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CtCruiser1

Another Adventure of the Seas /Southern Itinerary Review

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After picking up some great tips on cruise critic over the last year I thought I would post a review of the cruise we just took. I enjoyed reading other reviews while waiting for our trip, and hopefully this will be helpful to someone. These of course are just my opinions of the trip, and others may feel differently. We loved this cruise and had a great time J

Our cruise was on Adventure of the Seas 2/26/06 out of San Juan on the Southern Itinerary with stops at Aruba, Curacao, St. Martin & St. Thomas. We were traveling with family-a group of 10, ages ranging 19 yrs-50 something. This was the second cruise for the majority of the group.

Pre-Cruise Stay: San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino

After having our flight delayed on our last cruise and arriving during the muster drill we decided this cruise we would go down a day early to avoid any unneeded stress. We did a little research and Marriot seemed to be a safe bet. When I went to book the hotel for 1 night the total was going to be around $362 per room. I checked cruise critic and saw that some folks had booked there room at Marriot thru priceline for $100. Since that is a big difference, I decided to take a chance as well, as we could spend the difference on better things during the cruise. I went to priceline for the first time choose resorts & made the offer of $100 for the night. While I waited to see what happened I was on the edge of my seat, but I figured for one night it was worth the chance to save $262. Less than a minute later I received the confirmation that my bid of $100 was accepted by the Marriot. I quickly called the rest of the family that we were traveling with and they all tried priceline for the first time as well and waited with fingers crossed that we would all wind up at Marriot as hoped. Sure enough their bids were accepted by Marriot as well. We joked we might have rooms in the broom closet. Upon arrival at the hotel we were really impressed as it is really nice, the beach is beautiful. We checked in and only had to pay a resort fee of $9.66, which gave us access to all the Marriot had to offer. After we got our rooms we all realized what a great deal this was, and were off to a great start on our vacation.

We went to dinner at a nearby restaurant recommended by our flight attendant who lived in the area. The restaurant was called Yerba Buena. It was in walking distance of the hotel and the food was pretty good. They offered a lot of local favorites, so if you want to try local cuisine this would be a good choice. I think the bill ran about $100 per couple, including the dinner, apps, drinks, dessert & tip.

Day 1 of cruise-Boarding:

We headed over to the Pier at 12:00 pm. There was no lines and we checked in really quick as we had completed our forms online. They took our luggage and if we wanted to we could head right on the ship. We decided to go to explore Old San Juan instead and do a little shopping. The scenery was nice and shopping was ok, we did find some good deals at the Coach outlet. I got a great bag for $71 there, and my mom got a great deal as well. We stopped at a little place along the way and had a snack to hold us over-quesadillas & drinks then headed back to the ship around 3pm. We stopped at the liquor store in the terminal and picked a couple of bottles for the trip. As long as the bottles aren’t in sight they don’t check your bags. With seapass in hand we skipped the lines & went right on the ship.

Cabin-We dropped off our stuff in our room, 6th floor balcony 6576, and then headed to Windjammer for lunch. Then we went back to our rooms to unpack. We met our room attendant Julieta(she was great!), and I asked her if we could get the foam mattress topper (made bed very comfy) & have our fridge emptied for our own stuff-a few tips I picked up on cruise critic J A few days into the cruise I heard that someone else on our floor requested a lounge chair for their balcony so then I asked Julieta for one of those too. I only wish I had asked earlier so we had it the whole time-next time I will ;)

Well that's all for now. Stay tuned for more of the review tomorrow:)

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Been twice (Aruba) and going again (Barbados, St Lucia,etc.). I never tire of reading AOS reviews. I was probably the one you read about getting the Marriott on priceline for $100. Glad to hear it did not disappoint as we are staying there Sept 2006. We have always used Priceline with good success. Stayed at the Caribe Hilton in 2003 and Wyndham Condado in 2004 - each obtained on Priceline ($65 and $85 respectively)

 

PS - if you go to Marriot's website and register for their "rewards program", you get a few extra perks. You can access your resevation you made through priceline and designate preferences (King bed, Non-smoking, extra towels, newspaper of choice, etc.) Not much, but every little bit helps. You can even designate airmile points for your stay. I think express check-in is also available.

Wyndham's program was not honored when we booked through Priceline.

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Keep the review coming! I leave Sunday and each review is helping to raise my excitement :D
We are leaving this Sunday too. Second time on AOS. This is our 8th cruise and and this ship was our favorite.

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Tryingcruising & pepperfeet you are going to have a great time, I wish I was going again:)

 

Rascalious, thanks for posting about priceline, it was really helpful & saved me & 2 others in our group $262 each:D

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Here's the next installment of the review...

Dinner-We had the second dinner seating in the Vivaldi dining room, which in on the 3rd floor. Our Waiter was Baker, Assistant Waiter Hakan & Head Waiter was Mustafa. They were all great and made our dining experience fun. The food was very good in the dining room & we ate dinner there each night except for Friday, when we ate in Portofino’s. They are very accommodating in both the dining room & Portofino, as my husband ordered at least 3 items from each course on the menu and it was never a problem. (he only weighs 175, but eats like he is 500 pounds & doesn’t gain an ounce)

Portofino’s was excellent and we were glad we tried it. Our waitress there was Somia(sp?) and assistant waiter was Tudor. They were both great & very friendly. The Maitre’d was also great and went out of her way to make sure everything was good. Had the penne D’Angleo as an app, and the beef filet, both very good. Loved the chocolate flourless cake & tiramisu.

Windjammer-We had lunch most days here. The food was good, nothing extraordinary, but good none-the-less. Each day there seemed to be new selections. The only thing that was bad in my opinion was the hamburgers-they are over cooked and more like hockey pucks. The hot dogs were very good, and I always seemed to have one.

Johnny Rockets-Johnny Rockets was a lot of fun, and the food was pretty good. The burgers here are better than the windjammer and not as over cooked. They put fries & onion rings on the table when you sit, and I think this is the only place you can get onion rings. There is a 3.95 per person cover charge, but if you have the crown & anchor coupons they give you one for free admission. The food is all included, the only thing additional is if you order a milk shake or malt. We did & enjoyed them. The staff puts on a show-they dance every half hour. While we were there they danced to Staying Alive & Love Shack. They have little jukeboxes at each booth that take nickels. I think it was well worth the 3.95 if I had to pay, and would have gone back if the week didn’t fly by so fast.

Room Service-We had our breakfast delivered thru room service. They give you a thirty minute timeframe to pick for delivery & they always called at the start of the selected time to let us know they were on their way. There is no fee, just a tip. We enjoyed eating breakfast over looking our balcony and everything was always good.

Promenade-We enjoyed the little café that was always open in the promenade. Many in our group liked the pizza, and I liked the little ham & cheese croissants too. They also had cookies, which were great to take back to your room for a snack. There are also ice cream machines that have soft serve scattered around the ship. I thought the chocolate was really good. We had some the first day of the cruise and then it never worked out that we got it again. They seem to close the machines in the evening. It is really good if you find it open.

Meet & Mingle-Our Meet & Mingle took place the second day of the cruise while we were at sea. It was 11am at the Blue Moon Lounge. It was hard as there were a lot of things going on that time that sounded good, but last year I had signed up & didn’t show so I wanted to make it this time. Two others from the group that had posted showed with family, but the majority didn’t make it-I think we had 35 signed up 3 or 4 of which showed. Royal Caribbean had a table set up with lemonade, iced tea, water & a tray of snacks. I can totally understand how it is easy to get involved in enjoying the start of the cruise & get sidetracked. I saw that some groups make it a little more exciting by exchanging gifts & such. It was good to meet some new folks & hope everyone had a great trip.

Spa-after all my shopping my feet were sore, so I decided to try the spa for a foot massage. I was able to get a same day appointment and the cost was $39.00 for a 25 minute foot massage. My appointment was with Regina and she was great and very friendly. Since this was our second cruise we received the crown & anchor gold coupon books which had a coupon for 10% off. Also, if you go on a port day they give a discount, so the price might have a little less if I went on a port day.

Internet-The internet on the ship is pretty slow. We had some trouble with it and reported it to Guest Relations. They were great, credited us back what we were charged & gave us a $10.00 credit for the inconvenience. It’s worth saying something if you have a problem as they want to make it right.

I'll be posting more later about each of the ports, and about some of the other activities we participated in like the Art Auction & Discover shopping.:)

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Great review so far and I can't wait to read the rest. We are going on this same cruise in June. We are on deck six and here is a question for you. Was your room noisy from the promonade? We have a balcony but our kids have a promanade room and I'm a little concerned about the noise at night while my 12 is sleeping. Also, are there shower curtains or doors in the bathroom? Did you have shampoo and conditioner in the showers?

Thanks for any answers.:D

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Hi - can't wait to read some more - we are sailing on April 16 on the same route.

 

Just curious if there's any reason you chose Friday to eat at Portofino ?? We usually eat there on the 2nd formal night to avoid bringing more clothes than necessary.

 

Thank you,

 

Robin

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Hi,

 

JaneP, in our balcony room we heard no noise at all. Family members had the 2 balconies next door and they slept with their balcony doors opened each night and didn't have any noise problems either. My cousins had a promanade room right above the Duck & Dog pub & they didn't have any noise issues so you should be fine. The Promanade rooms are cool, they have a loveseat in front of the window-great for people watching or catching the Parades. The bathrooms have the sliding curved shower doors, so no curatin to deal with. There was a shampoo dispenser in the shower, but I brought my own. No conditioner.

 

Robin, we just wound up going Friday night as it worked out that way. Since we were with a group we wanted to take group photos formal night dressed up, but you have a good idea to go during one of the formal nights to cut down on clothes to pack.

 

Will post the rest of the review a little later tonight. :)

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Thanks for the review. I love reading all the details, and I love your format. We sail on AOS on 4/2, and I am reading all the reviews! We are also flying in a day early and staying at the Marriott. Do you remember how much the taxi fare was from airport to Marriott and then from Marriott to pier? Thank you.

Laura

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Hi Laura,

 

I think the taxi from the airport to the Marriot was $14, and $15 from the Marriot to the ship. From the ship to the airport it was $18. There was 4 of us in the taxi together, and they charge you $1 per bag. Just make sure you get the receipt and confirm your price prior to getting in to the cab. there are a lot of folks who try to take advantage.:mad:

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Champagne Art Auction-We went to the Park West Art Auction for the first time & thought it was fun & interesting. If you decide to go make sure you sign up at the desk even if you don’t plan to bid. They give out raffle tickets when you sign up & give away art so it makes it more fun. My family alone won 5 paintings, and just had to pay for shipping. I was the only one who actually bid & had to pay LOL. Besides the bid price, they charge a sellers commission (15% I beleive) and shipping was $35 for up to 5 prints in a tube. The auction was run by Arthur, who made the event fun. It was interesting and we were glad we went.

Discover Shopping-Here is where they go over the best shopping in ports. They divide it into 2 shows-the first was Monday at 11am covering Aruba & Curacao and the second show was Thursday at 11am covering St. Martin & St. Thomas. I missed the first show because the time conflicted with the meet & mingle. They do tape these shows & show them over & over on the tv so you can always catch it later in the day if you couldn’t make the scheduled time. I went to the second show. They also sell/push the Platinum Passport books during these shows. I gave in & purchased one for $20. There are a bunch of coupons, I didn’t use many but did like the Del Sol tote bag. I would have probably been better off just buying the bag. I think the book is good if you have children then they can use the book coupons like a scavenger hunt which can be fun finding the freebies. You can pick up a few good pointers at these meetings, just watch the televised version at your leisure unless you have nothing else to do at the time of the show.

Shows-We went to the Welcome Aboard show, that featured comedian Craig Carman. He was really funny and the show was good. We also went to the “Cool Art Hot Ice” Ice skating show. It was good, seeing it once is enough though- I wouldn’t go see it again on another cruise.

Aruba- We got the day pass to Renaissance Island & loved it. I wrote a long review in Ports Of Call-Aruba, I have pasted the link below. We also did shopping after we left the private island. The day was perfect!

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=296563

Curacao-Here we did some shopping. I wasn’t that impressed with what I saw shopping wise. They have lots of designer knock-off bags, but the prices weren’t that great for the most part. I got a real coach for only a little more at the coach outlet in Old San Juan. I did get a coach wallet here though for $8.00 that you would think was the real thing, you just have to really look around-other shops had the same wallet for $25. I guess it depends where you live, if you don’t have access to the outlet or a city where you can get a look-a-like then this may work for you. We live in driving distance of NYC & can get the same bags they were selling for $55 for $15-$20. We didn’t see any other parts of Curacao only the shopping areas. This was my least favorite port of the trip.

St. Martin-St. Martin is very beautiful. We took the water taxi for $5 per person for unlimited trips and got off at the downtown shopping area. We did more shopping here, and I thought it was the best shopping of the trip. The liquor was really good prices here and one place had the best prices I saw anywhere. T-Shirts were good deals too. Also, at the Guavaberry Emporium they have a hot sauce called Liquid Fire that is great for folks who love hot things. We ate lunch at Taloula Mango’s which is on the beach. The food was good-I had the Cuban Panini and it was very good. My mom & Aunt got necklaces here. For the most part though I found the jewelry prices average. We had heard so much about how good the prices were, but we found that for most things you could probably do better in NYC. There were some jewelry deals, but not as many as we expected. Also, watch out for folks who are doing timeshare scams. They will sometimes give you a scratch off and surprise-you win. They tell you that they will take you by bus to claim your prize then you get there and have to do a timeshare presentation and then after all that you find out you only get the prize if you buy the timeshare. We were warned about this before hand so when my uncle was given the winning ticket we already knew what the scam was.

St. Thomas-We did more shopping here. We took a taxi for $4 per person to the main shopping area. I think St. Martin was better for shopping. We weren’t that impressed here in the shopping area and wound up heading back to the ship afterwards. Next time here I wouldn’t spend any time shopping; I would go straight to the beaches, which I hear are beautiful-wish I got to see them.

I think I hit the main points of the cruise, feel free to ask any other questions:)

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Great Review. I was also on the Feb 26th sailing of the AOS. I believe we met at the meet and mingle. Anyway, if anyone has questions, feel free to ask. This was our first cruise and I can tell you that it won't be out last. The wife, who I thought would be sea sick, absolutely loved it. She is already talking about how 7 days is not long enough and wants to book a b2b. I can't believe it. If I have time, I may write a review of the ship and things we did in port also. Thanks for the great time everyone.:D

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Great review thanks soooo much. Were you done with dinner by the time for sailaway, we also have late seating and love to be up on deck for sailaways. Also, how did the immigration check go in St. Thomas?

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Thanks for the information - quick question -

 

Does the water taxi take you to Orient Beach in St. Martin?

thanks!

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No, the water taxi only takes you across the bay to the downtown area.

 

You need to hire a taxi to get to Orient Bay as the local buses do not drive all the way there. From what I heard from others who went there they paid between $6-15 pp to get there and the same to get back. The difference was if you drove with 7 or 2 people in a trip.

We got a free trip to Orient Beach (circumstantial- had to be there deal) and paid $6 pp to get back in a taxi with 6 of us.

 

Then after we got back to P'sberg we took the local bus for $2.pp one way to Maho Beach for a while.

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Hey CTCruiser,

Too bad you didn't enjoy Curacao.

Did I give you bad advice before we left?

OR did you just not like it?

 

As a matter of fact, since they had the carnival parade there the night before we arrived, it REALLY was a mess in the downtown sector. It normally is not that filthy. As well, it wsn't very busy because it was a school holiday that day.

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Thanks 2Cool - that helps. Just thought it would be more fun on the water taxi. My fiance and I head out on AOS for our first cruise in a week and have nothing planned - picking up these tips helps a lot. thanks again.

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Hey CTCruiser,

Too bad you didn't enjoy Curacao.

Did I give you bad advice before we left?

OR did you just not like it?

 

As a matter of fact, since they had the carnival parade there the night before we arrived, it REALLY was a mess in the downtown sector. It normally is not that filthy. As well, it wsn't very busy because it was a school holiday that day.

I really enjoyed Curacao- I think it was because of the cafe on the waterfront that sold you six beers for the price of five. My friend and I let our wives shop as long as they wanted, we all had a wonderful day.

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Great Review. I was also on the Feb 26th sailing of the AOS. I believe we met at the meet and mingle. Anyway, if anyone has questions, feel free to ask. This was our first cruise and I can tell you that it won't be out last. The wife, who I thought would be sea sick, absolutely loved it. She is already talking about how 7 days is not long enough and wants to book a b2b. I can't believe it. If I have time, I may write a review of the ship and things we did in port also. Thanks for the great time everyone.:D

 

Yes, that was me at the meet & mingle. Glad to hear you & your wife had a great time. After your first cruise you can't wait until the next :) We loved it too, and look forward to our next cruise-hopefully around the same time next year:D

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Great review thanks soooo much. Were you done with dinner by the time for sailaway, we also have late seating and love to be up on deck for sailaways. Also, how did the immigration check go in St. Thomas?

 

Thanks Sharon :) For dinner, if you tell your waiter that you are in a hurry, trying to make the sailaway they usually hurray things up for you. Worse comes to worse, you can take your dessert to go ;)

 

The immigration in St. Thomas went sooo fast, no problem at all. They have you go to the dining room, I beleive it was the 5th floor one on our cruise & then on the right side they scan your seapass card, them you walk around to the other side where the immigration officer checks your passport. It went real quick when we went around 9am, no lines.

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Hey CTCruiser,

Too bad you didn't enjoy Curacao.

Did I give you bad advice before we left?

OR did you just not like it?

 

As a matter of fact, since they had the carnival parade there the night before we arrived, it REALLY was a mess in the downtown sector. It normally is not that filthy. As well, it wsn't very busy because it was a school holiday that day.

 

2CoolCanucks, your advice was great for Curacao. In my rush of packing things up I wound up forgetting to bring the information with me. Since we had spent the full day prior at the beach in Aruba, our group just wanted to do some shopping, so that is really the only area we got to see.:cool:

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I'm considering the AOS in October, travelling solo. Were there many single people on your cruise? Also, how long is the taxi ride from the airport to the port and vice versa? I'm trying to decide on flights too, will probably book my own to save money.

Thanks for the review!

 

Liz

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I'm considering the AOS in October, travelling solo. Were there many single people on your cruise? Also, how long is the taxi ride from the airport to the port and vice versa? I'm trying to decide on flights too, will probably book my own to save money.

Thanks for the review!

 

Liz

 

Hi ,

 

I am honestly not sure how many singles were on our cruise, so it's hard to say-sorry.

 

The taxi from the airport to the ship is only like 10 minutes, so it's not too far of a ride.

 

For the flights we booked on our own this cruise, as we saved quite a bit of money. Our first cruise we did everything together and arrived during the muster drill. We figured last time we paid double of what we would have paid if booked directly by us so we booked this one on our own and went down a day early so there would be no problems, even if we encountered a delay on the plane.

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Thanks for the great review! We just booked this same itinerary for August, and are really looking forward to it.

 

Regarding the Marriott (booked through Priceline), what type of room did you get upon arrival? Was it an ocean/pool view? I have this booked directly with Marriott right now, but think I'll consider Priceline (we've used them many times) based upon the experiences of others I'm reading about.

 

Also, can you please explain to me what the immagrations check in St. Thomas was for? We cruised there last year on Carnival Triumph, and I don't recall needing our pasports there (only our seapass).

 

Thanks again for all of the info! It's very helpful!:D

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