Well guys, I'm back from AOS 2/17-2/24 sailing! What more can I say.......it was AWESOME. Like the commercial says, "It is way more than a cruise". We had never sailed on a Voyager class ship and it was incredible. It ... Read More
Well guys, I'm back from AOS 2/17-2/24 sailing! What more can I say.......it was AWESOME. Like the commercial says, "It is way more than a cruise". We had never sailed on a Voyager class ship and it was incredible. It took cruising to a new level and I don't know how I'll be able to sail on any ship that lacks all of the amenities found on the Adventure. I jotted down journal notes from each day, because there is so much to do. I knew I would forget to tell you something. I'll warn you in advance this will be very long, so just skip around to the subheadings that interest you. Here goes... PRE-CRUISE - 2/14 I'll start with the plane ride, only because we flew first class! This was my first time flying 1st class and it was terrific. We were served a 3-4 course meal. Flounder stuffed w/ shrimp and salmon over a bed of rice and veggies. It was delicious. I didn't even realize that dining was so fine on an aircraft. Each reclining chair had its own private television that mounted to the arm. It was equipped so that each person could watch one of six different movies simultaneously. The trip was off to an AWESOME start. There were no problems on the SJ airport, at least not when we entered SJ. Our luggage came within 10 minutes and we snatched a cab ($8 and roughly a ten minute drive) to the Caribe Hilton. We explored the hotel, the common areas are nice, with a definite Caribbean influence to them. The rooms were just adequate though. I've definitely stayed in nicer hotels. I've heard that the hotel was recently remodeled but I think they skipped the bedrooms. I really liked our bathroom though, double sinks, separate shower, vanity area etc. The pool was also really nice. Anyway we got settled and then walked about 2 miles into Condado for dinner. We ate at Chili's Grill & Bar which was almost directly across the street from Condado Plaza Hotel and Casino (by the way, a very nice hotel). 2/15 We ate breakfast at Las Palmeras inside of Caribe. Prices ranged from $10-$25 and it was edible, not good. We rented a car right across the street ($25-$45 per day + $12 insurance). Two tips for future travelers, if you pay by credit card there is no extra charge for insurance (Some agents won't volunteer that information) and get there early to have your choice of rentals. The hotel excursions were overpriced (just my opinion, they wanted $45pp for El Yunque). We found it to be far cheaper to do it on your own, especially if you have more than 2 people. Most of the major attractions are really easy to find and Caribe will give you very accurate directions anywhere you need to go in PR. First stop, El Yunque Rainforest (no charge for admission). We didn't get lost and the ride took nearly 45 minutes. El Yunque was very beautiful. There are several trails you can take, ranging from 10-minute hikes to 2 hour hikes. The waterfalls are nice and there are miles and miles of lush flowers trees and plants. Several lookout points offered panoramic views of San Juan. It was definitely a place worth visiting. I took a ton of pictures. Next, we tried to find the dock for the ferry that takes you to bioluminescent bay. This is where we got lost. We were coming from a different direction, so the hotel directions were hard to follow. It was a little nerve wracking. I speak a little Spanish and my mother speaks none. I tried to get directions but I learned quickly that the further you get away from San Juan, the fewer people you find who speak fluent English. We drove past Luquillo Beach it seemed very nice. It was getting late, so we decided not to stay. We wanted to eat at the Ajili Mojili restaurant, it generates rave reviews, however, it was booked for the entire weekend (make reservations early). Instead we did what any two American women would do in this situation......we went to the mall. Plazas Las Americas Mall, it was very nice. I helped improve the economy with my spending. I found some nice buys, but I guess it would depend on what you are shopping for. Most of the mall had the traditional department/anchor stores etc, however, there were some alternative stores. If you are into eclectic, contemporary arts and crafts you will enjoy some of the places here. I sure did. 2/16 We were really exhausted so we overslept. It was late morning by the time we got ready so we grabbed a quick drive-through breakfast from McDonalds (couldn't find an IHOP'S). Next we headed into downtown San Juan. We drove just to take pictures and tour the "new San Juan" area then we spent the rest of the day in "Old San Juan". We saw the massive Radiance of the Seas and I believe the Celebrity Galaxy. Boy, the Radiance is a beautiful ship. Anyway, we did some of the walking tour through Old San Juan, but we got bored. If you are a history/military-type buffs you will enjoy this. Like I said, we were bored. We went to San Cristobal, Christos, La Plazuela and a few others. After a few sites we got the general idea and were ready to shop. Fortunately for us, Old San Juan is also rich in quaint stores and boutiques. We ate dinner in a wonderful restaurant. I repeat W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L. It was near hotel El Convento. It was called El Picoteo. I had empadillas for an appetizer and garlic shrimp for the main entrEe. My mom had an exceptional salad and lamb chops (I tasted all of her meals for proof ). Afterwards, we headed back to the mall to finish the right wing (it is a very large mall). We also decided to take in a movie - A Beautiful Mind (Yes, the movies are in English, with Spanish captioning at the bottom). 2/17 Finally, the day we were waiting for arrived. We checked out of the hotel and returned the rental car. One interesting thing, gas is sold by the liter not by the gallon. At first my jaw dropped when I saw 26.5. I thought, gee I know we are in a recession but dang! I don't know what kind of conversion factor the used but ¾'s of a tank cost approximately $8-10. Anyhow, we took a cab to the Pan American pier ($10 total, roughly a ten minute drive). It is a different pier than the one used by most of the ships. Somehow I was under the impression that the new pier was across, on the other side of the island, meaning the other side of Puerto Rico. It is on the other side but not of the entire island, just the little canal area. You are able to see all of the ships in port, so it isn't much further than the other docks. Embarkation We arrived at the pier at 11:00 am. The porters were on lunch break (literally) so there was no one to help with the bags. There were maybe 8 people there at the time. We met a wonderful family from New York, they quickly became our cruise buddies that we ran into 4-5 times daily once aboard. I amazed us how, even on a ship so large, we could run into the same people again and again. By 11:30 an RCL representative emerged and began to collect our luggage. We were then led into "the room". You know that room that has rows and rows of plastic white chairs. I met my first Cruise Critic [member] there, Lois and her husband spotted us and came over for an intro. We sat for maybe 5-10 minutes and then they began the "check-in" process. It took all of ten minutes. We were the third family to board, on slightly before noon. Please - get there early. Before we even entered "the room" the lines were already down the side of the building. Save yourself the hassle. All Aboard We got on board and it was- "Wow". The ship is beautiful, incredible, innovative etc.etc. It was definitely the nicest ship either of us have ever sailed on. The thing that continued to strike me was that, it was so well thought out...down to the very last detail. We went to check out our cabin and set our things down. Once again the small details stood out to me. The carpet in the halls was very plush, I'm talking foot-sinking plush. Paintings and sculptures were everywhere. We got to our room and we were impressed. This was our first inside cabin. I thought I'd really miss the window and feel closed in, but it wasn't bad. The room was decorated in pastels and we had a little sleeper loveseat. Our cabin attendant came by and greeted us, he wasn't finished straightening our room. We set our things down and figured we'd give him some time. Besides it gave us the opportunity to indulge in the most important aspect of cruising....the eating. We headed up to the Windjammer (the only place open) and there was a yummy buffet waiting for us. I sampled a little bit of everything. There were pastas hot and cold, salads, fruits, sandwiches, chicken, fish, combination items, P-A-E-L-L-A, and of course, deserts. These were the standard types of foods offered in the Windjammer. One of my favorite cruise traditions is to go and explore the ship taking pictures. After eating, we returned to the room for more film, SURPRISE - OUR LUGGAGE was waiting for us. I'll say it again, guys- GET THERE EARLY! I've NEVER received luggage so timely before. So we were off to explore. I won't go into detail about each of the various rooms aboard and their locations (this is long enough review already). Besides, so many have already done an exceptional job with that. I will point out some of the things that stood out to me that I haven't heard mentioned before. -A good portion of the ship is non-smoking. The casino has a "non- smoking section, as do several of the lounges etc. By the time they finished listing all of the sections where smokers couldn't smoke, I began to wonder what was left for them. I was grateful though because I didn't have to fan away the smoke everywhere I went. -There is a light switch by the bed. No more getting up to turn off the overhead light. -There were reading lamps/wall sconces above each bed. This enabled you to read without disturbing your other sleeping cabin mates. -There was more than adequate storage space. I'm talking mirrors that hid storage cabinets, shelves, drawers, nightstands and even enough space under the bed to store suitcases. I can't remember who but someone asked about the number of hangers - there were 20. -There was a curtain to separate the sitting area from the twin beds. This could really come in handy for families that share the same cabin. -There was a full-length mirror. Maybe this is a woman thing, but when I get dressed I like to see my floor length image. So ladies, get ready you can see your entire outfit, from your hat to your shoes. -Finally, my favorite the bathroom. I know this will probably sound a little bourgeoisie, but I'm normally repulsed by the bathrooms on ships. As soon as I go in, I'm struck by that feeling, let me get in and out of here ASAP and I don't want to touch anything . The bathrooms on the Adventure don't give you that feeling at all. Starting with the showers! Goodbye shower curtains that stick to you and make your skin crawl, hellooooooo sliding plexi-glass doors. This was a welcome change! There was nothing spectacular about the bathroom, I guess it was just the combination of the newness and the bright dEcor that made you feel at home. Before the day was over we took in a little miniature golf, ping pong, Ms. Pac-Man, lounging in the "adults only" Solarium, the sail-away party, dancing at Jester's and I donated a whopping $5 to the nickel slots. There was a welcome aboard show, we didn't stay very long though. As soon as the guy began to juggle plates, well, that was my cue to leave. Not my kind of entertainment. We returned to the cabin to unpack. We did attend the parade though. It was wonderful. I don't think it was the parade itself that was as exciting as knowing all of this was occurring onboard a ship. Oh, I almost forgot, dinner. I won't list all of the entrees but for those of you that have the AOS menu, I will give you enough dishes so that you can figure out which days they are serving which foods. The embarkation dinner was Shrimp Ravioli and Cordon Bleu. 2/18 At Sea This is when I began to appreciate the inside cabin. I don't remember the last time I slept so deeply. There was absolutely no light to awaken you. It's easy to sleep late. I went for a jog on the track (5x = 1 mile). For people who really like an intense jog.....you will be disappointed. There were sooo many blasted people in the way. They stood still in the middle of the track, talked on the track, took a leisure stroll occupying both lanes, moved their lounge chair in the middle of the track. It was constant dodging my entire run. That is poor design on behalf of the ship's designers. The track needs to be in separate location, around the pool area just doesn't work well. I also lifted weights for a while in the Ship Shape Gym. The gym is nice it doesn't have quite all the equipment of most health clubs but it is sufficient. There were treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical machines. They had the basic weight machines a few for the abs, leg extension, leg press, inner and outer thighs, reverse leg curls, lat pulls etc. In addition, there was a free weights section. Anyway, once I was finished I hurried back to the room for the dreaded Muster Drill. Fortunately, we were only missing one person from our section, so the muster drill went quickly. Then it was off to the Island Grill for brunch. In the main dining rooms they were serving Caribbean Curry and Lasagna. Afterwards, I went to lay out, while my mother went shopping in the Promenade. There were a lot of lounge chair savers on board this week. I'd say probably only one in two lounge chairs were actually occupied. The other 50% had a towel/ magazine to occupy it. I circled the pool area three times....no available lounge chairs. So, I waited by a string of 5 vacant lounge chairs. After 10 minutes, I moved the towel and sat down. About an hour later the owners returned, they looked quizzically but didn't say anything. The sexy leg contest was cute. They also had horse racing and a few other games. Around 3pm I left to shower and change for the cruise critic party. Go to your cruise critic parties! I met the most wonderful people. (Hi to Rstamper, LRCruiser, luvstowrkout and Nikki and family. Periodically, we ran into each other throughout the remainder of the trip. Cruise critic buddies are so much fun! We hung out in the Aquarium Bar/Lobby Lounge for a few hours and then it was off to dinner. Today was the first formal night -The Captains Gala Dinner. Two of the main entrees were Duck and Salmon. I had selected Monday to go to Portifino's because I didn't really care for anything on the menu. I loved Portifino's and so did my Mom. Ideally I am opposed to the concept of spending extra money for food, especially when there is adequate free food available. Boy, am I glad I did I went anyway. The ambiance, service and food were top notch and it was well worth every penny. The 7-course menu is the same every night in Portifino's. I had some kind of shrimp and rice appetizer that was GREAT. I also had a huge lobster tail. Dessert was Fruit de Rossi. This was incredible! Like I said...go to Portifino's it's worth it. By the way, someone asked about the table sizes in Portifino's. There were tables for 2, 4 and 6. Space got a little tight for certain days, so make reservations early. After dinner we returned to the casino, I won $28 dollars. We also went to karaoke in the Imperial Lounge( not a large turnout), the Velvet Rope Show (nice) the Comedy Show - starring Hank McCauley (very funny), and finished the morning at Jester's (The DJ doesn't play. A note to parents- the comedians were funny-except Julie Barr, however they were not appropriate for children. It is strictly ADULT Comedy. A warning also to the sensitive cruisers, some jokes are a bit risquE. If you are easily offended, you may not enjoy the comedy shows. 2/19 Aruba We went to the Windjammer for breakfast and ate quickly. It was mother's second trip to Aruba, but my first. I wanted to enjoy every minute of it. Another word about purchasing sight seeing excursions, unless you just like the whole "tour bus" feeling, you can do it cheaper on your own. We got off and there were private tour companies clamoring for your business. The first people who got off the ship were being offered $15pp, by the time we got off it was $8pp. We toured on air-conditioned mini-tour van with about 15 other cruisers. Our tour guides' name was Winston (very nice and knowledgeable about the island. He took us to the Lighthouse Bridge, the Ayo Rock formations, Eagle and Palm Beaches. He also showed us the infamous divi divi tree. We returned to the ship at lunch to try Johnny Rockets. Okay Eddie PR this one is for you. We thought Johnny Rockets was just OK. I didn't understand what all the hype was about. The shakes were delicious, so were the onion rings, but nothing else stood out to me. I admit I'm not a beef eater, but I had a hamburger anyway just because ......well, it's Johnny Rockets. It was just OK. By all means go and judge for yourself, after all it is FREE. We went shopping at the Plaza Mall for souvenir-type stuff. A note about phone cards- they are not universally accepted. We purchased an AT&T phone card from Sam's Club before we left. After we departed Puerto Rico we were unable to use it until we returned to the U.S. Virgin Islands. I was told by a local resident that each island has its' own phone card system. A phone card in Aruba cannot be used in Curacao and vice versa. Later that afternoon, I took a nap. Boy is cruising exhausting. Afterwards, I watched my Mom play the slots and then it was off to dinner. It was Caribbean night and boy was I glad I didn't schedule Portifino's this night. The jerk chicken was great and the conch fritters.....let's just say I had two orders. Later we watched the Love and Marriage Game Show (very funny) and went to the sail away party by the pool. 2/20 Curacao We went to the Windjammer again for breakfast. Come to think of it, I've never made breakfast in the dining room, on any cruise. Since both of the activities that I really wanted to do were on opposite ends of the island...we just toured and shopped. Again, we found a tour guide as we debarked who showed us the city for $15pp. I thought the floating bridge was really cool. Curacao was very quaint and did have a lot of charm. We returned to the ship and caught the tail end of lunch in the Windjammer. Later on we watched the sunset....it was incredible. We changed and went to dinner, shrimp scampi and four cheese ravioli. Both were delicious. I'm glad I didn't choose between the two. The risotto was also good. Later went to the hear Michael Eric Hall perform. He has a terrific voice and a sparkling sense of humor. We also went to the Rock and Roll 50's 60's and 70's. We stayed for a little while and then went to the Imperial Lounge to salsa. We ended the morning in Jester's. Make sure you make it aboard on time. One lady was left behind today I hope she was able to make it to St. Maarten, When the captain says we leave at 6 he means 6. At 6:01 we are pushing off. 2/21 Day at Sea I was glad to have another at sea day. We tried so hard to make it to as many of the activities as we could...it was tiresome. Today we slept in and ordered room service. The portions were generous and the food was served hot. Then it was off to the rock-climbing wall. I had never been rock-climbing, it was a lot of fun. I watched so many kids scramble up to the top that I felt sure I could do it easy. Nope! I made it half way and lost my balance. The winds were kind of strong so, I just kept swinging around. (Thank goodness for safety equipment) Oh well, it was great experience, better luck next time. It drizzled off and on so I went back to Ship Shape and used the stationary bike. Today we had our first lunch in the dining room. I had quiche and a blackened chicken sandwich. Next, I went online to check my e-mail. The cost is 50 cents per minute. Needless to say I got on and off very quickly. Later we went to the ice show (Cool Art, Hot Ice) In my opinion, this is the BEST show onboard. Don't miss it! It is amazing what they were able to do on such a tiny rink. At some points there were ten skaters on the rink at a time. Amazing! We also went to Can't Stop the Rock (this was better than the Velvet Rope). I was really impressed with the innovative lighting and set design. Today was the second formal night. At dinner the highlights were the peach soup, lobster tails (I ate two) and the Berry tart for dessert. We went to the comedy show starring Julie Barr. I felt kind of sorry for her. The audience was dead and nobody was laughing. It wasn't a very good show in my opinion. I even dozed a bit.:eek: 2/22 St. Maarten This still remains my favorite port for beaches. I went to Orient Beach the last time I was in St. Maarten (loved it) so I was determined to see some of the others this time. We spent most of the day visiting the several beaches. We went to Mahoe Bay, Simpson Bay, Little Bay and Great Bay. They were all really nice but I haven't found one yet that tops Orient. Afterwards, we did a little shopping. They have some nice art stores and I found some great island crafts. We also went to Guavaberry Emporium. I didn't realize they didn't have any non-alcoholic drinks. Since, I had heard so much about it, I decided to have a little taste. It was good, but boy, whatever they put in that stuff.....STRONG. It put some hairs on my chest. Shortly afterwards we returned to the ship. We missed lunch so I headed to the Promenade deck for pizza and tuna croissant. When we finished eating, I went rollerblading. It was my first time rollerblading. It was pretty cool.... great fun. It took me a little while to get the hang of it. I never did learn how to stop (thank goodness for the guard rails). We rested for a little while and watched the sunset. Then we were off again. We hit the arcade to kill a little time before dinner. Note to parents, be careful with your children in the arcade. The game room does not take coins or tokens. You swipe your cruise cards and it appears as a charge to your stateroom. You can charge amounts ONLY in $10 increments. I saw several parents fussing at their children for running up a huge tab in the arcade. One kid spent $1200 You may want to place a restriction on the charge card or you may live to regret it. Anyway, off to dinner. They were serving lamb that night. I don't remember what I had, so it must not have been too good. I do remember eating shrimp cocktail and TO DIE FOR crab cakes. Later on, we went to the battle of the sexes- the ladies won...of course. It was a lot of fun, but the game didn't last long enough. We went to see a comedian that was pretty good. All I remember was that he was from Russia with a name I couldn't pronounce, let alone spell. We also caught the tail end of the Latin Fiesta by the pool that was a lot of fun. 2/23 St.Thomas/St. John Today we decided to get up early to watch the sunrise. Plus, we were going to St. John and we wanted to catch the early ferry. I really recommend St. John. I've never been impressed with St. Thomas and after visiting St. John, I found it much more to my liking. We took a taxi to Red Hook, ($8pp) then a ferry to Cruz Bay ($3pp). The ferries leave every hour on the hour and it was an easy excursion to plan on your own. The shopping is awesome better than St. Thomas. I'd say if you like to buy jewelry you are better off in St. Thomas, but if you prefer art and island crafts....St. John all the way. We walked around to all of the shops. The island has such a different flavor to it. It is not as developed as the other islands so you get the true island feel. I later found out it was home to only 600 people. Just to illustrate how remote this island is, I wanted to go to Lameshure Bay and I was told that there was no road to take you the entire way. The taxi could drive us only part way and then we would have to hike to the beach. So, we decided to take a taxi ($8pp) to Trunk Bay ($4 admission pp or $10 for a family pass). I thought Trunk Bay was beautiful, but to be on the top 10 list of Best Beaches in the World....hmmmmmmm. We stayed for awhile, then headed back to Charlotte Amalie. I changed clothes and then went ice skating. Ice skating was a lot of fun. My feet are still sore from those rigid skates. I've only been ice skating once, so needless to say I was no Michelle Kwan. I did manage to avoid falling though, that was my only expectation. I got in the whirlpool for a little while. I couldn't pass up the opportunity. I walked past and there were only two people in the tub, that was EXTREMELY RARE. We went to the Farewell show, it was just ok. The cruise director is very funny, but he's better as a cruise director than as a singer. . At dinner I had a delicious spring roll, the main entrEe I choose was the Rigatoni. All I can say is Ewwww! Don't do it! Can anyone say Chef Boyardee. Ah well, every meal can't be great. We returned to the room to pack and set out our luggage. They requested that everyone have their luggage out by midnight. We rushed to get packed but at 2 am our luggage was still sitting there. Anyways after we packed we went to the Final Fiesta parade. It was great. There was a strong energy in the crowd. You know that feeling that your cruise is about to end and you want to squeeze every possible minute out of it. We went to the casino again and back to Jester's and then we called it a night. We stayed up so late, only to postpone the inevitable...the end of a fabulous cruise. 2/24 Debarkation Debarking went off without a hitch. I believe it started about 8:30. We got off shortly after nine. They give you color tags but only so that you can find which section your luggage is in. Passengers actually debarked when their flight times were called. There was no one checking to confirm flight schedules though, so it would have been easy to depart earlier than your actual flight. We hailed a cab to the airport and waved goodbye to the incredible Adventure of the Seas. It was sad to say goodbye, but I knew xpcoodook and friends were eagerly awaiting their turn. We arrived at the airport and all I can say is OH MY GOSH! SAN JUAN AIRPORT has got to be the most disorganized airport in America. From the time we first entered until we taxied off we witnessed these atrocities. When we first came in there were massive lines. I'd say the average line had about 50-60 people waiting to check their luggage. Within hours, thousands of people began to pour in (literally). The Carnival Destiny, AOS and Norwegian Majesty all docked around the same time. People were coming in by the busload. SJU is such a teeny airport, it just wasn't equipped to process a large number of people quickly. Fortunately for us US Airways only had 4 people. We checked right in and were grateful we didn't have to wait. There were some who spent over 2 hours just to check their bags. One shocking thing, the lady never asked for identification or whether we packed our luggage, whether it has been with us the whole time, yada, yada, yada. Osama himself could have used my ticket and boarded. We went around to the security checkpoint, again no one asked for our I.D.'s we merely showed plane tickets, ran our bags through the scanner and walked through the metal detector. When we got to our gate we observed the real drama. We were told one gate and then they switched to another. About an hour later they switched our departing gates a third time. The most irritating thing....the gate staff couldn't seem to answer any questions people had about the status of their flights! It was comical! We didn't have a seat assignment so we went to check-in. They told us they would call our names when they were ready for us....they never did. We had to return the line several times to get a seat. The flights leaving at the gate before ours, 2 were cancelled and 1 was delayed. Our flight ended up being delayed by 2 ½ hours as well. US Air had also overbooked several of their flights so even full paying passengers ended up being bumped. There were goo gobs of people everywhere. One couple told us they waited 3 hours to eat at McDonalds inside the terminal. When we finally got on the plane we were grateful to be leaving behind a sea of chaos. Overall the cruise was excellent. I'd recommend it to anyone! We didn't have any of the problems that many wrote about here. There was even yogurt, sprinkles and diet coke the entire cruise!!!!!! Run, run, run to book the Adventure...you'll be glad you did. Whew.....now that I have carpal tunnel syndrome and have bored everyone to tears I'll sign off. I'm open for questions if there was anything I left out Happy sailings QueenLFebruary 2002 Read Less
We just returned from our one-week cruise on the Adventure of the Seas and what a wonderful time we had. The weather in the Southern Caribbean is fantastic in comparison to the weather in the Eastern and Western Caribbean. The whole ... Read More
We just returned from our one-week cruise on the Adventure of the Seas and what a wonderful time we had. The weather in the Southern Caribbean is fantastic in comparison to the weather in the Eastern and Western Caribbean. The whole staff of the Adventure of the Seas is to be highly commended. They went out of their way to make our vacation the dream of a lifetime. We were very fortunate to have had dinner with our Hotel Director, Martin and our Cruise Director, Kirk. Getting to know the VIPs was very exciting. We learned a lot about their families and their private lives and felt that we truly made friends that we will never forget. We got to cruise with "Tracey" our Social Director for the 2nd time. Tracey was on the Explorer of the Seas back in Oct. of 2001. Ill bet she is missing "Goose" (her boyfriend) from the Explorer! She is doing a wonderful job on The entertainment was a pure delight. From the Welcome Aboard Show, The Velvet Rope production, The Ice Production, The comedy acts.....all we can say is "WOW". "BRAVO." Then we had service that was beyond my wildest dream....I could have brought each one home with me. Our head waiter, assistant waiter, room service attendants, my wonderful, Humberto, who kept my room in tip top shape and also went out of his way to make us pillows that were "hard" in comparison to the ships pillows. I can go on and on about each staff member that touched our lives on board our stay and can only say, I hope to see you all again. The itinerary of the ship was excellent.....San Juan, Aruba, St. Maarten and St. Thomas....and we added one of our own....St. John, while we were in St. Thomas. You have to see Baby Beach in Aruba and Orient Beach in St. Maarten and Sapphire Beach in St. Thomas. Soooooo beautiful. To us, out of all the beaches...these were the best. I have to make a comment regarding all of those on the boards that complained about this or that on their previous cruises......we found none of what was said to be true. We have sailed on the Voyager, The Explorer (twice) and now the Adventure and there has never been room for complaints. It's all in your own attitude and how you make your own fun. Because many have implied that the [ethnic diversity onboard the Adventure was unbalanced] .....we took notice and perhaps [it] was but we had a hard time differentiating. We had a great time with every nationality on board ....."discrimination has no place on a cruise ship. If you discriminate cruising is not for you." As we left San Juan, we beheld a sight that was heart warming....they were celebrating with US flags flying everywhere, a bus load of children were waving their US flags from their buses at us...they were showing their thankfulness to the US for having purchased them and making them "US Citizens". God Bless America! To all future cruisers, have a wonderful time......how blessed and privileged that we all our to have the finances to be able to live the lives of the "rich and famous". And God Bless RCCL for providing us with a way to do this for one week...here and there! Thank you for these Voyager Class ships, they are the best! Barneykh@aol.comMarch 2002 Read Less
My wife and I had the pleasure of sailing on this magnificent new ship from 3/3 to 3/10. We stayed in a category 'C" suite on deck nine. The islands we visited included Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. A brief ... Read More
My wife and I had the pleasure of sailing on this magnificent new ship from 3/3 to 3/10. We stayed in a category 'C" suite on deck nine. The islands we visited included Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. A brief description of our excursions is included below. I will try to keep my comments brief. Unlike some of the other reviews for this ship, I am not going into enormous detail about every inch of the ship. I will limit my comments to what I liked, what I disliked and discrepancies between my experience and what was written in other people/s reviews. I will also briefly mention my excursions. For more info, feel free to contact me at my e-mail address, which is listed below. I could spend the next week writing about all the things I liked about the cruise. Suffice it to say that almost all my expectations were met or surpassed. Everything on the ship still has that "new" feeling. The food was superb, the accommodations beautiful (category C) and the entertainment (every night) first rate. The spa treatments were expensive but relaxing (I highly recommend the massage with the hot rocks). A few things I especially enjoyed that others did not comment on are worth mentioning. The solarium pool is a great place to relax. It is much quieter than the main pools. Unlike other people's experience, on our cruise the "no children" rule was enforced. The seats by this pool are incredibly comfortable. By the end of the cruise we were gravitating to this pool daily. The shade is also nice after you get sunburned (as we did). Second, this was our first cruise with interactive television. The schedule for every day on the cruise is accessible from the TV, making it easy to get information on anything. Reservations for Portofinos or for the spa can be made this way also. Finally, the card room (part of the Viking Crown Lounge) is another great place to relax that a lot of people don't know about. It is a great place to pass the time while awaiting to disembark on the last day (see comments below). I will mention only a few dislikes. First and foremost, our dinner was very slow. By that I mean that it took almost two hours. We were first seating and our waiter had three large tables to service. We were constantly the third of the three to get served so we were first getting our appetizers while the other tables were already on their main course. The conversation was good but two hours is a long time to sit for dinner. This is one of the reasons we went to the Windjammer Cafe for dinner a few nights (see below). Also, my wife and I like to dance but the dancing did not begin until 11pm. The disco opened at 10 but there was no action there until after 11. On other cruises I have been on there was some dancing as early as nine for people who don't stay up late at night. I also thought that having the Muster drill on the first sea day was a pain. It was mid-morning and was very inconvenient. In fairness there is probably no other time it could be done. Finally, everyone on the ship had to be checked by immigration at St. Thomas. This would not have been so bad if it was not done at 7am! The idea of vacation is not getting up that early. With 3000 people on board, the line was enormous and many people were very upset. Of course everyone went for breakfast immediately afterwards so the Windjammer was a zoo that morning as well. A brief word about our excursions. We did the sunset cruise in Aruba. It was very nice and had an open bar which we did not expect. In Curacao we did the canoeing excursion. This was mildly disappointing as we only canoed for about 1 hour. The rest of the 3.5 hours was spent driving to and from the beach or snorkeling at the beaches we stopped at. I felt like I had signed up for a canoeing excursion so we should have done more canoeing. The America's Cup racing at St. Maarten was the highlight of the cruise. It was awesome. I highly recommend it to anyone. It was one of the most fun things we have ever done. A few last pieces of advice. Get to the ship early the first day. They started boarding about 12:45. It took about 45 minutes for us to board. Make all your reservations that first day including Portofino's and the spa. Use lots of sunscreen. The sun is deceptively strong. We got burned after one day of sitting out in the sun. Finally, I recommend the Windjammer cafe for those lazy nights when you don't want to get dressed up. The food is the same as in the dining room and you can sample everything. They have waiters who will bring you bread and drinks after you select a table.ALANALW@aol.comMarch 2002 Read Less
My boyfriend, John and I, had this cruise booked for 10 months. I can't believe the trip is now over and I'm writing a review! How time flies! We went with 20 other people, mostly couples....Berna, Max, Mike, Tish, Joanne, ... Read More
My boyfriend, John and I, had this cruise booked for 10 months. I can't believe the trip is now over and I'm writing a review! How time flies! We went with 20 other people, mostly couples....Berna, Max, Mike, Tish, Joanne, Dan, Pat, Doreen, George, Sandy, Rachel, Jane, Mike, Ann, Tammy, Kevin, Michelle, Freddy, Joe and Andrea. This was a first time cruise for both of us. Others in our group had been on cruises before, which was helpful to us when planning our time. I had done a lot of research and reading of other people's reviews also, so I figure I can only return the favor. Hopefully, it will be helpful to those of you who are planning to go on this spectacular ship! Sunday, March 17, 2002 St. Patrick's Day 6:30am - Left for Logan airport. We flew on American Airlines. The airport was packed when we arrived. There were two lines; one for check in and one for security, both about the same length...long!! It went fairly quickly because they would keep moving you up if your flight time was getting near. By the time we checked our luggage, there was no line for security. I did get pulled aside for a random check. I had to take off my shoes and some sort of paper test was done to check for explosive residue on my bag and sneakers. It didn't take very long though. 9:30am - boarded airplane..we had the emergency exit...lots of leg room :-) Everyone commented on all of our festive gear...we were all dressed in St. Patrick's Day stuff. Many of us started drinking to celebrate the kick-off of our big vacation. It was a big party flight down. 1:30pm - landed in San Juan (they are an hour ahead of EST, so it was really 2:30). We had to retrieve our own luggage. This is a change since the September 11th events. The airlines don't want Royal Caribbean handling the luggage directly from the airport. We met up with the Royal Caribbean representative and waited in a designated area for about 20-30 minutes for a truck to arrive to transport our luggage to the ship. We then boarded a bus that brought us to the ship's pier. When we got off the bus, we were escorted into a room with a lot of chairs. We sat there until we were called to go to the window to receive our supercharge card. This did not take long at all. There was a duty free liquor store right there offering free shots. So, of course we did two before boarding the ship. We were on the ship by 3:30pm. My first reaction to the size of the ship was "OH MY GOD, IT'S SO MASSIVE! We walked up the ramps to enter and just before you do, there is a photographer there ready to take your "Welcome Aboard" picture. There will be many photo opportunities during the week. They display all the photos on Deck 3 in the Photo Gallery. My advice is, get the picture taken! There is no obligation to buy it! I didn't even think about the price of them, this was our big vacation and I wanted the memories to cherish! I do have to say that they should get rid of the fake backgrounds they use for some pictures. I would much rather have my picture taken with the real ship in the background rather than a fake one or some painted canvas!!! We had a Promenade Stateroom on Deck 7, Room 7305, near The Library. The Library had big comfy leather chairs and lots of books you could borrow. I don't know when you would have time to read though!! Our stateroom had a large bowed window that overlooked The Promenade, which was a whole deck long with bars and shops that reminded me of a mall. I remember that everyday I woke up, I had no idea what day or time it was, if it was dark, light, or raining out!! That was a strange feeling to deal with. Once you got on the elevator though, you knew what day it was. Just look down and the day was displayed on the floor!! Our stateroom attendant was Castro. He left cool towel animals every night...stingray, lobster, bunny, shark. We didn't meet him until late the second day though. Some of the staff: Captain - Johnny Faevelen Staff Captain - Trym Selvaag Cruise Director - Kirk Detweiler Executive Chef - David Southby Chief Purser - Terry Balfour Food & Beverage Manager - Michael Rasmussen Everyday, a Compass was left for you in your room. It listed the days tips, events, weather, sunrise and sunset, bar service hours and service open hours, pretty much everything going on for that day. Be sure to pay attention...there are days where specials are going on in the shops, etc. that you might want to take advantage of. If you shop on the ship at the end of the week, I hear the prices are lower. I wouldn't know, because I just shopped whenever I wanted! We immediately went to a bar....the Gravity Sports bar, Deck 5, located along The Promenade...then to the Lobby Bar. Here we bumped into another couple that was with us but had flown up a day earlier. They were allowed to get on the ship around noon. They booked their trip a lot later than everyone else and were put at a different dinner seating. They went to see if they could change it and be with all of us and it was done with no problem whatsoever. 6:00pm - Bon Voyage Dinner. The dining room was amazing! Three levels with a beautiful, very large chandelier. We were near the windows, which allowed us a spectacular view. They would raise and lower the shades depending on what the sun was doing. We had the main dinner seating at 6:00pm. We were in the Strauss dining room, table 413. We had three tables, all right next to each other. The first night, John and I had a romantic dinner for two at a table for eight!! The rest of our table decided to skip the dining room dinner the first night. Our waiter, Sedat, was from Turkey, the Asst. Waiter, Harish and the bartender, Isaac, both were from India. I had the Shrimp Ravioli, which was very good and after dinner they bring around the "Shot of the Night". We did these almost every night :-) You could keep the shot glasses. I think I have a collection of about 15. 7:45pm Welcome Aboard Show - The Adventure Begins - The Lyric Theatre. This is a two deck high theatre...really unbelievable. 10:00pm-11:30pm Sailaway Party , Calypso Music with Rhythm Section - Poolside 10:45pm-11:15pm Jimmy Buffett Margarita Party, Vocalist Derek Lewis - Duck & Dog. This is an English style pub that serves Guinness. This was a lot of fun, lots of singing, dancing and a conga line! 11:15pm World of Adventure Parade - Promenade - Lots of stilt people and dancers. Monday, March 18, 2002 AT SEA - partly cloudy 85, sunrise 6:39am, sunset 6:44pm We had breakfast in the Windjammer, Deck 11. Everyday for lunch and dinner the Windjammer had a huge buffet. You should be able to find something you like to eat here. 10:30am Muster Drill - Mandatory...grab your lifejacket and go to your designated Muster station. You basically just show up and wait around for them to let you go. This was a pain, but I guess you need to know what to do in case there was an emergency. We spent the day at the pool with the Calypso Music w/ the Rhythm Section. I believe Strawberry Coladas were the frozen drink of the day. YUMMY! They came in cool Royal Caribbean glasses that you could keep. 1:00pm John entered the "Mr. Sexy Legs contest". He dropped his drawers (he kept his undies on, thank god)! They had six categories, Mr. Hairiest, Hairless, Athletic, Chicken, Whitest, and Sexiest legs. Needless to say he didn't win. We had lunch at Johnny Rockets...the burgers were very good! I did manage to use the ShipShape Fitness Center for a half an hour the whole week. The have a lot of machines and I suggest using it, just to say you did. Already, I was ready for a nap. It was the only one I would get all week!! We went to the Duck & Dog and Schooner Bar before dinner. The Schooner Bar usually had a guy playing the piano and it was never really crowded. There are a lot of cozy leather seats with a boat motif. We used this a lot as a meeting place. 6:00pm - Captain's Gala Dinner. Tonight's dinner was formal. We had a group picture taken of all 22 of us! If you have a large group, you need to make an appointment to have your picture done. They really weren't prepared for a group of our size. I had the Filet mignon and the "Shot of the Night" a French Kiss. 9:00pm Can't Stop the Rock Production Show - The Lyric Theatre - dancing and singing 10:00pm Karaoke - Imperial Lounge - Chinese type looking theatre with a dance floor/stage, lots of comfy chairs. You received a Royal Caribbean key chain for participating. Mike, Michelle, Joanne, Berna, and I all sang. 12:15am Late Night Comedy Show with Max Dolcelli - The Lyric Theatre - He made lots of ship jokes, toilet flushing, etc. I thought he was pretty funny. Jesters Nightclub is open late and we spent most nights there! It has a small dance floor, but there are plenty of places to sit and you can request music. Tonight and last night stopped at the Cafe Promenade Bar. It was a lifesaver for that late night snack you need after drinking a lot. It's on Deck 5. Tuesday, March 19, 2002 ARUBA - sunny & windy 86, sunrise 6:40am, sunset 6:41pm Woke up around 8-8:30, got off the ship. Again, the photographers are ready to take your picture in front of a life preserver with Aruba adorned across the front of it. It was VERY WINDY and raining a bit little (I had heard it NEVER rains here!). We wanted to rent a Harley for the day. We walked all the way to Big Twin on Smith Blvd., which was about a 10-15 minute walk from the ship. Unfortunately, they were sold out. I didn't find them very helpful, but the people that were in all the shops right as you got off the ship were. They told us a place where we could go to rent a jeep since we weren't prepared. We got a taxi to the airport to rent a jeep. We drove to the Natural Bridge and four wheeled around the desert. It was totally awesome! I thought we were going to get killed, but we made it. Even though it was raining, the Natural Bridge and the water were beautiful. We drove by the Bushiribana ruins, the Alto Vista Chapel (there were a ton of stray dogs around). Then we went for a ride by the High Rise Hotels. We ate at Iguana Joe's in Oranjestad. Did a little shopping and then brought the jeep back to the airport. Renting the jeep worked out for the best because it did rain off and on all day. We didn't go to dinner (Caribbean Colors) this night because of our planned excursion for the night...We did the KuKu Kunuku Party Bus. To find out more - http://www.arubaadventures.com/kukookunuku/. It is a hand painted...one of a kind...1957 Chevy Bus that sat about 40 people. You shook your provided maracas as they played very loud dance music and taught you dances. First, they bring you to Arashi Beach overlooking the lighthouse and golf course for a champagne toast and some rules, guidelines and sales pitches (you can buy t-shirts, leis and CDs). Then we went to the Silvia Lee Residence for dinner. We received a flyer that stated that Mr. Atan Lee has been working with the government for thirty years, and has for the last sixteen years held the position of Chief Protocol for Aruba. He is the organizer of many social events, franchise holder for the Miss Universe pageant and organizer of Miss Aruba pageant. Mrs. Lee has been an employee at the ABN Amro Bank for 37 years, and is currently working in the human resources department. The backyard was set up with tables and tiki torches. Dinner was fantastic! Steak and chicken with rice and salad. The drink special for the night was "Sex on the Bus". Very yummy and only $2.00 at the house. I talked to the owner and asked him why he invites strangers in his house? He said, it started off as a joke at first and then progressed from there. He does it every night except for Sunday! We then went to three local bars. We got a pass for each bar that allowed us to have the first drink for free. The first bar was the Laguna Bar. It was basically a deck with no railings! You could easily fall in the water. We were allowed to dance on the bar! At the next bar (don't remember the name of it) we were taught the Bacardi Dance...we will sing Bacardi, yellow, limon, Coca-Cola for months to come! Our bus driver, Hyme, was a cutie! Raymond, the other bus driver, was a very large man! We were all dancing and having a blast! Lastly we went to Carlos & Charlie's which is an island favorite. It was very crowded! Don't know how we got ourselves in. They were having a "best butt" contest on stage. One of the guys was from our ship!! It was pretty funny! We were standing on the chairs and tables in the back watching, yelling and cheering! We went to the Beach Party poolside when we returned to the ship. Aruba wasn't as nice as I had expected after hearing so many good things about it. I didn't think there was much there. I guess if you are staying at the high rises or a resort it's different. Wednesday, March 20, 2002 CURACAO - partly sunny 85, sunrise 6:40am, sunset 6:47pm It was very windy here also!! We rented a Harley! Yay! We had to take a taxi to where they rented it. It was a complete beater but it was a Harley. And the helmets were disgusting. We dealt with them though. We drove all the way to one side of the island called Wespunt. Very scenic...mountains, beaches, cliffs. The Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge was very neat. We got to see it in action as one of the other cruise ships was leaving port. The Queen Juliana Bridge is very high and steep coming down it on a motorcycle! Curacao had a nice little port where there were lots of cart vendors selling things. We had henna tattoos done since we had some time to kill before getting back on the ship. We got on and watched the ship pull away from port. Make sure to watch the ship pull away from port as much as you can...it's neat! I never got up early enough to see us pull into port...I hear that too is neat. 6:00pm Venetian Feast Dinner That night was the comedy show with Two Funny Guys, Mario & Daniel with special guest Franz Lery in The Lyric Theatre. Franz Lery would use a big chair type trampoline to bounce all over the place! Then he balanced himself on several buckets, it was quite amazing. I thought for sure that he was going to fall and kill himself. Mario & Daniel were very funny! At one point, someone came in late and they were like, "oh great, we have to start all over again". They rehashed 20 minutes of the show in 2 minutes! Then we went to Rock Trivia through the Decades in the Imperial Lounge...it was all real old trivia. I didn't enjoy that. Off to Jesters nightclub. Thursday, March 21, 2002 AT SEA - partly sunny 85, sunrise 6;33am, sunset 6:40pm Up at 8:30am. I had ordered room service for breakfast. Then we went to the pool for the day. John stayed in bed for a while longer. He was hurting! I believe the drink today was Strawberry Colada with Mango. I think they called it the Love Connection. They came in these heavy, v-shaped glasses you could keep. Today, there were pool games being held. Berna and I entered. We were on a team of 6. We had to put a wet t-shirt on and swim to the other side of the pool and back and then take the shirt off and pass it to the next person. Our team won!! We won a waterproof money holder case. Make sure to experience the jacuzzi. It was very relaxing and warm. The pools are also saltwater pools. They were their own wave pools too...the ship's movement caused lots of rolling waves. Then there was the belly flop contest. You definitely have to catch this! Then they had the horse race. Pat had bought a horse for $425 in an auction they had held on Monday. If it won, he stood a chance to win $3000, which was the total of all the money collected in the auction. Joanne was the jockette that presented the horse, Champ (he was dressed in Patriot gear), and moved it along the course. She was horse number 4, if they rolled the dice and a 4 came up, you got to move. The only hitch was you needed a double or a triple four to win. We were one space to from the finish line...waiting for a double or triple and I swear a single four came up about three times in a row! Finally, a double four and Champ won!! Woo hoo! We never ventured into the Solarium, the adult swimming pool, there was so much more entertainment going on in the main area. 6:00pm Chef's Dinner - This was the 2nd formal dinner. John and I had a picture taken of the two of us in front of the big hanging ice-crystally looking piece by the stairs. That night was the lobster tail dinner! YUMMY! I wish I had gotten two. It was absolutely delicious. We all met in the Viking Crown Lounge on Deck 14, which overlooked the pool area with huge ceiling to floor windows, after dinner to have a celebration for the horserace win! We went through about three bottles of champagne. A little incident happened, while Pat was giving a toast, he swore. I guess one of the customers pulled him aside and asked him to watch his language. It was brought to the supervisor's attention and we received a complimentary round of champagne and Pat got a $200 credit on his card! There weren't any children around, nor were there many people in there at that time. I don't know why this person had such a problem. Also, at least check out the Chapel, which is accessible through this lounge. 10:15pm We moved on to the Imperial Lounge for the Adventure Quest Game Show. Examples of items needed, two unworn bras, a man with lipstick on, a man dressed in woman's shoes. You had to run up to the MC with your team number and the item. They called for two pairs of unworn pants. None of the men on our team budged...Joanne didn't hesitate and whipped hers off. I had a thong on....I wasn't going to do it!! Well, I ended up doing it...I ran up there in my thong and a shirt!!!! I hope no one got pictures of that!! In the end John had to have lipstick on, a bra, women's shoes and a purse. There were about 20 men prancing their stuff around in woman's clothing! That was hysterical! It's all about having fun!!!!! 10:45pm-12:15am Karaoke Blow Out - Imperial Lounge. Joanne, Mike and I sang. Then we went to Jesters to dance. Went to bed at 2:45!! Friday, March 22, 2002 ST. MAARTEN - partly sunny 83, sunrise 6:15am, sunset 6:24pm Berna, Max and I shopped in the morning. I bought a tanzanite ring and bracelet, two pairs of gold earrings for gifts, and a watch. You had to haggle and bargain. I didn't think I was too good at this, but I had the tanzanite ring and bracelet appraised when I got home. They were worth twice what I paid! We were booked on the Shipwreck Snorkeling Excursion. A boat took us out to this area where there was a shipwreck. The water was not that clear, so I didn't see any of that. But I saw lots of fish! I saw a big one called a permit. I thought it was shark at first! They gave you food to feed to the fish. The permit ate right out of my hand! After that we could jump off the top of the boat into the water and swim for a while. They then took us on a sea tour of the island. Many people said the snorkeling wasn't that good, but this was my first time ever and I thought it was awesome! It is such a pretty place...we would definitely go back. So far, St. Maarten was my favorite island. I wasn't feeling so good on the boat for some reason...I laid down and just sat there for most of the trip. I just wanted to go back to the ship. We had a drink at Fat Tuesday's, which was right at the Port of Call, before getting on the boat. I had a BBC...Bailey's, Banana and something...very yummy! John and I decided to skip the main dinner. It was a good night to miss...everyone said it wasn't the best selection that night. We watched the ship leave port and the sun set. We ate at the Windjammer. After dinner, we toured the boat a little and played miniature golf, where John beat me! The Platters starring Herb Reed were playing that night in the Lyric Theatre, but I had no interest in that. We went to the "Cool Art Hot Ice Show" at 10:30 in Studio B. It was incredible. They had people flying through the air! It was pretty incredible since the ice rink itself is pretty small. For some reason the movement of the ship bothered me today after being out on the snorkeling boat. This was the first time all week. Very strange! You can feel the ship move if you concentrate on it, but for the most part you never feel it. If you are prone to getting seasick...definitely take something like Bonine. Saturday, March 23, 2002 ST. THOMAS - partly sunny 83, sunrise 6:21am, sunset 6:31pm Everyone had to go through Immigration between 7am-9am. This was kind of a pain. The line was incredibly long....all the way down the promenade!! John talked to someone about going up front because he had an 8am excursion he had to be ready for. They let him go right to the front, no problem. The Immigration Official barely glances at your paperwork. I sent John off on his golf excursion to Mahogany Run. I went up to the "Peek-A-Boo" Bridge to check out where the Captain "drives" this massive ship. It was pretty cool to check out. A bunch of us went to Megan's Bay, one of the World's Most Beautiful beaches according to National Geographic. We caught a taxi right in front of the ship to Megan's Bay. The taxi driver was "007" and he was scheduled to pick us up at Magen's Bay at 2:00pm. The beach was absolutely beautiful, totally picturesque. We rented lounge chairs and floating mats. It was so peaceful and the water was so clear! We drank frozen drinks called Bushwhackers. It had all sorts of alcohol in it...tasted like a Mudslide, but stronger. The pizza and fries from the concession stand were surprisingly good, but very expensive. The taxi guy was great! He promised that on the ride back to the ship, he would stop at some picture taking areas. First, he took us to one that overlooked Megan's Bay. It was a breathtaking view!! The other one, overlooked the town and where our ship was docked. It was sooo beautiful! There were three ships docked that day. You could have put both of the other ships in our ship!!! Again, I can't emphasize how big the Adventure of the Seas is!! I tipped "007" very well! John said the golfing was excellent! He shot an 89. There were these three holes called the Devil's Triangle. He actually beat it and received a certificate for doing so. The holes overlooked huge cliffs. He had originally wanted to golf in Aruba but the excursion was sold out. This excursion only had seven people on it. He had talked to someone who had went golfing in Aruba and they had said it was awful because it downpoured the whole time. Half the people quit and the others played because they felt they had to, but they were miserable while they did. It all worked out for the best. John and I went ice skating in Studio B, just to say that we did, before dinner. It was pretty cool. The skates aren't anything great, but I had read in one review to bring your own skates. If you are going to do that much skating...why would you be on a cruise? I wouldn't bother packing ice-skates. We only skated for about half an hour. There were only two other people skating when we were there. We had heard that earlier in the week it was crazy with tons of people. 6:00pm Feast of Nations Dinner. I had prime rib and it was awesome! Max got 3 different dinners, prime rib, pasta and turkey! That was one thing that was great...you could really eat as much as you wanted. I would get two dinners some nights, just because I was indecisive about what to order. This way I could have a little of both. The same with the appetizers and desserts! The "Shot of the Night" had 6 liquors in it and was topped with whipped cream. I was told I had to do it w/ my hands behind my back. I put some napkins over the front of me so I wouldn't spill it all over me and complied. It was very strong and went immediately to my head. It is customary to tip all of your waiters, etc. on the last night. We tipped Sedat, Harish, Big Al and Isaac very well. They all did an excellent job!! We had group pictures taken with them also. We went to final bingo because they were giving away almost $7000. We didn't win but Berna was one number away from covering her card!! John went to the Casino a few times during the week, but I had no desire to use it. I know I would just lose money. It is definitely worth looking at though. Max, Andrea and I went to the "Farewell Variety Show, No Day but Today" in the Lyric Theatre. It starred, Levent, a magician/comedian and Franz Lery again. The Captain gave his Farewell Address at the beginning. The cruise director sang and said some jokes. They also debuted the Cruise in Review video, which John was in with his pants down from the Mr. Sexy Legs contest. The horserace results were also featured. I bought this...only because it featured people we were with. Otherwise, I may not have bought it. All of your luggage had to be put out by midnight, so I went back to my room to finish packing and fill out my customs form. Sunday, March 24, 2002 HOME We were all very sad that we had to leave the ship. We were up at 8:00am to get ready. Since all of our bags had to be out the night before, we were left w/ our carry-ons. We all met in the Schooner Bar to wait for our flight to be called. We probably were off the ship by 8:30am or so. We walked down the ramp to porters waiting to take you into the warehouse of luggage. We found our luggage very easily. You had to put colored tags on your luggage when you put it out the night before. The warehouse was split up into colored sections. The porters took the luggage to the bus for you. You had to have your customs paper and transfer voucher handy here. Make sure to tip them! We breezed through customs and got on a bus to the airport. Everyone was a little edgy because they were tired. A lot of people in our group stayed out last night...so some were hurting. We had 2 hours to kill at the airport, so John and I went to a restaurant...ate mozzarella sticks and quesadillas for breakfast!! Some people were drinking...it was only 9:30am (really 8:30am at home)! But then again we were drinking mudslides and margaritas at that time all week. We got on the plane, again, lucked out with the emergency exit, and almost everyone slept on the way home...what a difference from the flight down. Miscellaneous * I was very impressed with all the people who worked on the ship. All of them were very friendly and helpful. * There is so much going on, I wish I could have done it all. You definitely don't get enough sleep. There is a radio/announcement control in your room. Every morning when you pulled into port at 8am, the Captain would broadcast announcements. You can have this turned on or off, but you could still hear it outside even if you had it off in your room. * Make sure you have a little card in a slot on the back of your door that says "do not disturb" and "make up room". That is put in the key slot to let the stateroom attendant know what to do with your room. We had problems with people stealing ours!! * I liked St. Maarten and St. Thomas the best out of all the islands. * The elevators were very slow at times. They were moving so many people around at certain periods that it was faster to take the stairs. I also found it a little confusing to figure out which end (forward or aft) of the ship I was supposed to be at to get to specific areas. Remember that you can walk to each end easily by being on Deck 5, the Promenade. * Be careful on the steps leading down to The Lyric Theatre. I almost fell down them a few times! It might just be because I'm clumsy...thought I'd warn other clumsy people out there :-) * The menu always offered a low-fat suggestion and had vegetarian entrees. The waiter always made his own suggestions too. Other reveiwers said that dinner took too long. We were usually out of there within an hour, an hour and a half at the latest. I can't remember which nights they did what, but, the waiters all sing one night, another night all the chefs come out, another night they all walk around with different countries flags, and another night the waiters dance with you. * The rooms are decent sized. We used all the available shelving and closet space. We used the in room safe to store valuables. The shower was nice...round with doors. The toilet is VERY loud when it flushes. We also had plenty of towels...though there was a message about "Save the Seas" and that you should hang your towels if you plan on using them again...we hung them everyday, but they were always replaced with new ones!! I don't know why. I do find it crazy that they make up your bed in the morning and then turn it down for you at night. Being as busy as you are, you might never even see the bed made!!! If you wonder where you comforter has gone...look under your bed! * Disembarking at ports was sometimes confusing. Make sure to listen to announcements as to where you are supposed to go. In Aruba, things were different because of construction. * Definitely take Monday off from work! I definitely needed the day to recover, unpack, do laundry and get my pictures developed!! lulu31_1999@yahoo.comApril 2002 Read Less
My friend Nancy and I went on RCCL Adventure of the Seas Southern Caribbean cruise on April 28th. We visited St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. What a fantastic cruise! I can honestly say it is one of my favorites (I've ... Read More
My friend Nancy and I went on RCCL Adventure of the Seas Southern Caribbean cruise on April 28th. We visited St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. What a fantastic cruise! I can honestly say it is one of my favorites (I've been on 11 cruises). This itinerary is fantastic. We love these islands. The ship is beautiful and ENORMOUS! Of course, there were some not so nice aspects, as with anything. I've tried to categorize my review into sections. Arrival Since 9/11 you now have to claim your baggage upon arrival in the departure city's airport. This is a royal pain. The cruise reps meet you by baggage claim. We waited about a half hour in the San Juan airport baggage area and then were led outside. Where we waited, and waited, and waited. After another half hour, we followed some of our fellow passengers and got a cab for $16 to the ship. Before we left, we asked the rep what the problem was. She said that the bus was late due to traffic delays because there was some type of special events going on in San Juan. However, our cabbie said there was no traffic that he knew of and we didn't notice anything along the way to the ship. Our luggage, luckily, was put on a truck and on it's way to the ship too. We were glad we took the cab, but unhappy with the poor excuses of the cruise reps. Check in at the pier was quick. It is good to join the Crown and Anchor (if you've cruise with RCCL before). However, I had to ask if I could just go up to that desk and check in instead of waiting on the long line. The line did move fast, but it would have helped if they directed us immediately to the express check-in. The Ship This ship is like first class as compared to coach. Gorgeous! Huge! But not so big that it is overwhelming. Some didn't like it - thought it was too big. But, we had no problems. On any new ship, you need to get your bearings and there is more to locate, but there are plenty of signs and maps around. I could never explain all the stuff they have, it has to be seen to be believed. The Dining Room The dining room is awesome - 3 levels with a titanic-like stairway with a huge chandelier. Main seating was at 6 and Late was at 8:30. That is pretty late to eat and we were happy with the early seating. They were very flexible on times you arrived to dinner. We had one couple join us while we had our entrEe. Another problem we had was with our table assignment. We were seated at a table for 10 and for the first 3 nights, only one other couple showed up - 2 other women who spoke mostly Spanish and kept to themselves. This was unacceptable to us as we are very social and wanted to meet people. One of the most fun aspects is to have nice dinner companions and share the day's events and the plans for the upcoming day. So, finally, the maitre d' got us relocated to another table and this was so much better. The couples were older (one married 55 years and the other married 52 years), but that never bothers us. They were very enjoyable and we had lots of laughs and good times. Pool Or should I say pools. There were 2 big ones on the main pool deck and another in the solarium (no kids allowed). A fourth kiddie pool was at the back of the ship. This is our favorite kind of pool cause it has a bench around it where you can sit and put your feet in the water. Or, sit down on the ledge and lean against the bench, letting the 6 inches of water gently lap around your legs. Finally, there's the pool itself. Something for everyone! Then had the usually fun stuff poolside (Men's sexy legs contest, etc), but the horse racing was loud and somewhat annoying. Keep in mind everything is videotaped so you might get in the Cruise Memories video which is for sale. Cabin We had a Cat 9D cabin which was 180 sq ft with a balcony. Very nice for 2, but a little tight for women. A little tight on closet space. But, we made do. The steward was wonderful - left little towel animals every night. Only problem was the mini bar was not refilled and we would have liked a big bottle of water for the room (they only had little ones in the mini bar). Islands One general note - the shore excursion rep was not very helpful or knowledgeable. He only knew the ship's recommended stuff. But, we managed to find some really great spots by asking the reps and the taxi drivers on the pier. Also, ask people you meet on the cruise, at breakfast, lunch and dinner. We got some great info just from people we met a breakfast! St. Thomas My favorite island. It has it all. Shopping, beaches, side excursions to St. John. Plus, it's American. This time we went to St. John (Trunk Bay snorkeling). This was a very nice trip, but I prefer to snorkel from the beach. This one you had to jump off the back of the boat or climb down a ladder into the water. I've seen better snorkeling too. But, shopping is the best here, especially Jewelry. They have the best selection of all the islands. Antigua On Antigua we went to Long Bay. What a nice beach. It was a long ride - about ½ hour, but it was worth it. $24 each way for 2 people. We had a nice lunch in an open air bar and had some local beer. On the way back, our cab didn't return (luckily we didn't pay him for the round trip) so we hitched a ride with another couple from the ship. The cab took us to Devil's Bridge first. Really wild. Very bumpy road out to a point of land and the waves crash into the rocks where they formed a tunnel through them. It was just starting to rain so it was especially windy and wild. We thanked him so much for that little side trip. St. Lucia Here we went to Sandals resort. $40 gets you in, and you have all drinks and food included. One note, there's not much shade here. The beach was unbearably hot and no umbrellas. We found a little shade by the pool and that's where I burned, I think. Stayed in the pool to cool off. Had a nice buffet lunch here. This was not recommended by the ship, but was a very nice excursion. Barbados Loved Barbados. We went to Tamarind Cove. Very lovely. Plenty of shade and a nice resort. Here you have to rent chairs and umbrellas, but it's worth it. Nice restaurant to eat and they serve drinks on the beach, and again we tried the local beer - yum. Disembarkation The line for the US immigration on the ship was unbelievably long - for US citizens. We waited a half hour! They really need to rethink this procedure. If you have an early flight, get there early and then eat, or eat in your room the last morning.maryanne.roesler@csfb.comMay 2002 Read Less
We flew out of Detroit to San Juan on 5/11 & spent the night in the Wyndham Old San Juan. We ate at a Mexican place on a side street near the hotel. We are 35 yr.old married for 7 yrs. have 4 children & a lot of sickness, death ... Read More
We flew out of Detroit to San Juan on 5/11 & spent the night in the Wyndham Old San Juan. We ate at a Mexican place on a side street near the hotel. We are 35 yr.old married for 7 yrs. have 4 children & a lot of sickness, death & hard times in the past 2 yrs. We were very anxious for this cruise vacation. Our friends watched all our children while we were gone!!! Thank God for friends!!! We sailed from San Juan on Sunday, May 12. We got to the port around noon & it took about 45 minutes to check in, clear security, have our picture taken & actually step onto the ship. She was beautiful!! We had previously sailed on Celebrity & Holland America. But neither ship was a grand or gigantic as the AOS. We were in room 1570 on deck 10 & it was very well appointed & comfortable. The deck/verandah was smaller than on either of our previous cruises. Nicolae was our cabin attendant & he was terrific. We had late seating for dinner & we requested a table for 2 which we were unable to get. Our tablemates were very nice, friendly & interesting. Our reason for going on a cruise was to be together so we ate most evenings via room service on our deck/verandah. We still tipped the dining room waiter. No changes could be made to the arrangement for seating. We took full advantage of the Concierge Service (Spencer McCarthy-was the concierge). He was dynamite & he gave us great tips on which beaches to go to, got us tickets to shows, made our excursion reservations & even made us a hotel reservation in San Juan for our extra night after the cruise. Someone should find a way to clone him for every ship that sails. Spencer is leaving to bring the Brilliance on board. We took advantage of the Spa treatments & we made those appointments as soon as we boarded the ship. Yes, they do try to sell you tons of stuff--but they do a great job. My pedicure is still lasting (Sharon did it on 5/13) & Jacquie did my hair for 2 nights (1 formal, 1 other) I have VERY curly, kinky Irish hair & what she did was nothing short of a miracle & it stayed like that the next day too!!!. Jacquie is going on her break for 3 months & then going to the Radiance (out of Alaska). The food was very good, Johnny Rockets was a kick & the food there was a treat. The wait staff there was also a lot of fun. We went ice-skating, rollerblading, played golf & basketball. The variety of things to do on board was endless. On shore we just went to the "nicest" beach we could find. Everyone's definition of nicest varies. We were looking for big, pretty, clean beach/sand, lots of pounding surf, maybe a HobieCat to rent, & a place to eat something & get a drink. In St. Thomas (which we have visited 4 times before) we did not get off the ship. That was our "SPA DAY" of course my husband never wants me to mention that he had a "SPA DAY". In Antigua went to Miller's Beach, lots of fun. In Barbados we went on an Island tour and to Calypso Beach (near the ship) not much to do but BIG, BIG waves. In St. Lucia (beautiful island) we got a day pass to Sandals St. Lucia & thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, the pool, the bar the watersports, the food. In St. Maarten we went to another beach (RUNAWAY BAY-?) I'm not sure of the name but there was a nude beach near by, why is it that only out-of-shape people are Nude at a NUDE Beach? We are already planning another RCCL vacation with all the children for April 2003 & I will be going with 2 old & dear friends in July on the Monarch. Hope this gives some new insight. We had an EXCELLENT time & would go again tomorrow if we could. maureenhm@buckeye-express.comJune 2002 Read Less
What a great trip and a great cruise! Here are some thoughts that may help everyone. This was our eighth cruise but I will try to write this for both first time and experienced cruisers. GOOD What an awesome, beautiful ship. Very ... Read More
What a great trip and a great cruise! Here are some thoughts that may help everyone. This was our eighth cruise but I will try to write this for both first time and experienced cruisers. GOOD What an awesome, beautiful ship. Very easy to learn your way around and the signage is excellent. (you do need to know that forward is the front of the ship, aft is to the back, starboard is right and port is left). This ship might honestly be too big for some, but it wasn't to us. We rarely felt crowded (exceptions were around the pool on the st sea day and in the immigration line). Service in the dining room. We had great service from our waiter, Mustapha, and our assistant waiter, Oana. We spoke to many other people and all were universally happy with the service in the dining room. We also got excellent service in the show lounges. Food. Very good to excellent with only a very few misses. Portofinos. (see below). Room Steward. Great! Our room was cleaned twice a day and we always had fresh ice. We got everything we asked for and got it quickly.Entertainment. I will discuss the individual shows below but RCCL usually does an above average job on entertainment, and this cruise was not different. I must mention "HOT ART - COOL ICE", you must see this show!!Children's Program (Adventure Ocean). We did not bring our children but many people we talked about raved about how good it was. Only negative comment was from the parent of a 15 year old who did not want to participate. BADService around the pools and room service. I was at the pool for 3 hours Saturday and not one waiter asked if I needed anything. Had to keep going back and forth to the bar. Room service could never seem to get our order right. There always seemed to be something missing. Also, service in the bars was spotty, sometimes good, sometime bad, and sometimes non-existent. FAVORITE PLACES ON THE SHIP I know everyone's taste is different, but here are the spots on the Adventure we really enjoyed.Deck 4 - Both inside and outside. Inside, the casino. Outside, the promenade all the way around the ship. You can go all the way to the bow (the "King of the World" spot) and all around the ship. One unique feature of this promenade is you are actually outside the ship by the dining rooms. It's hard to explain but the deck juts out so you can lokk forward, back or up and it feels like you are suspended outside the ship.The Pool - enough said!Blue Moon (Viking Crown Luonge - Deck 14) - every veteran of RCCL knows these spots. Great for a drink at sunset before dinner.Royal Promenade (Deck 5) - Very unique. We especially liked the Duck & Dog Pub and the Cafe Promenade (24 hour cookies and sandwiches).Our Own Balcony!!! (Cabin 7256) - Best of all. Our first balcony and I think we are spoiled now. I think I may need one of these for every cruise. SUNDAY We actually got to San Juan on Saturday and spent the night at the Wyndham Old San Juan Hotel. This hotel is across the street from the cruise ship terminal RCCL used to use (and Carnival Destiny still does) but it is not across the street from where the AOS docks. It is across the channel and is a cab ride ($12 and 5 minutes) away. We got to the pier at 11:45 and the porters took our luggage right away. They open the doors at 12:00 and then you are led into a waiting area with the now famous rows of white chairs. People are called row by row to proceed to the next area where the agents will check your documents and issue your cruise card. This card is your room key, charge card and pass to get on and off the ship. DO NOT LOSE IT! If you have a lanyard, just ask and the agent will punch a hole in the card for you. Everything went smoothly and we were an the ship by 12:45. I heard some complaints about this procedure but do no share them. Yes, the air conditioning should have worked better in the embarkation waiting area (I suggest being sure you are wearing something cool when you arrive at the pier) but considering that they have to board 3500 people, most of whom show up between 12 and 5 (about 700 per hour) they do a very good job. The Krooze Komics are in the embarkation area to entertain. If you just go in with a little bit of patience and the right attitude, the procedure should be relatively painless. Spent the day exploring the ship, unpacking and relaxing. We had the second seating, which is normally 8:30 but on Sunday only was at 9:00. We generally prefer second seating because unless you are by nature an early riser who just can't stay up past 10:00, it seems to work out with the cruise ship schedule so much better. It is nearly impossible to spend a day outside or on the island du jour and get back in time to clean up for a 6:00 dinner, which is the main seating. Since the ship almost always leaves port at 6:00 you miss every sailing, sunset and sail away party! Too much of a sacrifice to us! We did see a lot of people in the Windjammer Restaurant (the always casual buffet line choice) every night between 7:00 - 7:30 and this may have been the early seating people who couldn't quite make it. The food served in the Windjammer is nearly the same as in the dining room with a few exceptions but your miss the service and the little extras on the menu (like lobster!). Most people do chose the Windjammer for breakfast and lunch. We had booked all our excursions on line so we did not have to do this on board. You can book excursions on line or at the Explorations! Desk on Deck 5 aft. We did make a reservation for Portofinos for Tuesday night, which is Caribbean night in the dining room. We met our cruise director, Omar, for the first time. I have seen a lot of criticism on this board about Omar but we did not share that criticism. We thought Omar was friendly and did his job. This is out 8th cruise and we have had better cruise directors that Omar but we have certainly had worse! He does nothing to detract from the experience. This seems also a good time to comment on the "Latin" flavor of the cruise that so many people seem concerned about. First of all, you must realize that you are sailing out of Puerto Rico, a place were Spanish is the native language. Naturally you will have a higher quotient of Spanish speakers on this ship than those that sail from a U.S. port, just as you would have a higher quotient of French speakers in a cruise that originates in France. The official language of the ship is English, so everything is done in English. Important announcements are also done in Spanish as well as some of the songs (maybe one or two) in the shows. It is not intrusive, and any English speaking person should feel very comfortable. The Latin people are well behaved, friendly, and on the cruise for the same reason as us, to have a great time. In my opinion, this is a non-issue. In any event, it is not a problem and English speakers will be very comfortable. MONDAY - St. Thomas We did not do an excursion this day. We had spent our honeymoon on St. Thomas and St. John 20 years ago so we arranged with the same hotel to spend the day there. We did see a wedding party on the dock at about 9:00 a.m., Preflyt, was that you? The first formal night and the Captain's cocktail party. First production show, "Velvet Rope". It was very good. Some gambling in the casino. Note to gamblers: RCCL has several rules which are not favorable to gamblers so take note. Craps is a "single odds" game and the blackjack tables us constant, automatic shufflers. If you are a gambler, you know what this means, and if not, never mind. TUESDAY - St. Maarten/St. Martin We took the Golden Eagle, a catamaran excursion to an island beach for swimming and snorkeling. The crew was friendly, the beach beautiful and the cruise enjoyable. We really had a good time. NOTE: RCCL warns you that nudity may be observed, and sure enough, it was. A whole boatload! There were children with us but after a few moments of staring, they went back to what they were doing. I think we all learned why people wear clothes! Portofinos for dinner. Excellent! In our opinion worth the $20.00 (each) cover charge). The food was great (we had the lobster and filet mignon). The atmosphere was just right. We had 6:30 reservations and were able to watch the sun set. Very romantic. If the ship is sailing south you will be able to see the sunset because Portofinos is on Deck 11 starboard. There is live music and it is a nice romantic change of pace from the dining room. After dinner we saw the "HOT ART - COOL ICE" show. As I said above, WOW!!!! Do not miss this show. It is amazing what they can do on that relatively tiny ice surface. They generate amazing speed in short time. There are 5 shows during the week and you must get tickets on Monday or Tuesday between 5:30 - 6:30. The tickets are free. Just go down to Studio B, there is ample information in the Cruise Compass, the daily newsletter to let you know what to do. WEDNESDAY - Antigua Probably the worst excursion we went on and I would not recommend it - the 4x4 Adventure. I'm more of a beach and boat person anyway so it could be personal preference. I did hear that the people that booked the Ecotour themselves has a good time. Maybe that would be a better bet if you want to go off road in Antigua. In the past we have always loved the beaches here and I think we'll stick to that next time. At night, the first guest entertainer. He was good and we enjoyed the show. THURSDAY - St. Lucia What a beautiful island! This was our first time in St. Lucia and were struck how different it seemed from many other Caribbean islands. Would definitely like to spend more time here. We took the catamaran tour to Mount Couberil Estates. A very good tour although it takes all day (we got back to the ship about 3:30). The tour takes you by catamaran to Soufriere and the you go by bus to the "drive in volcano" and a plantation before you get back on the catamaran for a stop at a beach. Be forewarned, the vendors at the volcano and especially on the beach (mainly rastfarians) are very aggressive. They were never rude but they are persistent. The volcano tour is informative and last about 20 minutes. At the plantations you learn about cocoa production and coconut production. This was informative but a little long. Ultimately I would say the tour to the Plantation was worthwhile but I don't think you'd want to be there much longer. Second production show of the week, "Can't Stop the Rock". Again an excellent show. One of the female singers is especially strong (she was very good in "Velvet Rope" as well). I'm sorry I do not remember her name, but she is well worth the time by herself. FRIDAY - Barbados We went on a scuba excursion - we are experienced certified divers. Didn't experience much of the island because we were tired and went back to the ship right afterward for a nap. I can say that the folks on the Jolly Roger sure seemed to enjoy themselves!!! They cruised right past our balcony and were having a good time! The second formal night. The second guest entertainer, a Canadian who did vocal (singing) impersonations. Probably the weakest show of the week. While he was occasionally right on he often was not. His answer to impersonating a woman seemed to be get as nasal as possible. Still, the show was entertaining but was definitely missable if you needed to miss one. Later that night (12:30 a.m.) Was a comedian doing an adult show. Very funny and very good. He was not over the line for my sensibilities. You certainly wouldn't want your children there but he was not filthy or gross. I thought it was just right for the audience. The only midnight buffet of the week was at the same time as the comedy show so you have a decision to make. Personally, I had eaten so much during the week that I figured I could miss a meal and I've never been that much into food as spectacle. SATURDAY - at sea One of the few things I didn't like about this cruise was the fact that there was only one sea day. We really like the sea days - they don't seem as rushed and are very relaxing. But if you are only going to have one, I'm glad it was the last day. Time to rest and de-stress at the end of the vacation. The pool was very crowded but I was able to find a deck chair near the pool in the early afternoon. The service was awful though (see above). SUNDAY - San Juan (boo hoo!) Everyone, including U.S. Citizens, must now go through immigration. This process begins at 6:00 and you go my your stateroom location. The ship gives you a information sheet that tells you when to go. The line is VERY long but don't panic, it only took us about 10 - 15 minutes to get through. This was the only LONG line of the week. I has heard that the line could be long to get off and on the ship in the various ports but did not experience this. The longest line we had was about 8-10 people and took 2 minutes. NOTE: there are usually 2 gangways, fore and aft, to get off and on the ship. (This is not true in St. Lucia, only one). When you approach the ship there is usually one, the farthest away, that has no line. If your cabin is that way anyway, why not walk to it on the pier, you got to walk that distance one way or the other. We had no problem with debarkation but we had an early flight so we were first called off the ship at 8:30. We were at the San Juan airport by 9:00. Can speak for later departures but it seemed pretty organized with ample porters to help with luggage and taxi's to take you where you wanted to go. Well, that's it. What a great time. We look forward to our next cruise and maybe we'll be cruising with one of you. GREAT CRUISIN"!!!!!clarkrobm@attbi.comJuly 2002 Read Less
Itinerary departed San Juan, Puerto Rico on Sunday evening. Ports of call were St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. This cruise was our first experience with a cruise ship. Because reviews are largely opinions, I ... Read More
Itinerary departed San Juan, Puerto Rico on Sunday evening. Ports of call were St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. This cruise was our first experience with a cruise ship. Because reviews are largely opinions, I believe it is important to provide a little background of the reviewer (me). Since this was our first cruise, I cannot make comparisons to other cruises or other ships. Well, that's not exactly true since I did sail the North Atlantic from Germany to New York compliments of the US Army, but that's another story. While being new to cruising, I am hardly new to traveling. I have spent time in 49 of the 50 states, Alaska excluded, Canada, Mexico and 9 European countries. I have stayed in many very nice hotels and dined in some of the better restaurants around the country. This then becomes my comparison basis. I'll provide a few pointers along the way for the peer-novice who may read this review. The seasoned cruisers may also gain some additional insight as well. With that being said I'll start at the out set. My wife and I planned this cruise to celebrate our 35th anniversary. She has been suggesting that we do this for the last 10 ten years. So last April I fired up the PC to see what I could find. Upon visiting the cruise site, I noticed what appeared to be a very reasonable offer for a 7-night cruise. After a few clicks I found out that the itinerary was on the Adventure of the Seas, a Voyager class cruise ship. Having seen the Discovery documentary on the building of Voyager I very rapidly became interested in this cruise. A little poking around and I choose a stateroom on the upper deck with a balcony. It was 9690, deluxe ocean view on the port side aft. Fast-forward for a moment to say the view was nearly 270 degrees and was simply spectacular. Anyway, I selected the cabin and then was prompted to select flights if I so desired. Since I was "new" I guess I figured I would do everything through RCI. POINTER - In retrospect, I would not book the flights with the cruise line. I could have saved about 50% by booking flights on my own. There are some risks to this, but if you do it smartly, you'll be fine. About three weeks before cruising, there was a price drop on our cabin class. After a few phone calls and e-mails, I was granted a refund that was certainly worthwhile. When the cruise documents finally arrived, we were really getting excited. We were to fly direct from DFW to San Juan on the morning of departure day. Also, the return flight was on the same day as docking back at San Juan. POINTER - Book you own airfare for the day before and the return the day after if you can. You will enjoy it much better and the money you save by booking your own airfare can be used for the hotels. There are several times during this experience that you will find yourself looking for your luggage. This will be either at the airport baggage carrousel or the in the ship terminal. We have all seen airport carrousels, but let me tell you, they are nothing compared to the ship terminal when you return to find your luggage. POINTER - Mark you bags so you can easily identify them. No, I don't mean put a cute little ribbon or bow on the handle. You wouldn't believe how many bags had a cute little bow that you can only see from 5 feet away. I marked our luggage with a double band of white duct tape all the way around the 4 sides. You could see it from 100 feet away. This will save time. While spending time on the Cruise Critic site and perusing the posts, I noticed many questions about how to get from the airport to the pier. When I booked I had done everything through Royal Caribbean so transfers where included. POINTER - For San Juan, skip the provided transfers and grab a taxi. Do this either by yourself or shared with another party. This will save a lot of time and possibly relieve a little anxiety. In San Juan this was a $20 cost for my wife and I. From the time our bags came onto the baggage carrousel until we opened the door to our stateroom on board ship was 1 hour and 5 minutes. This at 2:00 pm arrival at the airport. Another reason that I recommend the taxi is that I did not readily see a representative from Royal Caribbean to direct us to the proper transfer vehicle. There were two other cruise line representatives there holding up their signs providing comfort and direction to weary first time cruisers. During the "boarding" process at the terminal you will be exposed to free rum shots and have ample opportunity for duty free smokes and liquor if you so desire. POINTER - To speed things along, it really does help to have your paperwork filled out ahead of time. Fill out your embarkation forms on line, print them out and take them with you. Have your supercharge card form filled out accurately along with the other forms and you will not have to stand at the counter longer then 2 minutes. Be sure to have your government issued photo ID with you. You will drop your packed luggage outside and it will be taken to your stateroom later. Make absolutely certain that your cruise line provided luggage tags are affixed securely to your luggage. POINTER - Be sure to have toiletries and a change of cloths in your carryon. You may not actually get your luggage until later that night. Now, look up in absolute awe at one of the largest cruise ships in the world. You may think you are standing next to a building but it is actually the ship. You can get the stats on the ship from various sites on line so I won't go into that. POINTER - First photo opp comes right before you board on the gangplank. Of course, since you have only been up for nearly 12 hours, 6 of which has been spent sardines in coach class on the airplane, and you just got your first taste of San Juan taxis, you look marvelous. Right? Take the picture anyway. As you will come to find out, you will have many opportunities for "company photos". You have no obligation to take them unless you want so what is harm, especially if you are first timers. Chin askew, eyes popping, you smile to friendly greeters on board. This is your first opportunity to use your newly acquired supercharge card. You will also have your photo taken here. This one is more like the drivers license photo and it is mandatory so they have a face with the card. This card is everything on board ship. It is your pass to board to the ship, it is your room key, and it is your source of money for everything on board the ship expect the casino where real cash is used to buy token and chips. Oh yes, you can use your supercharge card to get more cash to buy more token and chips. After clearing on board security and the initial welcome, you are free to go to your stateroom or roam the ship or get something to eat. Whatever trips your trigger. We headed immediately to our stateroom. At San Juan, we entered the ship on deck 4 aft across from the Aquarium Bar. On each deck of the ship, fore and aft, by the elevators are illuminated profile maps of the ship. The usual "You Are Here" is clearly marked on the current deck floor plan. It then becomes very easy to navigate to your stateroom. On the way to the stateroom you will pass many ships crew. We received a smile and a friendly "Welcome on board!" from virtually everyone we met. We arrived at our stateroom and used the supercharge key to open the door. I think we have all had these types of keys and have also had to return to the front desk to get another because it wouldn't work. Not the case here. The key worked fine. The attentive Room Steward was either signaled that we had arrived or saw us, because it was only seconds before Elrid knocked on our door and asked if there was anything that he could assist with. He explained a few things and showed us our accommodations. He explained everything very thoroughly. To the seasoned cruiser, this may have led you to make comments like, "Yeah, I know that. Ok, that's all. If I need you, I'll call." But we viewed it as considerate and informative. As we were told, our main luggage would not come the stateroom until later, so we unpacked our carry-ons, enjoyed the champagne and strawberries I had ordered on line back in April when I booked the cruise and then proceeded to start to enjoy our vacation. Stepping on the balcony was a real treat, even at port in San Juan. We had a line of sight almost straight across the stern to starboard side and swinging full circle to look almost down the length forward on the port side. I had read a few posting about this particular stateroom on the boards and I have to admit the view is really great. On the balcony there was one chaise lounge, two chairs and a small table. What a peaceful place this turned out to be. Even under way, there was only a gentle breeze that swept of the balcony and churning of the wake behind the ship little more the noise of the waterfall in our water garden. Exploring the ship was an adventure in and of itself. It took us until Thursday to get to everyplace on the ship. There is soooooo much to do on board. From the ice skating and dancing in Studio B, to bingo in the Imperial Lounge, rock climbing on the wall, in-line skating, mini-golf, basketball, volley ball, internet lounge, library, adventure ocean, dive shop, health spa and gym, restaurants all over the ship, shops on the promenade, theaters and dinning. Not to mention the swimming pools, whirlpool spas, jogging track, artwork all over the ship, casino, disco bar/lounge, adults only lounge, peek-a-boo bridge, and the bow pulpit where you can be "King of the World". This ship is big and packed with just about anything you could ever want. You can even just lay back and relax on the deck chairs. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes so I won't go into each day specifically. Our overall view of the islands was that after the first couple, they are pretty much the same. Island economies surviving on tourism for a living. Mind you, we were there in the off-season. So many shops with the same stuff, diamonds and gold, tanzanite and "T" shirts. Souvenirs that all take on the same appearance except for the island name. The hype about duty free and super prices is just that, hype. Sure booze is cheaper but I looked at a JVC camera that I could buy in Dallas for $750.00, which after 30 minutes of price haggling could be had for the low, low price of $980.00. Hey, you're on vacation, in a foreign place, like the saying goes, "Let the buyer beware!" We did greatly enjoy the history, tours around the islands, and snorkeling. We did some excursions on our own and two through RCI. Those arranged through RCI, I would consider better then the self-directed ones. Shop around, there is abundant choice. POINTER - To reduce risk, I would recommend joining with at least one other couple, or maybe form a small group on your own. Cruise Critic Party We qualified with 33 people who had signed up for the party. There were about half of us that kept up a pretty steady stream of Q & A and general banter on the boards. We looked forward to the Cruise Critic Party. So much so that we organized a pre-party Party and agreed to meet on Sunday night in one of the bars. The Cruise Critic Party, I understand, is a fairly new event that RCI is doing. The sentiment was very nice and it did provide an "ice breaker" for members of the groups. Remember, you have people from all over the country coming together with typically only two things in common, the party and the cruise. After that it is sort of up to you to make it happen, whatever "IT" is. Cruise Critic and RCI provided a beautiful facility in the Blue Moon Lounge on deck 14, overlooking the pool area on deck 11. They brought out a large cheese tray and drinks were on your own. The amount of enjoyment you take away is up to you. We found it to be a very nice experience. I believe anyone who is more outgoing will enjoy this. If you're not a "joiner" then maybe it is not for you. Portofino We had heard so much about this "upscale" restaurant that we had decided long before the departure to be sure and make this a "must do". You need to make reservations early for the best choice in dining time. The service we received was excellent. You have your own table and attentive service. However, the food is a different story. We have dined at many fine land based restaurants around the country. In comparing, we found the food to be very average to sub-standard for all the talk about how good it was. Realize, that of necessity all meals are pre-plated (prepared ahead of time). This allows for great, if not spectacular presentation, but leaves much to be desired in food quality. As an example, I ordered a sea scallop appetizer. When it was presented the scallops were piping hot and the grilled vegetables they were setting on were stone cold, and I don't mean warm or cool. They missed the microwave completely on the way to the table. In a good 4 or 5 star land based restaurant, the meal is prepared when you order it to ensure absolute freshness and quality. The kindest comparison I can make is to food prepared for a large convention group at a very good hotel where they have to serve hundreds of people simultaneously. If you are used to dinning at Outback, Friday's, Appleby's, Olive Garden, etc., then the food will seem quite good, mainly because of its difference and uniqueness in selection, not quality. The lobster entree was on a par, or slightly lower then Red Lobster. If you have never dined at a really good restaurant, you will find this very acceptable. Portofino was worth the experience, albeit, not the food. Main Dining - We had selected second seating and a large table. Our late seating was preference was based largely on the comments on the boards about on-shore activities and having time to freshen and change cloths before dinner at 8:30 pm. Having now experience this, we would select the main seating at 6:00 pm because it would fit our style better. There are a number of late shows that we feel would have been more enjoyable with slightly more time between dessert and curtain time. The service in the main dining room was very good and our main waiter and assistant waiter made us feel very at ease. We had selected a large table because we are outgoing people and like to converse and learn about all the different life experiences of others. However, we ended up at a table with 6 Hispanic speaking people and 2 French Canadian, none of which spoke English. The other 2 seats remained empty for the duration of the cruise. Some friends we had made, setting at the adjoining table, were in the same situation with 6 or 8 Hispanic and no other English. We spoke to the headwaiter and a swap of tables was made. The Canadian's remained at our table and our English-speaking friends joined us. All in all, the dining room staff handled the whole thing very nicely. BTW - For those on the boards who said to do your own thing on formal night and wear what you want, if you are not wearing a tux or coat and tie, and evening wear, you will be out of place. We did not see a single person "inappropriately" dressed; yet everyone appeared to having a wonderful time. Entertainment Our cruise happened to be the last cruise for most of the entertainers as their six-month contracts were up when we hit port back in San Juan. Every performance was a farewell situation with emotions of the entertainers running very high. This energy carried right to the audience. All the shows were very enjoyable. Aside from the production events, the parades, spot promenade shows and poolside activities were great. Kirk Detweiler, Cruise Director, deserves a huge hand for his tireless work to entertain the guests. Debarkation All good things must come to an end. Alas, this cruise included. One slight bump in this process was avoided by a simple question to guest services. We had an early flight from San Juan back to DFW. The room steward had left a leaflet in the room stating the ship realized this and we would be given "Early Departure" white taps to affix to our luggage. However, that evening brown tags were left in the room. I went down to guest services on deck 5, showed them the leaflet and they promptly produced the early departure tags. These tags are not available for self-pickup at guest services. Had I not done this, our luggage would probably still be trying to make its way back home. As it was, our luggage with its bright white duct tape against the emerald green suitcase was easily retrieved. First Time Cruiser Overall Opinion You will enjoy virtually everything on this cruise. The ship is simply magnificent. If we were to book another cruise for next week on this ship, I really believe we would just spend the majority of our time on board ship. There is so much to do. One last comparison, the casino will take your money faster then Vegas or Atlantic City if you play the slots. bob.n.peg@verizon.netOctober 2002 Read Less
My wife and I just got back from a cruise on RCL's Adventure of the Seas which left from San Juan on 12/8/02 and went to Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, & St. Thomas. Between us we have been on 4 other cruises - all on NCL - and ... Read More
My wife and I just got back from a cruise on RCL's Adventure of the Seas which left from San Juan on 12/8/02 and went to Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, & St. Thomas. Between us we have been on 4 other cruises - all on NCL - and the general feeling is that AOS is the best ship we've ever been on. Even thought it's a huge ship, it doesn't really seem all that crowded. Earlier this year, we sailed on the NCL Sun out of Miami to Roatan, Belize City, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel on 1/5/02. That was a good cruise, great itinerary. We actually were married on that cruise. The AOS is a truly amazing ship, a lot to do on it and a nice itinerary with good breaks for days at sea. Here's our review/opinions for anyone interested: GOOD (1) Great ship layout, even totally full never had issues getting a pool chair on 'at sea' days and didn't seem like people were congregated in any one area. Getting off/on the ship at the ports was pretty easy and the ship docks at all ports - no tenders. (2) Separate area for kids complete with pools, slides, jacuzzi's. (3) Can use TV in rooms to book tours, make reservations at the 1 $20 cover charge restaurant (Portofinos), set up your own stock ticker, view your bill. (4) Sports bar had all the football games playing on Sunday when we boarded so I could see the Patriots! (5) Fun games on deck during 'at sea' days, not as annoying as NCL. (6) Midnight buffet was awesome, you have to at least see it. (7) Food quality was very good, Portofinos was excellent. (8) There's an ice skating rink on the ship! Seriously, even if you're not one of those people that goes to shows, you must see the ice show. (9) Many pools & jacuzzi's, both outside and inside/shaded. (10) You are in Aruba from 8am to 1am next day which was great. (11) Johnny Rockets chocolate shakes. Will cost you $4, but try one, you'll drink them the whole cruise. BAD (1) Towel policy is just plain stupid - you need to exchange them during 8am-6pm by the pool and if you don't leave them in you're room when you're cruise is over you get charged $20. And the towel 'police' by the pool are ALWAYS watching. (2) No sushi or Japanese theme restaurant or food. (3) Pizza was horrible. (4) Drinks are expensive. There is a beer of the day that will run you a little of $3 and a drink the day a little over $5. NCL had more specials and general drinks were cheaper. (5) PA system hard to hear in the large jacuzzi's on the pool deck. Music stage is also facing only one way (away from jacuzzi's). (6) Check in takes a while. But there are free Bacardi samples once you make it in the terminal! (7) Windjammer cafe food isn't so good, pretty much cafeteria style/quality food for breakfast & lunch. Recommend Jonny Rockets for lunches and go to the dining room for breakfast unless you just want something quick. (8) A/C is barely cold enough, on coldest setting was comfortable, but I like it a lot colder. (9) Curacao was a disappointment. It's basically an oil refinery where they take crude from Venezuela, refine it and ship it out. Where the boat docks you can see all the grimy oil stacks. Hato cave tour was a waste of $$$ there, I'd go to the beaches. Town architecture/colors are nice. OBSERVATIONS (1) Soda card costs you ~$37 for a bunch of soda's (can't remember how many), but only good for glasses, NOT cans, of soda and not good everywhere. There's also a drink card that gives you 12 alcoholic drinks for ~$45, but only for domestic beers and non-top-shelf well drinks, doesn't really make sense to get it. (2) Seating is only specified for dinner. Breakfast and lunch are open seating which was nice. (3) As with other cruises (NCL), you need to pay for soda, some ice cream (it's free self serve vanilla & chocolate cones on the Promenade deck #5 during certain operating hours), and some coffee/teas while not at a meal. (4) $20 per person cover charge to eat at Portofinos. We ate there 1 night and it was really good. Atmosphere had quartet playing, excellent service, cook to order meals of a little better quality than general dining room. (5) Hablo Espanol ? A lot of Spanish speaking folks on the ship. (6) Basic balcony cabin design (DA/DB category): we didn't like that the bed was right near the balcony with the sofa near the bathroom, would have preferred it reversed as on NCL Sun. (7) Not a real refrigerator in the room. Has 2 shelves that are stocked with mini-bar stuff that you pay for if you take (soda, nuts, etc) and the shelves themselves are poorly cooled. We had the cabin steward take out everything so we could use it for our stuff. (8) TVs did not have any RCA inputs to plug in your video camcorder into so you could see what you taped on excursions, etc. NCL Sun did. (9) RCL seems interested in keeping folks from bringing their own alcohol on board. We brought a few flasks of rum & vodka packed in our suitcase in plastic zip locks and carried on mixers - coke & tonic - in our backpacks when we boarded. I've always thought this was a stupid policy. (10) Go shopping in St. Maarten on the Dutch side, it's cheaper than any other islands. Aruba was the most expensive. If you are looking for liquor, find a store called RAMS in St. Maarten. I bought 750ml Cruzan rum for $3.25/bottle. Jewelry is also a great deal, look for a store called Dynasty Jewelers. (11) For anyone thinking of getting married on a cruise, the AOS has a very nice chapel at the highest deck on the ship, away from everything else, complete with bathrooms nearby as well as a huge lounge for the reception right next to/below it so you don't need to walk all across the ship. NCL's chapel was not as nice or large and was kind of in the middle of the ship so there were 'other' people all over the place when we were getting married who were boarding the ship. gandalf007@adelphia.netDecember 2002 Read Less
I'm going to try and just give you some info that I think could be helpful. Did you know the airlines only allow for two suitcases per person plus one carry-on per person? One of our "carry-ons" was oversized (larger than 9 ... Read More
I'm going to try and just give you some info that I think could be helpful. Did you know the airlines only allow for two suitcases per person plus one carry-on per person? One of our "carry-ons" was oversized (larger than 9 x 14 x 22) and we were fortunate that they didn't charge us extra. Oh yes, and make sure your suitcases weigh less than 70 pounds! There is an extra charge for being overweight. We left on the RCI Adventure of the Seas October 20. Got to the pier at about 1:30. Check-in took a total of about 35 minutes from the time that we sat in the "chairs". No big deal. The Bacardi tasting booths are there and you can go get a few shots while you wait. My cousin made the mistake of purchasing several bottles of alcohol at the shop on the pier. Any alcohol you take on board must be in your suitcases or they will take it from you and give it back on the last night. The first couple of days they serve drinks in nice souvenir glasses. Purchase those if you want to start a collection. Luggage was at our room by 6:00 pm. We had an inside cabin... seems to be worth the money saved. Just use the wake-up call service so you don't oversleep! The boat is huge and I don't think anybody could get seasick. We stopped taking Dramamine on the first day. The meals were excellent except for the night they served "Jerk chicken" (yuk! Get the steak). Ate in the Vivaldi Dining Room every night (2nd seating). Aruba- don't rent a car unless you can deal with getting lost and poor street signs. We wasted the whole day driving in a jeep around the backside (rough side) of the island (from California lighthouse to the natural bridge) before we gave up and headed back to the ship. Don't do that! Wish we would have just took a taxi and snorkeled at the beach! A taxi might be inconvenient but it will actually save you time! We wanted to go to Baby Beach but we never made it. Next time! Curacao- (pronounced Kur-A-Sou) was better. Still, we rented a car and couldn't find where we wanted to go (Jan Theil Beach). Ended up staying on the Seaquarium Beach (Kon Tiki Beach) and snorkeled. The snorkeling is best out by the rocks. If you're a good swimmer you can go farther out (past the rocks) where the water is fantastically blue! Do not step on any round, black things with spines- they hurt- ouch! Make sure you wear something on your feet. They are under water out by the rocks and are attached to the rocks. We brought our own snorkeling gear. If you have never snorkeled before, make sure you practice first. There is a learning curve that may take some time. St. Maarten- Got a taxi which took us exactly to where we wanted to go (Orient Beach). The driver told us there were two sides to this beach- The nude and clothed. Well, a few people didn't get the memo which was fine with me! :-) What warm water! I stayed in that water for hours. Not good for snorkeling though- a little rough and no fish. After the beach we went shopping downtown. The cab fare was $5 (per person) to the beach. $5 from the beach to downtown (Guavaberry Emporium!), and $3 back to the ship. Bought my wife a pretty rainbow topaz gold ring. Shopping is fun here. St. Thomas- The immigration check before you get off the boat is a hassle. The line goes the entire length (and back!) of the Promenade and around the Imperial lounge. Even at that we stood in line for about 40 minutes then we went and had breakfast. I'd suggest either getting in line very early or at about the time they start threatening you :-) A cab took us directly downtown ($5). Bought a diamond ring for my wife at Cardows. Wow, it was more expensive than the whole cost of the cruise (including airfare from California) but it is worth it. They will bargain with you, don't be afraid to ask. Also bought her some perfume. Good prices. No time left for anything else! Didn't dance much on the ship like my wife wanted. The smoking in Jesters was awful! I can't believe that it was even allowed in there. Didn't like the music either. I thought there would be more places to dance but we only found a couple inside the ship and we didn't care for them. Outside was a lot of dancing by the pool. Maybe I don't like to dance after all? Just not my kind of nightclub style I guess. The ship is beautiful! Details, details, details!!! You will love this boat. Ate a few times at Johnny Rockets. The food is good. My cousin kept wanting to hear the YMCA song for some reason. The servers there were all very nice. Everybody that worked on this ship I believe is sincerely nice. Our waiter Harish, our assistant waiter Karla, the head waiter Juan, the dining room drink attendant Fernando were all wonderful. The Ice skating show and The Velvet Rope were good shows. Would love to do this again! The duty paid upon re-entry to San Juan was only $29.00. I claimed everything. No big deal. The taxi ride back to the airport I believe is $8.00 per person. We had a voucher for the bus. Don't forget to tip each person that handles your luggage (at least $1.00/bag). They know what you need and will get you there much faster. Take this one and have a great cruise! keven@california.com February 2003 Read Less
Adventure of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 1.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.0

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