Adventure of the Seas Cruise Review by MrsWin
Like many people, we only believed cruises were for honeymooners and old people, had mediocre food and entertianment, and was going to be overcrowded. We definitely ate our words on this trip. None of our expectations came true on this trip.This was our first vacation since we had kids, and needless to say they did not come with us. The rumours about long embarcation procedures was untrue. We had to stand in line less than 30 minutes, and we went immediately to the Windjammer for the buffet. We found the food to be very good. There were plenty of options for those watching their weight (I was trying to not gain the obligatory 10 pounds from the cruise). They offered fresh fruit, salads, whole grain breads, vegetables, etc.. When we went to our room to drop off our stuff, we found that our inside cabin had more than enough room for the two of us. It would have made it a very tight squeeze if we tried to stuff our kids onto the pull-out couch. The bathrooms were bigger than our travel trailer, so we were happy. We just explored the ship from top to bottom and made plans to try the rock-climbing wall (it had varying levels of difficulty available) and the inline skating track. We also cheked out the fitness room. Note to all fitness lovers - the fitness area has a hot tub in the middle, so when you do any time of cardio, it is like doing it in a sauna. I have never sweat so much in my life because it was hot and humid. The ice-skating rink was freezing cold and I did not pack a jacket (big mistake), so we never ice-skated. We also signed up for our excursions that first day on the ship and it was a good thing we did. By the end of the week there were no more open spaces for any excursions for those last-minute people. We did not purchase the soda package. Unless you are a die-hard soda drinker who drinks it form sunrise to sunset, it is not a good deal. You have to drink 3 full sodas a day to break even. The entertainment was great on the ship. We loved several of the entertainers like Finis, who can sing anyone's song exactly how they sang it. He could duplicate everyone from Stevie Wonder to Michael Jackson to Elvis to Ricky Martin. We also loved the game shows put on by the Cruise Director. The Love and Marriage show is not to be missed. Also, the crew put on the most hilarios show - The Fountains. We nearly peed in our pants. I hope they do that one again. The Dining Room definitely had the best food and service on the ship (although we never had anything less than exceptional service anywhere on the ship). Farhad was the BEST waiter. He brought out everything our table asked for (and them some), as was his assistant waiter Narciso who brought us refills and bread even before we realized we needed it. Even the head waiter Gerry was great. He had the best sense of humor, and definitely ask him to sing for you. He is a riot.Service was the best thing about this ship - from the cabin steward to the waiters to the piano singer even. We had the best time, and we were never bored at all. We enjoyed the shows, live music, karaoke, and dancing. Every worker on that ship gave everything we had to give us a great time. I was very surprised that the drinks were even potent. They didn't skimp on anything. As far as shore excursions, we did the snorkeling tour with the turtles and shipwreck. We were very lucky that we got bumped to a catamaran instead of the regular pontoon boat. We liked that trip, but our favorite was the Rainforest hike in St. Lucia. It was great and it ended with a dip in a spring-fed waterfall. It was great. Do not do the 4x4 Jeep ride because you will probably puke due to the roads in St. Lucia. Our tablemates did that and they hated it. We just enjoyed the beach in Antigua (we went to Dickinson Beach and had a great time), and we did some great shopping in St. Maarten. Wait to do shopping there because the prices are much better and they don't hassle you. We just rented bikes in St. Criox and enjoyed that immensely. Out tablemates said their best excursion was the Regatta race in St. Maarten, I believe, and the submarine ride in Barbados.The only things we didn't enjoy were things beyond the control of the staff - like the fitness room's inclusion of the hot tub or the fact that the dancing sucked because so many people were too chicken to get out on the dance floor. I guess I would have enjoyed some more free classes like from the fitness area or dance lessons, etc... But those are very minor complaints for a wonderful vacation. We will definitely do this again. We are now die hard cruisers.
MrsWin’s Full Rating Summary
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
We had a great time on the beach in ANtigua. The sand was gorgeous as was the water. We ate on the beack (Dickinson beach), and it was pricey but it had decent sushi. Imagine eating sushi on a beach in the middle of the Caribbean. Wild, huh? We chose to ride horses, but we had to stay mostly on the road and not the beach. It I had known that I probably wouldn't have done it. There were Antiguans who would come to the beach and try to get the people to ride waverunners or go snorkeling. Some people from our boat chose to go snorkeling with them and it was a bust. Just a word of warning. Others enjoyed the waverunners and such.
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Our excursion snorkeling with the sea turtles and shipwreck was fine, but the people in Bridgetown were not exceedingly friendly. IT almost seemed as if they don't like the tourists invading their town.
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When we got off the boat, there was the USVI Tourism Office waiting to greet us with Rum Punch and help for whatever we wanted on the island. We asked about renting bikes and he literally walked us there. There were dancers and children playing in a big calypso band playing for everyone in Fredericksted. It is a nice small town. We chose to bike along the shore and we enjoyed the views and the historic ruins and plantations along the way. It was also really hot that day so we called it quits early and the guy gave us a discount for returning the bikes early. The shopping wasn't great, but we did find a few things we liked. We felt the most at ease on this island because everyone speaks English and uses the US currency.
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We loved the landscape of St. Lucia more than any other island we visited. The rainforest and mountains were beautiful and picturesque. We thoroughly enjoyed the Rainforest Hike which included a two hour tour through the island each way (if you get carsick easily you need to stick to the shore on this island). We saw several villages, but the actual hike was wonderful. We loved the landscape, and they explained much of the flora of the island as we went. The hike ended at a gorgeous waterfall that was obviously spring-fed - it was freezing, but it felt great after the long walk. I was sad when it was over. Our driver was the sweetest man we met on the entire trip. However when we went shopping we were bombarded with people who wouldn't take no for an answer. According to the driver, there is a lot of corruption in the government so the people do not benefit directly from the the money received from the tourist industry. We met up with several beggars who were would not stop harassing us as we were walking back to the boat. I feel very sorry for the people of ST. Lucia. They have a beautiful island that they can't enjoy because poverty is rampant.
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I had not read much good about St. Maarten, but they were wrong. It was probably the most tourist friendly island. It had great shopping and beautiful beaches. It was ungodly hot due to a pattern of Saharan dust from Africa, but if they day was better we definitely would have gone swimming.
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