We are in our early 30s. This is our fourth cruise, having sailed 1st on Carnival Triumph, 2nd on RC Navigator, 3rd on Celebrity Constellation and this cruise - RC Adventure. We felt that this cruise was probably tied with our favorite cruise which was Navigator.
We left a day early to go to San Juan. We decided to not pack any checked luggage this time and it proved to be a major time saver, both in the airports and at the port. We would highly recommend it. We arrived in San Juan and easily arranged for a taxi to our hotel at the Caribe Hilton. The people in the orange shirts would fill out a form and hand it to you, that seemed to save any disputes about pricing with the taxi. It was about $20 to the hotel. We reserved the hotel on Priceline and found that it was a beautiful resort. We got a room in the villas and had a small balcony with a beautiful view. This place was nice enough that wed consider going there for a week-long vacation - beautiful pools, a beach, a bunch of restaurants. The only thing we noticed was that the food was quite expensive in the restaurants ($25/pp for a fajita buffet).
We slept in the next day and had breakfast at Starbucks (also at the Caribe). We relaxed a while and grabbed a taxi with two other couples to the port. $10 each couple which included a tip for the driver. It was very easy and we arrived in about 15 minutes. Breezed past the line of people who had checked luggage and went straight to the check-in area, saving at least 45 minutes. Checking in was also a breeze - it was very smooth. We had preprinted our information online which saved time also. We got there around 12:30 p.m. and there were no lines or waits to get on the boat. Went to our room, unpacked. From the time we left the hotel until we were finished unpacking was one hour, so we thought that was pretty good. We explored the ship, went back out and bought some alcohol (there is a little shop right inside after your luggage goes to the scanner - we just brought down a backpack and carried it back onto the ship), and then went back to have some lunch.
The ship was beautiful, not quite as nice as the Navigator, but very nice nonetheless. We found that it had nearly all the same things as the Navigator except for the extra specialty restaurant and the pyrotechnics in the main theater (and probably some other things we were not aware of).
Departure from San Juan went well, we sailed off at 10 p.m. We had made it to the dining room and met our tablemates by then. Our waiter, Sayit from Turkey, was absolutely awesome. His assistant was very good too. We thoroughly enjoyed their service and the dining room food throughout the ship, commenting it was the best service weve had out of our 4 cruises. We did try Portofinos one night and found that the food was perhaps only slightly better than the dining room but the service was much poorer and our meal was very slow. At least this time, we did not feel that it was worth the extra $20/pp.
Monday was a day at sea. We relaxed and enjoyed the ship. We also had our Cruise Critic meeting and we got to meet several of the nice people we had chatted with online prior to sailing.
Tuesday was Aruba. We went to Palm Beach - $1/pp by bus each way. It was a nice beach, but hotel properties all along so we found it difficult to find a place to sit that was not on hotel property and out of the sun (the weather was very warm - close to 90). We stayed a while and then came back to the ship on the bus again. We went out after a shower, food and nap to explore. Walked to Carlos N Charlies but did not stay. Went to an internet cafe and got ½ hour of time for $2.50 which is much cheaper than the ship ($.50 a minute with slow internet connections on the ship). Decided to stay on the ship and watch the beautiful 1 a.m. sail away. Overall, we were a little disappointed with Aruba but felt maybe we couldve seen more of it and it wouldve been better.
Wednesday was Curacao. This port was beautiful. There was a long brick pathway lined with flowers and trees that led to the ferry that you must take because the bridge is under repair. The area is very clean and they are working to repair to bridge. We took the ferry across into town and went to the area by the post office where we again caught a bus (look for the BUS on the license plates instead of TAX which are taxis) for $1/pp each way to Mambo Beach. After the taxi driver dropped off some of her friends, we arrived at Mambo Beach. It cost $3/pp to get into the beach but some other people who came earlier (at 9:30 a.m.) said they did not have to pay. The beach was absolutely beautiful and we were able to rent chairs with umbrellas. There is a break of rocks further out that we swam out to and the water was just gorgeous. We heard other people also got massages on the beach, rented snorkeling equipment and the like. We stayed a while and went back to the ship. We stopped in town at another internet cafe and looked around some. We went back to the ship. This was a very nice stop.
Thursday - Day at sea. Went to the ice skating show and it was fabulous. Absolutely do not miss this if you go on any of RCs bigger ships. We continued to be amazed at what the skaters could do on the small rink and in a moving ship. The lady that performed on the ring suspended from the ceiling was amazing also.
Friday - St. Maarten. We went to our favorite spot - Orient Beach - having been there two other times. Took a taxi for $7/pp each way. Rented a jet ski for $40 for a half hour. Rented chairs and umbrellas for $7/pp which included a drink each and use of the bathrooms. Watched all the dogs on the beach and saw a water spout (tornado over the water) which was pretty neat. Went back to the ship after stopping in the shops by the port.
Saturday - St. Thomas. Tried to call home from port and the phone we tried was not working well. Went to Magens Bay ($8/pp each way plus $4/pp to get into the beach). It was on a Saturday so a little crowded but not bad at all. Sat in the shade and swam in the water for a while. A lot of people were commenting on the big fish and turtles they saw there; would guess it wouldve been a nice spot to snorkel. The water is so calm and clear. This is a beautiful beach as well. Came back and did our shopping at the mall by the pier and got all our souvenirs bought.
Sunday - San Juan. Disembarking was also smooth. We had to be out of our rooms by 8 a.m. but went down, had breakfast, sat around a very short time before our number was called. We got off the ship quickly and through customs quickly. Grabbed a cab to the airport (again using the orange shirted guys) for $26 for 4 people. Arrived at the airport by 10:30 a.m. and breezed through check-in again by using the computers and printing out our own tickets, bypassing the checked luggage lines. Sat at the airport and waited to go home.
Some general comments about the ship. The ship is beautiful. We found the staff to be friendly and would often or almost always greet you when meeting you in hallways. We found the service of our room stewards to be just a little bit lacking compared to the other times, but the beds were still made, clean towels, towel animals, etc. We got a promenade room which was fun to look down and see what was going on, and theres a small extra couch area by the window which was nice. I cant say we really used the window as much as we thought we would, but then again, we are the type of people who generally get an interior room and figure we spend so little time in the room, it really doesnt matter.
Entertainment - Excellent. We found the production shows to be completely amazing as we noticed on the Navigator. The four singers were excellent, top notch. We enjoyed these shows very much. The two shows/parades in the Promenade were very fun also. The Drifters were excellent - we didnt really know if wed enjoy this but found we enjoyed the show and the music very much. The comedians were so-so but some people did like them. We did not go to the impressionist. We thought the Love and Marriage show was hilarious like on the other RC ship. We had seen the gentleman juggler before but he was also very good. The cruise director Richard Spacey and his staff did a good job also.
Activities - Also excellent. These big ships are so amazing because you can really be as much or as little involved as you like. On our first sea day, we just chose to not do anything but lay around and read books. You never felt like the activities were being pushed on you (like bingo on Carnival) and you could completely chose to ignore them while still doing whatever you wanted. On our second sea day, we decided to try the rock climbing wall and inline skating, both of which were very fun. We decided we shouldnt have waited so long to try some of this stuff because it was really a neat experience doing those things on the ship overlooking the ocean.
Ship Areas - The pools were okay, usually kind of crowded, and the hot tub seemed just not quite warm enough for our taste. We did take a tour through the spa but did not use their services as we found them kind of spendy. We did use the gym one day (or maybe a couple days) and the treadmills seemed adequate, the gym was clean and very nice. After those couple days, we decided to just keep eating!! After we got back, we had to go to a different beach - South Beach! The kids program seemed to be well run and the kids appeared to be having fun. The Promenade is really neat. The shops seemed to be open a lot and the prices were fair for their souvenirs and also convenient to just pick up some things on the ship.
Food - See above. Overall, excellent. The dining room food was always excellent. You could easily order whatever you wanted and our tablemate frequently ordered two main dishes each night and we also ordered more than one desert a couple nights. Portofinos was excellent also, probably had we had better service it wouldve seemed at least some better than the dining room. Windjammer food was always good, but not as good as the dining room. The Cafe on the Promenade also had good deserts and small sandwiches that we enjoyed when coming in from ports mid afternoon. Johnny Rockets was good - we had a coupon so we did not have to pay the cover charge (Crown N Anchor) - the onion rings are good and also the oreo ice cream sundae which was huge. The shakes are so-so. We did not try room service.
A couple minor complaints. Smoking does not seem to be in a designated area. On our last cruise, it was strictly port side so you could clearly avoid it if you wanted to. Did not appear to be the case on this ship and if you are nonsmokers, it is kind of annoying. There did not seem to be as much Karaoke on this ship and it was at odd times (like midnight) which is something we enjoyed on the Navigator - they had a contest and everything at the end - but that is really a very minor complaint. The internet service is very slow but that seems to be standard on all the ships weve been on. Its hard to think of much else to complain about - again, just minor complaints.
We love RC and will definitely have to think hard about cruising with anyone else. Also Cruise Critic is an excellent resource for everything you need to know about cruising. If you cant find something you need, all you need to do is post and you can find an answer from fellow cruisers.