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We selected Adventure of the Seas (12/2-9/2007) for a cruise celebrating both our 60th birthdays and our 40th wedding anniversary - and we chose it based not only by its itinerary but also its reviews from Cruise Critic members, so thanks to all the reviewers who took the opportunity to outline your experiences! We booked it directly with RCL and had no problems whatsoever. In fact, in late November when RCL posted sale prices, we were able to upgrade to a balcony cabin with no problem. I'm a disabled traveler who requires an electric scooter (Nascar Nelly, a/k/a NN) to get around, so this review will also address AOS' accessibility issues as well. We flew into San Juan on December 1st and stayed at the Radisson Ambassador. We'd stayed there the previous summer and were pleased with it, so imagine our surprise when we found out that what was already a great hotel was renovated, and we got what was essentially a Jr. Suite for the same (Priceline.com) price we paid 15 months earlier. Kudos to the property and staff - they were attentive and a delight to deal with. American Airlines had requested that we check my scooter all the way from IAH to SJU. When we arrived at the airport in PR, a wheelchair was there, but not my scooter! Thanks to a caring porter though, (and no thanks to AA) it was found just about the time we were set to leave for the hotel, and we avoided having to search for it the next day. We left for the ship on the 2nd at around 11:30 a.m. and porters immediately took care of our luggage and escorted us right to the doors of the terminal where we were able to find members of our Meet and Mingle group - more about them later however. I was the first person through the doors and the rest of the process was equally smooth. AOS at first glimpse is nothing less than a behemoth, but we soon found that it was a friendly one! Since cabins weren't available until after 1 p.m., our first stop was the Windjammer Cafe for lunch. RCL food, while not necessarily inspired, is attractively prepared and very tasty - not once during our cruise did we find it difficult to find a table. One comment though - cruisers, there is plenty of food to go around for everyone. It's not necessary to take five pieces of cheesecake "just in case." Parents, it would also be a good thing if you were to accompany your kids to the buffet line. The amount of food wasted is obscene - remember that the cost of food...even wasted food...goes into ticket prices! Several reviews have mentioned the behavior of the Puerto Rican community on this ship, since its location and discounted tickets make it an affordable vacation for families living there. Yes, there were issues with peoples' behavior and yes, many of those people were Puerto Rican; but we decided from the first that we were not going to let others ruin our trip. A lot of the problems could be alleviated by using plain old good manners. No one likes to wait in line, especially when you drive a scooter and can't use the stairways. "Please" and "Thank You", "Excuse Me" and "May I" go a long way! Ironically, we had more problems with older couples than we did with kids. One suggestion though...if you're going to claim that you don't speak English, wait until your victim is out of sight before you speak it. I was astounded at older women's ability to leap over NN just to get ahead of me for the elevator. Enough on that topic! This was our first experience with a Meet and Mingle group, and we joined ours late. Someone on the site had suggested that we wear mardi-gras-type beads to help identify each other, and it was truly an inspiration. We were able to find almost all the members of our group on Day One and it was such a treat to meet the people you'd been writing to for such a long time. Our RCL-sponsored event was held on Monday, 12/3 in the Blue Moon. The biggest problem was that RCL hadn't contacted everyone, so a few people missed out - a real shame! Kelly, the RCL rep was a delight, and the items he brought with him for a drawing were welcomed! We had also decided to have a grab bag and decided to do that in a "Rob Your Neighbor" format. Email me if you want more info on that. We each brought a $10 item that represented our home states. They ranged from Christmas Ornaments to candy to sports-related items, etc. and it was a good ice breaker...if you needed that, which we didn't. We enjoyed our time together so much that we scheduled a luncheon later in the week with the help of the Maitre d'. Rather than going day-by-day, I'm going to outline categories, and the first is cabin. As I said, we had a balcony cabin. Because we were late getting it, we couldn't get a handicapped accessible one, but once we moved the coffee table onto the balcony (an inspired move even w/o a scooter) all was well. The beds were comfortable, the linens a dream, and our steward, Peter, took good care of us. The closet space was ample, although the bathroom was miniscule. My daughter and I sailed on Carnival's Destiny in July, 2006, and were spoiled more than a bit! Still, Ed and I managed just fine. Maneuvering around Nascar Nellie (NN got to be a challenge, but we managed. We rarely encountered difficulties getting an elevator, but often had to rely on the "Go Up/Down" to just to get one. Kudos go out to RCL on their accessibility for handicapped people. We sailed on the Rhapsody for our 35th anniversary and had many, many problems - to the point where we ended up sitting down with the Hotel Manager and Purser's staff to discuss it. They've all been addressed. After the life boat drill, they restrict immediate access to those needing it, and the same goes for entrance/exit at Ports of Call. It would be nice if they had a Direct Access Solution for those of us who are "vertically challenged" but again, we managed. Staff in the dining rooms and elsewhere made sure that I was able to get seating so I could navigate the distance to the buffet or whatever else I was seeking with only a minor effort. THANK YOU SO MUCH for installing photo kiosks so that we could find our photos with ease - it's an inspired move. Meals...as said earlier, RCL's food/menus aren't inspired, but are good, plentiful, and attractively presented. The changes made to "what is served at what point in the cruise" leave a lot to be desired. I thought that the fancier food should accompany the fancier nights, but it wasn't that way. I also missed some of the dessert items that were formerly on the menu...we had a lot of pudding-gelatin based desserts that while they were good, weren't what I wanted all the time. (Why on earth isn't the Flourless Chocolate Cake on the dining room menu? It's one item you serve that's absolutely inspired!) It was also the first time that my beverage order wasn't anticipated by the Assistant. Every night I had to tell him that I drink tea and not coffee, and I had to ask for lemon each night as well. Our waiter, Wayan, was excellent. He quickly figured out what we liked and made every effort to be sure that we got it! His recommendations were spot-on and when we missed out on hearing him sing on Thursday night, he sang the Theme from Ice Castles for us on Friday. Wayan, if you ever do make a CD, be sure to let me know! He has hopes of transferring to the Mediterranean next year, and after six years with AOS, he definitely deserves to have those hopes rewarded! A minor point: RCL doesn't provide Splenda, so if you use that particular sweetener, then bring it yourself. Thursday night, we went to Portofino's to celebrate our birthdays/anniversary. It cost an extra $40 for the two of us. They tell you to allow at least 2 hours and that's absolutely right. The food, once again, was good and presented well, but wasn't what I expected from what I'd seen and heard about it. The biggest disappointment, however, came at dessert time. Our waitress took our dessert order and this time the desserts were up to my expectations. What I didn't know, however, was that my husband had ordered a birthday cake for me; and this came AFTER we'd had a huge meal and elegant dessert. There was no way either of us could even try a bite, so we ended up taking it back to our stateroom. (But without plates or utensils, we had to wait until the next day before trying it.) Because of medications, we're unable to drink, so be aware that there is an additional charge for Perrier or sparkling water, even at Portofino's'. Our water bill was $13, so with the cover, cake, etc., our Portofino's bill amounted to almost $70 - still a bargain. Entertainment...it goes without saying that you shouldn't miss the Ice Show. Words are simply not good enough to describe it. The comedian the first night was okay, but either someone behind us was a "plant" or he was much more than "three sheets to the wind" because he laughed loudly at the most inappropriate moments, and we finally ended up leaving. The Production Shows were good compared to other lines, and we enjoyed them. The highlight for us was the "Love and Marriage" show, similar to the TV show. Ed and I were selected as the oldest-married couple and had such fun with it. The clip was shown all during the week (they also sent us a copy of it for our DVD player) and everywhere we went we ran into people who'd seen it and congratulated us. It was followed by the premier of RCL's "Fountains". If you don't go to another event onboard, do be sure that you see this..mere words can't describe it. RCL excels at this type of event, and does it so much better than other lines. "The Quest." an adult-oriented participation later in the week was also a scream. It's truly amazing what people on vacation will do for a key chain! Enough said. I guess what I'm saying is that you get out of this type of entertainment just what you put into it. If you go on a cruise, you get out of it what you put in. These shows are not Las Vegas, but if you want Las Vegas, then go there and not to the Caribbean. Shore Excursions...we've done a lot of cruising, so we tend to avoid those provided by the cruise line. If you're new to an island, would I recommend you use the line? Absolutely. We rented a car in Aruba and explored the island. Be aware that the side roads are not well marked, but that you can usually see where the ship is, so it's hard to get lost. Baby Beach is absolutely elegant. It's the one you see on post cards with the white sand and turquoise waters. Shopping prices here tend to be a bit steep, but there are other islands to come. Last summer, we rented a jeep and went off-roading with a G.I. at the wheel. It was something never to be forgotten - my finger-marks are still on the post of the jeep - and is something everyone should experience here. This is the island of extremes...desert as well as tropical paradise... and great for photographs. We had problems getting an accessible tour in Curacao, so explored the downtown area on our own. It, too, is a beautiful island, but its beauty is somewhat marred by the oil refineries and their sooty smoke. Friends took the Trolley Tour, which they enjoyed, but were disappointed that it only covers the downtown area and none of the countryside. St. Maarten was next, and it is beautiful but unmarred. Be aware that much of the downtown area has curbs and uneven surfaces - not easy to maneuver if you're disabled. The bus to the French side is easily found and very affordable, as is the Water Taxi. The people operating it were wonderful with NN, and she made the trip with ease! If you've always wanted to ride a Segway (personal mobility device), this is the place. Our table-mates did the underwater scooter tour and said it was well worth the cost. They also visited the Seaquarium in Aruba and swam with the dolphins - highly recommending it. In St. Thomas, we did a "Godfrey" tour which we've done before. This time, however, he had someone else who operated ours and we didn't find it as good as the "real thing". Still, it's one of the better tours we've found. If you're a shopper, St. Thomas is heaven! Shopping...there's no denying that many people cruise for just this. That's not us, or perhaps I should say that we've been there and done that. The one thing I would suggest is that if you're shopping for jewelry and/or electronics, stick with the recommended stores unless you're sure of what you are getting. Even then, if you need to do a return or have a problem, don't expect a great deal of help. Be a smart shopper and know your prices ahead of time. Yes, it's tax free and duty free for the most part, but only you know how much a bargain it is for you. We try to find things that are native crafts or things that are native to the particular island we're on, and have found some wonderful bargains in the process. I have a snakewood walking stick from Barbados that brings comments wherever I go...and it cost me all of $6. I found some lovely Christmas ornaments at a stand outside the pier in Curacao this trip, and after talking with the artist, will remember her whenever I hang them. We've found that while a ship is in port, many ship-related tours and programs are scheduled since the bulk of the passengers are gone. My advice to cruisers is to be selective - don't feel that you have to do a tour or shop at every port. A cruise is about relaxation as well as tourism; and if you go home absolutely exhausted, then you lose some of the joy of the trip. Go through the information available on the different ports and be selective! Don't feel that you have to do every bingo game or Sudoku or Trivia game. Do what "floats your boat." Debarkation and travel...My biggest complaints came the final day of the cruise. The buffet lines were jammed and we were running out of food - or it just wasn't put out. My suggestion to RCL is that you push back the boarding times and put more attention to getting your existing cruisers off the ship happily...or as happy as one can be when your vacation is at an end. We'll also probably add an extra day at the end of our cruise next time. Our shore excursion was cancelled and the others wouldn't or couldn't guarantee that they'd get NN to the airport safely, so we ended up going to SJU at 9:30 a.m. for a 5:30 p.m. flight. I'd heard that some people were able to get a "Day Room" but when I checked, the Best Western rate for five hours was $133. I'd paid only $130 for a suite at the Radisson and the regular online price at the airport Best Western was around $78, so we passed on that. This was our fault, though, and not the cruise line. American Airlines was another story, and we won't fly them again unless we have to. As usual, flights were delayed by upwards of an hour. Again, they wanted to check NN through to IAH, and we did. When we arrived in Miami to change planes though, we were short a wheelchair and while we were two gates down trying to work it out, my husband glanced over and saw someone walking past pushing NN. Thank heavens we saw her or who knows where she'd be! The wheelchair attendant had been given not only the wrong flight but also the wrong gate and it ended up being a nightmare. We asked that a Customer Service Agent be paged, but he or she never showed up. The second leg was delayed 90 minutes and it was well after midnight when we got to IAH. It was not a good ending for what had proved to be a great cruise. Tipping...I'm not the only person who says that since they've changed tipping procedures, service has declined. We opted to pay them ourselves at the end, and while we got very good service from everyone, it was still not as good as "the old days." Someone I met said that he paid his attendants ahead of time, telling them that if service warranted, an extra amount would be added at the end. Who knows, that may be the way to go, but not for me. I can understand, because that last night, we saw a lot of empty tables in the dining room. Hopefully, those people had taken care of it before, but I wonder... As usual, we tipped over the amount suggested when service warranted; and that works for us until something better either comes along or it all goes back to what was. In retrospect, aside from flying a different carrier and scheduling an extra day at the end of our cruise, we wouldn't change a thing. RCL proved once again that they're the best for us. We had what we felt was great value for the money; and we feel that the line respects its clients. In today's world, you can't ask for much more than that. Would we do it again? In a heartbeat. We're already talking about where we go next!! One last thing...don't forget to meet and mingle. It saves your friends from hearing about your trip incessantly before you leave, and gives you a chance to meet new people and make new friends. Happy sailing! Don't hesitate to email me if you have any questions or comments.

Adventure of the Seas - Southern Caribbean

Adventure of the Seas Cruise Review by Cathi Deal

Trip Details
We selected Adventure of the Seas (12/2-9/2007) for a cruise celebrating both our 60th birthdays and our 40th wedding anniversary - and we chose it based not only by its itinerary but also its reviews from Cruise Critic members, so thanks to all the reviewers who took the opportunity to outline your experiences! We booked it directly with RCL and had no problems whatsoever. In fact, in late November when RCL posted sale prices, we were able to upgrade to a balcony cabin with no problem. I'm a disabled traveler who requires an electric scooter (Nascar Nelly, a/k/a NN) to get around, so this review will also address AOS' accessibility issues as well. We flew into San Juan on December 1st and stayed at the Radisson Ambassador. We'd stayed there the previous summer and were pleased with it, so imagine our surprise when we found out that what was already a great hotel was renovated, and we got what was essentially a Jr. Suite for the same (Priceline.com) price we paid 15 months earlier. Kudos to the property and staff - they were attentive and a delight to deal with. American Airlines had requested that we check my scooter all the way from IAH to SJU. When we arrived at the airport in PR, a wheelchair was there, but not my scooter! Thanks to a caring porter though, (and no thanks to AA) it was found just about the time we were set to leave for the hotel, and we avoided having to search for it the next day. We left for the ship on the 2nd at around 11:30 a.m. and porters immediately took care of our luggage and escorted us right to the doors of the terminal where we were able to find members of our Meet and Mingle group - more about them later however. I was the first person through the doors and the rest of the process was equally smooth. AOS at first glimpse is nothing less than a behemoth, but we soon found that it was a friendly one! Since cabins weren't available until after 1 p.m., our first stop was the Windjammer Cafe for lunch. RCL food, while not necessarily inspired, is attractively prepared and very tasty - not once during our cruise did we find it difficult to find a table. One comment though - cruisers, there is plenty of food to go around for everyone. It's not necessary to take five pieces of cheesecake "just in case." Parents, it would also be a good thing if you were to accompany your kids to the buffet line. The amount of food wasted is obscene - remember that the cost of food...even wasted food...goes into ticket prices! Several reviews have mentioned the behavior of the Puerto Rican community on this ship, since its location and discounted tickets make it an affordable vacation for families living there. Yes, there were issues with peoples' behavior and yes, many of those people were Puerto Rican; but we decided from the first that we were not going to let others ruin our trip. A lot of the problems could be alleviated by using plain old good manners. No one likes to wait in line, especially when you drive a scooter and can't use the stairways. "Please" and "Thank You", "Excuse Me" and "May I" go a long way! Ironically, we had more problems with older couples than we did with kids. One suggestion though...if you're going to claim that you don't speak English, wait until your victim is out of sight before you speak it. I was astounded at older women's ability to leap over NN just to get ahead of me for the elevator. Enough on that topic! This was our first experience with a Meet and Mingle group, and we joined ours late. Someone on the site had suggested that we wear mardi-gras-type beads to help identify each other, and it was truly an inspiration. We were able to find almost all the members of our group on Day One and it was such a treat to meet the people you'd been writing to for such a long time. Our RCL-sponsored event was held on Monday, 12/3 in the Blue Moon. The biggest problem was that RCL hadn't contacted everyone, so a few people missed out - a real shame! Kelly, the RCL rep was a delight, and the items he brought with him for a drawing were welcomed! We had also decided to have a grab bag and decided to do that in a "Rob Your Neighbor" format. Email me if you want more info on that. We each brought a $10 item that represented our home states. They ranged from Christmas Ornaments to candy to sports-related items, etc. and it was a good ice breaker...if you needed that, which we didn't. We enjoyed our time together so much that we scheduled a luncheon later in the week with the help of the Maitre d'. Rather than going day-by-day, I'm going to outline categories, and the first is cabin. As I said, we had a balcony cabin. Because we were late getting it, we couldn't get a handicapped accessible one, but once we moved the coffee table onto the balcony (an inspired move even w/o a scooter) all was well. The beds were comfortable, the linens a dream, and our steward, Peter, took good care of us. The closet space was ample, although the bathroom was miniscule. My daughter and I sailed on Carnival's Destiny in July, 2006, and were spoiled more than a bit! Still, Ed and I managed just fine. Maneuvering around Nascar Nellie (NN got to be a challenge, but we managed. We rarely encountered difficulties getting an elevator, but often had to rely on the "Go Up/Down" to just to get one. Kudos go out to RCL on their accessibility for handicapped people. We sailed on the Rhapsody for our 35th anniversary and had many, many problems - to the point where we ended up sitting down with the Hotel Manager and Purser's staff to discuss it. They've all been addressed. After the life boat drill, they restrict immediate access to those needing it, and the same goes for entrance/exit at Ports of Call. It would be nice if they had a Direct Access Solution for those of us who are "vertically challenged" but again, we managed. Staff in the dining rooms and elsewhere made sure that I was able to get seating so I could navigate the distance to the buffet or whatever else I was seeking with only a minor effort. THANK YOU SO MUCH for installing photo kiosks so that we could find our photos with ease - it's an inspired move. Meals...as said earlier, RCL's food/menus aren't inspired, but are good, plentiful, and attractively presented. The changes made to "what is served at what point in the cruise" leave a lot to be desired. I thought that the fancier food should accompany the fancier nights, but it wasn't that way. I also missed some of the dessert items that were formerly on the menu...we had a lot of pudding-gelatin based desserts that while they were good, weren't what I wanted all the time. (Why on earth isn't the Flourless Chocolate Cake on the dining room menu? It's one item you serve that's absolutely inspired!) It was also the first time that my beverage order wasn't anticipated by the Assistant. Every night I had to tell him that I drink tea and not coffee, and I had to ask for lemon each night as well. Our waiter, Wayan, was excellent. He quickly figured out what we liked and made every effort to be sure that we got it! His recommendations were spot-on and when we missed out on hearing him sing on Thursday night, he sang the Theme from Ice Castles for us on Friday. Wayan, if you ever do make a CD, be sure to let me know! He has hopes of transferring to the Mediterranean next year, and after six years with AOS, he definitely deserves to have those hopes rewarded! A minor point: RCL doesn't provide Splenda, so if you use that particular sweetener, then bring it yourself. Thursday night, we went to Portofino's to celebrate our birthdays/anniversary. It cost an extra $40 for the two of us. They tell you to allow at least 2 hours and that's absolutely right. The food, once again, was good and presented well, but wasn't what I expected from what I'd seen and heard about it. The biggest disappointment, however, came at dessert time. Our waitress took our dessert order and this time the desserts were up to my expectations. What I didn't know, however, was that my husband had ordered a birthday cake for me; and this came AFTER we'd had a huge meal and elegant dessert. There was no way either of us could even try a bite, so we ended up taking it back to our stateroom. (But without plates or utensils, we had to wait until the next day before trying it.) Because of medications, we're unable to drink, so be aware that there is an additional charge for Perrier or sparkling water, even at Portofino's'. Our water bill was $13, so with the cover, cake, etc., our Portofino's bill amounted to almost $70 - still a bargain. Entertainment...it goes without saying that you shouldn't miss the Ice Show. Words are simply not good enough to describe it. The comedian the first night was okay, but either someone behind us was a "plant" or he was much more than "three sheets to the wind" because he laughed loudly at the most inappropriate moments, and we finally ended up leaving. The Production Shows were good compared to other lines, and we enjoyed them. The highlight for us was the "Love and Marriage" show, similar to the TV show. Ed and I were selected as the oldest-married couple and had such fun with it. The clip was shown all during the week (they also sent us a copy of it for our DVD player) and everywhere we went we ran into people who'd seen it and congratulated us. It was followed by the premier of RCL's "Fountains". If you don't go to another event onboard, do be sure that you see this..mere words can't describe it. RCL excels at this type of event, and does it so much better than other lines. "The Quest." an adult-oriented participation later in the week was also a scream. It's truly amazing what people on vacation will do for a key chain! Enough said. I guess what I'm saying is that you get out of this type of entertainment just what you put into it. If you go on a cruise, you get out of it what you put in. These shows are not Las Vegas, but if you want Las Vegas, then go there and not to the Caribbean. Shore Excursions...we've done a lot of cruising, so we tend to avoid those provided by the cruise line. If you're new to an island, would I recommend you use the line? Absolutely. We rented a car in Aruba and explored the island. Be aware that the side roads are not well marked, but that you can usually see where the ship is, so it's hard to get lost. Baby Beach is absolutely elegant. It's the one you see on post cards with the white sand and turquoise waters. Shopping prices here tend to be a bit steep, but there are other islands to come. Last summer, we rented a jeep and went off-roading with a G.I. at the wheel. It was something never to be forgotten - my finger-marks are still on the post of the jeep - and is something everyone should experience here. This is the island of extremes...desert as well as tropical paradise... and great for photographs. We had problems getting an accessible tour in Curacao, so explored the downtown area on our own. It, too, is a beautiful island, but its beauty is somewhat marred by the oil refineries and their sooty smoke. Friends took the Trolley Tour, which they enjoyed, but were disappointed that it only covers the downtown area and none of the countryside. St. Maarten was next, and it is beautiful but unmarred. Be aware that much of the downtown area has curbs and uneven surfaces - not easy to maneuver if you're disabled. The bus to the French side is easily found and very affordable, as is the Water Taxi. The people operating it were wonderful with NN, and she made the trip with ease! If you've always wanted to ride a Segway (personal mobility device), this is the place. Our table-mates did the underwater scooter tour and said it was well worth the cost. They also visited the Seaquarium in Aruba and swam with the dolphins - highly recommending it. In St. Thomas, we did a "Godfrey" tour which we've done before. This time, however, he had someone else who operated ours and we didn't find it as good as the "real thing". Still, it's one of the better tours we've found. If you're a shopper, St. Thomas is heaven! Shopping...there's no denying that many people cruise for just this. That's not us, or perhaps I should say that we've been there and done that. The one thing I would suggest is that if you're shopping for jewelry and/or electronics, stick with the recommended stores unless you're sure of what you are getting. Even then, if you need to do a return or have a problem, don't expect a great deal of help. Be a smart shopper and know your prices ahead of time. Yes, it's tax free and duty free for the most part, but only you know how much a bargain it is for you. We try to find things that are native crafts or things that are native to the particular island we're on, and have found some wonderful bargains in the process. I have a snakewood walking stick from Barbados that brings comments wherever I go...and it cost me all of $6. I found some lovely Christmas ornaments at a stand outside the pier in Curacao this trip, and after talking with the artist, will remember her whenever I hang them. We've found that while a ship is in port, many ship-related tours and programs are scheduled since the bulk of the passengers are gone. My advice to cruisers is to be selective - don't feel that you have to do a tour or shop at every port. A cruise is about relaxation as well as tourism; and if you go home absolutely exhausted, then you lose some of the joy of the trip. Go through the information available on the different ports and be selective! Don't feel that you have to do every bingo game or Sudoku or Trivia game. Do what "floats your boat." Debarkation and travel...My biggest complaints came the final day of the cruise. The buffet lines were jammed and we were running out of food - or it just wasn't put out. My suggestion to RCL is that you push back the boarding times and put more attention to getting your existing cruisers off the ship happily...or as happy as one can be when your vacation is at an end. We'll also probably add an extra day at the end of our cruise next time. Our shore excursion was cancelled and the others wouldn't or couldn't guarantee that they'd get NN to the airport safely, so we ended up going to SJU at 9:30 a.m. for a 5:30 p.m. flight. I'd heard that some people were able to get a "Day Room" but when I checked, the Best Western rate for five hours was $133. I'd paid only $130 for a suite at the Radisson and the regular online price at the airport Best Western was around $78, so we passed on that. This was our fault, though, and not the cruise line. American Airlines was another story, and we won't fly them again unless we have to. As usual, flights were delayed by upwards of an hour. Again, they wanted to check NN through to IAH, and we did. When we arrived in Miami to change planes though, we were short a wheelchair and while we were two gates down trying to work it out, my husband glanced over and saw someone walking past pushing NN. Thank heavens we saw her or who knows where she'd be! The wheelchair attendant had been given not only the wrong flight but also the wrong gate and it ended up being a nightmare. We asked that a Customer Service Agent be paged, but he or she never showed up. The second leg was delayed 90 minutes and it was well after midnight when we got to IAH. It was not a good ending for what had proved to be a great cruise. Tipping...I'm not the only person who says that since they've changed tipping procedures, service has declined. We opted to pay them ourselves at the end, and while we got very good service from everyone, it was still not as good as "the old days." Someone I met said that he paid his attendants ahead of time, telling them that if service warranted, an extra amount would be added at the end. Who knows, that may be the way to go, but not for me. I can understand, because that last night, we saw a lot of empty tables in the dining room. Hopefully, those people had taken care of it before, but I wonder... As usual, we tipped over the amount suggested when service warranted; and that works for us until something better either comes along or it all goes back to what was. In retrospect, aside from flying a different carrier and scheduling an extra day at the end of our cruise, we wouldn't change a thing. RCL proved once again that they're the best for us. We had what we felt was great value for the money; and we feel that the line respects its clients. In today's world, you can't ask for much more than that. Would we do it again? In a heartbeat. We're already talking about where we go next!! One last thing...don't forget to meet and mingle. It saves your friends from hearing about your trip incessantly before you leave, and gives you a chance to meet new people and make new friends. Happy sailing! Don't hesitate to email me if you have any questions or comments.
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