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Review - AOS 4/18-4/25 (very long)

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We're back from the 4/18-4/25 Sailing of the AOS and I'm finally caught up enough to post my review. Overall we had a fantastic time on this trip. This was a family trip with my wife,my three kids (6, 8 and 10) and my step-mother. After having planned it 11 months in advance I'm now in a serious post-cruise depression mood now. Anyway, here goes



We flew in a day ahead of time from Boston and arrived in San Juan at about 4:30. We stayed in the San Juan Marriott. This was nice (if somewhat expensive) hotel for the night. We got there early enough so we could check in and the kids could swim for a bit before dinner. Had the buffet dinner at the hotel. It was fine but not particularly memorable.



Had breakfast / brunch at the hotel buffet and hung out at the pool until about 1:00 and then got a cab to the pier. We got to the pier around 1:30 or so and the doors had not yet opened. This was a bit disappointing as we thought we'd be able to get on by then. Apparently they had trouble clearing the ship from the previous sailing. We were able to get rid of our luggage and the waiting area was covered but it was pretty hot. The line got pretty long by the time the doors finally opened. Amazingly, we were right behind the only person I really interacted with here before the cruise (hi coolseb); what are the odds of that? We only had to wait about half an hour or so though so it wasn't too bad. Once we got inside we were checked in and onto the ship in no time at all. We were in a suite but I couldn't really tell whether that made the check-in any faster or not; it was very well organized and I just went where they told me to go. For what it's worth to those who care, I brought two bottles of wine with me in my backpack and no one said a word.


The Ship

I'm not sure what I can say about this ship that hasn't already been said. This was the third cruise for my wife and I, the first on a Voyager class. The ship is spectacular, clean and very friendly. We were in one of the Royal Family Suites on the aft of the ship on deck 10. The room was amazing - two separate bedrooms, two bathrooms, plus a living room and a huge balcony. I'm not sure how we'll ever go back to a "normal" room again.


The meals in the dining room were great. Both the quality and presentation were good. I'd give the presentation an A and the quality a B+/A-. You can't really expect gourmet fare on a ship this big but I enjoyed every meal and the service was impeccable. Our wait staff went out of their way - particularly with my kids. Most of our breakfasts and lunches we did in the Windjammer. I'd give the food here a grade of B/B-. It was fine but standard buffet fare. We did Johnny Rockets a couple times for lunch and enjoyed it. Our favorite night spot on the ship was the Duck and Dog. We also spent quite a bit of time in the casino and were impressed with both it and its staff.


As for shows, we saw the Velvet Rope, the Quest and the ice show. I was somewhat under whelmed by the Velvet Rope, loved the ice show and laughed my a** off at the Quest.


All of my kids used the kids program to one extent or another. Their staff was great and the kids liked them all. The 6 and 8 year olds couldn't get enough off it. My ten year old daughter enjoyed it too but also liked hanging out with the grown-ups from time to time.


Did the Rasul couples thing in the spa. This was fun; I highly recommend it. One suggestion here - bring clean clothes with you. You don't want to have to put dirty clothes back on when you're done (no one warned us about this).



I went on the two tank dive with the ship while everyone else did the submarine trip in Aruba. The sub was reported to be fantastic and the diving was good as well. After having lunch back on the ship we grabbed a cab to Baby Beach. For five of us for the afternoon it was $60 plus tip (we gave the drive 20). The traffic near the port was really bad so it took us a lot longer to get to the beach then I remembered from previous trips to the island. Once we got to the beach the driver told us the "back" part of the beach was better and less crowded. Unfortunately, the van got stuck in the sand when we got there. I spent a few minutes trying to help the driver then decided that it was his problem to solve so we went snorkeling. He was actually fine with this and went and found a friend to tow him out. The snorkeling was as good as I remembered it and the kids loved their first Caribbean snorkeling experience. Traffic was equally bad getting back to the ship but we had time to stop and buy a couple more bottles of wine which again we brought back without hiding and without questions.



In Curacao we went to KonTiki beach on our own via taxi. I did a one tank dive with Toucan diving while everyone else hung out on the beach or snorkeled. The diving was fantastic, the snorkeling just ok. The beach was ok as well with chairs, food, drink and facilities all nearby.


St Martin

In St Martin we all did the shipwreck cove snorkeling trip and enjoyed it. The visibility wasn't that great due to the recent weather but I bet it would be a great spot otherwise. Went back to the ship for lunch then the girls went shopping while I stayed on the ship.


St Thomas

In St Thomas we went to Coki Beach / Coral World on our own. This was a bit of a PITA. The open-air buses/taxis wait until they are filled before leaving so we ended up wasting a lot of time waiting for it to be filled. This whole area of the pier seemed very disorganized and could definitely be improved. In any case, Coral World was very cool and everyone loved it. We had lunch at Coral World and then hit the beach and went snorkeling. The snorkeling here was the best of the trip. The beach itself was very good but not spectacular. Same problem with the Taxi on the return trip - had to wait for him to fill up. It was annoying but what can you do, these guys are just trying to make a living. We got back to the ship in plenty time anyway.



We had a late flight but following the instructions of the concierge left the ship with the first group with no questions asked. We were off the ship by 9:30. Our luggage was easy to find and we breezed right through customs. Since we managed to get off the ship early, we went back to the Marriott and got a day room so we could spend the day at the pool. Left the hotel about 2:00 to get to the airport for our 5:18 flight. Airport check-in and security were no problem at this time of day so our experience with the SJ airport was very positive. If I had it to do again though, I'd probably take a flight home on Monday or an earlier flight on Sunday. We spent a lot of time and effort lugging around a lot of luggage on Sunday.


Overall, this was a great trip. I'm sure it's something we'll all remember for a very long time. As has been said many times, there is just so much to do on this ship it's impossible to do it all. We never did make it to a parade or to a midnight buffet. Sorry for the length but I know some people (myself included) like to hear all the details. I'll be happy to answer any questions if I missed anything.

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Thanks for the great review. My cruise is just around the corner, and I can't wait to sail on her.






Until I cruise again..............



Grandeur of the Seas 6/00

Voyager of the Seas 6/02

Adventure of the Seas 7/18/2004




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Thanks for your great review. Just 44 more days to we sail her on the same itinerary. One question regarding debarkation - how does that work in terms of getting off for flight times? Our flight is at 1:40 p.m. back to Chicago. With the recent info re: San Juan airport messes, should we attempt to get off early? How do we go about doing that? We have a party of 11. Thanks so much.

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I was on the same sailing, I also flew in the nite before and we were number 10 on the line before the doors opened. Too bad they had problems clearing the ship from the prior sailing, if not we would have been on board by 11:30 am


We also did the Rasul treatment, why do suggest bringing clean clothes? Don 't tell me you did the treatment with your clothes on??? lol


Glad you had a great time just as we did.

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sangoofy - They call debarkation by flights but no one actually checks as you leave. The concierge told us we could leave whenever we wanted and we left with the first group with no problems at all.


premiumrican - re: clothes. No, we didn't do the treatment with our clothes on. We just didn't think to bring a change of clothes so we had to dress in the clothes we wore to the spa when we were done. No big deal but it would have been nice to have had clean clothes.

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Thanks for the review jtonra, it helps keep our memories strong until we get to cruise again.


We sailed in March and just happened to be by the door near the theater when they opened them up for debarkation. The worker who opened it told us we were free to get off if we wanted to go before they started calling flights. We were one of the first ones out thru customs, and will definately use that approach again next time!



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Thanks so much for your wonderful review.



"Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking."

-Marcus Aurelius Antonius


1. June 2001 Celebrity ZENITH (Bermuda)

2. July 2002 Celebrity MILLENNIUM (Southern Caribbean)

3. January 2003 Carnival CONQUEST (Western Caribbean)

4. August 2003 Celebrity GALAXY (Western Caribbean)

5. September 2004 Royal Caribbean ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS (Southern Caribbean)

6. May 2005 Celebrity INFINITY ()



'til my Adventure




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