We arrived at terminal at apporx. 1:50 PM. The line ran the whole sidewalk all the way to the end of the terminal. I thought it would takes hours to get in. In exactly 21 minutes we were inside with our sea pass in hand/ We were told our room was ready, balcony on 8th deck. The room was great.
We toured the ship before going to Windjammer to eat. The layout of ship was better then any I have been on. The promenade deck on 5th floor was like a mall. The decor was outstanding.
Food was way better then expected in Windjammer and also the dining room. The Cafe Promenade was open 24 hours a day and had great pizza, along with hoagies, deserts and coffee. All free.
The shows were OK but the Ice show was beyond belief.
Only complaint if any were some rude Puerto Rican children that would cut in line for food or at elevators. Would definitely recommend AOS as an outstanding ship. I would and will use it again.
Introduction My wife, Joanne, and I are Diamond level Crown and Anchor Society members (10+ cruises on Royal Caribbean). A couple of months back, she found a whale of a deal for this cruise on Orbitz We had an outside D2 cabin 8648 with balcony including round trip air fare from Atlanta, for less money than a windowless inside cabin without air fare. We booked this cruise before somebody discovered the aberration. We had taken the identical cruise in January 2004 and loved both the ship and itinerary.
A Couple Of Pre-Cruise Tips I've posted a number of cruise reviews over the past few years to journal my travels and interact with fellow cruisers like you. Another cruiser made me aware that if you owned 100 or more shares of Royal Caribbean stock, the cruise line would credit your on-board account with $100 for every cruise you take. Royal Caribbean told me to send them a recent brokerage statement indicating ownership, my cruise date, ship name, reservation number and Crown and Anchor member numbers and they would take care of it. They did. I also have a Royal Caribbean VISA card andredeemed 25,000 points for an additional $250 in on-board credits. When we stepped on the ship, our account had a $350 credit for use in the shops, casino, spa, bars, shore excursions or anything else your sea pass card is used for. It's pretty close to free money.
Sunday - San Juan Departure
Our 8:30 a.m. flight from Atlanta arrived in San Juan at noon and we were aboard by 1:30 p.m. Check-in was fast and efficient. We had a small roll-on suitcase for essentials until the rest of our luggage caught up with us. You can't get to your cabin until 2 p.m. so the staff can get everything cleaned and ready. The ship keeps the heavy steel fire doors closed between the elevators and stair case areas and the cabin hallways. We headed for lunch in the Windjammer.
Later, we met our cabin attendant, the delightful Agnes from Peru, who kept our cabin ship shape for the week. She met her husband on the ship and he is one of the chefs aboard. She introduced us to him later in the week and he told us he hoped we were enjoying all the food he and his fellow chefs were serving up all week. The scales do not lie. We were enjoying it to the extreme.
A fellow cruise critic once wrote me and told me a great way to enjoy an evening departure from San Juan is to make dinner reservations in Portofino. We made reservations for 7:30 p.m. with an 8:00 p.m. sailing time. Portofino is on deck 11, starboard (right) side of the ship and there is a $20 per person, charge which is well worth it. It is a truly sublime experience to have a table for two at the window and watch the lights of the city and Morro Castle glide past while enjoying an exquisite dinner. I had a pasta appetizer, Caesar salad, made tableside (with anchovies) and veal wrapped in prosciutto with a wonderful cream sauce. The first night of any cruise is apparently the slowest night of the week in the premium restaurants. There were few tables occupied and the largest group was a table full of the ship's officers celebrating some occasion. Jeanette from the Philippines took wonderful care of us. After leaving port, the Adventure hung a left in the Atlantic to loop westward around the island and into the Caribbean for the week.
Having gotten up at 4:15 a.m. to make our flight, we couldn't bring ourselves to partake of the ship's evening entertainment that was capped off by a big parade in the Royal Promenade at midnight. The Adventure has some wonderfull new bedding. White-on-white sheets with embroidered RCI logos and multiple fluffy pillows beckoned us to dreamland.
Monday - Cruising South To Aruba
In a futile exercise against the culinary temptations of the Adventure this week, we arose, donned our exercise clothes and headed to deck four, the Promenade Deck at about 9 a.m. to do some brisk orbits of the ship. Six trips around the Adventure, worked up a good appetite that was sated up in the Windjammer. Note to self...we have 3,600 passengers, 1.200 crew onboard and walking on the promenade deck, there were exactly six other people besides us. A couple was playing shuffleboard portside and four people were similarly occupied on our starboard pass. There were hundreds of empty deck chairs and lounges for the taking if you wanted a private chunk of ship for your own.
After breakfast, we grabbed our books and a couple of lounge chairs in the shade up at the pool deck on 11 and we had a front row seat for the Women's Hairy Chest Contest, or whatever complemented the excellent songs aired by the band, Mega 4. These musicians set a fine mood for a Caribbean cruise, and when we sailed with them on the Mariner two years ago, we bought two of their albums.
At about 2:30 p.m., we headed to the Café Promenade on Deck 5 forward to grab a couple of coffees. A bridge crosses the Royal Promenade between the Promenade Café and the Duck and Dog Pub. Tucked underneath a stairway heading up to this bridge, is an 8x10 foot raised band platform. The Rosario Strings, (a violinist, bass fiddle player and guitar player) started filling the Promenade with Latin flavored tunes. These guys are an instrumental group, not singers. At the second number, all the surrounding Puerto Rican passengers joined in song to the tune. In a few minutes and a few songs later, the shops emptied of all of our Spanish speaking friends. At least 200 were singing the tunes played by the Rosario Strings. We sipped our Seattle's Best coffees and just relished the superb concert unfolding in front of us. I have no idea if this happens every Monday at 2:30 in the afternoon or if this was a special moment to be savored, but what a great cruise experience.
Sailing south all day, we were escorted by numerous sea birds. They were white with a black stripe along the leading edge of their wings. I guess the ship's passage was churning up lunch for them as they would rise to a couple of hundred feet above the wave tops, tuck in their wings and dive like a bullet vertically into the Caribbean. A few seconds after they disappeared underwater, they would resurface with a smile on their beak, belch, flap their wings to get airborne and renew their search for another bite of lunch.
At 5 p.m. we headed up to the Blue Moon on deck 14 four our Cruise Critics Meet and Mingle get together. The ship laid out a spread of hors d'ouvres and we could meet with about twenty-five fellow cruisers that we had been exchanging e-mails with prior to sailing. Sign up for one of these prior to any cruise you take. It's really fun to correspond with people you will be vacationing with.
This was the ship's first of two formal nights. I used the Royal Caribbean web site, prior to our departure, to order a tux for the week. When we entered our cabin upon boarding, it was hanging in our closet. It came with everything as advertised, including two shirts, and it all fit. I was one of the few black tie clad passengers that evening, but our Puerto Rican young lady contingent dressed to the nines. We had ship-wide eye candy galore. There were hundreds of lovely young ladies aboard and they all dressed like J-Lo headed to the Grammies.
This evening, we met our wonderful tablemates for the week along with Nareen our waiter from India, Paulo his assistant from Peru and Mahai our head waiter from Romania. I don't know why, but our last two cruises on a ship this size, the Mariner of the Seas, the main dining room cuisine was ordinary and I said as much in my reviews. The meals on Adventure were superb.
Tuesday - Aruba - Das Boot With Cheese And A Side Of Murder
At dinner the previous evening, Del Gado, one of our tablemates from San Juan, recounted that Aruba was THE place to buy your Dutch cheese on this cruise. I said, "I beg your pardon?" Apparently, everyone living in the Caribbean knows that the best place to load up on your Gouda cheese is Aruba. Folks from the Caribbean on this trip, will return home with Gouda and share it with their friends and families. Del Gado recounted that one of his fondest childhood memories was having a hot chocolate with a slice of Gouda cheese melting in it. What a quaint custom but I'll take mine on a Ritz cracker.
We got off the ship with the plan of hiring a taxi for an island tour. Step out of the terminal building at the pier and it's difficult to avoid. We shared a taxi/van with another couple from St. Croix for a two-hour island tour for $15 each. Three years ago, one of the trademark tour stops was "Natural Arch" on Aruba's North shore. We learned, not on this trip. The Natural Arch was now Fallen Arch and it collapsed into the sea about a year and a half ago.
I asked our driver, Richard, a native of Aruba, what was the local buzz with regards to the Natalee Holloway disappearance exactly two years ago. He echoed the popular stateside belief that Urine (excuse my spelling)van der Sloot, knows exactly what happened to her and that his judge wanna-be father, had the necessary legal connections to put in the fix with the local authorities. Aruba now has its own O.J. celebrity. Urine has changed his story on the evening's events at least eight times. Book him Danno...murder one!!! Richard drove us past the beach next to Natalee's hotel where Urine supposedly left her relaxing on the beach at 3 a.m. Gag me with a Smurf, somebody get a rope for this guy, his father and the Kalpo brother accomplices!
We had a lunch back on Adventure. At 1:00 p.m. we exited the dockside terminal and walked about 50 feet across the pier to the waiting tender that would take us out to the Atlantis VI submarine tour, $89 per adult, $49 per child. The tender ignited its warp drive engines and flew us at 40 knots to Submarine Atlantis VI. First, the preceding submarine passengers got off onto our tender and then we boarded the Atlantis. Our sub driver bore a striking resemblance to the actor, Jurgen Prachow. You film buffs know what I'm talking about.
We have been on submarine tours before in St. Thomas and Bermuda. This was the best. First of all, the water was extremely clear with well over 100 feet in visibility. We made a pass at the reef at a 30 foot depth. The reef was rich with all kinds of fish and coral and you could still see lots of colors at this depth. The Kapitan then did a 180 degree turn so the passengers at our backs on the port side of the sub could enjoy the identical view we just had. We dropped down to 90 feet and made a pass at a ship that was sunk on purpose, years ago, to provide scuba divers with a neat site to dive. We were delightfully still dry and enjoyed our tour. The sub driver did another 180 so everyone had a view of the wreck. We then dropped to a 120-foot depth to make passes at another wreck. This one was sunk the old fashion way, by a drunken crew, gravity and Mother Nature. It appeared to once have been a three-masted cheese schooner out of Amsterdam.
For the highlight of this mini-sub cruise, Jurgen put the sub gently on the sandy bottom at a depth of 150 feet. No fish were present at this depth. There is more food for the fish up at shallower depths where the sunlight is stronger. Good news. No popping rivets, bursting water pipes, or ASDIC pings by British destroyers about to drop depth charges on the intruding tourists. The sub, we were told, was certified to dive to 180 feet, so we had at least a comfortable 30 feet to go before crush depth was reached. Pass the Gouda and celebrate.
Having done this before, and being a certified scuba diver, you know that the deeper you dive, only the blue wavelength of light penetrates. I was wearing a light pink polo shirt, which photographed as white on our digital camera without using the flash and just the natural light through, the portholes. With the flash at that depth, the shirt was its predictable pink. Gee Mr. Wizard, that's neat.
When we surfaced and hopped back on the tender, it stayed in the area so we could watch and film Atlantis VI dive with its next load of passengers. If you want to take a different tour in Aruba, this one is a good choice. Dive, dive, dive!
Prior to returning to Adventure, we celebrated our mini cruise with a couple of fluffy drinks at Carlos and Charlie's that is at the end of the pier in view of the ship. (It's the bar where Urine van der Sloot picked up Natalee and where she was last seen alive.) We asked our waitress where the best place to buy cheese was in the neighborhood. She told us to take the first left out of the bar into the mall and head to Planet Cheese. The store would sell you a ten-pound wheel of young Gouda cheese in a handled carry-on box for $19.95. We were one of the few couples returning to Adventure without cheese in tow. There were quite a few passengers each hauling four to six ten-pound boxes of Gouda aboard. Who would of thunk it?
After dinner, we headed to Studio B on deck 3 for "Cool Art, Hot Ice". Be sure to see the ice show. It's great. You have to appreciate the incredible talent and athletic prowess of these performers. There were two more performances on Thursday, our second sea day.
Wednesday - Curaçao - Andruw Jones, Proprietor
After breakfast, we walked off the ship onto the Mega Pier. As in Aruba, we hooked up with a two-hour island tour for $20 per person. We had a nice, clean, air-conditioned mini-bus with driver and a tour guide. It would take days to cover the island but in two hours, we got a good flavor of the island and had numerous stops for photographs etc. One of the stops was the original Curaçao liquor factory. It was a quaint old mansion in town where no distilling took place any longer but was a purely delightful tourist destination. You could taste the Curaçao liquor in all its variations, orange, coffee, chocolate, rum raison, and of course purchase all you want. We didn't buy anything, but I noted a 750 ml bottle of the blue liquor was $9.95 at the factory and the same bottle was $16.95 in the shops in Willemstad. If you want Curaçao liquor...buy at the factory and save some bucks.
One of the final stops was a little gift shop with a spectacular view of a cove where we actually snorkeled on our last cruise here. Overlooking the cove and everything within miles was the Atlanta Braves ballplayers' house of Andrew Jones. Local boy makes good. Andrew built himself a very nice hacienda three stories high and bigger than the Governor's house and second in size on Aruba only to the Oil Refinery.
Our tour finished near the floating bridge to town. At the moment, the bridge was retracted to let ships into and out of the harbor. A couple of free ferries operate every few minutes so we boarded one to cross to the side of the harbor with the floating market, shops and restaurants. We strolled past the floating market and took some colorful pictures of the vendors selling fresh fish and produce to the locals. Around the corner we settled into an umbrella shaded table at the harbor-side for a bit of lunch. The bridge opened and closed twice during lunch with numerous ships coming and going. Your club sandwich will cost more than back on the Adventure, but what a wonderful view! When returning to the Adventure side of the harbor, Joanne remarked that, back in the States, OSHA would be having kittens over the hundreds of laws we and everyone were breaking as we hopped either on or off the floating bridge before it had stopped swinging into locked position.
We started to really feel the peer pressure as we again returned to the Adventure without armloads of Dutch cheese. Many of our fellow travelers bought up the town's supply of this Caribbean delicacy. Late in the afternoon, Joanne had signed up for an acupuncture treatment on her back in the spa. She thought they were very professional and felt it helped.
That evening as we cruised out of the area for a sea day to St. Maarten, you could look south towards Venezuela and see towering black clouds illuminated by lightning. Sadly, the storm didn't reach us. This may sound twisted, but a nighttime electrical storm at sea is not something to sleep through. You want to head up to a comfy lounge on a high deck and watch the horizon-to-horizon lightning show. We've seen a few spectacular ones in our travels and their not to be missed.
Thursday - Cruising North To St. Maarten
Sleep late and relax. We spent a leisurely day up at the pool reading and listening to Mega 4. The interesting thing on our two sea days on this cruise, was that I saw no other ships at all. We had the sea lanes traversing the Caribbean to ourselves. Had we hit an iceberg this week, we'd all be treading water for at least a day before another ship reached us. At one point during the day, I was looking over the ship's side and saw some very small fish, just two to four inches in size, sail out of the side of a swell and fly a few inches above the water's surface for ten or twelve feet before submerging. I've seen flying fish on previous cruises and they were bigger, 10 to 14 inches, and flew much further distances. I'm guessing these were baby flying fish just getting pushed out of the nest.
Late in the afternoon we were down in the Royal Promenade shopping for a few gifts and the Rosario Strings struck up the band with the same reaction from hundreds of passengers as occurred on Monday. The crowd wouldn't let them leave without a couple of encores. These concerts were, honestly, two of the most wonderful hours spend in a great week aboard. When the set finished and the crowds moved off, I went up to one of the trio members and asked him if this happened every time they played? He smiled and told me "Pretty much. We know what they like." Clearly they did.
Joanne had been going into the Perfume Shop on the Promenade twice a day for a spritz of something nice smelling. Today she broke down and legitimized her free aromas for the week by buying her perfume. Eau du Overpriced. I'm just saying, for what Joanne paid for five ounces of eau de cologne ($59), you could buy your weight in Absolute Vodka ($6.95/liter) on St. Maartens. Oh the humanity!
This was our second formal night and it was great to see how everyone dressed up. Unfortunately this evening, we did not attend "Motown Live!" featuring Spectrum, the headliner show that evening in the Lyric Theater. All of our fellow cruisers we spoke to the next day said these guys put on an incredible show. We'll just have to rebook this cruise, but you people learn from our mistake and go to the show.
After dinner, we attended the Crown and Anchor member reception in the Imperial Lounge on deck 5. There was music, food, friends and drink. It was a cozy reception where the crew welcomed everyone back to Royal Caribbean. Captain Nyseter hosted and talked a bit about the new "Genesis" class ship coming into service in a year or two. It will be a few feet longer than the Freedom class, however it will be two decks taller, 300 feet in width (almost double the Freedom), displace something like 240,000 tons or another 75% more than the Adventure. It will accommodate 6,000 passengers 2,000 crew and still have a draft of 29 feet like the existing super ships. This allows the ship to dock at all the current Caribbean ports that the Voyager and Freedom class ships visit today. I love the Voyager class of ships, I have not yet tried the Freedom class, but Genesis sounds disturbingly large for my taste. I will wait to read your reviews before I step up to that one. I sensed that Captain Nyseter, who is one of the most senior Royal Caribbean ship drivers, was hoping he be retiring before he had to deal with Genesis. This is my impression, not his words. Captain Nyseter did a great job hosting us for the week.
Friday - St. Maarten - Damn Your Diamonds...Give Me Cheese!!!
Prior to this cruise, we were hoping to catch a high-speed ferry to St. Barths from our stop in St. Maarten. We have never been to neighboring St. Barths which we have sailed past on previous cruises to the area. We were told by the folks on the Adventure that the high speed ferries to St. Barths weren't operating at the present time. New ferries were on order from France.
As a flashback, I was at Tiffany's in NYC last August and told Joanne I saved us $8,500 by not buying her some exquisite diamond earrings I saw. Big mistake, wrong answer. Joanne has held that over my head for the past year. The best prices on jewelry in the Caribbean are on the Dutch side of St. Maarten and I now needed diamond earrings in the worst way.
The diamond earring crusade was on and we were successful. Beautiful earrings were found at Diamonds International. They have like thirty-five locations in St. Maarten on Front Street and they are probably all owned by RCI. Great diamond earrings for many mucho thousands less than Tiffany's in New York. Joanne may have freed her demons, but I was feeling incredible pressure. This was our last Dutch West Indies stop of the week. I cracked from the stress and went into a local shop and asked the owner to show me Gouda. I resisted buying the 40 pound starter pack and settled for a three cheese micro sampler of young, flavored and aged Gouda. They were the conventional size you would find at the Kroger back home. I felt a wonderful catharsis and didn't see my modest purchase as a threat to our cholesterol levels. We returned to the ship walking tall with the pride that cheese ownership bestows. The increase in height also reflected the lightening of my wallet in Diamonds International.
Dinner tonight was the chef's mega Ausgeschwein (Pig-out) Lobster was the signature dish but they were also serving up prime rib. Only one solution I could see. Nareen, see if you can scrounge up a surf-and-turf combo. What a great meal. The buttered lobster melted in your mouth and the prime rib was perfectly medium rare with horseradish sauce. A dollop of Lipitor garnished the feast. Joanne is a purist and just had four lobster tails.
After dinner, there was a special reception we were invited to as Diamond Crown and Anchor Members. Up in the Blue Moon lounge on deck 14 we were entertained by the Rosario Strings and had a special thank you from Royal Caribbean for our loyalty. It was a very nice event and Royal Caribbean really tries to make their repeat customers feel special and appreciated.
Shortly after leaving the pier, Captain Nyseter, got on the PA system to tell us we were returning to St. Maartin as there was a medical emergency and we needed to get a passenger to a hospital ashore. While not knowing any of the specifics, the next morning, the Captain announced that the passenger that we dropped off was doing much better.
Saturday - St. Thomas - When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Go Shopping
We had diamonds, we had perfume, we had gift watches, we had Gouda. Why wasn't I on a booze cruise snorkel catamaran tour to Caneel Bay on St. John's? Because, St. Thomas is the Hong Kong of the West and there might be something in town we (read...Joanne) can't live without. I actually enjoy browsing around the shops and alleys of St. Thomas.
There is a neat little shop downtown that overlooks the harbor and sells marine salvage items dating back 300 years or so. Ship's wheels, binnacles (or is it Rabbinicals?), antique maps, etc. Despite diamond earrings and perfume, I am forbidden to purchase a front porch mountable, five-inch diameter, troublesome neighbor, deck cannon. It was reasonably priced and was last used to clear enemy shipping in 1750 or there about. Joanne just lacks decorating vision for the man-cave. I'll look for one on eBay.
Diamond Crown and Anchor Status This is reached after ten cruises and has some nice benefits. It gets you in the Concierge Club Room on deck 9. When you board, in addition to your Sea Pass card, you are also issued a special card to gain access to the Concierge Club Room. You also have access to the Concierge Club if you book one of the large suites, which are essentially double sized cabins. A continental breakfast was laid out every morning and there was an open bar and hot and cold hors d'ouvres each afternoon from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. DeDe was there to help you with reservations to ice shows, shore excursions or reservations to Portofino. It is really a nice service and DeDe is wonderful.
There are other benefits that start after five cruises or sooner. These include special check-in lines, departure lounges, bath robes, private receptions, discount coupon books for all sorts of things on the ship, little Royal Caribbean gifts left in your cabin such as beach bags. One day, the cabin elves welcomed us back to the room with a plate of chocolate covered strawberries.
Because Royal Caribbean also owns Celebrity Cruise Line, I believe all the benefits you enjoy, gain you the same status on Celebrity. Don't quote me but ask your travel agent if this is so. It seems to me this is a relatively new enhancement to the program.Dining And Food Service
Meals in the main dining room combined wonderful service with what I thought was high quality delicious food. Book your Portofino reservations early. When we finished our meal there on Sunday night, we immediately tried to make another reservation later in the week. Everything was booked save for a few late sittings.
This was the first cruise in memory, where we were in the main seating dinner at 6:00 p.m. I think we like the second seating better. It just always seemed rushed to conclude your afternoon activities and get cleaned up for dinner. The shows and ship activities seem to flow better around the second seating.Our Cabin And The Ports
As reported earlier, Agnes took great care of our cabin and us all week. We were on the port (left) side of the ship. In San Juan, this faced the airport south. In Aruba and Curaçao the view was the piers we were tied up to and the islands (northward). In St. Maarten and St. Thomas the opposite side of the ship had what I would call the preferred view overlooking the harbors to the west of the piers. The Adventure was the only ship in port in Aruba, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. We only had one other small ship in Curaçao with us. What this meant was that we weren't competing with other ships' passengers for taxis, excursions, shopping or restaurants for the week. This time of year, a number of cruise ships are repositioned to the summer Alaska routes from the Caribbean, so a winter cruise on the Adventure will have more company in port.Summary
I realize this review may read like an ad for the Adventure of the Seas and Royal Caribbean. I don't care. Almost every word of this review is true and Joanne and I savor the anticipation leading up to our vacations nearly as much as the actual cruise. I write these reviews so you, and me, can enjoy them after the fact. I am basically a positive, optimistic sort of guy that women mistake for George Clooney. On past cruises, we've been chased by category-four hurricanes, sailed through twenty-five foot seas and have had the waiter serve the steak over-done. While the steak was fixed, I just love the experience of being at sea with its unpredictability and spirit of adventure.
This review reflects my experience for the week. Ships like Adventure are so large and diverse that you need to appreciate that for every experience you have, you probably missed fifty other events happening elsewhere aboard or ashore. The only person that attends them all is your cruise director, which is a mystery. You could probably book a cabin for a year and not get bored.
The week flies by, but by Sunday were ready to head home. There was a new service we tried. For $20 we could check our luggage with the airline at the pier after we cleared customs. I don't know if it's available with all airlines, but it worked with American. If your catching a flight, the check-in service is money well spent. We made it off the ship as efficiently as we checked on a week earlier.
This was our second time on this cruise and we enjoyed it every bit as much as the first time. The ship, crew, entertainment and fellow passengers were all wonderful. We may do an Alaska cruise next year and my preference would be that at least half the ships's passengers hail from San Juan. This could be tough to arrange.
If you enjoyed my review, drop me a line. If I can answer any questions you may have on an upcoming cruise, ask away. I look forward to hearing from you.Austin Kearney Dunwoody, GA firstname.lastname@example.org
I went on the adventure of the sea March 11, 2007. We cruise at least once a year on no particular cruise line for us we go with itinerary. We travel with two adults in their early forties and a 16 year old daughter.
Embarkation: arrived at the ship at 1:30 with my sea pass filled out and boarded the ship at 1:40 record time. Went to the windjammer for lunch and our room was ready at 2:00pm and our entire luggage arrived within minutes.
Cabin with balcony D1 our toilet had pee in it and would not flush our safe was locked so we called the customer relations desk and the problems were fixed within 45 minutes of our call.
Dinning room: we always go find our table and make sure our table is what we requested. We requested a table for four we made our cruise plans one year out and were given our traveling documents stating that our preference was granted. So I find our table and its a table for six so I go see the dinning room manager and he says we must sit at thetable tonight and tomorrow come see him he will reassign us to a table of four. My husband decides he did not want to eat so my daughter and I go to dinner and there is a family of four and myself and my daughter that makes six no more room for my husband I'm glad we switched our arrangements. I was told by the dinning room manager that they never had our preferences they were blank so make sure RCI has them straight once you book.
Dinning: The food at breakfast in the dinning room was good, Lunch ok and dinner was ok hit or miss nothing good consistently. I think this was the worst food I have had on a cruise. RCI charges for espresso, latte after dinner. I was happy to sea hand sanitizer given to everyone before each meal which I think is very positive.
Service: Now this is a first our cabin steward was terrible and we gave him a 40.00 tip the first day. We had a queen bed and a sofa pull out bed which was hard as a rock. We even requested egg shells which didn't help much because they were worn down, not to mention once the bed was set up you could barely get across the room. We did complain about not enough towels, bathroom not clean, no trash can and the problems just continued.
Activities for sea days: Compared to carnival there was not enough to keep you busy accept at night, I felt that was a down side of the cruise.
Entertainment: They had the drifters which I saw them 2 years ago on the mariner of the sea they had the same songs opening act it was ok the first time but again No. The acts were less than average carnival has much better entertainment. The ice show was great and a 10 it’s a must see
Spa we had the hot rock 70 min message it was great and the people were extremely professional I would give them a 10
Ports of call: Aruba went to eagle beach by taxi $8.00 one way per taxi the beach is great you can rent chairs bring your towels from the ship, then we went back downtown to eat at the OLD Fisherman restaurant anyone can give you directions its a small cafe with great seafood total for 2 for lunch $55.00 with tip this food is excellent a must try.
Curacao terrible the taxi charged up 25.00 to go 20 minutes one way. We went to Blue bay beach its very nice with a $6.00 coverage charge they have a beach with chairs, bar, restaurant, pool, clean bathrooms very nice. We were not impressed with this island.
St. Thomas we went to Magens bay this is one of the top 10 beaches in the world it’s a must see. Taxi is $8.00 per person one way you can rent chairs, towels everything, and has a restaurant, bar service
TIP: customer relations desk has free decks of cards for the asking. This ship has only one specialty restaurant so make your reservations day one or you won’t get in we did not.
FIRST OFF: I don't know why people start out reviews talking about their flight, cab right to the hotel, hotel they stayed, San Juan night life, and so on. YOU DON'T CARE.
EMBARKATION: I read a particular review before my cruise suggesting one use on-line checkin to speed up embarkation and it was EXCELLENT advice. Via online registration, you can enter nearly all necessary data rather than wait in line for some clerk who can barely type. At the pier you go right to the "Set Sail" line and breeze through in minutes, and that gets you on the ship much faster.
In general the earlier you arrive at the pier the better you are going to be. If you arrive in morning you will likely have to wait as passengers are still disembarking. But the sooner you arrive after 12:00 the better off you will be. Less people are there registering, and the sooner you can board ship. Remember, it's only a '7 day cruise' if you can enjoy the ship on your first day.
It's a good idea to fly in the day before and stay at a local hotel.While San Juan hotels are expensive, you can relieve your mind of the travel woes of bad weather delaying flights. No matter what happens the day before, as long as you arrive, you'll be rested and ready to cruise on Sunday. And if you waste all Sunday flying into San Juan you may arrive late and miss the cruise.
BAGGAGE TRANSFER: Baggage transfers are a hornets nest which people don't get until they've cruised a few times. Prior to THIS cruise we cruised a couple of times out of San Juan, and if you allow RCCL to handle your bags you stand a good chance of having trouble. Specifically, I'm talking about breaking into your bags and perhaps even theft. Locking your bags provides no guarantee they won't be broken into, and in fact, they will cut your locks off and pilfer your bags.
If you get the transfers from RCCL your baggage is handled NOT by RCCL but by a 3rd party cartage company in San Juan, hired by RCCL. So if you complain to RCCL you get blank stares and hollow apologies, but no resolution. Since your baggage contains your personal items, breaking into them is akin to breaking into your house - you feel VIOLATED. RCCL can do nothing about a a 3rd party cartage company even though they hire them, because cruise lines don't care. The only people who do are the ones working for tips $$$$$.
My advice is to skip the transfer and handle that yourself. It's a $19.00 cab fare from the airport to the pier and that fee is set by the government. Just put your bags in the trunk and go. You know your bags are safe and you leave at your convenience, NOT the convenience of a bus driver.
When you pay for transfers you travel on a bus (your bags by truck) and we've been stuck waiting over an hour once by a bus driver that had to fill his bus. As a result on that prior cruise we arrived late for checkin and couldn't make our 6:00 main dinner seating. When we arrived at 6:30 the doors were already closed and there was no entry. No bags and no dinner. Bad start.
On this cruise we did in fact skip the transfers, arrived 2 days early, and enjoyed both our hotel and San Juan. It was a short cab ride over to the pier and we arrived by noon with bags intact. After that we refused to allow RCCL to handle our bags and transported them ourselves. As soon as they allowed us into our cabin (at about 2:00 PM) we arrived with our bags.
If you let them handle your bags they can arrive many hours later and you probably won't have them before dinner. Sometimes they just disappear without explanation, and when you talk to guest relations you get this crap about "your bags will arrive soon". Oh yeah? One year they didn't arrive until after 11:00 PM, we couldn't change clothes for dinner, and our bags were broken into with the locks cut off. This is for real.
We NEVER, EVER allow the cruise line to handle our bags. This we've learned the hard way after 5 cruises. And DO NOT bring large bags because they cannot get through the x-ray machines. Bring medium and/or small bags.
THE SHIP: Adventure is huge. I've been on several other ships and this one was by far the biggest. It's been very tastefully decorated, far more so than Carnival ships, which tend to be overbearing. You can find it's features on the RCCL website so you don't need me for that. The Royal Promenade is a great place to hang out.
DINING: Food is very good and most people typically eat lunch and breakfast at Windjammers on deck 11. Some choose the dining room instead. Breakfast at Windjammers tends to be the same every day, but with so many selections it doesn't matter. Lunch tends to be similar also but they do vary some of the meats, fish, and sides. The deserts change daily and are very good.
The main dining room, which is 3 floors high with each having their own name, is excellent. For us service was very good and the food was great.
Portofinos has great food and offered the best tenderloin I've ever had. Great deserts! Worth the $20.00 per person. Make your reservation(s) as soon as you board the ship. It can be a great escape from noisy diners.
DINING ROOM DRESS: There are 2 formal nights in which the majority of people actually dress formally. If you are the kind of person who refuses to dress up then I suggest having dinner at Windjammers Cafe on deck 11. Also, if you cannot get to dinner on time you should have dinner at Windjammers Cafe. It's informal and buffet style. When people refuse to dress properly in the dining room they disrespect their fellow passengers. When they refuse to arrive on time they disrespect the dining room staff and make life very difficult for them.
BEDS: Other reviewers talk about how bad the beds are and if they are talking about the edge of the bed they are right. But what people forget is the cardinal rule of beds - which is you DO NOT sit on the edge of the bed. In addition you don't sleep on the edge. The beds are large and though the mattress is thin it's not bad in the middle. My wife and I had plenty of room.
PORTS OF CALL & EXCURSIONS: There are tons of excursions offered by Royal Caribbean, but what's not generally known is there are other companies providing excursions. One such is 'Port Promotions', and since we booked our cruise through 'Cruise.com' we got a free excursion worth up to $84.00 per person. Port Promotions has any number of excursions on many Caribbean islands and are probably better than those provided by the vendors selected by RCCL. But if you choose them you MUST keep track of the time returning to the ship. DO NOT expect them to keep track of departure time because they won't. You DO NOT want to arrive late for the ship since it may not still be in port.
ALCOHOL: RCCL is pretty chintzy about this and want to make sure you ONLY buy THEIR liquor at their inflated prices. Consequently, in the home port even though you've already been through security and your bags x-rayed, they force you through another security scan on the ship. This is so they can catch you sneaking in booze. While they do have the need to screen you when returning to the ship from port, nonetheless, in the home port you get screened twice. They want to make sure you don't buy booze at the San Juan pier (which you can at the duty free shop) and bring it on the ship.
Ironically, it's at the ports where you might be able to sneak it on. What happens is they make you go through security and your purchases are scanned. When you detect you having liquor they tell you to go over to a desk and check it in there. But if the scanner guy gets busy with a lot of people he cannot watch you. Just walk past the liquor check in desk and enjoy. How DARE they make you purchase liquor from them if you want a drink. Try to board with a bunch of people so they get too busy to keep track of you and your liquor. It's your property and you should be able to bring it on board - just like they let you bring on money (which they WILL get from you). This is a real downer about crusing.
THE TABOO TOPIC: While it may be politically incorrect to talk about I'm going to, which is Hispanics. If you are going to cruise out of San Juan you are going to see a great deal of Puerto Ricans. While I suspect some might tune out at this point I think with the assumption I'm a racist, nonetheless hear me out on this. There's upper, middle, and lower class people in every country in the world, but because RCCL wants the ships full they offer cheap fares in the home port. Consequently, all the San Juan natives have to do is drive themselves over to the pier and board the ship - for only $200.00 per passenger. Unlike lower class Americans who find flying to San Juan and then paying $800.00 per passenger cost prohibitive, it's the lower class Puerto Ricans taking the cruise, not the upper class, so the behavior on board can be a major problem. On this cruise it was only about 16% Puerto Ricans and they seemed well behaved. But a cruise of over 60% Hispanics is NOT unusual.
On a cruise last year on Carnival we experienced about 75% Puerto Ricans and the ship was under siege. The halls were noisy virtually 24 hours a day, the stairs were crowded with kids sitting on them and blocking people, kids were fooling around in elevators and drunk (14-15 years old), they refused to dress appropriately in the dining room, and there were altercations. Last year I posted those comments and several emailed me saying they encountered the same problems on their cruises.
One of the big problems was Hispanics being rude and pushing into lines. On this cruise the lines were pretty short and it wasn't a problem until debarkation, when they pushed in front and were rude. Sadly I have to admit that on prior cruises, when there was noise, it came from Hispanics. Call that racism if it makes you uncomfortable but it's true. It's lower class Hispanics on the cheap tickets causing the problems. On this cruise we encountered mostly middle class Hispanics and they conducted themselves appropriately.
Last year we cruised during Christmas and it was a nightmare. This time we cruised in January and it was great. I think the time of year can account for some of the problems so I recommend the winter months, which you'd probably want to do anyway to avoid the northern winter in the US.
I also find it very unfair that my wife and I paid over $1,000 per passenger, while in Puerto Rico they get cheap passage for $200.00 - and yet receive the same cruise. So Americans and Europeans pay the freight which is grossly unfair.
ENTERTAINMENT: This is pretty subjective and depends upon your personal taste so that must be up front. The ice show is fabulous and not to miss. Get your tickets as soon as they are offered, which I believe is Monday. There were 2 comedians on separate nights. There were also 2 musical shows. As a former professional musicians I can tell you the shows were excellent. Good musicians, good dancers, good singers who could sing in tune. Around the ship there are various other musicians and usually pretty good.
ART AUCTIONS: Auctions are held on most cruises lines and on most ships. I've sailed Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Carnival, and Park West Galleries was on all of them.
Park West used to claim they sell art for 60-80% below gallery prices. That's hogwash. Today, they no longer make that claim because people were catching on. On this last cruise they wanted over $7,000 for pieces from Salvador Dali's 101 illustrations from the Divine Comedy. But if you check the Internet you'll find them being sold by Lockport Gallery (southwest suburb outside Chicago) and their websites says the Divine Comedy pieces for around $250.
Their appraisals come from outer space because they don't jive with the real world. You can get some great pieces but you MUST do your homework first. If you see something you like go research it on the Internet BEFORE you bid. The will NOT tell you the minimum bid they will accept so forget that. Watch out for opening bids because they can be very high.
About once in each auction they give a low opening bid for piece and let it go just to get the audience fired up, and so Park West can claim the buyer got a really great deal. Maybe they did and maybe they didn't. But be aware there are other places to buy art so don't feel obliged. Drink their champagne and wait until the end so you get your free artwork - which is an 8 x 10 that's probably not worth much.
Also, you can catch the Park West people on the cruise, let them know what you are interested in, and make them an offer. You're going to have to do it blind, having no idea what their minimum bid OR opening bid would be. FYI: Often their opening bid is higher (maybe MUCH higher) than their minimum bid.
WARNING: Park West auctioneers like to talk about the value of a piece and how it rises so quickly. Be advised - they are salesman who know NOTHING about art. They are slick. They are superficial. But they are NOT knowledgeable. Buy artwork because you like it and NOT because some fast talking 29 year-old says it's a great buy. Trust your instincts, not them.
Art work is shipped from a Detroit suburb and we've never had a problem. HOWEVER, you WILL see some reviews in which people describe their nightmares with Park West.
DISEMBARKATION: People leave the ship in groups and you are provided with a group number, which they call for disembarkation. We found that's where the shoving and rude behavior by Hispanics was prevalent. RCCL wants you off the ship as quickly as possible so expect a knock at your door by 7:00 AM, and they want you out of your cabin by 8:00 AM.
OVERALL CONCLUSION: We had minimal problems with obnoxious Puerto Ricans or Americans, probably because mid January is a highly desirable time to travel so there's not too many cheap tickets issued. Food was very good, entertainment was great, the ship is fantastic, I would take this ship and cruise itinerary again.SUGGESTIONS:
1) It's worth it to try to sneak on alcohol at ports of call. Stay in the middle of a group and the RCCL people will be distracted, just don't report to the "booze" table after security. It's your property.
2) Don't miss the ice show. It has world class skaters and you'll see it up close rather than on TV. They are incredible on such a small ice rink.
3) Check in online. Embarkation will be faster.
4) DO NOT allow ANYONE to handle your bags. You'll be sorry if you do.
5) If you have problems with rude people at Windjammers then eat all meals in the dining room.
6) WARNING: Be advised to avoid a confrontation with rowdy people. You are at sea and there is no local sheriff to arrest people. The ship's "security" will "file a report" which you CANNOT get a copy of for documentation or further legal matters. They WILL NOT cooperate with you. Been there, done that.
In January of 2005 we started planning a vow renewal for my parents-in-law. Shortly into the planning process we found out we were having a baby. I immediately chose to stay stateside and not go on the cruise. I felt very uneasy about cruising with a newborn. As the time approached I decided that I did not want to miss this event and started doing a large amount of research on cruise safety and cruising with newborns. I talked to a lot of people and everybody told me that it would be fine. But still, I went with some uncertainty. We had a wonderful time. My son slept better at night then he did at home, must have been the rocking of the boat. He enjoyed the fresh air while we were at sea. And we have some great memories.
Here are a few pointers from us:
1. You will be paying fare for your baby, enjoy it.
2. Get a room with a double bed and sofa bed. The cruise provides the Graco Pack and Play, but we felt the rooms are too small for this. Our son slept inbed with me surrounded by pillows. But if your baby moves too much, get the play pen for safety.
3. We use the Playtex Disposable nursers so the only items we had to wash were the bottle nipples. We purchased 3 gallons of baby water at a grocery store near SJU airport (Nursery Water or Gerber), 1 can of formula and diapers. I brought some dish soap from home and used the bottle water to wash the nipples.
4. The ship charges for laundry service, so bring enough clothes for the little one. He only wore 2 outfits a day
5. Bring a hat, sun screen and a sun shield for the stroller. We bought a spray bottle and used cold bottled water to cool off our guy.
6. Don’t worry about the stroller, we left ours in the hallway and it was fine.
7. We got lucky at dinner. We were in the Vivaldi dining hall and had a table in the far back next to a window. There was a corner next to the table so it was convenient for the placement of the stroller. When you make your reservation, see if you can request that table, it was a saving grace for us.
8. We bathed the little guy in the sink. Although it was very small, it worked fine, but you will need two people. The shower has a moveable spray so this is also an option.
9. If you are pumping breast milk, there are several electrical outlets in the bedroom and storage for the pump will not be a problem.
10. We took our son on all of our excursions and don’t regret it. We also took him to all the on boat programs with us, and he won the “sexy legs” contest. Unfortunately you can't use the baby sitters until the infant is 6 months of age, but that will only stop you from going to the casino and night clubs.
11. You will find that most of the crew have families and their own babies back home. They will ooohh and gaaahhh over your baby, let them. They are working very hard and will do whatever you need to make your trip enjoyable.
12. Finally, take a picture of your baby in his/her life jacket……it is an adorable memory.
Good luck, have fun and don’t worry, everything will be fine.
This was the 5th cruise for my husband and I. It was our second with RCI, the first one was one the sister ship Voyager of the Seas. The Adventure of the Seas is awesome. The royal promenade is great. They serve the best pizza on the high seas. If you are addicted to diet coke like my husband it is worth it to purcahse a coke card that gives you unlimited soft drinks for seven days. While on the ship do not miss the ice skating show and the production show velvet rope featuring the royal caribbean singers and dancers. It was fabulous. The only complaint that I would have while on the ship occured on the first formal night. We had no water in our room to take a shower or brush our teeth. We were told that someone put something into the pipes and clogged it up. It was also frustrating because they told us that it would be fixed in 20 minutes and then it would take another 20 minutes and then another 45 minutes. On the last night of the cruise we had nohot water to shower with. I do not know what happened there,we just took cold showers.
The ports on this cruise were great. In Antigua we would highly suggest the stingray city swim and snorkel tour. It was a once in a lifetime experience. I was a little nervous at first but the trainers were great. The water was only 4-5 foot deep so if you do not like to snorkel you can still stand up and enjoy the stingrays. The bus ride getting to and from the site was adventurous as people here bring new meaning to defensive driving. The ship also went to Barbaodos. We choose to do the mini buggy safari and swim. This was another great tour. After signing medical release forms and a safety instruction 6 very new ans safe mini buggy's headed out to the barbados countryside. We rode for about one hour,with two short stops for refreshments and breath taking views. If you wanted to you and your partner could switch drivers at the half way point. Afterwards we were taken to the beach for a short 20 minute swim. This part of the beach was not very good,it was rocky with strong waves and rip currents. Barbados has over 365 beaches so I sure that there is a good one somewhere.
We only had one day at seas which is one of the main reasons that we picked this crusie itinerary. On our day at sea we acted like true cruisers by going to the napkin folding class and the towel folding class so that we could learn how to make all of those animals that they put on your bed every night. We even tried ice skating in Studio B. We only lasted about 30 minutes before calling it quits. If you have never been on a RCI ship do not miss the love and marriage game,people were talking about it for the rest of the week. Do not miss the adventure quest game. It is hilarious and will have you laughing for hours. The food on the ship was okay,not as good as I remember on my last RCI cruise. The shrimp coctail is to die for and the lobster just melts in you mouth.The steaks were premium cut with not a drop of fat on them. The desserts are wonderful. You could make a whole meal just off of the desserts. Dissembarkation was long for us because we were spending the night in San Juan. We were one of the last people off of the ship. You can not wait in your room but in one of the public areas so that they can get the ship ready for the next group of passengers coming aboard. We waited on the ship from 8am to 1145am before our number was called and then had to wait in two more lines outside in the hot sun to go through customs. We were exhausted by the time we got to our hotel.
Overall it was a great cruise and I can not wait to check out the new Freedom of the Seas when it come out next year.
This was our 23rd cruise, our fifth on RCI, our second on Adventure of the Seas, and our fifth cruise from San Juan. We are a married couple ages 57/55. We cruised with 2 other couples.
For some reason you didn't just drop off your luggage curbside; they made you stand in a big line to drop off your luggage. Then you got in another line to check in. I didn't see the point, except maybe that the guys taking the luggage seemed to being doing pretty well on tips since everyone in line was watching. We had pre-registered through their new Online Registration Program, which made things very quick: They just scan your credit card, pop out your Sea Pass and you are on your way. There were lots of lines open so only a few people were ahead of us. We arrived at port at noon and were onboard by 12:20 or so.
This is one of my favorite ships. It's hard to believe you're on a ship when you're in the promenade (is that a good thing?) It is beginning to show its age in afew spots. The upholstered items in our cabin had numerous cigarette burns, but that's to be expected with time. We had a room on Deck 8 overlooking the promenade -- an inside room with a view! We really enjoyed it. I thought noise might be a problem, but it was not.
The only thing I didn't like about the beds is the rounded corners at the foot. I'm very short and even my toes hung off the edge. This also made it difficult to keep the blankets on the bed. The bathroom has a shower door rather than a curtain, which I liked, but I usually shower in the spa anyway -- it is roomier and has a larger shower head. The end shower has a glass block wall that gives you lots of sunlight and a ledge to sit on when shaving!
It was nothing to rave about, but that's true of most cruise ship food nowadays. The fish was usually pretty dry and only one night did it pass muster. The lobster was actually good and a nice size, although they no longer give you your own little butter pot. The service was delightful. There is no longer a wine steward; the waiter takes care of it. No complaints.
The buffet is the downfall of this ship. It moves slowly because it lacks individual stations, but that's true of many ships. The deserts are separate and they have started pouring drinks and placing them at the end of the line; on previous trips, you fetched your own from the crowded beverage station. But you do get your own coffee, there and there seemed to be a chronic leak that left a dangerous puddle in a high traffic spot. And the coffee –aaargghh! It was awful, just awful. If you want good coffee, have breakfast in the dining room, where it's actually passable. Also, if you order a pot delivered to your room, you get the good stuff.
We didn't go to the specialty restaurant this time, but I heard it was wonderful. And if you like good coffee and ice cream there is a Coffee Shop and a Ben & Jerry's.
Johnny Rockets Diner is a pay restaurant but it was only about $5, I think -- an old-style diner with great hamburgers and fountain drinks. The staff also entertains you with a Saturday Night Fever dance routine. It's great for lunch on your sea day.
Ports of Call
This ship does two itineraries. Both go to St. Thomas, St. Maarten and St. Lucia. This week they did Antigua and Barbados; next week they do Aruba and Curacao instead. All are lovely islands with their own flavor. There was only one sea day, which for me is not enough. A port each day wears me out and I need more down time - but then, I could have seven sea days in a row and be fine with it.
The entertainment was the standard cruise line stuff. I thought one of the production shows was a little out there - maybe I'm getting old but it was just weird to me, sort of disjointed with awkward costuming, although the sets were very nice. We heard that from a few other folks too, but the younger crowd seemed to enjoy it. They had a great comic and pianist. The theatre did not seem to have any bad seats.
The dance music was very good and there was lots of it, although they would take one-hour breaks after a 45-minute set, so you had to hop from bar to bar if you wanted to dance the night away. I found that annoying, since we really like to dance; we wasted a lot of time traipsing around.
The security seemed pretty good, although they could have shown a greater presence in Jesters, the late-night dance club. A rowdy bunch of "ladies" really wanted our table near the dance floor and repeatedly asked us when we were leaving. When all six of us got up to dance, one of our group saw one of these women sweep her arm across our table, dumping all our drinks into the seats! The waitress did not want to replace our drinks, but the manager on duty did. Although several people saw the incident, the security guard outside the door was not asked to do anything about the group. Now that our seats were soaking wet, we took our fresh drinks and left.
Two fights broke out in the Jacuzzi at poolside; if the pool security had kept a better handle on a brewing situation that probably would not have happened. But once punches were thrown, they jumped in pretty quick -- which subsequently shut down the entire poolside for about 15 minutes per incident. Given the recent well-publicized incident on an RCI ship, you'd think they'd be a little more astute.
Tips can be put on your account, but they give you certificates to place in the envelope -- kind of a nice compromise.
We didn't use it - too expensive. I use a dockside facility in each port for about $3 per 15 minutes.
This seemed slower than usual, but we usually are in the first group or two called. This time we stayed over in San Juan, so we were in the last group. The first group was called at 8:10, the last group at 11:10. Once your number was called it still took another 20-30 minutes to exit the ship.
Overall: Loved it, would do it again - and probably will.
Warning for those looking for a quiet, relaxing cruise - opt out of San Juan sailings on Royal Carribean! Boat was packed with party-going Puerto Ricans, and their kids! Kudos for RCL's attempts at keeping those kids under control, i.e. curfews and rules regarding kids in adult areas and in shows. However, those rules were rarely respected, and not adequately enforced.
On our one day at sea, there was not a square inch available for an extra body in a pool. Also true with deck chairs - packed side by side like sardines. On a positive note, experience the very best service ever on a cruise - dining and stateroom attendants were flawless! Would recommend RCL consider not allowing children under age 6 at late dining seating. No matter how excellent your service and food, dinner is spoiled by screaming children throughout an entire meal.
The cruise is top notch. The ship is unbelievable like all Voyager class ships of the Royal Caribbean - a luxurious feast for the eyes and the palate; good music too. Service is great, food excellent, and the cabins comfortable. The reason I keep going on Royal Caribbean cruises is because they provide the best cruise experience CONSISTENTLY.
But in the last cruise to the South Caribbean we got unlucky when we booked an excursion in St. Thomas with Bob Underwater Adventure. Best avoid it. Take a good snorkeling tour instead; it's much more fun and better value for money. On first reading it sounds exciting but while it would be fun to have one of those underwater scooters for a few hours, out of a 3 1/2 hour tour you only spend on the scooter twenty minutes. Much of the time is spent listening to instructions and getting three groups of people in and out of the vehicles, because there are three times more people than scooters. Once underwater by the time you've figured out how to operate the scooter, it's over. As the scooter requires a fair amount of dexterityunderwater it's not for children of any age. A few adults found it too difficult and just swam around the boat instead. The spot where the tour stops is not very good for marine life either; St. Thomas has much better places. If wasting vacation time on a gimmicky tour was not annoying enough, the captain of our boat was a bit of a prankster bordering on the unprofessional.
When you spend only one day on an island packed with fun possibilities, every minute counts. Bob Underwater Adventure will rob you of almost four precious hours you could spend on Magens Beach, on a good snorkeling tour, or shopping. Skip it.
I thoroughly recommend however, the Swim with the Turtles tour in Barbados and the Land and Sea tour in St. Lucia. They have competent, courteous, and efficient guides who know how to make the limited time you have to walk and swim in their island live up to the best of its possibilities.
Can't wait to go back.
We just returned from the 7 day southern carribean on the Adventure of the Seas. This was our sixth cruise so far and was by far the most impressive ship we've cruised on.
We thought that with over 3,000 people on the ship that it would seem very crowded, but it actually seemed much less than on smaller ships we've been on. The promenade was wonderful to just stroll or sit at the cafe and watch people go by.
The shows were the best we've seen so far, of course we had the Drifter's perform one night, but the ice show is a definate do not miss show.
The food was very ggod in the main dining rooms and the buffet was above average. We really enjoyed the cafe at the promenade to just grab a sandwich or slice of pizza or desserts. It was a very convenient meeting place and the food and staff were wonderful.
If you're looking for a reasonably priced cruise with exceptional service and a beautiful ship I would highly recommend either this one or another of the Voyager class series on Royal Carribean.
We're already seaching forour next available cruise on board a different Voayager class ship, so that we can see a different itinerary, but still enjoy the same class of service.