I decided in February that I really needed a cruise. I wanted Southern Caribbean and like RCI, so decided to try AOS.
I am not a Voyager class fan as I prefer my ships on a smaller scale but AOS is big and beautiful. She is immaculate and well laid out with lots of outdoor deck space and lovely public rooms.
My cabin was a Cat. A suite and it was my first experience in such a fabulous cabin. I am Diamond on RCI and there was a basket of fruit, a robe and a welcome note in my cabin when I arrived, all much appreciated. The cabin was very spacious with a nice balcony, walk in closet and large tub. I normally do not spend much time in my stateroom but found myself often taking the time to enjoy early morning coffee and a late lunch on my balcony. What a treat! My cabin attendant was wonderful, one of the best to date.
I am not your typical cruiser so there will be things I cannot comment on as I did not do them. My routine is to hit the gym early, then have breakfast in Windjammer and be out by the pool by 9:00am to spend most of the day there. A glass of wine before dinner and music and dancing afterward and that is my day.
The fitness center is fabulous and was not crowded during the hours I visited. I took some classes which I enjoyed but did not think the $10 surcharge classes were worth the money. I made use of the steam room and sauna every afternoon and was often the only one in there.
I was assigned to a great table with a group of singles traveling together from Boston. I had dinner in the dining room 5 times during the week, enjoying dinner with the hotel manager, cruise director and chief purser one formal night, a special treat. I am a light and healthy eater and found plenty of selections to suit me. Service was very good. Both food and service were much better than on my Voyager cruise in 2001.
I dined in Portofino one evening and it was really lovely. Tableside preparation, a wonderful menu and the intimate atmosphere all enhanced the high quality of the food. It was fun to see everyone so elegantly dresses and enjoying Portofino's as a special occasion.
I chose Windjammer for breakfast each morning and most afternoons had lunch there as well. There was a good variety of choices and always fresh fruit, coffee and tea available.
My favorite lounge on all the RCI ships is the Champagne Bar so that is where I began and typically ended my evenings.
There was plenty of entertainment on board. I did not see any of the shows as I am not a show person so cannot comment on the quality. I heard raves about the ice show and did have tickets but never made it.
The Royal Promenade was always busy and there was a nice choice of live music. The disco was very high tech but this cruise had a fairly quiet crowd so there was not often a lot going on there except on formal nights when people tended to stay up later.
I had visited all the ports previously and knew what I wanted to do so I headed for Eagle Beach in Aruba, shopping and beach in St. Maarten, downtown walking in Curacao and Coki beach in St. Thomas.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable cruise. March is usually good sailing weather and this was no exception. I still will choose Radiance class first and Vision second but did very much appreciate the personality and staff aboard AOS and would sail her again if the right opportunity arose.