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lbrooks34

Adventure of the Seas Review 2/13-2/20

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Adventure of the Seas

Feb. 13 – 20, 2005

 

Ship – Very nice. Especially the promenade area on Deck 5. This is where the on board shops are as well as a couple of bars, Seattle’s Best Coffee, and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. There is also pizza, cookies, and sandwiches in this area for snacking; they are free. The dining rooms are beautiful and occupy three floors of the ship. The ice rink is located on Deck 3 and was strange to behold for the first time as it is hard to imagine an ice skating rink on a Caribbean cruise. The Lyric Theatre is very spacious as well and very crowded for every show. We have no complaints whatsoever about how the ship looks. The makeup of the passengers was diverse. We encountered Americans, Puerto Ricans, Italians, and Dutch. In fact, there were quite a few Dutch on this cruise which makes sense since three of the four ports are the Netherlands Antilles. But Americans (stateside) were predominant. The average age seemed to be 50s. This is not official just from our people-watching. Though all ages from toddlers to senior citizens were represented. The primary language was English with only important messages and announcements from the Captain repeated in Spanish.

 

Stateroom – DH and I had an inside cabin on Deck 7 port side aft. When we arrived on board around 12:30pm the doors to the cabins were closed. But were opened on time at 2:00pm. It was clean and stocked well. The cabin steward did an ok job, but tended to forget to give us ice and replace dirty glasses. Otherwise, he did what you would expect but did not go above and beyond in any way. We were satisfied with his service. The recommended tipping for a stateroom attendant for this cruise is $24.50 per person.

 

Food – We did not eat at all in the Main Dining room or Portofino’s. Though we did check the Main’s menu, and most nights the Windjammer had the same food that was being served in the Main. We were very satisfied with the food in the Windjammer. Always a good selection. And to our initial surprise, the staff put table cloths and cutlery on the tables for the dinner service, and served your drinks as well (no one tipped for this additional service). Most people who ate dinner in the Windjammer dressed a little nicer than they did for the breakfast and lunch service. The atmosphere for dinner was also nice as the lights were turned down a little lower. The desserts were the highlight. There was always something new every night along with some staples that were offered at every meal. There was always a good sampling of cheeses and California Rolls. Breakfast was just ok. The scrambled eggs were not always that good, but there is the omelet station. Breakfast never changed as everything that a person could want for breakfast was offered every morning. Lunch was also very tasty. We did eat lunch one day at Johnny Rockets. If you are a C & A member you are given a coupon that waives the $3.95 service charge. Otherwise it will cost you $3.95 per person. This price includes your food, but any beverages above the water, ice tea, or lemonade will cost you. Soda is $1.50, and milk shakes are $2.60 (could be $3.60). They are nice and thick, but mediocre in taste at best. Of course, where else are you going to get a milkshake on board? My recommendation is to skip the milkshake and stick to the soft serve ice cream that is always available. The burgers were served hot, and were very similar to those offered in the Windjammer. The difference being that they are served hot at Johnny Rockets as opposed to sitting for a while. When you first arrive the staff will seat you and you will be given fries and onion rings. Both are very tasty. You also have the option of sitting inside or sitting outside on the deck in the shade. No brainer; sit outside if possible.

 

Ports of Call

 

Your first day is a sea day. But before you get to that, you must do the muster drill. For your information, this is conducted at 8:30pm of the first night. Then the fun can really begin. At sea days make for some very crowded pool areas. TIP: if you are traveling without kids, try to sit in the Solarium where you must be 18 years of age to be in this area. We found this area to be very quiet and relaxing. Though you cannot hear the pool deck band from the Solarium since the area is separated. We did not find this to be a bad thing, as the band only knows so many songs. But if we did sit by the main pool, we did so a little later in the afternoon. No problem finding a deck chair and it is much quieter then.

 

-Aruba

This is the highlight of the cruise as you are in port until 1:00am. We are scuba divers so we went diving in almost every port including Aruba. However, when we were done there was plenty of time for shopping and additional exploring. The one disappointment was Carlos and Charlie’s. Everyone seems to rave about this place, so we thought we would check it out in its prime time. Well, there is no place to sit at the bar, and not that many tables on the bottom floor, though there is an upstairs with more tables. After having been to the one in Cancun, I expected this one to be a restaurant first and a bar second, but instead it is a bar first and a restaurant second. If you want retro music that is so loud that you can barely carry on a conversation, a smoky atmosphere and do not mind standing then this is your place. I was sorry that I missed it my first time in Aruba, but no regrets. I am sure there will be some people that post that they had a wonderful time. To each their own. Bottom line: Aruba is a desert island that is full of friendly people, has Dutch food if you know where to look, and decent shopping.

 

-Curacao

This port is not geared as much to the tourist as its sister island of Aruba. The shopping area is a little shady and just not very nice. Low end would be the best description. Pass the shopping and take an excursion. If you are a diver, you will be in heaven. Warm water and plenty of marine life. We did a wall dive that would get anyone addicted to becoming a scuba diver or beg you to want to spend a week in Curacao exploring the underwater part of the island. One thing that is prevalent is the Dutch architecture of the buildings and the swinging pontoon bridge. But beware. When the bridge is open the only way to cross the channel is by using a free water taxi, however, this can take a while so plan accordingly. If you do not allow enough time, you will not make the all aboard as you still have a bit a walk to the ship after you cross the pontoon bridge or take the water taxi.

 

-St. Maarten

This port is totally geared toward the tourist. Restaurants, shopping and a beach are right by the pier. If you want jewelry, this is the place. High quality souvenirs can also be found. The population of this area seems to be predominantly Creole. There is a water taxi to take you from the shop to the shopping area. The cost is $5 per person for the day.

 

-St. Thomas

The best shopping of the cruise. Over 350 stores and a lot of them are high quality. The taxi ride will cost you $3 per person each way (from the ship to downtown, from downtown back to the ship). There is also plenty of shopping right outside the ship in the Haversmith Mall. Note: according to the Hard Rock employees, the Hard Rock in St. Thomas will close indefinitely in April 2005 as they look for another location.

 

Ship’s Activities

Plenty to do on board. From ballroom dancing lessons to salsa lessons to scrapbook workshops. Plenty of live music. The mixed, frozen drinks were ok, but at times very bland. We sampled many different bars and found this to be the case in many of them. Tried a Bailey’s coffee on the promenade deck and it tasted simply awful. I stuck to the drink of the day and just enjoyed the fact that I had something cold in my hand. If anyone can comment on where the best bar is on the ship that would be great! I found the bar in the Solarium to be the best. If a person is interested in scuba diving, you can get certified on board. You will have to spend the time taking the classroom lessons as well as the pool sessions, but the ship will check you out on St. Maarten and St. Thomas. You can also buy scuba and snorkeling equipment on board at a good rate. If anyone has any specific questions about this do not hesitate to ask. My advice is to take your classroom and pool sessions at home, and then get checked out on the cruise. It is about the same price to take the PADI classroom and pool sessions at home as on board the ship ($250). Then you will have to pay another $300 to get checked out. If you do decide to get certified on board, you will have to buy mask and snorkel (not sure about fins). No one said diving was cheap.

 

This was simply a wonderful cruise. The weather was almost perfect with sunny, warm skies and temps in the 80s. It rained for a little while on our first at sea day, but that was it. We were the only ship in each port of call, and the crew was organized. I would recommend this cruise to anyone. Of course, you still have to deal with the San Juan airport on a Sunday (there are four ships docked in the port – NCL, Carnival Destiny, the Golden Princess, and the Adventure). But that is another matter…

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Thank you so much for your review! I was thrilled to see it as DH and I leave this Friday for the cruise departing on the AOS 2/27.

 

How much was the drink of the day? Was it given at a discount if you brought back a refillable cup? (this is what we experienced on Carnival) Also, was it only available at certain bars?

 

I'm glad that you had nice weather and hopefully we will too! We aren't flying out until 3am after the cruise (monday 3am) so we won't have to deal with the airport!

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Good thing you are flying out at a time different that Sunday afternoon. Whoa! What a mess. The drink of the day is $5.95. They give it to you in a plastic hurricane 'glass'. I do not think they would give you a discount if you brought the 'glass' back to be filled. I think they would give you a funny look. By the way, the drink of the day is not as cheap as some of the other drinks. For example, a pina colada is always $5.50.

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Thank you for your review I am not sailing until December but I am soaking everything up I can about my forthcoming cruise.

 

Jo

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SOund like a great cruise! We leave on March 6 and was curious did you dive with the ship excursions? Where did you dive in Curacao? Morning or afternoon? Did you bring your own equipment ie. regulator and BC? Waiting for your reply so I can sign up! How deep was your wall dive and did the dive masters fo with you or leave you on your own? My children hate us to dive. They watched Open Water! Oh yeah, skin or no skin, shorty or 3ml suit or none at all? What was the water temp.

Melissa

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Mav,

 

We only did one dive excursion through the ship, the rest we arranged on our own. The excursion through the ship was for St. Maarten. I would not recommend it as it was a cattle car. The dive op is Diver Safari. Nice folks, but we did not like their system at all. Plus, the diving conditions were not all that great. Not a lot of marine life, torn up reefs, and not a lot of viz. We dove to about 80 feet in Curacao on a site called Small Wall. It was so beautiful. We are thinking of doing a week there next spring just for the diving. The dive op we went with was Caribbean Sea Sports. They were outstanding! They split the divers up into two groups and each group was assigned a dive master. We could stay down as long as our air lasted (within our own limits). All of the diving was in the morning. We did bring all of our own equipment and only need tanks and weights on all trips. The water temps for all dives was about 79 degrees. I wore a 3mil shorty the whole time.

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Who and how was the cruise director staff? We are going in April and can't wait.

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I was on this cruise also and had a wonderful time! It was our second time on the aos, the last was two years ago. The ports are amazing and the water is warm in the winter since two islands are way down south.

 

The cruise director is Richard Spacey, he is new to the aos as is the captain. Richard was very funny and so were the comedians on board. Don't miss the ice show it's unbelievable!

 

I thought the food was great, and the ship is in wonderful shape also.

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Hi AB1881! We just got back very late last night because there was a huge snowstorm here in Toronto delaying our landing by 1-1/2 hours. Not a pleasant sight after a gorgeous week of beautiful weather.

 

Yes, the AOS is unexpectedly beautiful after comparing her to the brand new Mariner we were on last year. You will be hard pressed to see any difference in which is a new ship and which is not. This cruise was our 6th cruise and I must say the staff were all in the top league for friendliness and helpfulness. I also thought the food was much better than the Mariner but not as good as Princess and Celebrity. However, the food was certainly good (we sure ate enough to judge).

 

I do agree that Curacao was not what I had expected in the way of their shopping area. There weren't many stores but the floating fish and vegetable market was interesting. We also saw a man with 3 huge iguanas on the street letting people take pictures for a cost with the iguanas over your head or shoulders.

 

All in all, we thoughly enjoyed AOS and partially because the cruise director Richard Spacey is so funny. He's a real character with unlimited energy.

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gemz,

 

See? We were talking to some Golden Princess cruisers in the San Juan airport, and they said that RCCL has the best food. Oh well...

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lbrooks34, you said something about soft serve ice cream being available, where is it? I thought someone said it was discontinued :confused:

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We are sailing June 26,2005. What outfits did you use for scuba diving. Also did they carry , or was it available, nitrox air. My son is, who is a beginner, will be diving with me. I hope to get a few more dives in Lake Tahoe in June before we go, so I fill better about him since he has never scuba in the Carb.

Thanks

John

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cruzfiend,

 

There is soft serve in the back of the pool deck and in Windjammer. I think that that soft serve by the pool is actually soft serve yogurt.

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johndru,

 

In Aruba we used Dive Aruba. This is a one-man op that takes no more than 6 divers on trips. Clive is the owner and he does offer Nitrox. Be aware that this is advance diving and you may not always be within his site. So you have to manage your own air and ascend when you must. You may also stay down as long as your air will allow. In Curacao we went with Caribbean Sea Sports. They will take down a group of divers with a guide, but once again you can stay down as long as your air will allow though you are always in site of the guide. They, too, offer Nitrox. In St. Maarten, we went with the ship Excursion company Diver Safari. This outfit is totally geared toward beginning divers, but is a cattle car. There was considerable surge and a pretty good current along with 1-3 foot waves. We were told this is typical. We did not like their system, but they are efficient. I do not know if they offer nitrox. We did not go diving in St. Thomas. But we were recommended to use Blue Island Divers. Curacao was by far our favorite diving in the caribbean thus far.

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Thanks for the reply. I was really bummed when I heard they took it out of the promanade area. I LOVE ICE CREAM :D (It's really good mixed w/Baileys)

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We had Richard Spacey on the Voyager in October and have to say he is the best we have ever had. I hope he is still there in April. OH BEHAVE!!!!

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