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maxs mom

Christmas on the Adventure with Max's Mom: My Photo Diary

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Hi Cruise Critic Friends!

It's been about 5 months since our last cruise, so we were more than ready for this holiday cruise on the Adventure of the Seas!

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We are Jane and John from North Carolina. We have cruised with Royal Caribbean for almost 28 years. We really enjoy the holiday cruises and this was our 7th in a row. I am a teacher, so this is one of the few times during the year that we can cruise. This is my 40th and LAST year of teaching, so from now on we can cruise whenever we want! Yippee!

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We left Raleigh Durham early on Saturday morning, December 22. Everything was on time.....no problems.....and we arrived in San Juan around 3:30. Our luggage was already spinning on the carousel when we got to baggage claim. We claimed it quickly and caught a taxi to our hotel......The Embassy Suites.....$17.....it took 5 minutes to get there. We were in our room by 4:20 and spent some time resting. We have not stayed at this ES before and we found it to be quite nice.

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Later on we went down to the Manager's Reception and had a couple of drinks. We ran into fellow CC buddies Barbara and Jeff. We cruised with them on the Allure last spring and it was good to see them again.

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We weren't very hungry, so we just got a couple of sandwiches in the lobby store. There is an Outback right there in the hotel, though. Too bad we weren't hungry!

We turned in early and got a good night's sleep. This is a nice hotel and we will stay here again.

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Sunday ~ December 23 ~ San Juan ~ Embarkation

We were up early and down to breakfast before it got too crowded. The breakfast at the ES was very good. After breakfast we got all our stuff together and then headed over to the port at around 11:00. We shared a taxi with a couple from Canada.

We got right over to the port (Pan Am Pier) and there were no lines....so we dropped our luggage off quickly......got through security and got checked in.....no muss, no fuss. Very smooth! They weren't letting anyone on board, though, so we had to find some chairs and sit for a while. There was no D+/Pinnacle waiting area. Boo! Here we are patiently waiting:

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Soon we saw our friends and former cruise buddies, Guy and Lisa, waiting in line to check in. It was so good to see them. We were so happy that they were on this cuise as well. So I went over to talk to them and we noticed that they had stopped checking people in. The word was that the computers were down......uh - oh! People kept piling up and piling up. I can't even imagine what it was like outside.

Not sure what the real story was......they passed out a letter apologizing, but made it sound like it was our fault for showing up early. They started saying that people had not reported to immigration and the ship had not zeroed out yet.......computer problem.....whatever.......but we didn't get onboard until around 1:00 or so. I guess it could have been worse.

Here I am taking advantage of some rum samples while we were waiting. Like I said......it could have been worse!

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Here are the pictures of the lines. I was glad we got there early and had a place to sit rather than having to stand in line like a lot of folks.

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So we get on quickly once they start boarding and we find a place to sit in Boleros on Deck 4 until cabins are ready at 2 o'clock. Guy and Lisa join us there. Lisa and I ran up to Portofino and made our reservations there for this first night and then I went to make My Time Dining resevations for the rest of the week. No problems. At 2.....we made our way to our cabins.

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Guy and Lisa are doing a back to back and had this wonderful Grand Suite (1556):

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We are a little more frugal and have an E1.....but a good location on the hump right in the center on Deck 8 (8320).

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This is our wonderful balcony:

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We dropped our stuff in the cabin....and guess what? All our luggage has arrived! We were starving so we went to the Windjammer for lunch. We walked all the way to the back and it was not crowded at all. A lot of people don't realize there is that back section when they first get on, so it is usually not crowded back there on the first day. Lunch was really good. They were carving some roast beef at the carving station and it was excellent. That along with a salad made a great lunch for me. I had a coconut macaroon for dessert and it was quite tasty. I have never seen those before!

We got back to the cabin and got unpacked. It was great to have that overwith so early. I went down to deck 6 to make a reservation with the Loyalty Ambassador so that we could book our Spring Break cruise.

I showered and got ready for the evening before muster. Muster was at 6 and was not too bad.

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Afterwards we changed for dinner and went up to the Concierge Lounge for drinks before dinner. It as very busy tonight. Silvia is the Concierge and she was so busy taking care of everyone.....trying to make excursion reservations for everyone. We did not meet her tonight but met her on the second night.

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I believe I understood Silvia to say that she hasn't been a Concierge but a couple of months.

We did, however, meet the bar servers in the CL.......Herbie:

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And Shawn:

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Shawn was our bar server in the CL summer before last on the Serenade. It was good to see him again. As a matter of fact, we ran into many crew members that we knew from the Serenade on this ship. It was amazing!

Anyway......Herbie and Shawn took real good care of us all week.

Ross, the port shopping guy, came in and sat with us for a little while. He was delightful. Soon Guy and Lisa joined us.

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We stayed here until 8 o'clock when we went up to Portofino for dinner. Guy and Lisa went with us. We took advantage of our 2 for 1 coupons. Great deal!

Edited by max'smom

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HI Jane!

Great review so far! We leave for the Adventure one week from today!

 

Can't wait to read more:)

 

Allie

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Wow, with such a great start it is hard to believe that you didn't get aboard until 1 PM.:eek:

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Great review so far! I always enjoy all your illustrative photos!

 

I'm thinking of spending embarkation day in OSJ touring around and not heading over to the ship till much closer to sailing, sort of like treating OSJ like a port. What time did you sail? Muster at 6 seems early; I'd heard these San Juan cruises leave later (after 9) but I suppose they need to muster before dinner starts right? I guess if we headed over at 4 ish, we would still have plenty of time.

Looking forward to the rest of your trip, and congratulations on your retirement! I work PT for a private preschool and DH insists I should not go full time public, because we'd be stuck with school vacations forever. :( You will also be able to take twice as many cruises for the same $ ;)

Edited by Familygoboston

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Great review so far! I always enjoy all your illustrative photos!

 

I'm thinking of spending embarkation day in OSJ touring around and not heading over to the ship till much closer to sailing, sort of like treating OSJ like a port. What time did you sail? Muster at 6 seems early; I'd heard these San Juan cruises leave later (after 9) but I suppose they need to muster before dinner starts right? I guess if we headed over at 4 ish, we would still have plenty of time.

Looking forward to the rest of your trip, and congratulations on your retirement! I work PT for a private preschool and DH insists I should not go full time public, because we'd be stuck with school vacations forever. :( You will also be able to take twice as many cruises for the same $ ;)

 

When we first started sailing out of San Juan the ships would leave at 10 PM. Then it got moved up to around 8:30. At one time they were doing muster between first and second dinner seating. Then they started doing it before first dinner at around 5:30. How is that for a quick history of San Juan departures? The last time that we sailed out Adventure the ship actually left a half hour early. I guess they must have had everyone aboard and decided to take off.

 

Old San Juan is very much worth seeing. I love walking around the area. It has such a Spanish flavor. I always enjoy my time there.

Edited by Ocean Boy

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Hey Guys!

Thanks for checking in! Yes.....the San Juan departures are at 8:30 now, but used to be 10:00. This is our third sailing on the Adventure, but we've cruised from San Juan many, many, many times going all the way back to the Song of Norway! It has always been a pleasure sailing from San Juan for us. I know a lot of folks have had some problems, but that just hasn't been the case for us.

OK....back to the first night.

We were seated right away when we got up to Portofino. They were not crowded at all. We had an excellent dinner and they brought us all kinds of extra things to try. We were stuffed and rolled out of there around 10. My camera was not behaving tonight so I don't have any good pictures, but I'll post what I have.

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The desserts were very good, but not near as good as the desserts in Chops!

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Monday ~ December 24th ~ St. Thomas

I was upearly this morning. My usual morning ritual is to go up to the Concierge Lounge first thing and get a mug of coffee. I take my own insulated mug and fill it up there. They have the new coffee machine there and it was working very well. I stay in there for a while, usually writing in my journal while John is getting showered and dressed. There is a continental brreakfast served in there, but we always go to the D/D+ part of the MDR for breakfast.

Here's the fabulous coffee machine and the continental spread in the CL:

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Before going back to the cabin this morning I went up to the pool deck to get our beach towels for the day.

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We go to breakfast in the D/D+ dining room and Guy and Lisa are already there. And.....there was a surprise waiting for us. Jeong, our wonderful waiter that we had on one of our back to backs on the Serenade, was there to wait on us for breakfast! How exciting! It was great to see him again.

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It's always great to get back to St. Thomas! We had a great breakfast and then got ready to head on over to one of our favorite beaches for the day......Sapphire Beach. We know it will be very crowded today so we tried to get out there early. Guy and Lisa went with us today.

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We were the last ship in line at the pier and we were very lucky to be able to get a taxi right there at the ship! First we had the obligatory picture made at the dock. And yes......this is a picture of a picture......but don't worry......we bought it! I'm just too lazy to scan it!

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Jane, Thanks for taking the time to post this great review. I'm enjoying it so far and am looking forward to more.

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It's always great to get back to St. Thomas!

 

I so agree with that sentiment. I always enjoy watching the lights of the island as we approach in the morning and sailing into the bay.

 

I am really liking this review!

Edited by Ocean Boy

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We got out to Sapphire and got our chairs. The beach boy put them in our favorite spot under the trees near the volleyball court. It tends to be a little less crowded in that area and it is close to the place where we get our lunch. I had a little run in with an iguana the last time we were here, but there were absolutely no iguanas on the beach today. This is a very nice beach, but excursions have started going there and that has made it very crowded. I just hate that all my nice quiet beaches are all being over run with just too many people. Oh well. It's still a lovely place to spend the day.

 

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Thank you so much for doing yet another picture review. I know it must take sometime to prepare and post your reviews. They really are great :D

 

Donna

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We saw a wedding taking place on the beach today. That was neat!

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There were a few spots to get away from the crowds:

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I walked down to the end of the beach and found something that I didn't know was there. A very nice pool area for the condos that are there. I surely didn't know that this existed. It was a lovely area, almost completely deserted. We've been going here for years and I've never noticed this!

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Hi Jane,

 

We are thinking of going to Sapphire beach for our March break cruise. We have only been to Megan's Bay, but have heard such great things about Sapphire! Is it an easy cab ride there and what was the price?

 

Thanks again,

Donna

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Here are a couple more pictures of the pool area:

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I talked to one of the owmers out at the pool and she said that they were hoping to get the restaurant opened back up out there. I had always heard that there used to be a restaurant out there but it has been closed down for years. That would be nice if they would open that again.

There is a little place that you can get lunch. It's just an open air grill, but the food is good and cooked fresh right there. You can get some good drinks there, too. We got a couple of hamburgers today. The key is to order early!

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It was such a nice relaxing Christmas Eve! I even fell asleep out there!

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No iguanas today, but plenty of these little guys:

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Hi Jane!

 

Great to see that you and John are still enjoying yourselves on these awesome cruises. Love your review so far. Hope you still remember Bert and I every time you drink Mojitos!

 

Hope to cruise with you both again sometime.

 

Take care,

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Here are a couple more pictures of the pool area:

 

 

 

 

 

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I talked to one of the owmers out at the pool and she said that they were hoping to get the restaurant opened back up out there. I had always heard that there used to be a restaurant out there but it has been closed down for years. That would be nice if they would open that again.

 

There is a little place that you can get lunch. It's just an open air grill' date=' but the food is good and cooked fresh right there. You can get some good drinks there, too. We got a couple of hamburgers today. The key is to order early![/size']

 

 

 

It was such a nice relaxing Christmas Eve! I even fell asleep out there!

 

 

 

 

Can anyone use this pool?

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Hi Jane,

 

We are thinking of going to Sapphire beach for our March break cruise. We have only been to Megan's Bay, but have heard such great things about Sapphire! Is it an easy cab ride there and what was the price?

 

Thanks again,

Donna

 

Hey Donna!

Thanks.....I love doing these reviews because it helps me relive the trip!

We used to love Megan's Bay years and years ago......but not any more. They've just overdeveloped the area. The taxi out to Sapphire was $20 for the two of us each way. It takes about 15-20 minutes. There's another beach that we love to go in that same area. It's a small resort, but I really love it. It's called Secret Harbor. You might want to try that out for something different.

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Hi Jane!

 

Great to see that you and John are still enjoying yourselves on these awesome cruises. Love your review so far. Hope you still remember Bert and I every time you drink Mojitos!

 

Hope to cruise with you both again sometime.

 

Take care,

 

Viv!!!! Of course I remember you guys! What a great trip on the Enchantment we had with you guys! I sure do miss Julian! Would you believe I didn't have a single mojito on this trip!!!! I think that was a first. I'll make up for it on the next one, though. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello!

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We relaxed on the beach until around 2 o'clock or so then caught a taxi back to Havensight. We stopped in at the drug store and bought a few items that SOMEONE forgot......like toothpaste and shaving cream! When we got back to the ship we got ice cream and then had a nap. The soft ice cream or yogurt is not self serve any more. Someone is there to serve you. I guess that's probably a pretty good idea. Those machines would take a lot of abuse.

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Late in the afternoon......a Carnival ship left first. It was a wild scene. Gangnam Style was blasting away......everybody screaming.

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Next to leave was the Celebrity Equinox and all you could hear from them was a polite and quiet "Merry Christmas" coming from some of the passengers. It was so funny.

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I love sailing out of St. Thomas at the end of the day.....It is such a beautiful sailaway!

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We had a good rest this afternoon. It was such a nice day.....not hot.....low humidity......just perfect.

Tonight was formal night. This is the first holiday cruise in 7 years that formal night was on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day. It was kind of nice.

We got all dressed up and went to the CL. Most people went to the Captain's Reception so it was not busy at all. Silvia had some time to come and sit with us for a while and we had a nice chat. Lisa and Guy had early seating and they joined us after they finished dinner. They said that service in the MDR was really slow tonight. We enjoyed our time in the CL with them tonight.

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So around 8:30, we head down to the dining room......My Time Dining. We had reservations......but there was this loooooong line. At first I thought it was a picture line, but no.....it was the dinner line. We had a 25 minute wait!!! Not good! All they did was shrug their shoulders and say, "It's formal night". Sooooo???? A lot of people were late and messed up the reservations. The couple ahead of us were in tradtional dining and were on the wrong floor!

Anyway......we finally got a nice table for two with a great waiter.....excellent service. The food was good......but Holy Sodium Batman!! Too much salt in the food. I prefer to salt my own food, which most of the time is none! I know we could do the low sodium thing and have done it in the past.....but it is such a PIA to wait for the menus for the next day every night........so I guess I shouldn't complain! We had really fast service tonight and I like that. We never had to wait on any courses. I had shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad, filet of beef, and a chocolate souffle......all good.

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A picture of our picture at dinner!

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