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Rebecca Johnson

Age: 37

Occupation:Mother

Number of Cruises: 4

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Adventure of the Seas

Sailing Date: November 20th, 2005

Itinerary: Southern Caribbean

This was our 4th cruise in the past 16 years, 1st with children. Prior sailings were with Carnival (2) and Holland America. We are in our late 30’s and our children are 6, 9, and 12, traveling with extended family members for a total of 17 in our group. We were in a Grand Suite on deck 10 (#1256) and this was a Thanksgiving week cruise. Boarding the ship went very well. We arrived at the dock around 12:30 and we were on the ship by 1:00. This was partly because of priority boarding for suite guests and partly because of the time. We were not able to go to our cabin until 2:00 so we went up to the pool deck and had a drink and explored the ship a little. After checking out our cabin (absolutely gorgeous and more than enough room for the 5 of us/beautiful marble bathroom with double sink and bathtub/shower and more than ample closet/storage space), we decided to get off the ship and go into Old San Juan. This was very easy to do and we were back on the ship by 5:00. Overall, we had an absolutely fantastic vacation. The staff on the ship was extremely friendly and really took an interest in our children.

The Adventure Ocean kids club was a godsend! Our children absolutely loved the activities – never at a loss for something to do! The food in the dining room was comparable to other cruises we have been on, with the exception of Thanksgiving dinner. This left a lot to be desired. Should of got the salmon instead of turkey! We ate breakfast mostly in the Windjammer because of the great variety and fresh fruit. Because of an early arrival in St. Thomas and the need to go through immigration before going into port, we decided to have room service on this morning. We requested it for 7:30 a.m. and they called at 7:15 to say it was on its way and sure enough, it arrived fresh and hot by 7:30! I had read several reviews of this particular cruise prior to booking and I did have my reservations about leaving from Puerto Rico. Other family members were insistent on this itinerary so there wasn’t much choice for us. I do have to say that on this particular cruise there was probably a 60/40 ratio, Puerto Ricans/Americans (or others). This was apparently a big week for the 15 year old “coming out” celebration. There were large groups of Puerto Ricans who would congregate in the common areas and in the stairwells and it took several times of saying “excuse me” before they would move to the side. Also, no matter how many people were on the elevator they would squeeze on anyway. Also, other than the sail away party and one other night, the pool deck parties at night were geared towards Latin music and salsa dancing. We went to go to Jesters nightclub one night and it was all Latin/Spanish music and both times we went to watch karaoke it was all in Spanish. Every announcement on the ship was first said in English, and then repeated in Spanish. The entertainment was good, not your typical Las Vegas style dance shows.

The ice show was okay to us. We are a figure skating family so to us it was just average. To the average person, you would think it is spectacular. As far as the ports of call, Curacao has a long way to go before I will ever return. We did the Highlights excursion offered by RCCL and it honestly was not worth the money. Yes, it was nice to see the village on the drive to the Curacao distillery, but there was really not much to see other than oil refineries (which is there main export – import the crude oil and export it out as oil!). The folklore dance demonstration was nice. In Aruba we rented a jeep and drove ourselves to the Natural Pool (Conchi trail), Natural Bridge (which we had no idea had collapsed) and to the lighthouse, stopping at a fort along the way. This was extremely fun and quite a thrilling ride – very rough, steep, rocky terrain! However, I was quite surprised at how dirty Aruba is. There was trash washed up all along the shore. Not just the occasional bottle or trash you might find at the beach, but piles of household trash. The people were very friendly. Aruba is not going on my list of places to see again anytime soon. St. Martin/St. Maarten and St. Thomas were both very beautiful. These are two of my favorite islands (4th time to each). In St. Martin we also rented a jeep so that we could see more and it was easier with the kids. We first drove to the French side and went to the beach at Bikini Beach at Orient Bay. This was very nice, the surf was right because of the wind direction, and we saw very little nudity. I know there are parts of Orient Beach where you will see a lot more nudity. From here we drove around the other side of the island and stopped in Marigot for lunch and shopping, then back to the ship, making several stops along the way. Pretty much the same in St. Thomas – did shopping first (go into town, not the Havensight mall area). Then go over to Megan’s Bay. This is one of the most beautiful beaches you will see. All in all, we loved the Adventure of the Seas. Yes, of course, as with any vacation, there were some drawbacks but we managed to overlook the negative things and had an absolutely great time. I wouldn’t say I will do this same cruise again, but I can say that I honestly don’t have anything negative to say regarding the ship itself, or its crew members. We will, however, definitely cruise with Royal Caribbean again, especially with our children.

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