Adventure of the Seas Cruise Review by hail2skins
- Sail Date: August 2009
- Destination: Southern Caribbean
We went with Royal Caribbean again, this time on the Adventure of the Seas. Our stops were Aruba, Curacao, Dominica and St. Thomas. All in all the trip was as wonderful a memory and time as our first cruise. The Adventure, like the Explorer in 2003, is a huge ship with many things to occupy your time.
Our second sea day was a rainy, windy day, so we didn't get a lot of pool time. We took in the ice show (pretty boring actually) at night, hit a few bars during the day and just putzed around, but never felt that bored. We are typically too exhausted for a lot of the late night entertainment, but, we did do the Quest Adventure on our actual anniversary and had a blast.
We prefer the itinerary of this cruise with a sea day, two port days, second sea day and two more port days to our first cruise where we had four consecutive port days. Though, our excusions were all generally very nice, we like the longer excursions to fill the day. On our first cruise we had this option with three of the four stops. This time only one really filled the day up nicely with no real options for our style of excursion on the other days.
Service in the main dining room was excellent. The staff was generally upbeat, acknowledging and helpful throughout the vacation. Our room was kept in great order.
Food is only average. The Windjammer, Cafe Promenade and main dining room are the only food options we really went for. The Windjammer breakfast is mostly intolerable. Waffles are soggy. Pancakes are dry and over floppy. Potato options are often overcooked. Bacon ranged from undercooked to ok. Biscuits for biscuits and gravy were rock hard twice. I got the omelette station to make something fresh each day making everything else better, but, there needs to be more made to order options in the morning.
The Cafe Promenade had good little snacks, but nothing remarkable.
Dinner in the main dining room was typically quite good. We did this every night. We only had the Windjammer lunch once and it was so unappealing looking we stuck with fruit and salad. I think the size of the boat limits fresher, more flavorful buffet food.
We don't cruise for the food, but if we did, we would pick a few smaller boats or a different line to see if it improved. Still, you are never hungry. A slice or two of pizza or quick small sandwich in the Cafe Promenade are enough to keep you going between a fresh omelette and dinner.
There are a ton of bars to experience, lots of people watching to do and for those who want to do more than lounge around, as we like, a number of planned activities which are fun.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
ArubaAruba was our first stop. We took the Mi Dushi sailing tour which brought us to two snorkeling stops and a private swimming, beach area with a lunch brought on board. We were not overly impressed with the look and feel of the island itself as we were brought to our excursion. The island seemed dirty and unkempt on that drive. We hear it's prettier if you do the shore tour but we didn't.View All 1,636 Aruba Cruise Port Reviews
The Mi Dushi is a nice, 80-foot sailboat with a friendly captain and crew. A shallow water snorkel followed by the Antilles deeper water allowed a comfortable amount of time to float and poke around. The boat kept people happy with free drinks as part of the excursion.
The third stop had the lunch brought in from the beach, more drinks, snorkeling if you wanted and a rope swing. In all a great deal of fun. I'd expected the crew to be more engaging and jovial but they were generally just polite and unobtrusive.
The boat itself gives you tons of options for laying out and having fun. Because we were in port for 12 hours it would have been nice for the excursion to include a real beach stop after the sailing for a few hours of lounging, but that's probably just over wishful.
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CuracaoCuracao was our second stop. Our initial look off the boat made us a bit worried because the oil refinary is right there. But if you look beyond that, the town off the dock is generally pretty good looking. Colorful buildings, mostly kept up with only a couple of really run down looking spots.View All 1,243 Curacao Cruise Port Reviews
The only compelling excursion for us in Curacao was a beach day at Cabana Bay. We'd have liked an option for sailing around and snorkeling and beach but none were really here. The trip to Cabana Bay was quick and Curacao looked very inviting and nice, though I've heard it's relatively dangerous.
Cabana Bay itself was an amazingly beautiful beach. A rock wall kept the waves down and gave you a tranquil, private spot to relax. The layout of the resorts didn't make you feel like 10, HUGE buildings were looming over you the whole time. The resorts were spread out and almost not noticed.
We'd gotten too much sun on the Mi Dushi so we stayed in the shade save our time in the water and the beach had LOVELY spots you could have imagined just laying down with your whole family for a nap. Drink prices were ridulously high ($14 for a small rum and coke and diet soda for the wife) so we mostly just enjoyed the atmosphere.
The water itself was nice, though the beach had some small rocks all along that made it uncomfortable to enter for a few feet. Still, it was a gorgeous place to sit for a few hours and relax.
The hamburger provided was hideous. The bun was great, and the toppings good, but the burger was pre-cooked over well and then warmed up beyond, leaving no juice and a flavor of horse. Get one of the staff to give you a menu for better choices.
As with Aruba the excursion only filled up 5 of 9 hours so we'd have liked something with more included and we are NOT city tour people which had more hours filled.
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DominicaDominica is an interesting place.View All 699 Dominica Cruise Port Reviews
IT REALLY is as underdeveloped as you hear. Mountains dominate. Beaches are not why you go here. The area is poor and run down. The drive to the excursion is, literally, terrifying. Small, winding roads with non-existant traffic rules made it really worrisome. I got car sick more than sea sick.
Though, to be fair, the driver was friendly and the tour guide was the best we've ever experienced. You REALLY get a tour of the island with any excursion you do because you are taking winding mountain roads to your back road adventure.
For us we did river tubing and the Emerald Pool.
The river is shallow and rocky. It's quite scary if you're thinking of a lazy river at home. But it's quite fun when you figure out you're probably not going to die. Rocks are everywhere, from the sides where you see them, to just below the surface of what appears to be still water. You scrape along, twist, push yourself and get some help from staff. It's a lot of fun. As you slip down the river above you you'll see people doing the high ropes excursion.
The scenary is unbelievably beautiful and unlike anything you'd expect in this part of the world. The Emerald Pool tour is a quick stop and jaunt to a private little waterfall and cool pool. Again, everyone is friendly and you can see they are trying to build their tourism up, though, the $1 to use the bathroom is just petty. You pay to get in, that should cover urination, especially since you'd prefer people NOT to hold it for the pool itself.
Though the drive is scary, it is a very beautiful place to behold. We didn't see a single resort or usable beach, though we heard at least one exists. This island is really more for nature buffs and is a surpisingly fun place to visit for a short while.
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St. ThomasOur final stop.View All 4,648 St. Thomas Cruise Port Reviews
This is an amazing place. Beautiful every way you turn your head. Hilly, mountainous terrain like Dominica, but, beautiful beaches sprinkle the shore. The resorts themselves seem to have private beach areas and while the 10 resorts sharing a single big beach is probably all over too, I was attracted to what appeared to be small private little places.
We took the sailboat Bones to Turtle Bay for snorkeling before more sailing and a private beach. This was the best shore excursion we've had of our 8 shore excursion stops. The crew was jovial and fun. Our captain was from Alabama. He came to the island 10 years earlier, fell in love, sold everything and sailed the islands for several years. Our main contact was an islander who was sarcastic, sharp and helpful. Our main water guide was from Texas. He'd just gotten his masters and before going into the world, came down 8 months ago to work the boat.
The crew set this apart from the similar Mi Dushi by being incredibly funny and friendly. They literally LEARNED every person's name and where they were from. They knew us all and what we were like by the time we got halfway through. They took incredible care of everyone and made this seem like a cruise of friends. The Mi Dushi people really stayed to themselves. One couple was on that with us and on this with us and we had no idea they were fun until this one :).
That is a credit to the crew.
The first stop was a long snorkel at Turtle Bay, a nature preserve off the main island. We saw turtles, a stingray and lots of fish. We got to hold a couple of fish as our guide went down and talked about it. Also this is different than the Mi Dushi where we were told to go snorkel but no one came in and really showed us what was what
We had 120 feet of visibility on the day we went and the water was super warm. After the snorkel the bar was open and these guys made sure you were super happy. We sailed across the islands to another small private place, Honeymoon Cove. Two of our excursion group went off to make a baby.
I heard from others at Megan Bay that it was crowded there. But, here, on a Saturday, there was LITERALLY only the people on Bones and a couple of natives. It was entirely secluded and private. We swam to the beach, which was thick and sandy. We got a nice lunch. A small rain shower started to dampen things, but all of us went into the ocean, which was warmer and no one left. We all just hung out in three-feet of water, throwing a frisbee, drinking beer or pop which was brought out to us with the super special floating cooler and relaxing.
St. Thomas was beautiful and this excursion is like no other. I highly recommend it.
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