Sail Date: October 2006
My husband and I, my Mother and Sister in Law booked the Southern Caribbean Cruise leaving from San Juan and joint to Aruba, Curacoa, St Maarten, St Thomas and back to San Juan. We flew down two days early and stayed in a perfectly ... Read More
My husband and I, my Mother and Sister in Law booked the Southern Caribbean Cruise leaving from San Juan and joint to Aruba, Curacoa, St Maarten, St Thomas and back to San Juan. We flew down two days early and stayed in a perfectly charming inn in the Condado area "At Wind Chimes Inn" Choose to stay there, absolutely excellent. We arranged a taxi from the Inn to the pier and that was about $30 for the four of us and eight pieces of luggage. The embarkation was the easiest and quickest we have ever encountered. Even though the brochure says boarding at 4 pm, we were on board and in our cabins by 1 PM and our luggage arrived soon after. Our cabin was on deck 6 forward on the starboard side. Cabins were very nicely done and our cabin steward Mary was a gem. My Mother and Sister in Law were next door. One thing to note, we did not hear any talking or noise (TV phones ect) through the cabin walls. This was a very pleasant surprise. Compared to other ships and other cruise lines, we found the washrooms to be smaller and with less amenities. Only one side of the vanity mirror opened to store things. Carnival Spirit had a basket of toiletries - deodorant, mouthwash, toothpaste, shampoo,body rinse and conditioner. There was a double closet with shelves inside. The linens were just like silk, very nice. The Windjammer Cafe was very good for breakfast but if you wanted an omelet, be prepared for a long line and wait. Only one omelet station but you could get egg beaters (low cholesterol). Food was plentiful and the servers were extremely helpful, even finding the rest of your party for you if you got completely turned around. We found the food in both the dining rooms and Windjammer to be actually uninspired. There really was not a huge variety like on other cruises we've taken. Angus steak for instance was to me, cut small pieces of round steak in a gravy sauce. The Puerto Rican vegetable medley was excellent. The ship was 85% Puerto Rican and on our trip there were 500 children. To be truthful, we never had a problem with either rowdy or rude kids. My Mother and I even asked kids (their parents were with them) if we could measure their wrists for "gold and silver by the inch bracelets". The Promenade Cafe was great. You could get a fresh cup of coffee 24 hrs a day and their pizza by "Mamma Mia" was the best. I would go down early and have a coffee by myself and not feel uncomfortable. The ship itself is beautiful, but I would not choose a cabin the faces into the Promenade of the ship. The Piano Bar just outside the Casino was great. Good music and very welcoming. My Mother spent an hour herself there just listening to the piano around 11 pm one evening. The most disappointing thing we found was the Captain's cocktail party. We never found it!! We took early seating for dinner because we would be able to take in the shows. We even asked some of the crew about the cocktail party and they didn't even seem to know. Very disappointing for Mom and Sister in Law. Finding the various pictures taken by the ship's photographer was an exercise in futility. The area was relatively small and seemed like hundreds of people milling around, all looking for their photos. Some of the assistants on the photo desk barely spoke English and weren't really interested in helping. We tool the Town & countryside tour in Aruba - fabulous. In Curacoa we swan with the dolphins - fabulous. In St Maarten - shopping in the morning (too many jewelry stores - go into the back street for little shops, Then a beach junket to Orient Beach - excellent. St Thomas - filled with carbon monoxide fumes, hawkers at every turn and absolute traffic gridlock - we won't go back there. We did not find the shops on board to be very "duty free" I actually priced out a watch on board and the same watch in Newark airport and it was the same price. All in all, we will not sail RCI again, we'll go back to Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
This was my 5th cruise and is my first written review. Here are my observations of Adventurer of the Seas sailing out of San Juan, Puerto Rico on November 26, 2006 the down side - The cabin air conditioner worked on minimal the entire ... Read More
This was my 5th cruise and is my first written review. Here are my observations of Adventurer of the Seas sailing out of San Juan, Puerto Rico on November 26, 2006 the down side - The cabin air conditioner worked on minimal the entire time. Bathroom sink clogged frequently and intermittently had brown running water. After wiping down my room with clorox wipes, I found the door to the refrigerator to be filthy. I don't think it was ever wiped down from day of installation. The refrigerator was not cold enough to keep milk from going bad. The mattress was a thin cot with no box spring (which I have had on other ships). Re: passengers... majority were extremely rude and lacking in manners. Examples of rudeness displayed were: not allowing wheel chair passengers off elevator before they entered, allowing their children to run rampid on board, teenagers shredding toilet paper and watching it float down from upper deck, walking in front of professional photographer while taking posed pictures, entire family members sitting on floor in photo gallery sprawling their pictures on the floor to view while e others were forced to walk around them in small area, bumping into others without giving apology, using their cell phone to talk during nightly theatre show. One lady even raised her leg on top of a banister on promenade deck so she could pick her toe nails!! I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't witnessed it myself. I could go on about this bunch of classless people, but I won't. the upside- Although we didn't have enough people to have an official Meet & Mingle, I did meet up with two other couples who were extremely nice and made our socializing allot of fun. At our dinner time, we had a table for six. One couple never showed, but the couple who did, made our dinner time very enjoyable. Regarding our excursions; Our luncheon on Orient Beach in St. Maarten was a success and our snorkel experience at St. John was the best snorkel experience and I hope to go back there in the future. Re the staff: Very professional, polite and always willing to please no matter what the circumstance. We did have one major occurrence where our room attendant forgot to close our cabin door after cleaning our room and we discovered it had been left wide open for at least an hour while we were having dinner. The incident was reported and the attendant apologized. Also, I want to mention it was a pleasure to see hand sanitation stations before entering dinning areas on the ship. There was also one for passengers returning to the ship. In conclusion: I will never board a ship leaving out of Puerto Rico again. I will also read the reviews prior to booking a cruise from now on as I have learned they do have truth to them. And I would like to ask Royal Caribbean one question....Why would the crew not ask passengers to not block stairways and elevators by passengers sitting on stairs and floors in front of elevators, as well as those sitting on floor in Photo Gallery area to move??? Read Less
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Sail Date: December 2006
We began our cruise out of Puerto Rico and had no problems getting onto the ship or into our room. From the taxi, it took no more than 20 minutes. Our luggage arrived before dinner. It is worthwhile to bring a carry-on with items to help ... Read More
We began our cruise out of Puerto Rico and had no problems getting onto the ship or into our room. From the taxi, it took no more than 20 minutes. Our luggage arrived before dinner. It is worthwhile to bring a carry-on with items to help you freshen up though. The first dinner begins somewhat later and does not have a dress code. Our room in the front of the ship was spacious in order to accommodate our family of five. The view through two large windows was a nice touch throughout our entire stay. On the other hand, most of the activities including dining, gangway and the lounges are on the aft side which means that you have to walk the entire length of the ship several times a day. In addition, there seemed to be more movement in the front of the ship. The food was much better than we expected. Breakfast is always the same but lunch and dinner change daily. We went to Portofino's and it was nice but we are still not sure if it was worth the extra money. I don't know if this was true with others, but our servers in the main dining room seemed to rush us through the meal. With our three children (8, 10, 12), we were looking forward to some private time. Unfortunately, after the first three hour session, our kids complained about being bored at adventure ocean and we could not get them back there for the rest of the cruise. Our kids were excited about the pool until they realized that it was more salty than sea water. They also did not return. Instead, there were lots of board games, ice-skating (at scheduled times), miniature golf, rollerblading and rock-climbing. Lots to do for the kids but not necessarily independently. Even though we have children ourselves, the large number of teenagers can transform the experience. We had read the previous reviews about the number of Puerto Ricans on the ship. Although there were no quincineras going on, the ship was pretty much dominated by Puerto-Ricans. At least 75% of the passengers are from Puerto Rico. Many events are done in Spanish and English. We have to agree with other reviews in that many Puerto Ricans can be less considerate than the typical passenger. There can be significant crowding and an unruly atmosphere that undermines any hope of a peaceful vacation. My wife says that she would never leave out of Puerto Rico again. The cruise offers lots of activities on sea days but most of the activities are intended to generate income for the cruise line. These activities including tastings, spa seminars, camera demonstrations etc . . . The same type of street-side vendors you experience in malls and ports of call, also find their way into the promenade deck which otherwise is very nice. The ice skating show, comedy and the dance shows were very good. The singers didn't come across too well on the sound system. All in all, the trip was very nice, the service was excellent and we all enjoyed ourselves. Nonetheless, we certainly would not consider going on this same cruise again. We did not book any excursions as we opted to rent a car at each port to explore on our own. Pros: 1) nice room 2) good food 3) nice common areas 4) ice skating and comedy show 5) easy embarking and disembarking 6) good gym Cons: 1) cruise dominated by Puerto Ricans 2) bathroom, small and smelled bad right from the beginning 3) commercially minded activities 4) Adventure Ocean (kids program) Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
We just returned from the one week southern caribbean cruise.  We had not cruised for 15 years so we are basically first time cruisers.  Normally we go the a caribbean island resort and stay for 7 to 10 days.  We flew out the day before ... Read More
We just returned from the one week southern caribbean cruise.  We had not cruised for 15 years so we are basically first time cruisers.  Normally we go the a caribbean island resort and stay for 7 to 10 days.  We flew out the day before the cruise which I heartily recommend.  Winter weather, being what it is, left many scrambling to make the ship, and several who had to fly to Aruba, the first port, to get on board.  We stayed at the Embassy Suites prior to the cruise which is ok for one nite.  We got there by 4pm the day before the cruise.  There is an Outback Steak House so we ate immediately.  Also a 2 hour free cocktail hour, and  free breakfast the following morning.  However, the next morning we walked 2 short blocks to the ocean and toured the Intercontinental which was, hands down, a much nicer hotel and $50 cheaper. If traveling w/o children I would heartily recommend it.   Sunday we boarded ship around 3pm and walked with on with our printed seapass. Our luggage did not make our room until after dinner but everyone was very casual, having just arrived, so it was fine.  We had an inside stateroom with no window but it was all that we needed.  It was very clean and we had a wonderful steward who brought us ice, coffee every morning, and extra pillows for my husband.      We did not participate in any cruise expeditions as figured we could do them cheaper.  In Aruba caught the public bus right off the pier to Palm Beach ($1.50pp) and rented beach chairs on the beach for $10 apiece.  Very relaxed and no schedule.     We love Curacao.  Shared a cab for $12 ea way to the Hilton Resort which sold day passes for $6 apiece to use beach and all facilities.  Relaxing and again, no schedule.      Unfortunately we did not get to go to Orient Beach in St Maarten as I woke up nauseated and had the runs.  I was in bed all day while my husband sat on deck and read.  Maybe it was a little food poisoning, don't really know but was fine the next morning.     In St Thomas took at cab to Secret Harbor Resort, $20 ea way, and rented beach chairs for $5 pp.  An absolute wonderful beach, resort.     Sea days are crowded but fine.  There were practically no children on board which was good.  We often went to the adult pool.  One day a mother and 12 year old were in the hottub and attendants made the child get out of the tub.  She did but sat on the edge the entire time her mother was in the tub. Parents who think everyone should enjoy their children need to think again.  Employees were  attentive and polite.  I like the food, but generally food served to the masses, ie not of a high caliber restaurant but certainly sufficient.      Disembarking you have to be out cabin by 8 am and wait.  We got off at 10.  We chose to go on  a side path to the beach by the intercontinental and rent beach chairs vs spending the day in the airport.  There were mini vans to take people on tour of old San Juan, stopping for shopping, and lunch then taking passengers to airport by 1:30 for $50 per couple. Vans  were lined up outside the pier.  Going thru the airport was quick and not a bad wait when one plans an activity to fill in the day.  We did do the luggage handling thru the pursers office which made life a whole lot easier.  Ship takes bags the nite before, we pick up after going thru immigration, and there are airline reps right outside who take our luggage.  The luggage is taken to the airport, and we didn't have to deal with it until picking it up in our home airport.  Cruise line also printed our boarding passes and placed them in our stateroom the night before. This ran us $40 which was well worth not dragging luggage around the entire day.      We would go Royal Caribbean again.  Some airport acquaintances had been on a Carnival cruise and had not one good thing to say so beware.         Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
We had a great a great cruise.... our 8th....(Disney,Princess and RCL) While we had fun and enjoyed great weather and wonderful ports, it certainly wasn't up to the to the level of past cruises. Like everything else, corporate ... Read More
We had a great a great cruise.... our 8th....(Disney,Princess and RCL) While we had fun and enjoyed great weather and wonderful ports, it certainly wasn't up to the to the level of past cruises. Like everything else, corporate cutbacks have impacted everything on the ship so it not all the same experience it was 10 or even five years ago. However, the prices in real inflationary dollars have actually gone down for cruises so I guess you get what you pay for in that sense. We left Boston on Sunday (day of cruise) nervous about this as last time we sailed from PR we went down the day before. No problem with the direct 7:00 am flight from Boston we were on the ship in record time. It was one of the easiest embarkations ever. We did not spend the money to get passports (thanks to the advice of fellow board member scher-see her review this board) and no problem with that this year. Cabin: Checked into our inside cabin which was standard with no surprises. Food: This was area of biggest area disappointment. Thought the variety in the Windjammer has diminished and lots of low cost fare i.e plain pasta and pizza, hot dogs. The dining room has gone down hill in a big way. The steaks were very thin --choices limited--whatever happen to the interesting dishes? Still, it was acceptable and hot like your average Sheraton food. The service was tough too. I do not fault the servers as I think they are a bit overwhelmed and being asked to do too much. I had to ask for ketchup three times and finally had to find it for myself. I wanted my caesar dressing on the side but never rec'd. This may sound petty but it is just such a contrast to earlier experiences. I think the tips would really motivated the staff in the past now it just seemed cursory. In the past we would always give a little extra over and above the suggested amount as we always asked for and rec'd lots of extras--that is just not the case anymore. Excursions: We did not do any excursions this trip as just did cabs to the beaches on our own which worked out fine and saved $$$. Kid Club: My son always enjoys the kids club and I find the staff friendly and helpful. Activities: OK. another small point.....after many RCl cruises how many times can you handle the same old sexy legs, belly flop, the quest, and for the kids pirate night. While fun, there are so many repeat cruisers would it really be that tough to come up with a few new ideas for pool games and general recreation. (limbo, volleyball anything?) Had fun playing trivia with my fellow cruisers. Entertainment: This is supposed to be ship of young to middle aged families but I find the entertainment to be a bit outdated for my age. The motown and 50's stuff is really for my parents generation. It might be more fun to have some more modern acts and family stuff like a magic act for instance--- but I really don't care that much either way. Ports of Call: This is one of the best cruisers ever for great weather and beautiful beaches. My friends went Eastern the same week and had coolish weather. We did all beaches and Orient beach in St. Maarten and Trunk bay in St. John are two of my favorites. Summary: Despite the few negatives, I would highly recommend this ship and itinerary to anyone. What I have learned from my repeat cruises, is that you can have a good time on any size ship. Just go with the right attitude, visit places you want to see, and relax and enjoy the good times with your family and get to know your fellow cruisers --you can meet some good friends. Enjoy!!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
This was our second trip on the Adventure of the Seas out of San Juan and it was great again, wonderful ship, easy to get around, lots to do all day and night, just a few negative comments, the food is great at some points but can be a bit ... Read More
This was our second trip on the Adventure of the Seas out of San Juan and it was great again, wonderful ship, easy to get around, lots to do all day and night, just a few negative comments, the food is great at some points but can be a bit boring as well, deserts were consistently good and the Cafe promenade was wonderful for snacks and coffee at any time. Entertainment was good just not as much happening at night as we are used to on Norwegian Cruise lines in the past, only one hour at a time of Karaoke or Rock a Rokie and with such a large ship a lot of people were disappointed with that. Too much Bingo Bingo Bingo after hearing that fifty times over the loud speaker I wanted to choke the guy! Pool music was good but short at times too, line dancing was supposed to be for a hour but the girl doing it (assistant cruise director no less) said her throat was sore so she was cutting it short by 15 minutes, then when the cruise director didn't show up to do the sexy legs contest proceeded to do that for a hour. Ice show is alright but if you go to actual ice shows this is not something you have to see like everyone says. Johnny Rockets was just basic food nothing to pay extra for. San Juan is the biggest problem with this trip, a 3 hour wait with 15000 other cruise travelers is no fun. I will not travel through there again they don't get it that everyone was saying never again to San Juan. We did have a great time and will use Royal Cruise line again just not through San Juan Puerto Rico. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
EMBARKATION We arrived at SJU about noon on our day of departure and were on the ship by 12:30. We were allowed into our rooms promptly at 2:00 p.m. This was my 6th cruise since 8/05, all with Royal Caribbean. All other trips were on her ... Read More
EMBARKATION We arrived at SJU about noon on our day of departure and were on the ship by 12:30. We were allowed into our rooms promptly at 2:00 p.m. This was my 6th cruise since 8/05, all with Royal Caribbean. All other trips were on her smaller ships including Majesty, Empress and last, but not least, Sovereign of the Seas. Even though it rained on the first two days almost non-stop, it did not deter from the overall cruise as the first day following departure was a cruise day. Adventure of the Seas is a first class ship and I must add very clean. The Promenade was quite impressive with all the shops, cafes, sports bar, etc. The architecture of this ship was beautiful. My impression of the dining room is that it, in my opinion, is not the prettiest for being a big ship. We did not bide well with our waiter. He was one of the worst I ever had on a cruise soliciting annoyingly each time we dined there. I will end here as I'm sure others on this very same voyage had better experiences, at least I'm hoping the entire staff isn't that way. STATEROOM We had a Superior Oceanview in the aft of the ship which was very, very quiet. We did have 40 mph winds on one or two nights and it did some rocking, but not enough to bother either of us. The new bedding was beautiful and very comfortable. The bedspread was white with silky stripes in the fabric and the contrasting dark green pillows were quite attractive. The bed was between a queen and king in size and very comfortable. We also had a couch which could have, and should have, been cleaned. Our bathroom was not small, but not large by no means, but it was only the two of us with one being in the bathroom at a time so sufficient spacing. Only gripe here was that there was very little hot water ONLY on the first day. The closet was quite large with side shelves and sufficient hangers. We had an excellent balcony, again not large, but not too small with two chairs and a small glass table. We had room service for two breakfasts and at those times we brought the oval glass coffee table onto the balcony which sufficed. The luggage (3 large pieces) fit under the bed, but they also had two other comforters in plastic bags stored under there as well. Don't know what that was all about. We had a mini-bar and a safe as well. Our balcony was on the port side and we had great views in all ports except St. Thomas. The sun always rose on our side of the ship which was fantastic. The moon was also on our side and it was almost full moon with the glittering off the water. Awesome display! DINING We had first seating at a table for six. Only two of our dining tablemates showed up on the first night. We got along great from the start. I won't repeat myself about our waiter. He is the reason we didn't eat more than two nights in the dining room. There are many complaints about the food on this ship, but I found it all to be quite palatable. It could have been a little bit hotter, but no real gripe there for us. Many selections to choose from in the Windjammer. CASINO Although I did cater to the casino while my husband stayed in the room and read, I did not hear many machines "going off" with bells blazing and lights twirling. I did "hit it rich" on one machine (20,300 pennies to be exact; yes, pennies). I allotted myself a certain amount per day for gambling and did not take my room card to be tempted to charge more onto my account. Enough said. PORTS We both really enjoyed the ports of call. Although our flight was from PHL to SJU, we did not take the time to explore San Juan itself as we wanted to spend the time in port to explore the ship and become somewhat familiar with it. In Aruba, we rented an air-conditioned Jeep and bounced our way around the island. What a great way to explore! This island is absolutely mindboggling. So beautiful. We drove from the desert into mountains, climbed atop huge rocks (almost slipped off with flip-flops on in a high wind at the top, wrong move on my part...wear sneakers). Curacao we rented a Toyota Camry and drove north exploring on our own again and found a great snorkeling beach in the middle of nowhere with parakeet-like birds. On the way, we went by what may have been salt flats with pink flamingos. Great picture taking opportunity. Saw some who rented scooters to do the same trip. Would not recommend that mode of transportation. One couple in front of our car almost lost it. Guess he wasn't too experienced and I wondered why he would attempt this feat. To each their own. Not for me. In St. Marten we took the ferry ($5 r.t.) in the a.m. and then took a taxi ($20 one way) to Orient Beach in the afternoon winding up smack dab in the middle of "The Orient Beach Club". We looked around a bit before choosing to "participate" and found an umbrella and two lounge chairs ($18) and did a little bit of skinny dipping. What an experience, a freeing one at that. Would highly recommend it. Don't knock it until you try it. Just do these people a favor should you decide to go explore. If all you come for is to gawk, then stay on the clothed side. The people who really want you to look at them will undoubtedly come your way at one point in the day regardless of what side you are on. St. Thomas was a big disappointment again, as I had been there on an earlier cruise. The captain negated to tell us that the town shops would be closed all day on Saturday when we were in port due to their yearly carnival parade in town. We would have gone elsewhere to do something had we known more than a half day ahead of time. GENERAL INFORMATION We never sit our luggage out the night before disembarking because we know that we are going to see them again if we don't do that. We also were off the ship at 8:15 and on our way to the airport via private taxi versus RCL busses (curious as to why the same trip back to the airport was $22.50??). Our room steward(ess),Jenny, was excellent. If you have excellent service they DO appreciate an extra incentive to continue giving impeccable service. I did just that mid-week and we never had to ask for anything ice, no refill of our mini-bar, etc. Another couple we met never saw their steward the whole week. They ran out of towels, ice, etc., and their room always smelled of smoke and they don't smoke. He never introduced himself to them. As for our waiter, he better get another profession and attitude. You can guess what his tip was from us. Normally, I wouldn't even think of not leaving a tip less than what is expected, but I have notified RCL that this did not make me happy at all. This waiter also asked me for our room number. What did he need our room number for??? Very, very suspicious. Be careful who you give your room number to. This was an excellent time of year to travel to the Southern Caribbean. The ship had very few kids running about and the kids who were on this trip were very well behaved. Some people seem to be concerned about the Puerto Rican population on this particular itinerary. We had no problem whatsoever. Live and let live is our motto. Cultures are different and we can accept those differences. I can only say, other than our waiter's service, there was just one other thing that bothered me that had absolutely nothing to do with Royal Caribbean and that was the two canvas boxes with handles at curbside on our arrival for departure at the airport. There apparently were a pair of fighting roosters in those bags crowing their heads off. Poor things! I will not hesitate to continue to choose RCL for our next cruise (or quite possibly my next cruise as I travel a lot by myself). All I can say is "Get out there!" Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
Stayed pre-cruise one night at the Caribe Hilton (Condado area). It was a beautiful resort, but eating in the hotel was quite expensive. EMBARKATION: Arrived at Pan Am port at 12:15 pm. Checked in and was on board Adventure by 12:40 pm. ... Read More
Stayed pre-cruise one night at the Caribe Hilton (Condado area). It was a beautiful resort, but eating in the hotel was quite expensive. EMBARKATION: Arrived at Pan Am port at 12:15 pm. Checked in and was on board Adventure by 12:40 pm. Easiest check-in out of our 12 cruises. STATEROOM: Clean upon arrival. Plenty of storage room and adequate balcony for 2. The only negative was that we were in a room that connected with an adjacent stateroom and the conversations during the day were somewhat loud. This was not RCCL's problem. We chose this room and didn't realize there could be a problem. Luckily, our neighbors went to bed earlier than us so at night the problem didn't exist. 2nd SEATING DINING: Wait staff (Paul from India and Helen from Philippines) were great. Always cordial and provided prompt service each night. Food was fair. WINDJAMMER CAFE: The omelets are very good and worth standing in a short line for. Everything else was good too, except there was never tuna salad at the buffet, only at Johnny Rockets and afternoon tea. Had it once at Johnny Rocket's and it was disappointing. We were hoping that RCCL was using Celebrity's recipe which is great. But they weren't. ALTERNATIVE DINING: Portofino's was FABULOUS and worth the extra $20 per person. Can't say more, except don't miss it. ENTERTAINMENT: We made the show every night but one and all were good to great. The ICE SHOW is not to be missed. It's amazing. In 12 cruises I believe the entertainment on this ship was the best we've had. SERVICE: Our service in every area was really good. We did talk to other passengers that had not experienced the satisfaction that we did, but most of our contacts were with those from the Philippines which we've always found to be more eager to please. Our only bad service was with Martin at the Exploration Desk and the folks in the Photography Studio. Their automatic viewing system was always "down" and they were not eager to assist with finding photos. The response was "our system is updating so come back later". Well, we tried to view pictures 3 different times on 4 different days and the system was never working, so we left without purchasing any pictures. That was good for our seapass account. EXCURSIONS: Aruba (Were there from 8 am - 1 am) - Rented a jeep (independent of RCCL)to tour island in, went to Palm Beach for afternoon and shopped on the way back to ship. Cost $75 Curacao - Did Dolphin Encounter (Booked through RCCL). It was fabulous! St. Maarten - Shopped on Dutch side in the morning. Shared the cost of a car and driver with another from ship ($25 per person) for 3 hr tour of French side and Orient Beach. Very nice to see the "other side". St. Thomas - Downtown was closed due to Carnival so we shopped at Havensight Mall and then rode the tram up to the top and had a few BUSHWACKER'S before making our way back to the Adventure. They were very, very good and the view was breathtaking. DISEMBARKATION: We were off by 8 am because we had booked a rainforest tour through RCCL ($36 per person). The rainforest was beautiful, but the tour guide and bus used was just ok. Stayed 1 night Post-Cruise at Marriott Stellaris Resort & Casino which was in a very nice area (Isla Verde) with a great restaurant selection OVERALL: This was our 12th cruise and 3rd with RCCL. Our 2 other RCCL cruises had been "fair". We were skeptical about this one going in but were not disappointed at all. We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and could not have asked for a better itinerary, ship or staff. We will go again on RCCL and the voyager class ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2007
My wife, 2 children, and I are first time cruisers and I'm going to write this review for the first time cruiser. I hope to capture all the things I wish I knew before I got on the boat for others. We decided on the Adventure of the ... Read More
My wife, 2 children, and I are first time cruisers and I'm going to write this review for the first time cruiser. I hope to capture all the things I wish I knew before I got on the boat for others. We decided on the Adventure of the Seas because we currently live in Puerto Rico and the port is close by, the Adventure is thought to be the best boat from Puerto Rico (i.e. Biggest, most amenities, and newer), and my kids had their heart set on going ice skating. We are living down in Puerto Rico as expatriates temporarily. We have 2 daughters, aged 10 and 8. We sailed on April 8, on Easter day. We got a ride to the pier around 11:15 am and hauled our bags to the luggage pick up area. The porters look like they are from a moving company vs. uniformed. Doesn't really matter, but it is just a little different than what I expected to see. We had 6 bags. The porters like to remind you that they work for tips. I flipped them a few dollars after they threw my bags into a container pile. We then got in line. We waited maybe 20 minutes and the line began to move. They checked our passports going into the building. I had them all lined up with photos exposed to keep things moving quickly. Lots of people had to fumble around for their ID's to get in, but in all fairness it was not obvious exactly what we needed to get through the door until you got close. Inside the terminal, it got a little confusing. We had our Set Sail Pass all ready to go. I believe this expedited the process. The organization was a little confusing as to how they were coordinating the multiple lines, but we just went with the flow. It took us approximately 20 minutes to get through the line in the terminal and get our cards. We headed toward the ship and passed the Bacardi cart. We knocked 2 flavored shots back for free which set a nice tone to start our cruise. They took each of our photos for the embarking and disembarking process for the islands to store into the computer. Then it was up and away into the escalator and subsequent ramps. We headed to the 4th floor of the ship. They took our photo (first of many, many photos!) and we crossed the plank to board the ship. As we entered, a Canadian employee began to welcome us in Spanish. We had a good laugh because he really struggled in Spanish. We let him finish (it was a slow, deliberate welcoming) and we let him in on the joke when I responded "thank you very much!" We had a good laugh with him. While the boat is certainly big, I was surprised that it was not bigger. The beam was not as wide as I had imagined. I think I've read too many reviews as to how big the ship was and, since it is my first cruise, I imagined it to be bigger. First thing, we got our kids checked in with bracelets. We had no idea what they were for until later that night, but they are for identifying which muster station the minors are to report to if they are not with their parents in an emergency. The kids wore them for the whole cruise, as expected. We headed for the Promenade on the 5th floor. We began to familiarize ourselves with the boat a little. We purchased the soda passes for my wife and kids. It was $6 per day for adults and $4 per day for the kids. They tack on 15% gratuity for a grand total of $112.70! You have to sign up for the whole week or skip it altogether. I passed. While my wife certainly is not, I'm cheap and couldn't bear the thought of making a $50 investment in soda for the week for myself. We learned as we went through the week that the drink passes were not that great of a deal and we would pass on them the next time and pay as we go. More on that later. We headed up to the buffet in the back of the boat for lunch. We sat in the very back (The Island Grille) and enjoyed the perched view over San Juan. It was a perspective of the city we had not previously enjoyed. You are not going to hear a lot of details about food in this review. The food was decent, but not super spectacular. We found the buffet adequate. The family ordered drinks to go with lunch (soda for my wife, water for my younger daughter, lemonade for my older one, and unsweetened iced tea for me). Now, for a quick lesson on drinks... Lemonade, fruit punch, water, coffee, and iced tea are included free of charge. So, now that I spent $112.70 on these soda cards, my kids drank mostly free stuff through a lot of the cruise. Go figure! I drink a lot of diet soda (don't like the sweet drinks) and fell in love with the iced tea. It was nice to go without carbonation. Now we explored the ship. It was almost 2pm and we were able to get to our room. We booked the cheapest room we could get. We did this for 2 reasons. First, this is not the big break away from the cold type of vacation for us like it was for most of the folks from the states. It was a nice week break from home, but not my big trip of the year. Hitting the beaches was nice, but is not nearly as special for us as it is for the shivering Upstate New Yorkers or the folks freezing in Detroit. We were not going to go all out and spend a lot of money (remember, I'm cheap). Second, we are planning a trip to Europe and were testing out how well the kids could travel with us. The room was commensurate to a sleep car on a train and we wanted to see how the kids would react to it. They did surprisingly well. Net, we booked an inside room for the 4 of us. We actually could have paid a little less (~$60) by booking 2 separate inside rooms, but we did not want to be separated. We dropped off our carryon bags, changed into bathing suits, and headed for the deck. We dipped in the pool a little bit and milled around to get familiar with the ship. The captain informed us that there were over 1000 children on the boat this week. That is more than I ever saw posted and he was asking for help in managing the crowd. I never had any problems with kids running around (sure some did, but they are kids), but nothing out of control. The boat is pretty well designed for families and it looks inviting for bringing children. The sports area in the back of the ship has rollerblading, basketball court, rock climbing wall, and mini golf which we played that afternoon. The Meet and Mingle crowd agreed to meet at the Pool Bar at 4 pm. I dropped in to say hi. Nice bunch of people. We agreed to meet at the official Meet and Mingle the next evening. We went back to find 5 of our 6 bags waiting outside of our room at approximately 5pm. That was a relief because I changed room reservations approximately 1 month prior to boarding. We had already received our documents with our old room number. They do not issue you new documents with a room change, so I was nervous that our bags would get lost for a while. I manually relabeled our bag tags (with envelope labels) so it was clear where they were supposed to go. Our room attendant, Alberto, was there and I informed him that there is still one more bag that we are expecting, but was glad that we got our stuff before dinner without a hitch. We began unpacking. I was very impressed with how well designed the room was. Four people with 6 big bags were well accommodated for. Every inch is designed for use. We put our passports, money, camera, and camcorder into the safe. Our 6th bag arrived shortly thereafter. We headed for our dinner at 6:30pm. We were stuck in the very back corner of the room. We met another family at our table from Virginia who were very nice and we had good interaction with, but the other seats were empty for the whole cruise. It was hard to see what was going on in the rest of the dining room, which was beautifully decorated. We later learned that we could have asked to be moved. Some experience cruisers informed us that this is the only job the Maitre 'D has and you should take advantage of it. Ok, lesson learned. After dinner was the muster drill. That was an interesting experience. We all jammed into a lounge and learned where we needed to report in case of an emergency. Then, it turned into us being a captive audience to buy all sorts of junk from them. This was just the beginning of the demonstration of what a captive audience we were. To be fair, I'm not the type of person that likes to be marketed to (e.g. I like to browse a shop before asking for help rather than be waited on), so this bothered me a little more than the average person. After the muster drill we continued to explore the ship. We found 90% of all the areas that night. We stayed up to watch the 10pm sail away even though the kids were tired. It was exciting to watch the El Morro fort go by from that vantage point as we swept into darkness and heard the motion of the sea. It was a very pretty setting. In conclusion, with all of the logistics on the first day, it certainly did not feel like a full day. It felt like less than half of a day. I can't imagine how the first day must be for people flying in. It must be exhausting. I don't know how they made it through the muster drill. Wait! I can feel the boat moving. We thought the ship was so big you would not feel anything. It doesn't move a lot, but you definitely know you are moving. The super queasy could have a problem, but my wife is a Dramamine Queen and she had no problem throughout the cruise. You will walk down the long hallways a little wobbly sometimes, but hat is about it. I stayed up with my little one who wanted to see the parade on the Promenade deck. They rolled the barrier lines out. Shortly thereafter, singers and dancers along with dress up costume animals, and people on stilts came by. It was like a Disney-like theme park type parade. I was a little worried since I've taken my kids to Disney over a half dozen times and I definitely wanted to do something else on this vacation. I almost lost it when my 8 year old told me it looks like Disney Studios to her. In many ways, the cruise felt like a Disney experience for grown ups. That's ok, but it was not what I expected. The next morning was a sea day and we went to the dining room for breakfast. The selections were more upscale, but there was less selection than the buffet upstairs. This was the last time we ate breakfast in the dining room. While the kids did well with the breakfast, the variety and simplicity of the buffet and the freedom to choose whatever you wanted worked much better for them. In addition, the buffet was quicker so we could start our day earlier. My impression of the dining room for breakfast and lunch was that it was more of an escape for adults from children. First thing after breakfast was to go rollerblading. That was surprisingly decent and it was completely empty. The track did not look like much, but it was more than adequate to move around. After a nice little workout, we went to get changed into long pants (requirement) and hit the ice skating rink. It is a little rink, but my kids loved the ice skating since they don't get much opportunity to do it. The rink was pretty empty since all of the pale white northerners were briskly roasting themselves at the pool for the first time in months. Needless to say, they all left a different color than how they started. It was pretty surreal to be in the Caribbean Sea on the way to Aruba while ice skating. After lunch, we hit the rock wall. My younger daughter made it to the top after some effective coaxing from the instructor and was so proud! She did better than her dad! We didn't get our Meet and Mingle invitation in our room and had no idea where it was going to be. Subsequently, we just didn't get our act together and missed it being busy having fun with the kids. In the end, it was really our fault. I was very disappointed and felt like I missed out on connecting with the others. We dressed up for formal night. I wore a suit and a tie which was par for the course in the dining room. There were a few in the over 50 crowd who donned tuxedos, but this was more of an exception than the rule. Women wore various levels of dresses. They go around and take photos during dinner. Now, it is time for another learning rant. We found the formal nights to be more trouble than they were worth. I don't aspire to dress up like this on vacation, since this is how I dress for work. When I get home, I can't wait to get the suit off of me. Packing all of the stuff, storing it in our tiny room, taking the time to change, fussing with the kids, etc. was simply not worth all of the hassle. Our tablemates were equally uncomfortable and we ditched the ties on the next formal night. Next time we cruise, we are just going to skip the formal nights altogether and save the suitcase space. The smart casual night, by the way, was completely indistinguishable from any other casual night. My wife used her smart casual outfit for the second formal night because she felt her cocktail dress was too fancy for the occasion. She went casual on the "smart casual" night which I honestly have no idea which night that was. After dinner, we went to the Lyric Theater for see a comedian do his routine. I don't know his name, but he was the father from the "That's so Raven" sitcom on the Disney Channel. He was very funny while being age appropriate for the kids. My wife and older daughter laughed and laughed. My younger daughter was upset because I think she was expecting to see the guy in his Disney Channel character. She felt ripped off since that was not what she expected. She quickly got over it. The kids were tired and they all went to bed and I went to the late night, adult comedy by myself. I think his name was John Wise. He was pretty funny, but not as polished as the previous performer. Obviously, some of his stuff was a bit edgier and I don't take any of that kind of stuff seriously, but some people had a mixed reaction to it. Tuesday, we arrived in Aruba. I woke up at 6:30 am while the rest of the family slept in, as usual. I jogged around the track on deck 12 (5 laps to complete a mile) while watching Aruba get closer and closer. We docked in Oranjestad right at 8 am, as scheduled. I was expecting to see a dry, desert-like island, but I was surprised at how flat Aruba was. I woke the family and we ate breakfast while the hordes disembarked. We went straight down to the 1st floor after eating with our backpacks. Getting off the boat was a breeze and I was pleasantly surprised given the size of the ship. You need identification and your Sail Pass Card. They run your card to track that you are now off the boat. You need identification to get back into the port for the Aruban authorities. The ship personnel said that this is an American requirement that the US insists that the islands follow. As it turns out, Aruba was the only place that checked for photo identification. Everyone else just checked to see that you had a Sail Pass Card. We brought multiple copies of our passports. We did not want to bring our actual passports with us to the beach and this was an acceptable practice. We did a little light kiosk shopping. The people of Aruba are very nice and hospitable. We crossed the street and got on the 10A bus to the "hotels." My wife was in Aruba over a decade ago and she wanted to return to the beautiful beach she was at, but she could not remember the name. We deducted it was Palm Beach. For $9.20 roundtrip for the 4 of us, we took off for Palm Beach. We got there, walked through one of the big hotels to the shore and were disappointed. My wife realized that this was not the beach she remembered. I saw how commercial it was and knew this was not where I wanted to spend my afternoon. We walked south down the beach until we hit a pier. We got the kids a bottle of water and were solicited politely for a timeshare. We kindly refused and began to chat with the gentleman about how crowded the beach was and we wanted to know how far Eagle Beach was. He told me he likes Eagle Beach better also and that is where the locals go. He pointed how to get to the bus and we hit the road again. Eagle Beach is wider, quieter, and has far fewer people. It was, however, extremely windy. We located a bunch of loungers with fixed straw roofed canopies and sat down. I looked around to see if there was anyone to pay for it, but there was no one I could identify. I figured if there was money to be paid, they would find me. It was so windy; the back of the lounger swung and nailed me in the back of the head while I was sitting up. Ouch! A gentleman did approach me, but informed me that the furniture was the property of the little hotel across the street (I think Little Divi is the name). I had no idea and informed him I'd move without any problem. He stopped me and simply asked that if his hotel patrons begin to fill up the beach, then please move for them. How nice is that?! That was my experience of Aruba. He didn't even charge me anything. We headed back for lunch on the boat and then went shopping again. I got an Amstel (hard to get in the states) and we picked up a few souvenirs. We spent only $25 the whole day. One other thing surprised me about Aruba. While my first language is English, my whole family is fluent in Spanish as well. Nearly everyone in Aruba was more comfortable communicating with us in Spanish than English. While everyone speaks English well, that was a big surprise. I was not expecting to speak Spanish in Aruba. We went back to the ship for dinner. We had the ice show tickets for that night at 9 pm. It didn't feel right to be in the port at Aruba until 1am, but sitting on the boat watching a show. From a logistics standpoint, I would have rather been walking Oranjestad and seen the ice show another day (either a sea day or an early port departure). That felt a little like a lost opportunity, but late nights on the town with the kids were not necessarily in the cards anyway. Wednesday, we arrived in Curacao. We got a late start after breakfast again. We never tried to be the first off the boat. Curacao is an island that I had the most trouble investigating. I later determined that information was not easily available because the Dutch have been wisely keeping it to themselves. The island is beautiful. It is much bigger than Aruba. The one thing I did know about Curacao is that this is the place to dive or snorkel. We did not want to do any of the foofy excursions from the ship. It was important to me to get lost ourselves and immerse into the local culture a little. I figured there was a lot of structure on the boat, so I wanted to approach the ports in an unstructured manner. We got a taxi to Caracas Bay where there is a sunken tugboat that is close to the shore and good for snorkeling. It cost $25 to get there and we arranged to be picked up at 1:30 by Alvin. There was a huge boat for snorkeling off the shore with over 50 homosapiens swimming all over the tugboat site that were from our ship. That was exactly what I did not want. I'm sure with that many people, it has to affect the marine life you'd see. There was a little shop at the shore where we arrived. We were expecting go snorkeling ourselves, but a young Dutch gentleman named David came out and offered us a snorkel tour for an hour to 90 minutes. He gave us wetsuits and offered snorkel gear, but we brought our own. He sat down with my family with a marine life book and gave us a quick, 5 minute review of the different sea life he was going to show us. Again, he spoke English and Spanish to us (he wanted to practice). Curacao was like Aruba in that regard and we were speaking a lot of Spanish. David took us out and we first headed under the pier there. He dove down up to 35 feet in some places and picked up marine life and brought it to us. I quickly realized that he knows these waters well and knows where to find all of this stuff. The first item was a "Donkey Dung Sea Cucumber." I held it while he snapped a photograph with the underwater camera he provided for us. My kids loved it! Sea urchins and wild starfish that I've never seen before were incredible. David showed us a huge variety of coral and he was very knowledgeable. He dragged our kids on a floatation device when they got tired and was fantastic. By the time we were done at the pier, all of the people on the snorkeling excursion from the ship were back on the boat and sped away. Now, it was time for us to go to the tugboat. We had it all to ourselves. We saw huge, colorful fish. David pulled out a banana and fed them. Wow! What a great experience! We had a half hour wait until our taxi was to arrive and I had a drink at the bar, which was included with the tour. I chatted with Jerry who worked at the dive shop also. I learned that they took over this little shop ( months earlier. Jerry, who was originally from Aruba, spent time explaining Curacao at a level that I was unable to through my own research. Curacao is very Dutch and it shows. I saw a lot of Dutch people here vs. Americans in Aruba. It was a European sideshow. I mentioned that I missed an opportunity to buy Gouda cheese in Aruba, and he asked Alvin, the taxi driver, to bring me to Albert Heijn to buy some. He said it is a great place to go. Alvin stopped there on his way and we went Dutch supermarket shopping. I thought I was in the Netherlands. Shopping for cheese in Dutch is a challenge. I wanted to make sure "oud" meant "aged" and I asked a pretty, bright blonde (almost stereotypical) Dutch girl if she could help me. She didn't speak much English and struggled to find the word, so we figured it out together. Just the kinds of experiences I enjoy. We got back to the ship with a 10 lb. wheel of Gouda ($100 worth of cheese for $29. Please don't ask what I'm going to do with all of that cheese). I put it in the refrigerator of our room and we headed back out to town. Willemstad, the port town, is gorgeous. Pretty pastel colors with Dutch facades. The layout of the town had a European feel too. We walked around the Otrabanda side of the city and picked up souvenirs. There is a ferry that shuttles you to the other side, named Punda, which is even more picturesque. We were worried about the time since we needed to be back on the ship by 4:30 pm and decided not to go to Punda. We did not want to risk missing the ship by some inefficiency of the ferry schedule although it looked to me like it went back and forth every 10 minutes. This is our next learning that we experienced. The captain told us to be back on the ship by 4:30 for a 5:00 pm sailing. They do really leave people behind if you are late. However, they do know who is not yet back on the ship. They start announcing people's names who are late and attempt to find them. They also can see a ½ mile inland from the top of the ship and keep an eye for people because they really don't want to leave people behind. Now, you would be a fool to tempt fate at 5:00 pm, but we realized that there was no reason to be ultraconservative (like we were) and be back on the ship by 4:00 pm. We could have easily returned at the 4:30 pm embarkation time without concern and we would have gone to Punda with that extra 30 minutes. Rookie mistake... Went spent $55 on cab, $60 for snorkeling, and $15 for the underwater camera. It was cheaper than the cruise excursion and I'm sure it was far superior in quality. I felt great supporting this little local business off the cruise ship tourist-trap path. I felt like I got a little slice of Curacao that way. This was our favorite experience on our entire cruise and we want to come back to Curacao for a week. Curacao is big, so renting a car is probably a better option if you want to move around a little more than we did. Back on the boat, we ate dinner. We went to a show called Velvet Rope. The kids had a lot of sun and, with the lights dimmed down, they were falling asleep. They walked out and crashed the minute the head hit the pillow. I'd like to think it did not have something to do with the fact that the show was incoherent and the transitions were rough. Honestly, I thought the show was so bad that I had no idea what it was all about. I got back to my room and read a description and at least figured out what they were trying to do. I wandered the ship that night. I tried to find all of the little corners I had not seen before to find the last 10% of the ship. The observation point at the front of the ship on the 11th deck is cool. You can see the captain's chair where they control the ship. But, the absolute best, not to be missed experience, is to go to the 4th level. Go outside and head toward the front of the ship until you have to go up a flight of stairs. Continue until you reach the bow of the ship and get on the helicopter pad (it is very dark, but keep going). If you do this on a sea day at night, you will experience the starriest night of your life. It is absolutely gorgeous. I did this every night of the cruise from that point on and took my family. It is no wonder that 1000's of years ago, people charted the stars. They were able to see them much better than we ever could with the naked eye. Don't miss it!!! It is worth the theme park admission. Thursday, the next sea day, was more of the same. This time I got to the top of the rock wall twice. A boat like the Adventure is handy for sea days. I'm not sure what we would have done without all of those amenities. Sitting at the pool is not a big deal for us. However, there were so many things on the Adventure that we never got to experience all of them. Formal night was dressed down. My picky-eater kids did amazingly well with the dinner nearly every night. I was not thrilled that my 8 year old ate chicken nuggets and French fries every night, but she was in heaven and we were on vacation so I let her indulge. Both found food they really liked and ordered it time and time again. Reynaldo (from the Philippines) was our waiter for the last 6 days and took good care of us. Dwayne (from Jamaica) was fantastic. He took time to show my 8 year old some amazing tricks with forks and toothpicks. He really made my girls feel special. Moshen was our headwaiter from Tunisia. He was pleasant and stopped by to say hi once each night. Honestly, I have no idea what his job was other than a little chit chat. You tip the headwaiter for his services, but I still don't know what that was for. That is something we never learned on this trip. That night we went to another show. This one was music based. It was interesting, but we, again, were tired. This time we all stepped out early. Friday, we arrived at St. Maarten. We grabbed a cab and went to Orient Beach on the French side. Everything was Dutch so far on this trip. So, now we wanted to go French. For $25 we got dropped off at the Bikini Beach section of the beach. We wandered a little bit looking for a place to drop our stuff down. We saw some nice loungers and walked over to Kakao Beach. The loungers (2) and umbrella were $25 for the front row and $20 anywhere behind. We got the front row. We got there early. Before it gets crowded the people from Club Orient, the nude part of the beach, like to wander up the shore fully nude. These are the few exhibitionists. We had to have a little chat with our girls to explain what that was all about. We made no big deal out of it, so the girls did not either. After 9:30 am, we did not see any more fully nude wanderers. All of these folks are well over 50 years old. There were some topless women on the beach. This comprised itself of less than 5% of the women and they were primarily French women over 50. We were surprised that this was the first place that we had seen any topless women. We thought we would have seen more on the cruise since Aruba and Curacao are also European influenced islands. The beach was gorgeous and is now my wife's favorite. We stayed until 2 pm. We headed back to Phillipsburg to do some shopping. Alain was our driver and he liked to talk so we had some fun. I sat in the front seat with him. He told us about the island, the people, what it is like to live there, the relationship with the French, European investment on the island, etc. It was all very interesting. Shopping in St. Maarten was pretty good. Prices seem to be better than any of the other islands. We were not "jonesing" jewelry or anything. Shopping is not my idea of a vacation endeavor, but we just wanted a couple simple memories and I wanted to sample the town. From there, we walked back to the boat. It was a 15 minutes walk. Another lesson learned was that the water taxi is a cute idea, but if you are not averse to walking, you'll probably get into town faster by foot. We should have rented a car in St. Maarten. They were cheap. Our tablemates got one for $55 and roamed the island while we spent $45 on taxi fare and went to 2 places. Next time I'll rent a car. The other thing we would do differently is eat at the second seating. We noticed that the early dinner impeded on a number of things. Sail aways from the ports were missed, sunsets were missed, and hurrying back to the port was a hassle with dinner right on the heels at 6:00 pm. Even with the kids, we could get a snack easily to hold us over to the late dinner. We found we were not even hungry at 6:00 pm because we tended to eat a later lunch anyway. To think that our kids would be too hungry to eat at 8:30 pm on a cruise ship is ridiculous. There is food everywhere! Woof! I don't know what we were thinking. Saturday, we arrived in St. Thomas. We had breakfast at the buffet. It was crazy up there because the dining room was not serving breakfast. It was hard to get a place to sit. The dining room was being used for customs/immigration. We needed to deal with customs/immigration since we are hitting a US port again. We were shocked at how efficient they have this down. We showed them our identification, they marked our passes and we are done. If you don't do this, they won't let you off the ship. They also scan your card, so they have any accounting for everyone. I saw a lady trying to convince security that she did pass through immigration, but she got sent back because she did not have the marking on her card. They need everyone to do this so they can "clear" the ship. Once off into St. Thomas, we decided to change our plans and go to Magen's Bay. We hopped into an open air taxi. The taxi drivers are loud, rough, and aggressive. You pile into their taxi until it is full and off they go. It is $8 per person to Magen's Bay including kids and it is regulated by the government. There is no other way to get there other than renting a car. This is St. Thomas' solution to provide employment to the island. There are a lot of taxi drivers and they wait in a long line for their turn to fill their taxi. They won't go until their cab is full. I figure they probably take 3 roundtrips a day to make a living and that is it. The rest of the time, they are off or are waiting in line for their turn. Once we got into the taxi, we're off on our 4 mile $32 ride when the taxi driver behind us accosts our taxi driver. They had a dispute over whose passengers we were supposed to be. So, we got thrown out of the cab in the middle of a hairpin turn going over the mountain and get into the other taxi. The new driver is mad so he is flying down the mountain at high speeds. I was inches away from getting gashed by the foliage in the taxi (remember that it is open aired!). We were a little scared, and I drive everyday in Puerto Rico so I'm pretty stalwart! We got to the beach and paid $3 per adult and $0.25 per child. Magen's Bay was beautiful. We laid out our towels under a sea grape tree for shade and enjoyed the beautiful tranquil beach. There were no motorized sports there, which made it peaceful. We took another taxi back for another $32 dollars to the pier (no other choice) and did a little light shopping before getting back on the ship. I will either take the bus or rent a car the next time I'm in St. Thomas. I know they drive on the left side of the road and the bus is a little bit of a walk, but I'm not willing to support that taxi business again. I felt a little "taken"and that left a bad taste in my mouth about St. Thomas even though we had a great time at the beach. That night, back on the ship, was primarily for goodbyes. We tipped everyone and packed our bags. They picked it all up from the hallway at around 1:30 am. We did see the end of another comedian show which was good. The stars were not nearly as bright since we were not far from Puerto Rico and the pollution of light from the island has a big impact on the visibility of the stars. Oh well. We got a number card in our room. They number you from 1 to 10 based upon your need to get off the ship. You get this on your final night. The folks with early flights are typically first. For some reason we had a number 2 on our departure schedule. I expected to be number 10 since we didn't need to get on any flight. Sunday morning, we got up at 7 am. We needed to shower and pack our carry-ons since our bags were already taken. We got to the buffet by 8 am and it was just as crazy as the day before. In retrospect, we should have taken the advice we got from our waiter. We should have woken up later and gone up to the buffet at 8:30 am. After eating, we found ourselves with nothing to do and we were ready to get off. We walked to front of the ship and down the stairs to the 4th floor and got right off the ship before 9 am. We handed in our customs card with no problem. They directed us to our designated bag area (Yellow 1) and we got our bags. We handed in our customs card with no problem and hit the street. We were picked up by my wife's family and headed for home. Some final thoughts: 1) There were over a 1000 kids on the ship due to the Easter holiday. The boat is designed for families. We sat with an older couple during lunch that made an off comment that they did not want to be around so many kids. If you don't want to be around children, for whatever reason, choose a more upscale cruise line. Otherwise, go with it. I did not observe anything inappropriate as far as people being inconvenienced by children. I did observe some uptight adults with extremely low thresholds of patience. 2) Yes, everything is in English and Spanish. You need to understand that you are traveling away from the mainland US between North and South America. A good percentage of the boat had Spanish speakers (roughly half), but nearly all Spanish speakers were bilingual. I am sophisticated enough in Spanish to realize that a great deal of the Spanish I heard was not Puerto Rican. Americans travel down to Puerto Rico to get on the boat, while some South and Central Americans travel up to Puerto Rico to get on the boat. Both languages are appropriate for the audience. If you don't want exposure outside of the American culture and only want to hear English, then you shouldn't leave the mainland US for travel. If you are going to travel to Puerto Rico and leave out of that port, you should expect to hear Spanish being spoken (it is the primary language of the home port). 3) I did notice that some things were not kid friendly. We did our best to respect all of the adult only aspects of the ship, but there was a moment or two where I found it very hard to do. The solarium area (adult only) is a walk through area to get access to the front of the ship. If the adults don't want kids walking through, then that is next to impossible. There are 2 large adult only Jacuzzis in the main pool area and 2 smaller ones for general use. The adult Jacuzzis are empty while the kids can't get room. I noticed some well behaved kids in the adult Jacuzzi which should have been no problem (unless they acted up), but this becomes an accommodation problem when you want to use a Jacuzzi with your kids, but can't get use of one. 4) I did not see any of the Puerto Rican dynamic I hear about in other reviews. I know the Puerto Rican culture well. While Puerto Rican people are not rude, they are inconsiderate in general. It is just not the way the culture is built and not meant with poor intent. They are, however, very warm and friendly. Interaction with other people is important and many rules of conduct are not so strict. Americans on the other hand are considerate, but can be rude. Rules are important and less value is placed on personal interaction. I did witness adequate consideration for others and thought everyone got along just fine. I think past reviews are from the intolerant complainers who expect everything to be like home. They are the ones with the big problem on this issue. The cultures are different. Just embrace it as an interesting difference. 5) The drinks are a little interesting on the ship. If you are trying to order something that is considered complimentary (lemonade, iced tea, etc.), it is only available in a few areas of the ship. You will not find them at any of the bars on the ship. They don't make it easy. You feel like the staff wants nothing to do with you if you do not want to buy a drink from them in the way that they send you away. That treatment was consistent enough for me to determine it was deliberate. Having said that, it is not that hard to get what you want once you know where to go. I did not attempt to bring any water, soda, etc. onboard and I am glad I didn't. I really did not see reason for it. I did see a person getting hassled by Security for having Kirkland water bottles on the deck while the staff was selling water. You can easily buy $1 water bottles on the islands and get water downstairs. Alcohol, on the other hand was very expensive. 6) It was a challenge to tackle an island on an 8 am to 5 pm schedule. Aruba's 1 am sailing was a noticeably nice exception. I'm guessing some of the concern is pulling in and out of some of the ports without visual light (for safety reasons) in addition to needing the time to get from one place to the next. I don't know, but it would be a big selling point if they could leave the ports later in the evening. 7) I was not able to comment much on the Adventure Ocean program because my kids did not want to do it. We signed them up and it looked interesting, but we couldn't get the kids to do it on their own. 8) Don't miss the Meet and Mingle. I felt uncomfortable about missing it during the whole cruise and definitely missed out on meeting a bunch of interesting people. In summary, we had a good experience on the cruise. The kids loved it. I did not like the captive audience aspect of cruising or the incessant marketing that goes on, but it is a good way to sample a bunch of islands. I don't think I will be a habitual cruiser like some die-hards, but I do think I'd take another to see a new set of islands before I leave the Caribbean. I like to savor my destinations and that is something that is hard to do on a cruise. However, I don't know a better way to visit a bunch of destinations in such a short period of time. I hope this helps and I'll definitely do a few things differently know that I know better. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2007
By way of background, we are a 50ish professional couple from California & each been on 6 previous cruises. Traveling with no kids. Fiance has been on RCL Voyager class for W. Carib cruise. I've never been on RCL previously, but ... Read More
By way of background, we are a 50ish professional couple from California & each been on 6 previous cruises. Traveling with no kids. Fiance has been on RCL Voyager class for W. Carib cruise. I've never been on RCL previously, but have liked Celebrity. Okay, we booked this cruise thru an internet agency as a post tax season getaway. Long way to travel from Ca, but cruise price & airfare were right. Too early in season for Alaska & not enough vacation time or $$$ for Europe. Flew on Sat morn via American Airlines from SF via Miami & arrived in San Juan Sat around 6 pm. Prenight hotel was Marriott Stellaris booked at $155 via Priceline. Absolutely gorgeous hotel. Just remodeled, flat screen tv, view room, beautiful pool, Tuscany restaurant in hotel was good. Left hotel Sun morning around 11:15 via cab to Pan Am pier for AOS. We got there too early at 11:30. About 150 people in line outside on a hot & humid day with no seating. Luckily the line started moving about 10 minutes after we got there. Had Set Sail passes printed at home & were on board ship by 11:50. First order of business was get up to Portofino & book dinners for Tues & Wed nights. We had a leisurely lunch in Windjammer on 11 deck and were in room around 1:45. Midship balcony on deck 7, portside. Excellent room. Brand new comfortable bedding, nice balcony, plenty of room. Found cabin attendant, Thomas & were able to ask for and receive bathrobes and 1 feather pillow for our use during the week. Thomas was always pleasant, courteous and extremely efficient. Entertained us throughout the week with his incredible towel animals. He deserved and received his above recommended gratuity. Then toured the ship. It is beautiful. Went to the dining room and discovered we were at a table for 10 in the 3rd floor Vivaldi room 4 ft. from the captain's table. The dining room is gorgeous & includes 3 levels. The staircase is unbelievable. Our tablemates included couples from NJ, Baltimore, NM, and Maine. Meals. We were main seating for dinner 6:30 on Sun & 6 pm thereafter. The food in the main dining room was better then I expected. Not up to Celebrity standards but always good. The prime rib was excellent, the duck and pork chop stood out, the onion quiche was very good, the mushrooms in puff pastry was good and the grand marnier souffle was excellent. The service could have been better. The waiter would get things, but it could take awhile. I did not enjoy having to catch the asst. waiter's attention in order to get water, coffee or bread. We also had breakfast in the main dining room 3 or 4 days. Really enjoyed it. They put tables together and we had really fun tablemates at breakfast. Simple things, but the juice and cheese danish were excellent in the dining room. We also had breakfast in Windjammer on 11 a few times. The omelette station is recommended if you want your food hot or eggs to order. Sometimes we would order coffee & juice via room service for early morn & enjoy it on the balcony before Windjammer or dining room for breakfast. Lunch was always at Windjammer and was inconsistent. Some of the food was good & some wasn't. Good pizza was always available. Before I forget, Cafe Promenade on 5 deck always had great pastries and pizza available. We had dinner at Portofino, the alternative restaurant on Tues & Wed nights. the setting, service and food were outstanding. Loved the saltimbocca & fillet and desert sampler including white chocolate creme brulee & tirimisu were great. The mushroom pasta was also super. One other thought on food, tried writing our own breakfast order on room service for breakfast in St. Thomas & got a call from room service saying NO, they were busy & only doing cold food or omelettes. Entertainment. The ice show was super. We saw it on Tuesday and Thursday. Kenny James was a headliner act and was fantastic. The Abba show was also great. The production shows were both bad & we walked out on them. Ports. Aruba was great. We booked the RCL excursion of afternoon sail, snorkel & swing which used Jolly Pirates & it was one of our best excursions ever. We're not sure if we liked the bus ride or boat ride better, both were so fun. The snorkeling at the German shipwreck was great & yes, I did do the swing. In Curacao we joined a minivan tour & were taken all over the island, including the caves. St. Maarten was mostly about shopping and pics from the water taxi. In St. Thomas we shopped and did the RCL excursion to beautiful Megan's Bay. Only glitch was the Capt announced 5 times the night before that we needed to clear immigration before disembarking in St. thomas & we would announce when that happened. He NEVER announced it & people's timing was thrown off. We met a few people that missed tours (including St. John's) because no announcement was made. Bad error! Disembarkation in san Juan was one of the smoothest we've ever had and we enjoyed touring old San Juan, El Morro & our post cruise night at El Convento. It was a great cruise & we feel RCL is a good fit for us. We booked the Panama Canal for next year while on board. Enough said. Even on Monday the San Juan airport was a challenge. It took us 1 1/2 hours to get thru. Most rigorous security we've seen. Read Less
Adventure of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 5.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 0.0
Family 5.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 1.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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