Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Adventure of the Seas
Sailing Date: November 7th, 2004
Itinerary: Southern Caribbean
This cruise was a 40th birthday present and I had very high expectations. I've cruised twice before with Royal Caribbean and was very pleased both times. My best friend and I were looking forward to time away from telephones and responsibilities.
Our embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at the San Juan pier just a bit before one p.m. Since we weren't scheduled to leave port until 10 p.m. we had plenty of time but still expected to wait in a line, however, we stepped onto the Adventure about twenty minutes after we stepped out of the shuttle from the airport.
We spent quite a while looking over the ship. The Adventure is huge but I never felt overwhelmed. Everything was easy to find and even though there were over 3000 passengers there was never a feeling that we were crowded.
We grabbed lunch at the Windjammer. The food was good. Personally, I think that anyone who complains excessively about the food on a cruise, needs to stop cruising and start visiting third world countries. There was plenty of variety, never a shortage of anything, and I enjoyed almost everything that I tried.
We continued checking out the ship after we'd eaten lunch. Studio B was a delight. An ice rink on the ocean...what a concept! The Lyric theatre seemed to offer promise of great entertainment. The many lounges and the dining rooms looked as if they would provide us with fun and more food throughout the voyage.
The solarium pool and the more public pool were both beginning to draw the early boarders. We looked over the spa and the fitness equipment. (We really had very good intentions regarding the treadmills but somehow we lost those intentions somewhere between San Juan and Aruba)
We found our stateroom. We chose to take the smallest cabin available. It was very adequate. Our cabin steward, Norberto, was friendly, efficient and very polite. He supplied us with a zoo of towel animals and made sure that we had everything we needed.
After unpacking a few things, (one suitcase arrived early, the other late) we headed to the Vivaldi dining room for dinner. Our head waitress, Amelia was excellent. We appreciated her positive attitude and her friendly professionalism. Our waiter, Daniel always had helpful recommendations and was quick to remedy anything that had not met our expectations. Our assistant waitress was Eva and she worked very hard to make sure that we never ran out of anything we desired. Although I have experienced more warmth from some of the staff in the past (Daniel was a bit distant) I really must say that the service of our dining room staff was very good. The food was tasty and anything that we wished to sample was quickly brought to us. Our dining companions, a family of three sisters and one of their husbands, found an appetizer that they really loved. Daniel, brought as many helpings as they desired.
We pulled out of the port at 10pm on the dot. It was beautiful to stand as far forward as we could and head into the open sea.
The weather was not always as we wished it to be. Two of our three excursions were cancelled due to rainy conditions or after effects of hurricanes. We swam at the beach by the Wyndam hotel on Aruba. We shopped in Curacao. We enjoyed Orient beach in St. Maartin, and we just strolled the shops in St. Thomas. There were plenty of activities on and off the ship and so we never let the weather get the best of us. We enjoyed ice skating in Studio B, mini golf, people watching at cafe promenade and tanning whenever the sun was shining.
The entertainment on Adventure is very good. The ice show is an absolute must. Considering the limitations of the rink, the skaters do a fabulous job!
The shows at the Lyric were good. The headliners were enjoyable and the Adventure orchestra is really top notch. Many of the passengers raved about the two performances of the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers. The vocalists were indeed very good and the dancing was technically precise, however, the style was just not my cup of tea. I'm much more a Broadway fan than an artsy Vegas type. The one exception to an otherwise good lineup of headliners was a Mr. Achilles. He performed the last night of the voyage. There were some children in the audience who shouldn't have heard several segments of his routine. At one point the children even shouted about something pretty off color. Granted, they shouldn't have been as far from their parents as they were, and they were rude little kids, but, they too recognised that the humor was a bit more adult than it should have been.
I enjoyed the Adventure very much. I had read earlier reviews regarding noisy, unattended children, and I had read something about the overabundance of Spanish in preference to English. I did not find either of these things to factor into our trip. Although there were some Puerto Rican folks who were pleading for something in Spanish to watch during the disembarkation proceedings, there was really no tension or preference that I could sense. I enjoyed the international flavor and found that graciousness comes in many ethnic forms, as does rudeness.
Disembarkation is always tedious but the Adventure staff did their best to keep those of us with late flights happy. The airport at San Juan was a bit jammed but even there we did not experience the delays that we had been told to expect.
I'd recommend Adventure to families and to the more energetic crowd. Be aware that the beaches do occasionally sport a nudist or two. If you have children, Orient Beach may not be the best choice. Since I'm pretty modest and since the nudists were predominantly over seventy, I kept my eyes focused on the surf.
All in all an excellent cruise!