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love2cruise4ever

Review of AOS Aug 1-8th Antigua-Barbados Eti.

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The route took us to St. Thomas, St. Martin, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. I had a Junior Suite on the 7th floor. Toward the back of the boat. Large enough for the four of us in my family. The balcony was extremely big. We invited some friends for breakfast one day and had 10 people in the balcony eating at the same time. (you should have heard the lady from room service when she called to confirm our order for breakfast for 10 in our Cabin, she almost felt backward :confused: but after explaining to her that the four of us were not going to have 10 orders of eggs and 15 orders of Orange Juice and that rather we had friends from two other cabins joining us for breakfast, she came back to her senses and promptly send our order to the room) .

 

The Junior Suite has a bathtub something that for a cabin in a cruise line these days is not the usual. Anyone who had cruise before for sure knows all the jokes about the size of the bathrooms. It also has a small wall-in Closet, very large balcony, a Sofa that convert into a bed at night. Plenty of cabinet space and a couple of large mirrows. Standard side Tv and eventhough is is level as a suite and you get priority check in and Luggage tabs that are level as Suite, you don't get Concierge Service. For that you have to dish out the money and go for the Full size Suites .

We stay at the Club Level in the Ritz Carlton in Isla Verde the day before the cruise (great place to use your Miles to get a room for free;) ) , service was excellent, beach and pool (they give you frozen fruits for free in the pool) are beautiful and the place is really great. We also stay one night after the cruise in San Juan (we wanted to avoid how crazy the airport gets on sundays and save on the airfare since it is less expensive to return on Mondays) and we picked the Embassy Suites for that extra night (we paid for that one :mad: ). it is a good hotel, which offers free full breakfast, free happy hours, and really big rooms at a good price but not beach (under $200. that is not bad if you figure out the price for the breakfast for 4 people and the free drinks).

 

If you like a party, go to The San Juan Hotel in Isla Verde on Saturdays and you will find the best party in this side of the world in that place. Great place for party not too good for staying there for what I hear the rooms are small and hotel service is not as good as the Ritz. But the lobby of that hotel is something you need to experience at least once. Live Music, lot of people, great drinks in the Lobby Bar, and a good size Casino. About food, If you like great steaks, then go to the Intercontinental hotel next door (by the way all of the above hotels are within walking distance in Isla Verde) and you can never go wrong with Ruth Chris (sp???). I like Japanese food so we dined at the Japanese restaurant at the Intercontinental I think the name is Momoyama. Traditional Japanese cuisine with teppanyaki tables similarly to a Benihana in service and prices. If you want something traditional and romantic, take a taxi to the Old San Juan and go to Chef Marisol. This is a small restaurant in the old San Juan, where you dine in the internal patio of a old house under candle lites and with the menu prepared by the owner Chef Marisol. If you want traditional Puero Rican food then go to El Condado and there is a very famous restaurant there called something like AjiLaji (sp??) or something similar. I am sure that is not the correct spelling but the restaurant is very famous and you will find it without a problem. They just moved to a larger and nicer new place a couple of block from where they used to be.

 

We rented a car from Hertz for each of the night we stayed in San Juan. Hertz have an office at the airport and one at the Caribe Hilton. The Hilton is right in front of where AOS dock. Too far for a walk but only about a $5 taxi cab from there. So we figured that we came out ahead in taxi fare (remember they charge you for each piece of luggage). So in the way in we picked up the car at the airport, next day I left my family at the dock, went by myself to the Caribe Hilton, drop the car there and I was back with my family at the dock in no more than 15-20 minutes. In the way back I took a taxi to the Hilton, picked up the car (be aware that they closed from noon to 1pm for lunch) and came back to the dock to pick up my party.

 

Getting into the boat on Sunday is easy. Remember that the other route takes people to Aruba, Curacao, St. martin and St. Thomas. Since St. Thomas is the first US port on that route, meaning that you are reentering the US in St. Thomas, Custom and Immigration are done there, (we did this route the year before) therefore when those folks get to San Juan, they just get off the boat and that make it easy for RCCL to get the boat ready earlier for the people that are coming in on the next cruise. So you get on right away. Now when this particular route comes back to San Juan, we had to do Custom and Immigration in San Juan along with two other boats (Carnival and Princess) and therefore the lines were really big and getting off the boat took forever. I can only imagine that the people coming on the boat that day took forever to be able to get in.

 

What can I say about this boat, it was our second time on this boat and third on an RCCL boat of the same type. It is a great place. Food is plenty which is all you can expect in a cruise. It is open to debate if it is getting better or worse but the bottom line is that you get plenty of choices and most people will find something they like in all they offer. Service on the boat is good, not great but you are having a good time so have a drink and relax.

 

Now for the Islands:

 

St. Thomas, If you have been there before, try going to St. John, there are plenty of tips of how to get there on this board under the ports of calls. Or you can Call J.C. Penny (340) 775-5703(home) and (340)513-2146. Great guy who has what they called a Safari Van which is a pickup truck that has been converted to take people in the back which is the way this is done in St. Thomas and that will charge you about $25.00 per person for a tour that takes you around the island and then to the beach. He will drop you off there and come back to pick you up at the time you tell him to do so. Then he will take you into town for some shopping and he will pick you up again and take you back to the boat. Funny guy, very informative, do a lot of stop for you to take pictures, and good service.

 

St. martin: if you have a large group and want to do a private tour of the island (we had a group of 10 people)try renting a Van from The Taxi Association (again you can find their info on this board). We used in particular Jose Marlin (cell 551-2147) e-mail taxisxm@hotmail.com Very educated gentlemen who was very profesional and on-time and have a new large van. He charged us $28.00 per person, for a private tour, all day long, all you wanted to do, stoping as many time as you wanted. he Picked us up in his 14 passengers air-conditioned Van at the time we had agreed with him, took us around to both the French side and the Dutch side and was very nice and informative. Great way to see the island. Be aware that Orient Beach has a part where nudity is allowed. If you don't want to see the island and want a great beach, the one next to the port (you take a water taxi to it) is called Great Bay and it is very nice. You can rent water toys there, they just completed a nice walkway by the side of the beach and there are plenty of nice restaurants and shopping is just on the other side of the street.

 

Antigua: We took a taxi Tour with Lawrance of Antigua (about $25 pp) who took us on his van all over the island and to the beach. Very good service. Plenty of references on this guy on the board. You can't go wrong

 

St. Lucia: we did not do much and miss on this beautiful island. But if you want to do a taxi tour you can get it for about $30-$50 pp and there are a couple of drivers (Frank and Cosol) that have very good reviews on this board. Looked it up on the port of Calls under St. Lucia

 

Barbados: If you want to have the time of your life for $90 pp you can get a five hours lunch tour in the Silver Moon Catamaran. They only take 12 people on this 44 ft Catamaran. There are plenty of reviews on this boat including one that I posted under Barbados, on this board. This will be the highlight of your cruise no doubt about it. This is right out of a book of the lifetime of the Rich and Famous. Great experience.

 

So including the $90pp tour we did something in almost every island for under about $200 pp for the entire cruise. Not bad when just one tour on the boat can put you back $75.00 pp.

 

Overall Great Vacation. Can't wait to do it all over again next year.

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love2cruise4ever.

The name of the Condado Restaurant is Ajilimojili. But if you want to try some gourmet puertorrican food (NYC Patria's style); try Pikayo located at the Art Museum. For those of you that like spanish food, go to Compostela in Condado, if you like italian the best one is Il perugino in old San Juan and to finish my list Augusto's in Miramar is really good, love his chocolate suffle.

 

PS; all these restaurants (exepts Ajilimojili) are really expensive, but worth trying them

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I was one of those people in the room with the little white chairs waiting for you people to get off the damn ship. We didn't get on until 2pm. Two hours we waited what the hell took so long?

 

 

zme

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Zme, it wasn't our fault. There were 3 large boat in town that day. There are only so many Immigration and Custom agents availabe in San Juan so when you split that group among the 3 boats and the airport there you end up with so few agents checking 3000 pasengers. Believe me we wanted to get out as soon as posible. Of course not so much for all of you guys waiting :-)

 

 

I hope you had a great time as we did.!!!

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OK, GreggNKara, it is a ship!!!!. Hey everyone The boat is a ship!!!!. I apologize for anyone who may have think that I was talking about anything else but the boat... ohh!! ...sorry the ship!!! :o

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Thanks love2cruise4ever for the descriptive account of your trip. Now I am sorry that I cancelled the tour of Antigua with Lawrence. Has anybody else signed up for it? I would cancel the ship tour if anyone else has made reservations.

We have booked two tours of Old San Juan with Legends of Puerto Rico, one at night and one the next morning. My daughter took the night tour and said it was really great.

Not too much longerfor the cruise. All that left is the packing!

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Enjoy your trip. Lawrance was great for us, hope your tour from the boat (sorry the ship) is as good. My best experience was Barbados. can't wait to go on another cruise but I have to wait until next year :-(

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OK, GreggNKara, it is a ship!!!!. Hey everyone The boat is a ship!!!!. I apologize for anyone who may have think that I was talking about anything else but the boat... ohh!! ...sorry the ship!!! :o

 

 

Sorry its a big pet peev

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From Old Cars: Remember.......All ships are still boats, but all boats are not ships

 

 

So Old Cars: that means that I am "technically correct" :-)

 

GreggNKara "Sorry its a big pet peev"

 

GreggNKara: Sorry it bother you but from all the grammar and spelling errors I must have in my long review (english is my second Language) you are picking on this one and it turns out that according to OldCars I still may be right :p

 

Look I just trying to get a smile from you , enjoy the board, learn from the tips of others and enjoy your cruise is the best money you will ever spend , when you are in your boat (sorry your ship) drinking a nice tropical drink you will have no big pet peev to worry about:-) :)

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My husband and I will be on AOS 8/29/04. Is it too late to register for the meet and mingle?:(

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