the day we boarded, as it was completely booked all week. We loved this itinerary. We did some ship excursions, but planned most of our excursions on our own. This proved to be a wise choice. Since we had a large group (22) we planned two group excursions, and 2 days everyone was on their own. We wanted to make sure that no one felt that they were doing something they didn't want to do. We met as a group about 3 months prior to sailing to plan our excursions. I was in charge of the group excursions. Our first port was Aruba. This was a day on our own. Five in our group went horseback riding through the ships excursion. They really enjoyed this trip. Five in our group completed their finally diving certification through a ship excursion. The rest of us (12) rented a 14-passenger van at the pier and headed for Palm Beach. We parked at the Radisson and walked through the hotel towards the beach. Just to the right is a water sports rental shop. Adjacent is another hotel, which had loungers. We used these throughout the day and never had anyone ask us to move. I guess because it was on the far end t and there were plenty of chairs, no one cared. The boys went on a banana boat ride. We also rented a speedboat for an hour. It was great to see the island from the water. While the beaches are beautiful, I was not overly impressed with this island. There isn't much to see away from the beaches. Curacao was a pleasant surprise. I would definitely go back to this island. It's a beautiful port with its colored buildings and the countryside is beautiful as well. On this day we had a group excursion arranged privately. I hired Henry (Leo) Plato through the Internet for a trip to the flamingo sanctuary and then on to a day at Cas Abao Beach. We walked to the pier and Henry had a sign with my name on it. He escorted us to an air-conditioned 24-passenger mini tour bus for our group. Peter was our driver. He gave lots of interesting information about the island on route to Cas Abao. We first stopped at the flamingo sanctuary. It was cool to see the wild flamingos, and great pictures. We then headed to Cas Abao beach. Keep in mind that this is about a 40 minute drive from the pier, but so worth it. This was my favorite beach of the week. There is an entrance fee of 3.00 per person to enter the beach. When we arrived we were the only ones on the beach for the next 2 hours. We were there during the week. I hear it is busier on the weekends. I suppose many cruise ship passengers don't come because there are beaches closer to the pier. I can't imagine any nicer than this one. There was something for everyone. There is a dive shop on site. They have there own website, which I believe is casabaodiving.com They offer snorkeling excursions, dives, snorkel rental and other water sports. There is a water trampoline offshore which the kids enjoyed They rent loungers for 3.00 per person which come with huge shade palapas. This is a sandy beach in a cove and just beautiful. The water was so clear and the snorkeling was amazing. We saw sea turtles, eels, lobster, stingrays and many colorful fish. My husband and I also had a couples massage on the beach. They do have a bar and snack shop on site offering drinks, burgers, sandwiches and fries. This was a great day. On the way back our driver dropped half of our group in town for shopping, and the rest back at the ship. I would go to this beach again next time. St. Maarten This was a day that our group did many different things. Some took the ships excursion to Loterie Farms for the high ropes and zipline. Although it was a workout, my husband and son really enjoyed it. Others from our group rented a car and toured the island. Some rented scooters and toured the island. Some shopped in town. I went to Dawn Beach and dropped off at Mr. Busby's. This was a great beach and a great bar with wonderful food. They rent lounge chairs. I had a shrimp salad and margaritas before heading back to downtown for shopping. Do take the water taxi from the ship to downtown Phillipsburg. I believe it was 6.00 for a wrist band and you could ride it back and forth as many times as you wanted. St. Maarten is a beautiful island with so many things to do. I bought a blue diamond ring in town and called it a day. St. Thomas This was our final port and group excursion. I had arranged for a private catamaran trip to St. John's. This was arranged through the Bolongo Beach Resort in St. Thomas. We took a cab to the resort to meet the captain. This is a huge catamaran. It had two bathrooms, a large covered area which could seat about 40 people and lots of outside deck space. We were greeted with fresh fruit and beverages upon our arrival. We sailed to St. John's and stopped at Honeymoon beach where the snorkeling was excellent. This was a beautiful beach. The sailboat had a dinghy, which could transport those non-swimmers to the beach. We were served a delicious buffet lunch including fresh breads, meats and cheeses, tuna salad, pasta salad, fresh fruit, chips and anything you wanted to drink. For me it was champagne and orange juice in the morning and gin and tonics in the afternoon. On the way back they served warm brownies on deck. The captain dropped us off at the cruise ship pier on the way back. It was nice to have the whole boat to ourselves. The name of the catamaran was called "Heavenly Days". The entertainment was good to very good. Others attended more of the shows than we did. We really enjoyed the ice skating show. Do get your tickets ahead of time at Studio B on deck 3. We also attended bingo, the show productions, casino. The kids participating the tug of war by the pool, a volleyball tournament at the sports court. This was a really great trip. We were celebrating high school graduation for 7 graduating seniors. Now that our youngest kids are graduating, we are thinking about a couples cruise, perhaps the Mediterranean. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2008
EMBARKATION: We arrived at the dock around 2:00. The slowest-moving line was for baggage check-in, but after that, everything moved very quickly. It will speed things up if you attach the luggage tags you receive with your cruise package ... Read More
EMBARKATION: We arrived at the dock around 2:00. The slowest-moving line was for baggage check-in, but after that, everything moved very quickly. It will speed things up if you attach the luggage tags you receive with your cruise package from Royal before you arrive at the dock. We'd registered on line, which made a huge difference. I have to credit Royal Caribbean with a smoother process than Carnival. I have never understood why Carnival requires passengers to stand in a line to check-in, only to be sent to a separate line to receive a Sail & Sign card. Why can't this be done at the same line? Apparently it can. The baggage handlers advised us that we should expect to see our luggage arrive at our cabin in about two hours. This estimate was not remotely accurate. We attended the late-seating dinner - shifted to 9PM for the first night - in our shorts. Our luggage arrived just as we were heading out for dinner. Extremely casual seemed to be the dress of the evening, so I assume the majority of passengers got their luggage very late. We'd packed shorts and bathing suits in our carry-on bags, but didn't expect to need dinner attire prior to our luggage delivery. With only one Royal Caribbean cruise to use for comparison, I don't know whether or not this is typical, however I never have waited that long for my luggage on Carnival. After dinner, we attended the parade in the Royal Promenade. It was a whole lot of fun and the costumes were fabulous. The Royal Promenade is an extremely impressive area and difficult to describe without photos. It's like a city street. It completely fools you into forgetting that you are actually in an enclosed area inside a ship. Many hotels in Vegas achieve this illusion of being outside when you're inside. If you've ever visited one of them, you'll understand what I'm describing. THE SHIP: I've always enjoyed my cruises on Carnival and have argued with people that it's silly to spend the extra money to sail with the more expensive cruise lines when Carnival does such a great job. While I would still be happy to cruise Carnival in the future, I must admit that I would opt for Royal Caribbean on cruises having identical itineraries. The Adventure was HUGE. It carries the same number of passengers as several of the Carnival ships I've taken, but the ship is extremely wide, giving a feeling of more elbow room. While we only used a few of the sports opportunities, there is something impressive about knowing you can ice skate, rollerblade, golf, play shuffleboard, go rock-climbing and play basketball on a full-sized court, all while out in the middle of the ocean. Miniature golf on a windy deck of a moving ship quite the challenge. There are a number of pool areas on the ship. The main pool area is where all the activities take place and where the band plays on deck. Through some sliding glass doors is an adult-only pool area which is absolutely gorgeous - like a Roman courtyard. It's very quiet in this area if you're looking to escape the action for a while. On the back of the ship is a great kids water park/pool area. We noticed very few young children on board, so I assume they mostly hung out here. Carnival cruisers will be disappointed with the piano bar. It's not the sing-along, party place where everyone knows your name. It's a typical lounge that happens to have a piano player. The seating arrangement and music selections do not encourage audience participation. However, we found a great guitar player (Ron) at the Duck and Dog Pub on the Promenade who was excellent. He was able to play anything requested and there was some singing along. Be sure to attend the parades on board. They are not very long, but very impressive. There's also a 70s street party on the promenade one night. I wish I'd packed some 70s attire, as some people did, to wear that evening. The cruise director (Mike - best cruise director I've ever had) and several others dressed up as the Village People and performed "In the Navy" and "YMCA". HUGELY fun! Don't miss the Quest Game. We nearly did until we ran into the cruise director on our hall and he insisted we attend. It was good advice. I won't give it away here, but you'll laugh until your stomach hurts. There was a Beatlemania performance on our cruise. I'd seen the show years ago in NYC and this performance was shorter, but comparable - very professional. The audience was really into it and everyone had a great time. The ice show, as everyone has stated, is very impressive and a highly unique on-board opportunity. The other shows were all top notch. You will not be disappointed. CABIN: We had an oceanview cabin. Decor seemed more classic and upscale than Carnival cabins. Shower is round with an interesting sliding door system that avoids shower water flooding the bathroom floor. However, the shower is extremely small. We're small people and were often frustrated by the tight squeeze. The beds are comfortable, but I wish they'd use something to smooth the gap between the two beds. DINING: Dining in the dining room is about equal to Carnival. In fact, I believe I've had better food on most of my Carnival cruises. There is no wine steward on RCCL; you order from your waiter. Our waiter knew virtually nothing about wines and, when he remembered to inquire if we wanted wine with our meals, had to has us to point out the number of our selection. This was a little frustrating, since I enjoy wine with my meal. I thought the casual dining on Royal was superior to Carnival. The Windjammer Buffet assigns a waiter to each table, who will bring you drinks or anything else you need. The food is always hot and high quality. You don't need to eat breakfast in the dining room to get a high-quality meal. Go to the Windjammer and enjoy being able to see the port while you eat! DAY ONE: AT SEA: It doesn't matter if you NEVER get sunburned in the states, you're very near the equator in the southern Caribbean. USE SUNBLOCK. I'm fair-skinned so I was careful and avoided burning. My boyfriend, who has a darker complexion and rarely burns, was less cautious and paid a big price for failing to apply any sunscreen until he'd already begun to feel the burn. Getting burned your first day can really ruin the rest of your trip. Don't do it! There were lots of pool-side activities on the sea days, including the hysterically funny Sexy Legs Contest. (For Carnival passengers, think Hairy Chest Contest. It's basically the same thing, based on different anatomy.) One of the sea days, there was a crew versus passenger dodge ball tournament in the basketball court which was hugely fun to watch. The captain of our vessel was a young (30s?) man from Norway, Captain Tommy. Having never had a young, personable captain on any of my previous cruises, it was amazing to me to see this tall, athletic man in a T-shirt reading "El Capitan" hurling dodge balls at his passengers. ARUBA: We did the semi-submersible excursion here. I'd read that marine life was a highlight of Aruba. It was a disappointment. There wasn't much to see and it wasn't particularly colorful. Having snorkeled in Grand Cayman, maybe my expectations were too high. I heard the pirate ship excursion is fun, but I wouldn't expect great snorkeling from there. They were in the same location as our excursion. After our excursion, we returned to the ship for lunch and headed out into town for the evening. There was a Senor Frogs right across from our ship, but we were looking for the Carlos & Charlies. (I know the two are owned by the same company, but they are not always the same level of entertainment and I'd read about the C&C here in other reviews.) We soon learned that there is no more Carlos & Charlies. The establishment was completely refurbished and reopened as Senor Frogs. No one at Senor Frogs will tell you this. The island is doing everything it can to put the Natalie Halloway issue behind them, hoping the tourists will eventually stop making the association. We had a blast at Senor Frogs, which is still a wild party place. CURACAO: We opted to do our own thing on this island. We took a cab to Hato Caves, which I would highly recommend. It truly exceeded my expectations - absolutely gorgeous. We took a taxi back to town, our cab driver giving us a little tour along the way. He dropped us in the shopping area, where we got to do some shopping and watch the pontoon bridge open. The pastel-colored buildings lend a unique charm to the area. The street vendors will bargain. Start to walk away and those prices will drop drastically. ST. MAARTEN: Having seen a video of the Jolly Roger Pirate excursion in Barbados on a previous cruise, we'd been looking for a similar pirate excursion. We chose the Lord Sheffield schooner excursion in St. Maarten. If you're looking for a relaxing sail boat ride with a fairly impressive snorkeling spot and a pretty decent BBQ lunch, this is your trip. (It is, however, vastly over-priced in my opinion.) This is NOT a cheesy pirate ship excursion with a costumed crew, rope swing or passengers walking the plank. The only thing pirate-related on the boat was the skull and crossbones flag. We were fortunate that our excursion coincided with the Heineken Regatta and we sailed right into the race. That was exciting. After our excursion, we returned to the ship to change into dry clothes. Then we headed out to Philipsburg for some souvenir shopping. I'd recommend the water taxi. It's the same price as a regular taxi, but a lot nicer ride. I understand St. Maarten is a good place to buy jewelry and we saw great prices for duty-free liquor. (The lowest anywhere.) Since we were just browsing for tacky-tourist souvenirs, we turned down a side ally full of street vendors and small shops. It landed us at the waterfront where we enjoyed a fabulous frozen drink (made with FRESH fruit) by the water. It was a lovely spot. ST. THOMAS/ST. JOHN: Don't worry - that LONG line to pass through Immigration moves remarkably quickly. Because the ship is arriving at this US island from outside of the United States, passengers are required to clear immigration before disembarking. It's merely a matter of showing your passport and Sea Pass card. No big deal. We'd been to St. Thomas before and I'd always heard that St. John was beautiful. We opted to take the ferry to the smaller island. I'd purchased a guide book and trail maps in advance and planned out a couple of small trails we could investigate in the short amount of time we had there. After purchasing some bottled water in town, we grabbed a taxi to the Annaberg Sugar Mill ruins. We hiked down a trail called the Leinster Bay Trail, accompanied by our unexpected tour-guide, a local donkey. The trail skirts along the coast, offering magnificent views. We soon arrived at a small beach, just before Watermelon Cay. There were only about six people on the entire beach. Unlike the lovely but crowded Trunk Bay, Leinster Bay is very secluded. We snorkeled off the beach to see lots of colorful starfish and young barracuda. We also saw a sting ray, which was really interesting. The highlight of the day - and what will undoubtedly forever be a highlight of my life - was swimming with the sea turtles just off the beach. It was incredible - like being part of a Discovery Channel special. It's an experience I'll never forget. We hiked back out the trail and just up the road to the entrance to the Annaberg Sugar Plantation. The mill was built around 1800 and sits on the top of a hill overlooking Leinster Bay. The ruins were very interesting, even for someone who is not particularly into historical exhibits, and the view was breathtaking. Back on the road, we saw a taxi and inquired if it was returning to town. The driver said he was conducting a tour, but we could hop on and be back in town in 30-40 minutes. We accepted the invitation and got a tour of the other side of the island. Rodney, our taxi-driver/tour guide was excellent and the cost was the same as we'd paid for the shorter ride to the trail - which included no narration. The taxis on St. John are actually open-air buses. The roads are windy with hair-pin turns and steep hills. It's especially disconcerting because driving is on the left side of the road. In seven cruises, there are islands that I've thought would be nice to return to on a subsequent cruise. St. John was the first island I've felt compelled to return to for an extended stay. Accommodations on St. John are out of our price range, but we'll be investigating the possibility of a stay on St. Thomas next year, at a hotel near-by the ferry dock. We hiked two, very short trails on the island. There are over 20 more to be explored. St. John was the island for which I had the highest expectations on this cruise and it exceeded all of them. It may be the most beautiful place I've ever visited in the Caribbean - and I've visited some amazing locations over the course of years of cruising. DISEMBARKING: We had an early flight (10AM), so we were released from the ship early. It was very smooth and we were at the airport by 8:05. Customs was a breeze. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2008
Like you, I spent many nights searching these Cruise Critic reviews for information about our upcoming cruise on the Adventure of the Seas on March 16-March 23, 2008. This was to be my fifth and my husband's first, and I wanted so ... Read More
Like you, I spent many nights searching these Cruise Critic reviews for information about our upcoming cruise on the Adventure of the Seas on March 16-March 23, 2008. This was to be my fifth and my husband's first, and I wanted so much for him to have the kinds of magical experiences I had on previous Royal Caribbean vacations. In short, we were thrilled. Now for the long, long list of details! I traveled with my husband. We are ages 34 and 47. We're pretty strict vegetarians, and we're not big drinkers or gamblers. San Juan, Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas made up our itinerary. EARLY ARRANGEMENTS: We made our arrangements directly with Royal Caribbean, many months in advance. We opted for RCCL to set up our airfare for us, as well as our pre-cruise hotel night in San Juan, PR. We also opted for the cruise insurance. Our contact at Royal Caribbean, Patti Steele, was attentive and responded quickly to our email questions and requests along the way. It was important for us to have our own table in the dining room and she ensured that. We requested an early flight into San Juan and she accommodated that, too. THE FLIGHT IN: Left from Washington DC on an 8:30am flight; one easy connection through Charlotte, NC, and we arrived in San Juan by 1:10pm. SAN JUAN AIRPORT: Chaos, pretty much. We found our bags easily, but the cruise line rep near baggage claim was working for multiple cruise lines. We were given complicated, confusing instructions concerning our transfer to our hotel. First we were told we'd catch a bus; we were handed a form that actually said this. However, our hotel, El Convento, is located in Old San Juan where the streets are way too narrow to accommodate any large vehicles. After asking someone else, we were told that we'd be taking a taxi cab and that we should make the driver wait to be paid by the front desk personnel at the hotel--this, was of course not true. We were escorted to the taxi stand, where there were literally hundreds of people waiting. We were so tired and stressed; the cruise line rep saw this and whisked us to the front of the line and put us in the next cab! Our cabbie was polite and pointed out recommended restaurants along the way. We paid the cab ourselves and then got reimbursed by the hotel. This made sense, but this was not the procedure on the form handed to us by the cruise line rep. EL CONVENTO HOTEL: Located in Old San Juan, this charming small luxury hotel is a former convent and located directly across a blue-sheen cobblestone street from San Juan Cathedral, the city's main Catholic Church. A cruise line recommended hotel, it's a treasure. It is luxuriously appointed, and with its open-air lobby and halls, it was always cool and breezy. Our room was not ready when we arrived at 2pm, but check-in was not until 3pm. They provided us with a heavy key for the elevator that allowed us to get up to their beautiful 3rd floor to take advantage of their amenities. They had drinks on ice, a small library with one computer, quiet patio space overlooking a garden and the cathedral, and a plunge pool/hot tub area with view of the ocean. We ventured down Calle de Cristo, just a couple of blocks, and went into an old bar called Maria's that a Puerto Rican friend recommended we try. We ordered cheese nachos and fresh strawberry smoothies. It was a nice way to start the trip. At 4pm we went back to the hotel, but the room was still not ready. We were told that they had been at capacity last night and were having trouble making up all the rooms. I asked them to please call me on my cell when the room was ready. They provided us with a map and recommended a fabulous restaurant that served vegetarian food, Cafe Berlin, on Calle de San Francisco, just a 15-minute walk from the hotel. Here we enjoyed a veggie version of Argentinean steak with loads of wine-soaked veggies. It was perfect. The room was finally ready at 6pm. This was outrageous, but I have to admit—the room was worth the wait. You entered from an open-air hall that overlooked a cheery restaurant; the trees were dripping with white lights. From our balcony you could see multi-colored row houses that made for some amazing pictures. The sheets were luxuriously soft; the ceilings high. We were given robes and slippers to use; there was a safe, a fridge, and a flat-screen TV--everything you could want. My hubby went upstairs to the free wine and cheese hosting they do every evening and brought me down some to try...but I was fast asleep, and I didn't wake up until morning. SAN JUAN: We walked down to La Bombonera, a famous breakfast restaurant. Here we had mallorcas, which are delicious pastries filled with cheese and butter and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Walking back to our hotel, we saw a procession coming towards San Juan Cathedral. We suddenly realized it was Palm Sunday and started taking pictures of the crowd singing and walking in costumes. Soon we were handed palms and encouraged to join the procession. It was amazingly moving. Back at the hotel, the desk clerk told us we'd never get on the boat if we went to the pier so soon, but we pretty much walked right on at 12:30pm, and the people welcoming us onboard told us all the cabins would be ready by 1pm. THE ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS: It's immense; one of the largest cruise ships in the world. It's extremely well maintained and very, very clean. The Royal Promenade, which runs the length of the Deck 5, is impressive and fun. The Excursion and Guest Services desks are located on this deck as well. We immediately got on line to book our St. John excursion. We then signed up for the soda card at the kiosk in the promenade. You can only do this on Day 1 and if you are addicted to Diet Pepsi like me, it is a fabulous deal. They put a sticker on your SeaPass card which allows you unlimited soda the whole week. During the week, we did see cups and bottles lying around the pool deck—but the staff were working hard to keep on top of things. They made diligent efforts to reduce the chance of disease by passing out sanitary wipes regularly, and there was no talk of norovirus on this trip. There were almost 4000 people on the ship and 800 from Puerto Rico. All of Captain Tommy's announcements were translated afterward by the international ambassador, Carolina, who speaks 4 or 5 languages. It was such a wonderful international experience for us, traveling with people from so many different cultures. We enjoyed every minute of it. OUR CABIN: Our Deck 6 cabin was dreamy. We opted for a balcony room, and we are so happy we did. We spent so much time sitting out there. It was incredibly private and quiet, which we didn't expect. Our cabin steward, Desron, introduced himself right away. He was somewhat standoffish, but still polite and accommodating. We were shocked at how much storage space there was in such a small room. It was really ingeniously designed, and we kept remarking that we'd love to live in such a simple, smart room back home. We unpacked all three of our suitcases and there was room enough for everything. Our queen-size bed was beside the balcony window, and we could hear waves all night long, even with the doors closed. The bathroom did not smell great, and the fluffy towels also had an unpleasant smell to them. The shower was adorable, with cute pocket doors. We had no problems with the water temperature, but sometimes you did have to press the button three times to flush the toilet. THE WINDJAMMER: Being vegetarians, we were very concerned about food prior to our cruise. However, the first day's lunch at the Windjammer buffet eased all our fears. Every day there were new options, and healthy ones to boot. During the week they offered eggplant parmesean, veggie Indian curry, and an incredible quiche in addition to your basic salad, pizza, and french fries. Desserts were always mass quantities of deliciousness. We enjoyed the tapioca pudding, raspberry and dark chocolate cake, fruit pies, and my favorite: mango sticky rice. The rattan chairs are so comfortable in this buffet, and the colors were island-blue and green. You'll get great views from either side of the Windjammer. Note: we were not sure how tipping worked in these casual eating areas, so we checked at the guest services desk. Tipping is not encouraged in the Windjammer because the servers rotate through as part of their regular duties; however, if someone goes above and beyond, you can always do it at your discretion. THE DINING ROOM: The dining room is separated into three levels, all centered around an immense Phantom-of-the-Opera chandelier and a Titanic-style staircase. We were on the best level, in the upper "Mozart" dining room, where the decor was gold and light blue. Our head waiter and our assistant waiter were in some kind of ego battle the whole week, but we were rooting for attentive and affable Jeldon, our assistant waiter. Prior to coming onto the Adventure, he worked for the QE2, and everything about his manner was elegant and charming. Our head waiter, Lloyd, was a bit on automatic pilot. He was pleasant, but every so often I could hear him complaining to the other waiters about how slow Jeldon was, which bothered me. I read a lot of reviews about how poor the cuisine was on the Adventure, and maybe it's just because we never had any of the meat dishes...but we thought it was amazing all week. And we didn't expect that. We expected a week of ziti and marinara, but they did great. Our dinners included onion and asparagus tarts, veggie curry with cucumber raita, and veggie chili with jalapeno cornbread. My husband became a connoisseur of the "fruit soups," his favorite being the chilled strawberry. He also had strawberry ice cream every night in addition to their wonderful dessert selection. We were big fans of the food and each gained about 5 pounds each! We missed the first formal night, but we enjoyed every single meal we had in the dining room. Vegetarians, no worries! If you want more detailed info about the menus, please don't hesitate to email me at dianeyzp@hotmail.com. AMENITIES ONBOARD: Other reviews will detail every aspect of the ship. I won't try to duplicate their efforts. I'll just say that the pools were always very crowded, even on port days. Every day, I longed to stretch out for hours on end in the Solarium (the adult-only area), but I was only so lucky twice during the week. There were more chairs available on the upper decks of the noisy side, but on windy days it was just too uncomfortable to be up there. My husband enjoyed using the gym. They had excellent equipment and a great staff. I did get into the hot tub in the gym one night by myself, which was nice. The hot tubs in the main areas were always packed, so I never tried. We found the chapel with its sparkling mosaic tile and stained glass. The first day, we did some relaxing prayer time in there. We did love the views from the Viking Crown. Take a picture sitting against the glass over the pool deck. It will come out startlingly well-detailed on your digital camera and shock all your friends! ENTERTAINMENT ONBOARD: Yes, yes, yes, the ice show is a must-see. It's actually a cross between a highly-skilled ice program and a Cirque de Soleil performance. There is a lot of flying through the air and landing on the ice. It's incredible. The guest performer this week was an amazing Russian skater who performed with a hoop that flew above the ice. She held on to that hoop and performed all sorts of acrobatics, just holding on with her own upper-body strength. She was incredible. The Welcome Aboard show was fun, with an excellent juggler. And just a quick note about the curtain in the Lyric Theatre—it is absolutely beautiful, with an intricate peacock pattern. We enjoyed the Love and Marriage show, and really got a kick out of a 12-minute segment called "Fountains" that was led by the AMAZING cruise director, Mike S. and his staff. I won't ruin it for you, but if you agree that cruise line entertainment can sometimes be pretentious, you will laugh until you cry. The comedian, Hal Sparks, was not our cup of tea. Both he and a later prop comic named Adam Ace just sort of annoyed us. Everyone always loves the Quest show, and ours was particularly raunchy. We sort of felt bad for some of the guys involved in that one. There was a great 70's "street party" in the promenade on Thursday, again led by our hysterical cruise director. He had excellent comic timing. He could be the next Conan, no doubt about it. He was never mean spirited with his jokes, and he was always approachable and friendly. Captain Tommy was really fun, too, and we liked his daily announcements. ARUBA (Oranjestad): Seeing Aruba come into view at daybreak from our balcony is a memory I will always cherish. We pulled in right alongside the old Carlos n' Charlie's, now a Senor Frog's. Some people on the island are sensitive about the Natalee Holloway case. We had a friend go to Aruba recently, so we felt armed with recommendations and the confidence to venture out on our own. We shared a cab with 3 others and headed to Eagle Beach. The fare there is $9 per TRIP, not per person, so it's a good deal. All the fares to popular destinations are listed on a sign outside the pier, which made travel easy. The fare to Palm Beach, the most popular beach, is only $10. So we thought they must be pretty close together. We arrived at Eagle and immediately saw that there were no facilities. The water was radiant, incredible blue. The sand was perfect and soft. There were virtually no people on Eagle. We jumped right in, but it was hard to relax not knowing where the nearest bathrooms were. The water was very cold. Sitting on the sand, admiring the view, the wind suddenly kicked up, and the sand blew over us like a million biting flies. My husband started stepping on random burrs. We decided to try to walk to Palm Beach from where we were. NOT a good idea. It took us over an hour. It was a beautiful walk, but it was very hot. When we got to the Palm Beach area, we looked for Linda's Pancakes and Pizza, a restaurant that came highly recommended by our friend. They served gigantic Dutch-style pancakes, which are very thin and crispy and topped with fresh fruit and cream. They were delicious! But we were so tired from our walk that we decided to forego Palm Beach afterwards, and just caught a taxi back to the ship. The island is arid inland with many cacti. You'll see lots of chickens wandering free near the smaller homes. The hotels in the Palm Beach area are immense and pricey. The water in Aruba is probably the most radiant of all the islands you'll see on this itinerary. CURACAO (Willemstad): It was cloudy and raining when we got off of the ship. Our original plans were to go to Playa Porto Mari, a small resort beach on the other side of the island. This resort came highly recommended by a reviewer on a Curacao beach blog. Snorkeling equipment, food service, chairs and umbrellas, as well as a pristine natural environment in which to hike or swim can be found at Porto Mari, and the pictures of the resort were amazing. The guest services kiosk estimated that cabs would charge me and my husband $20 each way to get to this resort, but the cabbies that morning were asking for $60 each way. We decided to rush back onto the ship and see what excursions were still available. The "Beauties of Curacao" excursion was the only one still available, and we are so glad we took it. It was run by a local tour company called Bon-Bini Tours. They had a comfortable coach bus and all of their guides wore lime green polo shirts. Our tour guide, Ilana, was a very outgoing Dutch woman. She exquisitely narrated the entire 4-hour tour, which took us to the western side of the island. Our first stop was at The Bocas National Park, a place we would never have discovered on our own. Here, the ocean meets volcanic rock formations in a spectacular eruption of crystal-blue waves. It was breathtaking. Sodas were available to purchase here as well. We made a couple of photo stops at overlook points along the way to Knip Bay Beach, which was one of the most beautiful beaches we have ever seen. There were only a few people here, lying under tiki-hut style umbrellas. There were rocks as you first entered the water, but once you got out a bit, it turned to soft sand beneath your feet. When the light hits the water at Knip Bay, the blue is spectacularly glowy, almost neon. We would love to return to Curacao and spend more time there. A vendor selling fresh-churned ice cream was in the parking lot here, but he only sells one flavor a day, so you have to take what's available. Our final stop was at an artist's gallery which overlooked an old salt plantation dappled with flamingoes. Even if you don't like the artist's work, this stop makes for some lovely photo ops. Scan the treetops and cacti for iguanas—they are everywhere. Curacao was a beautiful island, with a more wholesome feel than Aruba. ST. MAARTEN (Philipsburg): We had tried to get the Afternoon Beach Break excursion, but they did sell out. We decided to share a cab with 12 other people going to the most popular beach on the island, Orient Bay Beach. There is a beach within walking distance of the cruise ship, and we did hear that it was great. But all they hype about Orient Beach being the best in the Caribbean made us want to check it out. We were able to arrange with the cabbie to have him come back for the 14 of us 4 hours later. We were able to get 2 cushioned beach chairs, 2 rum punches, and an umbrella for $14 at a cute bar called The Pirate. The staff there was very friendly and not pushy, but there are many vendors walking from chair to chair out on this beach, selling necklaces, towels, T-shirts, and the like. Expect to be asked 15 times if you want to have your hair braided. Orient Beach is called the Riviera of the Caribbean, and it was the most trendy, popular beach we saw on this itinerary. And of course it's also the Caribbean's foremost nude beach. There is a set of rocks just a few feet from the Pirate where, on the other side, people can go fully nude. Where we were, we saw many women going topless. There were also a lot of children, and we didn't see any problems. The water is radiant and the sand is white and powdery. Our cabbie came back and actually gave us a 15-minute reminder before it was time to leave. Everything was very well organized on this island, and though it was congested with people, we actually had a very relaxing time at Orient Bay. ST. THOMAS (Charlotte Amalie): On this morning, you will have to go through Customs in one of the dining rooms. Everyone needs to show themselves to the Customs officers, whether they plan to get off the ship or not. The line will initially wind all the way through the Promenade, but not to worry—it moves incredibly fast. Bring your passport and Seapass card and you'll be out on the pier in a flash. We actually didn't do much on St. Thomas because we had an early morning excursion to St. John (below), but we did venture out to the shops just beyond the pier. You can take a free tram to the Havensight shopping mall from the pier, but it's only a 10-minute walk. The outdoor mall had your typical tourist shops, but also high-end jewelry stores. It was a nice place to walk and the area was very refined. Across the street from the shopping mall is where you can catch the skyride to Paradise Point. You can see the cable cars from the ship. It costs $18 pp if you buy your tickets for this on board the ship, but it's at your leisure. ST. JOHN: We did the St. John Beach and Snorkel Tour excursion. The ferry was right across the pier from the Adventure. It's on the small side, so expect a wild 45-minute ride to St. John! I saw someone getting sick, but my husband and I were so doped up with Dramamine by this time, we had no problems! It was narrated on the way, but from where we were sitting, we could only catch every other word. Along the coast of St. Thomas, we saw the homes of Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, Alan Alda, Madonna, and Michael Jackson. (Michael Jackson's is a sprawling lavender estate.) St. John is a U.S. National Park, so it is the most pristine of all the islands we visited. This was another very well organized tour. Getting off of the Island Girl ferry, we were directed to color-coded open-air buses and introduced to our tour guides. We were brought to Trunks Bay Beach, which is the site of this year's cover shot for Sports Illustrated. It is paradise, and we thoroughly recommend it. Great facilities, but no distractions. The waves are stronger than you might expect. Snorkeling here is well-organized with lots of people to help you stay safe. EL YUNQUE RAIN FOREST TOUR. PUERTO RICO: If you opt for this popular post-cruise tour, you are making a smart decision. You need to make sure that your flight home leaves after 5pm, though. We packed the night before and put the color-coded luggage tags on our bags. They picked up our luggage from outside our door at 11pm, so make sure you have everything you need for the morning in your carry-on. After breakfast, everyone going on post-cruise tours gathers in the Imperial Lounge, an Asian-inspired theatre. We were given a color-coded sticker for our shirt, and then led off the boat first. In the terminal, you'll need to locate your bags, which are in sections based on the color-coded tags. Everything was very well organized and we found our bags easily. You'll then proceed through customs with your bags and hand in your customs declaration. We opted for the luggage valet service. When you pass through customs, the first thing you'll see are kiosks there for all the major airlines. We went up to the American Airlines counter and they took our bags for us and saw to it that they were checked all the way back to Washington, DC, so we did not have to worry about them until we landed that night. This luggage valet service costs $20 per person, but the other benefit is that the cruise line delivers your airline boarding passes to your cabin the night before. We thought this was a great stress reliever. We then boarded the bus for the Rain Forest tour. It was an old, run-down school bus, but the tour itself was the best we have ever had. Our tour guide was attentive, funny, and full of information. He began his talk as soon as we left the pier and told us everything we could ever want to know about Puerto Rico, its relationship to the US, its culture, and people. We made a quick stop to use restrooms at a souvenir store before heading that creaky old bus into the rain forest. It was a fabulous tour with four stops: the beautiful main information center, a 20-minute rainforest walk along an easy path, an observation tower built by the CCC in the 1930s, and the Coca waterfall. If you're lucky, you'll hear the song of the coqui frog. There are no large animals in El Yunque, and the climate of the forest was cool and refreshing. It made for a wonderful end to our trip. The tour drops you directly at the airport. FLIGHT HOME: We had a few hours to wait until our flight left. For food at the San Juan airport, you might check out Terminal B. There is a small food court with a Chester's Chicken, Domino's, Caribbean Breeze, David's Cookies, and Plaza Sur (Puerto Rican food). Just around the corner from the food court is a Sbarro, McDonald's, Subway…there are many options here. We were lucky to have a direct flight on American Airlines that actually got in an hour early. I don't know how they managed that, but chalk it up to the magic of the whole trip. When we arrived home, I had an email from Patti Steele at Royal Caribbean welcoming us back. Overall, this was an incredible vacation and we loved the Adventure of the Seas. If you have any questions for me, please don't hesitate to email me at dianeyzp@hotmail.com. Bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2008
This was our fourth Royal Caribbean cruise in the last five years. My husband and I have taken our two children on a total of five cruises. We have sailed on two other Voyager class ships- Explorer and Navigator and had wonderful ... Read More
This was our fourth Royal Caribbean cruise in the last five years. My husband and I have taken our two children on a total of five cruises. We have sailed on two other Voyager class ships- Explorer and Navigator and had wonderful experiences on those ships, so we were looking forward to sailing on Adventurer of the Seas. We had an outstanding time aboard this marvelous ship. We booked our cruise back in July '07 through Royal Caribbean. We got what I consider to be a great price for our trip. This cruise left out of San Juan, Puerto Rico so we decided to arrive two days early to extend our vacation. We had an early morning flight to SJU arriving at 10:30am. The airport is very well run and we got our luggage easily and took a taxi to our hotel. It was a 15 minute cab ride and it cost about $17. We stayed at the Marriott Stellaris Resort and Casino which is located on Condado beach. The hotel was lovely and it was right on the beach. We arrived at about 11:30am and although check-in was 3pm our room was ready by 1pm which was great because we were able to get settled in and enjoy the facilities. The surrounding area is Ok and there are restaurants and a Walgreens Pharmacy within walking distance. On the day of the cruise we took a 20 minute taxi ride to the pier (about $20.) We arrived at the pier at about 11:30am and only waited on a line for about 20 minutes until we were let inside to check-in. It is very important to remember to complete all of your cruise documents on the computer prior to arriving at the pier because it speeds up the check-in process. Our check-in went very quickly and smoothly and we had virtually no wait. We boarded the ship by noon and were welcomed by the ship staff and told to feel free to go to deck eleven for lunch at the Windjammer. Our cabins were ready at about1pm and our luggage was delivered at about 3:30pm. We had two D1 balcony cabins on deck 8 that connected. It made life very easy, as our kids who are ages 19 and 15 shared one cabin and we shared the other We had to get the cabin steward to unlock the connecting door, which once it was unlocked couldn't' be locked again with out getting the steward. The cabins are not very large but there is everything that you could need within the space. There is a couch and a small table and a dressing area with several drawers and cabinets as well as a closet with a lot of storage space. There is a room safe and a refrigerator. The balconies are small but very private with 2 chairs and a table. The bathroom has a shower stall not a tub. The room dEcor is nice and there is a television with limited choices of programming, but the nice thing is you can view your bill on the TV so you can keep track of what you are spending onboard. Our cabins were located toward the front of the ship (forward-as it is called) which had it's drawbacks for some activities but was good for others. For example, most of the food was located "aft" of the ship so we had to walk to the other side of the ship for our meals. The arcade and kids activities were also aft so my son had to walk a lot, as well. On the other hand the Lyric Theater was on our end as was Cafe Promenade which was a little cafe where you could get sandwiches, coffee, desserts, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, drinks, etc.We were near the elevators and the stairs. I will say that we wound up taking the stairs a lot because even though there are a lot of elevators, sometimes we found it quicker to take the stairs. Let me talk about the food on the ship. Firstly, The Windjammer is the buffet restaurant. They offer breakfast, lunch and dinner and are open all day long with the choices changing at least 4 times a day. The food there is very good and they have a wide variety of choices every day. Breakfast has something for everyone including an omelet station. They have cold and hot selections as well as all the breakfast beverages. The lunches are equally varied with anything from pizza, hamburgers and sandwiches to more interesting choices for all tastes. The desserts are always tasty, even the sugar free desserts. We had dinner one night there and the choices were very similar to the entrees offered in the dining room that evening. The staff at The Windjammer is terrific, always coming around and getting you coffee or juices or just clearing away your dishes. Secondly, the dining room for dinner was wonderful for us. We ate in the Vivaldi dining room, which was on deck 3 (the lowest dining room). On the day we boarded the cruise I went to the head water (prior to dinner) and told him that on past cruises we had negative experiences regarding waiting for our meals to be served and that my son was impatient and would not want to eat there if he had to wait too long. Well, the head waiter was very responsive to my concerns and spoke with our waiter and assistant waitress to alert them about my son and the service was impeccable. Our waiter was so wonderful, as was the assistant that our dining experience was something we looked forward to each evening. They anticipated our needs each night and accommodated us wonderfully. Thirdly, Cafe Promenade was a very pleasant experience, as well. They offer breakfast muffins and breads in the morning and sandwiches, pizza and desserts in the afternoon and evenings. They are open 24 hours and have a bar and Ben & Jerry's ice cream. They also have a coffee station with "to go" cups and ice water. Lastly, we ate in Johnny Rockets for lunch one day. There is an extra charge for this restaurant, but if you are a Crown & Anchor member, which is the cruise lines frequent cruiser program you get coupons for free dining. (Make sure you join this program because you get a booklet of coupons and a gift each cruise.) The food there was very good and the staff very nice. In addition to all the food offered, the ship has a self serve frozen yogurt machine on deck 11 where you can take ice cream cones all day until 6pm. You can never go hungry on this cruise! The ship had a very full schedule of activities on the days at sea. There were several choices each hour of things to do. On the days at port the schedule was limited. Each evening there was a show to go to in the Lyric Theater. The shows for the most part were very good, but the highlight of each show was the cruise director Mike. He was entertaining and funny and you could tell that he loved his job. He came up with little skits and jokes that were not be missed, especially "The Fountain", which was hysterical. Mike was also the host of a couple of game shows (which we had seen on other ships) and he was so funny that he made the shows hysterical. I had always thought that the cruise director was just an entertainer, but I changed my mind after this cruise. Mike was pretty hands on, as I will explain in a moment. The rest of the activities personnel were also very good. They were witty and polite when speaking with them and just fun. My son went to his activities which he enjoyed. He went to the Optix club for 12-17 year olds, which is part of the Adventure Ocean program for kids. My daughter, on the other hand had a slight problem in the beginning of the cruise because of her age. Kids 18 or over are considered adults and are allowed to participate in all the adult activities (except drinking- you must be 21 for that.) Unfortunately there is no specified place for them to gather and meet, unlike the kids under the age of 18. If you come on the cruise with other people your age, you are OK but if you are single looking to meet other singles your age it was not easy to do. By the second day of the cruise my daughter (who is a little shy) was floundering. My husband called guest relations to ask if there was someone he could speak with about the situation. After all, it was Spring Break and the ship was filled to capacity with many kids and young adults. Guest relations told him that they would have someone call him back to discuss the problem. Within 5 minutes Mike, the cruise director called our cabin and spoke with my husband. He said that they realized that because it was Spring Break they would be adding on many activities geared for young adults ages 18-21. He said he wasn't sure of the exact schedule but he would have the activities director call us. Five minutes later, the activities director was calling giving us the schedule for the next day. I am not easily impressed, but this experience did just that.The attention given to the guests on this ship was outstanding. As far as the people on the ship, it was filled to capacity. I think there were about 3,700 people onboard. Out of those people about 900 were from Puerto Rico so many of the announcements were made in English and Spanish. There were people from all over the world on this ship but the most were from the mainland U.S.A. Some people who have reviewed this ship made negative comments regarding the people from Puerto Rico, but we found that everyone on the ship was very nice and respectful. There were no issues that we encountered at all. It was good to be on a ship that was diversified. The ship itself is beautiful and very large. They have a rock climbing wall, miniature golf course, roller hockey, an ice skating rink (with a terrific ice show- not to be missed) a pool solarium (for ages 16 and older) with whirlpools, a main pool with several whirlpools, many bars, a casino and much, much more. There is really something for everyone. There is a nice health spa and fitness center onboard. The only problem with that facility is that you must be 16 years of age or older to use it, which presented a problem for my son who is almost 16. He loves to go to the sauna and steam rooms with my husband and was initially not permitted to do so. My husband spoke with the manager of the club and he was then permitted to go in with my husband. A good thing to remember on this ship is never hesitate to ask for something. The staff is there to ensure that your cruise is a success! We took a few excursions on the islands that we went to. In Aruba we took the Fun Cruise and Beach Adventure. It was nice. First you get on a sailboat and ride for about 45 minutes to a beautiful beach in Aruba. On the boat they serve free drinks (alcohol and sodas) and once you get to the beach they come around with these drinks. The only drawback to this excursion is that you really only have about 75 minutes on the beach. I didn't realize this when I booked the trip. It was really fine though because we didn't want to get burned by the sun. My husband and son were able to go tubing which they loved. There are also some other water activities available but given the time element they couldn't partake in jet skiing or anything else. When we got back to the pier we did a little shopping - most stores were closed because it was a holiday in Aruba- Flag Day, but we did find several souvenir places that were open.On Curacao we booked the excursion that takes you to the Hato Caves and a local museum. The tour takes you on a "coach" type bus- not an open air bus, which was good because it started to rain when we were on the tour. The museum was small but OK and the caves were interesting. You have to climb about 50 steps to get the caves and be warned- there are bats flying around the caves. We saw plenty of them! The next island we went to was St. Maarten. We had been there before and enjoyed the Beach Rendezvous at Orient Beach so we booked that again. Unfortunately, when we got off the ship to go to the excursion, we were told by the tour guides that because the water was very rough we were not going to be able to go in the ocean. The rest of the facilities would be available for use but without the ocean we just couldn't see going. I spoke with the Explorations manager (who was always out on the piers at each port) and he told us that there would be no problem refunding our money. So we walked around the pier, bought some souvenirs (some places were open-even though it was Good Friday) and went back on the ship.As it turned out the other people who went on the excursion wound up being able to go in the water after about an hour of being on the beach. Oh well, at least we had the ship to ourselves. The good thing about being in port is that everyone gets off the ship and if you stay on the ship it's very quiet and nice.The next port was St. Thomas, which we had also been to before. We did not book an excursion there and wound up taking a taxi to The Marriott Frenchman's Cove Resort at the recommendation of the Explorations manager. They have a really nice beach- very quiet and we spent about two hours there and then took a taxi back to the pier. The taxi ride was about 10 minutes or so and cost about $22. We had done a beach excursion last time we were in St. Thomas and it was a bit of a disappointment because it was a bay not the ocean that you swam in. I will say that as far as the smoothness of the water and the ship, there were several evenings that the boat was rocking. Apparently, the weather in the Northeast was affecting the ocean and causing rough waters. During the days at sea you would never even know that the ship was moving. Some of the evenings were a different story. My son told me that he was in the pool with a few other kids at night and it became a "wave pool"! When walking on the Promenade, which was where all the shops were in the center of the ship on Deck 5 we didn't feel the rocking, but when we were in our cabins at night you really felt it. I don't get sea sick, so it wasn't a problem for me, but my daughter had to wear the sea bands around her wrists and take medicine to help with the problem. But it was all manageable. The disembarkation process went pretty smoothly. They grouped people according to when their flights were. We were staying an extra day in Puerto Rico so we were towards the end. You have to be out of your cabin by 8:00am so they have people waiting in assigned areas around the ship. We waited in the Lyric Theater until our group was called. We were off the ship by about 10am. We got our luggage easily (which is picked up outside your cabin by 11pm the night before) and walked right through customs and outside to the taxi stand. We were at our hotel by about 10:45am . We stayed at the Sheraton Old San Juan which was sort of midway between the pier and the airport. I can't say that I would recommend this hotel. The one word that comes to mind is gloomy. The hotel was gloomy. The decor was dark as was our room. We faced a parking garage and there was no sunlight that came into our room. I peeked into other rooms that faced a different way and they were just as gloomy. There were shutters on the small window and the lamps that were in the room did not help make it too much brighter. We went up to the pool (which is on the roof) and it was OK- very small as was the area to sit around the pool. It was our plan to sit around the pool all afternoon, to get the last bits of sun before heading back to the cold winter weather so we stayed there for about two hours and wound up going back to the room. There wasn't much to do in the immediate area, but we took a walk and found that there was a street fair going on several blocks away. It was interesting and we enjoyed walking around. For dinner that night we ate at Senior Frogs which was around the corner from the hotel. It was fun and the food was adequate. We then walked over to Cold Stone Ice Cream and went back to our room. We had an early morning flight so we went to sleep and woke up at 4:30am to take a taxi to the airport. All in all our trip was terrific. Adventure of the Seas was everything we expected and more and Royal Caribbean certainly knows how to run a great cruise line. I would not hesitate to cruise with them again. They really know how to treat each guest like 'Royalty"! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2008
About every year or every other year, my family and I go on a cruise. For a little background info., we have been on Celebrity Millennium, Radiance of the Seas, and Costa Mediterranea. This March, we were extremely excited to return to RCI ... Read More
About every year or every other year, my family and I go on a cruise. For a little background info., we have been on Celebrity Millennium, Radiance of the Seas, and Costa Mediterranea. This March, we were extremely excited to return to RCI aboard the Adventure of the Seas, sailing from San Juan, to Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas. At 16, and as a cruise aficionado, I was very happy, after the air traveling nightmare from Portland Me to San Juan during a Nor'easter, to know that I would be sailing away to paradise in a few short hours. Hotel: We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express. It was convenient, clean, and very economical. Embarkation: After arriving at the pier at about noon, we found the embarkation process to be very quick and smooth. Within 20 minutes, we were on the ship, discovering our new home for the next week. The ship: Even after researching the Adventure of the Seas and the Voyager class so extensively before sailing, I was still awestruck as I went exploring. Every once in a while, I had to remember that I was on a ship, because with the Royal Promenade, it's easy to forget. The atriums at either side of the promenade were beautiful. The three-level dining room was equally impressive. On the lido deck and top decks, there was ample space for every body, and with two pools, and the solarium pool, as well as the six hot tubs, I never felt crowded. The ice rink was a little smaller than I had anticipated, but nonetheless incredible. The full court basketball space, inline roller blade area, miniature golf course, rock wall, arcade, and ShipShape fitness center ensured that there would be plenty to do. The Lyric Theater was very elegant, and small enough that every seat was a good seat. (My family particularly admired the Peacock curtain that changed color). Staterooms: My brother and I had a promenade room, which was small but sufficient, and we could easily see the festivities like the parades right from our window. My parents' balcony stateroom was the same size as it was on previous cruises, but the balcony offered a little more privacy as it was oval shaped, cut out from the metal on the side of the ship, rather than having those little dividers between everybody's balconies. It was nice to have plastic sliding doors on the shower rather than just the curtain like on previous cruises. The only complaint about the rooms was that my parents' room had a strong stench of urine and sewage and for the first few days, there was no water in the toilet and the drains in the shower did not work well at all. The stateroom attendant was notified, but nothing was done, which left a little bit of a sour taste in my parents' otherwise satisfied mouths. Day Two: At Sea The at sea days are always relaxing and this day was no exception. Day Three: Aruba We took the Jolly Pirates Excursion and were very satisfied with the experience. We went to three different sites, to snorkel and swing, and it was suitable for all ages. When we got back to the pier, we went shopping for a while and then back on board. Day Four: Curacao This day was pretty quiet and we shopped and went to Mambo beach. It was a nice beach, but it was just frustrating, (this is with all the beaches and excursions), that after paying all the money to take a cruise, it still costs so much money each way for taxis, admission to the beach, and even for lawn chairs! But anyway, we enjoyed our day in Curacao. Day Five: At Sea This was another relaxing day at sea. We love days at sea and all the fun games going on around the ship, especially the belly-flop contests and men's sexy legs competitions. Captain Tommy and Cruise Director Mike and his staff had a dodge ball tournament against the passengers on this day. Amazingly, the crew continued its perfect record of wins. Day Six: St. Maarten This was my first time in St. Maarten but it certainly will not be my last. We decided to stay on the Dutch side and shopped and went to the beach, from which we could still very clearly see the cruise ships. We heard Orient Beach, on the French side, was beautiful. Day Seven: St. Thomas This was our third time in St. Thomas and we decided to try Magens Bay. It was nice, but not one of the top ten beaches in the world as designated by National Geographic. St. John has nicer beaches. We also did the sky tram to Paradise Point which was very enjoyable and offered picturesque views. Day Eight: San Juan This was the worst day of the vacation. We had to leave the ship, and had miserable flights home, being delayed for hours and having our luggage lost. Warning: Stay away from JFK if at all possible. Disembarkation: This process took longer than on previous trips. We were in group 9, so after leaving our stateroom by the 8:00 am as required, we had to sit in the Lyric Theater until about 10:30. They had CNN on for us, so it wasn't that bad. Everybody was just tired. Dining: The food in the Windjammer was great and there was always a good variety. The Dining room was where Royal Caribbean really shined. The food on this cruise was the best I have ever had on a cruise ship, which is very impressive considering there were nearly 3,700 passengers aboard. Our wait staff, Yurkhan and Anecito, was beyond expectation. Yurkhan was really just more than we could have ever asked for, she always made sure we were satisfied, always brought me extras, and had a smile and sense of humor that was infectious! Nine pounds later, (one pound off from my personal record, but still above average, with the average cruiser gaining a pound a day) it's easy to believe that the food was very good. Cruise Director: Before each cruise, I always try to find out who the cruise director is going to be. I believe that they are the people who set the tone for the entire week. I had heard it would either be Mike S. or Pierce, both of which were unfamiliar names to me. When I got onboard, I asked right away and found that it was Mike Szwajkowski. If I had any doubts about him, let me assure you that after the first show, they vanished. I was more than impressed by his great skill and talent. He was really a class-act, just as personable on stage as he was off. On multiple occasions, I asked for my picture with him or would talk to him, and every time, he had the time to talk with me and was very friendly. I am always very happy when I get the opportunity to talk with the cruise director because I have thought about becoming one someday. It's either that or politician, but I've realized that they're pretty similar jobs, but people actually like cruise directors. More than other directors, I noticed that Mike was very visible around the ship. In my book, he joins the ranks of Gordon Whatman and Paul Rutter. Entertainment: There was never the opportunity to get bored during the week when there was always such a plethora of entertainment. On the first night, we had juggler Mike Price and Comedian Michael Dean Easter, both of whom were fantastic. On the second night, we were dazzled by Beetle Mania Live. Night Three, we had the ice show, which was impressive. On the fourth night, we had the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers in Can't Stop the Rock. Night Five was Kenny James, 13-time winner on Star Search. Night six was supposed to be the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers in Jackpot. However, the computers malfunctioned so it was a very short show. It was just one of those things that happen, not a big deal. Night seven was the farewell show with juggler Mike Price again and comedian Hal Spear. Cruise Director Mike put on a hilarious farewell show; although virtually the same "Top Ten" list is used by all cruise directors. Note: The Quest is definitely worth going to! Overall Impressions We had an amazing time on the Adventure of the Seas. For all the activities on the AOS, I thought it may have been a little too big for my preference. I am a bigger fan of the Radiance class, with its vast amounts of glass and great views. I sometimes missed all the window views that there were on the Radiance of the Seas. The ship was showing a little bit of wear and tear, but that certainly did not detract from the cruise experience. We were also disappointed to find that starting in January, RCI stopped doing the Grand Gala midnight buffet. We understand the reasons for discontinuing it, though. That said, I was overly impressed with the friendliness of the crew, especially the charismatic Captain Tommy, and the extraordinary innovation of this ship. I cannot say enough about this cruise and I will certainly be sailing with RCI again in the future. It still rates as my favorite cruise line. It's been a hard readjustment back to the freezing weather of Maine, but hopefully I'll be back cruising in the very near future. If you have any questions about the Adventure or any of the other ships mentioned, feel free to drop me an email: prezjviola@yahoo.com Read Less
Sail Date: March 2008
After reading quite a few reviews on our cruise (March 9 sailing) I had to put my two cents worth in. It is amazing how varied people's opinions are -- was flabbergasted to see extremely negative reviews of a cruise we loved. One ... Read More
After reading quite a few reviews on our cruise (March 9 sailing) I had to put my two cents worth in. It is amazing how varied people's opinions are -- was flabbergasted to see extremely negative reviews of a cruise we loved. One preliminary comment: we did not notice any exceptionally rowdy or obnoxious people on this cruise (as mentioned in earlier reviews). There were some loud people down the hall from us when we arrived (not Puerto Ricans), screaming greetings to each other, but they quieted down quickly. The passengers seemed a good mix of people from many cultures and countries with the majority being Americans of various types and Canadians. Transportation - We tend to arrange for our own flights when we cruise. Since we live in a small town, Marquette, Michigan, miles from anywhere, we would have to drive to bigger airports to get to airports connected to the cruise lines. Also we've found that arranging our own flights is cheaper. I must say, however, that we may do it differently this next time and drive to Milwaukee, which we've done with success before. We had a huge number of frustrating hassles with our flights both going and coming, which are too boring to go into here. It seems that flying becomes more and more of a pain. Pre-cruise. We stayed at the Marriott Stellaris in San Juan for two nights before the cruise (because of delays got in late Friday night). This was an excellent choice. We got a Priceline deal of $165 a night. With taxes, etc. this amounted to $200 a night. It was well worth it. Just a beautiful hotel. Our large room, with a balcony, overlooked the ocean. The beach at the Marriott is lovely and the pool area also, though we didn't swim in the pools. We got a real charge of swimming in the huge waves and walking up and down the beach. Because of expense, we didn't eat in the hotel's restaurants, but found great food up and down Ashford Avenue. For breakfast and lunch, Danny's is reasonable as is Pui Bella across the street from the Marriott. For dinner, we would recommend Yerba Buena (across from Danny's), fine Caribbean food (not cheap) and a great ambiance. I had chicken breast stuffed with mashed cassava root and fried plantains. Oh, it was so yummy. The restaurant was open air, about two blocks down from the Marriott. We also enjoyed strolling on Ashford Avenue, just looking at the sights and enjoying the warmth, after escaping a northern Michigan winter. Embarkation was a breeze. We were there at 11:30 am and on the ship in 20 minutes. We were able to occupy the cabin at 1:00 pm. In the meantime, we explored the ship and ate lunch in the Windjammer. The ship itself: Adventure of the Seas is a massive ship (3000+ passengers) and truly lovely. The Royal Promenade was amazing - several (four or five) stories high lined with shops and eating spots. Perhaps there were a few things that needed spiffing up (worn carpets in some areas), but in general the ship seemed spotless, and "ship shape" in every way. I did miss a wooden deck that you could walk all the way around. All in all, though AOTS is beautiful, I think we will choose a smaller ship next time. Though we never felt crowded, I almost wish there was more of a feel of being on a ship. I take that first part back - I did feel somewhat crowded in the pool and solarium areas, where it was difficult to find a deck chair for much of the day. My husband and I remarked that although the ship has many more passengers than some smaller ships, the pool/solarium areas didn't seem any bigger than on those ships. There were many areas, though, like Deck Four, where you could go with your book, find a deck chair, and be almost alone. Cabin: We were Cabin 7638. This was our first balcony and I must say that we are spoiled for all future cruises. How much fun to sit on the balcony having our morning coffee, observing life on shore in port, and just relaxing and reading as the sea rolls by. The cabin itself seemed a bit bigger than some we've had with a full sized couch and plenty of storage space. The beds seemed exceptionably comfortable. Everything in the cabin worked fine - no complaints there. Our cabin steward was quite attentive - many cute towel animals greeted us, included a bat hanging from our air vent. One complaint was that we didn't always have ice in our buckets, which is a nice touch, since the water from the taps is never cold. I did notice that RC seems to have dropped such amenities in the room like shampoo, which seems cheap, although I suppose they save much $$ from doing this. Food: We thought the food was just outstanding on this cruise, perhaps the best we've ever experienced on a cruise. I always enjoyed my dinner. Some special hits were the escargots (appetizers in general were great), lamb shanks, and the sea bass. Meat was always cooked the way we like it, and the food was always hot and nicely presented. Our waiter Joseph and his assistant, both from India, were attentive and friendly. We ate a few lunches and breakfasts in the main dining room and have no complaints there either. When we ate in the Windjammer, we did not find it too crowded (always easily found a place to sit), and the food was delicious with many choices. The last night of the cruise we ate in Portofino, the specialty restaurant. Here the food was excellent in every way. I had veal saltimbocca and my husband a seafood dish. I do have one complaint; the service was too slow, even for gourmet dining, which you expect to be leisurely. At one point, we sat for 15 minutes with dirty plates in front of us. Activities: on cruises we are not likely to take part in a lot of the ship's activities, not being partiers or likely to go to nightclubs when on land. We are both more likely in the day time to grab a book and find a quiet spot to read. A few times we hung out in the pool area, but it tended to be too hectic there for me. I want peace and quiet on a vacation. I did avail myself of the ShipShape gym and worked out on the treadmill several times. This was a large facility and when I was there, it was not crowded, with plenty of machines to use. I enjoyed attending a digital camera workshop on an At Sea day, and we both played Name that Tune, which was lots of fun (we both consider ourselves experts on earlier pop music). We did enjoy the shows (loved Beatle Mania and the Ice Show) and the production shows. We listened to music around the ship (like Big Band and jazz) several times. As far as the one production show that was a bust, due to malfunctioning equipment, hey, this stuff happens. Get over it, folks! The routines of the Cruise Director, Steve, were sometimes corny, but what do you expect?? Isn't the essence of cruise directing corniness? I mean Sexy Legs contests, etc. He did make us laugh and seemed a nice guy who enjoyed people and making the ship a fun place to be. We liked the formal nights; Ted rented a tux for the first time which was fun and convenient. Neither one of us object to Formal Nights. We enjoy "dressing up" a couple of times - wouldn't at all be interested in cruising where it was all casual. Ports: In Aruba, we went with the Jolly Pirates. This was a blast, we thought, and well worth the money of $53 a person, lasting about four hours. We snorkeled in three different places. The boat was cool with an entertaining crew of four young island kids. The snorkeling wasn't great but enjoyable with a fair number of fish. They served us lunch, and after the snorkeling was the highlight of the day - the rope swing -- swinging from a stout rope over the water and dropping in the water. One of crew guides the rope, which is attached to another rope for safety. There were a couple of near misses where folks almost smashed into the side of the boat. I, at age 64, even tried it. Some people went over and over; the crew was patient, and didn't try to hurry us up. After people got their fill, two of the young men demonstrated the cool way to do it - turning flips, etc. The day was beautiful, it was glorious sailing in a "real" pirate ship, and our fellow shipmates were fun, with lots of kids who loved the rope swing. We arranged this outing online, not through the ship excursion service. Although it was somewhat longer than that one, and we got a lunch and they didn't, it probably wasn't cheaper because we had to pay for cabs going and coming to the place. Curacao - Here we just wandered around the narrow streets, looking at the quaint, colorfully painted Dutch style buildings, going through the old synagogue. Although we are not Jewish, we found it fascinating, especially the museum of all the artifacts of the history of the congregation. We did a bit of shopping and bought some pretty table linens for gifts as well as cigars. We liked Curacao a lot; as we sailed down the coast at the end of the day, we noticed a huge 12 mile stretch of uninhabited coast which our guidebook said was a national marine park. What a thrill to explore that! St. Martin's - We rented a car from Budget for $52 - office right by the pier -- and drove all the way around the island from the Dutch to the French side and back again. We stopped at a number of places: Little Divi Bay Resort to climb up to Fort Amsterdam (great views of Phillipsburg), Marigot to check out Fort St. Louis, again great views of the town and island, and Friar's Bay, a small, pretty, and relatively quiet beach with great swimming. Here we stayed about an hour. We had stopped in Phillipsburg and bought some sandwiches and drinks so we were able to have a picnic on the way. We were going to stop at the plantation for a tour, but it was $15.00 a person, which seemed a bit much. We also briefly stopped at Orient Beach, a long, crowded beach with concessions up and down it, huge throngs of people, all backed by beach houses and condos. Too civilized for our taste. Didn't see much of the famous nudity, just some topless women; it was getting late, we were tired, so we headed back to the ship. The driving on St. Martin's is hectic, with bumper to bumper traffic in some areas (Marigot was a zoo), although away from the villages it's not so bad. It was way too crowded for my taste, not my idea of a peaceful tropical isle. St. Thomas - we had planned to go to Cinnamon Bay on St. John's - the unspoiled beauty of St. John's appeals to us greatly, but by the time we got our act together, we had missed the 9:00 boat to St. John's. The next boat didn't leave until 11:00, not enough time to get there and spend any appreciable time. A man nearby heard us trying to decide what to do and suggested we take a cab to Coki Beach. This was a beautiful spot on the other side of St. Thomas, not a very long beach but not terribly crowded, very pretty, and the best thing - some of the finest snorkeling we've ever experienced - clear water, many fish and amazing corals, huge black spiny sea urchins and purple sea fans, with the plants and creatures seeming healthier than those we saw on Aruba. The snorkeling was exceptionally great down at the other end of the beach. We both swam along the shore all the way to the point and just reveled in the beauty. I was surrounded by clouds of fish, little (two three inch long) neons, all the other tropical fish you usually see, very large fish (three-four feet long) who would emerge, swim alongside me, then drift away. It was truly magical. If I wasn't getting chilly, I would have stayed there much longer. Debarkation: Easy as pie. We stayed on the ship as long as we could because we were going to stay another day in San Juan, and knew our room wouldn't be ready. (It wasn't) We spent one final day in San Juan, unwinding at the Sheraton, which was comfortable, but not the luxurious place the Marriott was. Until our room was ready (at 3 pm) we wandered the streets of the old city (which we had seen several times before), but were tired and wished we could go to our room. Ate lunch at a place called the Amapola on the street that runs between the two forts. It was billed as the only restaurant in old San Juan with rooftop dining, and it indeed had tables overlooking the ocean though we didn't get one. The food was very good. We had dinner at the Parrott Club, which I wouldn't recommend. It has great atmosphere and service but our dinner for two was almost $100, much more than Yerba Buena, and although the food was good, it wasn't that good. So, all in all, we loved our cruise and found very little to complain about Royal Caribbean or Adventure of the Seas! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2008
My wife and I have been on quite a few cruises - 11 for her and 9 for me. But we have always driven to the ports - Port Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale or Miami. But last year, we booked a cruise on the Adventure of the Seas departing from ... Read More
My wife and I have been on quite a few cruises - 11 for her and 9 for me. But we have always driven to the ports - Port Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale or Miami. But last year, we booked a cruise on the Adventure of the Seas departing from Puerto Rico. No driving to that one! We flew in the night before and stayed at the Best Western Inn Pierre in the Condado area. It was easy getting a taxi to the hotel and under $20. This is a great place to stay pre-cruise - we even got a room upgrade! There is quite a bit to do within walking distance. The next morning we ate breakfast, checked out around noon and hailed a taxi to the cruise terminal. We arrived at around 12:15 and were able to get right on the ship. This was perhaps the smoothest embarkation of any cruise. They have a luggage drop for Platinum and up members and special lines. We were on the ship before our room was ready so up to the Windjammer for lunch. Our stateroom was just wonderful. This was our first foray into the Junior Suite. The bathroom alone is worth the price of admission. We were on the back of the ship. It was cool when we backed into Saint Maarten to sit on the balcony and watch the port. We had a great time on the cruise. The special entertainers were great - especially El Gaucho. What a hoot! The other entertainer was great as well. The only thing that was bizarre was the ice show. A bit on the creepy side. We had great service in the dining room as normal. Our assistant waiter kept the diet cokes coming. Because we typically don't eat appetizers, our waiter got our food out early and many nights we were out by 7:00. But where we saw a huge improvement in service was in Windjammer. Normally you are on your own for soda, coffee, water. But we had tremendous service each time we dined there. It was really refreshing. The midnight buffets are a thing of the past. Which is fine by me - it was always a hassle to go through and get pictures. Disembarking was just as smooth. I wish I could say the same about our flights home, but since we booked them ourselves, not the cruise line's fault. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2008
This was our 9th cruise and our first cruise with RCI. We have sailed with Celebrity, HAL, Princess, Carnival and NCL, so this gave us a chance to compare them all. We started out our trip and ended it by staying a night in Old San Juan at ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise and our first cruise with RCI. We have sailed with Celebrity, HAL, Princess, Carnival and NCL, so this gave us a chance to compare them all. We started out our trip and ended it by staying a night in Old San Juan at the very, very old Howard Johnson Hotel at Plaza des Armes. The HOJO was clean and much cheaper than the beach side hotels, but the main advantage was that it was within walking distance of many great eating places, and the free town shuttle bus stopped across from the hotel. The Adventure of the Seas: A huge and beautiful ship. The promenade (street) that extended the length of the ship was impressive. I also was impressed by the decor in Jesters night club and all the artifacts implanted beneath the glass floor in the casino. The Art work scattered throughout the ship was adequate but not as impressive as on some of the other lines (HAL and Celebrity) When we moved in to our balcony cabin, all was clean and in perfect order (unlike the condition of our cabin on NCL). Our room attendant was excellent, except we had to ask that our ice bucket be filled several nights. The ships facilities (Health club,sauna, steam bath and hot tub) made me feel pampered. We never used the ship's pools because we found the water too cool for comfort. We did all our swimming and snorkeling on the Islands. The ship's entertainment was better than what we experienced on our other cruises FOOD: I am a "foodie" and I found all the food served in the dining room and Windjammer buffet to be surprisingly good. I sampled and ate three entrees at each dinner (a meat course, pasta and an Indian vegetarian course) as well as two to three desserts. We believe the food served on the Adventure is equal in quality to the Crown Princess and certainly better than NCL or Carnival, but not better than HAL or Celebrity. I enjoy seasoned food , but two couples on the cruise were not satisfied with their food; they found it too plain and bland for their tastes. We tried the speciality restaurant, the Portofino, which everyone raved about. It was good. Complaints: I only have a few complaints about this ship and RCI. The Windjammer buffet needs about 50 more tables. We had to circle the seating area two to three times almost every breakfast and lunch before we could find a vacant table. Also, This was the only ship I have been on that was not built with an outdoor dining area at the back of the ship at the buffet. (Having your breakfast outdoors while in port or at sea can be a wonderful dining experience). The ship needs more elevators to handle the crowds. This was the only cruise line that charged us for cappuccino coffee at dinner (over $5.00 for two). On all our other cruises we were able to order cappuccino at the end of each dinner without my tab escalating. And lastly, but not least, in the hot Caribbean climate we survive by drinking gallons of ice tea and avoiding pricey bar drinks and sodas. It's available 24 hours a day on the other cruise lines. On RCI its free only during the hours of breakfast, lunch and dinner; after that you have to buy it. (RCI does provide hot coffee and ice water 24 hours a day in the promenade cafe) RCI gave us a great cruise but nickel/dimed us on the iced tea and cappuccino. That alone is enough for me to favor Princess and HAL and Celebrity on our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2008
Overview: DH and I are in our late twenties, we've both cruise Carnival and Norwegian. This was our first Royal Caribbean. We *love* cruising, are happy go lucky and adventurous. This cruise was part of our honeymoon vacation and ... Read More
Overview: DH and I are in our late twenties, we've both cruise Carnival and Norwegian. This was our first Royal Caribbean. We *love* cruising, are happy go lucky and adventurous. This cruise was part of our honeymoon vacation and perfect for us! Pre-Cruise: We departed Newark, NJ on Continental Friday before the cruise. Flight was smooth and uneventful, just how we like it! Arrived in San Juan on time, and hopped a cab to the Marriott Stellaris Resort and Casino. I must say their cab system is outstanding, and NYC and Boston should really consider a similar idea! 20 min cab ride and we arrived in the Condado area to our gorgeous hotel. The Marriott is a great place to stay pre-cruise, but expensive. We booked on priceline and were 100% happy with the price we paid. Not sure if I would have been as excited if I paid the going rate of $450! Hotel was very nice, clean, staff was friendly. We checked in very quickly and were served an ice cold tropical drink while waiting to check in which was exactly what I needed. Our room was on the 6th floor, just near the corner so we had a partial ocean view and city view. Great! The room was clean and fresh, very bright and airy. The bathroom was FANTASTIC. Ginormous to be exact. The shower was great, I love Marriott showers. Bed was amazing as always. Pools looked nice, a lot smaller then they look on the website, but nice. Overall the hotel was great, can't complain! 1st night: We showered and walked down the street to the right of the hotel. We ate at an authentic Mexican and Puerto Rican place with an ocean view, Casa de Don Juan I THINK was the name. Food was great garlic shrimp with fried plantains and rice, and garlic marinated mahi-mahi with rice, margaritas were yummy, a bit salty, but STRONG. Made for a fun walk back to the hotel! Tres Leches dessert was OUTSTANDING. It was an early night as our bellies were full, the margaritas had hit, and we were weary from a day of travel. Day 2: We had room service for breakfast, convenient, but expensive, and a bit boring. Hopped in a cab for $15 to Old San Juan. We were dropped off at the San Cristobal fort to start our day on suggestion of our driver. We toured the fort which was great history and gorgeous views then decided to walk to El Morro. We stopped at a bistro called Amapola on the way. Great food, I highly recommend! We had excellent tapas of some kind of pulled chicken on fried plantains, salads with fresh pineapple, papaya and mild white cheese. Delish! Dessert we unfortunately decided to split a fresh coconut flan... we were fighting over the last piece! Amazing! El Moro was a fantastic sight as well and interesting. We were a little tired at this point of forts however. From El Moro we walked into the heart of Old San Juan for some shopping. We hit Barrachina's for pina coladas, and each had one despite our strong urge to drink our weight worth. Well worth the stop. Hopped a cab back once we hit the piers were Carnival docks. We ate took a left out of the hotel this night for dinner and checked out Yerba Buena. We need to find out how to get them to open one in Boston. Excellent food, and drink. We started with crab pastry purses, YUM, on to stuffed pork tenderloin with rum brown sugar sauce... I am salivating thinking about it, and red snapper which was also incredible. Finished of with QUATRO leches, which I could have eaten till the cows came home. Great food, great atmosphere with alfresco dining. Can't wait to go back! Day 3: Embarkation day! Slept in a bit, skipped breakfast and checked out. Super easy. Hopped a cab for $12 to the Pan Am Pier. Embarkation: One of our finer cruise moments happened here! We arrived around 11:30 to LONG lines to get through security to check in. There was no line for the porters to drop off luggage. We knew once inside we had priority check in for the suite, but it was hot and humid outside. We went to the porter, with full intentions to tip, however we forgot to break some bills at the hotel and the smallest we had was a $10. Let me tell you that was by FAR the best $10 I ever spent! The porter took one look at our 3 bags, us the $10 and walked us right up to the front of the line for security. All in all we were inside, checked in, and on the ship in less than FIVE minutes! No line for priority check in, got our Seapasses and walked straight onto the ship and off to the Windjammer since our stomachs were showing their distaste for the lack of breakfast. Lunch was good for buffet food. Average cruise fare. After that we explored a little and were in our state rooms by 10 after 1 to unpack. Finally! VACATION! Ship: We really enjoyed the layout and everything about the Adventure. She's very clean and well kept. People were painting and cleaning everywhere. Carpets were worn, but what do you expect! Overheard the captain telling someone they just spent 70k reupholstering the Imperial Lounge!! It took me no time to decide that I prefer Royal Caribbean's ships over Carnival. I thought I would miss the atrium, but the Promenade proved just as fun. I did however miss one thing quite a bit, the waterslides! It was a great way too cool off on at sea days and avoid the human soup pools and hot tubs. The shower worked but wasn't as fun, as I was a little too big for the Adventure Ocean waterslide :) Wider hallways were easier to walk down, however they aren't as fun on the rough days after a few drinks! :) Jesters night club was the only room I wasn't too crazy about. It felt cramped. Def. prefer the night clubs on Carnival and Norwegian. The dining room was spectacular. Even if you were off on the side you still felt "part of the action" which I was worried about. Our table for 2 was perfect even though we were right next to the server's station. Windjammer was nice, better feel than the cafeteria feeling on other ships. Shopping on board... really not very enticing. I really prefer the shopping on Carnival much more. Better selections, same values, just a lot more to choose from! Room: Port side JS on the 9th deck. Great size, good space etc. Walk in closet, was my dream as like most females I over packed! Bathroom, I was not a fan of. I am sad to say I really prefer the bathrooms on Carnival here. The shower curtain was kind of gross and I spent most of my shower time trying to avoid it and keep it from becoming saran wrap on me! The suites in carnival have nice shower doors for the tubs. That and the counter space is much better. Everything else about the room was great. Cruise Director/ ACD/ and Captain: Mike the CD was great, my DH and I really enjoyed his humor. Unfortunately for me DH now has some new material to use for himself! Assistant CD... meh. He was alright. Captain was GREAT. I really enjoyed his announcements. Normally captain announcements are kind of dry. Ports of Call: Aruba- We booked the Mi Dushi through RCI and it was fantastic, as was her crew. Snorkeling, eh, it was okay, average. But I knew that going into it. DH really wanted to snorkel the Antilles since he never saw a ship wreck. This was my 2nd time, and it still freaked me out a bit. The food they served was great; crew was really fun and liked to joke around. Rope swing was a blast and fun to watch. The Kokoo Kunuku bus we took there was a trip! Great day of sailing and swimming, open bar was worth the price! Curacao- We used Curacao-Actief here with another cruise critic couple. What a GREAT time and well worth it! The snorkeling was WOW! We snorkeled Belize last year and it's been hard to beat, but Curacao really wowed us. We felt like we were in Finding Nemo. Andy our guide was fantastic, helpful, humorous and a lot of fun. Loads of Elkhorn corals, parrot fish, angels, anemones, and just tons of fish of all kinds! We had a great local snack which was delish, and stopped at 2 historical sites. We can't wait to go back! The floating bridge in town was cool and fun to watch when people got stuck on it! Shopping was okay. We really didn't get much here at all. However, before get into town, you walk through a small shopping area of higher end shops and eateries. I highly recommend the crepes place! This was an unexpected wow of the day! Crepes were excellent! St. Martin- We booked horseback riding through Shoretrips.com with Bayside Riding Club. Great place, really relaxing ride and friendly staff. It was just what we needed to do to chill out for a day even though we were dying to hit the beach! Gorgeous scenery as we rode through some brush area and then onto the beach. The only regret here is our cab drivers were both late picking us up at the terminal and at Bayside. No big deal though! We shopped the rest of the day and got some GREAT deals on blue diamond earrings, Versace and Ray Ban Sunglasses, and a Canon lens for our camera. Prices were way less than at home as we compared once we got home and cheaper than Aruba. Shop here! Also do NOT miss the Belgian Chocolate place. It's recommended by the ship and is one of the places they really got right! Sometimes ship recommendations aren't all that great or are very overpriced. Well it was a little expensive, but we had chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner over the next few days it was THAT good! I am actually ordering some after I type this review! We ate at Barefoot which is along the "boardwalk" area overlooking the beach. I had excellent grouper that had me reeking of garlic for days, but I love it! The beans and rice were excellent. DH had sampler platter of conch fritters, coconut shrimp and jerk wings. Shrimp were to DIE for. St. Thomas- We arrived with a little disappointed that our St. John Surf & Turf tour was cancelled due to lack of participation, so we booked Turtle Cove Sail and Snorkel through RC with expectations of a cattle call. This tour actually turned out to be alot of fun and well worth the 1/3 of what we paid for the orig. tour! The crew was fun, maybe a little too fun at times and bordering on slightly obnoxious, but it was all good times. They appealed to both young and old. It was a nice sail to Buck Island, very relaxing and scenic. We saw about a dozen sea turtles, and were able to go off and snorkel on our own so we didn't feel at all like we were with 40 of our new best friends. The cove was a fun area to snorkel and swim, and there seems to be a lot of coral regrowth which was awesome to see! Mostly your average Caribbean fish, nothing out of this world, but enjoyable to say the least. A few sting ray here and there. Lots of urchins and a few *gigantic* hermit crabs! We did a little more shopping here. Values were as good as St. Martin. I still can't get over how so many jewelry stores in one spot stay in business! We stopped at Glady's for lunch. DH had an amazing Mahi-mahi sandwich. I had a good chicken salad sandwich. Conch fritters were outstanding here. Days at Sea: We had 2 and we didn't do much on our at sea days. Laid around on deck, DH played dodge ball and basketball. Mini golf wasn't much to be desired. They could have been more creative in that department! It felt like it was something they rushed to put together. Spa: Pretty expensive. I did spring for a manicure. Service was great as was my manicurist. Manicure didn't last very long, but I'll chalk it up to maybe all the swimming we did and the copious amounts of sun block! Food: Dining room: Overall was good to great. We didn't have anything that we didn't like or sent back. Most was very good with a few outstanding items: Filet in Portofino's, lobster tail was cooked to perfection, warm chocolate cake, and a few others. Windjammer: we ate lunch here one day, and breakfast just about every day. Food was good for lunch. Breakfast, can't really go wrong. I wasn't a fan of the eggs, but DH was. Typical breakfast fare, eggs, breakfast meats, pancakes, cereal, French toast, omelets etc. Entertainment: We didn't see any of the big production shows, but what we did see was always fun and pretty much hilarious. The CD had a great sense of humor that projected into everything. Love and Marriage show was outstanding. Service: Room Steward: Ronnie: Excellent. Never had to ask for a thing always polite and friendly and FAST! Waiter and Assistant Waitress: Inacio and Ama: Quick, friendly and efficient. A little quiet but we had shared some laughs! Head Waiter: Alex. We love him. He told us to call him when we go to Italy and gave us his card. All other areas, never had a problem, though for the first time ever on a cruise, it was sometimes hard to find a bartender! No big deal though, we always managed to track them down. Other Passengers: Mostly American, 300 Canadian, 300 Puerto Rican and various other countries. Everyone was nice. Avg age seemed to be 30-40 with a large crowd of 50+, and not really many kids! Everyone we met was friendly with exception of 2 groups. We had a horrible incident in the dining room one night where a near fight broke out. One table decided it was appropriate to chuck DINNER ROLLS. Yes dinner rolls. They knocked over some wine on another table and things got interesting. This was a table of adults mind you! Obnoxious. Long story short, the head waiter came over and told us had it not been the last night they would have been put off the ship in the next port! The other group was a 70's ish man who decided he was going to take out his bad day on DH and I and started screaming at us when I left the line to get our taxi cab voucher and DH stayed. Poor wife... she was mortified! Debarkation: Efficient and about as fun as a box of rocks, but what can you do, they need to get you off the ship fast and in the easiest way. Found our luggage quick and had a cab in no time. Overall- GREAT cruise, we'd do it again in a heartbeat. Made for a FUN honeymoon which exactly what we wanted. We aren't the lazy type. Can't wait to do another Royal Caribbean, though we will still do Carnival from time to time when a cheap vaca is in order! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2008
I have cruised numerous times on Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean, however never on a Mega Ship like Adventure of the Sea's (Voyager class). With that in mind I read every review I could find, more than a sane person should. ... Read More
I have cruised numerous times on Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean, however never on a Mega Ship like Adventure of the Sea's (Voyager class). With that in mind I read every review I could find, more than a sane person should. Having just returned from the Southern Caribbean I thought I would write this while all my impressions were fresh and address many of the perceptions and frankly myths I read prior to my vacation. This might be more blunt than some would prefer however it is objective and is a consensus from the others who were also on this ship as well as friends of ours who were on a sister ship 2 weeks prior. First, if you are highly demanding and frankly on the snobbish side, you are better off paying a lot more money for a boutique ship where there are less people at the higher end of the economic scale. Second speaking of scale, if you know what a seat belt extender or shop at the big and tall shop a regular cabin and the shower will be a complaint. Now to the meat of the review. The Voyager class ship e.g. Adventure of the Sea's is a design and engineering marvel. There are no words to describe the Pomade, the shops, the design detail though out the ship. It is nothing less than impressive. The workmanship, decorating is amazing and everything is tasteful and immaculate. There is such diversity on the ship you hardly ever feel crowed. No the normal wait for a elevator is not a problem, no finding a lounge chair is not an issue, or the lines in Windjammer (buffet line) a issue, more about the food latter. We had a balcony superior class cabin. The room was not undersized, had a couch, plenty of closet space and comfortable bed. The balcony is not quite as large as on other ships we have cruised, had 2 chairs a small table and very appealing. The bathroom on all ships (other than a suite) only has a shower, but a design innovation is a circular type shower with sliding doors that keeps the water from going on the floor. As I noted if you are a large person a suite is probably something worth spending the extra money for to get a larger bathroom. For average sized people the bathroom is highly accommodating. The food on the ship is not gourmet but very good at least on par with nice non chain restaurants and factually better than the chains. There is diversity in choice of appetizers, entrees, and deserts and never once did any of us have an issue with the quality, choice, or presentation. We have found the food on Royal Caribbean to be superior to Carnival and Princess. The dining room is nothing less than spectacular in design and efficiency. The buffet was a surprise. The food is presented in a manner that is not your typical institutional manner and very well prepared. The tables are attended to by waiters who will bring you coffee, ice tea, water and immediately clean up when you are finished. Finding a table is hardly an issue even during the rush hours when people tend to go the buffets rather than the dining room for breakfast or lunch. That is quite a feat when attending to over 3,000 passengers. On other ships we did go to the specialized dining experiences. While a more intimate setting we did not think that it was spectacular of that significantly better than the menu and dining room. Save the money and get a nice bottle of wine with dinner is perhaps a better choice. The service throughout the ship from attending to your cabin to the headwaiter, waiter and assistant is totally attentive. These people are all service oriented and concerned about you being pleased. I consider suspect anyone who has complaints about the service on any ship. The entertainment is diverse with the shows enjoyable. The ice show is remarkable considering it's on a ship and performed while moving. The staging and talent impressive. The other shows were very good but not excellent, that is not a complaint just an honest assessment. They entertainers work hard and put on nice shows. The cruise director worked hard, highly professional, engaging and a class act himself. We also spent time in the piano bar listening to live music, as well as the English pub (yup they got one of those) the talent there was also enjoyable. There is always something to do and the use of the Pomade for special shows and parades inspiring. I read a review that said it was almost Disney like as if that were bad. Coming up with unique ways to entertain you is brilliant, and the precision and efficiency in which that is done truly remarkable. I read reviews where people complained about the price of drinks and have no idea where these people live. The cost is on par with any restaurant, Hilton, Marriott and alike. If you think the cost of the photographers is too high, don't buy the pictures. The shopping on board ship is a bit more diverse than you would find at any resort, and priced reasonable. Getting on and off the ship was never a problem and reviews that complain about long lines something we never experienced. Getting off the ship on the final day was just a tad longer than I would have liked, but was efficiently done. In summary the cruise and ship is phenomenal. The ports of call and how to deal with excursions has been discussed on other forums and my 2 cents on that not necessary. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2008
Adventure of the Seas Cruise April 6-13, 2008 As a group of 10 cruisers, we were on our 15th Royal Caribbean cruise. Royal Caribbean has always taken excellent care of us, as they did on this cruise. We flew into San Juan the day ... Read More
Adventure of the Seas Cruise April 6-13, 2008 As a group of 10 cruisers, we were on our 15th Royal Caribbean cruise. Royal Caribbean has always taken excellent care of us, as they did on this cruise. We flew into San Juan the day before. One couple had a flight cancelled by US Airways, so they did not make it down until Sunday at 2:00PM. They were seriously thinking they would miss the cruise. (This is a good reason to always fly down to a port the day before.) We were at the airport 2 hours ahead of time (5:20 AM) and the airport in Atlanta was packed!!) We stayed at the Hampton Inn. The hotel is very nice and the people made it special. The taxi fare to the airport hotel was $10 plus bags and a tip. The drinks and food by the pool were very good. We did walk across the street from the Hampton Inn to the El San Juan Hotel. The woodwork in the lobby was beautiful. We went to the top floor to the panoramic view and a few drinks. The next morning we took a taxi to the ship about 10:25AM for the 15 minute ride to the ship. The taxi fare was $30 for the 4 of us with bags. The Adventure of the Seas was docked at the Pan American Pier (located next to a private airport.) We arrived at the ship, went to check in our bags and then we got into the line until the counters were opened. Water was being sold by a vendor for $2.00 per bottle. Arriving around 10:45AM in "the line", I was glad we got there when we did. Later in the morning the line was very long. Be prepared, there are no bathrooms and nowhere to sit. They opened the lines at 11:30AM and embarkation took all of 5 minutes. (Make sure you complete your online paperwork ahead of time.) After we went through check-in we immediately walked on the ship. We went up to Deck 11 to make reservations at Portofino's for Wednesday Night and then onto the Windjammer for lunch. After lunch we went to the dining room to find our table for dinner. The rooms opened at 1:00 so we changed into our casual clothes to explore the ship. (We always wear our nice clothes for dinner to get on the ship and bring our casual clothes with us.) Our bags arrived about 5:30PM. The first day is a different schedule that felt a little rushed 6:00PM Muster Drill on Deck 4, return the life jackets to deck 8 where our rooms were located, back down to Deck 3 for our 6:30PM Dinner (We always get the Main Seating for dinner). The ship left at 8:00PM. The Welcome aboard show was later - 10:30 with the parade down the Promenade at 12:00 midnight. I read several comments about people of all nationalities on the ship. It was exciting to meet people from 40 countries. However the US had 2,600 passengers with 300 of them from Puerto Rico. At dinner I had read some mixed reviews about the food. Well let me tell you this is a new menu. Many of the old favorites are still there, but many items are new. The food was very good. We did have the best waiter Randy "Romeo" Riston, and assistant waiter, Mark Raymond we have ever had, on this cruise. The bar waiter, Mark Phillips was also off the scale. Our excursions were exciting: Aruba - I had booked the Jolly Pirates for our group back in December 2007 when they took my money. Then on Monday - 6 days before the cruise they cancelled due to engine problems. I asked them to make sure, and they said their boat was in Venezuela and no way would it be ready. When I talked to another company, they said they were looking at the Jolly Pirate ship leave earlier in the day - working fine and loaded with passengers. DO NOT book this excursion direct - only book it through the cruise line. I am glad we chose another boat because they had 50 people on the boat. When we arrived at the port we went to the back right of the port building and selected another snorkeling boat. (The Dolphin) for $40 pp (9:30-12:30AM) from the Hyatt ($15/taxi ride) on the Aruba Beach. There were about 20 people and it was fantastic. Curacao -I kept reading all of the wonderful reviews on Cruise Critic about Henry "Leo" Plaate. After several e-mail messages, we booked Leo for our private tour. He was fantastic to say the least. I would HIGHLY recommended this tour for your group. He took us on the complete customized tour of island from 9:00 AM till 4:00 PM. What made this trip so special is that we got a complete trip just for us. Leo can be reached at leo@interneeds.net for his e-mail address and (5999) 567-6654 local cell phone. Some of the areas we went to was the Blue Curaçao Liqueur Distillery, Jan Thiel Resort, Knip Beach/Playa Kenepa, Queen Juliana Bridge, The Floating Market, Hato Cave and the Boka Tabla Cave. , St Martin - We did the only excursion that everyone recommended - The America's Cup Yacht racing. Ernie was our skipper. I had read he was the best skipper, and he won this race. If you love sailing or would like to try, this is your chance. It is not a light duty sailing cruise - it is a yacht race. However, they teach you everything. This can only be booked through the cruise line. St. Thomas - We had been to this island several times, so we just relaxed, did some shopping. On all other Royal Caribbean cruises we have been on, the baggage tag color determined when you get off the ship. On the Adventure, they do things a little different. The baggage tag color determines where you were located on the ship - fore, aft, port, starboard. It makes it easier for them to sort your bags. Based on your flight out, determines when you get off. They give you a Debarkation Pass with a number on it. As a Diamond Member of the Crown and Anchor Society, we were walked off first at 8:05AM. It was a great cruise thanks to all the writers on Cruise Critic who passed on their advice to the rest of us. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2008
This was our fourth cruise on RCCL and by far the best yet! Adventure of the Seas was our third Voyager class ship and it compared favorably to both the Voyager and Navigator. The ship was well-maintained and crews were continually ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise on RCCL and by far the best yet! Adventure of the Seas was our third Voyager class ship and it compared favorably to both the Voyager and Navigator. The ship was well-maintained and crews were continually cleaning, touching up, and doing maintenance. A previous poster mentioned that the carpets were worn, but I never noticed such. I did see several areas where a good steam cleaning would improve the carpet's appearance, though. Pre Cruise: We got to San Juan a day early and stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel. It was a bit pricey, but what's a few more $$ when you're on a vacation? The room was gorgeous with an ocean view and the pool/beach were fabulous. They stated in their literature that check in was 4PM. They really adhered to that rule but we (wife and 12 year old granddaughter) spent the down time at their pool and it was most relaxing. I strongly suggest that anyone taking a cruise should arrive at least a day early at the departure point. Last year, we almost missed the Navigator due to a flight cancellation, having to fly standby, making connections, and all the rest. Don't subject yourself to that kind of stress! Boarding: We arrived at the terminal at about 11:45 and there was a line of people waiting for the doors to open. At exactly noon, the doors were open and orderly lines were taken care of promptly by the helpful, courteous staff. Since we had our Set Sail Pass we avoided the lengthy lines and didn't have to wait long for a clerk to process us. It came out in our conversation with the clerk that our granddaughter wasn't our daughter (all 3 names on our passports were the same) and we were asked where our permission letter was to allow her to be taken out of the country. What letter??? I had no knowledge of this being necessary and thought we were doomed and wouldn't be allowed to board. Thank god for cell phones! I called my daughter, in PA, told her what was needed, and she took care of the rest. Within an hour, a notarized copy of the necessary letter was faxed to RCCL in San Juan thanks to my daughter's awesome efforts to take care of this necessary detail! And, time was on our side since it was only about 12:15pm and the ship wasn't due to sail till 8PM! Still, I sweated bullets until I finally had our Sea Passes in hand and were on board! Our baggage arrived quickly at about 3:30PM! Our room attendant introduced herself and did an A+ job at cleaning the room and keeping the ice bucket filled even though I didn't request it. We had a balcony cabin on deck 9 right on the "hump," which was simply the best. After settling into our cabin, we went to the Windjammer for a bite to eat since we had no breakfast after leaving the hotel. Food: The first thing we did was check our dinner seating assignment. The location was terrible and right next to a serving station. I asked the Head Waiter if I could have a change (by a window) and it was done within minutes. The Head Waiter was extremely pleasant, helpful, and very cordial during the entire week. He took great pride in making sure everyone was treated like a member of his own family. Our waiter was Hemant (India) and his assistant was Sandra from Peru. They worked together flawlessly as a team and I felt they could read our minds about getting rolls, water refills, pepper, etc. They took the time to learn everyone's name at our table which is a very special touch. With the exception of a rather tough prime rib one evening, the food was generally very good. The selections were varied enough to please everyone. And, if you didn't like something, it was only a matter of moments before one of the wait staff brought out a different dish. The ship: The Voyager class ships never cease to amaze me. I was always in awe of the artwork, attention to detail, and great condition of AOS. Although there were about 3300+ people on board, it never really seemed crowded. As opposed to what others have said, getting a lounge chair near a pool, or elsewhere, never seemed to be a problem. I suppose that some times of the day are busier than others, but not once did I see chairs being hogged or hoarded. There was only one sea day on our cruise and it was expected that the pool area would be crowded that day. The rest of the time it was no problem at all. It did seem strange that hand wipes were given out prior to returning to the ship from each port. I didn't feel comfortable with the lack of the hand sanitizing stations that were on previous cruises. Since I read that Royal didn't have these stations on AOS, we brought along personal sized bottles of hand sanitizer to lessen the chances of Norovirus and it worked fine. I didn't hear of anyone getting sick during the week of 4/27-5/4, and that was good news. I never once noticed any bad behavior or rudeness from any of our fellow passengers. There seemed to be an extremely small number of teens on board due to schools still being in session. Most of the children were in the infant-7 year old range as far as I could tell. To be honest, it was a real treat being AWAY from teens since I'm a teacher... nuff said? The Ports: Rather than booking any excursions, we talked to the various independent taxis/vans near the piers about tours, beaches, and sightseeing. We were never disappointed in where we were taken and the beautiful vistas we were shown. At the various beaches (Megan's Beach on St. Thomas was my favorite), we swam, snorkeled, and used bogy boards. This was my first time visiting Barbados and St. Lucia. I think I could live on St. Lucia and be happy forever—what a jewel this place is! I loved the turquoise-colored water and soft, powdery sand on the beaches. Entertainment: As usual, Royal Caribbean had very diverse and interesting entertainment. Their singers and dancers are high energy and really make sure the audience enjoys each performance. Mike, the Cruise Director, did a good job and kept things moving at a fast clip. We never got a chance to see any of the ice skating shows but were told by our dinner friends that the shows were very good. We didn't visit Johnny Rockets since I wasn't that impressed with them on previous cruises. Debarkation: A real snap! Apparently, Royal has a new system in place where the final customs check is simply a walk through. You show ID, they scanned the Sea Pass, and that was it! No one actually had to wait in a customs line as they left the ship. All the luggage was color coded inside the terminal so finding our three checked bags took all of about five minutes. And, finally, getting through security at SJU was a real pleasant experience which was totally unexpected. None of the carry on luggage was opened and the TSA personnel were genuinely friendly and pleasant. Our return flight actually boarded about 10 minutes early and was in the air at precisely the stated time. I've never thought much of USAir, but they were champs on the way down from Philadelphia and again on the way back home. The whole experience was just perfect. I'm already looking into a cruise for next March--- Royal Caribbean out of Galveston to Cozumel, Roatan, Costa Maya, and Progresso. If anyone would like more detailed information about my experiences, etc, please feel free to email directly at: Mystyou@comcast.net Read Less
Sail Date: April 2008
We sailed on AOS April 13th out of San Juan. Traveling was myself, my husband and my sister. Boarding the ship was a breeze. We first went to check out our suite, and it was just great. Our room steward was there "Eric" and ... Read More
We sailed on AOS April 13th out of San Juan. Traveling was myself, my husband and my sister. Boarding the ship was a breeze. We first went to check out our suite, and it was just great. Our room steward was there "Eric" and introduced himself. More on him later. Then we headed up to the pool bar where we met up with some of the Meet and Mingle group for a couple of cocktails. It was fun finally getting to meet everybody. Our first full day on the ship we were at sea. We spent most of the time laying by the pool. We had no problem finding chairs or witnessed any "chair saving". My sister and I also tried out the ice skating rink. That was quite alot of fun. Bring long pants and a sweater - it's cold down there! First stop was Aruba. I had a jeep tour planned with ABC on the island. One of the people I met through Meet&Mingle had set it up - not through the ships excursions. We had a blast. I highly recommend this tour when in Aruba. My sister did a snorkeling excursion through the ship, and was very satisfied with that also. Curacao we went to Kon Tiki beach by taxi. This is an absolutely beautiful beach - we stayed there most of the day. There really is nothing in this town for shopping, so plan on spending your time at the beach. St. Maarten we took a taxi to Orient Beach. Another gorgeous beach, but beware if you have kids - lots of topless woman, and one section of the beach is total nudity. St. Thomas was another taxi ride to Megan's Bay. We have done this itinerary before, and have always gone to Trunk Bay at this stop. But we decided to try something new, and I'm glad we did. Megan's Bay is really a pretty beach and much bigger then Trunk Bay. My sister and I also did the Tram Ride in the afternoon, and the view from up there is amazing. It is definitely worth the $19 to go up. There is a nice restaurant and bar at the top, with some gift shops. As far as the ship goes, it is really big, and beautiful. It is also very clean and very easy to get around. We never found any area to every be "over crowded". Now for a few disappointments. Our room steward, Eric was absolutely horrible. We have never had a bad experience with a room steward in the past, and we have cruised many times. But this kid sure had an attitude. And to top it off, on the last day he actually tried to charge us for the WHOLE mini bar!!! I had to make a phone call to Royal customer service to get that taken off the bill. We never touched the mini-bar all week!! Second disappointment was the food. It started off pretty good, then quickly went down hill. We always eat in the main dining room, breakfast, lunch and dinner. They had the same lunch menu every day of the week. That has never happened before. The dinner menu had very few "new" selections each night. They had the same main dishes and maybe two or 3 new things to choose from - and the food just wasn't that good. My sister did eat at Johnny Rockets and said that was very good. And my husband ordered pizza from room service, and enjoyed that. I had lunch one day in the Windjammer, which I never do, and was quite surprised because it was very good. The pool bar had wonderful drinks. I tried the Mojito's on the ship and quickly became addicted! They were simply delicious. Also ask Gilbert the bartender to make you a Chocolate Pina Colada. They are to die for!!! Tried my luck in the Casino and broke even. I only play the slots, and had some luck, but wasn't a big winner. All and all, it was a very nice cruise. Needs a little improvement on the food, but other then that I would recommend this ship to anyone. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2008
Embarkation: We cruised on the Adventure of the Seas on the April 13th sailing. We flew from JFK to San Juan on Sunday morning, landing around 12:30. We took a cab from the airport to the dock, which cost around $20 - very simple, just ... Read More
Embarkation: We cruised on the Adventure of the Seas on the April 13th sailing. We flew from JFK to San Juan on Sunday morning, landing around 12:30. We took a cab from the airport to the dock, which cost around $20 - very simple, just go to the taxi stand outside the baggage claim. Boarding took about 20 minutes, most of which was spent waiting to drop off our checked luggage. Be prepared - it costs $1 per bag, which I thought was a tip. However, the woman in front of us started to walk off without paying, and the baggage handler chased her down and told her she was required to pay. Actual check in was easy, and we each had our sea passes in just a few minutes. Accommodations: Once on the boat, we headed straight to our cabin, which was a promenade view on Deck 8. It was well worth the additional $50 per person to book the promenade cabin. We had a large window overlooking the promenade, which is great if you like to people watch. I was concerned because I had read that there could be a lot of noise, but the only times I noticed this was during shows, which only occurred a few times. It's actually a nice vantage point from which to watch the parade and '70's street party. Our location on the ship was fantastic. We were mid-ship, which made us equidistant from the banks of elevators on either end. This made it easy to get to either end of the ship, depending on where we were heading (above deck 11, you can't walk the entire length of the ship, so you have to use the correct elevators). Also, from Deck 8 it was only 3 flights up to deck 11 with the pools and buffet, and 3 flights down to the promenade, with the shopping, bars and other dining. This may not seem important until you have a sea day and everyone is trying to use the elevators at once. We were able to use the stairs much of the time while everyone else was waiting as stuffed elevator after elevator flashed by. The cabin worked out pretty well. The bathroom and shower were bigger than we expected. The only complaint is that much of the time the sink dispensed nothing other than scalding water. The rest of our party were in a cabin on the other side of deck 8 and had the same problem. It was never fixed, so it must be an issue with the ship. Our shower made some horrendous vibrating noises when in use - we reported it several times and it was less of a problem later in the voyage, but never really went away. Neither problem kept us from doing anything, so we didn't let it get to us. Our cabin steward Paul was great - we would leave for a half hour to go get breakfast, and we'd find our room made up when we got back. The only real problem we had was getting pool towels. The first day they were in our room. The other days, they were not delivered to us without our request. They are handed out at the pool, but only until 6 pm. Since we usually used the pool after dinner, we stopped by the towel desk at the main pool during the day to get towels to use later, or tried to catch our cabin steward to request a few. Dining: I originally had some concerns about the main dining room, as I don't eat much meat other than some fish (and I don't want that every night). Thanks to an earlier review that I read about the abundance of vegetarian dishes on the menu each night, we ended up eating in the main dining room 6 out of 7 nights (we had the late seating). There were always at least 2-3 appetizers and 2-3 entrees marked with a "v" for vegetarian. We thought overall the food was very good. Obviously, we came across a few dishes not to our liking, but in general it was above average to excellent. One tip if you like your dining as much as we do - the menus for dinner were posted outside the dining room each morning. We figured out after a few days that at least some of the dishes were also served in the Windjammer as well. We formed the habit of going to the Windjammer at 6:30 pm when they opened to scope out the items that were also being served in the dining room and sampled the ones that were available. This helped us narrow down what we ordered at dinner, which was hard because everything sounded good! Also, while in the dining room, if there is more than one appetizer or entree or dessert you want to try, order them all - our waiter never questioned when we asked for additional items to try. If there is something else you want, just ask. I often asked for mashed potatoes as an additional side item, and it was never a problem. Finally, the ice cream served in the dining room is great. If you like your ice cream, avoid the frozen yogurt machine up by the pool (it is awful), and don't waste your money at Ben & Jerry's. Just ask for a scoop with your dessert, it's much more worth it. It also appeared to be served at dinner in the Windjammer as well. Other dining options - the Windjammer was consistently good, for a buffet. We ate breakfast and lunch here, as well as one dinner. There was a sushi chef there during dinner, which was a nice change. If you go to the very back of the boat, there are some beautiful views. The Promenade Cafe was wonderful - great pizza, sandwiches and pastries, and open 24 hours. This is also the best place to get coffee. There were self-service urns with Seattle's Best coffee, which was very good. Most days there was a tub of cocoa out to flavor your coffee with. It was a nice touch. The staff in the cafe are some of the nicest on the boat. They also serve espresso drinks, but there is a charge for them. A note on bottled water - we brought a few bottles each on board in our checked luggage. We drank them in the first few days, so after that we looked for ways to re-fill them. One method was to go to the gym on deck 11, and use the water fountain in the corner (at the end of the treadmills). We would also go to Cafe Promenade and get a cup or two of water from the urns, which we used to top off the bottles. The water wasn't bad, and they were charging up to $5 a bottle on board, so it was economical to re-fill. If you don't want to do that, you can buy bottled water or sodas while you're off the ship in port, which is more like $2 per bottle. Activities: We avoided the pools during the day since they were crowded and noisy, and we were looking for a relaxing time. We had a great time with the game room and miniature golf course, and the gym was very nice. The ice show was a lot of fun as well. I forgot to pack a book to read, but found that you can borrow books from the library on deck 7. We found it nice to walk on decks 4 and 5 where it was less crowded (and you can play a little shuffleboard). The casino was so-so - if you are not a big gambler, go donate your $20 on the slots and be done with it. We spent about an hour there and never went back. We did not do any of the ship's shore excursions while in port, but our favorite port was St. Martin. We rented a car at the dock ($42 for the rental and spent about $8 in gas). I was leery of renting from companies I had never heard of, but there were Budget and Hertz locations as well. We drove around the island, stopping at Orient Beach for a walk (the most beautiful beach I have ever seen). The whole excursion took only a few hours. We also went to Palm Beach in Aruba, but I didn't like it as well - the water was not nearly so pretty. Curacao was a beautiful town, and it was great to walk around and shop. Be warned that in St. Thomas, you are required to pass through U.S. Immigration, regardless of when or if you are leaving the ship (I think it is because this is when you actually reach U.S. soil again). We are not early risers, so we had to drag ourselves out of bed early for this (it is between 7 and 9 am). It didn't seem to be a problem for most passengers, since everyone we saw was dressed to go ashore, but if you like to sleep until 10, be prepared. It only takes a few minutes, and is pretty easy. Disembarking: We lingered in our cabin until right at 8. We had been told the night before that the Windjammer would be serving breakfast until 9 (it was also served in the dining room until 8:30). We were in one of the last groups to disembark, so we took our time over breakfast (it was packed - be ready for a mob, as everyone is eating at the same time for the first time in the trip). After breakfast, we went down to the promenade for one last walk and waited for a while in Café Promenade, which was also still serving food. They say that announcements are only made in the Lyric Theater, but they were calling for groups to disembark over the entire ship, so it didn't seem necessary to spend all the time in the theater. Once off the boat, it was a breeze finding our luggage and going through customs. Outside, it was organized chaos. It took us a few minutes to find the taxi stand, but once we got in line, it only took about 20 minutes to get a cab. Overall: This is the best vacation I have had in ages. As long as you do your homework and know what to expect, you'll have a great time. It also helps to be easy-going and not get worked up over the small stuff. All the crew members we interacted with were very helpful, but there are limits to what they can conjure up in the middle of the ocean (for example, we watched a grown man throw a temper tantrum in the game room because there was only one Scrabble game and it was already in use. He expected the Guest Services staff to run out to the store and buy another one apparently! There were many other games available, so it wasn't like there was nothing else to play - we had a great time, so it's all in your attitude). Go with the flow, don't be afraid to ask if there is something you want, but be prepared to go with Plan B. Remember, you're on vacation, it's not worth the stress! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2008
This was my first cruise on Royal Caribbean and my second cruise altogether. I had high hopes for a great vacation and I was not disappointed! The Flight: We flew in on a red eye Friday night from LAX. The flight was easy with a ... Read More
This was my first cruise on Royal Caribbean and my second cruise altogether. I had high hopes for a great vacation and I was not disappointed! The Flight: We flew in on a red eye Friday night from LAX. The flight was easy with a connection in Miami and we arrived at SJU around 9:30 Saturday morning. Our luggage came in on the carousel fairly quickly (which was a relief since our last flight into SJU found us luggage-less for 24 hours) and we were in a taxi by about 10:15 AM. Our Hotel: We stayed at the Caribe Hilton, which is about 20 minutes from the airport, 5 minutes from the Pan Am Pier and about 10 minutes to Old San Juan. This was our 2nd time staying at the Caribe and we really enjoy this hotel. The grounds are beautiful and the property was built around a historical landmark, Fort San Geronimo. There is a private beach and a little lagoon area with swans, ducks, geese, peacocks and coy fish. There are also a cockatoo and macaw near the lobby—they are interesting to watch, especially when they are out of the cage. In addition to the nice grounds, there are several options for dining. Finally, the Caribe has a delicious pina colada in the Caribe Terrace Bar. Ask for it with Don Q rum—YUM! Pre-Cruise Day One: Since we arrived at the hotel well before check in, we dropped off our luggage, changed clothes and took the bus to Old San Juan. We spent some time wandering around the beautiful ballast stone streets and enjoyed some cafe con leche at the Plaza de Armas. After enjoying some nice meandering, we went back to the hotel to get our room and clean up. At about 5:30, we went to the bar for some fantastic pina coladas wile we waited for some friends who stayed at the Ritz. They met us around 7:30 and we took a cab to Old San Juan and had dinner at the Parrot Club. Ooh, what a wonderful dinner! Everything we ordered was great and the mojitos were even better! After dinner, we went back to our hotels to get some rest for another full day. Day Two: Old San Juan & Embarkation: We checked out of the hotel around 9:30 and left our bags with the hotel so we could spend some more time downtown. We took the bus again (only 75 cents pp) and headed straight for La Bombonera for breakfast. There was a good line when we got there (about 10:15 AM) but it moved quickly when they opened up the upstairs dining room. We ordered cafe con leche and mallorcas with ham, cheese and eggs (and powdered sugar on top). If you haven't had mallorcas, they are delicious!! You can also get them traditional with butter and powdered sugar. After breakfast, we wandered around and revisited some of our favorite areas. Around 1:30 we went back to the hotel, returned our friends' rental car (another perk of the Caribe Hilton is that there is a Hertz pick-up and drop-off on site) and went back to the Terrace Bar to say so long to those tasty pina coladas. Embarkation: Finally at about 2:30 or so, we decided to make our way to the Pan Am pier. There was a small line, but it moved quickly. We unfortunately missed the suite luggage drop off and check in, but it didn't really matter since we were on the ship within about 20 minutes anyway. We found our rooms, took some pictures and made our way to the Windjammer for late lunch. I was impressed with the layout and the food was typical of a buffet. After eating, we navigated our way around the ship to get our bearings and then went to the muster drill, which was quick and easy. We met up with our friends again at the Duck and Dog, enjoyed a beer and then made our way through the promenade. Sailaway was nice on deck 12 and then we had our first dinner in the dining room. The only thing that wasn't ideal about embarkation was that we didn't get our luggage until about 8:30pm. In fact, we didn't get one bag until about 10:00pm. Stateroom: We stayed on deck ten in a grand suite, #1578. It was a nice and spacious room with a good size balcony. We really enjoyed being able to sit on the balcony and watch as we came into port. Our cabin steward, Alejandro, was very nice and efficient. Our room was always taken care of and we had some great towel animals to greet us each evening. We had only two small issues with the room. First, we had some crazy TV volume. The connection to the speakers was messed up so the volume would go from quiet to very loud and there was sporadic crackling of the speakers. We reported this to Alejandro and he said they were already waiting for a new part. The second issue was brown water from the sinks and shower on our last port day. We ran the water for about 20 minutes and it went away. Neither of these issues were enough to put a damper on our cruise! Concierge: We did not spend a lot of time in the Concierge lounge, but the few times we went in, it was nice to have a drink and relax. Also, our interactions with Carmen (the concierge) were great. She is extremely nice and easy to talk to. The couple of times we needed something, she was really accommodating. Dining Room: We were on the deck 5 (Mozart) dining room at table 547. Our headwaiter was Mustafa and he was quite the character. He made about 3 appearances a night and we enjoyed his shenanigans. Our waiter was Chester from Costa Rica and our assistant waiter was Salvador from India. They were both very nice and accommodating. We enjoyed chatting with them each evening. The food was fine—nothing phenomenal, but nothing to complain about. I did really enjoy some of the hot soups. I also really enjoyed the beef fillet (and I am not much of a red meat eater). Portofino: We had Tuesday night dinner at Portofino and it was fantastic! The atmosphere was very nice and the food was delicious. GiGi and Leensay were great servers and they helped make our dining experience even more enjoyable. The cover charge was well worth it! Windjammer: We went to the Windjammer most mornings and most afternoons. The food seemed pretty typical for a buffet and the selection was consistent. I really liked the scones in the afternoons. Entertainment: We were pretty tired most nights after late seating dinner so we did not go to many shows or events. We did make it to the ice show and it was great! As I have read in many reviews, it is definitely impressive what can be done in such a small space. We also went to Quest and enjoyed watching the debacle. Lastly, I am not sure this fits into the entertainment category, but we went to the Crown and Anchor cocktail shindig and enjoyed ourselves. Captain Per's spiel was fun to listen to—he seemed like a pretty funny guy! Sea Days: We promised ourselves that we would get up early and make use of the fitness center, but it never happened. Instead, we enjoyed sleeping in, sauntering into the Windjammer, wandering the ship a bit and then going to the pool for some lava flows and sunshine. Then we'd have our afternoon snacks, wander around some more and finally get ready for dinner. I have to say, we did not make much use of all the ship offers, but it was about as relaxing as can be, which was the perfect balance for busy port days. Aruba: We were supposed to go on the Jolly Pirates excursion (booked outside of RCCL), but the sailing was canceled due to boat repair. Instead we took a bus to Palm beach and enjoyed the late morning/early afternoon on the white sand and beautiful water. The afternoon was spent wandering Oranjestad. We had an awesome lunch at a restaurant called Cocoplum. We had grilled cheese sandwiches with Gouda cheese, ham and pineapple. Yum! We also enjoyed some Polar beer from Venezuela. Curacao: We took the UNESCO World Heritage walking tour through RCCL. Our tour guide was Luca and he was great! We got a lot of the history and a chance to burn off some of the food we'd been gorging ourselves on so far on the cruise. After the tour, we went to lunch at the Plasi Blieu and had some local fare. It was adventurous eating if you are a picky eater—but we enjoyed our meal. The best part was a big fried pancake that we shared before our meals came. Tasty! Curacao has beautiful buildings and we really enjoyed our day there. I would not mind going back there for a short visit! St. Maarten: We rented a jeep from Hertz and enjoyed a day driving around the island. The map they gave us was confusing at first, but we figured it all out after a quick explanation from the Hertz employee. Basically, there is one main road that will take you around the whole island; once you figure that out, you are good to go! We stopped in Marigot for a while. Parking is a challenge, but we found some empty side of the road by the Marina (near Fort Louis). From there we walked around a little farmers market type area and to Fort Louis. Then we stopped at a little cafe right around the corner from the marina. We had wonderful crepes and cappuccinos before getting back on the road. We then continued around to Orient Beach for a brisk (eyes-down) kind of walk all the way down to the end of the beach. All the way down past all those yellow umbrellas of Club Orient. I have to say the water here is BEAUTIFUL! It's a shame we did not have the time to stay at the beach for a while! Finally we went back toward Phillipsburg. Right as we were getting close to the pier, it started raining for an hour or so. Luckily, it was refreshing and we still enjoyed a couple of hours wandering Phillipsburg and sampling the firewater they call guavaberry liqueur! Whew! All in all, we LOVED St. Maarten/Martin. The drive was beautiful and everywhere we stopped was wonderful. I am anxious to go back someday! St. Thomas: Our day in St. Thomas was fantastic! We booked a 6-hour sail on the Rumbaba and it was a phenomenal experience. It was just the four of us and another CC couple we met that day—and of course Captain Bobby and his first mate, Wendy. If you ever go to St. Thomas, you should look into Rumbaba. We sailed, enjoyed good company, excellent food and snorkeling in Christmas Cove. I would book with Rumbaba again in a heartbeat!!! Disembarkation: This was a breeze! We were in group one so we were off the ship and in a taxi by 9:15am. Easy, easy, easy! All of us were amazed at how efficient the process was. Post-Cruise: We didn't go home until Monday so we were able to spend the day in Old San Juan again. We had breakfast at La Bombonera again and then made our way to El Morro and San Cristobal Forts. We had a late lunch at El Patio De Sam and then went back to the Caribe Hilton for (you guessed it) pina coladas. Seriously, they are that good! We were too full for dinner so we just wandered around the Caribe grounds and then saw our friends off when they left for their hotel. Flight Home: Checking in for our flight was easy as can be. I have heard SJU is a zoo on Sundays so we are really glad we waited that extra day. Our flight left on time and our wonderful vacation was over (sigh...) Read Less
Sail Date: April 2008
This was our second cruise on the AoS (April 20 - April 27 itinerary). My wife and I cruised on it about 4 years ago, also to the Southern Caribbean (Aruba, Curacao, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten). As soon as we got on the ship 4 years ago ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the AoS (April 20 - April 27 itinerary). My wife and I cruised on it about 4 years ago, also to the Southern Caribbean (Aruba, Curacao, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten). As soon as we got on the ship 4 years ago we said that one day soon we had to do this ship again, only we had to bring our kids too. Well, 4 years later we were able to bring them too and neither we nor they were disappointed (children's ages are 11, 13, 14, and 17). The ship was as wonderful the second time around as it was on the first journey, albeit not seeming as "huge" as our first experience. We also had friends with their 3 children (2, 9, & 12 years of age) join us on this cruise and they too had a great time. We flew out of JFK non-stop on Delta the day before (Sat. April 19) and stayed for the night at the Best Western right in the airport. Very convenient, priced right, very clean and everyone was friendly and kind. There was a slight delay with our flight and then there was an additional delay due to an apparent security breach. We had to all clear the plane and go through security once again. We were scheduled to depart at 8:35am, but instead ended up leaving around 10:45 or so. We landed in San Juan about 2:00pm. After getting our baggage and such we headed to our hotel. We at first went outside and walked a short distance toward the hotel until I realized you do not have to leave the interior of the airport to get to the hotel entrance and check in area. It is literally right across from the AA counters. We checked in, went to our rooms and decided to venture out for an early dinner immediately. We had been to San Juan on a couple of prior stays and a few years back we asked a taxi driver to recommend a restaurant where we could get traditional Puerto Rican food and he recommended a restaurant that was excellent and just what we were looking for. Well, this time around we wanted to take the kids there, but neither my wife nor I could remember the name of the restaurant. When we again asked the taxi driver to recommend a traditional style restaurant, this time around he too recommended the same place. Once my wife heard the name, she knew right away. It has to be good if on two separate occasions, two different people recommended the same place. The name of the restaurant is "El Jibarito" and I recommend it highly. After lunch we walked around a bit and visited the "Fort" for about an hour or so and then decided to head back to the hotel. The next morning after getting up we went and had the free continental breakfast at the hotel. It was very good and better than many CB offered by other hotels. The Royal Caribbean documents say and when speaking to an agent prior to arriving for the cruise tell you to arrive about 2:00pm for boarding, however, based on past experiences we arrived about 11:00am and boarded the ship at 11:30. Boarding was fast and very pleasant. Line at the pier was not long when we got there, but was getting longer as we started to board. Our cabins were not ready yet so we all went to the Windjammer and had lunch. We found the food at the WJ for lunch during the week to be very good in most cases and changed daily. There was always something you could find at the buffet and if you could not, there was always the pizza and hamburgers/hot dogs. You could also eat lunch at the Cafe Promenade where they have delicious sandwiches and pizza all the time. The ice cream, yogurt ice cream and cookies were great. For us, the desserts were hit and miss at lunch and at dinner. Some that sounded and looked great did not taste that good. I have found this on other cruises too, as well as at some very nice resorts. I pretty much stuck to my ice cream and cookies (peanut butter, oatmeal & chocolate chip). At dinner time we had Luciano and Yalitza as our wait staff. They were great and treated us very well. With 6 kids and one 2 year old, their job was never easy, but they rose to the occasion and did a magnificent job. It was actually Yalitza's first cruise on the job, so we broke her in and I'm sure after dealing with our crew, everyone else will be a piece of cake LOL. We really enjoyed the dinners, always eating in the main dining room (2nd seating). We tried just about everything and never had to worry about trying more or if we did not like something, getting something else instead. The steaks were very good, along with the shrimp cocktails (Luciano kept bringing them out), escargot (refer to last comment), and lobster night was awesome. Tails were great and tender and again you could have them all night if you wanted. Never be afraid to ask as the waiters love to see you eat and enjoying the food. It is almost like they get insulted if you do not eat everything on your plate and they really want you to be satisfied. As mentioned earlier, I usually finished my meals with a nice bowl of Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry ice cream. I would be remiss if I did not mention that the head waiter that dealt with us was definitely the best head waiter that we have ever had on a cruise (8 cruises). Usually they show up the first night, introduce themselves and then you do not see them again until the final night. I apologize that I cannot remember his name, but he was awesome. He came around every night, helped with the baby at the table, brought "special" soda to one of the kids every night, and just went above and beyond. We were at table 373 so if you get him, you will be very lucky. Breakfast was also very good. Nice variety of foods along with omelet stations if you wanted them. Service at breakfast and lunch was good as there was always a wait staff person around to get you your drinks and coffee, etc. We used room service for breakfast twice and they were on time and everything was perfect. As for the ship...Still beautiful. Very clean and you could always see staff going around cleaning or painting or repairing things. Rooms never had any kind of odors to them and everything always seemed fresh. It took about a day or so to be able to navigate the ship without heading off in the wrong direction and ending up at the opposite end of the ship from where you intended to be. The kids actually knew the ship better than us. Speaking if the kids...They had a great time. They did spend time with the kids club, but they also did a lot independently from the club. Ice skating, basketball, mini golf, arcade, table games, and rock climbing wall they were always busy. We always enjoy the entertainment and do not miss a show. We saw a group called Abracadabra that re-enacted all the hits of Abba and they were great. It didn't hurt that I was chosen to come up on stage and was "seductively" (all in good fun) sung to by one of the very lovely lead singers and had the "tough" job of holding her on my lap throughout the song. It was really a very good show. We also had the opportunity to be entertained by the Drifters. I enjoy Doo Wop songs and although a couple of the members are up in age, they along with the "new" blood can still sing and entertain. Of course the RCCL singers and dancers do a good job throughout the week Mike the cruise director was hilarious and could be seen all over the ship. He is a very entertaining guy with his jokes and card tricks and definitely a natural at the job. On our first cruise on AoS, one minor complaint we had was the lack of oversight/staff around the pools, keeping order and keeping over exuberant kids from infringing on other patrons from having a good time. This time around, it looks like they listened to past suggestions because staff (deck patrol) were watching out and removing kids from adult only hot tubs, warning them about jumping where they weren't supposed to be, and just having a presence on deck. I will say also, that they seem to be cracking down on people reserving chairs, almost a bit too much in my opinion. They were definitely moving people's stuff after a period of time from chairs. Word was after 30 minutes, but some people who said they had stuff removed said they were only gone for a short time, either were in the pool or went to get a quick bite to eat. We ended up trying to always have someone by the chairs so our stuff would not be moved. I understand the reason for those who come out early, place their towels on a chair or chairs and then disappear for hours, but for those who are either in the pool, or at lunch, I do not think it is right. As for the ports...We went to Moomba Beach in Aruba which would have been fine except the water had a terrible stench. The beach itself was nice with chairs and water sports available, but the water was a real downer. I don't know if it was a one day occurrence or if it is like that all of the time, but I would be reluctant to return there due to that. Curacao: Only I, my daughter and my friend's daughter got off the ship. We enjoyed walking around town and taking some nice pictures in Curacao. I love the pastel colors of the buildings. We walked from the pier across the floating bridge and the kids got a kick out of that. St. Maarten: Went to Kakao Beach. Beautiful. Water was calm and clear. We did the excursion through the ship, but next time I would recommend just taking a cab there and spend more time then the excursion allowed. We did the jet skis there and had a blast. St. Thomas: We did the ship excursion with the ferry ride to St. John's and went to Trunk Bay. Kids did the snorkeling trail. Water is gorgeous, as clear as any water that I have ever seen. Again, the next time I would just take my own taxi to Megan's Bay (on St. Thomas) which we were at a couple of years ago which is also gorgeous and spend the entire day there. Getting off the ship was smooth and a pleasure. We got up around 7:30am, got out of our rooms and went up to the WJ for breakfast. We sat there until about 9:15 and then proceeded to the Lyric Theater. We sat about 15 minutes and they called our group. Got off the ship in a few minutes, found our luggage and were off to the airport for our return trip home on AA. 3 hour delay coming home, but we did arrive safely and overall it went well. We really did have a great time on this cruise. I recommend the AoS and RCCL highly. I would like to cruise on this ship again in the future, but would like to do the other itinerary which includes Barbados and St. Lucia. Any questions, please e-mail me at granluxvacation@optonline.net Other than that, there really is nothing to say that was negative. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2008
My wife and I enjoy cruising and have been on 10 cruises, all Royal Caribbean. This is the first time on the Adventure of the Seas. On this cruise, we were joined by our close friends, Sandy and Steve from New Jersey (we are in Atlanta), ... Read More
My wife and I enjoy cruising and have been on 10 cruises, all Royal Caribbean. This is the first time on the Adventure of the Seas. On this cruise, we were joined by our close friends, Sandy and Steve from New Jersey (we are in Atlanta), who have never been on a RCCL Ship. We flew into San Juan on Friday night before boarding the ship on Sunday. While our friends arrived on time, Delta had plane problems and we were 3 hours late arriving. We stayed at the San Juan Marriott Resort and Casino which is an $8 PP cab ride from the airport. Boarding was no real problem as we headed out to the pier Sunday morning around 11:15, a 15 minute cab ride for $6 PP. After arriving at the pier around 11:30 there was a line of +100 or so since they had not started boarding. We checked our bags and within 10 minutes they started boarding and we went thru with no problems and were on the ship by a little after 12:00. Being a Diamond member and having our Seapass filled out and printed before arriving in San Juan helped with a smaller line. No complaints. Our Cabin 9320 is a D1 balcony category near the elevators and stairs aft on the Starboard side of the ship. Our luggage arrived around 4 in the afternoon and we unpacked. Luggage fitted under the beds and I also used the balcony to store some of our items like snorkel gear and a few other items. Since we are not in the room that much on a cruise, the smallest does not bother us. Just don't try and bend down in the shower stall, it will not work. We find that the room has many small areas to store things so it does not seem too crowed. Our room attendant was Avanell from Trinidad who was a delight and took care of us all week with no problems. Very responsive. The required Muster drill was at 6:00 and took about 15 minutes and then it was off to dinner as we had the main seating. We had a table for 8 with the four of us traveling together sitting with 2 couples from Missouri traveling together. We had a delightful week of laughing and enjoying each other stories at dinner. Ship Activities: There is so much to do on this ship that no one should ever be bored. Don't miss the Ice Skating show (free but must get tickets). Steve and I attempted the Rock climbing wall-bad idea with bad knees but were applauded for the effort. Basket ball courts (pick-up games always going on), dodge ball games, putt putt course, ping pong tables, plus a host of other activities for the younger set of kids. Two pool areas, one for adults with two hot tubs and two pools with four hot tubs for anyone. Pool areas packed on days at sea. Chair saving is discouraged but still goes on. We did not have any problem finding an area to lie in. I have seen a number of complaints on other reviews regarding children in the adult pools, been unsupervised by the parents in general, loud running, etc. On this cruise I thought the kids behave themselves as I saw no unruly behavior. There were no kids in the adult pool area and when they were, they were removed. They appeared to be respectful in elevators, in the halls, pool areas and general appeared to have a great time. I have also seen complaints about our friends from Puerto Rico as being loud and not having much control over the kids. I love the somewhat international favor of this cruise and we saw nothing but people having a good time without infringing on others. The people we meet were always polite. You will always fine someone who will be obnoxious whether they are from the US or any other country. There were 2,100 from the US 1,100 from Puerto Rico and several hundred from about 30 different countries including one from Cuba. Entertainment: A show was held most nights in the main theater. The best performance was the group call "Mosaic". If you ever get the chance to see them--do!! They perform with George Wallace in Las Vegas and are a singing group of young men that will have you standing at the end. The only time I know that a show performance on the RCCL received a loud standing ovation at the end. The other main show was a comedian and also had a show with the RCCL singers and dancers. Nothing special, just good entertainment. Mike Szwajkowski was our cruise director and he is one of the best on RCCL, upbeat, funny and easy to talk with. We enjoyed the 14th deck Viking lounge for late night drinks and dancing. Best view, easy music and dancing after 10:00 in the evening. Great place to unwind from the day's activities. Also up on the 14th deck is a sports bar/lounge. On the promenade 5th deck also includes a sports bar as well as a sing along pub. Regardless of your taste of music, there is a place somewhere on board you can enjoy. Food: Everywhere and all the time. We ate breakfast and lunch at the Windjammer cafe (typical buffet food) and dinner at the main seating 6:00 in the main dining room. You will get a million different takes on the food but for us we always enjoy the food and the service during dinner. Many choices and we have not had a bad meal, some better than others but never a bad meal. If you have a problem, they will correct it. For feeding 3,500 guests and 1,100 crew members, RCCL does an excellent job. They have eliminated the midnight buffet on this cruise, which we have never been too, so it was not a loss to us. Maricar from the Philippines was our waiter and was always attentive and prompt with her service. Always smiling and took good care of us. Service was excellent across the board. We did not visit Portofino's which has a $20 PP charge. Did not see the need to go and pay extra. We did not have room service. Aruba: All four took the SailAway Beach and Snorkel tour. Had about 50 people on the boat which included two snorkel stops and a third stop on a beach for lunch. Left about 9 AM and returned by 2 PM. Snorkeling was excellent,lunch was average. There was a mixture of experience and beginners for snorkeling. The boat ride was a good chance to see a good part of the island. We did not take the opportunity to see the town. Curacao: Steve and I took the Tugboat and Reef Snorkel full day tour with Curacao-Actief (not thru RCCL). They picked us up at the ship and returned us directly to the ship. The snorkeling sites of the sunkin ship and a beautiful reef were outstanding with large amounts of colorful fish and coral. Need to be a reasonably good swimmer to enjoy the snorkeling. Learned a brief history of the Island and visited one of the old forts. If your interest is snorkeling do not do the full day tour but instead opt for the half day tour. Same snorkel sites, less money, lunch not included. If interested in learning about the island then the full day tour is ok. We would have preferred to snorkel more. St. Maarten: The wives took a good portion of the day for shopping on the Dutch side (we docked on the Dutch side) and all agreed the shopping is better on St.Maarten. Better prices and better products. Wife was able to secure a beautiful 4 caret diamond tennis bracelet for about 40% below state prices. We encourage everyone to go to the ship's seminar on shopping on both St. Maarten and St. Thomas. Learned a lot of tips and will save you money and time. While the wives were shopping we went to the best beach around: Orient Beach on the French side of the island, 2 miles of beautiful white sandy beach and crystal clear waters, with a ton of activities from wave runners, parasailing, windsurfing and you can rent a chair and umbrella for the day for about $12-$18 depending on location on the beach. Many places for lunch and plenty of drinks. Cab fare was $8 PP each way. Warning: there is some nudity (topless) on the beach mainly at the far end of the beach near Club Orient, which is a clothing optional resort. If beach activities is your thing then this is must stop. St. Thomas: Our traveling friends took the tour over to St. Johns Island while my wife and I went shopping on St. Thomas spending the morning shopping and was back on ship for lunch. The trip to St. Johns was great (beautiful beach and snorkeling) and based on their recommendation we will certainty do that tour the next time. Disembarking: Since our flight was not until 1:00, we took out time and had breakfast and then waited in the dining room for Crown and Anchor members until about 9:30. We took advantage of the valet service to have all our bags checked directly with the airlines, have our boarding passes printed and given to us before we left the ship. It costs $20 PP but it is well worth it. The process was a breeze, as it took us 20 minutes to leave the ship when our number was called (provided by RCCL the night before), find our luggage, go thru customs, provide our bags to the Delta representative, and then grab a cab to the airport. A nice tip to the Baggage porter who help us thru the process. Fastest we have ever been off a ship. Cab ride to airport was $30 for all four of us. Conclusion: Another great vacation on RCCL. We have never been disappointed, with great service, reasonable good food and wonderful activities. Our traveling companions first trip on RCCL was a great success. They both felt that RCCL was much better than Holland America and will be cruising on RCCL in the future. Our next cruise will be next May on Freedom of the Seas out of Port Canaveral, Florida. Going to try the larger ship to see if we like it. Not sure we will but wanted to find out. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2008
We flew to the US one week before our cruise, and actually arrived in SJ two days before, staying at the Caribe Hilton. Nice hotel and the closest to the pier (Adventure docks at the Pam American Pier, not in old SJ). We spent ... Read More
We flew to the US one week before our cruise, and actually arrived in SJ two days before, staying at the Caribe Hilton. Nice hotel and the closest to the pier (Adventure docks at the Pam American Pier, not in old SJ). We spent embarkation morning by the pool in the hotel, and checked out at 1pm. A short taxi ride later we were handing over our suitcases and in line to enter the terminal. Having printed out our Set Sail passes, it took no more than 30 minutes to check in and get to our cabin. At 3.30 we were up in the Sky bar, meeting some of our fellow critics for the first time. Then time to explore the ship....it is so big we only found Johnny Rockets on the last day! Booked Portofino for sail away, and then chased our bags since they seemed a long time in arriving. I must say our cabin attendant, Carl from Jamaica, was the best and far better than our Celebrity Concierge Class one. He made our bags appear in no time. Whatever you asked of him ,it was done quickly. After I attended the towel folding class, we even had a little competition going making the animals.... Cabin was well laid out, with no problems. First contact with the food was the Windjammer for lunch. It was OK, but the fact they don't have trays is really annoying. Breakfast the next day was pretty sad. Room service breakfast has a very limited choice. Best breakfast is in the dining room, although you need to allow 45 minutes as they don't serve until the whole table is full.... Only had lunch once - in the main dining room. Dinner food quality was always good. As suspected, they put us on a table with fellow countrymen. I think they do this as they think that language is a problem, but honestly, I would rather sit with Americans, as they are far more interesting and entertaining. We didn't bother to change table, but just entertained ourselves. Our waitress Natalie and assistant waiter Marcos were good and even saved us money by bringing (free)soda water the second night after we had ordered Pellegrino the first night.... Portofino was so good, we went twice. A different class altogether. RCL scores on entertainment. The Ice show was awesome. Triple jumps on that small rink - hats off to the skaters. Also the dancers were very good in the production shows. Celebrity shows were amateur in comparison. On to the hot topic - noisy cruisers. We had 175 locals on the ship and they were all lovely people. No noisy kids (from any country). Everyone we met was there to have fun, but we never had any noise in the corridor or any problems with pushing in lines for food. The ship swallows its passengers well. Only on the first formal night did we feel claustrophobic. Between the first and second seatings, the Promenade seemed to have everyone on the ship on it! I got very hot and the dining room also was hot. But that was the only time. Went to the Captains reception - and it was deserted! Got a lovely photo with him. He really has a great sense of humor, which we got to hear every day at sail away when he told us how many were still missing.... My only moan is that the loyalty ambassador and future cruise consultant was the same person. She of course was only interested in the latter.... In conclusion, we really enjoyed our cruise and will definitely go RCL again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2008
We flew out of Hartford,Ct on an early morning flight aboard American Airlines enroute to San Juan, Puerto Rico on Saturday, May 3,2008 a day ahead of our cruise. My boyfriend and I went through a local travel agent and arranged to go a ... Read More
We flew out of Hartford,Ct on an early morning flight aboard American Airlines enroute to San Juan, Puerto Rico on Saturday, May 3,2008 a day ahead of our cruise. My boyfriend and I went through a local travel agent and arranged to go a day ahead of the cruise and stay overnight in a hotel in San Juan because last year we faced several delays and almost missed our cruise because our plane had been so delayed so many times. Everything went fine this time and our plane took off as scheduled. We had a nice flight and arrived in San Juan as scheduled, got our luggage and got a taxi to take us to our hotel. We stayed at the Sheraton, Old San Juan which was in an ideal location. When we went to check in, they didn't have our reservation in the computer although, the travel agent gave us a confirmation. We booked this a year in advance. The Hotel gave us a room at the rate of $190.00 as we were quoted by the travel agent. We went up to our room which was a partial bay view room, very clean and decent-sized.I would definitely recommend this hotel as well as recommend going a day ahead of time just for peace of mind. It also gives you a chance to explore the island before going on the cruise. The hotel had a nice roof-top pool and hot tub, a casino and gym and a couple of restaurants. In any case, we went up to our room, left our luggage, freshened up and went out to do the Bacardi tour. The ferry was right across the street from our hotel and it only costs .50 one-way, round trip for two, $2.00. In any case,its a short trip on the ferry, then you take a taxi to The Bacardi Rum Factory which is a really nice tour and you get two complimentary drinks. The Factory is very big, many buildings and the history is very interesting. After, the Bacardi Tour, we explored Old San Juan. Our hotel bell-hop suggested Raices as the place to dine. He said to look for a lady with a white turban standing in front of the restaurant. This restaurant was excellent. There is often a wait because it is so popular but the wait is well worth it. The food was traditional puerto-rican cuisine and it was delicious. After that we had the best pina coladas at a place called Barrachinas which is supposedly the birthplace of the pina colada. They were the best pina coladas I have ever had and well worth the visit. No other pina coladas compare. We went back to our hotel as we were getting up early in the morning to do a half-day excursion to El Yunque Rainforest before the cruise. I highly recommend this excursion while in Puerto-Rico. It was amazing! We got up early and ate at the hotel due to our early morning excursion.The breakfast buffet was $18.00 per person. It was very good but kind of pricey. If we had time we would have tried something down the street. The front desk held our luggage while we were on our excursion and we came back, collected it and took a taxi to the Pan American Pier where Adventure of The Seas was docked. Carnival docks their ship across the street from our hotel. How convenient that would have been if Royal Caribbean was there. It would have saved us a $15.00 taxi ride. Day 1 We boarded the ship with ease. The boarding process was quick and very efficient. We had very little waiting time. Less than 30 min. We found our room easily. Everything on this ship is user-friendly and easy to find. We had one of the newer types of rooms. It was an inside cabin overlooking the Royal Promenade. We were on deck 8. It was a nice room, but the bathroom was very small as well as the shower. It was fairly quiet on deck 8. Some people on lower decks with this type of room complained of noise from the Royal Promenade but we didn't have this problem. Next time we would probably get a balcony as many people we talked to said that they highly recommend it. We set out to explore our ship and find our table in the dining room. We were in the Mozart Dining room on deck 5 and had a nice location in front of a large window facing the ocean. The dining room staff was exceptional and catered to your every need but the food could have been better. The Salmon and cod were terrible. very mushy and flavorless. Stick with the beef, chicken or pasta dishes. The ship is beautiful and well decorated as well as clean. The dining rooms are beautiful and all decorated very differently but with the theme of composers. We ate at the main seating (6pm) and then went to see the Welcome Aboard show before going out on the deck to watch our ship set sail. Day 2 Day two was spent cruising. This was a relaxing day spent by the pool on the lido deck. Lunch was in the Windjammer cafe. That evening brought the first formal night and pictures. You will spend a fortune on pictures because everytime you turn around they are taking your picture. Day 3 We arrived in Aruba at 8:00 a. We absolutely loved Aruba. We did the DePalm Island Snorkeling tour. I highly recommend this tour. The snorkeling is great. We saw a lot of very colorful, exotic fish including some very large, blue parrot fish. They provided us with all snorkeling equipment, a full breakfast buffet and lunch buffet as well as unlimited drinks. There is also a water park area for kids, lockers, gift shop and changing/shower areas. After the excursion, we walked through the main shopping areas of Oranjestad and found the people to be very friendly and what we liked was that nobody pesters you to buy anything as they do on some islands. There are some really good deals on souvenirs here. Day 3 We arrived in Curacao at 8:00a. Curacao was a really neat place. Very Dutch in its architecture. I loved the pastel colors of the buildings. We did the UNESCO World Heritage Walking Tour and ended our walking tour with a visit to the Maritime Museum. Again, another port where you are not pestered to buy anything. Day 4 Cruising day. Too windy to sit out by the pool. We ended up doing some of the activities listed in our compass. That evening was the 2nd and final formal dinner. Day 5 St.Maarten. Another favorite of ours. We loved this island too. We didn't do any excursions here. We did some shopping on our own and found that they have great deals on jewelry. We also relaxed at the beach by the cruise ship. The prices are relatively cheap here. You can buy a Heineken for .99 now that's cheap. Day 6 St. Thomas. We weren't very impressed with St.Thomas however we liked our excursion to Magen's Bay. It's a very beautiful beach and the lookouts that we went to for photographs were phenomenal. Day 7 was Disembarkation which went fairly smoothly. We had a late flight so we dropped our carry-on bags at the airport and did some more sightseeing before flying home. Overall, we really enjoyed Royal Caribbean, the ports of call, the weather was mostly beautiful and hot. Take advantage of the specialty restaurants at least 1x like Johnny Rockets and Portofino's. They are definitely worth it. We tried both and really enjoyed them. The best coffee on the ship is on the Royal Promenade. They have Seattle's Best Coffee.They also have specialty pizza and desserts for when you are hungry after the evening show or anytime for that matter Read Less
Sail Date: May 2008
This was our 4th cruise, 2nd on RC and 10 years since our last cruise. Pre-cruise: Stayed one night at Marriott Stellaris. Booked thru Priceline for $150. We were very pleased with the hotel. Embarkation: Arrived at pier at 11:00am and ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise, 2nd on RC and 10 years since our last cruise. Pre-cruise: Stayed one night at Marriott Stellaris. Booked thru Priceline for $150. We were very pleased with the hotel. Embarkation: Arrived at pier at 11:00am and got in line. Once line started moving at 11:30am we were processed quickly. On ship before 12pm. Checked out ship and ate at Windjammer. Booked Portofino's and checked on dining room assignment. We had requested table for 4 but received table for 8, had no problem switching to smaller table. Ship: Very nice, really enjoyed the artwork displayed throughout the ship. Found public areas to be very nice. Promenade was smaller than I had expected but felt very much like a small mall walkway. Room: We didn't expect a large room but felt it was more than adequate. This was our first balcony cabin and we loved that! We did experience problem with bathroom faucet that someone else mentioned but it was not bad enough to hamper our vacation. Food: We really enjoyed Portofino's and would highly recommend paying the extra cost to go there. The seafood skewer and flourless chocolate cake were both heavenly. We enjoyed the meals in the dining room too. The lobster and shrimp were cooked perfectly. The fish dishes that I had were very good. DH had several steaks and enjoyed them as well. The appetizers were very good. The only thing I really didn't like was the brownie madness on Saturday night. The brownie was very dry. I had no problem getting the waiter to replace it with Strawberry Shortcake which was very good. Windjammer was standard buffet food. Not great but not bad. We went to Johhny Rockets for lunch one day and it was very good if you like burgers & fries. Service: Our waiter and assistant were excellent. The assistant had such a great personality and remembered our drink choices after the first night. I like skim milk with my dessert and he brought it every night after I requested it the first night. The headwaiter was more attentive than any I have seen before. Overall the dining room experience was great. Our cabin attendant was friendly but service was sketchy-several times our ice was not refilled and once we weren't left clean wash cloths. Shows: We're not big show attenders but loved the ice show and farewell show was pretty good too. Ports/Excursions: Aruba: See & Sea tour thru ship-enjoyed, Sea World Explorer portion was great. Viewed shipwreck and variety and good quantity of fish and corals. Curacao: Took taxi to Kontiki Beach. VERY windy that day. Good snorkeling and beach not crowded at all. Downfall-beach is beyond large construction area so as you approach you feel you made a huge mistake. Once on the beach, it is very pretty. St Maarten: Took the island tour thru the ship. Nice overview of the island. Enjoyed shopping in Marigot but it was a little rushed. St Thomas: Took an island tour with Godfrey Tours. Great comprehensive tour of the entire island. He was punctual and very informative. Only downfall was traffic jam as we returned to the ship that tied us up for 1 1/2 hours that should have taken 10 minutes. We did get some great photos of Iguanas as we slowly inched up the road. Debarkation: Somewhat confusing. We heard a general announcement on the intercom that our number could leave and did so. Turns out that was wrong and we were left waiting for an hour for the other couple with us to leave the ship. Porters in terminal were very helpful and well worth the tip in my opinion. Other notes: We booked the Grand Romance package and it was not executed very well. Not sure who is responsible for that but our Strawberries and Sparkling wine were not in our cabin as they should have been. The before dinner canapes on formal nights weren't there until after dinner. The breakfast in bed did not show up on the requested morning. We had turned the request in the night before as indicated and waited an hour beyond the requested time for it to arrive. I finally called room service and they got it to us within 20 minutes. Very disappointing. We enjoyed the robes and formal photo in silver frame but would not book the package again. The ship was full. We experienced no problems with Puerto Ricans on board as I have read about in past reviews. There were a couple of drunks in our hallway at 3-5am on 2 nights that woke us up but you can't really blame the cruiseline for that. We would book this same itinerary again and this ship. 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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