Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Adventure of the Seas
Sailing Date: July 10th, 2005
Itinerary: Southern Caribbean
There appeared to be some disorganization at the airport because there seemed to be too few ship representatives at the airport guiding the passengers to the shuttle busses. The lack of ship personnel at the dock was more noticeable and made hundreds if not more than a thousand passengers wait outside the pre-boarding air-conditioned building at the dock for up to a couple of hours. During this period there was a severe tropical downpour that lasted about 30 minutes. I was already in the air-conditioned building along with maybe another 1000 passengers waiting for 2pm to arrive so boarding could begin. Fortunately there was seating for all of us and complimentary beverages and cookies. However there were only 2 xray screening lines for all those passengers and once the early arrivals filled the air-conditioned waiting area - everyone else had to stand outside. I was told by a ship's officer who is a manager in the windjammer he saw a very long line on the dock outside and took it upon himself to open up some of the eating areas sooner than originally planned. Many passengers I spoke to about this boarding problem were like me very disapproving of how it was handled. During the time I waited outside the security area before getting my SeaPass, I saw only 1 ships officer on the dock outside the security dockside area - and many people were confused where the lines started and ended, and a bunch of dockside workers with blue tshirts seemed to be answering questions but were not well organized. On prior trips, especially my last trip on Carnival - the pre-boarding ran like clockwork with no confusion whasoever. Grade for boarding coordination and organization on a scale of A to F - C-
Service on the ship once on board was always very good - but not excellent - see comment at the end below - Grade B+
Communication to passengers - grade A - during this week Hurricane Emily crossed our path East to West while we had to go north to St Maarten from Curacao. The captain made sure that passengers were well aware of the circumstances and what his intentions were to avoid the storm - and we lucked out only encountering some high winds and a little rain - a little roughness - but no extreme seas.
Food in the dining room Grade B- - a dinner of duck was dry (I have cooked better and more tasty duck), a dinner of lamb was as tough as mutton, and good old fashioned pie was on the desert menu only once or twice.
The dining room I learned was on 3 decks - with a spectacular 2 story chandelier in the center - the dining areas are appointed beautifully - we were so fortunately to have a window-side table. The head waiter told me there is a gally on each deck of the dining room - which could mean that food quality varied from deck to deck - but there is no way for me to know this. The captain's table is under the chandelier on the lowest of the 3 decks - I do not know if that menu was any different or if the food tasted better. I know if I was the captain - I would want my best chef on my level. Go figure.
Windjammer food - overall more tasty and more variety than the dining room. Grade B+. I found the scrambled eggs consistently more watery than desirable every day I tried them. The sauces and various more complex dishes (as opposed to burgers, fries, dogs - which I do not go on a cruise to eat - ) The soups were outstanding. The desserts were of the more common variety than the dining room but I enjoyed them more.
Beverage policy - Grade D - I learned that last fall a new non-alcoholic beverage policy was put into place for carbonated and juices. You either pay $1.50 for each coke, sprite, etc or you buy a unlimited beverage sticker for your Sea-Pass - it costed about $95 for my wife and I for the 7 days and includes a 15% gratuity. As a bonus a metal drinking mug - about 12 ounces - with the Coke logo - was given to people who bought the unlimited coke sticker. This really rubbed us raw - that after paying about $1000 pp the ship dings us about $47 per person for carbonated drinks. Every passenger I talked to about this also was at the very minimum irritated to disgusted about this policy.
Entertainment - Grade B - we saw very good stage shows in a wonderful theater - the largest shipboard theater I have seen - with no blocking pillars - which was the case on Princess. On my carnival cruise before every live show they sold bingo cards - but there was none of that on AOTSeas - whew! We saw two very good ice shows at the ice rink. The live shows with imported talent were excellent - the Platters and a Las Vegas singer - but the two elaborate dancing shows put on by the ships dance and singing troop were well choreographed, technically complex and technically excellent - but either boring or not completely thought out. I thought the live troupe shows on Carnival were better. The lead male singer has to go. GO. Go.
For some reason the welcome show on Sunday nite was not scheduled until 1030 or 1045 pm - which was very late. On prior cruises this show was always scheduled for 930pm or earlier. THe cruise director - a very live wire and good looking woman - knows that a lot of people started the day REALLY early on the first cruise day - and should never schedule the welcome show that late.
Ships' layout - A
The sheer size of the ship allows for a sort of main street of shops in the middle of the ship about 100 yards long with a 3 story high atrium with inside staterooms overlooking the promenade area - it gives a central focus to activities.
Main Pool area - (there is actually a 2nd pool area for adults on the same deck in a Roman theme flanked by 2 hot tubs) big and noisy - needs a water slide - Always could fing a lounge chair as the area is so big. Grade B+
Rock wall, basketball court - miniature golf - roller blading - did not use these - they look great for people who did use them.
Non-alcoholic beer - there are a few of us that drink it - and for various reasons we either cannot or do not drink alcohol. I drink it and do not drink alcoholic beverages. ODoul's is the absolute worst of the NA beers - and that is all they had. Although there were probably 20 regular beers, 60-100 different wines and who knows how many hard liquor choices on board. In better restaurants I have been to - such at the Oak Room in Boston or Mortons steak houses at least two or three choices are offered that usually include Clausthauler and Haecke Becke or St Pauli Girl which I consider the best of breed. I brought this matter to the attention of my beer waiter - he did not do anything about this - even though we docked at 4 ports that week . You would think that a case of NA beer could be found at one of those 4 ports. This is a perfect example that distinguishes good service from excellent service.
Overall our experience is Grade B - the boarding, dining room , dance troupe, large crowds and NA beer are the reasons. We may or may not go to another cruise line next time.