Joe and I love cruising. We have always been 'Loyal to Royal' and are Diamond Plus--not that it matters, except it is relevant to our experiences on this cruise.
It started out well--the air connections the cruise line arranged worked out well, though they were time-comsuming. We got to the airport in Quebec City tired after 17 hours of traveling. We had asked RCI for an airport to hotel transport (their choice hotel) and were told none were available (18 months before the cruise.) When we got to the airport, there were Royal Caribbean representatives collecting people for transport to the hotel. They would not include us since we had no reservation with them. So we hit the taxi stand. We told the dispatcher there that we wanted to go to the Marriott Courtyard Hotel. He quoted us the price for going to downtown Quebec City. Since we knew no better, we said okay and he called a cab. The driver again asked us where we were going and we told him the Marriott Courtyard. He said 'Which One?', and we were stymied. We thought there was only one, and had no address for it. He claimed there were two and took us to the one downtown. Well, the one downtown was NOT a Courtyard, and was twice the fare it would have cost to get to the 'Courtyard'. So we had to call another cab and pay another fare. Grrrrrr.
Checkin the next day was less than perfect--no priority boarding, long lines, and at least one less than friendly cattle herder. However, room was good, dining and wait staff were good, and room attendant was good.
Now we get to the really rude awakening: Happy Hour-4:30pm-8pm. This spring we had sailed on the Brilliance on a repositioning cruise from Tampa to Amsterdam. They, like Adventure on this cruise, had a HUGE percentage of Diamond and above cruisers (who but us old geezers and rich whippersnappers have the time for a repositioning cruise?) Unlike Adventure, they had prepared for it. The staff on Brilliance turned their largest 'ballroom' area into a diamond lounge, with a different theme and entertainment every night. We were happy, and the non-diamond passengers were happy because the other bars weren't packed with us monopolizing them for drinks off our allotted 3 a night. Everyone had a relaxing, pleasant voyage. In contrast, on Adventure the 43-seat diamond lounge was FULL from breakfast through 8 pm. The Viking Crown was almost as bad. If you weren't in a seat there by 2:30 pm, you could forget Happy Hour. For us, it isn't just about drinks. This is our socializing time. We enjoy talking to other couples. The ones we meet at Happy Hour have experiences similar to ours. It is easy to start a conversation and one thing leads to another--we have had some really good times in the Diamond Lounge on other cruises, including on Adventure. Sometimes the free drinks we get are Cokes--we're too old for sustained booze. Unlike Brilliance, this time the experience on Adventure was more like Mayhem. It was packed. If you got there at 2:30 so you actually had a seat, it was hard to carry on a conversation with all the people standing around your chair waiting for you to vacate it. The crew appeared powerless to change anything. Their 'fix' for 13 nights of mayhem was a final night show and buffet--both of which were so crowded you couldn't see the show or get to the buffet. Adventure and RCI, you need to do better--MUCH better!
Now for the good stuff! The absolute best part of the cruise was the carriage ride in Acadia National Park. After a whole lot of rain and cold, we lucked out and got sunshine and mild temps for our excursion. The draft horses that pulled our 8-passenger wagon were Moses and Molly. It was an hour of absolutely gorgeous fall colors, trees, a driver who carried on a leisurely and intelligent commentary--more like a conversation--with us, stops to watch deer, and just a wonderful time enjoying the world we're blessed with. It was one of those experiences I'll have a hard time ever repeating. Take a look at the picture I'm attaching and you'll get some idea of what I mean.
The other really good excursion was to the Anne of Green Gables House. If you've read any of Maude Montgomery's books, you'll really enjoy this one. If you haven't--at least take the walking trails. They are really worth doing. When we were there, it was a slow, dripping rain. We went through the house first. Best thing there was seeing the cupboard where 'the raspberry cordial' was kept. You have to read the book to appreciate it. After heading outside, we took the 'Lover's Leap' path. It was beautiful, and brought back memories of Montgomery's descriptions of where the children played. There were trees, a brook, a bridge across it, and steps leading upward. Definitely a fun adventure. Well, by this time we were soaked, our time to meet the bus was near, and although I wanted to do the other path, I had to go. Hope there's a next time! I'll try to add the picture I took on the path to my uploads.
Adventure is a good ship. She has some really good folks in her crew. This was our fourth cruise on her and we enjoyed them all. Captain Szynkarczuk appeared to be very professional, and concerned only with the operation and command of his vessel--a very good thing, considering we had some stormy weather on the cruise, an unscheduled return to port for medical reasons, and some ticklish navigational situations. My impression is that he is a bit uncomfortable around passengers. He could stand to unbend just a bit. We're really not a bad lot. If you haven't taken this cruise, do it. I'm sure RCI will fix the Diamond Lounge problem, and all the Canadian and New England ports are well worth it. I just may go again myself. I want to walk that other path on PEI and take the longer carriage ride at Acadia. See you onboard!
I liked this stateroom. I liked the couch arrangement, the open feeling having the promenade window gave it, and being able to sit with my feet up and people watch. It was well-kept, and although the mattress was hard, a few words with the attendant fixed that.