Our first and only previous cruise was on the Oasis two years ago to N. Caribbean. Loved the Oasis but not the overall experience and therefore had not planned on taking another cruise, however a friend talked us into this trip based on ... Read More
Our first and only previous cruise was on the Oasis two years ago to N. Caribbean. Loved the Oasis but not the overall experience and therefore had not planned on taking another cruise, however a friend talked us into this trip based on the ports of call. What my wife really liked was a different stop each day and only one day at sea, thus she was sold on the Adventure of the Seas cruise to the S. Caribbean.
Ports of call on this trip:
St Maarten - we did the beach excursion booked through RC ($51US/pp). It wasn't too far from the ship and gave the chance to see some of the Island. Tour operator stated they typically went to the French side, but due to the hurricane damage staying on British side. Didn't really like all the beach vendors (peddling massages and hair braiding) but the food at The Green House was good (included in cost)! Recommend the shrimp sandwich. The beach was nice but you only stay for a couple of hours. Overall didn't see any natural wonders, or anything else there, I wanted to go back for and there is still a great deal of devastation from the 2017 hurricane season. If you have the RC drink package, don't forget to get your bottled water before you leave the ship.
St Kitts/Nevis - We did the train ride around St Kitts booked through RC ($87US/pp). We liked the experience and people were friendly. It was educational and picturesque. The start was not far from the ship. The train takes you out and around (2/3 of the island) and they bus you back (sightseeing the remaining 1/3 of the island). The tour was only a few hours so we were less than thrilled that we didn’t have the option to stop at Fort Brimstone – it was disheartening that we drove right by it with no option to view unless we went all the way back to Port and took a cab all the way back to the Fort. Due to traffic and distance we didn't feel like had time to go back. RC makes it clear that if you are not back in time you will be left behind … unless you booked excursion though RC. That being said, we were late departing each day waiting for a couple stragglers. Never more then 30 minutes.
Antigua - Originally didn't have anything booked for this port but decided to go for an adventure and did the 4x4 experience booked through RC (approx. $149US/pp). The most fun we had on the whole trip! The tour was walking distance from the ship and we drove out from there. Spent 1/3 driving on “off-roads”, 2/3 driving on normal roads and hit an amazing beach on way back ... awesome! Wish they gave us more time at the beach but I get it, time on machine is money. The off-road portion really isn't "off road" as it is an old somewhat abandoned road, but it was bumpy, dusty, and rainforest, so regardless it was fun and would recommend. It was approximately 4 hours. An island we would go back to.
St Lucia - Segway experience booked through RC ($102US/pp). The worst experience of the trip! We’d previously gone to St Lucia for an all-inclusive week and loved it (recommend the catamaran tours to the Pitons and also horse riding on the beach). Traffic on St Lucia can be horrible though which ruined this experience-too many cars in a small space with narrow roads. I go on vacation to escape our traffic and the last thing I want to do is sit in island traffic!? It was supposed to be a 5 1/2-hour experience with sightseeing and beach time. We spent the first 40 minutes standing and waiting to leave the port. The next 90 minutes was spent in traffic and "sightseeing" around St Lucia in neighborhoods. Sightseeing really was just a guise for wasting time until the first group got done on the Segway machines. Seriously, you know it's bad when they drive you by the waste treatment plant and point it out as a sightseeing “feature”? Actual Segway time was only 45 minutes. Important to note the Segway ride was not on flat streets but was instead on uneven mountain backroads, which were at times very steep. Some pretty views though. Basically, the group size sold by RC for the tour was just too big (40 people split into two groups of 20 each) to provide a fun experience. When we finally got on the Segway all we saw of St Lucia was an old US naval base road that ended at the beach. Not that exciting. The beach was crowed and just ok, we opted to not even go in the water as we would have needed to pay for a chair and umbrella. I have no desire to go back St Lucia again.
Barbados - Wanted to see Harrison cave but waited too long to book through RC as it was sold out two days before we got there. So mental note, book early if want to book through RC. Instead we took a chance and dis-embarked early and got a cab to take us to Harrison Caves for $25 round trip/pp (which also meant he would wait for us there and take us back for this amount!). We got there before tour busses and got right in! Tickets to cave were about $30/ea. Basically saved about 50% by going out on our own as it would have cost double that through RC. The cave is cool and worth the trip, but very Disney like (trams, lighting). It took about an hour for the drive to the caves. Neil, our cab driver, was great. We negotiated a deal with him that instead of $25/pp just for the caves (there were 4 of us so = $100), we’d do a deal for $250/group (included our trip to Harrison Cave) to be our personal guide for the day, returning us to the ship 1 hour before our call time. He then also took us to bar at the highest point on the island with an incredible view, took us to a lovely old church, and then took us to the beach. He left us there for a couple hours and then came back to pick us up and take back to ship. It was an awesome, fun day. The sands of Barbados are particularly feet friendly – flat (no sudden drop offs) and the water was warm.
Boarding the ship in San Juan at the start of the cruise was relatively painless. We arrived a day early to avoid the nerves of delayed flights and missing the cruise. Four of us took a cab from our hotel for about $25 (hotel was next to airport) which seems like a lot, however we were comfortable paying it considering gas costs are so high (still a lot of devastation and logistical issues for PR due to the 2017 Hurricane season). The line to get luggage dropped off and then check in to the ship was long but moved fast. We packed two bags, a large bag for the majority of our clothes and a smaller carry on with our essentials. The large bag is checked in with RC (don’t forget to put your room tags on prior to leaving your house/hotel) at the port and dropped off outside your room sometime after departure. The delivery of the luggage can be late in the evening, so advise to always have the carry on with you (or a small bag) with swimsuits, lotions, dinner clothes, medication, etc.
Ship Accommodations - We had a balcony stateroom. It was nice and all as expected as recently refurbished so carpet and bedding are new. You get a small fridge and a hair dryer. There are only two US style outlets to plug stuff in. There is one European style outlet if smart enough to remember to bring along an adaptor. There is an outlet in the ceiling of the bathroom mirror for electric razors only. The bed is tall enough to hide your bags underneath should you choose. If you have lots of hanging clothes, then be sure to bring your own hangers as RC only provides about a dozen. My wife and I found the storage adequate for all our clothes. The shower is very small, so be warned. A friend who is 6’ tall and about 250 lbs found it very difficult to shower comfortably, and he banged the shower walls A LOT! Bathroom is very small…If you are talented you can rest your head on the sink counter while doing your business (careful, don’t fall asleep!). There is a general smell to all the toilets (I believe it’s in the overall plumbing system itself) of urine…rather like a litter box. Prior to our week on the seas there were a great many reviews by passengers saying the toilets backed up all over the ship – for our trip we noticed the captain and crew made mention many, many times that ONLY toilet paper can go down the tubes, so I assume that in the last month there were several attempts to flush non-biodegradables by passengers which caused RC a lot of money and headaches. The bed seemed somewhat European … meaning a bit hard for my tastes. I woke up everyday with some back pain. There is a TV and small desk. Don’t expect to get a great selection of TV shows. The Air conditioning worked well.
Food – We ate with our friends at the Main dining room every night for dinner. Yes, we are one of those cheap people who feel if I’ve already paid for it, why eat somewhere else? The service is great, and the wait staff really does learn your habits quickly. Our friends are big diet coke people and the waiter had a big glass waiting for them by the 3rd night. My wife and I are wine drinkers (yes, we purchased the alcohol package at buy one get one half off) and they had our wine ready as well. They keep it coming, none of us went thirsty. I personally found the menu got boring though by night 4. There were 3-4 items that were always the same and 3-4 different items a night. Always some kind of steak and fish. Lobster tail was extra ($) except for one night when it was included (ps. You can ask for more of whatever, even on lobster night). They are very good about making changes and accommodating your special requests. If you want something, just ask for it (extra fruit, plate of steamed broccoli… you can even get dessert first Read Less