Adventure of the Seas Cruise Review by Gatorj
- Sail Date: February 2010
- Destination: Southern Caribbean
We flew into San Juan on Saturday and stayed at the Intercontinental. Yes the drinks and food are expensive. It's a 4 star resort, what do you expect? The pool bar / restaurant is a great atmosphere to hang out before dinner and while waiting for your fellow Cruise Critic members and friends to arrive. The casino was fairly busy at 11pm, but don't know how "loose" it is as we did not play. Had dinner at the Metropol restaurant, just a short walk from the hotel. Food was fantastic.
Embarkation. Smooth as can be. We arrived at the port around 11:30 and were on the ship by 12:15. The line moves very quickly and they seem to be very efficient. Hand your luggage over, move through the metal detector, sign your sail card, and on to the ship. If you get there early, the ship is practically deserted until mid-afternoon. It's a great way to tour the ship without any crowds. Lunch was typical day-1 buffet.
The Ship: For a 10 year old ship, it is in fantastic condition. The brass was shining, the carpets were clean, and there were no maintenance issues that we could see. We've sailed NCL, Celebrity, and Carnival, and this was by far our favorite SHIP. If you can get bored on this ship, you must be catatonic.
Cabin: We had a promenade view stateroom, and were so-so with it. We are used to at least minisuites, and the first thing we noticed was a severe lack of storage. Now granted, this could be because we are used to lager rooms, but we literally had to turn both couches into storage shelves. Most others we spoke to did the same thing. The cabin was sparkling clean, and our stateroom attendant did a fantastic job and always ensured the room was clean. We had no issues other than the size of the cabin. One note here; there are 2 sets of shades on the inside windows. If you only have the sheer shade pulled, cabins across the promenade from you CAN see in (as one of our friend's wife found out the hard way).
Activities: We like to participate. Basketball tournament? Gold medal. Pool volleyball? Gold medal. Miss Biceps? Gold medal. The Quest? Gold medal. We play all the activities and have a blast doing it. We had a group of six of us, and walked away with no less than 10 combined medals. The trivia games were fun, however half the time we could barely understand the host due to very strong Spanish accents. Karaoke was fun, when the English speaking crowd was present. Other times it seemed like Spanish Idol. We were not impressed with the way fellow cruisers (the Latin ones) would bum-rush the karaoke books as soon as they walked in and immediately sign up for 20 songs. It was also quite disappointing how the Cruise Director's staff seemed to cater to the Spanish speaking crowd much more so than the English speaking crowd. This was the first cruise we have taken where every single member of the Cruise Director's staff was primarily Spanish speaking.
Cruise Director and Staff: I feel I need to call this out separately because this is the one area where we were sorely disappointed in this cruise. First of all, Mercedes LaFuentes has to be one of the most fake Cruise Directors I have ever encountered. Every interaction with her was strained, and she genuinely seemed to detest having to interact with the English speaking crowd. Her English is not great, and the way she acted was unacceptable for a Cruise Director. Her staff was friendly, but somewhat standoffish. Overall, we were completely unimpressed with this aspect, to the point that we would reconsider a future cruise if Mercedes was the Cruise Director.
Other Passengers: While there were locals from Puerto Rico onboard, we did not see much of the rudeness that other reviewers have noted, except for during the Karaoke. Never encountered issues in the Windjammer, or waiting in any other lines. Most passengers were 40-50 years old, and there were not many kids on this cruise.
Food: We were impressed. As mainly NCL cruisers, we are used to visiting the specialty restaurants to get the quality of food that was served in the main dining room. We had my-time dining, and were able to sit at the same table with the same waiter every night. Lucilo, you were fantastic! The quantity was right, the quality was right, and if you have problems with the food on this ship, you either don't eat much anyway, or simply need to bring your McDonald's onboard with you. The prime rib (2 nights) was succulent, the lobster (1 night) was cooked correctly, and the lamb dishes some of the best I have had outside NYC. Portofino's was a cut above that. Simply fabulous food. Try the flourless chocolate cake. Talk about food coma.
Ports of Call: Aruba, Curacao, Dominica, St. Thomas. Aruba was a beach day. Take a cab to Moomba Beach club and chill out. Curacao had a private tour for 6 with Curacao Actief. Fantastic, if not totally dusty. Well worth it. Check them out. Dominica took a private tour with Reyno to Trafalger Falls, and the Emerald Pool. Don't forget Mr. Nice's fruit stand. St. Thomas just off the ship for a little shopping and then back onboard to enjoy the empty pool deck.
Random thoughts: This was a fun cruise, made even more so by our friends that went with us. We made new friends, and had a great time. The show's were so-so, and not up to the standard of NCL (which was surprising). The piano bar performer, Mike McCabe was really good, and very interactive. Overall, this ranked in the top-2 cruises we have ever taken. Special shout out to our Cruise Critic Meet and Minge friends and our Quest partners. You all know who you are. Go Gators!
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