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AOS Cruise Review 8 Day, Feb 15 2020


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Hi all,

 

Thought I'd pop in with a quick review from our most recent cruise on the Adventure of the Seas. We were on the 8 day Eastern cruise to Labadee, San Juan, St Thomas, St Maarten that left FLL on February 15. I'm going to follow up with some pictures once I get through them all.

 

About us: We're Diamond level on Royal Caribbean but this is the first RCI cruise in 4 years for us since we've been doing Princess for a few years now. This cruise was special for us as our daughter got married on the ship on Feb 16.  

 

The Excellent:

I was very impressed with the MDR for lunch and dinner. I remember my last couple of RCI cruises I was getting bored with the food and found the service lacking at times. The difference for us on this cruise was that we were put in the early dining by mistake by the wedding planner. She wanted to keep us all together. I'm glad she did. It answered a question for me that I've been mulling over for a couple of years - is My Time Dining better than early/late dining? On our last Princess cruise we did early dining and I found it to be much better than My Time. Same thing here on RCI. The early dining in the MDR was well planned, structured, food came out on time and hot. I'm all done with My Time Dining. The waiters seem rushed and the food is hit or miss. The added bonus of getting to know your waiter brings back the early days of cruising for me. Really well done in the MDR for lunch and dinner.

 

Chops/Giovanni's - great food great service. We had the wedding reception in Chops and the Wedding Planner organized everything for us. Food was great and the service was exceptional. Giovannis was, IMO, even better. I was quite impressed with the specialty dining.

 

The ship condition. I love the Explorer Class. Really enjoy the Promenade. Ship was clean, well cared for and maintained. I like the hand washing stations in the Buffet.

 

Wedding - went well without a hitch. This is the only way to do a wedding IMO. Hire the planner and let her do her thing with the ship setting everything up. Having the Captain preside over the wedding was a nice touch and I wouldn't have done it any other way. The ship photographer did a helluva job. The food in Chops was great. Just a wonderful day.

 

Wife enjoyed Starbucks for the week. Great coffee.

 

Cafe Promenade was excellent as usual. Great selection of food and deserts and the pizza was really good and always fresh.

 

The Good:

Buffet was pretty good. Again, better than the last time I cruised on RCI. I enjoyed the selection of food and the service. Nothing really stood out as outstanding but the few lunches and breakfast we had were delicious. 

 

Room Steward did an admirable job especially on the day of the wedding with the confusion and mess that you can only imagine would take place in the room with the Bride. Room was always cleaned and well taken care of.

 

The itinerary is one of my favourites. I love San Juan and St Maarten. Such great places to visit. Weather was very cooperative as well. My only drawback would be the length of stay in St Maarten. All aboard at 3:30 is too early. Princess has a nice long day here. No reason why RCI cant do the same.

 

Loved the ability to use the sauna and steam room without paying extra. 

 

Passable:

The Cruise Director. Same old bag of tricks - hairy leg contests, belly flop contests and so on. Great for first timers but nothing stood out for me. This is a position that has evolved (devolved?) from one of entertainment to sales. She was ok, nothing for me to complain about and for the most part I ignored her for the week.

 

Entertainment  - the headliner's were, well, not headliners. The action comedy guy was not very funny. Admittedly, I missed the comedian on the last night and the first comedian was ok so this is why I didn't put this in the not so good category below. I thought that when the whole week is looked at, the entertainment was sub-RCI level from what I've seen in previous years.

 

Pools - nobody designs a pool deck better than RCI. I love the layout on their ships. I did find that it was noisier than I remember up there and the chair hogs were out in full force on sea days. As I mentioned we've been doing Princess for 4 years now and while I prefer the layout on RCI ships, Princess pool decks are quieter and the chair hogs seem to be policed not ignored. But still, I did enjoy my sea days on the Adventure.

 

Not-So-Good:

Internet. There's 2 levels of Internet - one for emails, surfing and the other (VOOM) for posting pictures, facebook and so on. I found both to be slow and spotty. Princess kicks RCI's ass on this. Also, in usual RCI fashion, it was over-priced.

 

Breakfast in the MDR - not good. Missed orders, cold food. It was just not up to the standards I remember or expect from RCI. I did notice that the waiters in the evening went out of their way to tell us that if you have a problem with breakfast, you will be able to rate them separately and not to confuse them with breakfast. So seems to me they are aware they have a problem here.

 

Drink prices. As a Diamond member I did make use of the lounge and my 3 free drinks but the rest in our party did not and were shocked at the drink prices, as was I. $12 for one ounce of run-of-the-mill Glenfiddich? Way too much. Beer prices were high too.  On Princess I get a free bar set up for the week so I can't quote the exact price comparisons but I have bought a few drinks on Princess here and there, like I did last week, and I don't remember looking at the prices with surprise like I did on RCI.

 

Towels - do that many people steal towels that they have to be checked out against your card?

 

Summary:

At the end of the day I'd give this cruise an 8.5 out of 10. I was really happy that the wedding went off as well as it did, the food in the MDR is always key for me and didn't disappoint, service by the entire crew was A1 all week and we had great weather. Could they be better in an area here or there? Sure. There's always room to improve but we had a great week.

 

Thanks to the crew on the Adventure for a great wedding and a great week with lots of memories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I got off Adventure a month ago, same itinerary. It was good to read your experience. We had a great week but, I agree with you, the entertainment on the ship is weak. However, I've sailed Adventure several times and knew what to expect going in so I wasn't really disappointed. When I want good entertainment I book Oasis class.

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13 hours ago, Ocean Boy said:

I got off Adventure a month ago, same itinerary. It was good to read your experience. We had a great week but, I agree with you, the entertainment on the ship is weak. However, I've sailed Adventure several times and knew what to expect going in so I wasn't really disappointed. When I want good entertainment I book Oasis class.

One of the "headliners" was an action comedy guy and I was sitting there watching and thinking, this is nothing more than a Busker, a street performer. Sure enough, he mentions the fact that he used to be a Busker in Baltimore. He wasn't very funny. I used to compare RCI's entertainment with other lines and always felt that RCI was among the best. I hate to compare them to Princess but for the last 4 years that's all we've done and I think Princess has surpassed them in that regard.

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Thanks for the review...we'll be sailing her soon.

For breakfast in the MDR......did they have a section reserved for D, D+, P?

(It's a hit or miss...on our Navigator sailings, nothing......but on our Freedom sailings, a whole section was reserved...and the service was outstanding.)

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