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Hoopster95

ADVENTURE/ABC's Aug 20-27,2016 REVIEW w/lots of photos

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Hello everybody,

 

I'm back today from a great 1 pre-cruise full day in San Juan and then 7 days on the Adventure. The itinerary was as follows:

 

Fri, Aug 19 - San Juan site seeing

Sat, Aug 20 - morning site seeing, then embarkation

Sun, Aug 21 - St. Marten

Mon, Aug 22 - at sea

Tue, Aug 23 - Bonaire

Wed, Aug 24 - Aruba

Thu, Aug 25 - Curacao

Fri, Aug 26 - at sea

Sat, Aug 27 - end of vacay :(

 

I'm home from a full work day today and about to arrange all my photos. I think this review will take me a whole lot longer then my previous reviews in that I am back to a stack of work and time will be limited to do this right. There is very little info (especially with photos) of the ABC's that I wish to do a good job of it for those of you doing this itinerary on Adventure (or NoS) in the near future. Please be patient with me as I add installments. I really hope this could help many of you out with your planning and what you would like to do on this itinerary.

 

In the meantime, here's 3 teaser photos... I have rarely seen on CC anyone post info about these. let alone photos.

Until I post Day 0 in San Juan.... Bragging rights to those who guess correctly where these photos are and exactly where they're taken from. :D

 

(1)

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(2)

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(3)

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Wow, nice start with the beautiful photos!

 

Thx Bob... lots more to come :D

By the way, you've been 100% right when responding to others about Adventure in the past... great staff & service all around, great food all around, CD "Dan Dan" and entertainment/activity staff is one of the best I've encountered in a while, just a great ship.

 

With drydock coming up soon, I don't think I'll post many photos of Adventure herself other than areas of interest that will see changes (ie. looming extinction of inline skating, Jester's, etc). You know this ship better than I, so if someone asks something I can't answer by all means feel comfortable in responding for me.

 

 

Nice! I love a good Hoopster review.

 

Excellent!!... York's on for the ride! Enjoy :)

Edited by Hoopster95

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We were kicked off the ship on the 20th so you could board. Seeing this, I am now feeling guilty I haven't started writing my photo review.

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We sail on Sept 17th with pretty much the same itinerary as you so I am really looking forward to reading your review!!

 

You are correct that it is hard to find much information about the ABC Islands so can't wait to hear your thoughts and see your pictures.

 

Any cruise compasses by chance?

 

Thanks

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Thx Bob... lots more to come :D

By the way, you've been 100% right when responding to others about Adventure in the past... great staff & service all around, great food all around, CD "Dan Dan" and entertainment/activity staff is one of the best I've encountered in a while, just a great ship.

 

With drydock coming up soon, I don't think I'll post many photos of Adventure herself other than areas of interest that will see changes (ie. looming extinction of inline skating, Jester's, etc). You know this ship better than I, so if someone asks something I can't answer by all means feel comfortable in responding for me.

 

 

 

 

Excellent!!... York's on for the ride! Enjoy :)

for the reviews....K.O.:)

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The second picture is Barefoot Restaurant in Aruba. I went there with my party last September.

 

The food and atmosphere was amazing, the service not so much.

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The second picture is Barefoot Restaurant in Aruba. I went there with my party last September.

 

The food and atmosphere was amazing, the service not so much.

 

Bingo!! 2 points for Virtopia :D

Too bad re your service, ours was excellent. A "10" experience and not overly pricey.

 

 

 

Pictures

 

Cuaraco

 

Aruba

 

Bonaire

 

Curacao = YES~! 1 point for you. Can you pin point where it was taken from?

Aruba = YES!! Another point for you!

Bonaire? = NOPE :p ... try again

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Any cruise compasses by chance?

 

Thanks

 

 

Thank you all for the nice words from everyone, I really appreciate it.

Yes, I'll post the compasses at the end of each day I review.

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The Queen Juliana Bridge?

 

I started my review.

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2396271

 

I can't say I share your enthusiasm for "Dan Dan". I think most of the reason is his name!

 

DING DING DING = Queen Juliana Bridge! Bonus points for you :) Never seen pics of Punda posted here on CC from there before.

I just quickly scrolled through your pictures, beautiful :D

Can't wait to share notes of different things we did.

Edited by Hoopster95

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We flew in a day before in order to tour San Juan for a full day.

I love Old San Juan and have stayed there 3 times in the past in order for the convenience of being right there in the middle of things to easily have access to all the major site seeing areas. It also allows for extremely easy and convenient embarkation morning site seeing without... I've read many times others who stay closer to the airport and take a taxi to the ship to check-in, take taxi to Old San Juan, then back to ship for muster... not me. Staying in Old San Juan alleviates all that and allows maximum opportunity to view the sites.

 

We booked the Hotel Cervantes in Old San Juan based on Tripadvisor reviews vs. price. It's a boutique hotel just 2 blocks up from the pier and 2 blocks west of Plaza Colon and San Cristobal fort.... superb location.

Check out review photos, pictures are accurate. Great rooms and service.

 

https://www.cervantespr.com/

 

The Cervantes is the second building in, light yellow 3 storey

 

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We had room #11 on the second floor overlooking Calle Tetuan (Tetuan Street) at the back, with a cool little balcony which opened up with tall french wooden doors. Excellent mattress & linens, and a superb bathroom.

Here are pics from the balcony looking down the street in both directions.

 

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There is so much to do and see in Puerto Rico besides old San Juan... Condado area, beaches, the Rainforest. I suspect many on this board have walked through Old San Juan so I will not spend too much time with explanations. Do post or email me if you have any questions about anything you see. A great idea here is to follow along with google maps

 

After complimentary continental breakfast with cafe latte or americano served, we went up to view Plaza Colon and our first glimpse of Castillo San Cristobal.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plaza_de_Col%C3%B3n

 

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But gf, having never been to San Juan, wished to walk the streets first and get a feel for the culture and architecture all around San Juan.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiguo_Casino_de_Puerto_Rico

 

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Roaming west from Plaza Colon on Calle San Fransisco, you'll reach Parroquia San Francisco de Asis built in 1765, a nice little church worth a short visit with an interesting crypt

 

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Continuing west on Calle San Franscisco, we continued to meander up the street, admiring the architecture and window shopping. Note the lack of people!... it's low season here and there's not a single ship in port.

 

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PLaza Del Armas

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plaza_de_Armas,_San_Juan

 

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This is called the 'Telluric Totem', made of ceramic and black granite to commemorate of the Quincentennial of the Discovery of San Juan in 1992 (500 years). Located in Plaza del Quinto Centenario, the totem is 12 meters high and is the symbol of the indigenous roots.

 

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Institute of Puerto Rican Culture

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institute_of_Puerto_Rican_Culture

 

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And now from this vantage point, our first glimpse of my very favorite place to visit in Old San Juan whenever I visit, Castillo San Felipe del Morro

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castillo_San_Felipe_del_Morro

 

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If you zoom in on the pic below, you'll see operating hours and entrance fees.

 

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I took the image below to show those who have never been here that there are free trams that transport visitors from one fort to the other (the other fort being San Cristobal - pics on day 1). There is also a free trolley bus with about 20 stops all around Old San Juan, and there is a bus stop right here as well.

 

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This place is magnificent... pictures do not justify

 

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For those who are mobility challenged, unfortunately you'll have difficulties visiting here as this fortress is made of various levels, tunnels, stair cases and ramps.

The rangers offer free tours and maps when entering, tours are at designated times throughout the day.

Have I mentioned that I love this place? I'm never bored here, just gorgeous and interesting every time. I'll let the pictures do the talking....

 

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Note the walking/jogging path on the pic below against the ocean. Called Paseo Del Morro, it runs from San Juan Gate out to the very tip of the fort and dead ends... it's simply a jogging/walking path and nothing more, no access to this pathway from the fort

 

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Edited by Hoopster95

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If you are able to arrange a visit here properly, I think a Saturday morning (which would include a ranger tour as well as the lighthouse) would be ideal. I would allot around 3 hours.

 

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Several areas are only accessible with the presence of a ranger... such as the lighthouse, and only on Saturday mornings! I was able to view and document the lighthouse last December (on Jewel, a review I didn't do here on CC). My photos from that trip are better than this, so I may go back and do a review of San Juan and the ports of call from that trip too

 

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Walking away from Del Morro, there's plenty of more architecture, plazas, statues and things to admire. Making our way down on Calle del Cristo, we reach San Juan Bautista Cathedral

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catedral_Metropolitana_Bas%C3%ADlica_de_San_Juan_Bautista_(San_Juan,_Puerto_Rico)

Circa 1540, this Cathedral is worth a visit.

 

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One of the side rooms remains untouched to it's original condition.

 

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As part of our adventuring, right across the street we walked into the Hotel Convento to check it out... what a gorgeous hotel!!! I had noticed it when booking Cervantes, but it was a little m ore expensive. Have seen it in person now, I would book there in a heartbeat.... super super nice with an inner courtyard, a little higher end. For those of you looking for an upper end experience in a cultural/old building setting, this could be for you.

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Although I have no good pics to share, the following tip is very much worth mentioning.

I had booked on line a dinner at 'Marmelade' restaurant.

Rated #1 of 710 restaurants overall in San Juan, read some of the reviews if you are interested:

https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Restaurant_Review-g147320-d792961-Reviews-Marmalade_Restaurant_Wine_Bar-San_Juan_Puerto_Rico.html

 

Whether you're a foodie or not, this place was just excellent and one of best memories for this trip. All the reviews are true! I equate this to a 3 hour excursion on RCL... we ordered the 6 course wine pairing menu. It was an experience, the food was over the top to die for, and wines were outstanding. Service was exceptional; and I was amazed at the knowledge the waiters had to explain the food and answer further questions with technical detail. The Chef/Owner himself walked around the restaurant to greet people at tables. By far and away I would have to say this may have been the very best meal of my entire life... and also the very most expensive :eek:

Seriously... any of you out there who feel life is short and wish to experience the very best life has to offer within reason as a one time event, book dinner here. Every review you read is true. And it is truly very expensive.

 

Marmelade was only a 2 block walk from the hotel... and after an unbelievable dinner, we headed up one more block to check out the Nuyorican Cafe, a very well known salsa/merengue bar with live bands, the place to be in Old San Juan for night life on the weekends. Admittedly, we didn't last very long as we were bagged! Off to bed we went to rest up for tomorrow... A morning at San Cristobal and then embarkation

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Do you know this Puerto Rican flag used to be painted with the right colors? blue, red and white.... In July someone changed the colors to black and white to reflect the dark period our country is going through, due to the economic crisis. You can see the before and after on this link

https://www.buzzfeed.com/adriancarrasquillo/artists-paint-over-famous-door-in-puerto-rico-because-of-isl?utm_term=.brMX6NZoo1#.qevJwbYoo2

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Awesome pictures. I love seeing other people's picture of places that I have been.

 

Was this a special sailing or is Adventure doing this itinerary on a regular basis? I'd love getting in the three ABC islands as well as St. Maarten.

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Following along, doing this itinerary in Feb 2017. Does the AOS leave from Old San Juan or the Pan American where the Jewel leaves from ?

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The one from on top of the hill from the fort is St. Marteen, dinner on the beach is Aruba...I cant remember where the car on the cliff picture is taken

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Walking away from Del Morro, there's plenty of more architecture, plazas, statues and things to admire. Making our way down on Calle del Cristo, we reach San Juan Bautista Cathedral

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catedral_Metropolitana_Bas%C3%ADlica_de_San_Juan_Bautista_(San_Juan,_Puerto_Rico)

Circa 1540, this Cathedral is worth a visit.

 

DSC08791_zpsqim0a3il.jpg

 

DSC08793_zpse8t0mnmk.jpg

 

DSC08798_zpswjkmscp3.jpg

 

 

One of the side rooms remains untouched to it's original condition.

 

DSC08801_zpswco0ddhl.jpg

 

 

As part of our adventuring, right across the street we walked into the Hotel Convento to check it out... what a gorgeous hotel!!! I had noticed it when booking Cervantes, but it was a little m ore expensive. Have seen it in person now, I would book there in a heartbeat.... super super nice with an inner courtyard, a little higher end. For those of you looking for an upper end experience in a cultural/old building setting, this could be for you.

 

Did you see the Ponce DeLeon Marker in the chuch?

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