Number of Cruises: 13
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Adventure of the Seas
Sailing Date: November 10, 2002
Itinerary: Southern Caribbean
WHY DID I SELECT ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL?
Going back in history, I took my first cruise in 1981. It was the Carnivale, a Carnival Cruise Line ship, one of the three ships own by then. After this one, my wife and I have taken a total of 13 cruises in total. Among them, we had gone in Carnival, Premier, Celebrity, Commodore, and RCCL.
I remembered seeing the Song of America docked in San Juan and said, "One of this day I will take a RCCL cruise." After waiting for 19 years, we finally went in the Sovereign of the Seas out of Port Canaveral, FL. Even though it's the oldest ship of their fleet, it was great. Last year, exactly a year after, we took the RCCL Rhapsody of the Seas out of Galveston, TX. We had so much fun, right before we left the ship, our mind was already set up for another cruise in the near future. My wife thought about changing the Caribbean route for this one. That same week I called my travel agent to book us in the Adventure of the Seas.
Two reasons made us to select the AOS. First, we had heard so much about the mega ships and second, we like to try the southern Caribbean. Incredible but true. On all the cruises we have taken, this one top all of them. Our memories on all the RCCL ships have been great. They have the best service in all respect from The wait staff, cabin stewards/stewardess, bartenders, etc. Elegance in all the interiors, colors, brass and Glasses. If you have not cruised on one of the RCCL mega ships, you are not really cruising.
We decided to fly three days before to spend sometime in the island and return back home two days after. Timing was perfect because we get to see some of the island interior. Beaches are crystal clear, the mountains greenery is a breath taking. People are very friendly and pleasant. Puerto Rican food is outstanding. One of the views that were recommended is the Hotel Conquistador in Las Croabas. Is like looking at a postcard. Instead having lunch at the hotel, we stop by an "open" diner on the beach. We tried the "alcapurrias" and the "arepas de bacalao (cod fish)". If you have a chance, is a must to try them. The price is extremely reasonable and the taste is delicious.
After being drop off by the taxi driver, we arrived at the pier at 1:00 PM. HASSLE FREE!! Luggage process, I was pretty impressed. Following the procedure of waiting in the already famous white chairs, I didn't even get a chance to relax when I was directed to the check-in window. After receiving the all-in-one cabin key/ID Card/charge card, we had a free rum drink and visit the duty free shop across from the check-in room. If you planning to buy liquor, this is the place. I made the right decision and spent the money in here, which I didn't regret. The only draw-back, the cruise line holds your liquor until the last night.
How can I explain the beauty of this ship? WOW, WOW, WOW, unbelievable its decoration. On all the cruises I ever being, this is the most elegant of all. Carnival, Celebrity, NCL, and Princess lines don't even get close to the AOS. Can somebody explain to me the difference from Luxury, Premium and Contemporary?
Since we arrived early enough, we had a chance to get acquainted with the surrounding. First, we went to check the dining room, the location of our table. Unfortunately, the table assigned was for four people. Even though we were a group of four, we decided to change table for a table of ten. When we travel, we like meet people and exchange thoughts. I was lucky to do it before the crowd arrives. After, we took a walked across the Promenade, had some ice cream, and window shopping. Then we visited the casino, which is a deck below the Promenade, very colorful. The glass floor entrance is impressive.
Category D7, exactly ¼ port ship, deck 7 across from elevator (very convenience), with a large balcony with a table and 2 chairs, outdoor light, steel wall between balconies for privacy, sliding glass which you can sleep with the door open. Very spacious with a lot of room, comfortable bed, roomy closet, color TV, hair dryer mini-bar, safety box, spacious bathroom with tiled shower and sliding door (not curtain), and built-in soap dispenser. TIP: DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING IN THE FRIDGE UNLESS YOU DON'T CARE TO PAY FOR IT. THE FRIDGE IS AUTOMATIC AND WILL BILLED IT TO YOUR CHARGE CARD. IF YOU WANT TO TRY IT, DON'T BE SURPRISED WITH THE PRICES.
Before, I forget, when we went to check our cabin, would say around 2:30 PM, our luggage was sitting by the door. Amazing!!
FYI: This is the first time my wife and I had an outside cabin with balcony. Highly recommended if you can spend a little more money. Trust me on this one, is worthy. Is relaxing and mostly romantic. We sat in the balcony and watched as we pull up to the port. In the afternoon, after having a busy day, we had a drink and relax in the balcony, only by contemplating the ocean. Our next cruise, Navigator of the Seas, we are already booked in Category D6, balcony stateroom.
By the way, we are renewing our marriage vows and celebrating our 38th wedding anniversary. Our sons, wives, and grandchildren will join us for the celebration, a total of 13 people.
Don't recommend the Category TR, stateroom with a view to the Promenade. If you care about privacy, curtain need to remain drawn, unless you don't cares about your neighbor across from you spend the time staring at you? For the price, I take a balcony. In addition, the room is too noisy coming out from the Promenade.
FOOD AND SERVICE
We were assigned to the Vivaldi dining room, deck 4. Our waiter, from India, and his assistant waiter, from Rumania, (sorry forgot their names), were all outstanding. Food was OK and plentiful. When I classify as OK is because some nights were not impressed with the menu and my choice was limited. The Lobster night was succulent. My wife and I had a second. The first night I asked for a glass of milk and my wife asked for ice tea and from their on it was religiously served every night without asking. We love the first seating because give us time to digest our dinner and enjoy the rest of the night.
For dining, I recommend the Formal dining room. For excellent quality breakfast and good quality lunch buffets, try the Windjammer. If you don't care about the Formal dining room, the Windjammer is very good for diner. Honestly, I've never try it, but I heard good words of it.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Johnny Rockets for great burgers, fries, and onion rings. Shakes are outstanding, number one. Food is free but shakes are $3.78 and are worthy, delicious and filling. The place is so good that most of the time is a waiting time of 30 minutes. Instead for us to wait, since we are night owls, we went at midnight and the waiting time was, for the most 5 minutes. They close at 1 AM.
Another place we went for snack before going to bed, almost every night, was the Café Promenade for pizza, sandwiches and sweet goodies. It is opened 24-hour. The ice cream cart is opened until midnight.
Never tried the room service and the Portofino restaurant. If my dinner is included on the price, why do I have to pay $20 more to dine? When I was exploring the ship on the first day, I found the Portofino has no intimacy because the table spaces are compacted.
Over 15 bars throughout the ship. We can say that we hit all of them. Great drinks, great people, and reasonable prices. My best spot before going dancing was the Casino bar. While my spent my money I had my Bombay Dry Martini with olive and lime followed by a Long Island Ice Tea. The Bulgarian bartender (again I don't remember his name) mixed the best Martini and Long Island Ice Tea I ever try outside my house. After that I was ready to dance all night long, which I did.
Most of the time we went dancing to the Viking Crown (Blue Moon) lounge. Music was lively and great, until the wee hours. The bartender didn't even ask me, he knew ahead of time what I like. As of now, I believe that I can brag I am a party animal. 60 years old going into 20.
Ice show is a MUST. Not to be missed. Velvet Rope is good quality. Of all the stand up comedians, I can say only one was worthy to see. Must improve in this area. Name performers, I thought were dead entertainers. Other productions were okay but not great. Lounges shows were excellent. In general, the production is lacking a central theme.
There are two formal nights for a 7-day cruise. Maybe it is this type of ship's particularly festive reputation that induced most men on board to use tuxedoes for formal nights. On all the cruises I've ever been, is the first time I seen high percentage of men wearing tuxedo and women were extravagant. For men, a dark suit is just as appropriate. My wife purchased for the Sovereign of the Seas an evening dress which she used also for the Rhapsody of the Seas, and she felt herself into the group. For this one she wore a dress in the same category and felt that was undressed.
PORTS OF CALL
Shore excursions are TOO EXPENSIVE for the time and quality. We didn't care about scheduled excursions. Anything that is being offered, you can do it by yourself. Let me give you a summary.
San Juan: Beautiful Old San Juan, good history and impressive. Good food, friendly people, good bargains, beautiful beaches. Rent a car and do-it-yourself.
Aruba: Beautiful beaches, Oranjestad is extremely touristy and very expensive. If you like shop, wait until you get to St Martin/St. Marteen. I rented a car and drove around the island.
Curacao: Don't waist your time going to the beaches, rather stay in town. Is a beautiful island but nothing to see and do. This time I paid for my wife and myself $25 to drive me around. The only places he took us were to the big bridge and the liquor factory. At least, it was cheaper than a rental car.
St. Martin/St. Marteen:
BEST BARGAINS!! I bought the champagne Dom Perignon for $69. Not impressed with the beaches. If nudity doesn't affect you morally, this is the place. If you like the sun, blue water and see the low flying 747's, this is the place. Maho Beach is a small beach at the end of the airport runway. We rented a Jeep and drove around the island. Went to both capitals, Marigold (France) and Philipsburg (Dutch). People are pleasant and nice. Not expensive to spend a vacation to relax.
Because the island is a U.S. possession, is a U.S Customs process before departing the ship and the process moves pretty fast. This is not my first time in St. Thomas. We spent our honeymoon in ST in 1965. Beautiful beaches but the shopping is the worst. You can find better bargain in U. S. than in here. I was planning to rent a car but my wife got scare of seeing the driving on the left hand side. We lazily went about the town and we felt sorry. The retail store employees are rude, lazy, and with a long face. Why the cruise lines have ST as a Port-O-Call?
Pictures packages are too expensive.
Enhance the closing night show with better performers and better production.
Update the dancing music. Heard the same songs every night. Night on board is wonderful with clubs, pubs, bars, and shows If you like to drink, buy the drink card sold in every bar. Buy them, even if you don't drink heavy. The ship is great for all ages.
I think this is also a good place to comment of complaints of people about the Latin flavor of the cruise. First of all, the cruise sails out of San Juan, Puerto Rico, a place were Spanish is the native language. Of course, the quotients of Spanish speakers are higher on this ship than if it sails out of a U.S. port. If you heard the announcement by the Captain, that 40% of the passengers are Puerto Rican, 48% are Americans and the balance from other foreign countries.
Think about this, what will be the higher quotient of passengers if the ship departs either from Italy or France? The official language of the ship is in English, so everything is done in English. Important announcements are done in both languages. If one of these Spanish speaking people goes to U. S. they have to speak English. But, on the other hand, if you come to San Juan, the native has to speak English because you don't speak the language. Looks to me like a one-way street. I don't speak fluent Spanish but I get around.
After U.S. Customs cleared the ship, it took me only 15 minutes and we were out. No problem in finding our luggage.
IN REALITY, THIS SHIP IS A TOP OF THE LINE FLOATING RESORT!!!!