Number of Cruises: 11
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Adventure of the Seas
Sailing Date: April 28th, 2002
Itinerary: St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados
My friend Nancy and I went on RCCL Adventure of the Seas Southern Caribbean cruise on April 28th. We visited St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. What a fantastic cruise! I can honestly say it is one of my favorites (I’ve been on 11 cruises). This itinerary is fantastic. We love these islands. The ship is beautiful and ENORMOUS! Of course, there were some not so nice aspects, as with anything. I’ve tried to categorize my review into sections.
Arrival: Since 9/11 you now have to claim your baggage upon arrival in the departure city’s airport. This is a royal pain. The cruise reps meet you by baggage claim. We waited about a half hour in the San Juan airport baggage area and then were led outside. Where we waited, and waited, and waited. After another half hour, we followed some of our fellow passengers and got a cab for $16 to the ship. Before we left, we asked the rep what the problem was. She said that the bus was late due to traffic delays because there was some type of special events going on in San Juan. However, our cabbie said there was no traffic that he knew of and we didn’t notice anything along the way to the ship. Our luggage, luckily, was put on a truck and on it’s way to the ship too. We were glad we took the cab, but unhappy with the poor excuses of the cruise reps. Check in at the pier was quick. It is good to join the Crown and Anchor (if you’ve cruise with RCCL before). However, I had to ask if I could just go up to that desk and check in instead of waiting on the long line. The line did move fast, but it would have helped if they directed us immediately to the express check-in.
,b>The Ship This ship is like first class as compared to coach. Gorgeous! Huge! But not so big that it is overwhelming. Some didn’t like it – thought it was too big. But, we had no problems. On any new ship, you need to get your bearings and there is more to locate, but there are plenty of signs and maps around. I could never explain all the stuff they have, it has to be seen to be believed.
The Dining Room: The dining room is awesome – 3 levels with a titanic-like stairway with a huge chandelier. Main seating was at 6 and Late was at 8:30. That is pretty late to eat and we were happy with the early seating. They were very flexible on times you arrived to dinner. We had one couple join us while we had our entrée. Another problem we had was with our table assignment. We were seated at a table for 10 and for the first 3 nights, only one other couple showed up – 2 other women who spoke mostly Spanish and kept to themselves. This was unacceptable to us as we are very social and wanted to meet people. One of the most fun aspects is to have nice dinner companions and share the day’s events and the plans for the upcoming day. So, finally, the maitre d’ got us relocated to another table and this was so much better. The couples were older (one married 55 years and the other married 52 years), but that never bothers us. They were very enjoyable and we had lots of laughs and good times.
Pool: Or should I say pools. There were 2 big ones on the main pool deck and another in the solarium (no kids allowed). A fourth kiddie pool was at the back of the ship. This is our favorite kind of pool cause it has a bench around it where you can sit and put your feet in the water. Or, sit down on the ledge and lean against the bench, letting the 6 inches of water gently lap around your legs. Finally, there’s the pool itself. Something for everyone! Then had the usually fun stuff poolside (Men’s sexy legs contest, etc), but the horse racing was loud and somewhat annoying. Keep in mind everything is videotaped so you might get in the Cruise Memories video which is for sale.
Cabin: We had a Cat 9D cabin which was 180 sq ft with a balcony. Very nice for 2, but a little tight for women. A little tight on closet space. But, we made do. The steward was wonderful – left little towel animals every night. Only problem was the mini bar was not refilled and we would have liked a big bottle of water for the room (they only had little ones in the mini bar).
Islands: One general note – the shore excursion rep was not very helpful or knowledgeable. He only knew the ship’s recommended stuff. But, we managed to find some really great spots by asking the reps and the taxi drivers on the pier. Also, ask people you meet on the cruise, at breakfast, lunch and dinner. We got some great info just from people we met a breakfast!
St. Thomas – My favorite island. It has it all. Shopping, beaches, side excursions to St. John. Plus, it’s American. This time we went to St. John (Trunk Bay snorkeling). This was a very nice trip, but I prefer to snorkel from the beach. This one you had to jump off the back of the boat or climb down a ladder into the water. I’ve seen better snorkeling too. But, shopping is the best here, especially Jewelry. They have the best selection of all the islands.
Antigua – On Antigua we went to Long Bay. What a nice beach. It was a long ride – about ½ hour, but it was worth it. $24 each way for 2 people. We had a nice lunch in an open air bar and had some local beer. On the way back, our cab didn’t return (luckily we didn’t pay him for the round trip) so we hitched a ride with another couple from the ship. The cab took us to Devil’s Bridge first. Really wild. Very bumpy road out to a point of land and the waves crash into the rocks where they formed a tunnel through them. It was just starting to rain so it was especially windy and wild. We thanked him so much for that little side trip.
St. Lucia – Here we went to Sandals resort. $40 gets you in, and you have all drinks and food included. One note, there’s not much shade here. The beach was unbearably hot and no umbrellas. We found a little shade by the pool and that’s where I burned, I think. Stayed in the pool to cool off. Had a nice buffet lunch here. This was not recommended by the ship, but was a very nice excursion.
Barbados – Loved Barbados. We went to Tamarind Cove. Very lovely. Plenty of shade and a nice resort. Here you have to rent chairs and umbrellas, but it’s worth it. Nice restaurant to eat and they serve drinks on the beach, and again we tried the local beer - yum.
Leaving: The line for the US immigration on the ship was unbelievably long – for US citizens. We waited a half hour! They really need to rethink this procedure. If you have an early flight, get there early and then eat, or eat in your room the last morning.