Adventure of the Seas Cruise Review by ebmedic
- Sail Date: March 2010
- Destination: Southern Caribbean
Arriving at 1:00, there was already a long line outside the cruise terminal. We knew this would be pushing their opening time, but didn't have any interest in wandering around San Juan. We spent 15 minutes in line to drop off our bags then moved to another line. At that point we realized there was a separate drop off point for platinum and above member bags. However, there was only one line into the terminal. It was very hot outside. I was impressed to see staff from the ship handing out cups of cold water. You could buy bottled water from an enterprising baggage handler if you wanted. After close to an hour in line, we entered the terminal. From there things moved rapidly. We went to the platinum line and were at the counter within a couple minutes. It was then only a matter of walking up the ramps to the ship (with requisite boarding photo).
My wife purchased her endless coke cup right inside the ship then went to our stateroom. The room was typical of balcony cabin. Everything was clean and in good condition. Bathroom larger than expected. As we explored the ship we found everything sparkling and clean. Luggage arrived within a couple hours. Didn't meet our stateroom attendant until the next day, but we are low maintenance, so didn't really care. Lifeboat drill was new experience. No life jackets required! We stayed inside for the briefing.
Our traditional 1st lunch at the Windjammer was a surprise. The layout is different from the smaller ships. The best way to describe it is a large triangle with a serving line on each side. Most items could be found on each side, but the grill (burgers, omelettes, etc) were on the far side. Despite coaching from the greeter, many folks stopped at the first line creating a logjam. We found that going to the back side was usually the shortest wait. There was a small bar back there for sodas and alcohol. Four stations had tea, lemonade, coffee, etc. Seating was crowded. After the first meal we expected to always share a table. Great way to meet folks. Staff kept the tables cleared, but we rarelly were offered refills on our drinks (very different from Serenade, Splendour and Jewel). There just were too many guests and too few workers. Food was typical buffet fare. Not all great, but if someone went hungry it was their own fault. We opted to eat as often as possible in the main dining room just to be more relaxed.
Main dining room food was good for breakfast and lunch. Wait staff did a great job. Again, nice way to meet folks. Our evening meals were up and down. Some dishes was great while others clearly had been on the plate too long. There was never a problem with ordering something else if there was a problem. Curiously, when our tablemates complained about the escargot being too salty, they got a special plate the next night. Our waiter did ok. Had better and worse. His assistant was on his 2nd week, so was a bit rough. Tried hard though. He clearly understood that bread and pepper were his task! Head waiter dropped by a couple times. In 6 cruises have only seen a couple of those guys really engaged with their customers. Our only complaint was the dinner (2nd seating) dragged on forever. I suspect it was because our tablemates (and us a couple times) ordered multiples of each course. The waiter only brought one at a time. Until all appetizers were gone, no entree, then desserts, etc. This may have accounted for some of the food quality too.
We didn't go to any shows other than the ice show. Waited 30 minutes to get tickets early in the trip. Showed up 20 minutes early for show with plenty of seats. The program was really good. Visited a few bars over the trip. Nothing special to report. Staff friendly and plenty of booze for those so inclined. Wife had no delays getting her cokes filled once bartenders realized she tipped a buck for refills (not required, just something she likes to do). Fun people-watching on the promenade deck. Pools were typical. Lots of people. Chair availability varied by time of day. Had to check out towels with sea pass card.
Ports--In general getting on and off was smooth. Seldom long lines. We took excursions we privately booked. We seldom pay much more and have much better experiences with smaller groups.
Aruba--Snorkeled on sailboat Tranquilo. About a dozen folks. Sailed a couple hours, snorkeled a couple, ate lunch onboard then sailed back. Good snorkeling. Plenty to drink. The mate served as many sodas, beer, etc as you wanted. Interesting lunch including Dutch pea soup that the operator retrieved from his mother on shore using the dingy. I highly recommend this company for a relaxing day away. (Booked directly with vendor)
Curacao--Wandered the port on our own. Interesting sights and shopping.
Dominica--Wow! Beautiful island that isn't commercialized like the others. Took a tour to the rainforest tram and Titou Gorge. Both were great experiences. The rainforest was an unexpected surprise. Wonderful views. Titou Gorge involved wading & swimming up a gorge to a small waterfall. We were the only two on the tour, so got lots of attention from our guide. After the tour, shopped at bit with vendors next to the pier. Men--$2 beers right out of the cooler at several booths makes shopping much more enjoyable for everyone. Wish it would catch on in America. (Booked thru Shoretrips)
St.Thomas--We had been here before so opted for an all day sail. Booked a trip on the Winifred, a 40 ft mahogany sailboat. This was an incredible excursion! Aside from the two boat owner-operators, only one other couple was onboard. We sailed to Caneel Bay on St Johns. There we snorkeled twice and ate a great lunch. Of note, one of our hosts swam with us pointing out various fish and underwater sights. Better snorkeling gear than found on larger tours. By far this was the best day sail we've ever taken. This trip is a must do for couples or small groups (6 max) who want to get away from everything for a day. You can book directly with Winifred Charters.
All good things come to an end. Disemarking procedures have changed significantly. You could stay in your room until time for your group to depart instead of being jammed into the theater. Literally, late flyers could stay in bed until after 9! We reported to the ice theater around 1030. They were a bit behind, but soon announced for everyone to follow their guide off the ship. As we were in the last group, bags were easy to find, and customs had no line. Walked right up to a cab, then on to the airport.
At the airport, reality set in. Huge lines and short tempers. Our flight was at 3:30, so we just took it in stride until getting to the gates. At that point we entered real chaos. Every gate was packed to standing room only. We found two seats together 10 gates away from ours. We didn't experience this on a Sunday flight last year, so not sure if this was just Saturdays or typical on cruise days. Just huddled in our seats with a book and waited.
Overall Adventure of the Seas was as good as we expected from RCL. Good service, friendly staff and well maintained. Food average. Plenty to do for whatever your interest onboard. Some places very crowded, but have yet to find a ship with empty elevators. A note on the commments from other posts-there was a high percentage of Peurto Rican guests. Lots of Europeans too. We noticed no troubles different from any other trip. Family/friend groups speaking another language stood out, and some groups were pushy. Then again I saw plenty of loud English speakers and folks who couldn't figure out they had to make room for others on the elevators. We had more issues with the airport than our fellow cruisers.
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