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Avidcruiser

AOS Review 11/21/04 Sailing-with small children

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I don't have time to do a full fledged review, but I did want to post some of our thoughts about our cruise last week on AOS. This is my husband's and mine 9th cruise. Overall, great ship, beautiful, very clean, it's got everything you can think of. We travelled with my husband, 2 boys ages 9 and 5, my mother-in-law, f-i-l and sister-i-l. There were 7 of us. The 4 of us had adjoining rooms 9376 and 9381, one inside and one outside with balcony. These were the perfect accomodations for us, the kids had there space and we had ours. It was nice being at the back of the ship, very quiet at night. I slept all through the night which I haven't for years due to being a light sleeper, the kids, and my dog! Very comfortable rooms. They played some newer movies for free such as Jersey Girl, the Prince and Me, the Notebook. There were others you could pay for $11.95, it was quite a big selection. One comment I would make is that you can really hear through the adjoining door, so if you don't need the adjoining room try not to book it or it might be noisy.

 

Embarkation was smooth, transferred from the Sheraton Old San Juan. Got to the ship about 1:15, and saw a huge line. I think they must have just opened since the line moved quickly and we were on the ship by around 2:00 I'd say.

 

We had early seating with the kids and our plan was to take them to Adventure Ocean which they were always eager to go to at around 7PM and then finish up dinner. This seemed to work fine. Table for 8, just us at the table. Nice waiter, Lloyd and Stephen was his assistant. Dinner was very nice every night, I know a lot of people complain about the food, and but I thought it was just fine. Much better than I usually eat at home that's for sure. One very small glitch was they only had the children's menu in Spanish, so my 9 year old was a bit frustrated since he couldn't read all the selections. Lloyd would have to repeat them each night, but I felt like he was leaving some things out, so we would pour over the menu with our limited spanish to try to figure it out ourselves. That was a bit of a pain, but not a huge deal.

 

Entertainment was average. The highlight was Charo, she was really great and I didn't think I would enjoy her that much. The production shows were really pretty bad. The Velvet Rope and something about Rock music. The ice show was excellent. We enjoyed the casino, played a lot of blackjack at the $5 table. It was sometimes hard to get a seat there, kept wishing they would open another one but I guess they want you to go to the $10 table (note to RCI, nobody was and you were just losing the $5 players).

 

The ports on this itinierary in my opinion are awesome, . Aruba-did the DePalm Island shore excursion. It was really nice and great for young children. Even though the trip says snorkeling, you really get to use the whole island which is set up just for trips like this. The snorkeling was great for our little inexperienced family, the water was only waist high, but the fish were fabulous. Even my 5 year old put his head in with the face mask and is still talking about it. On the other side is a small beach, great for little kids, it was blocked off by some kind of wall, so I didn't have to worry about him going in too deep. There is some kind of factory on the other side of the beach which somewhat ruined the view. They have a playground and all drinks and food are free. At one point a girl came around and organized a hermit crab race which my kids really enjoyed. This was truly a great trip for families with small children. The only downside was that it did rain, pretty hard at some points, but then it cleared up.

 

Curacao-Here we took a taxi to Seaquarium. This was a nice little place, takes maybe 2 hours to tour. They have a dolphin show. My son was fascinated with the touch tank, he loved the star fish. Again this was a great place for little kids.

 

St. Martin-We could have spent 2 days here, wished it was a longer day in port. We were last here in 96, and couldn't believe the changes. Seems totally different with the new pier and new part of town. Shopped in the morning, back to the ship for lunch and then we were going to go to Orient Beach, but since it was already 1:30 we decided to go to the Great Bay Beach right in town. We rented chairs and spent a nice afternoon there. Great weather this day.

 

St. Thomas-Another great weather day, just perfect. You have to go through immigration before you leave the ship, which was no problem. When we went to breakfast in the Windjammer, it was packed, no tables long lines, so we ended up going to the dining room. I guess everyone was up early that day to do immigration. We took the kids to the tramway in the morning, you can walk there. This was really fun for the kids. In the afternoon, took the ship excursion to Megan's Bay Beach, nice beach, not to complain, but it's kind of pain to rent the chairs and drag them to your spot. I guess I got spoiled at the Great Bay Beach where not only did I get my chair for $5, but someone would get me a drink too! Megan's Bay is more of a self-service beach, but it is very beautiful.

 

At Sea Days- I really enjoyed the port days more than the At Sea Days, and part of this I think is my own preference as well as the fact that the ship seemed very crowded on those days. This was Thanksgiving Week, there were 750 children, and you could tell that everything was taxed to the max on at sea days. Moving around the ship was sometimes a challenge. You could wait 15 min. for an elevator, that was probably the hardest part.My son really wanted to Rock Climb, but the wait was so long on at sea days, we ended up cutting our trip short on St. Martin so that he could go then. One bright note, I always noticed chairs available by the pool even on at sea days. They also had people walking around with Deck Patrol on their shirts. A couple of times, they talked to some of the kids misbehaving in the hot tubs. Maybe they were also monitoring the pool chairs so they weren't being saved all day. We tried some of the spa services, which never seemed crowded. Go on the first day for the spa tour, I had never done that and found it very interesting. Anyways, I had my teeth whitened and a manicure, which I enjoyed. Adventure Ocean was great for the kids. We used it a lot even on port days, they had great hours. If there was an hour free, that's where they wanted to go.

 

Disembarkation-San Juan-Our flight was not until 6:30 pm and after much debating, we ended up going to the airport through the RCI transfer. We checked in our luggage at American, and then headed out to one of the forts by taxi. This actually turned out great. We had lunch in Old San Juan and then headed back to the airport for our trip home. This being the Sunday after Thanksgiving and bad weather in the Northeast, the plane was a bit late getting in, but not too bad. We were home by midnight, and next day kids were back at school and I was doing laundry! Back to reality fast!

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Thanks for your review! My husband and I are thinking of taking this cruise and I love to read the reviews about it. Did you have any problems with the San Juan airport? I have read a lot of reviews with people having problems with it. Thanks a lot!

 

Vanessa

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Avidcruiser - its nice to see others post their reviews! ! Good review by the way. Sorry you had difficulties like we did on AOS 11/14/04.

 

hey did they have that dreadful juggler again? If you havent read my reviews of our week on AOS look under my handle and find my reviews because I thought the juggler was terrible!

Bobby

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Loved your review. We sailed on the AOS on 11/14/04. We encountered alot of rude folks from San Juan. Did you encounter this?

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Vanessa-The San Juan airport was not so bad. We were on American and the terminal must be relatively new. Like I said we checked in and then left for several hours so maybe we missed the really busy part of the day. When we checked in there was no line and there was no line at security when we returned. The only problem was that there isn't a lot of places to eat and the lines got really long for food at around 5:30-6:00. It's also not the cleanest airport I've been to, but you don't really expect that anyways.

 

Bobby-as far as the juggler, we missed him, he must have been on the last night. We enjoyed Charo though, was she on your cruise?

 

DMorris- From what I heard, there were about 1000 Puerto Ricans on our ship, maybe that's a bit lower than usual since it was Thanksgiving week. We didn't encounter too many problems with them in particular, it was mostly just the crowds in general. Like trying to look at our pictures on the last night was practically impossible. I did notice the Spanish/English announcements everywhere including Bingo, but we only played Bingo once. I think that game is slow enough and when you add two languages that really slows it down to total boredem in my opinion. The elevators are really a problem, totally frustrating at some times. I noticed some people just going up or down one floor and I would think why would they wait all that time for the elevator to go one floor? That was kind of annoying to say the least. Overall though, I thought everyone was well behaved but a week was enough for me. The crowds get to me after a while.

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Nice waiter, Lloyd and Stephen was his assistant. Dinner was very nice every night, I know a lot of people complain about the food, and but I thought it was just fine.

Small world!! DW and I were also on this cruise, early seating, and had Stephen & Lloyd as our waiters too.:D

 

I agree, the food was good, and I had no complaints either.

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Bobby - I was on the 11/7 sailing of AOS and I also thought the juggler wasn't very good. Wish Charo would of been there on the 11/7 trip!

Lisara

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