991 Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas Cruise Reviews

After 16 cruises I have to say this was one of the best. We departed from San Juan and arrived a day early so we could relax and this was a good idea. The check in was not the greatest. We had to stand in line for about 1 hour in the sun ... Read More
After 16 cruises I have to say this was one of the best. We departed from San Juan and arrived a day early so we could relax and this was a good idea. The check in was not the greatest. We had to stand in line for about 1 hour in the sun with our bags just to hand them to the porters. After that it went little faster but I was rather disappointed concerning we did all our paper work online ahead of time. The ship was great. Really good waiter and bus boy. kept us entertained. and the food was The dining room is beautiful. We ate a couple of times at Jonny Rockets and enjoyed it mostly because you could eat outside. In Aruba we did the jeep tour and it was fun but someone in out party flipped her jeep as we were leaving the natural bridge. No Serious injuries but I have to say, some of the people in our tour were very rude. Only cared about getting to the beach and not being delayed. In the mean time, a girl was laying on the ground. Also the tour bus were taking pictures out of their windows as they were passing us. Very Rude. There are many beautiful beaches in Aruba and De Palm Island is not one of them. Lovely view of the oil refineries. Lunch was good though and the snorkeling was very goading Joes's is a great place for a drink before heading back to the ship. It's located across from dock and is a great place to people watch. At night don't miss Carlos' n Charlie's. St. Maarten we did Orient beach with lunch. I recommend this tour. The beach and waterare BEAUTIFUL and lunch was wonderful. We had our own little table nesseled under the shade on the beach. WE were back in town in time to do some shopping and walk around. Beer is cheep and you can carry the bottles with you as you walk. In St. Thomas we did the AM snorkel tour to St. John's. The ferry ride is pretty and the guide in St. John was interresting. It's a good way to see the island. Snorkeling was Beautiful. (TIP: Don't try to feed the fish, I brought dog biscuits and almost lost a finger, Stupid). We shopped in the afternoon. There's no need to go into Charlotte Amille. The shops at the mall by the ship are more then enough. Try to save time for the tramway to Paradise Point. You can walk there from the ship and the view is breath-taking. The speciality drink is the Bushwacker. Very tastey. Over all this was a great cruise. There were 8 of us and we all agree. Sometimes everything just clicks together. Good room good friends good waiters. This was one of those times. Read Less
Sail Date October 2003
This was the first time cruising for our group so we were quite skeptical but the prospect of seeing all the different ports was what made us decide to give it a try and maybe we just may like the ship part... Well, it went way beyond our ... Read More
This was the first time cruising for our group so we were quite skeptical but the prospect of seeing all the different ports was what made us decide to give it a try and maybe we just may like the ship part... Well, it went way beyond our expectations as we have another AOS cruise planned in January and the ship turned out to be just as good as the ports we visited. Overall the AOS was amazing top to bottom. The service was exceptional and the entertainment went way beyond what we imagined. Johnny Rocket's was rocking, do not miss a chance to eat here as the staff are quite entertaining! The service provided by the staff in general was exceptional as you could tell they were genuinely happy to be there and a pleasure to talk to. Also, the crowd on RCL AOS was a nice mix from young to old. The only slight downside to the cruise was the food wasn't quite as good as we expected so we'll give Portifino a try next time as we've heard lots of good things about it. The bigger disappointment was the smokers on the ship who ruined it for all the non-smokers. Non-smoking areas don't mean much when 5 feet away you can smoke. Since we couldn't wait for the Jan. cruise, we thought we'd try Princess and we gotta say although the brand new Sapphire was a nice ship, it didn't even compare to AOS. The food was 'terrible' and it was overall very boring. We came off thinking "Where we DON'T belong!!) We can't wait to GET OUT THERE again!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2003
ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS - 12/7/03 This was our first time on Royal Caribbean. We chose the AOS because of it's size and variety of things to do, as well as the itinerary, with an overnight stay in Aruba. The ship is amazing. When we ... Read More
ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS - 12/7/03 This was our first time on Royal Caribbean. We chose the AOS because of it's size and variety of things to do, as well as the itinerary, with an overnight stay in Aruba. The ship is amazing. When we first board, we like to walk around the whole ship, top to bottom. This took 2-3 hours. There are plenty of spaces and plenty of things to do onboard. During the entire 7 nights, we barely had time to "hang out" in all of the wonderful public spaces. The ship has wonderful decorating and is very clean. The public rooms are elegant and provide plenty of visual variety. Some of our favorite spaces to spend time were -- the Solarium (adult pool) and the Cafe Promenade (for getting coffee, croissants and ice water). We tried (but did not succeed) at having a drink at every bar on the ship! Our inside room was very well designed and comfortable. Every inch is used for storage space. Our cabin steward was friendly. The first day our room did not get cleaned, but because of our in-out times, our steward may have been thinking that we slept in the entire first day! Beyond that mis-read, his service was excellent. One thing to remember, it was a long walk from our stateroom to the staircases / elevators. It seemed like a long trip from our room, but our cabin position was not that bad. This is just a big ship. The food was good, but our dining experience the first few nights was not good. We had a table, but then were "bumped" to another table -- with some very obnoxious guests and not-very-good service. We had been thrilled with the original table, and don't know why we were bumped for no reason. We complained at the guest relations desk and to the Maitre D', who then re-seated us, fortunately, at a table with wonderful service and a wonderful couple. We got lucky on that. But our 2nd night of dining and getting the situation corrected was stressful. Also, we had to have our wine moved around from 3 tables, because of the shuffle. We did eat at Portofino's one night, which was very good. The desserts are by far the highlight of the Portofino's experience. It was a nice treat, but not a must-do. Actually we found ourselves eating so well and so often, that we had a day long mid-cruise fast (no breakfast or lunch, light dinner) in order to feel more comfortable. We were so full! Nightlife on the ship provides plenty of options. I liked Kareoke Idol, and the finals were very well done in Studio B. We saw a fight almost break out among 2 guests though (over Kareoke!) and that was a downer. We went to the Love and Marriage show, but saw the more aggressive guest from Kareoke there, and decided to leave. Also, we attended only one stage show, which I felt was mediocre. We left about 1/4 of the way through the show. Our favorite performers were the pub singer at the Duck and Dog (I think his name was Brian Kennedy). We also found the ice show to be entertaining -- although the guest acrobat was the star of the show. The skaters did a nice job overall. As for other onboard activities -- Dear Husband played virtual golf (OK, not great), we did mini-golf, saw one of the horse races, and Dear Husband played a little in the casino (won a little, lost a little). We had a couples massage, but the spa is very over-priced and next time, we'd choose to have spa treatments at home rather than on the ship. Jester's nightclub is a very cool place, but we did not find time to stay and dance. I wish we could have found more time for that! Overall, we loved the ship, had good food and great service. Unfortunately the down moments for us were the result of rude guests rather than any problems with the cruise line. The AOS is a beautiful ship and we enjoyed it very much. Ports of call were Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas. Because of tropical storm Odette (very rare in the S. Caribbean), the sand was stirred up and water was rough for snorkeling in Aruba. The most fun we had in Aruba was having beers at an outdoor cafe in town. In Curacao we went to the Seaquarium and went to a time-share presentation to get access to the time-share beach. The Seaquarium beach next door is also very pretty and has a small entrance fee. In St. Martin, we went to Orient beach and did some skinny dipping, which was actually very fun. The rest of the time we lazed under a rented umbrella at a beach bar. In St. Thomas, we took the ferry to St. John and visited Trunk Bay -- which was the MOST FANTASTIC HIGHLIGHT of our trip. It is gorgeous and we had wonderful beaching and snorkeling there. We met some of our fellow Cruise Critic posters at the CC party, and they are all very nice people. Hope this review is useful for your trip planning! Read Less
Sail Date December 2003
We just returned from our trip on the Adventure. I have cruised eight times and this was simply the best cruise ever! Even though there were over 3000 people on the ship, the lines were very light. The food was great. The entire staff ... Read More
We just returned from our trip on the Adventure. I have cruised eight times and this was simply the best cruise ever! Even though there were over 3000 people on the ship, the lines were very light. The food was great. The entire staff including our cabin steward were excellent. The ship is a bit overwhelming at first. The shops and bars on the promenade deck were amazing. After a day or two, it was easy to navigate around the ship. The ports of call were a blast. In Aruba we hired a taxi to take the four of us around the island. It ran $40 per hour but the personalized service was worth it. Our driver dropped us off at Eagle beach and rented jet skis. The sun was hot and the drinks were cold. It rained a little in Curacao so we shopped and got a few great deals. St. Maartin is an awesome island. We were there last year and visited Orient beach and this year we decided on Dawn beach. It was peaceful and great for swimming. St. Thomas is a beautiful island. We went to Megan Bay for the second year in a row. It just doesn't get any better. The weather was picture and floating in the water was heavenly. I've cruise on Carnival and Royal. For us, it was definitely spending a little more to go on Royal. You will not be disappointed if you decide on this cruise. We hope to do the same cruise next year! Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
We flew into San Juan the day before the cruise. Coming from the Northeast in the middle of winter, this is always a good idea if possible. We stayed at the Comfort Inn in Condado. The rate was $116 per night. While not a great property, ... Read More
We flew into San Juan the day before the cruise. Coming from the Northeast in the middle of winter, this is always a good idea if possible. We stayed at the Comfort Inn in Condado. The rate was $116 per night. While not a great property, it was clean and the staff was very friendly. They were also one of the few hotels that did not require a 2 night minimum stay. The ship is now docked at a new pier area that is away from Old San Juan. Taxi fare from Condado was $12 plus .50 for each piece of luggage. We arrived at the dock around noon, and the porters took our luggage right away. You then go inside the building and get in line depending on which deck your cabin is located on. The computers were down when we arrived but came up in about 30 minutes. After you check in, which takes about 2 minutes, you are directed to chairs in the room if the ship has yet to totally empty out, or if the ship is empty, you proceed right on board. If you are not a US citizen, they will hold your passport until you arrive in St. Thomas. We boarded at about 1245. Cabins are not ready until 1:00, but there is lunch in the Windjammer lounge, and the bars are open up on the pool decks. At this time you can purchase soda packages. They were over $40 for adults and over $30 for children (plus the 15% gratuity) Seemed high to us so we did not get the packages. However, the wine packages are a very good deal. 7 bottles for $125 (including 15% gratuity). You have your choice of 8 different wines, plus an inexpensive champagne. My wife figures we saved over $50 based on our drinking habits. Our cabin was 7360, a verandah cabin, and i will never book and outside cabin again. Breakfast on the verandah every morning is very nice. The cabin is a good size, but there seems to be a lack of drawers, and the bathroom is a little tight for large people. Always had plenty of hot water, and our cabin steward kept the room spotless. The television had the usual shipboard information, and a couple of movie channels. CNN international and what i would call TV Land television. Lots of old shows. You can also purchase first run movies and adult films to view. The muster drill is done at 8:30 in the evening prior to sailing and is over very quickly. For dinner, there are 2 formal nights, 2 resort casual, and the rest are casual nights, including Caribbean night in Aruba when you can wear shorts in the dining room. We were very surprised by the number of tuxedos and long gowns being worn on this ship. We were expecting a little more casual group being Royal Caribbean, but everyone was dressed very nicely. ARUBA We rented a Jeep in Aruba and drove over to the Wild Side. This is a beautiful drive, and the Jeep ran us $60 from Hertz. Car rentals are available at the pier in Aruba. I suggest a hardtop Jeep due to the broiling sun, and bring liquids as there are not to many places to get any on the wild side. The Natural Bridge area is very busy and commercialized. They charge a quarter to use the restroom, and there is a $20 minimum in the junk store. In the evening we did the pub crawl shore excursion. JUST DO IT. It's a blast. Be sure to bring your camera. I didn't and i won't ever hear the end of it. CURACAO Spent the day just wandering around downtown. Great deals on linens (according to the boss) ST. MARTEN The ship docks out of the downtown area, and you need to take a water taxi to get into town. $5 all day per person. The stores don't open until 9-930, so don't rush in the morning. Did some shopping and picked up some Guava berry liquor and some mango liquor. Good prices on clothes also. From what we heard, the jewelry prices are better in St Marten then in St Thomas. Went on the Sunken ship snorkel tour. Very good and the guys working the boat are a hoot. ST.THOMAS Did the Buck Island snorkel tour in the morning, and it was the best snorkeling we have ever done. Turtles, stingrays, and a lot of coral and fish. Watch out for the "painkiller punch" on the way home. It's not painless after you've had a few. We've been downtown to many times to count, so we just did our booze run at the dock. Prices were good and if you shop by 230, they deliver to the ship. Upon arrival in St. Thomas, you need to clear immigration. People from outside the US go to one room and US citizens go to another. This was the ONLY time we ever saw a line up on this ship. Once you clear immigration, you are given a pass that allows you to get off the ship. NO more waiting for some guy who's hungover to come down and clear before everyone else is allowed off the ship. This was a great cruise. The service was great in all the restaurants. There was never a line up to wait for anything. The ship was clean. The food, while not up to Celebrity standards was very good. There was always someplace to sit, even though we had a full ship. 3500+ passengers. Our only complaint was the entertainment. One of the singers could have scared every cat within a 100 miles of her voice. Terrible. But don't miss the Adventure Quest, it's a riot. (adults Only). We'll book RCCL again, with no hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
INTRODUCTION This was our eighth cruise and our fourth on Royal Caribbean. We were traveling with my parents and two other couples. While we were traveling from Atlanta, my parents were departing from Newark so we elected to spend the ... Read More
INTRODUCTION This was our eighth cruise and our fourth on Royal Caribbean. We were traveling with my parents and two other couples. While we were traveling from Atlanta, my parents were departing from Newark so we elected to spend the Saturday prior to sailing in San Juan to afford an extra day in case there were weather related travel delays. We arrived Saturday afternoon and spent the night at the Caribe Hilton. The hotel is a five-minute ride from the pier and is a primo resort facility. EMBARKATION We had transfers from the hotel and the shuttle picked up the passengers at 1:00 p.m. Our baggage was tagged and was picked up later by another vehicle. Without question, this was the fastest boarding any of us had ever experienced. In no time we had dropped off our carry on luggage in our rooms and were having lunch in the Windjammer by about 1:30. The other two couples that flew in that morning from New York City were on the ship at 11:30 a.m. The ship sailed out of San Juan and into the Atlantic at 10:00 p.m. with a very prominent escort from the U.S. Coast Guard to keep any bad guys away from us. THE SHIP WOW! We've sailed on the Radiance of the Seas twice, which is a pocket cruiser version of the Voyager class ships. The Radiance is 90,000 tons and the Adventure is 140,000 tons or better than 50% larger. We docked right behind Brilliance of the Seas (a Radiance class sized ship) in Aruba, and the size differential is very apparent. Up until five days earlier when the Queen Mary 2 sailed on its maiden voyage, the Adventure of the Seas shared the title with its sister ships as the largest cruise ship in the world. The ship absolutely gleams everywhere you look. A New York City Fireman, a NYC Policeman and their wives christened Adventure of the Seas in October of 2001. With all lower bunks filled, the ship's capacity is 3,500 passengers with 1,200 crewmen. Our cruise had 3,348 passengers or just about full. There was something like 50+ nationalities represented by the passengers with the vast majority from the U.S. Despite the number of passengers, we never experienced crowding. You could always get a seat or a lounge chair in any bar, pool area, theater, etc. There are more bars and lounges than you can experience in a week without a loved one signing you up for AA. If you were willing to explore, I wandered around the decks and found places where I could pull up a lounge chair and be the only passenger in sight. This year we are celebrating our 25th anniversary and we splurged on a deck 10 suite. Our cabin was port side number 1574, which was a "Grand Suite". It was in essence a double sized cabin with a large sitting area with a TV, DVD player, Stereo CD player and a bar. We had a concierge service that we never utilized. I think we were too busy to do so. The bathroom was huge for a ship and had twin sinks set in a granite counter and a full bathtub/shower. There was an enormous amount of storage space with three big closets and plenty of drawers and cabinets. Each day, the cabin elves delivered a tray of fruit, cookies, cheese, chocolate covered strawberries or other treats to nosh on. We hosted several cocktail parties in the room for our party of eight. Don't try this in a conventional sized cabin. The four story Royal Promenade is the focal point of the ship's interior. It is a marvelous invention with shops, lounges, bars and a coffee shop-snack bar. Two sets of elevator banks and two staircases at each end of the 400-foot long promenade keeps passengers flowing through the ship. The three-story dining room is spectacular with the dEcor matching the cuisine. Our waiter Viveck or "V" made our meals fun and entertaining. If ever you couldn't decide among appetizers, entrees or deserts, V would bring a plate of each of your top choices to try. THE ICE SHOW Don't miss it. There were performances on two nights during the cruise. You get to see former Olympic skaters do an "Ice Capades meets Cirque du Soleil" show in a very intimate setting 1/3rd the size of a conventional ice rink. You can also rent skates during the day and ice skate your way across the Caribbean. That is, if you're not too busy sunning, rock climbing, miniature golfing, in-line skating or working out in the superb fitness center. My mother loved the fact that Adventure of the Seas had soft ice cream machines located in the Royal Promenade, out at the pools as well as in the Windjammer. ARUBA We walked off the ship with the intention of getting an orientation tour of the island. For $15 each, we got a two-hour minibus tour of Aruba which included northeast coast with gold mine ruins and the natural arch and on to the California lighthouse and the beautiful western beaches. The island gets only around 20 inches of rain a year and is surprisingly desert-like. Something like 14 species of cactus populate the island and because it's so far south, Aruba doesn't get the hurricanes the more northern islands excite in. In Aruba you are about 13 miles off the coast of South America, which is visible on the horizon. After lunch, back on board, we wandered around Oranjestad browsing the shops and having a beer in Carlos'N Charlie's. Later that night, a beach party was in full force up on the pool deck when the ship sailed at 1:00 a.m. At the witching hour, lines were hauled in and 140 thousand tons of cruise ship glided silently back into the Caribbean for the short run to Curaçao. CURAÇAO This is another island where, like Aruba, you get the impression; tourism is not the islander's primary mission. We docked at the "Mega Pier" about a five or ten minute walk to the Pontoon Bridge that leads you into the picturesque town of Willemstad. We strolled around the colorful waterfront and the floating market, where fishermen from neighboring Venezuela ply fresh fish to the locals. In the afternoon we booked a snorkel excursion. The snorkel boat picked us up right at the dock and sailed about 40 minutes down the coast to a sheltered bay. The site featured a sunken tugboat, lots of colorful fish and corals in warm, crystal clear water. Even better, an 80 foot, twin-masted sailing ship anchored with us and released a school of sleek-profiled, thong-flossed beauties to snorkel with us. Afterwards, I mentioned to Joanne, that not all the shots I took with our disposable underwater camera were of the swim suit models. My parents joined us on our balcony to enjoy a sundowner and snacks as we left Willemstad and sailed down the coast of Curaçao to our sea day to St. Maarten. After we passed the eastern end of the island and hung a left northward, the lights of Bon Aire, the third of the ABC islands, passed by us to starboard. SEA DAY A good break in the action. There are no bridge tours, given security concerns. However, head forward on deck eleven, the pool deck, and check out the Peek-a-Boo Bridge. Windows allow you to look down on the bridge and watch the officers drive the boat. The captain's chair has a joystick in the armrest that appears to be all you need to steer the ship when the computers are disengaged. There are monitors up there that repeat the crew's navigation data so you can check out speed, course, position, etc. Today was our second formal night and was the Chef's lobster night extravaganza. Our waiter, "V", told the table that he once had a nineteen-year-old young man order and consume seventeen lobster tails at dinner. Given we had already had about six dining events so far that day, we we're not inclined to take up the challenge and kept ourselves to a limit of two tails each. ST. MAARTEN Damn! Philipsburg is full of super salesmen that know how to permanently hang jewelry around my wife's neck. The local economy benefited by our visit. We took a water taxi into town from the pier and besides visiting every jewelry store on the Dutch side of the island; we had a nice lunch overlooking the harbor. Sailing just before sunset, we cruised past the airport watched the last few arriving planes of the day catch the three wire, and snag a safe landing at Princess Juliana Airport. Sailing is definitely the low risk way risk way to enter and depart St. Maarten. There is a web site called airliners.net that is full of interesting aviation photographs from around the world. Fully 1/3rd of the pictures feature planes landing at Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten. Check it out and you'll see what I mean. ST. THOMAS Here is where we had the only problem with the cruise. Everyone on the ship was ordered to present themselves to U.S. Immigration authorities on board between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. There were exactly two inspectors to eyeball 3,500 passengers and 1,200 crewmen. We went down at 8:30 a.m. and couldn't find the end of the line, which extended from the main dining room on deck five at the stern and went forward through the Royal Promenade and down the forward staircases. An hour later, after breakfast, the line was no shorter and the crew was not to be found. After an hour on line, two customs officers thanked you for showing them that you possessed a Passport. I don't believe that any Al Qaeda were ferreted out that morning with the completely bogus security check. The crew at the purser's desk told me this was the usual Saturday ritual. Most passengers that had excursions booked for the morning, missed them. This was not a good way to spend your last morning aboard. Upon finally getting cleared, we caught a cab to Mountain Top to enjoy the view of Megan's Bay, the other Virgin Islands and taste the world's best banana daiquiri. The Queen Mary 2 was anchored out in the harbor about a mile away from the nearest ship or point of land. This was the ship's inaugural cruise, having sailed about ten days earlier from Southampton. It was the Queen's first day in U.S. waters and passengers tendered into Charlotte Amalie. All day long, four U.S. Coast Guard vessels ran a picket around the ship with a Blackhawk helicopter circling overhead for good measure. We watched small craft from the harbor, try to get close to the Queen, probably for photographs. One of the Coast Guard ships would move to intercept and if the intruder tried to evade, the Blackhawk descended to about six feet above the offending craft and "dusted" it with its rotor wash until it hove to. A Coast Guard warship would then inspect and send the boat on its sorry-ass way. A very good show to observe your tax dollars at work. When the Adventure of the Seas sailed that Saturday evening past the Queen, we gave the traditional three long blasts on the ship's horn which was answered with three by the Queen then one again by each of us. Very cool, and perhaps we participated in a piece of nautical history. The Queen Mary 2 sailed just behind us and quickly sped past us to starboard to arrive in Ft. Lauderdale on Monday morning under the escort of a U.S. Guided Missile Cruiser. Not a bad time considering most other ships take an additional day for that leg of a cruise of such length. DISEMBARKATION - SAN JUAN Very smooth. We had breakfast in the main dining room for the last time and waited in the ice rink venue to be called for departure. It was a quick wait and in no time we were ashore and sadly on our way to the airport and home. This was a great week with the exception of the immigration debacle the last day in St. Thomas. I noted this on my customer survey and also called the Royal Caribbean executive in charge of customer satisfaction upon my return. They need to get this problem fixed. Apart from that, take this cruise. The ship is beautiful, has plenty of room and visits some of the best islands in the Caribbean. Please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to answer any questions on the cruise that I can. Austin Kearney pepperdog@mindspring.com Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
We sailed out of San Juan 3/14 and our itinerary included Aruba, Curacoa, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. This was my first cruise so I have nothing to compare it to. I had been trying to find reviews for this ship so I would know what to ... Read More
We sailed out of San Juan 3/14 and our itinerary included Aruba, Curacoa, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. This was my first cruise so I have nothing to compare it to. I had been trying to find reviews for this ship so I would know what to expect. Well, I have to say Royal Caribbean does an outstanding job of satisfying its passengers. They go above and beyond to make sure you are happy. The ship is absolutely beautiful and spotless, the staff is very accommodating and friendly and the entertainment was superb. I wanted to let other people know who have never cruised before was drinks cost on an average since that was something I wanted to know and could not find. I was drinking the tropical drinks and they ranged in price from 5.95 to 6.95 including gratuities. I did buy a few imports for people I was with and those were $3.75 each. Highlights of the cruise for me were the ice show and the caribbean pool party which included a midnight buffet. I have to say the food was good, both in the dining room and in Windjammers, but I do have to agree with another reviewer that it wasn't all that. Certain things arrived not hot and either over done or not done enough. I could have sent it back but I didn't. The dining staff WILL do everything they can to make you happy, but they work so hard as it is, I didn't want to complain. I imagine it is very difficult to cook and serve that many people in a small amount of time and do it well. Another tip I want to give it to pass on the shopping seminar and VIP passport book they try to get you to buy since it is nothing but useless coupons to receive a bunch of junk at the ports. At least in my humble opinion. Everyone talks about the fantastic deals on jewelry you can get, but in my opinion, I did not see any great deals. I will admit you can find things there that are not easy to find in jewelry stores here, such as clear Columbian emeralds, nice colored tanzanite, pink sapphires, platinum and so forth, but if you do your homework, I don't believe that there are any great deals that can't be found here. I sold jewelry retail from a reputable company and can tell you that they mark it up down there just to mark it down, just like anywhere else. So, buyer beware. Another tip I want to give is not to overpack!! I was quite surprised to see the cost of alcohol down there. The prices are amazing. Almost 50% less than in the states on some things. That is what I brought back!! I was not planning on it, and did not like lugging it, but it was worth it. More about the ship....Johnny Rockets was fun. The burgers were good old fashioned hand made and the onion rings were really tasty. The waiters and waitresses end up doing a dancing number for you that is really fun! The main pool area is large with several bars all over the place and staff walking around to serve you. There is an adult pool area that looks like a Venetian spa and is really nice. The only excursion we did was on St. Maarten. We took the island tour in the morning and the afternoon beach bash. The island tour was $23 and it consisted of a 2.5 hour tour of both sides of St. Maarten. They give you about 45 minutes to shop in the French town of Marigot and then they will drop you off in Philipsburg on the Dutch side or take you back to the ship. The beach bash was at the French beach called Orient Beach. It was really nice. All the ports were enjoyable in their own ways. It was nice to finally get to see places that I had wanted to see for so long. My favorite island was St. Thomas. It has a bit more commerce and perhaps the familiarity of a "Key West" feel. My sister did not care for it for that very reason! Oh well. I do want to comment on the airport at St. Juan. It was just plain crazy. There were an insane amount of people trying to fly out of there on Sunday and not enough places to sit to wait for your plane or anything. The lines to check in were extremely long and it was just a damper on a beautiful week. Needless to say, if I ever cruise again, I would not cruise out of San Juan. As far as tipping goes, I would absolutely say every one of the staff deserves AT LEAST the recommended amount, if not more. They work 10 hours a day / 7 days a week with no break and you would never know it. They are always smiling and ready to accommodate. The only other thing I can say is if you like to lay out by the pool, get out there early because despite what good intentions the ship tries to set, people still do put towels on the chairs and then go about their day, either eating breakfast, lunch, or what have you. There were several times I went out at around 10:30 or so and could not find anything close to the pool, only on the very top deck. All in all, it was nice, but I think I prefer all inclusive resorts, they seem to be the same type of thing and include all your drinks as well. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
We left Chicago vis Midway Airport at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 21, 2004. This meant getting up before three a.m. which was not that bad considering we were all pretty excited anyway. The flight was okay but they did not show a movie and ... Read More
We left Chicago vis Midway Airport at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 21, 2004. This meant getting up before three a.m. which was not that bad considering we were all pretty excited anyway. The flight was okay but they did not show a movie and it got long after three hours. We arrived a few minutes early to San Juan which I considered a good sign for the week. We picked up our bags quite quickly and waited in line to get a cab to take us to the pier, the cab system in San Juan is very good and a pleasure to deal with. I am going to assume that we beat the crowd by booking our own air and transportation because when we arrived at the pier we walked right through the only ones there. After having our picture taken we headed to our cabin (8612) a DB on the bump-out which my husband loved. It was a beautiful room and had ample storage space. The cabin was a little bit larger and better designed than the comparable cabin we had last year on the Sea Princess. Our room steward was Sondra and she was very capable and great with the towel animals. We changed into our shorts and slapped on some sunscreen to head out to explore the ship and get something to eat and drink. The Windjammer buffet was nice and we were more than satisfied. We ate most of our lunches there as well as several breakfasts. I might as well say now that we never had a reason to eat at Johnny Rockets but they were not charging to eat there an this trip. We also did not feel any desire to try Portofino's although it looked like a nice alternative if you needed one. We requested the main seating as I am a diabetic and the other was just too late. We ate in the Vivaldi Ding Room which is the bottom of the three tier room. We were at a table for four (with the other couple we went with) in the center but off to the right. Our waiter was Kamal from India and our asst. waiter was Sandor from Turkey they were very good and met our every need without any hesitation. Our waiter told us the ship was over capacity on this sailing with all the children along. The meals in the dining room were we felt very good and very much on par with Princess. We never once walked away hungry! The most enjoyable thing however was the beauty of this room and the music that played throughout dinner what a plus!! I did however feel sorry for the waiters as the toddlers and children wondered the dining room at will and I could tell the waiters were being extra careful. Please do not misunderstand I am not complaining about the children they sat a long time and overall we had no issue with them or the many teenagers on this trip. We very much wanted to catch the parade but did not make it we watched the sailaway and had a nightcap and went to bed early. We had two sea days on this trip that is why we chose it and we enjoyed them both. Just remember to keep applying the sunscreen. I missed a spot on my inner arm and am peeling as I write this review. The entertainment was good. We really enjoyed the ice show but our highlight was the comedians "Two Funny Guys" from the Venitian in Las Vegas. I would go and see them again if I went to Vegas. They were a not to miss good time. This is a huge ship and was full but we never felt overwhelmed except on the promenade trying to look at the shops. We hung out quite a bit at the Duck and Dog Pub there and enjoyed people watching. Our shore experiences were good but I would not do the trolley in Curaco again instead I would take a cab on my own. The best was however the Sand and Snorkel to Buck Island. We were thrilled with this trip and I would say it is a not to miss day. There were three couples on a sailboat called "Island Girl" it was a great day and the captain and his daughter met our every need. The snorkeling was beautiful and it was like we were alone in the world. Great Time!!! This was our sixth cruise and I will say that it was our best excursion ever. Customs in St. Thomas was every easy I do not know if we hit the time perfectly but it went smoothly and the line was moving constantly. The entire week was really wonderful and we enjoyed all the different areas on the ship (which were many). It was wonderful not to have a shower curtain, the hair dryer was fine. No cruise ever beats your first cruise but this one certainly could have. If you have any question s feel free to e-mail me. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
I just returned from the Adventure of the Seas 4/18 cruise to Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. Having cruised on 40+ ships, I can truly say that the AOS is an awesome, modern marvel. Even though huge in size, you never felt lost ... Read More
I just returned from the Adventure of the Seas 4/18 cruise to Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. Having cruised on 40+ ships, I can truly say that the AOS is an awesome, modern marvel. Even though huge in size, you never felt lost or crowded. The Promenade mall was amazing, Viking Crown lounges beautiful and pool area enormous and roomy. There was so much space on this ship! Food was generally excellent. Casino slots very loose, contrary to a reviewer who stated that slots were "tight." Not on this cruise. All ports were very nice, with the exception of Curacao. We rented a car and returned it within 2 hours. Nothing to see on this island and beaches were mediocre. Stay on the ship here! This was my 4th Royal Caribbean cruise in 2 years (Radiance *****, Enchantment ***, Serenade ****, AOS *****). As far a future cruises are concerned, I will be cruising on Royal Caribbean. They just have everything down right and the ships are beautiful. If you're a first timer, try Radiance of the Seas...it is radiant! Next cruise will be Jewel of The Seas in January 2005. I look forward to experiencing this new ship. I'm sure it will not disappoint, but as far as I'm concerned, Royal Caribbean can do no wrong in my book! Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
We're back from the 4/18-4/25 Sailing of the AOS and I'm finally caught up enough to post my review. Overall we had a fantastic time on this trip. This was a family trip with my wife, my three kids (6, 8 and 10) and my ... Read More
We're back from the 4/18-4/25 Sailing of the AOS and I'm finally caught up enough to post my review. Overall we had a fantastic time on this trip. This was a family trip with my wife, my three kids (6, 8 and 10) and my step-mother. After having planned it 11 months in advance I'm now in a serious post-cruise depression mood now. Anyway, here goes... Pre-trip: We flew in a day ahead of time from Boston and arrived in San Juan at about 4:30. We stayed in the San Juan Marriott. This was nice (if somewhat expensive) hotel for the night. We got there early enough so we could check in and the kids could swim for a bit before dinner. Had the buffet dinner at the hotel. It was fine but not particularly memorable. Embarkation: Had breakfast / brunch at the hotel buffet and hung out at the pool until about 1:00 and then got a cab to the pier. We got to the pier around 1:30 or so and the doors had not yet opened. This was a bit disappointing as we thought we'd be able to get on by then. Apparently they had trouble clearing the ship from the previous sailing. We were able to get rid of our luggage and the waiting area was covered but it was pretty hot. The line got pretty long by the time the doors finally opened. Amazingly, we were right behind the only person I really interacted with here before the cruise (hi coolseb); what are the odds of that? We only had to wait about half an hour or so though so it wasn't too bad. Once we got inside we were checked in and onto the ship in no time at all. We were in a suite but I couldn't really tell whether that made the check-in any faster or not; it was very well organized and I just went where they told me to go. For what it's worth to those who care, I brought two bottles of wine with me in my backpack and no one said a word. The Ship: I'm not sure what I can say about this ship that hasn't already been said. This was the third cruise for my wife and I, the first on a Voyager class. The ship is spectacular, clean and very friendly. We were in one of the Royal Family Suites on the aft of the ship on deck 10. The room was amazing - two separate bedrooms, two bathrooms, plus a living room and a huge balcony. I'm not sure how we'll ever go back to a "normal" room again. The meals in the dining room were great. Both the quality and presentation were good. I'd give the presentation an A and the quality a B+/A-. You can't really expect gourmet fare on a ship this big but I enjoyed every meal and the service was impeccable. Our wait staff went out of their way - particularly with my kids. Most of our breakfasts and lunches we did in the Windjammer. I'd give the food here a grade of B/B-. It was fine but standard buffet fare. We did Johnny Rockets a couple times for lunch and enjoyed it. Our favorite night spot on the ship was the Duck and Dog. We also spent quite a bit of time in the casino and were impressed with both it and its staff. As for shows, we saw the Velvet Rope, the Quest and the ice show. I was somewhat underwhelmed by the Velvet Rope, loved the ice show and laughed my a** off at the Quest. All of my kids used the kid's program to one extent or another. Their staff was great and the kids liked them all. The 6 and 8 year olds couldn't get enough off it. My ten year old daughter enjoyed it too but also liked hanging out with the grown-ups from time to time. Did the Rasul couples thing in the spa. This was fun; I highly recommend it. One suggestion here - bring clean clothes with you. You don't want to have to put dirty clothes back on when you're done (no one warned us about this). Aruba: I went on the two tank dive with the ship while everyone else did the submarine trip in Aruba. The sub was reported to be fantastic and the diving was good as well. After having lunch back on the ship we grabbed a cab to Baby Beach. For five of us for the afternoon it was $60 plus tip (we gave the driver $20). The traffic near the port was really bad so it took us a lot longer to get to the beach then I remembered from previous trips to the island. Once we got to the beach the driver told us the "back" part of the beach was better and less crowded. Unfortunately, the van got stuck in the sand when we got there. I spent a few minutes trying to help the driver then decided that it was his problem to solve so we went snorkeling. He was actually fine with this and went and found a friend to tow him out. The snorkeling was as good as I remembered it and the kids loved their first Caribbean snorkeling experience. Traffic was equally bad getting back to the ship but we had time to stop and buy a couple more bottles of wine which again we brought back without hiding and without questions. Curacao In Curacao we went to KonTiki beach on our own via taxi. I did a one tank dive with Toucan diving while everyone else hung out on the beach or snorkeled. The diving was fantastic, the snorkeling just ok. The beach was ok as well with chairs, food, drink and facilities all nearby. St Martin: In St Martin we all did the shipwreck cove snorkeling trip and enjoyed it. The visibility wasn't that great due to the recent weather but I bet it would be a great spot otherwise. Went back to the ship for lunch then the girls went shopping while I stayed on the ship. St Thomas: In St Thomas we went to Coki Beach / Coral World on our own. This was a bit of a PITA. The open-air buses/taxis wait until they are filled before leaving so we ended up wasting a lot of time waiting for it to be filled. This whole area of the pier seemed very disorganized and could definitely be improved. In any case, Coral World was very cool and everyone loved it. We had lunch at Coral World and then hit the beach and went snorkeling. The snorkeling here was the best of the trip. The beach itself was very good but not spectacular. Same problem with the Taxi on the return trip - had to wait for him to fill up. It was annoying but what can you do, these guys are just trying to make a living. We got back to the ship in plenty time anyway. Debarkation: We had a late flight but following the instructions of the concierge left the ship with the first group with no questions asked. We were off the ship by 9:30. Our luggage was easy to find and we breezed right through customs. Since we managed to get off the ship early, we went back to the Marriott and got a day room so we could spend the day at the pool. Left the hotel about 2:00 to get to the airport for our 5:18 flight. Airport check-in and security were no problem at this time of day so our experience with the SJ airport was very positive. If I had it to do again though, I'd probably take a flight home on Monday or an earlier flight on Sunday. We spent a lot of time and effort lugging around a lot of luggage on Sunday. Overall, this was a great trip. I'm sure it's something we'll all remember for a very long time. As has been said many times, there is just so much to do on this ship it's impossible to do it all. We never did make it to a parade or to a midnight buffet. Sorry for the length but I know some people (myself included) like to hear all the details. Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
This was the first family vacation for probably 12 years, and we had a great time. My husband, younger (21) daughter, and I stayed in one of the owner's suites, and my other daughter and her husband had a stateroom overlooking the ... Read More
This was the first family vacation for probably 12 years, and we had a great time. My husband, younger (21) daughter, and I stayed in one of the owner's suites, and my other daughter and her husband had a stateroom overlooking the promenade. The suite was great, and even the stateroom wasn't bad. We loved the ship, and the service was great. The only bad parts were trying to wait for elevators - not enough, and the kids. They were everywhere, at all times of the night. They were playing in the casino, congregating on the stairs, and running up and down the hallways ringing doorbells and banging on doors. We didn't do a whole lot on the islands. Went horseback riding in Aruba, walking and shopping in Curacao, window shopping in town and taxi tour around the island in St Martin with a brief stop at Orient Beach, and snorkeling trip via ferry to Trunk Bay in St Johns. Best shopping was at St Martin for souvenirs, etc. Weather was great - nice breezes the whole time. Getting into and out of San Juan to and from ship were no problem. We took the morning tour of San Juan, and although we've visited there many times, learned a lot from the guide. That also got us off the ship early - hint for anyone who hates waiting around doing nothing until they can disembark! Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
What an awesome vacation. We had a group of 9 of us (friends) spending 3 days pre-cruise at the lovely Westin Rio Mar resort in Rio Grande, PR (1 hr from San Juan). Boarded ship on Sunday within 1 hr of arriving at dock. Met up with my ... Read More
What an awesome vacation. We had a group of 9 of us (friends) spending 3 days pre-cruise at the lovely Westin Rio Mar resort in Rio Grande, PR (1 hr from San Juan). Boarded ship on Sunday within 1 hr of arriving at dock. Met up with my baby sister and her boyfriend onboard. Went to Royal Promenade for about 45 minutes, had a drink, picked up kids soda cards and looked around ship till time to get in cabin. Cabin was a nice size (for a ship of course). My husband and I shared a balcony cabin and had our kids (15 & 12 yrs) across the hall in an inside cabin (CAT M). Worked out great for all. Ship has so many things to do, and of course, we did not have enough time to do it all. Kids and friends of ours did rock climbing wall. All played mini golf and used pools and hot tubs. Solarium area for adults, kids were very happy with other pools. Some of us used the fitness center and spa, others played basketball and skated. Plenty of ship organized activities on at seas days. Saw the ICE show which was awesome, so was the Rock & Roll Decade and the Can't Stop the Rock shows. We were observers at the Quest game which was hilarious. Amazing what some grown people do for RCI logo stuff. Spent many a late night at the Duck & Dog with "Bernie" the bar entertainment. 1 man guitar/harmonica - sing along- he packed a crowd every night and we all sang many familiar tunes, Buffet, Chesney, Elvis, and classics like Piano Man, American Pie, and others. Dinner in dining room was wonderful- partially due to our waiter - Brian and Asst. Waitress (Bushwanna). They certainly practiced Service with a Smile the entire cruise. Windjammer and Island Grille for Breakfast and Lunch were good too. Ports of call were awesome too. Aruba - did our own Jeep safari during the day and then the adults did "Island Paradise under the Stars" excursion at night and ended the evening at Carlos & Charlie's. Wed- Curacao, some of us did the Dolphin swim, rest of us hung out at Mambo beach- beautiful , clean, next to Seaaquarium- pastel bridge in Willemstad such a beautiful sight to see. Friday, St. Martin - our family of 4 did the Regatta- what an great experience, but boy what a workout. Came in 2nd but still had a great time. Skipper even let our son of 12 yrs old steer the sailboat after race for about 15 min or better. One of the highlights of his cruise for sure. Saturday, son and I did the BOB with 2 others in our party- that I must say was a once in a lifetime thrill for me as well. Then met up with the rest of our party and rode the tram up to Paradise Point for lunch and the famous "Bushwacker", for adults of course. Did some shopping before returning to ship. All too soon our trip ended and we are not back home having cruise withdrawal. Oh well, need to start refocusing that negative energy on planning our next one. What a great time. Cruised on Carnival 2 yrs ago, RCI definitely had them beat this time in terms of service and levels of energy of cruise staff!!! I am now hooked on both cruising and RCI. Any questions feel free to ask. Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
Precruise - We arrived in san juan on friday june 11th from washington dc on Spirit Airlines easy relaxing flight. We stayed in the condado area and ate at several very good establishments. We also visited the el morro site in old san ... Read More
Precruise - We arrived in san juan on friday june 11th from washington dc on Spirit Airlines easy relaxing flight. We stayed in the condado area and ate at several very good establishments. We also visited the el morro site in old san juan, a must see. On sunday the 13th we could see the ship from the area and decided it was time to see aos. We left the hotel about 1130am or so and went to the cruise terminal. On arrival it was quite a site to see a very large but beautiful ship. Embarkation - I am quite impressed we got to the gate around 1250am and were ushered in. I cruised twice before with rccl. We had a short immigration then waited a very short time and around 1230 were on the ship. Well done rccl i am well pleased. Public rooms - This is quite a ship it is wonderful in detail and design. When we first saw the promenade it was breath taking. The art work, the brass and glass was quite awesome. The ship is very easy to navigate with maps and crew willing to help with directions. Cabin Room 8276 - My first balcony and not my last my my my i didn't want to leave at the end of the week i could live in that room permanently. I must say the bathroom is much improved and is much roomier. Shore Excursions Aruba - We did the Aruba Town & Countryside Drive Tour. I have a new found admiration for aloe and i really enjoyed seeing the natural bridge. Curacao - We did the snorkeling tour to caracas bay saw the sunken boat it was very good. ST Martin, i really enjoyed this island the shopping was very good. ST John, We did the beach tour took the ferry from ST Thomas what a view and then went to Trunk Bay that is the most beautiful beach i have ever seen. Dining - We had most dinners in the main dining room at the mozart level we had a table of eight good table mates. The waiter was a delight. Here is an example of his kindness one day after dinner i did not like the desert for the day. He asked how could he help i stated i would have preferred cheesecake he went and brought me some. We had a lot of breakfasts and lunches in both the Island Grill and Windjammer Cafe. Also the island grill had really good omelets. the deserts and cheese pizzas were good in the cafe promenade. I had a vegetarian burger and some fries and a peanut butter shake in the Jonny Rockets it was quite tasty. Entertainment - So much to do my favorite the ice skating did it and loved it. I still cannot believe i did that in the middle of the hot and i mean hot caribbean. The production shows were fun and there is a female singer, sorry i do not recall her name watch out she is going to be a big star. Fitness and Recreation - We went to the gym once sorry so much to do and it is right up there with Bally's health club. Value - I am glad i spent every penny i love rccl they have the best cruise product out there and it will be hard to beat them with the things available. I was never bored and will return to cruise with them again. To any one thinking of a cruise consider rccl a very good value for your money. My email is dalelab@verizon.net Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
Adventure of the Seas 6/27 This was our 4th cruise (3rd on RCCL), and can honestly say I would recommend this ship and cruise line without any hesitation. Embarkation - This was a really a breeze; a RCCL rep met us at Baggage Claim ... Read More
Adventure of the Seas 6/27 This was our 4th cruise (3rd on RCCL), and can honestly say I would recommend this ship and cruise line without any hesitation. Embarkation - This was a really a breeze; a RCCL rep met us at Baggage Claim area; directed us to a line where we waited maybe 10 minutes and were then led to an air-conditioned bus. All luggage that was tagged with the blue AOS tags were taken directly to the ship. Upon arrival at the pier (20 minutes from airport), we entered the line for deck 9 and waited no more than 5 minutes. We were photographed for SeaPasses and on-board less than 5 minutes later. Luggage was at the stateroom before 8:00pm; plenty of time to unpack and stow everything before muster drill. Stateroom - Category M (inside), mid-ship on deck 9. The room was a little on the small side, but there was plenty of room to store our things. Very clean, and stateroom attendant was very helpful and attentive. Room was always made up when we returned. Meals - I can honestly say most meals were very good. Some better than others, but overall there were no complaints. This included the Dining Room, Windjammer, Island Grille, Cafe Promenade and Johnny Rockets. Portofino was absolutely incredible - both the food and the extra-service. Our waiter & assistant waiter in the dining room were the greatest; we could not have had a better team. Ship - As far as the ship goes ... WOW ... it is an incredible vessel, both inside and out. Everything was like-new and in very good condition (probably due to recent dry dock). The only thing I was a little disappointed with was the stability of the ship. I expected such a large vessel to be very stable, especially with the fairly calm seas we had. However, when the ship was cruising at higher speeds (mainly on the at-sea days), there was a very noticeable side-to-side pitch and motion. This did not really bother me, but my wife who is prone to sea-sickness was a little uneasy (but the Transderm Scop patch worked fine for her). We found that the Disney Magic, Sovereign of the Seas, and even the Empress of the Seas felt more stable when cruising. Our theory is the ship is so tall (over 15 stories), with only 29 feet below the water line; so she may be somewhat top-heavy. At low speeds (Aruba to Curacao, and St. Maarten to St. Thomas) the stability was much better Entertainment - Top-notch shows including a great comedian - Eric Lyden, who had everyone rolling the first night of the cruise with some PG-rated humor. Then he did an adults-only show at midnight the following night which was so funny we were aching from so much laughter. All the singers, dancers, ice-skaters and other shows were of Vegas-level quality and always very entertaining. Ports of Call - Aruba - Booked a snorkel cruise on our own ... the Jolly Pirates cruise. This was a blast! A very good deal ($42.50 per person when booked on line  ... 4 and ½ hour cruise, 3 snorkel stops, BBQ lunch, open bar and a rope swing that is just too much fun. Hung out at Mambo beach after the snorkel cruise; then Carlos & Charlie's after dinner on the ship. Curacao - Short walk to town across the floating bridge for some decent shopping. Grabbed a taxi to the Seaquarium beach ($12 for 4 people). Beach is man-made but very clean and picturesque, and water is great. St. Maarten - Took the water taxi to downtown Phillipsburg (5 minute ride). Great deals on jewelry, but make sure to shop around ... the first place you stop isn't always the best. After a few hours of shopping, grabbed a taxi to Orient Beach ($24 for 4 people) ... Great taxi driver - Leon - who gave us a mini tour on the way. He also agreed to come back and pick us up ... and was right on time. Orient Beach was very beautiful; actually some pretty good waves when we were there. Had a good lunch at Bikini Beach and then grabbed some beach chairs for a few hours. Very crowded and some nudity but nothing too outrageous. St. Thomas - Booked a tour with Godfrey Tours. Without a doubt ... this is the best deal on the island. He picks you up at the gangway of the ship, takes you to town for shopping, then on a tour of the island for 2 hours up to the highest point on the island for incredible views. Then to your choice of beach for 2 more hours of swimming or snorkeling. We wanted to go to Megan's Bay, but the traffic was backed up so far that Godfrey recommended Sapphire Beach instead. It was nice, clean and free. He got us back to the pier by 4:20 (ship sailed at 5:00 pm). Debarkation - We were out of the stateroom by 8:00am, went to formal Dining Room for breakfast. Since our flight out was not until 5:30pm, we were not called to exit the ship until about 10:00am. Once called, it took about 20-25 minutes to walk out and go through customs. Took only about 5 minutes to find the bags and by all means grab a porter ... worth a few bucks because they seem to get you to the head of the line. We opted to take a cab to Old San Juan instead of just going like cattle to the airport. RCCL has a deal with the Barrachina Restaurant and Jewelers, who will store your bags for free. This was great; and was actually like another port of call. We toured the town on foot, grabbed some lunch at Senor Frog's and grabbed a cab to the airport around 2:30. The lines were completely gone when we arrived and we breezed through check-in and security. Overall, this was an excellent cruise vacation! We booked through the internet, which for the most part was OK. They neglected to communicate our request to be seated at the same dinner table with the other couple traveling with us. But, we were able to remedy the situation on our own by speaking with the Maitre 'D. As far as online places go, they are not going to do much else for you other than book the cruise - most with the lowest fares are not a full-service agency. But if you want a lower fare and you know the limitations going in, it is fine. We'll be back on RCCL soon! Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
First off let me say the ship is absolutely magnificent. My wife and I took this cruise w/o children from July 11 - July 18 out of San Juan to Aruba, Curacao, St Maarten, and St Thomas. It is unbelievable how they were able to put so many ... Read More
First off let me say the ship is absolutely magnificent. My wife and I took this cruise w/o children from July 11 - July 18 out of San Juan to Aruba, Curacao, St Maarten, and St Thomas. It is unbelievable how they were able to put so many things on to this ship. The few areas where I feel they could make improvements (and there were not many) which I will mention in this review will certainly not deter me from sailing on this ship again. I am already planning on sailing on it next year to the other itinerary. A few areas that I would like to see improved: 1. faster check in - we arrived at the pier at 1:45 and got on a very long line. We did not get aboard the ship until 3:30. My wife was told that there was a drug bust with a passenger from the previous cruise coming off earlier and therefore everything came to a stop. I do not know if this was the case or not, and if so it was out of the control of RC. It actually was not so bad, afterall, you're on vacation and my company was great (my wife) so we passed the time by chatting and looking forward to our next 7 days on the cruise. 2. Captain's Night - thought they should have had some picky type foods while drinking the champaign, mimosas, and rum punch. We had the second seating dinner and were getting hungry so we thought it would have been nice to just "pick" a little. 3. My biggest area of concern is the need for supervision at the pools. Because the ship has so much to offer to children, you will find an enormous amount of families on this cruise ship. Although the ship does have the solarium which only allows adults and is beautiful and very nice, I particularly enjoy being at the main pools where the band is playing and is what I consider the heart and soul of the cruise ship during the day. The solarium is much more peaceful, but in my opinion away from the action. I have seven kids of my own so I know how kids can be kids, but there is a limit. Some of what was going on around the pool areas went beyond fun and was dangerous and very bothersome to other cruisers. There is not suppose to be any jumping or horseplay, but kids were jumping from the railings of the adjacent hot tubs, doing flips, diving and jumping into the hot tubs, throwing water at each other with their cups in the hot tub, etc. On a couple of occasions, we had to find someone to complain to, but they need to have someone supervising this because the parents certainly are not going to. More than it being a nuisance, I was concerned that someone was going to split their head open. Those are really the only "negatives" I have about the cruise. Positives: 1. All of the crew from maintenance to officers were extremely friendly and helpful. 2. Food throughout the ship was excellent. You may not always like something, but there are plenty of choices and if you choose something you do not care for, you can always order something different. 3. Our dinner waiters Richard and Filip were outstanding and we looked forward to seeing them every evening. Their efforts were second to none. 4. Although the ship is immense, it was very easy to get from one place to another. Within the first day we had the ship down pat. Everything aboard the ship was very clean and well kept. 5. Ice show is a must see. 6. With 3,200 people aboard you would think that everything would be crowded, but it was not. Plenty of room and so much to do spreads the people out. There was no need to get to anything too early because the theatre and ice rink are very big and hold a lot of people. 7. Getting off and on the ship for excursions was a breeze, very easy on and off. 8. At end of cruise getting off ship was very smooth and clearing customs went great. 9. Entertainment and shows were outstanding. The RC singers and dancers are fantastic, we could watch and listen to them all night. 10. Johnny Rockets is a blast, Royal Promenade makes you feel like you're in New Orleans, Casino very nice. What else can I say other than WOW what a cruise. If you're reading this I say hello to Ed and Leslie and to Mike and Donna and thanks for being part of our dinner group and making it such a wonderful, fun experience. If anyone has any questions or would like some pictures sent to them I would be happy to do so. Let me know. Last thing to mention if I haven't already is if you are looking for a cruise where there are not many kids this is not the one for you. Perhaps one of the RC smaller ships would be more to your liking. If that isn't a concern take the Adventure. Read Less
Sail Date July 2004
We began our journey on The Adventure of The Seas Saturday July 17. We left home for the airport at 3:50am. We traveled on Spirit Airlines and had no complaints, actually the price we got was great. We arrived in San Juan at 1:30 pm, and ... Read More
We began our journey on The Adventure of The Seas Saturday July 17. We left home for the airport at 3:50am. We traveled on Spirit Airlines and had no complaints, actually the price we got was great. We arrived in San Juan at 1:30 pm, and took a taxi to the Intercontinental which I had booked online for $128 for a pool-view room. We were upgraded to an ocean-view upon arrival, as they had put us into a non-smoking room, and we are smokers; it was a wonderful room with a great view. The hotel was beautiful! There was no charge to use the pool, you just need to sign in and get a wrist-band to identify you as a hotel guest. There is an area to get pool towels right by the pool. Also, there is a swim up pool bar there, and the beach is just a bit past the pool. All very nice! We arrived at the pier at about 10:30am, and were the first in line to get into the building. We waited for about 30 minutes. It took less than 5 minutes to get our sea pass card, and then we went to sit and wait. There was lemonade, water and cookies for everyone. There was an area for Diamond and Platinum members, another area for suite passengers, and a third area for all others. The ship was full as a group, National Professional Network, had chartered much of the ship so there were no upgrades available. We waited about 1 hour and 30 minutes then we were onboard and in the Windjammer having a yummy lunch. After we ate we were off to explore the ship. Nobody could get to their cabins until 2pm-all the corridors seemed to be closed off. We chose to go with a category B suite this time, and had cabin 1548. It was great! No excess movement at all was felt, which I had worried about since it is towards the front of the ship. Our cabin steward was Jermaine, and he was fantastic. We tipped him an additional amount up front, and he seemed very grateful. Being in a suite provided us with use of the Concierge Lounge, and afternoon snacks of sort. The snacks were canapes, or chocolate covered strawberries, fresh fruit, etc. In addition, the Concierge Lounge had hors d'oeuvres each evening with an open bar. The Concierge was Michelle, and she was fantastic. Always very kind, and with a smile. Passengers could also get DVDs to use if desired from the Lounge. The next day was St. Thomas, and we had booked a day-sail on The Winifred with Captain Sharon. What an absolutely perfect day we had! I really cannot begin to tell everyone how enjoyable this day was. Sharon, and her mate Tommy were the kindest, friendliest people we have met in a long while! They made this day a lasting memory for us. We sailed to St. John, and snorkeled for quite some time; we were able to see so much there...eels, turtles, Conchs, and many fish. We also had a delicious lunch, then off for a leisurely return sail to St. Thomas. If you ever have the opportunity to book this, please do consider it. You will not regret it, and will not be disappointed in the least. Again, the best excursion we have ever had! That evening was the Meet and Mingle. We got to place names with faces,and meet several people which is always nice! Gary won the Aqua Mouse, so he will be using it to send in his review :). Not too many folks showed up, but it was very nice meeting those that did. This evening was the first formal night. We were quite tired from our day in St. Thomas, so we decided to skip dressing up and instead went to the Island Grill. What a wonderful surprise! The food was great, and the service was fantastic! We enjoyed our dining experience so much, that we had each evening meal there for the remainder of the cruise. There were always many things to choose from, and the hot food was always hot, and the cold food always cold. No Royal Steak, but they did have Minute steaks. In a few words...bad, tough, yuck. The next day we were in St. Maarten. The weather was not good at all that day. Cloudy, cool and raining off and on. The excursion was ok, though I think it would have been much better if the weather had been warmer. Next time though I think we'll skip the Rhino Riders, and go with the jet-skiis. We were able to get some shopping in here also, and the prices were good. I still think St. Maarten has the best prices on many things, though you have to "work at it" a good deal of the time. The ice show was on this night, and it was absolutely wonderful! These skaters are so talented and had the audience mesmerized with their abilities and performance. We were able to get tickets from the Concierge, so we didn't have to worry about a line to get tickets that day. The next day we were in Antigua and did Eli's tour. A great tour! His boat is very new, and just beautiful. We had a nice day, and another good lunch served by Eli. He is much younger than I had anticipated, and a very nice young man. That evening we received a phone call inviting us to dinner with the Captain the next evening in Portofino's. We accepted, and were very excited and looking forward to the next evening! The next day we were in St. Lucia. The Pirate ship excursion was cancelled due to mechanical problems. We just took it easy on our own that day, with no tours. St. Lucia is so beautiful and lush. As we were leaving the island we passed the Pitons...breathtaking! Also, a pod of dolphins were swimming with the ship. What a neat thing to see! They were jumping, twisting, and seemingly playing and having a great time swimming with the ship! That evening our dinner with the Captain was wonderful. We dined with 4 other couples and the Captain. He is only 37 years old, and the youngest in the Royal Caribbean fleet. He will be leaving the Adventure of the Seas in about 6 months to go to the Voyager. The meal was fabulous! We enjoyed the evening very much. The next day was Friday and we had booked The Silver Moon in Barbados. Again a wonderful day! The Silver Moon is a catamaran, less than 2 years old and a beautiful boat. They book no more than 12 people, so there is a lot of room. It is manned by 3 extremely nice, knowledgeable and pleasant individuals. We snorkeled in 2 different spots and one was over a wreck..very neat! There were plenty of drinks served on our trip back, after a wonderful lunch. I highly recommend this excursion while in Barbados! We were the only ones from the ship, and it was very nice to be on something that was not at all crowded! We were picked up from the ship, and taken back afterwards. Saturday was a sea day, and there are indeed a lot of chair hogs out there! Many chairs in the pool area had been "reserved" with a towel, flip flop, etc. by 9:30am. All in all a nice relaxing day. That evening we tried to use up our remaining quarters in the casino. We kept winning them, and more back! The slots were good to us that night. Sunday we awoke to rain and clouds as we were pulling into San Juan...it mirrored our feelings of the morning. We didn't want this magical adventure to end:(. After breakfast in the Windjammer, we waited in the Lyric until our flight was called at about 10:30. We went to the airport and were prepared for the worst part of our journey. We were pleasantly surprised however. It took 1 hour to check our bags, and get through security and to our gate. Not great, but certainly not as bad as I had anticipated. It was air-conditioned, and plenty of seating was available. We are suffering a major case of PCD right now, and we have that feeling that we are still moving. We enjoyed our cruise so much. The Adventure of The Seas is a wonderful ship, very clean, well kept and with a wonderful staff! We enjoyed ourselves so much we are planning on doing it again next year, only trying for a back to back with the two southern routes! If anyone has any questions at all, please ask away, and I'll do my best to answer! Sorry that this has been so long, but I love reading everyone else's reviews, that I wanted to share as much as I could with everyone else. Read Less
Sail Date July 2004
I will start this review by stating that both my husband and I are both 24yrs. old and this was our honeymoon. This was my husband's first cruise and my third with RCCL. We got to San Juan at about 5:00pm (after some plane ... Read More
I will start this review by stating that both my husband and I are both 24yrs. old and this was our honeymoon. This was my husband's first cruise and my third with RCCL. We got to San Juan at about 5:00pm (after some plane troubles)... and we were so tired because we got married the night before. The ship is beautiful... words can not describe how large this ship is!! We had cabin 9390 Corner Aft balcony room... This room was so great! When we were on our balcony it felt like we were the only people on the ship, it was so private. Before going I didn't think it was worth it to have a balcony, but I am totally eating my words now... We actually spent a lot of time on the balcony. We had breakfast out there a couple of times, and it was a great place to sit while the other person is showering and getting ready. Monday we ported in St. Thomas, we ordered breakfast room service the night before and it arrived at the time we requested and it was very good. It was a great wake up call. We ate breakfast on the balcony and enjoyed the beautiful view of St. Thomas. We then proceeded to get off the ship, there was no wait getting off the ship and we took the 10:00 ferry from Red Hook to St. Johns. We took a taxi to Trunk Bay. We brought our own snorkel gear and rented the flippers. This beach is so beautiful and has lots of trees so that there is lots of shade if you like shade. My husband loved the snorkeling, he did the underwater trail, but he said the best snorkeling was to the right side of the beach. He saw two barracudas and a ton of fish. I didn't go out too far because there were lots of jelly fish. I don't think they are always there, but this must have been the season for them because every time I turned around there was another one. We stayed on the beach until about 3:00 and took the ferry back and headed back to the ship. We then went strait to Johnny Rockets and had a late lunch. This night was the first formal night. We had second seating. The food was very good. Tuesday we went to St. Martin. This was my favorite island. We took the water taxi which was $5 for all day use and it was worth it. We did some shopping, which was endless. Every street had so many shops and flea market type stands. We each bought our parents a bottle of Guavaberry Rum, which they are famous for. We stayed in the shopping area for about 2 hours and then we went back to the ship and changed into our bathing suits. We went to the cafe promenade (sandwich and bakery type cafe) and we got two sandwiches and put them in zip lock baggies. We then got off the ship and took the water taxi back and started waking down the beach which is right there when you get off the taxi. As you walk down the beach different people own different beach bars and they try to rent you chairs and umbrellas for $10. We kept walking until we got to "Pirates in Paradise" and the girl said that the chairs, umbrella, and floating mats were free if we bought a drink. So we ordered two Guavaberry Coladas and it was $10, so if you keep walking you can get a much better deal and it was a very short walk. The Guavaberry Coladas were awesome. We ate our sandwiches and cookies from the ship on the beach. We floated on the mats and just had a very relaxing afternoon. We got back to the ship and we ordered room service. We got Caesar salad, a cheeseburger and broccoli and cheese soup and ate it on our balcony as we sailed away from St. Martin. We went to the "Love and Marriage" game show this night and that was really funny. Wednesday we went to Antigua. We had a tour with "Antigua Paddles" at 12:00, so we got off the ship in the morning and walked around the town. Nothing too impressive with the shopping or this part of the island. We ate lunch on the ship and then met the tour group right outside the ship. I book the tour online directly with "Antigua Paddles" before going, but everyone else on the tour booked it through RCCL. It is much cheaper if you do it online. We got in an air conditioned bus, and headed for the clubhouse. It was cool to see all the houses and locals as the bus was driving. The driver stopped for a quick photo opportunity at a beautiful cliff over looking the ocean. When we got to the clubhouse, we got on a speed boat which was so much fun and that took us to Bird Island. Bird Island is beautiful. We climbed to the top of it which took about 5 mins. The view is breathtaking and we took some pictures. We then walked down and we went snorkeling for about an hour. We didn't really see anything except little fish, but the water was so clear and beautiful that it didn't matter. We then got back onto the speed boats and headed to another area where the Kayaks were all lined up. We got a Kayak for two and as we went along the tour guide would tell us many interesting facts about the island. Then we got back onto the speed boat and went back to the clubhouse for banana bread and rum punch. This tour was wonderful! I highly recommend it to anyone as there is no experience necessary and you can do as much or as little as you want. Thursday we went to St. Lucia. We had originally booked the "Jungle Tour", but two days before we left I got an email that the tour operators had a death in the family and would not be available. So last minute we decided to get a day pass from "Rendezvous" which is only 5 minutes from the ship. It is an all-inclusive resort and was $38 per person for the day pass. When we first got there we sat under an adorable hut on the beach. We ordered a couple of strawberry daiquiris and relaxed. We then went up to the pool area to find a really cool pool with a swim up bar. We had lunch which was delicious. After lunch we took out a sail boat which was very adventurous because neither of us had ever sailed before, but it was really fun! Then we decided to go tubing. They had two tubes on the back of the boat, and although I thought we were going to tip a few times, it was a blast. This was a great day. They had showers and towels there also. Friday was Barbados- We took a taxi to the "Boatyard". It was $12 to get in, but then they give you $8 back in tokens to be spent on food or drinks. It was nice because the chairs and umbrellas were free and you could use the water trampolines and water rock wall for free. We just had a good time here. Jumped on the trampoline, climbed the rock wall, floated in the water, had a couple of Pina Coladas, and chilled out on the beach. Saturday- At Sea. We actually slept in until about 10am then we got some breakfast and headed to the pool. There were lots of chairs available, just not close to the pool. We went around the ship and took lots of pictures and felt sad because our vacation was coming to an end. Sunday- Debarkation. This took forever. We had a flight at 11:30 and were in the first group getting off the ship. It took at least an hour to get though customs. It was hot and the line didn't seem to move, but if that is our biggest complaint, then I really can't complain. This was just a great vacation. We had a wonderful time and we can't stop talking about it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
Review of Adventure of The Seas Aug.29-Sept. 5 This is the 8th cruise for my husband and I since 1998. We're both 38 years old. Adventure of the Seas is the best ship we've been on. Our travel agents did a great job planning ... Read More
Review of Adventure of The Seas Aug.29-Sept. 5 This is the 8th cruise for my husband and I since 1998. We're both 38 years old. Adventure of the Seas is the best ship we've been on. Our travel agents did a great job planning this trip for us. We met them on a Celebrity Cruise 4 years ago. Sat. Aug. 28: Arrived in San Juan a day early and stayed at Intercontinental Hotel, Isla Verde, San Juan (www.intercontinentalhotels.com). This hotel was beautiful. Our room had a balcony overlooking the pools, beach, and ocean. The concierge was very helpful in suggesting places to eat and made dinner reservations for us. We ate lunch at Mi Casita which is a local cuisine restaurant across the street and a little to the right of the hotel. The ambiance was nice, food ok, service slow but it was fun to try some local food. We ate dinner at Ajili Mojili (1006 Ashford Ave Condado San Juan), a $12, ten minute cab ride from our hotel. This place was fabulous. The setting was very romantic, our waiter was very nice and helpful, the food was fantastic, and there was a trio of musicians (String Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Saxophone) that were very good. We had crab cakes, skewers of shrimp, chicken, and beef and vanilla flan and cheese flan for dessert. We split the appetizer and entrEe, had our own desserts and each had a glass of wine and the total was $55, very reasonable for the caliber of the food. We would definitely go back here again. Sun. Aug. 29: We ate breakfast at "Mi Casita" which was very good and very economical. The hotel buffet was $18 per person. We hung out at the beach all morning (towels and lounge chairs provided by the hotel). You wear bracelets to identify you as hotel guests. We ate lunch at Wendys (there's also a Burger King, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC nearby - all to the right of the hotel). We packed and checked out of the hotel and had them watch our luggage while we hung out by the pool until about 2 pm. You can check out through your TV but we didn't know that and there was a very long line at the front desk. A helpful bellboy helped us check out without having to go through the line. We tipped him. Around noon the hotel had live music and then folk dancers to provide entertainment. This would be a nice place to stay longer. We arrived at the Pier at 2:30 pm and were on the ship by 3 pm. We didn't get our luggage until about 7 pm. Note, it's not worth it to take a dive knife if you're going to go scuba diving. RCI confiscated the knife out of our luggage. My husband could have picked it up as we were leaving the ship at each port we were going diving in but decided that it was too much of a hassle. We also found out that many dive shops won't let you carry a knife or even wear gloves in order to protect the coral. We had read that the first night of the cruise is a good night to eat at Portifino's because you don't need a reservation. We stopped by the restaurant just to check and they said that most of the time on the first night you don't need reservations but there have been a few times that they've almost had to turn someone away on the first night, so they took our reservation. It turned out that we didn't need it but better safe than sorry. We dressed for dinner before the muster drill then dropped off our life jackets back in our cabin and went straight to Portifinos about 9 pm. The restaurant was only half full while we were there. The food was absolutely wonderful from the bread to dessert. I hate paying extra for anything but this was worth the extra $20 per person and was a great way to start off our cruise. The presentation was beautiful. Each plate of food was a piece of art. Our cabin was on Deck 10 aft, room 1347. The location of the cabin couldn't have been better. We were a short walk to the stairs. The Windjammer was on Deck 11 right above us where we ate most breakfasts and lunches. Portifinos and Johnny Rockets were also really close to our room as was the pool. Now I know it's our own fault because we wanted to save money by booking an inside cabin, but this is the smallest cabin we've ever had with the least number of drawers. We had 3 desk drawers each to put our clothes in. There were some shelves in the closet that we made a little use of and probably could have used more although it was a little hard to get to. We ended up tripping all over each other all week, piling things on top of the little love seat (which I would have gladly exchanged for a dresser) and the desk and chair. At least we could fit our luggage underneath the bed. Mon. Aug. 30 St Thomas: We pre-booked a dive excursion with the ship--$90 per person. They used a dive shop right on the Pier, Underwater Safaris. (www.scubadivevi.com) Diane met us and she was very personable and knowledgeable, a fantastic host. I'd love to go diving with her again. There were only 4 certified divers with 1 dive master, Katie and 2 discover scuba students with Diane so it was a great experience. We've heard that there are often around 40 divers on the boat but maybe that's in the busy season. One of the divers with us went diving with them last week (he did a back to back cruise) and said that it was a small group last week too. We went on two 35 minute dives (Taos Reef and Cartanser Sr. Wreck). The Reef was beautiful with lots of coral and lots of colorful fish. We saw an 18" diameter sea turtle hanging out on the ocean floor feeding. We got really close to him and he paid us no mind. We also saw fish that burrow into the sand and some really beautiful bright vivid purple tall coral. At the wreck we saw sergeant major fish guarding their eggs that looked like purple paint splotches on the side of the wreck. We also saw two 3' barracudas, and a hiding lobster. I would do these dives again. After diving we went back to the ship to shower and eat lunch and then back out to St. Thomas to shop. I went back to Mr. Tablecloth to buy some extra pieces of the Christmas pattern I had bought a couple of years ago but they only had placemats left in that pattern. Here's where the saying comes in "if you see something you like, buy it because you may not see it again." We had a couple of frozen margaritas at this great place on the water front. I can't remember the name of the place but we go there every time we're in St. Thomas because the drinks are great and inexpensive $4 each for a large drink. It's just a little hole in the wall, most if not all the seating is outside. When you face the water you can see the Hard Rock Cafe to your right. I think that Columbian Emeralds is right there to the right also. We went back about 3 pm to the ship, I think the diving wore us out. My husband went to get ice show tickets. Make sure you do this. It doesn't cost extra but there aren't enough seats for everybody so you have to get tickets. The show is great so don't miss it. We went dressed for dinner than went to the Meet and Mingle but we were late (It's hard to get there by 5 pm!) so we missed some of the people who left early to get ready for dinner. We went to dinner and met our tablemates, two really nice couples. There were a lot of empty seats at the main (or early) dinner. I can understand why people would want to eat at Portifinos one or two nights but that couldn't account for all the empty tables on a full ship. I can't imagine why anyone would choose Johnny Rockets or Windjammer over the dining room for dinner but I guess some people don't like to get dressed up. There also could be people who ate in the cabin if they had balconies. I went to the show which was The Drifters. The show was really good. Tues. Aug. 31 we were supposed to go to St. Martin but because of Hurricane Francis we had a day at sea instead. We ended up going to St. Martin on Saturday which was going to be our day at sea and had a shortened time there, about 5 hours. Being a day at sea gave me opportunity to take advantage of the exercise classes. I went to the Wake Up and Stretch class at 7:30 am. We went ice skating after lunch about 1:30. You need to wear pants and socks to do this activity. It was fun to be ice skating in the middle of the Caribbean and it really made me appreciate the talent of the skaters later in the week after I tried to remember how to even get around at all on ice without falling down. We layed out in the sun for awhile. It's easy to get a chair by the pool in the morning, no one there at 9 am but much harder after lunch. It didn't matter to us, we went up higher and faced the ocean which was a prettier setting and much quieter. I took the Pilates Class ($10) and the Yoga Class ($10) in the afternoon and then quickly (15 min.) got ready for dinner at 6 pm. We went to the ice show at 9 pm. We started waiting in line (we brought books) at 8:20 pm but we probably could have come about 8:40 pm and still have gotten good seats. We sat in the front row on a long side about 1/3 of the way down from the short side. These were great seats because we were so close to the skaters. The best seats in my opinion would be the front row of the short side. Again, this is a great show, make sure you get your tickets earlier in the week. Wed. Sept. 1 Antigua: We booked an excursion over the internet called "Eli's Eco Tour" (www.adventureantigua.com) $81 per person. They pick you up at the pier at 10 am and get you back by 4:15 pm. Lunch is included and is good. There were 20 of us that met them at the pier made up of cruise ship passengers and hotel guests. We made 2 stops at resorts to pick up people (3 at one and 2 at another) for a total of 25 people on the boat. The entire trip was really good but I really enjoyed "Hell's Gate". It's a really beautiful setting and it was fun to climb through the cave and then walk across the bridge. We saw some interesting snails, crabs, and some strange looking algae eating creatures that looked like fossils or something scaring out of a science fiction movie. We found out about this tour on the cruisecritic message boards and would join the many people before us who would recommend this tour. Remember to bring your camera, you'll get some great pictures. Two shops I would recommend in Antigua are the YodaGuy (www.1001resources.com/hosting/users/AT/YodaGuy) and RastaPasta which is not a restaurant but a shop which has hundreds if not thousands of beaded necklaces, bracelets and ankle bracelets at good prices. There are 2 stores in Antigua, 1 next door or near the YodaGuy on the second floor of Heritage Quay and down one of the streets near The Jolly Roger boat. In general, make sure you have plenty of $1 bills because at two different Islands stores had run out of them (especially at the end of the day) and they had to give me change in quarters! It's not fun to carry around $3-$4 in change. Dinner in the dining room was ok but my opinion is that this would have been a good night to eat at Portifinos. After dinner we went to The Lyric Theatre around 8:20 and read the books we had brought with us until about 8:45 pm when the Cruise Comics started their interactive pre-show routine. It was cute. The show "Velvet Rope" started at 9 pm and the singing and dancing in it was excellent. Don't miss this show. Thurs. Sept. 2 St. Lucia: St. Lucia is a beautiful Island but there's not much shopping or much to do unless you take an excursion. We pre-booked scuba diving excursion with the ship. This was a 6 hour lunch included trip for $120 per person. (www.scubastlucia.com) Because it's at Anse Chastnet, it's about a 45 min. boat ride from the pier. It's beautiful scenery on the boat ride and the dive shop location and dive sites are absolutely gorgeous, right next to the Pitons! I was kicking myself for not bringing my good camera. Next time I will and I will definitely do this excursion again if I get a chance. When we arrived at the dive shop, they had our tanks/regulators/bcs all ready to go set out on the sidewalk with our name written in chalk in front of them (very organized). We were divided up into 2 groups; 8 people with one dive master and 7 with the other dive master. They checked us on two skills (buoyancy check and mask clearing) before they would take us on the first dive which was a beach dive. This dive was great as was the 2nd boat dive. After the dives they took us to the beach where they had dropped off the snorkelers earlier. There we walked a little ways through the jungle to a pavilion for the buffet lunch. The food was ok (grilled chicken and fish, pasta, salad, bland rice, bland canned beans) except for the awesome carrot cake but the setting made up for it. We then had about 45 min. to lounge around on the beach or go snorkeling before heading back. I'm looking forward to coming back and doing this excursion again sometime. Tonight was Lobster night, don't miss it in the dining room. Also, don't miss the flourless chocolate cake, it's yummy. Fri. Sept. 3 Barbados: Because we're going to St. Martin tomorrow, we arrive in Barbados an hour early and leave an hour early. We pre-booked scuba excursion through the ship $90 per person. They met us at the pier and took us by vans to the dive shop. (www.barbados.org/diving/westsidescuba) You need to leave everything but your dive gear in the lockers at this shop because they don't have a dock and you have to wade chest high out to the boat holding your dive gear over your head to get on the boat. They really should do something about this. Then you have to hook up your regulator and bc to your tank. For the cost, they really should do this for you. We went on 2 reef dives; 8 people with 1 dive master and 9 people with the other dive master. Visibility was not as good as St. Thomas and St. Lucia but it was ok. On the 2nd dive we swam with a 1' diameter turtle for about 10 minutes (very cool). We saw spotted eels, puffer fish, centipede like worms, lots of tree coral and other coral and lots of fish. After the dive was were brought back to the pier in the vans. My husband took the dive gear back to our cabin and I stayed to shop around the port. I walked down the street to the craft mall but there wasn't much there. I should have bought the Tortuga rum cakes there because they were $3.85 for the small cakes where as they were $4 each at the Pier. Don't miss these cakes, they're really good. There are several shops right at the pier that have samples you can taste. The other thing to buy here is the cream rum. This is my favorite thing about Barbados. The best cream rum is the stuff in the clear bottles that they sell from a cart in the center of the mall. This stuff is fantastic in coffee, hot chocolate, ice cream, or just by itself. Don't pass up a chance to try this stuff, they give out free samples. We always bring home a few bottles of this stuff. After dinner we sat in the front row again for the main show. This is another good show "Can't Stop the Rock" with great singing and dancing, not to be missed. Sat. Sept. 4 St. Martin: Because we're not set to arrive until noon, I try the Rock Climbing wall at 9 am. and then we play miniature golf. No line at either activity, apparently most people are still sleeping in or eating breakfast. At 10:45 we bring our books up to read while waiting to get in to Johnny Rockets which opens at 11:30 am. A line forms around 11:10 and there are about 20 people waiting by 11:20. Johnny Rockets is a fun place to eat. The onion rings and fries are very good as are the specialty hamburgers (all included), the malts are about $3.60 but are really good so I guess they're worth it. Make sure you eat at least 1 meal here. We get off the ship about 12:15 pm and take a cab to Orient Beach/Bikini Beach ($5 each if the van is full). At the beach, 2 chairs and 1 umbrella costs $18, a little pricey. (There are cheaper chairs and umbrellas at other sections of the beach). Orient Beach (au natural) and Bikini Beach, right next to it are really pretty beaches with soft sand in a nice setting. There are plenty of water sports and some bars and restaurants. We stay a few hours then head into town to shop a little.($20 for the 2 of us, would have been cheaper per person if there were more people). Make sure you go to the Guava Berry Emporium and try the local liquor, especially their frozen drink, its very good. Another store I recommend is the Belgium chocolate shop. It's near the YodaGuy's shop (he has one here as well as Antigua) on Old Street Arcade. These chocolates are really good but a little pricey. A box of 9 that you pick are $16. But, we're hooked, we always buy their chocolate when we come to the island. We go to the Farewell Show which we could have done without. After 7 cruises, we're tired of the farewell shows. We pack everything but what we'll wear tomorrow and carry in our carry on luggage and put it out in the hall. Sun Sept. 5 San Juan Disembarking: We're out of our cabin by 8 am like they request and go to The Lyric Theatre to wait to be called to disembark. We're in the 2nd group to be called and leave by 8:20 (pretty fast). We pick up our luggage and get through customs and are in a taxi to the airport by 9:00am (amazing). We probably could have gone into Old San Juan and shopped a little. There is a store that will watch your luggage for you. At the airport, there is no line for ATA and we are down to our gate by 9:45 am. We sit around and read until our flight leaves at 1:45 pm. Conclusions: This was our favorite ship. We would go on it again in a heartbeat although we might pay for an outside room so it would be bigger. Carnival Inspiration - July 1998 Carnival Fascination - October 1999 RCI Monarch of the Seas - May 2000 Celebrity Horizon - November 2000 Princess Ocean Princess - November 2001 Norwegian SS Norway - October 2002 Carnival Inspiration - May 2003 RCI Adventure of the Seas - Aug 2004 Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
Great Cruise. Our cabin was on the 9th deck near the center, but slightly aft. No complaints about the room or our room steward. We boarded at around 3:30pm, and were able to walk on without waiting. The ship was completely booked, but ... Read More
Great Cruise. Our cabin was on the 9th deck near the center, but slightly aft. No complaints about the room or our room steward. We boarded at around 3:30pm, and were able to walk on without waiting. The ship was completely booked, but seemed empty! Entertainment was pretty good. Mickey Dolenz from the Monkees was the headliner! Food could have been better, was equivalent to banquet food. Our Waiter Hakan was the best waiter we have had on a cruise. Johnny Rockets was very good, Windjammer could have been a tad better however. The ports of call were very good, however we didn't get off at St. Lucia. Others we talked to agreed that another day at see would be great. We would definitely go on this ship again! For excursions, we went on a taxi tour of St. Thomas, Lawrence of Antigua on Antigua, and the Rain Forest hike and Cave tour in Barbados. On St. Maarten, we went to the French side and had lunch and walked around. We were quite happy with our choices. We stayed at the Hilton Caribe before the cruise, and the Marriott San Juan after the cruise. I would recommend both, but the Marriott was better. Both were purchased thru Priceline and worked out perfectly. All-in-all, was a great trip! Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
Upon our 9/12/04 arrival at the San Juan airport, after waiting about an hour to get our luggage, someone who also was on the same cruise mentioned that your luggage automatically was sent from the airport to the ship. Just wish someone ... Read More
Upon our 9/12/04 arrival at the San Juan airport, after waiting about an hour to get our luggage, someone who also was on the same cruise mentioned that your luggage automatically was sent from the airport to the ship. Just wish someone told us, sent us the information, or a sign with that information would have been nice. However, other than that, all went smoothly. The ship was beautiful. All of the shows were nice. On day 2 at St. Thomas we went to Sapphire Beach, then a ferry to Trunk Bay on St. John to snorkel. Nice snorkeling on both. Trunk Bay's beach was stunningly beautiful. We saw a small nurse shark there, and some nice species of coral, among the other fish. Day 3 St. Maarten. Almost didn't stop there due to the hurricanes/storms in the area. We rented a car (a bit challenging since all the maps they gave us had no street signs) and just used our sense of direction, and drove around most of the island. We stopped at the observation platform on Cole Bay Hill, saw the border monument (Dutch/French border), stopped at Maho Beach, Cupecoy Beach (beautiful, tranquil, small coves), Long Bay (large, sandy strip),and Orient Bay. All were beautiful. Really enjoyed the ice skating show on the ship that night. Highly recommend! Day 4 Antiqua. Took a taxi to Long Bay (excellent snorkeling), and then to Dickenson Bay (no snorkeling, but wave runners available). Went to Portofino's on the ship. Highly recommend , especially if it is a special occasion for your trip. Food/Service was excellent. Dramatic presentation of your food, make reservations early and request by a window before the sun sets. Day 5 St. Lucia. Rented a taxi, went to the botanical gardens, waterfall, botanical gardens (very lush & pretty) saw the Pitons (highly recommend), the "drive in" volcano, Anse Chastanet beach (beautiful--had black sands and excellent snorkeling). Day 6 Barbados. Rented a taxi, saw the Baobab Tree, Bathsheba (highly recommend), a green monkey (resp. for polio vaccine), and snorkeled at Folkstone Underwater Park. The best snorkeling I've ever seen and right off the shore. This was our favorite cruise. Be sure to visit the very front of the ship. I would recommend the later dinner seating for this time of year on this cruise. With so many ports to visit, we were gone all day, were hungry at 3 p.m back on the ship, ate too much/ruined our appetite, missed sunsets, and departure views. Disembarkation went well considering all the the people on this ship. I highly recommend this ship and itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
This was my second cruise on the AOS I did the Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas route this year. The overall cruise was great even though we had a medical emergency on board (I'll discuss this later). The ship is beautiful ... Read More
This was my second cruise on the AOS I did the Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas route this year. The overall cruise was great even though we had a medical emergency on board (I'll discuss this later). The ship is beautiful and the accommodations are great. I did notice a drop off in service and availability of dinning in the Windjammer Cafe. There were some dinner times and lunch times that only the Island Grill was open. I don't know if this was a staffing issue but I think it was kind of lousy. The overall service was still good and the food was above average. The cabin stewards were great. They always had ice in our room (we had a ice bucket we got with our wine and they even filled that up). The entertainment was pretty good (above average). I would suggest the ice show it is a must see, Velvet Rope is interesting and fun but the other show (which I cannot remember the name was rather lame). The comics were funny and topical and had the whole theater rolling. The only other complaint that I had was one that I have seen on other review it was the kids running around with little or no supervision. The captain did make an announcement but I guess some parents figure they can just let their children run around and do what they want. Don't get me wrong I have a 11 year old I will be taking on a cruise with me next year but she will not be running around riding up and down the elevators pushing all of the buttons and getting off. She also won't be disrespectful to others who are trying to enjoy their vacation. Now for the excitement. While on this cruise we had to alter our day at sea to get a passenger who I believe had a heart attack back to San Juan. We did not miss any ports of call. We were enroute to St. Maarten but we were doing between 21 and 24 knots which was impressive. We had to get to within 60 nautical miles so that the Coast Guard (USCG) helicopters could airlift the patient off. This whole procedure was very impressive watching a helicopter land on the bow of the ship I must give kudos to the ship captain and the Coast Guard for their efforts and team work. Overall this was a great cruise and I would definitely recommend and retake this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
This was our first cruise. We had a lovely time and we will treasure the memories for a lifetime. Embarkation went smoothly for us, but appeared hectic for other passengers. I use a wheelchair part of the time and they checked us in very ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We had a lovely time and we will treasure the memories for a lifetime. Embarkation went smoothly for us, but appeared hectic for other passengers. I use a wheelchair part of the time and they checked us in very quickly. We were thrilled with our Junior Suite on deck 10. Our cabin was spacious, with a walk-in closet, queen size bed, and a nice size bathroom/shower area. Our balcony was large and had room enough for two lounge chairs and tables. Our room attendant, Buddy, was very kind and made sure we always had what we needed. We were surprised on several occasions with hors d'oeuvres waiting in our stateroom. We ate at the Windjammer Cafe first thing and subsequently several times during our cruise. The food is good, not out of this world, but good nonetheless. We then toured the ship. We were so impressed by the majesty of the ship. We found our way around the ship easily and our first little surprise was the overlook over the bridge where we saw Captain Remos at work. After unpacking, we headed to the Mozart dining room where our waiter, Kaan, and assistant, Mina, treated us like royalty. Each evening we were served delicious, mouth-watering meals in the main dining room. Excellent, excellent service! After day one at sea, we visited Aruba. We spent the day on our own at Palm Beach and it was wonderful. A word about shopping--don't listen to Shopping Shelby. RCI must receive a kickback in St. Thomas because they push you to shop there. The best shopping for souvenirs was in Aruba and St. Maarten, for people on a limited budget. We held out on shopping until St. Thomas only to find expensive items like diamonds for sale. Our second stop was Curacao, where on our own we visited Sea Aquarium Beach. It's beautiful and you can see the cruise ship anchored in the distance. This beach has showers and shops and we truly enjoyed it. The water is very calm--good for children. Our third stop was St. Maarten, where we traveled by cab over to Orient Bay, St. Martin. Once again, the beach was lovely and there are shops, lots of watersports, etc. Our last port of call was St. Thomas, where we ferried over to St. John to visit Trunk Bay. I had seen it on The Travel Channel voted as "World's Best Beach". I do agree! It is the most beautiful place I've ever seen. I have never felt more of an appreciation for God's creations than when I visited Trunk Bay in its unspoiled beauty. There is so much to do on this ship that you could never do it all. The only crowded area on the ship was poolside. We enjoyed spending time on the Royal Promenade listening to different musicians. The entertainment was excellent, especially the ice show. The only problem on the cruise was that some poor lady had a heart attack and we did an emergency maneuver so a helicopter could land on the ship to rescue her. We enjoyed every aspect of this cruise, from dressing up for formal night to just sitting on the balcony relaxing. When the cruise was over, we were sad to see it end, but we knew we had a lifetime of great memories. Disembarking in San Juan went smoothly. I would like to note that as someone partially confined to a wheelchair, that Royal Caribbean treated me very kindly, especially the security personnel who helped me on and off the boat. God bless all of you! Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
Hi all cruisers...My review is extensive but realize this is just my second....I have lots of trips yet to review!Take this at face value and please, try this ship! Flight from Northern Va. to San Juan via Lauderdale on Spirit airlines ... Read More
Hi all cruisers...My review is extensive but realize this is just my second....I have lots of trips yet to review!Take this at face value and please, try this ship! Flight from Northern Va. to San Juan via Lauderdale on Spirit airlines smooth albeit a bit cramped. Off the plane quickly, found out we could leave our luggage for RCCI to take to the ship for free and headed quickly for the taxi kiosk...and a good thing we did! Took the taxi for 2 at 17.50 + tip to the pier BUT...if we hadn't had a good driver, we would never have made it! Two huge downfalls, one being that a festival for a hero, TITO, ie...Felix Trinidad the boxer had everything gridlocked...we still made it to the pier in short order...thank God no luggage, cause the baggage people went on strike and we stood in line for over 4 hours waiting and waiting with very close quarters and lots of local people who were taking the cruise at a greatly reduced rate jumping in front of the line....No food or water, limited toilets...What was worse was that many people were held on the ship due to the strike and missed their flights home....It is much easier to be coming than going on this cruise! We finally made it on the ship at 7pm which obviously was past our dinner seating....No free drinks or amenities for the extended wait....Many unhappy chappies! The ship itself is awe inspiring...HUGE and with so much to do...Actually, too much to do...a bit hard to relax! Plenty, if not too many lounge chairs, you had to move them to get your legs in and out. Lots of non English speaking people with large groups and lots of teens....But overall, never too crowded and for the most part people were respectful! We had a room on the inside 9th floor which was roomier that I expected with plenty of storage space! Elevators are everywhere, and although often crowded, people for the most part were humored by this and didn't get too nasty! In room first run movies, room service, and plenty of info on the trip are available which you need on a ship this large! Bathrooms, not in great locations outside your room, and obviously, some women don't do their business in their rooms...OHHH Weeeee...... Food was good, not great. This was our 2nd cruise and Celebrity was much better. I have to say that one of the best features was our Head Waiter, Rose. She went out of her way to remember our names and to offer recommendations and the extra smile...she was a joy! The Windjammer and Johnny Rockets were very good! If you take the early seating and don't want to miss the sunset, I suggest Johnny Rockets for a night! What I missed was the casual foods that the Celebrity offers at almost any time such as gourmet sandwiches, decent pizza and sushi...We enjoyed the earlier seating this time so we weren't so tired that we wanted to go to bed after dinner! Any night, don't be afraid to ask for a taste of another dish, such as a soup and an appetizer or two entrees...they can accommodate you without you having two huge plates! Celebrity offered an appetizer and soup with salad and then entree and dessert...just pick what you like the most and order! On the formal nights, don't be afraid to order more lobster and less beef...it is worth it!The midnight buffets are awesome, but if you take an excursion, wait until then to eat! I wonder who eats all of that food! Drinks were cheaper on Celebrity and the waiters and bar tenders were more friendly. Also, the prices seemed to fluctuate for the same drinks, which concerned me...but when you questioned, they didn't seem to understand! If you are given a special glass, take it..you are charged extra for the drink anyway...we saw little old ladies scarfing up gorgeous glasses because people didn't think they were theirs for the keeping! Shows etc...Make sure to get your tickets to the ice show immediately! We didn't and we missed a great show! We enjoyed the bingo game once and had to laugh at our own greed at wanting to win! The casino was great, my husband spent a bit of time trying his luck and found out when a female dealer came up, he needed to find another table! They caught him good! We were lucky enough to see Mickey Dolenz (from the Monkee's) and his sister perform...YES, I am aging myself but as a kid, they were the bomb! It was good nostalgia and his sister sang better than he did. We also saw the comedian who has a million impersonations and initially thought, HUM, but he had us rolling by the end of the evening! THE BEST PLACE FOR ENTERTAINMENT for us....THe Duck and Dog Pub...Unbeknown to us, the acoustic singer from our last cruise who we became friends with had changed ships and was on this ship as well! Needless to say, we spent part of each evening listening to him jam to great riffs...His name is Greg Guess and I encourage everyone to party with him at least one night! Ask for your favorite song as a request and don't be afraid to move the tables to dance! My husband was heralded by several women because he moved tables and even brought up the elder ladies to dance! Women who brought their husbands in got their special song and dance and were treated to some great blues, jazz, and even current music...even the line dancing people hung outside on the Promenade to dance to the music! Port's of Call: Aruba was beautiful...guys went fishing and girls slept in and shopped. To the side of the boat docking, a bit up and after a walking bridge is a beautiful promenade which is landscaped and during the day, lizards abound! I have a huge iguana at home so I loved it and couldn't get enough, but my best friend prefers them in a cage! We took the boys back in the evening, but as any good lizard owner knows, they sleep then! We went to Carlo's and Charlie's ....way too small and way too loud! I recommend Cozumel's way better! Curacao: Isn't much to look at but the shopping was the bomb! Got 2 Louis Vuitton Bags for cheaper than the internet, any any other island that was recommended...And they don't fill fake LV with cloth drawstring bags that are LV labeled instead of paper....80% off! St. Martin-did the local beach and got our chairs for 4 with 2 umbrellas and 4 drinks for 15.00...BARGAIN HARD...had to pay the 5.00 per person for the water taxi to island but it was for unlimited trips, too bad you only have 8 hours on the island! The locals bother quite a bit for assorted drugs and necklaces, but they are better than Mexico and stop after they pass you a few times! Is Marijuana really legal there? That's what we heard! The Dutch area is a bit populous. I would have preferred Orient Beach on the French side but it is more secluded but with much more nudity! Shopping is cheap, cigarettes and liquor at incredible prices! Would definitely look to do an all inclusive here! Beautiful island and water! St. Thomas --We went on the Doubloon excursion on a 65 foot yacht to snorkel on what I believe was Turtle cove...We saw huge sea turtles, squid, yellow snapper and a small nurse shark plus more...Beautiful excursion and on the way back, they don't lie...no one leaves sober! Banana Benders, Beer, etc...everyone gets fake tattoos, and lots of fun...even for the kids..very experienced snorkeling crew and for my friend that doesn't snorkel, they jumped in to get her a sand dollar and conch shell that she saw from 18 feet down! Billy Bob, the mate became her new best friend! definitely recommend this and this can be purchased on line through Doubloon.com. At the end of the excursion, they take you to their shop on the dock and you can look at the merchandise and drink more free drinks as you shop the rest of the afternoon if you go back! They take your pictures on the boat and download for free so you don't have to pay like on most excursions! Already looking for an all inclusive here! Disembarkation --Stay with your party! Our friends felt the need to be at the appropriate place at way too early and ended up off the boat at 0830 while we tried not to get off the boat until closer to our plane time...We had packed our radios...not good...not pleasant when they sat in the pier port while we were able to have breakfast and all the people told us to ignore the disembarkation news....you can stay on the boat way longer than what most people thought, and still drink coffee or alcohol and hang out rather than sit at the airport for what is a very long afternoon flight wait! Overall, this was a wonderful trip! I would easily recommend but my one wish is that the trip originated and returned from Florida and not San Juan...I have a friend who is an MD who comes from San Juan and says that Old San Juan is the place to stay the eve before the cruise and make sure you see the fort! I tried to get the old man (43yo) to do this but....more expense huh.... I guess it is always just a matter of chance from anywhere! Thanks for letting us tell about our trip! Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
Try and keep this short and sweet. Myself 42, wife 40, kids 9 and 10. What an awesome time. Ship is spectacular, food was great in all areas. Service was outstanding. Our Balcony room 9654 was a little tight for the 4 of us but ... Read More
Try and keep this short and sweet. Myself 42, wife 40, kids 9 and 10. What an awesome time. Ship is spectacular, food was great in all areas. Service was outstanding. Our Balcony room 9654 was a little tight for the 4 of us but definitely manageable. The balcony was great for catching sunrises and sunsets. Great place to relax and have a drink before dinner or after the kids were in bed. Embarkation: Got our bags at San Juan airport, grabbed a taxi and were on our way. We had our taxi driver stop so we could grab a six pack and some butts. Got to the cruise terminal and holy cow, the line snaked out the door, all the way down the side of the building, around the corner and went on forever. There was a rumor that the computers were down. Glad I grabbed a six pack to officially start the vacation while standing in line. Even though the line was huge, it moved reasonably fast and we got on the ship in about an hour. We did the St. Thomas route and planned on doing beach/snorkeling at each port with our 9 and 10 yr olds. The opinions of the snorkeling spots below are based on us being amateurs, first time for my kids outside of a pool snorkeling. St. Thomas, went to Coki beach. Beach and scenery were beautiful. Water was beautiful, crystal clear, fish everywhere, lots of coral pieces and shell fragments for the little ones to play with near the shoreline. Couple of places to get food and drinks and not too many beach vendors. This was by far out most favorite snorkeling stop of the 5 ports. Fish were in the water just waist deep but if you went over to the right side of the beach there were fish everywhere. Bring a couple of dog biscuits and they will swarm your hand. Don't forget your underwater camera like we did. Taxi from the pier was $25 each way with tip, 2 chairs were $10 for the day, we did not get an umbrella. St. Martin. We were originally going to go to the end of Orient beach where Pedros is because there is supposed to be a small reef area where you can snorkel. Taxi driver talked us into going to Dawn beach, said the snorkeling was better. The water was very cloudy at Dawn beach until you go out about 150 feet, a little far for our young ones. Once you got out there the visibility was a little better but the current was fairly strong and it took a little while to swim back in to shore. Only saw a handful of fish here and there. The beach itself is beautiful surrounded by timeshares and condos. There is a beach bar place with outdoor tables for lunch and drinks, can't remember the name but it looked cool and tropical. An umbrella and 2 chairs was $10 for the day. There was also a small shack to rent snorkel equipment and beach floats. Taxi was $25 with tip from the pier each way. Although it was a beautiful beach I would probably go somewhere else next time for snorkeling. Antigua. This was the only excursion we did. Went to Stingray city. We did the second excursion of the day. It's well organized. They bring you out to a fenced in area about a mile or so from shore. The water in the enclosed area varied from say 3 feet deep to about 10 feet. You get some decent interaction with the stingrays but it's all with the handlers who are guiding you along and pretty much holding them while you touch them. There is a small reef at the far end of the enclosure also where you can see some fish but it was pretty cloudy. Got a few pictures of stingrays underwater but I'm sure they'll end up being just shadows. We talked to some folks who did the first excursion of the day and they said the water was crystal clear so definitely go earlier if you can before the water is churned up. It was pretty fun and I'd do it again. They serve rum punch and regular punch at the end but it's only available for about 30 minutes until the pictures for you to purchase are ready. We did buy 4 pictures on a cd for $60, they were pretty cool. The excursion was $66 per person and they take you on a bus right from the pier. Went back to the pier and found this tropical looking little bar and had a couple of drinks while my daughters got their hair braided ($35 for her whole head, not too bad). St. Lucia. Unfortunately we needed a break from sun and beaches so we decided to just hang on the ship this day, did some of the activities on the ship and went to Johnny Rockets for lunch which was fun. Barbados. We went to Folkstone marine park. At first we felt a little out of place because when we got there it was all locals, the Barbados people are beautiful and very friendly but we almost felt like we were invading their turf. Folkstone doesn't have a very big beach but does have a beach area for swimming, the sitting area is up above the water line as most of the shoreline here is rock except for maybe a 100 foot beach. There are stairs that lead down into the water and another set of stairs that lead down to the beach. The park is setup with picnic tables and there are a couple of vendors selling shirts and stuff. They were also peddling tours in the park $40 per person to swim with the sea turtles, much cheaper than the ship's price. We decided to stay in the park and snorkel. The left side of water area in the park area is all rocks/reef. I never really saw any coral but more like rocks and rock type formations, it could have been coral but looked like rocks to me. Anyway, the water was kind of rough and with the rocks being only one or two feet down, they sent us over to the far right hand side of the enclosed water area to snorkel. Water was a little cloudy but saw a decent variety of fish. Later in the day the water over the left hand side of the reef calmed down and you only had to go 3 or 4 feet deep and there were fish everywhere. Lots of different varieties. The water was still a little rough and there were 2-3 foot swells but at least the breaking waves had stopped. The water here was still a little cloudy but decent enough that you could see what you wanted. On a good clear day this place would be awesome for inexperienced snorkelers like us 'cause once you were in the water all you had to do was put your head under and there were fish. Taxi $25 with tip each way. Carib beers at the little snack shack were $2, definitely worth going to again. Last day was on the ship, kids got to do the rock climbing wall and mini golf. Hung out at the pool and had a few drinks. Our kids didn't participate in the kids program at all but they weren't up our butts all the time either, we'd give them short time frames to go somewhere close or in the pool and then come back and check in with us. Food: We had breakfast in the Windjammer each day, good variety and good quality. Sometimes a little difficult to find a table though. The earlier you go the better. Lunch: We ate lunch off the ship on most days but would make it back toward the tail end of lunch. Always looked great and had a great variety, never really had much to eat on the ship at lunch besides maybe a sandwich or picky type food which was all good. Dinner: We totally enjoyed our dinner each night. Food was great and of comparable quality to what we had on the Carnival Glory in February. Our waiter and assistant were terrific. The head waiter even interacted with our table each night which was something different from our past experiences. The variety of food each night was different and interesting but not bizarre enough that you didn't want it. Entertainment: After being at the beach and swimming all day, the only show we made it to was the ice show, it was great. There was so much to do every night but we were usually tired and in bed by 10pm. Bar Bill: This was a real hotspot on this cruise for me. First day you could buy booze in the shop on board and bring it back to your room. I bought two bottles of rum for $9 per bottle for Parrot Bay and Bacardi orange. They also did charge me $9 PER bottle to bring it back to my room. My wife and I had a few drinks everyday and some nights after the kids were settled down in the room we'd hit the casino or just a bar for some drinks and dancing. Brought our two way radios with us and kept in touch with the kids. Our bill at the end of the cruise was $1100.00, about $200 for gifts the rest for booze and tips and we really didn't drink that much. Fancy drinks like a White Russian with tip were $9, vodka and cranberry were $7 plus tip. So in my opinion booze is very expensive. We only actually made one drink from the rum that I bought the first night, one of the bottles never even got opened. Disembarkation: They have everyone go to either the Blue Moon or Lyric Theatre to get ready to leave the ship. They tell you to be there at 8 but don't make announcements until 8:30. Once we were cleared by immigration at 8:30, they announced anyone with flights leaving up to 12:00 can get off. About 20 minutes later the next group goes, I think it was 12:00 to 2:00 flights. People who were not flying were asked to wait until all the flying passengers were off the ship. We were off in the first group. A small tip-- Wait at the top of the stairs to the Lyric theater, when they call your group, get in the line to the left to get off the ship. Once off the ships you have to go to customs, stay to the lines on the right if possible. We got shuffled to the line on the left where there was only one person working. There were 3 people working the line on the right which moved 10 times faster than our line it seemed. Took us about 45 minutes to get through customs. Once through customs, went into the warehouse and miraculously found our bags in just a couple of minutes. Got our bags, went outside, got a taxi and were off to the airport (about $25 with tip depending on how many bags). Got to the airport about 9:30, it was pretty quiet. Got our bags checked with USAir, we were 5th in line, went to security, about 10th in line, got through that and were at our gate at 9:50. About 30 minutes later all hell broke loose, security line was hundreds of people long and the check-in counters were jammed with long lines. Must be once all the busses arrive. So even though we had a couple of hours to kill, it was worth getting there early just to not have the long line stress levels. There were a few gift shops and snack places in the terminal so at least you could do something. There was a bar in the terminal but it didn't open until 11:00 and by twelve the line was out the door so go early if you want a drink. Our flight got delayed twice and had three gate changes so make sure you keep up with what's going on with your flight if you can. Overall: Terrific time, beautiful ship, Caribbean was smooth as glass, hardly ever felt the ship move. AC in the room worked great. Water was always a brownish color though but I drank it anyway. We loved being able to check out the different ports but it leaves you tired after 2 or 3 days. I remember reading about public buses and stuff to get you around on the islands but we never had enough knowledge or felt comfortable enough to use them so ended up using taxis. We probably spent about $100-$150 per day by the time we were done with taxis, beach chairs, gifts, couple of drinks and lunch or snacks. If I could go on this itinerary again I would say yes faster than you could get the question out of your mouth. Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
RCCL -- Adventure of the Sea Passengers on board: 3,400; 2,900 from U.S. (incl. 500 from PR). October 10-17, 2004 Day 1: Oct. 10 -- San Juan: scheduled departure - 10 p.m. We had the good fortune to stay in Orlando for a week prior to ... Read More
RCCL -- Adventure of the Sea Passengers on board: 3,400; 2,900 from U.S. (incl. 500 from PR). October 10-17, 2004 Day 1: Oct. 10 -- San Juan: scheduled departure - 10 p.m. We had the good fortune to stay in Orlando for a week prior to the cruise to work on our tans a little. The weather was great: sunny and hot (upper 80's) - almost no rain. Had a noon flight on Spirit to arrive into PR on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Flight was only about 10 minutes late to the gate. We could see that it had been raining, and as soon as we walked onto the jetway, the low 90's heat and humidity could be felt. Our bags must have been among the last out, and we were getting a little anxious that none of the 6 bags (from the 4 of us) were seen. But they finally showed up. The San Juan baggage area has none of the luggage carts that are usually available, either free or for rent. And only a small handful of porters were working. So we ended up wheeling our own stuff out. The area seemed under construction as we had to snake around a few barriers and hallways to finally get out to the curb. We had reserved a Limo, and our driver was near the front of the line. So we were very shortly off to the cruise dock. I must admit that the area, as we pulled up, seemed to have quite a bit of construction activity. Several areas of construction fencing made it seem that a more expansive dock area will be there in the future. Arrived about 3:45 p.m. There did not appear to be the huge throng of people there that I anticipated from being familiar with the Miami terminal. Our driver pulled up, went and got an RCCL baggage handler to get a luggage cart and put our tagged bags in. We later found out that there was a fairly long line of passengers that had taken cabs or buses waiting to check their bags onto the ship. But thanks to our Limo driver, our bags went right on. We were then able to bypass the baggage check-in lines and proceed directly into the terminal (3:55 p.m.). We found out that they had not opened the terminal until about 3. A few of our friends that spent the night in San Juan had arrived early (12:30) to board, only to stand in the 90+ F heat for over 2 hours. They were drenched with sweat by the time they boarded. The organization seemed better than I remembered at the Miami terminal in that the check-in was by deck level with only 1 or 2 decks per section. It seemed like there were only a few waiting in each line. We had a balcony cabin on deck 10 and waited less than 3 minutes. None of the lines that I had experienced on two other Voyager-class cruise ships to get on board. We literally walked right on by a few minutes past 4. Had a small snack in the Windjammer, mainly just because it was there, since we had the early seating and would have the proper dinner in less than 2 hours. Luggage still had not been delivered, so it was informal night in the dining room (shorts). Dinner was very good, I had prime rib. We were at a table of ten, so we would always order two or three other dishes for the center of the table to taste everything. Almost like family style, and I think most of the menu selections were on the table every night. We felt the main dining room food in general was very good, not many complaints Muster drill held in between the first and second dinner seating, which seemed weird. The Sail-away party was fun, but I enjoy the afternoon departures more so I can watch the ship leave while still light. Our luggage finally showed up about 8 p.m. A comedian at the evening show was pretty good, but we couldn't seem to stay awake for the midnight parade. Others ships leaving San Juan today: Carnival Destiny, Golden Princess Day 2: Oct. 11 - St. Thomas: arrival - 7:30 a.m.; departure - 5:30 p.m. A few of us had booked the Castaway Girl Catamaran Sailing and Snorkeling Tour of Buck Island on the RCCL web site as we wanted the sailing excursion. We then talked to the excursion desk about transferring our excursion to the same destination, but on a 40' private sailboat. We were very glad we did. RCCL contracts out with 4 or 5 sailboats that hold 4-6 each. It was a much more intimate excursion as there were 6 of us and only 2 crew members. We really got personalized attention as one of the crew snorkeled with us showing us quite a bit of the local sea creatures. Several large sea turtles were also feeding in the area which added to the trip. Some others in our group did the St. John's Island Tour on Land Cruisers. They said they had a blast. We got back to the ship by 1 and met some old friends that live in St. Thomas for lunch. We ate at Glady's Cafe, a great, local style restaurant. Had a couple hours left to stroll around the shops before we had to get back to the ship. We began to see the onset of the "Plague of the Caribbean Taxi Driver." We could not walk more than 10 steps before we were hailed by a cab driver asking if we were headed back to the ship. Normally, it was only 5 steps before the next cab, right behind the one who had just asked us, pulled up with the question. They finally wore us down, and we allowed ourselves to be taken back. Monday night was the first formal night. Our waiter, Woodrow, was great. He was from Jamaica and knew the Jamaican waiter, Horace, we had had on the Explorer last January. Interestingly, the head waiter did not come by and introduce himself for about the first three nights. After that he warmed up a little more, but seemed to spend most of his time at the other tables. (I was watching for him after hearing about other cruisers mentioning seldom seeing him at all.) The main show of the evening was quite good, a guy who impersonated 30 or 40 singers from Sinatra to John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Carnival Destiny and Golden Princess were also in St. Thomas today. We wondered at the time if they would follow similar routes. We never saw them again until we returned to SJ. Day 3: Oct. 12 - St. Maarten: arrival - 8:00 a.m.; departure - 5:30 p.m. I went scuba diving in the morning while my dear wife spent her time in the spa (hot rocks and a facial). The first dive was a reef dive that had quite a few fish and some decent coral. The second dive was an 1802 clipper ship wreck, The Proselyte. All the wood was gone, of course, but we still saw quite a few cannons, chains, and anchors strewn about the area. My dear wife and I had been to the island before and had done the tour and Orient Beach thing, so the afternoon we just stayed by the pool. It's great there during port days as you feel that you almost have the facilities to yourself. A few in our group did the ship's Island Tour excursion (from hell). Their bus broke down and they were put on jump seats in a second van which hurt their backs by the end. The driver/tour guide would point out such local sites such as: here's a Kentucky Fried Chicken, which you guys probably like; here's a Radio Shack, where you guys can get electrical parts; and here's a B-P station, where you guys can get gas, its xx.x/liter; and here's......where you guys.....and, and, and. They did say the shopping stop and beach part was quite nice. I told them to turn in a complaint form straight away, and they ended getting a 30% refund in the excursion. Tuesday night was the Ice Show. It was excellent; some very talented performers for such a limited show schedule. The Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers also put on their first show of the cruise. They have some very talented people, but we felt that the show (and the songs selected) was not that terrific. Day 4: Oct. 13 - Antigua: arrival - 8:00 a.m.; departure - 5:30 p.m. Had our first main dining room breakfast. Enjoyed it so much that it was our morning ritual for the rest of the cruise. None of us had picked out any excursions to do, so we thought we'd venture out and see the little shopping district by the dock. Here we saw that the 'Plague of the Caribbean Taxi Driver' had made its way south in epidemic proportions. Now we couldn't walk more than 3 steps before being hit upon for a taxi somewhere. And I'm not talking about just by the pier, anywhere / everywhere in town, the plague was rampant! After a little shopping, went back for lunch at Johnny Rockets. Then got our swimming suits and went out to do battle with the Plague. We asked where to nicest beach in the area was, and for $15, five of us were off to a nice beach about 15 minutes away. We spent a lovely afternoon just lying in the sun, doing some swimming and just relaxing. The rule of thumb among taxi drivers in the Caribbean (perhaps a side effect from the Plague) is that they will pick you up at what ever time you tell them. So that at the predetermined time, there was our cab driver, Arthur, waiting for us. Of course if he hadn't have been there, 6 others were ready to take us - the Plague was everywhere. Wednesday night was smart casual night, so I donned a sport jacket. It was also the Crown and Anchor cocktail party at which I usually look forward to hearing from the Captain. But he was a no show. The evening performance was by the Royal Caribbean Production cast, another high talent, but low interest show. I've been on 3 other RCCL cruise ships and have always thought their shows were excellent. Well, 3 out of 4 ain't bad. As I mentioned, the performers themselves were terrific, but the shows lacked ....something - IMHO. Day 5: Oct. 14 - St. Lucia: arrival - 7:15 a.m.; departure - 5:30 p.m. Another beautiful day in Paradise and great weather again. Rather than excursions, we set out on a somewhat more personal trip. There is a 5-star timeshare not too far from the dock, The Windjammer Beach Resort. We had looked through our catalog and were considering spending a week there sometime. We thought it would be the perfect opportunity to take a tour before we committed to a whole week. As you disembark from the ship, you must go through a mini-mall with several jewelry, clothes, and other such souvenir shops, and of course... taxi drivers. The Plague had made it to St. Lucia. It must be the warmer weather, as it seemed that the farther south we went, the worse the Plague got. And they all had the perfect tour in mind for whatever you wanted to do. After perusing the shops a little, we inquired at the Info Desk in the 'terminal building' about getting to the Windjammer Resort for a short visit, and then continuing on to a nearby National Park and beach area. The lady at the desk said that the beach at the Windjammer was very nice. And all we would have to do was to buy a couple drinks at their beach bar, and we could have complete use of all of the resort's facilities. Sold.....we were easy marks! We couldn't have asked for a better beach area. Free sun recliners, areas of sun or shade under Palm trees, the use of a freshwater pool a few steps away, and the best part, they gave each group a small pennant on a stick that one would just set upright, and the bar waiter appeared shortly after for our pina colada orders. At the appointed time, our taxi driver appeared, and we were taken back to the ship, a few shades darker. The second formal night, so out came the suits again. Tonight was lobster night. My only complaint was that there were so many other excellent choices on the menu that I also wanted; the decision took a few milliseconds more than usual. I opted for prime rib (med. rare, please) with a lobster dinner on the side. When the lobster came, I just slide it off onto my plate for a kind of surf and turf dinner. My dear wife had two tails. One function that the head waiter served was he would go around and remove the shells from everyone's lobsters (he also did this on shrimp nights as well.) Well worth the $5 recommended tip he got from each of us at the end of the cruise. A treat for the evening's show, The Platters performed. Only Herb Reed remains as one of the originals, and he doesn't solo that much, only signs and emcees. But it was a great performance and walk down memory lane for everyone in our group (over 40). Was tempted to go back for the second show, but went to the Karaoke contest for a while and then got "trapped" in the casino and lost track of time (as well as a few dollars.) Day 6: Oct. 15 - Barbados: arrival - 8:00 a.m.; departure - 5:30 p.m. Today was a cloudy and overcast type of day. I had originally wanted to scuba dive, but that was booked up before I could make up my mind. And after 5 islands in 5 days, we were starting to feel stretched. We always like to check out the town area. The cruise dock is about 1-2 miles from town, and RCCL arranges a shuttle/van service to take you there for $1 (until noon; then I think it goes to $2). You must walk through another mini-mall to get to the outside. Then there was a rather long line waiting for the shuttle service, which is just 10 passenger taxi vans. While we were debating whether to get into the line, a cab driver came up to us and said to follow him, he would take us for a $1 (sounds like the Plague has arrived). He said that the cruise line uses cabs anyway, so he might as well make the dollar per person. When we got into town, the 'Plague of the Caribbean Taxi Driver' was again rampant. We could not even get out of our van because the way was blocked by other taxi drivers wanting to take us, wherever. We escaped and walked through the town area. But it was drizzling on and off, and we decided just to head back and spend the rest of the day by the pool. On these days, the spa often announces specials to fill in openings. My dear wife took advantage and had a manicure and pedicure. I saved her chair by the pool. Some others in our group took the 4x4 Green Monkey Encounter and said it was terrific, monkeys jumping out all over. I had seen the movie "Outbreak" too often to try that one, but apparently no casualties, as everyone showed up for dinner, 50's/60's night. By the way, they have done away with their "Baked Alaska Show" by the waiters. Apparently, some ship had a fire incident, and it was dropped for insurance reasons. They still served it, but no dance through the dining rooms. The evening show by the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers was better than the others earlier in the week. It featured theme songs from movies over the years. Day 7: Oct. 16 - Sea Day Sea days are always some of my favorite days as it allows you to relax, if you want, by the pool. The primary goal is to capture a deck chair before the prime locations are gone. My sister and I were up every morning at 6:30 a.m. to watch our arrival into each port, so it was no biggie to get up soon after that and grab a couple of chairs for our little group. One of us, at least, would hang out while the others breakfasted and arrived. (A pet peeve of mine is the ones who come down and put towels out to reserve chairs and then leave for hours until they finally show up again.) We had a good time in and out of the pool. My dear wife and I tried our hand at the slot machine tournament; I was close to the top ten, but alas...A noteworthy item, we made it through the whole cruise without one session at Bingo! Day 8: Oct. 17 - San Juan: arrival - 4:30 a.m. The disembarking was not as smooth as getting on, unfortunately. They have done away with using the luggage tag colors as departure time slots. You still get colored tags, but they are only used to determine the area of the baggage claim area to look for your bags. Everyone must leave their staterooms by 08:00. You are asked to stay either in Studio B (the ice skating theatre) or in the large Lyric Theatre (where the main shows are seen). Many hung out in the Promenade. If you had flights before 10:30 or 11:00, you were the first to be called (about 8:15), but they announced that you had to have your airline ticket or proof of the early flight. Eventually they announced (at about 09:00) flights earlier than 12:30 p.m., again with proof of your airline ticket. At 09:30 they announced flights earlier than 2:45 p.m. Well, that was a big majority (including us), and the line to get out became quite long. The procedure seemed to be that about 50-75 would be let off at a time to go to the next staging area. There were about 3 staging areas before you got to the actual customs area. The problem was that you would be in line standing still for 15-20 minutes, and then everyone would move up several feet; but in the back, we had no way of knowing why the line wasn't moving. By the time you got to the terminal gangway, several lines had merged which also kept things seemingly moving at a snail's pace. We finally got through customs at about 11:00, so about 1-1/2 hours of standing in line for that. The trip to the airport was pretty quick. But the Spirit Airline counter was backed up. Another hour to get through there. Only a ½ hour for security, so we were at the gate by about 1:00 p.m. for a 2:45 flight. Other tidbits Seeing how widespread the Plague of the Caribbean Taxi Driver is, I would discount any worries about venturing out on your own to do things on the Islands (at least the ones on this cruise). As long as you allow a reasonable amount of time to return, even a complete breakdown could be covered by the next taxi coming down the street, probably 100 feet away. Another point asked about a few times, the pool in the Solarium definitely does not have a roof over it. There are some "barber pole" type appendages that could possibly support a canvas cover of some sort, but I could not find any side anchors that would allow it to be stretched over the entire pool area. And the pools were salt water. The Adventure was in very good shape, save for some well worn carpet and upholstery. Not shabby, but definitely used. Some of the veneer on the desk was wearing down. The screws were coming out of the bathroom door closer. When I called maintenance on the first day, they came right away to fix it, but they were loose again and almost coming out by the end of the cruise. Our cabin attendant never stopped by to introduce herself. We would see a couple of RCCL people in the hallway, but never were sure which one was our attendant. That being said, the cabin was always in top condition, with fresh towels always there, ice in the ice bucket, towel animals every night, etc. How she did that anonymously was a wonder. We finally called her up on the last morning to give her the gratuity envelope and actually introduced us for the first time. I mentioned that most of the passengers were friendly, and she shouldn't be shy about talking to them. On other cruises we have had, the attendants have introduced themselves to us within the first couple of hours on the cruise. We heard at the airport that the Carnival Destiny lost its air conditioning half way through their cruise. I haven't seen any other reference to that, so I don't know if it was lost throughout the ship or just parts of it. However, seeing that most days were in the upper 80's, that would have made for an uncomfortable situation. Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
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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