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Who we are: I'm 28 y.o. single straight female, my friend 31 y.o. single gay male. PRE CRUISE: Flew to San Juan Saturday and stayed at the Intercontinental right next to the area on the Beach of Isla Verde. Nice hotel, not as good as I thought it would be. The best part about this hotel is that it is right next to the El San Juan Resort and Casino—where they have an awesome dance club called Brava. The place was packed with both locals and tourists and it was definitely dress to impress. It was $16 for men and $11 for ladies to get in, and drinks were pricey at around $7 each for a basic drink. I highly recommend this club for the younger set (20's crowd) if you are looking for a cool place to hang out. EMBARKATION: Taxi to the pier was about $20 and we checked in around 11:45 a.m. It's obvious where you stand in line to drop off your luggage before going into the building. You better have some $ to tip the baggage handlers because they are not shy about holding out their hand. This seem very well organized. We didn't have a chance to print out set sail pass, so we just had to sit down for a minute and right out our card info. There was no line, and we were able to check in within 10 minutes. As soon as we got on the ship, the first thing we did was check out dining room assignment, which was fine in the Vivaldi room. We then went to the purser's desk and they were so kind and were able to print out each night's menu for us because we wanted to find out what day we should do Portofino's. We opted to do that on Caribbean night. We then left the ship and took a taxi to Old San Juan ($12) and walked around a bit and went to El Castillo. We went back to the ship at about 4 p.m. and our luggage was already at our room. The rest of the night we explored the ship, went to dinner, went to Jester's and the casino. The show was Beatles Mania, which besides the ice show was the best. DAY AT SEA: I woke up before my friend and grabbed a coffee at SBC, booked our Antigua excursion and got the ice tickets (they start distributing at (9:30 am in front of Studio B—there was already a line when I got there right at 9:30!) My friend got up and we had breakfast in the Windjammer, then went rock climbing and did rollerblading. For both activities you must fill out a simple release form and for the rock climbing you only have to do it once for the whole cruise, they punch your card for this. The rest of the day we spent at the pool, casino, and we went to the Who Wants to be a Millionaire Game and Rock Band Karaoke in the Imperial lounge. Later we saw the show which was a Russian contortionist duo act and a comic. The comic was ok—but I've definitely seen better on Carnival. BARBADOS: We had signed up for the Snorkel and Shipwreck excursion and I THOUGHT we had signed up for the powerboat instead of the catamaran. Well, when we got to Port they put us on the bus that took us to the boat docks and it was a catamaran. I was a bit disappointed, as I would prefer a powerboat (it's much faster) and I wanted to be with the turtles before everyone else got there. No big deal—we made it to the turtles fine and it was a great experience. Then, they took us out to another spot right off the beach and I was able to go over a shipwreck, which apparently went down in the 1960's. After that, they took us to a small beach where we had to jump off the ship and swim over there, that was for about 20 minutes. This excursion was OK but I would not do it again. I found out from our dinner mates that they had swam with the turtles too, but just took a taxi over there for about $20 round trip. So I know next time I will do that instead of paying $60 for this excursion. Back on the ship we decided to go to Johnny Rocket's which was AMAZING and totally worth the cover charge, and so we consequently missed dinner that night in the dining room. We also went to the theater and the comic was there again, supposedly to do the "adult" show—but it was not adult enough in my opinion. I really didn't care for this guy, it was not raunchy enough!! ST. LUCIA: We booked the Cosol Tour which was so highly recommended on these boards and I am glad we did it!! Definitely one of the best tours I have ever been on. Almost everyone in our group was from Cruise Critic. We toured the whole island and got many photo ops all over. We saw the banana plantations, botanical gardens and waterfall, volcano, several villages, and swam right beneath the pitons. Cosol has this tour down to the tee—very well organized. He served us bananas, coconut milk, fish cakes, all kinds of fruit, fresh baked bread, rum punch (REALLY GOOD), and Piton Beer. The cost of the tour was ONLY $50 which you pay at the end. Please do this tour and don't go on one through the ship!!!! That night we went to the dining room and the best thing about the dinner was the banana crème brulee. We did "The Quest" which was fun—but again, not as "adult" as I thought it would be and went to the show "Las Vegas Jackpot." This show really sucked bad—I couldn't stop laughing and/or falling asleep. We walked out. ANTIGUA: Here we did the Canopy Tour which is zip lining through the rainforest—SO FUN!! We had the last tour, which left the port at 12:15 pm which was fine with us because it had rained in the morning. Took a bus which took us up to the rainforest. When we got there, we had a brief demonstration and geared up. This consisted of about 8 zip lines, some short and some very long. At the end was a ropes/obstacle course which freaked me out more but I made it through. The last part was a free fall off the tree platform, not scary at all. The staff was very friendly and professional, they also had a snack shop and restroom area. This excursion was worth the $98. I've heard people say that the beaches in Antigua are not as nice, and that they wish they had done this excursion. DO IT! Got some great pics and videos here. Back on board, we decided to go to the pool and hot tub before dinner. Now, this was my first bad experience with the Puerto Rican's on board. At the main hot tub, kids ARE NOT allowed—this father had his 3 kids in there splashing about and when he was asked to have them removed by cruise staff, they really gave an argument and claimed not to speak English or understand what was going on. After about 5 minutes they finally got out. Kudos to RCI for enforcing the policy. We saw the ice show tonight and it was excellent. ST. MAARTEN: We rented a car from Budget ($60 including insurance) and this was perfect, because as soon as you walk off the ship the rental cars are directly around the corner to the right. We had no problem getting the car or finding our way around. This island is easy to navigate. We drove up to Orient Beach which was so beautiful and stayed there for about an hour. We then drove to the French side, and walked around Marigot where they have some neat European clothing shops. There is also a really cool graveyard here that we walked through. I guess we didn't realize that a lot of the shops and restaurants were closed down for low season. We ended up paying $29 for a lunch of ham/cheese croissant and chicken salad. RIP OFF!! Then we drove down to Maho Beach to watch the planes land and low and behold—they had an awesome beach bar right there with all kinds of food for cheap. Watching the planes come in was one of the coolest things ever! You must do this!!!! We saw an Air France come in from Paris and American from Miami, along with several smaller planes. They are literally right in front of your face and over your head. Driving back to Phillipsburg was rough—we encountered traffic here. If you plan to go to Maho, make sure you leave for the ship no later than 3 p.m. ST. THOMAS: This was a no brainer for me since I had researched beaches, so it was off to Coki beach. As soon as you walk off the ship they will ask if you want a taxi, and we were immediately placed on an open air taxi with about 12 other people all going there. The trip took about 15 minutes and was $9 per person each way. Coki is a small beach, but famous for their coral reef and shallow snorkeling. We rented the snorkel gear ($5 for fins, $5 for mask). They also had beach chairs to rent, but we just put our stuff on rocks and it was fine. THIS SNORKELING IS FANTASTIC!! Just like being in a fish tank. We swam around the whole reef twice, needless to say my whole back is sunburned. The beach was not crowded at all. However, I did wonder why some people even bothered with the snorkel equipment, and they were at the other end of the beach where there was no coral reef---I was thinking, "god, how can they miss this??" They seemed a bit stupid for not wandering to our end of the beach (which, looking at it is to the far right). On the ship I rock climbed again and that night we saw the Russian duo act and the "Can't Stop the Rock" show. Again, this entertainment was BAD!!!!!! We walked out. DEBARKATION: Since we had late afternoon flights, we decided to be the last ones off the ship, which was fine. No waiting in line at all. It was easy to get a taxi to the airport. The airport was the worse part about coming back. They really are slow at security and it is a "one by one" process of going through the metal detector. Be prepared to wait in line to check in for your flight and security. GENERAL THOUGHTS: THE SHIP: Huge and very well maintained. I had gone on Freedom of the Seas and this was just like it. ENTERTAINMENT: Bad. Not as good as Carnival. Ice Show was the best, do not miss. They need to fire their entertainment director. FOOD: Ok. The desserts in the Windjammer were better than the dining room. French toast was really good in the morning. The midnight buffet on the pool deck was great, as was the one in the dining room where the chef's showed off all their culinary expertise. SERVICE: Excellent. Everyone we encountered was pleasant, said hello and seemed genuinely interested in what we were saying. STATEROOM: #1535 10th Deck, interior handicap accessible. AWESOME! We lucked out on this buy not having an assigned room when we book. This room was 2X bigger than a normal interior. I would only take an interior again if I get this type of room. The beds were comfy, lots of storage space, large vanity area, many mirrors to get ready in. EXCURSIONS: Good. Don't book an excursion every day. Do some stuff on your own and you will not regret it. PORTS: Excellent. This was the best time of year to go—we were the only ship in port everyday. OTHER: RCI needs to get rip of their tipping system. It should all be pre paid and automatic upfront like Carnival does, which allows you the freedom to adjust how you like at the end. Digging up cash at the end of the trip really sucked and I had to go to the Casino to get more. This cruise was sold out, and I believe that is why there were generally less Puerto Ricans on board, unlike stories I've heard about the ship being overrun with them. Except for the hot tub incident, and a few kids running up and down the hallways, I experienced nothing bad with them. However, I did hear that the week before our cruise was AWFUL in this regard (it wasn't sold out). The clientele on this ship for the most part were honeymooners and married couples. Not too many families with kids and not a lot of singles. Most people were well behaved, yet I do miss Carnival in some regards, because with them I had met more like-minded single people my age. I would do this cruise again, but try the Aruba route next time. I would definitely want to go in a group, so hopefully I can persuade my other friends to give it a try! If you would like to see videos from the zip lining, planes landing at Maho Beach and the belly flop contest, then go to youtube and look up my user name "misseattle".

Adventure of the Seas - Southern Caribbean

Adventure of the Seas Cruise Review by misseattle

Trip Details
Who we are: I'm 28 y.o. single straight female, my friend 31 y.o. single gay male.
PRE CRUISE: Flew to San Juan Saturday and stayed at the Intercontinental right next to the area on the Beach of Isla Verde. Nice hotel, not as good as I thought it would be. The best part about this hotel is that it is right next to the El San Juan Resort and Casino—where they have an awesome dance club called Brava. The place was packed with both locals and tourists and it was definitely dress to impress. It was $16 for men and $11 for ladies to get in, and drinks were pricey at around $7 each for a basic drink. I highly recommend this club for the younger set (20's crowd) if you are looking for a cool place to hang out.
EMBARKATION: Taxi to the pier was about $20 and we checked in around 11:45 a.m. It's obvious where you stand in line to drop off your luggage before going into the building. You better have some $ to tip the baggage handlers because they are not shy about holding out their hand. This seem very well organized. We didn't have a chance to print out set sail pass, so we just had to sit down for a minute and right out our card info. There was no line, and we were able to check in within 10 minutes. As soon as we got on the ship, the first thing we did was check out dining room assignment, which was fine in the Vivaldi room. We then went to the purser's desk and they were so kind and were able to print out each night's menu for us because we wanted to find out what day we should do Portofino's. We opted to do that on Caribbean night. We then left the ship and took a taxi to Old San Juan ($12) and walked around a bit and went to El Castillo. We went back to the ship at about 4 p.m. and our luggage was already at our room. The rest of the night we explored the ship, went to dinner, went to Jester's and the casino. The show was Beatles Mania, which besides the ice show was the best.
DAY AT SEA: I woke up before my friend and grabbed a coffee at SBC, booked our Antigua excursion and got the ice tickets (they start distributing at (9:30 am in front of Studio B—there was already a line when I got there right at 9:30!) My friend got up and we had breakfast in the Windjammer, then went rock climbing and did rollerblading. For both activities you must fill out a simple release form and for the rock climbing you only have to do it once for the whole cruise, they punch your card for this. The rest of the day we spent at the pool, casino, and we went to the Who Wants to be a Millionaire Game and Rock Band Karaoke in the Imperial lounge. Later we saw the show which was a Russian contortionist duo act and a comic. The comic was ok—but I've definitely seen better on Carnival.
BARBADOS: We had signed up for the Snorkel and Shipwreck excursion and I THOUGHT we had signed up for the powerboat instead of the catamaran. Well, when we got to Port they put us on the bus that took us to the boat docks and it was a catamaran. I was a bit disappointed, as I would prefer a powerboat (it's much faster) and I wanted to be with the turtles before everyone else got there. No big deal—we made it to the turtles fine and it was a great experience. Then, they took us out to another spot right off the beach and I was able to go over a shipwreck, which apparently went down in the 1960's. After that, they took us to a small beach where we had to jump off the ship and swim over there, that was for about 20 minutes. This excursion was OK but I would not do it again. I found out from our dinner mates that they had swam with the turtles too, but just took a taxi over there for about $20 round trip. So I know next time I will do that instead of paying $60 for this excursion.
Back on the ship we decided to go to Johnny Rocket's which was AMAZING and totally worth the cover charge, and so we consequently missed dinner that night in the dining room. We also went to the theater and the comic was there again, supposedly to do the "adult" show—but it was not adult enough in my opinion. I really didn't care for this guy, it was not raunchy enough!!
ST. LUCIA: We booked the Cosol Tour which was so highly recommended on these boards and I am glad we did it!! Definitely one of the best tours I have ever been on. Almost everyone in our group was from Cruise Critic. We toured the whole island and got many photo ops all over. We saw the banana plantations, botanical gardens and waterfall, volcano, several villages, and swam right beneath the pitons. Cosol has this tour down to the tee—very well organized. He served us bananas, coconut milk, fish cakes, all kinds of fruit, fresh baked bread, rum punch (REALLY GOOD), and Piton Beer. The cost of the tour was ONLY $50 which you pay at the end. Please do this tour and don't go on one through the ship!!!!
That night we went to the dining room and the best thing about the dinner was the banana crème brulee. We did "The Quest" which was fun—but again, not as "adult" as I thought it would be and went to the show "Las Vegas Jackpot." This show really sucked bad—I couldn't stop laughing and/or falling asleep. We walked out.
ANTIGUA: Here we did the Canopy Tour which is zip lining through the rainforest—SO FUN!! We had the last tour, which left the port at 12:15 pm which was fine with us because it had rained in the morning. Took a bus which took us up to the rainforest. When we got there, we had a brief demonstration and geared up. This consisted of about 8 zip lines, some short and some very long. At the end was a ropes/obstacle course which freaked me out more but I made it through. The last part was a free fall off the tree platform, not scary at all. The staff was very friendly and professional, they also had a snack shop and restroom area. This excursion was worth the $98. I've heard people say that the beaches in Antigua are not as nice, and that they wish they had done this excursion. DO IT! Got some great pics and videos here.
Back on board, we decided to go to the pool and hot tub before dinner. Now, this was my first bad experience with the Puerto Rican's on board. At the main hot tub, kids ARE NOT allowed—this father had his 3 kids in there splashing about and when he was asked to have them removed by cruise staff, they really gave an argument and claimed not to speak English or understand what was going on. After about 5 minutes they finally got out. Kudos to RCI for enforcing the policy. We saw the ice show tonight and it was excellent.
ST. MAARTEN: We rented a car from Budget ($60 including insurance) and this was perfect, because as soon as you walk off the ship the rental cars are directly around the corner to the right. We had no problem getting the car or finding our way around. This island is easy to navigate. We drove up to Orient Beach which was so beautiful and stayed there for about an hour. We then drove to the French side, and walked around Marigot where they have some neat European clothing shops. There is also a really cool graveyard here that we walked through. I guess we didn't realize that a lot of the shops and restaurants were closed down for low season. We ended up paying $29 for a lunch of ham/cheese croissant and chicken salad. RIP OFF!! Then we drove down to Maho Beach to watch the planes land and low and behold—they had an awesome beach bar right there with all kinds of food for cheap. Watching the planes come in was one of the coolest things ever! You must do this!!!! We saw an Air France come in from Paris and American from Miami, along with several smaller planes. They are literally right in front of your face and over your head. Driving back to Phillipsburg was rough—we encountered traffic here. If you plan to go to Maho, make sure you leave for the ship no later than 3 p.m.
ST. THOMAS: This was a no brainer for me since I had researched beaches, so it was off to Coki beach. As soon as you walk off the ship they will ask if you want a taxi, and we were immediately placed on an open air taxi with about 12 other people all going there. The trip took about 15 minutes and was $9 per person each way. Coki is a small beach, but famous for their coral reef and shallow snorkeling. We rented the snorkel gear ($5 for fins, $5 for mask). They also had beach chairs to rent, but we just put our stuff on rocks and it was fine. THIS SNORKELING IS FANTASTIC!! Just like being in a fish tank. We swam around the whole reef twice, needless to say my whole back is sunburned. The beach was not crowded at all. However, I did wonder why some people even bothered with the snorkel equipment, and they were at the other end of the beach where there was no coral reef---I was thinking, "god, how can they miss this??" They seemed a bit stupid for not wandering to our end of the beach (which, looking at it is to the far right).
On the ship I rock climbed again and that night we saw the Russian duo act and the "Can't Stop the Rock" show. Again, this entertainment was BAD!!!!!! We walked out.
DEBARKATION: Since we had late afternoon flights, we decided to be the last ones off the ship, which was fine. No waiting in line at all. It was easy to get a taxi to the airport. The airport was the worse part about coming back. They really are slow at security and it is a "one by one" process of going through the metal detector. Be prepared to wait in line to check in for your flight and security.
GENERAL THOUGHTS:
THE SHIP: Huge and very well maintained. I had gone on Freedom of the Seas and this was just like it.
ENTERTAINMENT: Bad. Not as good as Carnival. Ice Show was the best, do not miss. They need to fire their entertainment director.
FOOD: Ok. The desserts in the Windjammer were better than the dining room. French toast was really good in the morning. The midnight buffet on the pool deck was great, as was the one in the dining room where the chef's showed off all their culinary expertise.
SERVICE: Excellent. Everyone we encountered was pleasant, said hello and seemed genuinely interested in what we were saying.
STATEROOM: #1535 10th Deck, interior handicap accessible. AWESOME! We lucked out on this buy not having an assigned room when we book. This room was 2X bigger than a normal interior. I would only take an interior again if I get this type of room. The beds were comfy, lots of storage space, large vanity area, many mirrors to get ready in.
EXCURSIONS: Good. Don't book an excursion every day. Do some stuff on your own and you will not regret it.
PORTS: Excellent. This was the best time of year to go—we were the only ship in port everyday.
OTHER: RCI needs to get rip of their tipping system. It should all be pre paid and automatic upfront like Carnival does, which allows you the freedom to adjust how you like at the end. Digging up cash at the end of the trip really sucked and I had to go to the Casino to get more.
This cruise was sold out, and I believe that is why there were generally less Puerto Ricans on board, unlike stories I've heard about the ship being overrun with them. Except for the hot tub incident, and a few kids running up and down the hallways, I experienced nothing bad with them. However, I did hear that the week before our cruise was AWFUL in this regard (it wasn't sold out).
The clientele on this ship for the most part were honeymooners and married couples. Not too many families with kids and not a lot of singles. Most people were well behaved, yet I do miss Carnival in some regards, because with them I had met more like-minded single people my age.
I would do this cruise again, but try the Aruba route next time. I would definitely want to go in a group, so hopefully I can persuade my other friends to give it a try!
If you would like to see videos from the zip lining, planes landing at Maho Beach and the belly flop contest, then go to youtube and look up my user name "misseattle".
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