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Before I start, I want to make it clear that my review is from a former "virgin cruiser". I have not read any other reviews from the December 2nd trip before writing my review because I wanted it to be untainted by the views of others. Keep in mind that I have nothing to which I can compare this cruise. We like to take nice vacations, but are used to doing everything ourselves. We've traveled Europe, been to Hawaii a few times, do a lot of camping, etc. But this was our very first cruise, and I'm sure that it will be the first of many to come. Having said all that, let's get to the review. There is so much I would like to say that I'm not sure where to start. So, I guess I'll just start from the beginning. My wife and I flew in to San Juan by route of Chicago O'Hare airport on Sunday, the day of departure. We had booked transport to the airport with Royal Caribbean. They were very helpful and the transfer went smoothly. It was nice to have the driver give us some information about Puerto Rico during the ride to the ship. He was quite funny. They will load your luggage into a van, and you won't see it until you board the ship. Hopefully, you will have a better experience with it than what we had-but I'll get to that later. Upon arrival at the ship, you will be awestruck by the size and beauty of this vessel. It's enormous, and is docked right across from the Carnival Destiny. I understand that the Destiny is Carnival's largest ship, but is visibly smaller than the AOS. Embarking the ship was quick and painless. I think we arrived between 2 and 3 in the afternoon, and didn't wait in line for over 10 minutes. I was quite impressed, as I heard that sometimes it is a lengthy process. The Stateroom The first thing we noticed when boarding the ship was the smell. It smelled like a new RV. There will be people at the door telling you where your room is located. My wife and I booked an inside stateroom on the 9th floor and had it guaranteed. Much to our surprise, they assigned us a room on the sixth floor. At first, it appeared that they had downgraded our cabin. But, upon entering our room, we found that we were assigned an outside stateroom with a large port-hole window. It was one of very few on the ship and is a $350.00 per person upgrade. We were elated! Thank you Royal Caribbean! We, of course were expecting the room to be quite small. But, the size wasn't all that bad. We never felt cramped. There is a seating area as well with a little table. There's plenty of room in the closet and drawers. The bathroom was a little small, but served its purpose just fine. Within minutes of arriving at our room, our room attended showed up. Her name was Maria. She was from Hungary. You would be very lucky if you had her as a room attendant as she was very friendly and went out of her way to give us an overview of what a first-time cruiser can expect. She showed us the TV features, gave us her phone number, and just went out of her way to make us as comfortable as possible. I know that I'm new to all this, but my wife and I can not understand how a cabin attendant could have been more attentive to our needs throughout the entire week. Many of these workers on the AOS have previous experience on either the Voyager or the Explorer. One of my concerns was that they would be so new to the ship that they wouldn't be used to the way things are done on the AOS. I found that that really wasn't the case. We really only had one significant problem as alluded to above. We understood from others who have posted their reviews that the luggage sometimes wasn't delivered until the evening. Therefore, the evening meal attire was casual. However, when it was 9:00 in the evening, and we hadn't yet received our luggage, we became a little concerned. We called up the customer service desk, and they told us that since the ship leaves at 10:00 in the evening that baggage often does not get delivered right away. The reason is that people can arrive late, and that causes some disarray in getting luggage to the rooms in a timely manner. We felt that since we arrived mid afternoon, that the luggage should have been delivered. We informed the desk that we had received an upgrade, and that our luggage could have been delivered to the other room. They said that they would have someone check the room. In addition, we also checked outside the room. No bags. About 11:00 in the evening, we became very concerned that maybe our bags were lost. So, we went down to the desk, expressed our concerns, and they gave us free t-shirts, and travel bags with deodorant, shaving supplies, etc. They said that sometimes the bags get misplaced and aren't delivered until the early morning. We again asked them to check our original room. A little later, we get a call that someone was going up to check the room that we were originally assigned before being upgraded. We didn't hear back from him. So, we went to bed expecting our bags to be delivered sometime that night. At about 8:00 in the morning we get up, and guess what...still no more luggage. So, I promptly called the desk and once again explained the situation and my concerns. They told me again that they would have someone check the originally assigned room. They called back in a few minutes and said they found them. This was the only major problem we had. It was a temporary problem that didn't leave a good first impression. However, it all got better. The Ship I don't want to go into detail on this because that's what it is all about-detail. It's the small things such as the carpet in the elevators and the aroma of the Schooner bar that really add up to make the experience something really special. Yes, the ship is unlike any other (except the Voyager and the Explorer). It is enormous. Yes, it has an ice-skating facility, a rock climbing wall, putt-putt, basketball/volleyball court, inline skating, etc. Yes the ship cost 678 million dollars to build. I knew about all that stuff when I booked the cruise. Chances are you knew that too. But to me it is the effort they put into the fine details are what really struck me. Again, I won't go into detail, as I want you to be as impressed as I was. Just keep you eyes open to it, and you'll appreciate it too. Dinners Dinner that first night was casual. Our waiter, Osman was from Turkey, and was quite funny. He did a very nice job. Our assistant waiter was Engin. I believe he also was from Turkey. He was quiet most of the time, but he did a very good job. Soft drinks are free in the dining room, but they don't come out and tell you that. Feel free to order it-they won't charge you for it. I thought the meals were excellent. I'm not the type of person that is used to spending money on fine dining, so this was an absolute treat for me. Okay, so maybe it was wasn't "fine dining", but seemed like it to me. It is certainly much better than what I'm used to eating. Beware of the tea. It's very strong. The dining room was beautiful. The piano / orchestra was very nice, though I couldn't help but get a little concerned when they started playing the theme song from Titanic. I heard that the chandelier cost them about half a million dollars. The two nights at sea were the formal nights. Saturday night was a patriotic night. One night was a Caribbean colors night. I think there was another them, but I don't remember what it was. There are three levels to the dining facility. They are called Mozart, Strauss, and Vivaldi. Mozart is on the third level. Vivaldi is on the first level. As far as the midnight buffets, there was only one. It was the gala buffet, and it is a must see. I don't want to go into detail, but please, don't miss the viewing at 11:30. We didn't actually wait to eat any of it, but bring your camera to the viewing. You'll be surprised. There weren't any other midnight buffets. If you're actually hungry then, you have three options. You can either get food from the promenade cafe (sandwiches, pizza, cookies, pie, etc), Johnny Rockets, or room service. I never did the Portofino thing, but heard it was excellent. I enjoyed the dining hall so much that I couldn't see doing it. Johnny Rockets was fun, but we have one here in Indianapolis, so it was no big deal to me. The Windjammer and Island Grill are virtually identical. Windjammer has views to each side, and the Island grill faces the aft of the ship. The views are incredible. The food was very good, I thought. Our head waiter told us that much of the food is exactly what is served in the main dining room. The exceptions are the really good entrees such as the lobster. The Promenade cafe was decent. Nothing special. Entertainment I didn't see all of the shows. We went to the ventriloquist show, the ice show, the Beatle's show, and the Velvet Rope (song and dance)show. I enjoyed every one of them. However, the ventriloquist show, in my opinion, wasn't up to my expectations. I happen to love ventriloquist shows, so I think my expectations were quite high. However, he was supposed to be really great. I guess someone who isn't used to seeing really good ventriloquist shows would think he was really good. However, I understand that it was his last performance on the ship and now has an ongoing gig in Vegas. I'm not sure who is replacing him. The ice show was absolutely incredible. They do things that you wouldn't expect in an ice show. That's all I'm going to say about that. If you want to know more, just be sure not to miss it. Be sure to get your tickets early as they do go quickly. The Beatles show was also very good. It's a group called Rain. In my opinion they aren't as good as 1964, which is another Beatles group. They did the typical cruise thing and add some flash to the show with some wacky costumes and comedy. I think that detracted a little from the show if you're a die-hard Beatles fan. It took away from the look of authenticity. But, they still are worth seeing. Velvet Rope, in my opinion was quite a surprise. I'm not much of a song and dance person, but I really enjoyed it. It was a very artistic show. The poolside performers were good. I especially liked the Caribbean band. Sorry, I don't remember the group's name. Maybe one of the other reviews will have the names. Also, if you get a chance to listen to the piano player in the Schooner bar, do so. She's a lot of fun and really knows how to work the crowd. There are a lot of other entertainers on the ship. I'm not much of a bar person, but we did go to a few. The Viking has the best view. The Schooner, in my opinion was a great nautical theme, and as I mentioned before, a certain aroma. The Jester's bar was really neat with a medieval theme. It's also a disco. I noticed some of the crew would frequent it. Pools The pools were nice. There were a lot of chairs, but they did get filled up around the pools quite quickly. However, there are plenty on the surrounding decks. The hot tubs in the main pool area are only lukewarm. The hottubs in the Solarium were much warmer. I didn't notice any kids in the Solarium. The belly flop contest was funny, as were the horse races. One note: the pools are supposed to be open until midnight. However, they sometimes drain them before midnight for cleaning. Usually, they only drain one at a time, but there was one time when my wife and I were enjoying a late evening dip in the Solarium hot tub. The other one was closed for cleaning. We were just talking, and before we knew it, both of us were on the floor of the hot tub with water half way up to our chests. The tub had been draining, and we hadn't realized it until then. We wish that if the pools are to be open until 10:00 pm as they say, that they wouldn't drain any of them before they close them. Cruise Director I thought Ken Rush did a great job. He's very quick on his feet. Captain You just have to love Captain Remo. He's from Norway, and begins every announcement with "Good Morning Ladies and Yentlemen". He pronounces the ship "Adwenture of the Seas". Ports of Call Aruba I knew that Aruba would be more like a desert than the other ports. But I wasn't expecting it to be that arid. We didn't think it was a very pretty island. We rented a Jeep and explored on our own. The streets are pretty good, though not very well marked at all. If you find yourself lost, just look for the cruise ship, and you'll be able to find your way back. Be sure you understand the street signs before you start driving. They are very different than ours. You can see it from as far as the lighthouse. I highly recommend renting a Jeep. Go to the lighthouse (about a 20 minute drive). Then, take the dirt path across the north side of the island. It's a rough ride, but fun. Stop and see the natural bridge, the church, and the gold mine building. It's a neat ride. You'll be able to do that in the morning. We went to Baby Beach in the afternoon. It's a nice little beach. It's very calm, and has good snorkeling. In my opinion, it's not that special of a beach, even though it's supposed to be one of the best on Aruba. I'd probably go back for the snorkeling alone, though. Aruba has spent a lot of effort in building up their island, and unfortunately, I think they lost their charm. There are a lot of mainstream stores and fast-food restaurants. Honestly, I was a little disappointed with the island, but still had a great time. We didn't do any shopping in Aruba. Curacao My wife and I loved Curacao. It was what Aruba wasn't. The Dutch charm was very evident in the buildings. Shopping was good, and close to the ship. You should be able to get a very good picture of the AOS from this port. We rented a taxi and went to the Sea Aquarium. We enjoyed it, but thought it was overpriced. It was much smaller than I expected. We did not do the feeding the sharks thing, though one of our tablemates did. He really enjoyed it. The Sea Aquarium beach is right next door, and nice. It can get crowded, though. There is a ridge of rocks around the beach. Inside the rocks, the water is very blue, but has practically no visibility if your snorkeling. However, if you go over to the other side of the rocks, it's really a nice view. There are a lot of fish on the other side, too. It was a decent beach. Nothing too special about it. St. Martin We liked St. Martin even better. Though it didn't quite have the same charm, it was a prettier island. I wouldn't recommend renting a car on it as the roads are very narrow and windy. We took a taxi to Orient Beach. That was quite the experience. We got there early, and walked the beach. No matter what people tell you, there is nudity on both sides. Most of it is on the right-hand side (south side) You'll see a sign that designates it as a clothing optional part of the beach. If that stuff offends you, I wouldn't go there. I heard that the snorkeling was good on that side, so we did go into it. They were wrong. I might have seen only 3 or 4 fish. The waves and wind were quite rough. It is a nice beach, however, with a lot of shops and restaurants. The left hand side, does have nudity, but much more limited. I recommend that side of the island as there are a lot of shops and water sports. Shopping was good on St. Martin. I guess the only unpleasant thing was the constant soliciting for hair braiding. I don't recommend it as I have heard that people come home with lice in their hair. Buyer beware. St. Thomas/St. John It just kept getting better and better. We virtually did nothing on St. Thomas. It's not that we didn't want to, but we definitely wanted to do St. John. We took a taxi ride to Red Hook, and then took a ferry to St. John. From there, we took a taxi to Trunk Bay. As my wife would attest, it has to be the most beautiful place we've ever been. The snorkeling was very good, as well. The sand was like powder. You feet would sink in it like snow. If you like the beach and/or snorkeling thing, this is a great thing to do. We stayed there until about 12:30, then took a taxi back to the ferry. We got back in plenty of time to do some shopping in St. Thomas. This was our favorite port, and I wish we could have spent so much more time one both islands. Puerto Rico We stayed the night in Puerto Rico and the Wyndham Old San Juan. It is not within walking distance of the ship. But it is adjacent to the shopping area and El Morro fortress. Being a Sunday, it wasn't very crowded. Some of the restaurants were closed, but we ate at the birthplace of the Pina Colada (so they say anyway). It was a beautiful place to eat, and I highly recommend the Steak Foralezza. You can also buy Bacardi at this place. I don't remember the store name, but it's on Fortalezza Street, on the port side. Well, that about sums up my "virgin" cruiser review. There is so much more to say, but my fingers are getting really tired of typing. I hope this review has been useful to you as many of the other posts [on the message boards] have helped me. Bon Voyage, tomgerber@flavorburst.comFebruary 2002

Adventure of the Seas

Adventure of the Seas Cruise Review by Tom Gerber

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 1899
  • Destination:
Before I start, I want to make it clear that my review is from a former
"virgin cruiser". I have not read any other reviews from the December 2nd
trip before writing my review because I wanted it to be untainted by the
views of others. Keep in mind that I have nothing to which I can compare
this cruise. We like to take nice vacations, but are used to doing
everything ourselves. We've traveled Europe, been to Hawaii a few times, do
a lot of camping, etc. But this was our very first cruise, and I'm sure that
it will be the first of many to come.
Having said all that, let's get to the review. There is so much I would like
to say that I'm not sure where to start. So, I guess I'll just start from
the beginning. My wife and I flew in to San Juan by route of Chicago O'Hare
airport on Sunday, the day of departure.
We had booked transport to the airport with Royal Caribbean. They were very
helpful and the transfer went smoothly. It was nice to have the driver
give us some information about Puerto Rico during the ride to the ship. He
was quite funny. They will load your luggage into a van, and you won't see
it until you board the ship. Hopefully, you will have a better experience
with it than what we had-but I'll get to that later.
Upon arrival at the ship, you will be awestruck by the size and beauty of
this vessel. It's enormous, and is docked right across from the Carnival
Destiny. I understand that the Destiny is Carnival's largest ship, but is
visibly smaller than the AOS. Embarking the ship was quick and painless. I
think we arrived between 2 and 3 in the afternoon, and didn't wait in line
for over 10 minutes. I was quite impressed, as I heard that sometimes it is
a lengthy process.
The Stateroom
The first thing we noticed when boarding the ship was the smell. It smelled
like a new RV. There will be people at the door telling you where your room
is located. My wife and I booked an inside stateroom on the 9th floor and
had it guaranteed. Much to our surprise, they assigned us a room on the
sixth floor. At first, it appeared that they had downgraded our cabin. But,
upon entering our room, we found that we were assigned an outside stateroom
with a large port-hole window. It was one of very few on the ship and is a
$350.00 per person upgrade. We were elated! Thank you Royal Caribbean! We,
of course were expecting the room to be quite small. But, the size wasn't
all that bad. We never felt cramped. There is a seating area as well with a
little table. There's plenty of room in the closet and drawers. The bathroom
was a little small, but served its purpose just fine.
Within minutes of arriving at our room, our room attended showed up. Her
name was Maria. She was from Hungary. You would be very lucky if you had her
as a room attendant as she was very friendly and went out of her way to give
us an overview of what a first-time cruiser can expect. She showed us the TV
features, gave us her phone number, and just went out of her way to make us
as comfortable as possible. I know that I'm new to all this, but my wife and
I can not understand how a cabin attendant could have been more attentive to
our needs throughout the entire week. Many of these workers on the AOS have
previous experience on either the Voyager or the Explorer. One of my
concerns was that they would be so new to the ship that they wouldn't be
used to the way things are done on the AOS. I found that that really wasn't
the case.
We really only had one significant problem as alluded to above. We
understood from others who have posted their reviews that the luggage
sometimes wasn't delivered until the evening. Therefore, the evening meal
attire was casual. However, when it was 9:00 in the evening, and we hadn't
yet received our luggage, we became a little concerned. We called up the
customer service desk, and they told us that since the ship leaves at 10:00
in the evening that baggage often does not get delivered right away. The
reason is that people can arrive late, and that causes some disarray in
getting luggage to the rooms in a timely manner. We felt that since we
arrived mid afternoon, that the luggage should have been delivered. We
informed the desk that we had received an upgrade, and that our luggage
could have been delivered to the other room. They said that they would have
someone check the room. In addition, we also checked outside the room. No
bags. About 11:00 in the evening, we became very concerned that maybe our
bags were lost. So, we went down to the desk, expressed our concerns, and
they gave us free t-shirts, and travel bags with deodorant, shaving
supplies, etc. They said that sometimes the bags get misplaced and aren't
delivered until the early morning. We again asked them to check our original
room. A little later, we get a call that someone was going up to check the
room that we were originally assigned before being upgraded. We didn't hear
back from him. So, we went to bed expecting our bags to be delivered
sometime that night. At about 8:00 in the morning we get up, and guess
what...still no more luggage. So, I promptly called the desk and once again
explained the situation and my concerns. They told me again that they would
have someone check the originally assigned room. They called back in a few
minutes and said they found them. This was the only major problem we had. It
was a temporary problem that didn't leave a good first impression. However,
it all got better.
The Ship
I don't want to go into detail on this because that's what it is all
about-detail. It's the small things such as the carpet in the elevators and
the aroma of the Schooner bar that really add up to make the experience
something really special. Yes, the ship is unlike any other (except the
Voyager and the Explorer). It is enormous. Yes, it has an ice-skating
facility, a rock climbing wall, putt-putt, basketball/volleyball court,
inline skating, etc. Yes the ship cost 678 million dollars to build. I knew
about all that stuff when I booked the cruise. Chances are you knew that too.
But to me it is the effort they put into the fine details are what really
struck me. Again, I won't go into detail, as I want you to be as impressed
as I was. Just keep you eyes open to it, and you'll appreciate it too.
Dinners
Dinner that first night was casual. Our waiter, Osman was from Turkey, and
was quite funny. He did a very nice job. Our assistant waiter was Engin. I
believe he also was from Turkey. He was quiet most of the time, but he did a
very good job. Soft drinks are free in the dining room, but they don't come
out and tell you that. Feel free to order it-they won't charge you for it. I
thought the meals were excellent. I'm not the type of person that is used to
spending money on fine dining, so this was an absolute treat for me. Okay,
so maybe it was wasn't "fine dining", but seemed like it to me. It is
certainly much better than what I'm used to eating. Beware of the tea. It's
very strong.
The dining room was beautiful. The piano / orchestra was very nice, though I
couldn't help but get a little concerned when they started playing the theme
song from Titanic. I heard that the chandelier cost them about half a
million dollars. The two nights at sea were the formal nights. Saturday
night was a patriotic night. One night was a Caribbean colors night. I think
there was another them, but I don't remember what it was. There are three
levels to the dining facility. They are called Mozart, Strauss, and Vivaldi.
Mozart is on the third level. Vivaldi is on the first level.
As far as the midnight buffets, there was only one. It was the gala buffet,
and it is a must see. I don't want to go into detail, but please, don't miss
the viewing at 11:30. We didn't actually wait to eat any of it, but bring
your camera to the viewing. You'll be surprised. There weren't any other
midnight buffets. If you're actually hungry then, you have three options.
You can either get food from the promenade cafe (sandwiches, pizza, cookies,
pie, etc), Johnny Rockets, or room service.
I never did the Portofino thing, but heard it was excellent. I enjoyed the
dining hall so much that I couldn't see doing it.
Johnny Rockets was fun, but we have one here in Indianapolis, so it was no
big deal to me. The Windjammer and Island Grill are virtually identical.
Windjammer has views to each side, and the Island grill faces the aft of the
ship. The views are incredible. The food was very good, I thought. Our head
waiter told us that much of the food is exactly what is served in the main
dining room. The exceptions are the really good entrees such as the lobster.

The Promenade cafe was decent. Nothing special.
Entertainment
I didn't see all of the shows. We went to the ventriloquist show, the ice
show, the Beatle's show, and the Velvet Rope (song and dance)show. I enjoyed
every one of them. However, the ventriloquist show, in my opinion, wasn't up
to my expectations. I happen to love ventriloquist shows, so I think my
expectations were quite high. However, he was supposed to be really great. I
guess someone who isn't used to seeing really good ventriloquist shows would
think he was really good. However, I understand that it was his last
performance on the ship and now has an ongoing gig in Vegas. I'm not sure
who is replacing him.
The ice show was absolutely incredible. They do things that you wouldn't
expect in an ice show. That's all I'm going to say about that. If you want
to know more, just be sure not to miss it. Be sure to get your tickets early
as they do go quickly.
The Beatles show was also very good. It's a group called Rain. In my opinion
they aren't as good as 1964, which is another Beatles group. They did the
typical cruise thing and add some flash to the show with some wacky costumes
and comedy. I think that detracted a little from the show if you're a
die-hard Beatles fan. It took away from the look of authenticity. But, they
still are worth seeing.
Velvet Rope, in my opinion was quite a surprise. I'm not much of a song and
dance person, but I really enjoyed it. It was a very artistic show.
The poolside performers were good. I especially liked the Caribbean band.
Sorry, I don't remember the group's name. Maybe one of the other reviews
will have the names. Also, if you get a chance to listen to the piano player
in the Schooner bar, do so. She's a lot of fun and really knows how to work
the crowd. There are a lot of other entertainers on the ship.
I'm not much of a bar person, but we did go to a few. The Viking has the
best view. The Schooner, in my opinion was a great nautical theme, and as I
mentioned before, a certain aroma. The Jester's bar was really neat with a
medieval theme. It's also a disco. I noticed some of the crew would
frequent it.
Pools
The pools were nice. There were a lot of chairs, but they did get filled up
around the pools quite quickly. However, there are plenty on the surrounding
decks. The hot tubs in the main pool area are only lukewarm. The hottubs
in the Solarium were much warmer. I didn't notice any kids in the Solarium.
The belly flop contest was funny, as were the horse races.
One note: the pools are supposed to be open until midnight. However, they
sometimes drain them before midnight for cleaning. Usually, they only drain
one at a time, but there was one time when my wife and I were enjoying a
late evening dip in the Solarium hot tub. The other one was closed for
cleaning. We were just talking, and before we knew it, both of us were on
the floor of the hot tub with water half way up to our chests. The tub had
been draining, and we hadn't realized it until then. We wish that if the
pools are to be open until 10:00 pm as they say, that they wouldn't drain
any of them before they close them.
Cruise Director
I thought Ken Rush did a great job. He's very quick on his feet.
Captain
You just have to love Captain Remo. He's from Norway, and begins every
announcement with "Good Morning Ladies and Yentlemen". He pronounces the
ship "Adwenture of the Seas".
Ports of Call
Aruba
I knew that Aruba would be more like a desert than the other ports. But I
wasn't expecting it to be that arid. We didn't think it was a very pretty
island. We rented a Jeep and explored on our own. The streets are pretty
good, though not very well marked at all. If you find yourself lost, just
look for the cruise ship, and you'll be able to find your way back. Be sure
you understand the street signs before you start driving. They are very
different than ours. You can see it from as far as the lighthouse. I highly
recommend renting a Jeep. Go to the lighthouse (about a 20 minute drive).
Then, take the dirt path across the north side of the island. It's a rough
ride, but fun. Stop and see the natural bridge, the church, and the gold
mine building. It's a neat ride. You'll be able to do that in the morning.
We went to Baby Beach in the afternoon. It's a nice little beach. It's very
calm, and has good snorkeling. In my opinion, it's not that special of a
beach, even though it's supposed to be one of the best on Aruba. I'd
probably go back for the snorkeling alone, though. Aruba has spent a lot of
effort in building up their island, and unfortunately, I think they lost
their charm. There are a lot of mainstream stores and fast-food restaurants.
Honestly, I was a little disappointed with the island, but still had a great
time. We didn't do any shopping in Aruba.
Curacao
My wife and I loved Curacao. It was what Aruba wasn't. The Dutch charm was
very evident in the buildings. Shopping was good, and close to the ship. You
should be able to get a very good picture of the AOS from this port. We
rented a taxi and went to the Sea Aquarium. We enjoyed it, but thought it
was overpriced. It was much smaller than I expected. We did not do the
feeding the sharks thing, though one of our tablemates did. He really
enjoyed it. The Sea Aquarium beach is right next door, and nice. It can get
crowded, though. There is a ridge of rocks around the beach. Inside the
rocks, the water is very blue, but has practically no visibility if your
snorkeling. However, if you go over to the other side of the rocks, it's
really a nice view. There are a lot of fish on the other side, too. It was a
decent beach. Nothing too special about it.
St. Martin
We liked St. Martin even better. Though it didn't quite have the same charm,
it was a prettier island. I wouldn't recommend renting a car on it as the
roads are very narrow and windy. We took a taxi to Orient Beach. That was
quite the experience. We got there early, and walked the beach. No matter
what people tell you, there is nudity on both sides. Most of it is on the
right-hand side (south side) You'll see a sign that designates it as a
clothing optional part of the beach. If that stuff offends you, I wouldn't
go there. I heard that the snorkeling was good on that side, so we did go
into it. They were wrong. I might have seen only 3 or 4 fish. The waves and
wind were quite rough. It is a nice beach, however, with a lot of shops and
restaurants. The left hand side, does have nudity, but much more limited. I
recommend that side of the island as there are a lot of shops and water
sports. Shopping was good on St. Martin. I guess the only unpleasant thing
was the constant soliciting for hair braiding. I don't recommend it as I
have heard that people come home with lice in their hair. Buyer beware.
St. Thomas/St. John
It just kept getting better and better. We virtually did nothing on St.
Thomas. It's not that we didn't want to, but we definitely wanted to do St.
John. We took a taxi ride to Red Hook, and then took a ferry to St. John.
From there, we took a taxi to Trunk Bay. As my wife would attest, it has to
be the most beautiful place we've ever been. The snorkeling was very good,
as well. The sand was like powder. You feet would sink in it like snow. If
you like the beach and/or snorkeling thing, this is a great thing to do. We
stayed there until about 12:30, then took a taxi back to the ferry. We got
back in plenty of time to do some shopping in St. Thomas. This was our
favorite port, and I wish we could have spent so much more time one both
islands.

Puerto Rico
We stayed the night in Puerto Rico and the Wyndham Old San Juan. It is not
within walking distance of the ship. But it is adjacent to the shopping area
and El Morro fortress. Being a Sunday, it wasn't very crowded. Some of the
restaurants were closed, but we ate at the birthplace of the Pina Colada (so
they say anyway). It was a beautiful place to eat, and I highly recommend the
Steak Foralezza. You can also buy Bacardi at this place. I don't remember
the store name, but it's on Fortalezza Street, on the port side.
Well, that about sums up my "virgin" cruiser review. There is so much more
to say, but my fingers are getting really tired of typing. I hope this
review has been useful to you as many of the other posts [on the message boards] have helped me.
Bon Voyage,
tomgerber@flavorburst.comFebruary 2002
Tom Gerber’s Full Rating Summary
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