My wife and I have traveled quite a bit over the past 20 years, but as far as cruises go, this was only our third one, and first with Royal Caribbean. For us choosing a cruise meant departing from San Juan, so our choices of ships was ... Read More
My wife and I have traveled quite a bit over the past 20 years, but as far as cruises go, this was only our third one, and first with Royal Caribbean. For us choosing a cruise meant departing from San Juan, so our choices of ships was much more limited than most. And also my wife was off work for 1 year due to cancer, and the only time we could even think about leaving on vacation was the beginning of April 2015.
So this led us to booking a 1 week cruise on Adventure of the Seas. I booked the cruise back at the end of January 2015, and it was to be a complete surprise to my dear wife. It was to be a celebration of our 16th wedding anniversary, and her 1st anniversary of beating out cancer. But when she started talking about going away to NYC on Easter weekend... darn, I had to spill the beans.
(5 stars) We left Canada two days before the cruise, and wanted to spend some time in San Juan and get into the vacation spirit before embarkation. My son have been on a cruise in Jan 2015 from San Juan and we had originally booked the same hotel in the Condado area, but after talking with him we cancelled and decided it was to be Old San Juan for us. So we booked at The Gallery Inn, a small 22 room hotel in which the buildings are several hundred years old. The building is original to say the least. Even our room had no real windows (the windows were cut out on the two large wooden doors). There was no TV in the room, and that was perfect for us. It was very beautifully decorated, very old style furniture, and definitely no the Four Seasons, but that is exactly what makes the charm of the place. The owner and staff were wonderful and met our every need. I would definitely stay here again.
(4.5 stars) On Sunday we were to board around 2h30 pm (deck 9). We took a taxi out of Old San Juan (not an easy thing to do, especially on Easter Sunday as there was a lot of traffic). When we got to the Pan American pier there was quite a few people in line, and it was a bit difficult to figure out what we had to do, and we here to get in line. However I can say that the check-in process was really quick, and within 30-40 minutes we had out Set Sail passes and were on-board the ship.
We knew this was not one of the newer ships that are out there, but that did not stop us from booking. The ship is still larger than the ones we had on our last two cruises. It is a lot less glitzsy that the cruise we took with Carnival, which kind of resembled a disco. Although the decor is sombre, it gave us the feeling of being on a more luxurious ship (I know, that is all in our head.. lol).
We were on deck 9, Cabin 9640 and it was real nice, and we loved it. No complaints from us. Everything was spacious, everything worked as it should and we just loved it. The balcony was great, and we had breakfast on it 3 mornings, and each day around 5 pm we would sit outside and just enjoy the sounds of the seas.
Our cabin steward was there for our every request and was very attentive to our needs. However to be fair we did not call upon him too often, being as independent as we both are. Service in the bars, restaurant and other areas was top notch.
We did not take any shore excursions with Royal Caribbean. We are very independent, and we booked our own tours, or taxi service on all of the islands we visited. We rented a car at St. Maarten for the day, having been there previously on two other vacations. I will not go into any details of our excursions, as the review would never end).
The few shows we got to see were very good. We did not see shows every night because on a couple of occasions we met some very interesting people from San Juan at the dining room, and we just stayed on longer to exchange conversations. To us, that was much more interesting than any show (although don't get me wrong, shows are great).
We did not visit the casino, as we just don,t believe in giving our money away. We have the government taking care of it already.. haha!!
We did visit the disco (Jester's) on a few occasions and had a great time, but more often that not we ended up in one of the ships bars (Schooner, Champagne, Lobby, Crown) and had drinks, met people, talked to staff and just had a ball. We never did get to sleep before 1 am most nights, except for the one night I did not feel well, having taken too much sun in St Martin. Adella (and Navil?) in the Schooner Bar were superb.. two thumbs up for their service and friendly company.
We did other stuff on the ship, but it would be just too long to write, and we did not doing anything out of the ordinary, that other folks have not done before.
(Food 5 stars, Service 4 stars, Facilities 3 stars) We had the My-time dining in the Mozart dining room on Deck 5. This was probably the only negative thing about our cruise. Royal Caribbean really needs to work out their My-Time dining as we did have to wait 30-40 minutes on a few nights. And we had reserved out dining times! The non-reserved line was going in much quicker. It was really not the attendants fault, as she was doing her best to ensure we were serviced asap. I think they just have an issue when a lot of people show up (and we were never more than 8-10 in line). On the other nights it was very smooth..
Food was excellent, and our servers (Albino and Julio) were always doing their best to give us their recommendations for the meals. Even if we chose something else, they would bring us a small plate with extra food for us to taste. They were great, no negative comments here, except on busy nights it was a bit slower than usual. But, hey, we were on vacation. No issues for us.
One thing that really bothered me was the lack of sufficient air conditioning in the Mozart Dining Room. It would have been much more pleasant had it been a few degrees cooler, and with some better air circulation. It was very very hot dressed up in a tuxedo.
Giovanni's was superb. It was our 16th wedding anniversary, and even though we had the ultimate drink package I ordered a very nice bottle of Champagne (Perrier-Jouet) and our meal was divine. Our server was Narcisso and he was the best. 5 stars to him, the food and the atmosphere that night.
We did see a few shows as mentioned earlier. And we spent a few nights at Schooner's Bar, when they had a piano player who had a pretty bad voice at times. Even he said he did not know why he was hired, and I agreed with that. But he also was comical, and would get people to come up and sing and participate in the songs. We sang so many songs, that we ended up having a ball. It ended up being a great place to spend a few hours each night.
(5 stars) We had taken the ultimate drink package, so there was nothing for us to worry about each day. just order a drink, and ask for some premium alcohol, which we always got, and in generous portions too. The drinks were great, the service was great.
(5 stars) Given we got a $200 credit for on-board spending, the wife and I took the full photo package (photos and CD). Wow, the photos were amazing, and we had over 75 pics taken during the cruise. They don't just take one photo of you when you meet them, they take 5-6 at a time, in different poses. We even had some laying on the ground on Deck 3 at the photo studio. I had brought along two tuxedos (one black, one white) and another suit, and the wife was beautiful in her dresses. This was the best move we did (along with beverage package) of the cruise.
(5 stars) For us on our last two cruises this portion of the cruise was a real nightmare. We had originally been scheduled to disembark at 8h00 but since we were staying an extra night in San Juan, I asked to have it changed to 11h00. Customer Services was very easy, and it was changed in a matter of seconds. When we arrived at our meeting place (Studio B on Deck 3) at a few minutes to 11 we were told there was a 45-50 minute delay. No issues, we'll just grab a coffee and get a seat. Well we never had time to finish our coffee, we were called to leave, and at about 11h25 we were sitting in a taxi cab with our luggage on our way to our hotel. We actually disembarked earlier than was scheduled.
I was very hesitant to take this cruise. Some of the other reviewers did not always have great comments on the overall ship and service. But for us this was definitely the best cruise we took so far (yeah, I know we only took 3). The cruise is what you make of it, and we always bear in mind that we are on vacation... so why run when you can walk and enjoy the scenery. We loved this cruise, and would definitely do another one with Royal Caribbean. We cannot compare it to the new, bigger ships however. But when I look at our 3 cruises... I can say each had it's better things than the other, but overall they were all great. We loved everything we did (and did not do)... so for us 5 stars for the cruise.
We loved it so much, we are now looking for another cruise to take. We have some friends who said they would like us to go with them, as the idea of cruising makes them nervous. So who knows, maybe this fall or next winter. Next winter for sure, if not sooner. Read Less