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Background - This was my third Adventure of the Seas Southern Caribbean Cruise, my second on the Aruba route, and the first that included Dominica. We were a group of five - two couples and my mom. This was also my fourth Royal Caribbean cruise, the other one being on the Jewel of the Seas for the Canada/New England cruise out of Boston in October '08. Pre-cruise - We live in San Juan so no arrangements needed. Stateroom - We had a center hump cabin, deck six, port. The hump cabins are well documented here so I'll only say: location, location, location. Ship - The Adventure of the Seas keeps being well kept in spite of showing its age here and there. Minor flaws which did not subtract from the overall positive experience. Dining Portofino's - We made reservations for sailaway from San Juan. The ship was a little late sailing but we were still able to enjoy Old San Juan glide by as we started on the desserts. The food and the service were outstanding, as compared to the Main Dining Room. Windjammer/Island Grill - We had breakfast here most days. The buffet is adequate. My only complaint was the lack of variety in fresh fruits. The staff was very good. The lines were efficient and the fellow diners respectful. Promenade Cafe - Nice place to get snacks after tours or late at night or for a light fare if you don't care for a full breakfast. The only complaint here is that the servers have not gotten their espresso confection down right - at least not like, well, Puert Ricans like it. No biggie. The only espresso I like is the one I make anyway. Otherwise, the staff here is outstanding. Room Service - Excellent. On the first sea day we planned on sleeping in but didn't. We had ordered our breakfast for 9:30 but were up by 6:30 (still on shore stress mode). So we called the room service people and they quickly took the change and very rapidly delivered our meal. Nice. Main Dining Room - This is the caveat. I am a businessman and I do understand about having to make cuts everywhere just to keep your business afloat. But since dining is one of the main features of cruising - at least for me - I think it is fair to deliver some constructive criticism. The bottom line is that while the economy improves and the numbers add up right again for Royal Caribbean, perhaps people should lower their expectations. If RCI is cutting heavily in this area, I hope it is because they have already tried others. This was my experience in my corner of the MDR. I hope others can chime in to give their perspective. Hopefully theirs was better. One problem is the food quality. The wow factor simply did not exist. The presentation is okay but the ingredients are not the best. If you want something better you have to dish out extra money for a Chops Grill steak. I am sorry to say that the main fare was mediocre. Not bad, just not very good at all. All the parades and singing and dancing by the galley staff and all the exhultation by the host over the loudspeakers will not hide this fact. The other problem was the service. RCI has done away with the Bar Waiters. This is not a problem just for drinkers. The lack of Bar Waiters slows everything else down because it is the Assistant Waiter who has to get the drinks for multiple tables, leaving the Waiter to do most of the other work. There was a lot of confusion, delays, and lukewarm meals served. If RCI can't afford Bar Waiters, then the Head Waiters need to stop the chit-chat and get their hands dirty and help their employees. For whatever it's worth - and hoping this is a temporary situation - this will not prevent me from booking with RCI again. One last time, people should lower their expectation in this area. Enuff said. Activities - It's been a tough year for us so the only "activity" we indulged in was laying in a semi-vegetative state in the Solarium, with the occasional dip into the hot tub to get the circulaton going again. I did try the gym one morning and Latin dancing one night, but that was about it. Ports Aruba - We took a taxi off the line to save about $23.00 per person on an island tour. We got a nice cab with a crazy driver. He kept joking about the other cruisers as we ran in to them around the island. He would say: "look at those @#*& in those ATVs - they spent $100.00 each to be in the sun and the dirt and it's only $25.00 with me in air conditioned comfort". Or, "now look at those *&#$@ in the Jeep Safari - $100.00 each, no roof and no tour commentary - and it's only $25.00 with me". We ended the island tour at Palm Beach. Too crowded for my comfort. Curacao - We just walked around town. Everything has gotten too expensive here. Nice town, though. DOMINICA! - This was by far our favorite stop. We had booked an island tour with Levi Baron of Bumpiing Tours. This was a great decision. Levi is an absolute charm and very professional. At Titou Gorge, he swam up ahead of everybody with a life ring and a rope to help everybody along. He even helped people who weren't on our tour. It is almost a self-paced tour, as Levi is most accomodating. It is a wonderful island and I wish them the best as they develop their tourist trade. It has a lot of potential. I WILL be back. St. Thomas - Covered ad nauseaum in these boards. Always a good last stop. We got up late so we couldn't make the day trip to Trunk Bay in St. John so we spent the day at magnificent Magen's Bay beach. Taxi from Havensight has now doubled to $8.00 per person. San Juan/Disembarkation - RCI has now a neat system where you do not need to leave your cabin by 8:00 AM. You get an assigned departure time, and depending on your window, you have time to enjoy breakfast and then go back to your cabin to finish up and go. Summary - It is sad that the Adventure is leaving San Juan for Europe next summer. Thankfully, the Serenade will be a nice temporary alternative, as it is scheduled to stay in San Juan year round. RCI should keep the Southern Caribbean itineraries going as it is. Hopefully the numbers will add up right soon so we can fully enjoy a great cruise line on the best itinerary. Fair winds and following seas, RCI.

Same Great Adventure With One Caveat

Adventure of the Seas Cruise Review by Aviator of the Seas

Trip Details
Background - This was my third Adventure of the Seas Southern Caribbean Cruise, my second on the Aruba route, and the first that included Dominica. We were a group of five - two couples and my mom. This was also my fourth Royal Caribbean cruise, the other one being on the Jewel of the Seas for the Canada/New England cruise out of Boston in October '08.
Pre-cruise - We live in San Juan so no arrangements needed.
Stateroom - We had a center hump cabin, deck six, port. The hump cabins are well documented here so I'll only say: location, location, location.
Ship - The Adventure of the Seas keeps being well kept in spite of showing its age here and there. Minor flaws which did not subtract from the overall positive experience.
Dining
Portofino's - We made reservations for sailaway from San Juan. The ship was a little late sailing but we were still able to enjoy Old San Juan glide by as we started on the desserts. The food and the service were outstanding, as compared to the Main Dining Room.
Windjammer/Island Grill - We had breakfast here most days. The buffet is adequate. My only complaint was the lack of variety in fresh fruits. The staff was very good. The lines were efficient and the fellow diners respectful.
Promenade Cafe - Nice place to get snacks after tours or late at night or for a light fare if you don't care for a full breakfast. The only complaint here is that the servers have not gotten their espresso confection down right - at least not like, well, Puert Ricans like it. No biggie. The only espresso I like is the one I make anyway. Otherwise, the staff here is outstanding.
Room Service - Excellent. On the first sea day we planned on sleeping in but didn't. We had ordered our breakfast for 9:30 but were up by 6:30 (still on shore stress mode). So we called the room service people and they quickly took the change and very rapidly delivered our meal. Nice.
Main Dining Room - This is the caveat. I am a businessman and I do understand about having to make cuts everywhere just to keep your business afloat. But since dining is one of the main features of cruising - at least for me - I think it is fair to deliver some constructive criticism. The bottom line is that while the economy improves and the numbers add up right again for Royal Caribbean, perhaps people should lower their expectations. If RCI is cutting heavily in this area, I hope it is because they have already tried others.
This was my experience in my corner of the MDR. I hope others can chime in to give their perspective. Hopefully theirs was better.
One problem is the food quality. The wow factor simply did not exist. The presentation is okay but the ingredients are not the best. If you want something better you have to dish out extra money for a Chops Grill steak. I am sorry to say that the main fare was mediocre. Not bad, just not very good at all. All the parades and singing and dancing by the galley staff and all the exhultation by the host over the loudspeakers will not hide this fact.
The other problem was the service. RCI has done away with the Bar Waiters. This is not a problem just for drinkers. The lack of Bar Waiters slows everything else down because it is the Assistant Waiter who has to get the drinks for multiple tables, leaving the Waiter to do most of the other work. There was a lot of confusion, delays, and lukewarm meals served. If RCI can't afford Bar Waiters, then the Head Waiters need to stop the chit-chat and get their hands dirty and help their employees.
For whatever it's worth - and hoping this is a temporary situation - this will not prevent me from booking with RCI again. One last time, people should lower their expectation in this area. Enuff said.
Activities - It's been a tough year for us so the only "activity" we indulged in was laying in a semi-vegetative state in the Solarium, with the occasional dip into the hot tub to get the circulaton going again. I did try the gym one morning and Latin dancing one night, but that was about it.
Ports
Aruba - We took a taxi off the line to save about $23.00 per person on an island tour. We got a nice cab with a crazy driver. He kept joking about the other cruisers as we ran in to them around the island. He would say: "look at those @#*& in those ATVs - they spent $100.00 each to be in the sun and the dirt and it's only $25.00 with me in air conditioned comfort". Or, "now look at those *&#$@ in the Jeep Safari - $100.00 each, no roof and no tour commentary - and it's only $25.00 with me". We ended the island tour at Palm Beach. Too crowded for my comfort.
Curacao - We just walked around town. Everything has gotten too expensive here. Nice town, though.
DOMINICA! - This was by far our favorite stop. We had booked an island tour with Levi Baron of Bumpiing Tours. This was a great decision. Levi is an absolute charm and very professional. At Titou Gorge, he swam up ahead of everybody with a life ring and a rope to help everybody along. He even helped people who weren't on our tour. It is almost a self-paced tour, as Levi is most accomodating. It is a wonderful island and I wish them the best as they develop their tourist trade. It has a lot of potential. I WILL be back.
St. Thomas - Covered ad nauseaum in these boards. Always a good last stop. We got up late so we couldn't make the day trip to Trunk Bay in St. John so we spent the day at magnificent Magen's Bay beach. Taxi from Havensight has now doubled to $8.00 per person.
San Juan/Disembarkation - RCI has now a neat system where you do not need to leave your cabin by 8:00 AM. You get an assigned departure time, and depending on your window, you have time to enjoy breakfast and then go back to your cabin to finish up and go.
Summary - It is sad that the Adventure is leaving San Juan for Europe next summer. Thankfully, the Serenade will be a nice temporary alternative, as it is scheduled to stay in San Juan year round. RCI should keep the Southern Caribbean itineraries going as it is. Hopefully the numbers will add up right soon so we can fully enjoy a great cruise line on the best itinerary.
Fair winds and following seas, RCI.
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