Adventure of the Seas Cruise Review by Penny Pincher
- Sail Date: June 2005
- Destination: Southern Caribbean
ARRIVAL: When we checked our luggage with Delta, They said a bag was overweight. Delta said each person could check 2 bags of 50 pounds each. We had one checked bag for each person and one was 58 pounds. We had to pay an extra $25 to get the bag checked. At the San Juan Puerto Rico airport, we saw a representative holding up a Royal Caribbean sign. We thought we could get a ride to the ship with her, but because we had not arranged in advance, she told us to take a cab. Actually the cab was cheaper. I think it was $10 -$15 plus tip and the prepaid was $10 per person. As we arrived at the cruise check-in building, we were instructed to take our large luggage to the porter's location. When I did, the porter said "Don't forget the porters, we work for tips." I gave him $3.
PHOTOGRAPHS: We started boarding at 12:30pm. A photographer was taking pictures of each group boarding the ship. These are $20 and are displayed the next day. The first night at dinner, a pirate came behind each person and put a plastic knife to their neck for a picture. These were $7. On the formal dinner night, photographers were at the entrance to the main dining room. I studied their sign for a price. It only said "no posing fee" and "no obligation to buy". The next day, I saw the pictures were $20. The photographers were there for both formal nights and near the end of the cruise also.
STATEROOM: We had a stateroom with no window and no clock. With the lights off, it was as dark as the inside of a closet. Perfect for late sleeping. I should have brought a clock that can be seen in the dark.
TV: There wasn't much to watch on TV. If you watch for a couple of hours per day, you will run out of programs. Everything is repeated many times. What is showing: A couple of movies (a Bourne movie and Ray), old TV shows like Mr. Ed, shopping info for the islands, commercials for the on-board stores, descriptions of the tours the ship sells, a "how well do you know your spouse" game record on the ship, interviews with theater performers, etc.
LAUNDRY: In the Cruise Vacation Guide book that comes with your luggage tags, it says "For a very sensible fee, we'll do your laundry and dry cleaning". Some Laundry prices: Socks $1, Underwear $1.20, Shirt/T-Shirt $2.50, Shirt dress $3, Pants $3.50. How I did my own laundry: I was going to bring a Ziploc bag of laundry detergent from home but I got scared to be found with a white powder substance in a plastic bag. We bought a small box of Tide and put that in our luggage. I washed in the stateroom sink and rung out as much water as I could. I put the damp clothes between towels on the bed and sat on them. Don't worry about getting your towels wet, they are changed twice a day. The bathroom has good ventilation because of an exhaust vent that is always sucking air. In the shower is a string for hanging wet clothes and a towel rack is above the toilet. A clothes hanger with clips will give the clothes more air exposure than draping them over the string or bar. Clothes usually dry in about 12 hours.
CELL PHONES AND WALKIE TALKIES: I have T-Mobile and TracFone cells. T-Mobile works in Puerto Rico, Aruba, St Maarten, maybe Curacao and not in St. Thomas and not at sea. TracFone only works in Puerto Rico. There is an extra charge to use the phones in all these places. Therefore, young people sometimes use walkie talkies on the ship. My 2 mile walkie talkies barely reached from deck 6 business services to deck 11 Windjammer cafe. If you go to Royal Caribbean Cruises: http://www.royalcarib.com/rcldeck/rcladventuredeckplans.html you will see that is a very short distance for the size of the ship. I have seen 10 and 12 mile 2 Way Radio Walkie Talkies in the stores. Maybe that is what should be used.
INTERNET ORANJESTAD ARUBA: From the ship, walk to the street and turn right. Walk a short distance and turn right after Diamonds International which is across from the bus station. There you will find Cafe Digital. 15 min $1.25.
INTERNET CURACAO: Many choices. After crossing the floating bridge, continue walking down the street. Across from M&C Bank is a tree-lined alley on the left. At the end of the alley on the left, are a couple of internet places which I didn't use. The place I used was farther down the street past the M&C Bank to a KFC on the left side of the street. The KFC looks like it is split into 2 halves with stairs between them going up to the second floor. At the top of the stairs is the internet place. 15 min $1, 40 min $2. The room has no air conditioning and is hot.
ARUBA BEACH TRIP: We took a taxi to a nearby beach. I think it was $10 + tip. The driver asked what hotel do we want to go to because he couldn't bring us directly to the beach. We had no idea, so he chose the Hyatt. We walked through the Hyatt down to the beach. All the chairs that were in use had blue towels on them. We had tan towels from the ship. I perceived that the chairs were to only be used by people with blue towels. I saw a chair with a stack of folded blue towels. A Hyatt attendant was taking these towels and giving them to hotel guests along with chairs. Since I wanted to sit on a chair, I took one of the blue towels. When I had walked 20 feet, the attendant took the towel from me and said "these are reserved". So we just sat on the chairs without blue towels. The attendant came to us and asked "What is your room number?". The attendant told us that the chairs were only for hotel guests. There was a large shade structure about 50 feet in diameter. We sat in the sand under that and were not bothered. There was a couple sitting on chairs with tan towels and they were sent down the beach where they rented chairs for $5 each.
BOB An underwater motor scooter $100 each person. It is like you sit on a motor scooter under water with your head in a glass bowl filled with air. We purchased this from our room TV a few days before. We met on the dock by the ship in St. Thomas and walked about a 1/2 mile to the BOB boat. The boat took us out to the diving location. We all were divided into 3 groups. A group went into the BOBs for 30 minutes. The 2 groups who were not in the BOBs snorkeled around the boat waiting their turn. They sold one-time use underwater cameras for $20. Luckily, I purchased one at Wal-Mart before leaving on vacation. The divers mark on your wrist band who is in your group. Then they gather your group together under water and take your picture. (If you have a film camera, you should ask for a hand check at x ray machines because x rays are harmful to your pictures.) It is a little awkward getting into the BOB. You are floating horizontally on the surface of the water. You have to put your head about a foot under water and move it into the bowl and move your body to a vertical position and sit on the BOB's seat. The staff divers pushed down on my back to help. As I went down to about 8 feet under water, my ears hurt from the pressure. The diver asked if I was OK and I signaled I was because I didn't want to cause any delay. In less than a minute, my ears adjusted and I was comfortable. The ear pain briefly returned as I returned to the surface. The boat ride was a little rough and one woman barfed over the side of the boat. The staff gave her water, and when we arrived at the dock, she was fine. There were all kinds of people from 10 to middle age and I think everyone enjoyed the BOB adventure. On the BOB boat they asked for a 15% to 20% tip. One of the staff held a glass jar as we got off the boat to receive the tips. I gave them $30 for three people.
I have read other reviewers who said the ship was monopolized by local Puerto Ricans who got discount fares. That was not my experience and I think it was because I went in June when graduates and honeymooners are swamping high end vacation venues. My personal opinion of the cruise is that it is too extravagant for me. I love to save money and am a Do-It-Yourselfer. The attitude on the cruise of just enjoy being served, tip generously, and don't think of the cost is not appealing to me.
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