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sangoofy

AOS review - just returned from 6/13/04 sailing

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What an awesome vacation. We had a group of 9 of us (friends) spending 3 days pre-cruise at the lovely Westin Rio Mar resort in Rio Grande, PR (1 hr from San Juan). Boarded ship on Sunday within 1 hr of arriving at dock. Met up with my baby sister and her boyfriend onboard. Went to Royal Promenade for about 45 minutes, had a drink, picked up kids soda cards and looked around ship till time to get in cabin. Cabin was a nice size (for a ship of course). My husband and I shared a balcony cabin and had our kids (15 & 12 yrs) across the hall in an inside cabin (CAT M). Worked out great for all. Ship has so many things to do, and of course, we did not have enough time to do it all. Kids and friends of ours did rock climbing wall. All played mini golf and used pools and hot tubs. Solarium area for adults, kids were very happy with other pools. Some of us used the fitness center and spa, others played basketball and skated. Plenty of ship organized activities on at seas days. Saw the ICE show which was awesome, so was the Rock & Roll Decade and the Can't Stop the Rock shows. We were observers at the Quest game which was hilarious. Amazing what some grown people do for RCI logo stuff. Spent many a late night at the Duck & Dog with "Bernie" the bar entertainment. 1 man guitar/harmonica - sing along- he packed a crowd every night and we all sang many familiar tunes, Buffet, Chesney, Elvis, and classics like Piano Man, American Pie, and others. Dinner in dining room was wonderful- partially due to our waiter - Brian and Asst. Waitress (Bushwanna). They certainly practiced Service with a Smile the entire cruise. Windjammer and Island Grille for Breakfast and Lunch were good too. Port of call were awesome too. Aruba - did our own Jeep safari during the day and then the adults did "Island Paradise under the Stars" excursion at night and ended the evening at Carlos & Charlie's. Wed- Curacao, some of us did the Dolphin swim, rest of us hung out at Mambo beach- beautiful , clean, next to Seaaquarium- pastel bldge in Willemstad such a beautiful sight to see. Friday, St. Maarten - our family of 4 did the Regatta- what an great experience, but boy what a workout. Came in 2nd but still had a great time. Skipper even let our son of 12 yrs old steer the sailboat after race for about 15 min or better. One of the highlights of his cruise for sure. Saturday, son and I did the BOB with 2 others in our party- that I must say was a once in a lifetime thrill for me as well. Then met up with the rest of our party and did rode the tram up to Paradise Point for lunch and the famous "Bushwacker" for adults of course. Did some shopping before returning to ship. All too soon our trip ended and we are not back home having cruise withdrawls. Oh well, need to start refocusing that negative energy on planning our next one. What a great time. Cruised on Carnival 2 yrs ago, RCI definately had them beat this time in terms of service and levels of energy of cruise staff!!! I am now hooked on both cruising and RCI. Any questions feel free to ask.

 

Roll Call AOS 6/13/04 click here

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We had chosen late seating so we weren't rushed getting back on ship and getting ready for dinner. Worked out well for all of us. First night was 9 p.m., rest of cruise 8:30 p.m. As fast as the cruise gets here, it is over so don't wish it to come to quick.. It was definately a highlight for all of us, but makes it even harder to come back to reality! Enjoy yours, we sure did!!

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Sangoofy, thanks for the review. My turn will be here real soon.

 

 

Valerie

 

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Until Adventure of the Seas (St Lucia/Antigua.......

 

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Grandeur of the Seas 6/00

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Adventure of the Seas 7/18/2004

 

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Thanks for the great post. We're on the same cruise in August and can't wait.

 

How was the dolphin swim? I have a 13 year old daughter who would probably love to do it, but seems kind of pricey. Your thoughts?

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Dolphin swim according to my 15 yr daughter, 35 yr old sister and friend's 12 yr old daughter, this experience was totally awesome. They got to spend about half hour in water with them. The dolphins danced with them, kissed them, gave them a dorsal swim ride. Even sang to them. Professional pics were taken by photographer on staff and put on cd for separate purchase of $60 for 14 pics. Pricey yes, but according to my sister- worth every bit of it. My daughter stated "this was the BEST thing she has ever done" and she has done nothing but rave about it since last week. If you can afford it, highly recommmend it!!!!!!!

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Sounds like you had a great time. I'm also curious about the dolphin swim. Did you book it through the cruise line? Also, you say your children were in a room across the hall. I thought RCI doesn't allow you to book a room for children, although I have heard you can change it when you arrive. Did you book it that way or change it when you arrived at the ship.

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Unfortunately, the dolphin swim in Curacao is only available to AOS passengers through the ship so had to pay the full price charged of $199. With regards to cabin for kids, booked that way from beginning. RCI allows as long as parents are either across or next door. No problems with it when booked.

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We arrived at pier at 12, on by 1, in cabin by 2. Not bad at all- we were lucky. Getting off this past Sunday went just as fast. Off within 1 hr from checking out of cabin. Of course, all depends on customs clearance so can vary cruise to cruise.

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Hi there. We went to the ship as well and it was awesome! I would like to say a special "hola" to those who came to our meet and mingle. Great meeting you all. Now here's my review on AOS.

 

Now I am a first timer cruiser hailing from Guaynabo PR,(so yes the ship was huge for us) we went to the pier (a quick 10 min drive)and checked in. Checking in to the ship was fast as we had no lines. Went quickly to our room(Oceanview stateroom cat H) and I decided to go eat at the really big Royal Promenade. On the first day we went to the welcome aboard show which was er,good. Then my family went to the dining room and I went to Johny Rocket's. We were supposed to sit on Strauss but we were changed to the Vivaldi dining room(no idea why) but then we sat with a couple whohad the last name as ours.We didn't knew each other! On monday I did the Ice rink(really hard at sea),played golf and slept until it was 5:00 for the M&M. The M&M was great,met really nice people and what we did was well,mingle.Unfortunatly I didn't see anyone again after that,but at least I met them,heh. Now I'm going to give a rundown on the week:

 

Aruba-We met the nicest tour guy around and had a private tour of the Island. Went to the natural bridge, a natural rock wall,saw some beatiful houses and finally we did some jet-skiing on eagle beach.The Island slogan is:"One happy island" and it really is. Very friendly people here! This was the best port-of-call,and I did wanted to stay at least another day.

 

Curacao-Shopping in the morning because my mom brought fake Louis Vutton watches and purses. Then we went to the aquarium and saw the dolphins. After that we went to the beach next door and just lay back under a palm tree for the next of the afternoon.

 

St.Maartin(sp?)-Shopping again and went to Orient Bay. We saw three naked older men and everybody started taking pictures. An american lady was in front of us laughing her face off. She said:"I promised I wouldn't laugh!" Hilarious beach day icon_biggrin.gif

 

St.Thomas- Utterly dissapointing This Island was a letdown. Not only did we had to get up early to clear customs,the people here were not nice to us,especially the taxi cabbies who were blaintly racist with us(we were puerto rican,a lot of them live there and right now there's some kind of minority war). We went to coral world,which was mostly empty and went snorkeling which costs about $20 total for the goggles and flippers and we rented one lounge chair with umbrella for $30. Then some black guy comes in and asks if we payed for the stuff and quickly went away. Now as we were going back to the ship the cabbies completly ignored us. And finally we caught a bus which costed $6 each. Not going there again sorry, I rather go to Culebra which was about 10 miles from Charlotte Amalie.

 

Well the rest of the cruise was eat,sleep, drink,play and gambling in the casino. I was very happy in the casino becuase I won $55 at the slots. The waiters were the most friendliest persons on earth,plus the waiters at Johnny Rocket's. Went to the optix disco at least once(lied about my age to get in,wasn't really good anyway,very small disco),then I went to jester's nightclub,which check ID's. It was a good place for people-watching.Getting off the ship was awfull,we were called last because we ,of course did not have a flight to catch. Some puertorricans who were onboard were impacient especially at the customs line,some were even screaming and yelling,plus a fight almost broke out,so it was horrible getting off the ship to clear customs.

 

And that's it,overall I loved it,we felt like millonares for a week. I'm sticking with Royal Caribbean all the way,so much in fact that we booked for Mariner of the Seas in May of next year. This or any Voyager-type ship is a must for any first-timer. What do you guys think?

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What is the process for clearing customs in St. Thomas? Do you do it on the ship? Can one family member go and do it for the whole family?

 

In Aruba you had a private tour, did you arrange that in advance or did you find someone when you got off the ship?

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Bug18- the whole family must report to the dining room to clear customs. It is a fast process, even with a line.

 

Sangoofy- Hi Jan- has it been hard to be home? Sure wish I was sailing again soon!

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Bug18-Yes we had a tourguy that we found in the pier. He was a nice guy, and we got lucky that no one came to the van. The tourguy showed us all the local customs and other things,it was fun. He even took our pictures.

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I am wondering if there are one or two formal nights and what nights are they? I would love to do Portfino's one night. Just wondering which night would be the best night. Do you know if you can use the soda card for room service and at dinner? Or is it only good a certain places?

 

Jodi....

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There were 2 formal nights on this cruise- both on the sea days (Monday & Thursday). We ate at Portofino's and it was awesome! You definately should try it out. We went on Tuesday night, which is Caribbean night in the Dining room. However, the food the last night was not hitting on much, so that may be an option. When you get onboard, look in your little blue information book in the cabin. It list the room service menus for each night, which are basically the same as the dining room- That might help!

 

I know you can use your soda card in the Dining room (my son did this occassionally), but I did not try with room service.

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Unfortunatly,they DO charge you for the soft drinks you order in room service. Card or no card they charge you about $1.50 for a soft drink. I only ordered just once.

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Thanks for the report Sangoofy. We will be on the same ship in exactly 2 weeks!...Yeaaaaa!! :)

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Sangoofy:

 

Thanks for posting your review.

 

I've often thought about staying at the Westin but have concerns about the location. Did you and your family just stay put once you arrived there, or did you go into Old San Juan or take an excursion to El Yunque?

 

How was your experience at this particular Westin resort?

 

Thanks in advance.

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MszKitty : Have a great time, wish we were leaving with you!!!

 

Paylady: We did stay at the resort as all we wanted to do was lounge by pool and beach, rented some wave runners, ate, etc. 2 yrs ago when we stayed there, we took the El Yunque Rainforest tour from hotel, was a great tour. Rainforest was beautiful, even swam inside one of the natural waterfalls, saw some beautiful foliage and birds, awesome trip. This time, everyone just wanted some relaxation in the sun before the cruise as we had planned some very active island itineraries.

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theseasforme (Hi Sherri) being home is really depressing- not sure if reading these boards makes it worse or better but sure wish we were just leaving like many others here. Already trying to plan ahead for 2006 and do another one, wish it could be sooner, but need some time in between I guess to do some house stuff, etc. Glad you all returned safe and sound - it was great meeting all of you. Tell your mom and Alex we said hi. Till later then. Jan

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