CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Adventure of the Seas Southern Caribbean December 9, 2001 I'm going to go into great detail with this review, just like I did on the last one. Please keep in mind that this is the largest cruise ship in the world if my review appears too run a little long .  My husband Brian and I are in our mid-thirties and this was our fifrth cruise together and the second one of which I have written a review. 12/09/01  -----  San Juan, Puerto Rico  We just returned to San Juan from a 7 day cruise on Carnival Destiny so you may see me make a lot of comparisons in my review.  We left the boat when our color tag was called at about 10:30.  We were hoping to hang out for awhile longer since we would not be able to board Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas until 2pm.  We got off the ship and took a cab to Barrachino's restaurant where we had been told by the cruise director on Carnival that they would store our luggage for a few hours (we tipped $5).  That was very nice because it would have been really difficult to walk around Old San Juan with 5 pieces of luggage.  The sidewalks were barely wide enough for 2 people to pass each other let alone drag luggage without it falling off the curb into traffic. Then we were at a loss for things to do.  We had already explored Old San Juan the week before when we arrived in Puerto Rico.  We were really tired because we had stayed up really late the night of the 8th because it was our last night on the Carnival Destiny and we had put off packing as long as possible.  So we just walked around.  We walked down to the gates of the governor's mansion.  The street leading to the entrance gate was all decorated for Christmas and the house itself had a very large wreath and many pretty decorations as well. We were getting a little hungry so we stopped into a McDonald's to eat.  Since we just got done with a 7 day cruise, we were used to eating like every 2 hours so we couldn't wait to get on the Adventure of Seas to eat!  I can't remember what we ordered, but the kid working the counter didn't get it right and it was doubtful that he spoke any English.  He was getting very frustrated with us and finally his supervisor who hardly spoke any English came over and straightened it out.  The frustration with us for speaking English and not Spanish ticked us off a little bit.  I mean we are after all still in a territory of the United States, right?  Are the children in Puerto Rico not taught to speak English in School?  And what happened to being polite to customers instead of getting mad at them?  But hey, we could be a little crabby too from lack of sleep.  After our less than satisfying lunch we walked back to Barrachino's to pick up our luggage and call a cab.  The cab took us to the new Royal Caribbean terminal, which we are told is the largest and newest cruise terminal in the world.  He pulled right up to a porter and gave our bags directly to him ( On Carnival, we had to lug our bags with us for the 2 hours it took to get to the security point).  So already we were thinking, this was great and happily we got into a line that wasn't too large and was let inside the terminal (we didn't have to wait outside at all).  Once inside, we followed the crowd to many rows of chairs and this is where the process got a little confusing.  There wasn't any one directing traffic so no one really knew where to go, so we all just took some seats.  Then we observed a line that was moving directly to the left of the chairs.  So we all got up and joined the line which promtly stopped.  Another line was now forming on the right side of the chairs and now it was moving.  So we weren't sure if we were where we were supposed to be or not.  The other line kept moving while ours moved a little.  While we waited in line, a couple of people dressed in bright orange jumpsuits came through the line cooling people off with fans and misting people down with spray bottles and being extremely funny.  We found out later that they were the Royal Caribbean "Krooz Komics" who were a big highlight of the cruise we were about to take.  But even with this amusing distraction our line still was not going anywhere fast.  We all observed people that were just coming into the terminal get into that other line and move right on through.  When we finally got close to the front row of chairs, we saw someone directing people from the other line to sit in the front row of chairs.  She would then wait for the line of people she just let through to get a little smaller, then she would tell those people sitting down to get up and go through ahead of us.  Then she took more people from that other line on the right of the chairs.  We were all getting pretty disgusted by this and finally someone spoke up and wanted to know why our line to the left wasn't moving.  She got pretty snippy saying that we weren't in the right line and blah blah blah.  Well if someone would have directed us instead of just ignoring the mile long line that had formed, maybe we all wouldn't have been so upset.  Finally she let us through and we never did figure out what all the rows of chairs were for.  Once we got past that, the line went fairly fast to the check in counter.  We got our super charge cards and were then directed to another line to talk to a supervisor.  Brian had asked what the cost and possibility of a room upgrade would be and we were directed to a supervisor.  There was a small line formed there and apparently we weren't the only ones that had that in mind.  When we got up to her, we asked and she looked at our super charge card and said, "but you are already in a category D7 balcony room"  We said we were wondering about upgrading to a suite.  She said it would be $1000 more each.  Oh, ok - never mind!  It never hurts to try, right?  So we proceeded along and boarded the wonderous Adventure of the Seas.  12/09/01 ----- Day 1 ---- Afternoon aboard the Adventure of the Seas The moment we set foot on the Adventure of the Seas, we were awestruck.  Only the words "WOW" would come out of either of our mouths.  And this was just within walking a few feet onto Deck 4 of the boat and looking at an elevator area and over a banister into a bar (It was the Schooner Bar, but I didn't know it then). We used the stairs to begin the journey to our room.  The stairs are more spread out and not as steep as Carnival's and easier to take even up many flights.  The entire ship right down to the carpeting was brand new, beautiful and cushy.  Everywhere we turned, we saw a piece of artwork and this is just on the way to our room!  We were surprised that artwork was even displayed on the very hallways to the cabins.  There were many millions of dollars worth of art pieces and displays on this ship.   Our room was located on deck 7 at the aft of the ship just down the hall from a beautiful library facility.  The library was designed with dark woods and warm colors and extremely comfortable furniture.  It was 3 stories with the Internet cafe on the upper floor and a sort of cruise consultant office with models ships of the Royal Caribbean fleet on the deck below.  This library was open 24 hours and was very large with the most incredible selection of books written both in English and Spanish.  by comparisson, Carnival's libraries are open maybe an hour or two everyday and are quite small.  I liked it in there a lot and always wished I could spend time in it every time I passed it to and from our room.  But it seemed like we were always doing something and I didn't pick up a book during the entire cruise.   When we got to our room we found that the door was propped open.  It looked ready so we went in but didn't want to get comfortable just in case.  I found our cabin steward Teodore down the hall and he wasn't upset that we just let ourselves in but said he wasn't quite ready.  We said that was okay, and that we were going to just drop off our carry on bag and begin exploring the ship.  Our exploration took a great deal of time because this boat is 140,000 tons of non stop beauty.  Carnival's largest ship the Destiny that we just got off of was 101,000 tons by comparison.  The attractive color scheme on this ship along the hallways to the cabins and in the cabins themselves was in mostly blues and peaches.  It was SO different from any of the Carnival ships that we have been on that it is hard to describe because the differences are like night and day.  At either end on The Adventure of the Seas on many of the decks, we could gaze down onto the Promenade Deck.  The Promenade was a wonderous street with shops and bars and cafes running alongside complete with lamp posts.  There was a restored purple and beige 1939 Citroen Roadster with leather interior in front of the Gravity Sports Bar (that was a sports bar with tv's obviously) and many little tables with chairs right outside the pubs and cafes so you could sit on the "street" and have your drink or whatever.  Many of the interior cabins had windows that looked down on the promenade - so I'm sure it was like looking down on a street.  I hope you can picture this from my description because it was quite amazing.   We stopped at the Duck and Dog Pub, an English type pub for a Guinness.  We were happy to find Royal Caribbean also had Guinness, but like Carnival, they didn't have any other beer I liked except Amstel. There was a little stairway that led from the Promenade street down to the largest casino at sea.  The Casino Royale Hollywood was really nice and had a classic early Hollywood theme to it.  At the entrance, there was a hole in the floor enclosed with glass that you could walk on.  In the hole was Hollywood memorabilia (ruby red slippers, etc), gambling tokens, film reals, old time newspapers and stuff like that.  Many of the slot machines had  TV or movie related themes, like the I Dream of Jeanie, the Munsters, Pink Panther and those kind of things.  The roulette wheels had pewter like tops with Marilyn Monroe on one and King Kong on another.   We tried to see everything this first day, but it was just impossible.   The many bars and lounges we walked through that first day were really nice.  Another difference between the Adventure of the Seas and carnival was that Carnival's lounges are all like rooms off to the sides whle on this ship they were so open.  The bars weren't in separate rooms, but were just there when you came down or up a flight of stairs or out of the elevators.  It is very hard to explain, but it made it all seem so roomy and nice because there were not many walls and doors separating areas.  The Schooner Bar was probably the nicest in my opinion.  It was located just outside the casino and had a sailing motif with really dark wood and boat type decorations.  It smelled so good - you know - that nice wood smell.  Most of the bars had no smoking sections too which was really nice.  Brian's favorite, the Champagne Bar was completely non smoking and was decorated with tubes that had bubbles in it to look like champagne.  At this bar you could order a bottle of champagne or wine and if you didn't finish it, they would cork it and keep it for you until another day.  Then we came across Studio B which was the ice rink.  It is too cool to have an ice rink on a cruise ship!  And it isn't just a rink, it is a showroom with many seats.  They have professional ice skaters on this cruise that put on a fantastic show. Then we found the Lyric Theater where they will have all the other shows.  They have a peacock curtain on the stage that is just beautiful.  The seating is just like movie theater seating is which was for us a lot better than Carnival because there are very few things to obstruct your view.  They also have drink holders on the chair's arms rather than tables so there is room for a lot more seats than what Carnival has. by this time several hours had passed and we haven't even gone back to our room to see if our bags had arrived  to unpack yet!  On the Promenade deck, there were guys dressed like fools stopping people to talk to them.  No, really they were dressed in medieval jester garb.  They were from the restaurant Portofino's which is an alternative dining experience located on deck 12  that cost $20 per person.  It came highly recommended by most of the reviews we had read, so we decided to make a reservation.  We asked him if he knew which night that the main dining room wasn't serving anything real interesting and he said that Tuesday night was Caribbean night.  That sounds like a night we wouldn't mind missing, so that was when we reserved to go to Portofino's. Next we made a quick tour of the magnificent three story dining room to check on our table assignment before heading off to explore the upper decks. There are 15 decks on the Adventure of the Seas compared to 12 on the Destiny.  On deck 11 we checked out the spa and gym where we would spend a lot of time through out the week to come.  Outside from the spa is the Solarium Pool area which is an adults only area.  It has one pool and two large hot tubs.  There was also a larger main pool area for everyone that was very large with 2 pools and 4 hot tubs (I think - don't remember for sure).  Also on deck 11 we found the Island Grill and Winjammer Cafe which were the buffet style dining options on the ship.  There were floor to ceiling windows looking out so it was really bright and cheery.  There were more areas to get food at and though I never thought the food was quite as good as Carnival's, there was more of a selection.  The tables did not have silverware settings like Carnival so we always had to remember to get silverware.   We only ate here a couple of times for lunch and I will tell you why later.  Can you say Johnny Rockets??? We continued up and up and found the Sky Chapel on deck 15.  It was a very nice little chapel for anyone who would like to get married on the ship.  There wasn't an elevator that went all the way to the top, but the stairs were set up to take people who were in wheelchairs or who couldn't walk up stairs to the top.  One deck down from the Sky Chapel (deck14) were a couple of more bars, the Blue Moon Piano - Jazz bar had floor to ceiling windows that overlooked the pool areas which were on deck 11 and the jogging track which was on deck 12 below us.  On the other side of the Blue Moon is the Hole in One Bar (golfing decor) that overlooks the Sports Deck.  This bar has a contraption that is enclosed in glass that has a bunch of golf balls that go through a series of pulleys and chains that depending how the ball hits goes on in whatever direction and goes through loops and other maze type things until it reaches the bottom where it starts all over again.  It is really hard to describe but tons of fun to watch.  Also on this deck is the High Note Piano Lounge and the Seven of Hearts Card room.  This particular piano lounge was pretty much just a room with a piano in it and we missed any activity that took place here.  The card room had all sorts of board games and a couple of tables to sit down and play. Then we went down to deck 13 which is the most incredible deck you would ever expect to see on a cruise ship.  The Sports Deck has a basketball/volleyball court, in-line skating rink, a 9 hole minature golf course, a golf driving simulator AND a rock climbing wall!  We decided to play a game of putt putt right away.  I kicked Brian's butt.  We continued our tour by returning to deck 12 where we found the arcade.  It was very nice and much larger than any we had seen before on previous cruises.  Just outside the arcade,  we found our favorite place to eat and indulge in sinfully delicious milkshakes.  Johnny Rockets is a 50's style diner complete with the nickel juke boxes on the tables.  The terrific old 50's - 70's rock music was blaring when we walked in and the entire staff turned to us and hollered some very cheerful "hellos".  We were seated in a booth and fries and onion rings with ranch dressing were brought to the table.  This is great!  All the food is free but the shakes and drinks are not.  But boy are they GOOD!  We decided to have the shake of the day which was the Orange Creamsicle flavor and it was to die for.   Brian ordered one of the many specialty burgers and I had a BLT.  They were both very good and the shake filled us up to the top.  We knew we would definitely be coming back to this place - and we did so every single day. It was time to head back to the room and see if the luggage was there yet.  It was so we spent the next hour unpacking.  The room was very roomy and only slightly smaller than the room we had on the Destiny.  It was a lot nicer.  The bed was an actual queen size bed, not two twins pushed together.  The bedding was very pretty and the bed was decorated with throw pillows that Teodore, our cabin steward had arranged in a different way each day.  There was a very comfortable couch and a little glass coffee table.  The bathroom was very small but the shower was so cool!  It was circular and had a shower door instead of a curtain!  There was plenty of closet and drawer space and the suitcases fit under the bed.  The balcony was wider than the one on the Destiny and much more private.  The door to the balcony was a sliding glass door instead of a regular open and close - which the wind always seemed to grab and slam - on the Destiny.  It was just a nicer room in every aspect.  Also we were happy to see that the Adventure of the Seas had laundry service so we got together everything we wanted pressed and set it out. 12/09/01 ----- Day 1 ---- Early evening aboard the Adventure of the Seas Before supper, we went to the Promenade street for the World of Adventure Parade.  People lined the outer edges of the street while the staff closed off the middle with a rope that they had guests hold up.  Then the parade began.  Our cruise director, Ken Rush and 2 singers appeared on the bridge above the street.  They entertained with music while Ken announced who was coming down the street in the parade.  The Krooz Komics came through on stilts dancing and waving and having a grand old time.  It is amazing how good they were on those stilts!  The parade had some kind of "world" theme with crew and entertainers dressed in outfits depicting different parts and sport like activities from around the world.  We had never seen anything like it before and it was pretty cool.  It was hard to see unless you had a view from right up front.  But at least everyone got to see the Krooz Komics because they were on stilts and I thought the best part anyway.  Then we headed to supper in the Mozart Dining room.  There were three dining rooms making up three floors of this beautiful, gigantic and absolutely breathtaking room.  Piano and cello music was played during dining from the second floor.    I wish we were on a lower floor because the gorgeous chandelier was not visible from our level on the third floor.  This time we got the table for two that we requested (we didn't on Carnival which was fine because we completely enjoyed visiting with our table companions)  Our Waiter's name was Moses and he was from Jamaica.  Our Assistant Waiter, Mustafa was from Turkey and our Head Waiter's name was Jasper from Romania.   We dined at the late seating on this cruise which was at 8:30.  We had the early seating on the Destiny at 5:45 so it was kind of difficult to get used to the new schedule.  We wanted to try both to see which seating we liked better.  They both have their pros and cons, but I personally like the earlier seating a little better because it takes so long to eat all the courses.  At the earlier seating, you can be done eating by 7:15 or so and have the rest of the night ahead of you to digest.  At the late seating, when we finally finished sometimes barely before 10:00, it was hard to conjure up the energy to do anything but go to bed and let the fat settle onto our bodies.  We finished eating with just enough time to head back to our rooms, grab our life jackets and head to our muster station for the boat drill.  This is always the crummiest part of any cruise, but it usually only lasts a few minutes.  This one, however; seemed to go on longer than usual.  They finally let us go after 25 minutes by announcing that we were pulling away from San Juan.  I know this is a very necessary thing to do, but who likes to think of emergencies when they are on vacation?! We then headed to the casino for complementary gaming lessons.  We wanted to learn how to play craps.  The girl who taught us, bless her heart, was extremely patient with us and went over many things again and again.  We finally grasped a very basic understanding and played for awhile.  It was it was a bit more than we could concentrate on and when we finally got to a point where we broke even, we called it quits.  We decided to stick to the less stressful games that we totally understand and feel more comfortable playing.   I didn't note it, but Brian says we won $65 the first night.  Then exhausted from this very long day we decided to return to our cabin and call it a night. 12/10/01 --- Adventure of the Seas ----- Day at Sea ------ Formal night At 7:30 we were up and off to the Ship Shape Center.  It was the best fitness facility I have ever been in (which isn't very many sadly).  I immediately fell in love with a machine that you step on and jog and work your arms at the same time.  They had about 12 of them and I never had any problem getting one all week. After a little bit of a work out, we headed outside to the Solarium Pool.  This was one of our favorite places.  The pool had a couple of lion head fountains spraying a stream of water into the pool and there was also a hidden fountain that would spray lines of water on us at different intervals.   We had a good time trying to figure out when the water would start again to try to avoid it.  We had the pool and the entire Solarium all to ourselves for awhile.  We sat in one of the two large hot tubs and then relaxed on the comfortably padded deck loungers against the floor to ceiling window that the sun was shining brilliantly through.  Ahhhhh, it was so nice.  The hot tubs were actually heated and hot tubs are supposed to be heated, but the Destiny's didn't seem to be.  The deck was completely surrounded with windows (the area above the pool was exposed to the sun) so there were no wooden railings or anything to obstruct the view.  We went to Johnny Rockets for shakes.  The shake of the day was the "Elvis" - which was peanut butter and banana of course!  It was excellent!  We spent the day doing numerous things, mostly exploring areas we missed yesterday.  Up near the bow was a peek-a-boo window where we could look in on the captain's bridge and there was also a helicopter pad at the very front of the ship.   I would like to see a helicopter land there.  I'm sure it couldn't be done too easily, but it would still be a cool thing to see if we weren't moving of course.  In front of the pad is the bow where we did the "Titanic - King of the world" thing.  That was extremely cool.  It is hard to explain the feeling of the ocean spread out in front of you while this 140,000 ton ship is propelling you forward from behind you.  It was such a beautiful sunny day.  The wind whipped through our hair and well.... Wow. Then we explored the outer areas of some decks and found shuffleboard!  Oh for fun.  Brian and I played a few games making up our own rules and I kicked his behind once again.  I may be no match for him in many sports but apparently I'm pretty good at minature golf and shuffleboard!  There were many activities we could have joined in on throughout the day.  Royal Caribbean has the belly flop competitions and other silly things just like Carnival, but of course they also have the entire sports deck and ice rink to play on.  We didn't go out there this day because we thought it would be jammed packed with people since we were not at a port.  I was very happy to just play shuffleboard. We headed inside, went to the casino and played black jack on and off through out the day.  Just about every time we were in the vicinity of the casino, we stopped in for a few hands.  The blackjack shoes are different than any I have seen before.  Carnival has 6 deck shoes and they shuffle when they come to the card they insert about 3/4 of the way through the decks.  On Royal Caribbean, the dealer would insert the discarded cards after a couple of hands right back into an automated shuffling machine and I guess it shuffles randomly.  This cuts down on time when the dealer would be shuffling instead of taking your money.  I like seeing the dealer shuffle.  Then I know all the cards are there and it is easy to set a time when to quit.  Usually we would play one or two shoes.  Now we had to set a definite time when to quit.  We won a little over $100 through out the day. Ken, the cruise director made an announcement that there was going to be a bingo game in the Imperial Lounge for a room upgrade to an owners' suite.   We don't play bingo on cruises unless we are really bored, but this sounded better than a cash prize to us.  So we decided to go.  The Imperial Lounge had an Japanese motif that was really cool.  It cost $30 to play bingo which we thought was pretty ridiculous once we found out that the room upgrade game wasn't going to be played until later that day anyway, so we decided not to play.  I wonder who won and what the room was like.  That would have been awesome - but we were very happy with our balcony room.  And since I didn't see the room that was given away, I don't know what we missed out on. We went to a wine tasting in the dining room.  We have been to wine tastings before, but this one was a little different in that for the $6.00 fee, you get a very little cup thing on a chain to drink your wine out of.  It was also supposed to be your souvenir.  This was pretty silly because it was so shallow that when the waiters came around to fill it, many times it overflowed onto the tablecloth.  We ate a lot of cheese and tried to listen to the speaker that was trying to educate us on the wines, but even though we really didn't get that much wine, by the time we were half way through the wines, all the tables were talking amongst themselves and having a good time.  So we didn't learn anything, but it was enjoyable.  We listened to the music of the Rosario Strings at the lobby Aquarium bar where I also had an awesome banana daiquiri.  The band consisted of a piano, cello and a violin player.  They played the prettiest relaxing melodies I have ever heard.  The Aquarium Bar was a bar that had a couple of large aquariums.  There were not very many fish though.  We were kind of disappointed in that one because we had pictured it quite differently from what we had read about it.  But THAT was no big deal.  It was still a really nice and quiet bar with comfortable furniture.  We had Filet Mignon at supper that night.  I ordered my steak medium and it was well done.  I can eat medium well, but I don't like well done too much.  Moses had no problem taking it back for another one.  I cut into it and it wasn't much better, but I wasn't going to complain again.  I don't like being a pain in the butt so I was just going to eat it.  But Moses appeared from behind me and whisked it away muttering that it was way too done!  The third steak was perfect.  Brian told me later that Moses was right behind me waiting for me to cut into it looking to make sure it was right.  That was really nice.   Moses, Mustafa and Jasper showed up with a birthday cake for Brian even though it wasn't his birthday.   It had coconut in the frosting.  Nummm. >From here we went to the "Can't Stop the Rock" show in the Lyric Theatre.  It was incredible and by far the best show we have ever seen on a cruise.  There were four vocalists and lots of dancers.  One girl sang "I will always love you" that gave Whitney a run for her money (of course I have always liked Dolly's version better). They sang and danced to songs from classic movies like "Where the Boys Are", "All that Jazz",  "The Graduate", "Valley of the Dolls", "The Rose" and modern ones like "She's All That"  The crowd gave them a standing ovation.  Next we went to Jester's Night Club.  This was a two story disco with a fantastic medieval motif.  They were playing 80s stuff when we got there so we were like "hey cool - let's dance!"  Almost immediately, the music changed to the modern dance stuff.  Darn it anyway.  But we danced a little bit anyway.  It was fun and we felt young again for a little while anyway. We decided to call it quits and went back to our room around midnight.  We slept really good with the balcony door open letting the sound of the ocean put us to sleep.   12/11/01 ----- Day 3 ----- Aruba We were up at 7am again.  We went to the Solarium for a swim.  I was determined to get a little bit of a work out since we did not go to the gym.  I am not a very good swimmer, so it didn't take very long to wear me out.  We sat in a hot tub and relaxed.  Again we had the Solarium area to ourselves.  The early mornings are a great time to take advantage of the solitude.  We didn't notice the day before that there were shower stalls right next to the hot tubs.  That was a nice thing to have.  Next we went to breakfast in the Island Grill or maybe it was the Windjammer Cafe.   The Adventure had their buffet style dining set up split into two restaurants.  They were right next to each other and from what we could see they both served about the same buffet.  I don't know why they didn't just give it one name.   It was the usual buffet style breakfast, so Brian had an omelet.  I had cereal, fruit, part of Brian's omelet and of course coffee.  We were docked in Aruba, but we did not get off the ship.  We were just there the previous Friday on the Carnival Destiny and did a terrific excursion that covered the whole island.  We also bought some edam and gouda cheeses at a local grocery store that was currently being kept chilled in the fridge in our room.  One of these days when we are not so full, we plan to snack on them.  Like we are ever going to actually be hungry on this cruise.   I would have liked to have gone snorkeling at Baby Beach since many people have said that was the best snorkeling they have ever done.  Oh well, maybe next time since of course there will be a next time!  We spent a few hours just relaxing on our balcony and enjoying the quiet time.  We had good intentions of going up to the sports deck, but never got around to it. That day, Brian and I did something that we have never done before.  We decided to pamper ourselves and get massages.  We were both pretty shy about the whole thing, but it turned out to be a wonderful experience.  For $85, we were rubbed down and had all our stresses -  which were not many - away.  I didn't want the hour to end.  Who would have thought that a person could be so relaxed.  When it was over, the girl left me to get dressed and came back with products that she believed I needed to continue my "treatment".  I didn't have a massage for continued treatments.  I just wanted the treat part.  It was difficult to decline the products because I was in such a relaxed state that just about everything she said to me I could only manage a nod through a euphoric daze.  Brian who is so much better at turning down sales solicitations that he doesn't need than I am, came out with $100 worth of lotions.  I guess he was in a deeper daze than me.  The pitch that nailed him was the girl telling him that after each  shower, his "wife" should rub the lotion into his back.  Yeah, in your dreams buddy.  The next day when we eventually came down from our relaxed state, he decided he would have rather spent that money on yet another massage.  Oh well, live and learn.  The rest of the day we walked around on a cloud.  I don't think much of anything would have annoyed us that day.  We wondered from bar to bar just relaxing and having a drink here and there.   We didn't even talk that much.  We would once in a while just sigh and comment on what a nice day it was.  I wish I could be in that state all the time.  We had a reservation for the fine Italian restaurant, Portofino's that night.  There is a $20 cover charge per person to dine here.  We ate a lot of food and drank a bottle of wine.  We had shrimp appetizer, caesar salads, scallops and a really good Tiramisu for dessert.  It was good.  We certainly wouldn't think twice about spending more than $20 off the ship in a fine restaurant and we have, but we didn't necessarily find Portofino's to be as fine as we expected or that much better than the food and presentation in our dining room.  The wait staff was good, but they were very busy.  There was a lot of down time between courses.  But since we were still in our "relaxed state of mind from the massages" it didn't bother us too much.  It was a nice dining experience and we're glad we did it.  After we finally finished eating we headed to the casino, where we promptly lost $200 playing black jack - oops!  We must have been a little too relaxed and not cautious enough.  Then we went to the Love and Marriage Game Show in the Lyric Theatre.  Ken, the cruise director picked 3 couples from the audience.  One newly weds, one married for awhile and the other married the longest - 51 years.  They had the spouses leave while Ken asked silly questions that the spouses that stayed on stage had to figure out what their other halves would answer.  It was really funny.  We enjoyed it very much.   We would not have done very well with the questions they asked, like "what is the sexiest piece of clothing that your wife owns" or "where is the weirdest place you have ever - you know"  We played along with each other and always had completely different answers.  At 11:30, there was a deck party at the pool which we decided to check it out.  It was windy and somewhat rainy and crowded by the pools, but it was quiet at the Solarium pools.  We decided to get into our swimsuits and sit in a hot tub for the second time today.  We could still hear the music, and it was quiet and nice.  We watched our 1am departure from Aruba while sitting on our balcony and then went to bed. 12/12/01 -----  Day 4 --- Wednesday ------ Curacao On this day we slept in until 9am, grabbed a quick bite in the Island Grill and made our way back to the room to relax on the balcony with some coffee. From our balcony, we looked down upon the town of Willemstad, Curacao at the brightly colored Dutch colonial houses and shops.  The Queen Juliana Bridge that connected the two sides of the town loomed largely in the background.   Curacao which is the largest of the Netherlands Antilles located 39 miles off the coast of Venezuela between Aruba and Bonaire, was a beautiful port with a landscape that appeared to be similar to Aruba's.  Since we had not been to Curacao before, we decided to get off the Adventure of the Seas and walk around.  This was the first time we had been off the ship since we boarded on Sunday so it was the first time we saw the expanse of it.  It went on forever - just amazing.  We tried taking pictures with the whole ship in view and had to keep going further and further away from it.  The shopping district was on the other side of the Queen Emma pontoon bridge.  We started to cross it and realized that it was moving to allow a boat to pass by.  When we reached the other end, we waited for the bridge to return to the land and we stepped off.  We went shopping and found the stores and stands were very much the same as elsewhere, but all the touristy trinket type stuff was pretty cheap.  So we bought a couple of items and I bought a hot pink short outfit for $10.  If it shrinks or falls apart in the wash, I'm not out that much.  Venezuelan vendors set up a fish and produce along the floating market which is along the waterside where they tie up their boats.  I didn't recognize some of the produce and I definitely couldn't tell you what kind of fish we saw, but it was interesting to look at.  We were going to do a trolley town tour, but the guide didn't have change for a $50 bill.  I guess it would have been wiser to schedule the excursion from the ship even though it would have costed more.  But we had not planned on doing this tour until we saw the trolley.  We read up on both Aruba and Curacao prior to doing the cruises and came to the conclusion that they were similar.  We did a fantastic excursion of Aruba on the Destiny the week before so we don't feel like we missed out on anything in Curacao.   It was getting pretty warm, so we decided to head back to the ship. We went for a swim in the solarium pool, relaxed for awhile and then headed to Johnny Rockets for lunch.  We had burgers and a strawberry shake.  Oh, strawberry is my absolute favorite and I can't tell you enough about how good those shakes were.  You are going to just have to get one yourself when you sail on this cruise ship!  If the shakes aren't enough of an incentive to book this cruise, I don't know what could be.  The staff at Johnny Rockets danced to "Old Time Rock and Roll"  They were so much fun to watch.  After leaving Johnny Rockets feeling like the blobs we were, we went to the Ship Shape Center and each did a steam.  There was a steam room and a sauna in the changing rooms.  But of course they were gender segregated, so Brian and I couldn't do a steam together, just at the same time.  This is the first steam I had done and I liked it better than a sauna because I didn't get too hot.  Later that afternoon, I had an appointment to get my hair permed.   I have gotten a perm about every two years my entire life, but have never used the salon services on a cruise before.   According to the booklet they had of prices, a perm for my length of hair  was cheaper at $85 than what I usually pay.  Since we were not spending much time off the ship at the ports, I decided to take the time and get a perm.  My appointment was at 4:30 and we had tickets to see the ice show at 7:00.  I didn't think my appointment would take over 2 hours since it never has in the past, but I checked ahead of time anyway to make sure my hair would be done in time for the show.  The girl at the desk said there would be no problem. I was on time for my appointment, but didn't get sat in the chair until 4:45.  The girl asked how I wanted my perm.  I said that I usually get spiral perms, but this time I just wanted just a wave with some body to it.  I told her how often I get perms and that my hair permed very easily and I never needed the solution on for the entire time.  She said ok and we got started.  She said she would trim my hair when we were finished to give it a lift.  I said that was fine - (that's standard procedure when you get a perm besides I just had a hair cut before this vacation.)  We made some small talk while she rolled my hair.  I mentioned that I was happy to see that the perm prices were so reasonable, she agreed.  After the solution was put in, she put me under a dryer and said the solution should stay in 20 minutes, but she would check me between 10 and 15.  I said good - because I definitely didn't need 20 minutes.  In the meantime, she had a couple of other appointments come in.  I kept an eye on my watch.  She did not come back until after 20 minutes.  She said - "How are we doing?"  I told her - "I'm DONE!"  She took a curler out and exclaimed that yes indeed I was done.  She noticed my eyes were burning from the chemicals and applied a soothing eye mask that was very nice.  She put the other solution in and put me back under the dryer.  She took care of more clients.  I was starting to get a little worried about the time.  I wasn't sure I would be done in time for the ice show.  Finally she came back and we rinsed.  I mentioned what time the ice show was and then she went a little faster.  (I don't think she had any intention of getting me out of there before 7:30 at the rate she was taking other clients)  As she was taking off the curlers, she asked me what kind of make up I wore.  I told her that I have used Mary Kay all my life, that I loved it and that my sister was my consultant.  She showed me a jar of some kind of brown powder.  I didn't pay much attention because I wasn't interested.  I wanted to get going!  I knew my hair was going to be curly and it was... So much for a little body wave.  But it looked good.  She put in a protein thing - that isn't standard procedure for the perms I have had - and left me for a few minutes again while she worked on someone else.  She came back, rinsed me and started the trim.  At 6:40, Brian walked in ready to go to the ice show.  I told him I was just about done.  She finished my extremely poofy do and then grabbed that make up jar and did my face in 30 seconds.  I looked good!  I thought she had done that as something nice to do, but when she rang up my bill, I found I was charged for it!  I was also charged for the protein treatment and eye mask that I didn't ask for AND the haircut!  I was shocked.  Never in my life have I been charged extra for a trim after a perm.  She gave me a break and only charged $65 for the perm, but with all the other services including a bottle of shampoo (which I was planning to buy), the total was $140!  We were really cutting it close to get to the ice show and I was in such shock that I didn't know what to say anyway, so I didn't dispute the charges.  But I wish I had.  I realize this has been a very long story, but I hope that anyone that reads this becomes aware to watch for the hidden charges in the salon.  I felt like I was really taken advantage of.  But the perm is very nice and will hopefully last a long time.  We made it with just a few minutes to spare to catch the Cool Art, Hot Ice Show in the Studio B ice arena.  The Krooz Komics appeared prior to the show and did an excellent job of entertaining the crowd.  We sat fairly close to the ice and at times the skaters came flying almost right in our faces.  It is amazing that they don't go flying over the wall at times.  They went through many cool costume changes and had the neatest props on the ice.  It was just like any other dance type show on a cruise, but they were on skates and were so excellent.  Once again, this was yet another incredible entertainment show and the crowd gave a very loud standing ovation.   After supper, we went to the celebrity show in the Lyric Theatre.  We were in for a treat.  A group called Rain did a wonderful tribute concert ( Beatlemania style) to the Beatles.  They dressed, talked and sang like the Beatles and changed costumes as they went through the Beatles chronicle of music.  George Harrison had just died the week before, so it was even more special to hear this tribute band play his contributions.  We then went to the casino of course and played some black jack and won $55.  Then we headed over to the Promenade street to briefly view the end of the Latin Street party before going back to the room.  We spent some time on the balcony and went to bed. 12/13/01 ---- Day 5 ---- Day at sea ---- Formal night We stayed in bed until 10:00am!  Aaahhh, that was so nice.  Then we went to the Cafe Promenade, which is Royal Caribbean's version of the Cafe on the Way that I loved so much on the Destiny.  We got a couple of cappuccinos and pastries and found seats just outside the cafe on the street where the Krooz Komics were demonstrating the art of being a clown.  They gave a brief history while they put on make up.  It was really interesting and for a fleeting moment I thought it would be really cool to have a career as a clown.  But I don't think I could be in such a good mood all the time. From here we went back to the room and watched on CNN the video tape that was just released of Bin Laden yucking it up with an admirer.  It was horrifying and chilling to watch that monster talk, laugh and praise himself.  We went to the casino and played a little of everything.  I won some on roulette, black jack and slots but Brian lost so much that we didn't come out ahead.  We lost about $45 total that day.  Oh well, you can't win all the time.  HA! - no kidding.  Since we got up so late and had those pastries, we skipped lunch and by mid-afternoon, we were getting hungry - but believe it or not - not hungry enough for Johnny Rockets' burgers and shakes!  We were actually getting tired of eating all the time.  I didn't think that was possible!  There were afternoon snacks being served at the Windjammer cafe so we headed up there.  There was a bunch of food there, not what I would call a light snack.  We loaded up our plates with various items.  Brian found strawberry crepes that were excellent so we both ate a bunch of those.  Then we went out to the sports deck and watched a volley ball game being played and people climbing the rock wall.  It was way too windy for my new perm to be out there playing minature golf, so we were content to sit outside the 19th Hole Bar with a couple of bloody mary's and watch every one else be physical.  The ship really rocked all day long - just as it had the last day we were on the Destiny.  I guess these bigger ships aren't as stable as we thought they would be.  But the movement didn't seem to bother anyone playing sports.  We then continued our bar hopping and moved on to the Blue Moon bar that overlooked the pool area.  An extremely drunk girl who was dancing down by the pool caught our eye and we had a great time making up conversations that she was having with her boyfriend or husband because they appeared to be arguing.  She stumbled away for awhile and then came back, then he left and she left and then they both came back and seemed to eventually make up.  I have a feeling they missed supper that night and woke up with headaches the next day.  Then we went to the Champagne bar because I wanted to try one of the many champagne cocktail concoctions they make there.  Paul and Ringo from the Beatles tribute band, Rain came in and we complemented them on their show and they responded very nicely.  They sat at the bar for awhile and appeared to be having a nice time.  It was getting to be time to head back to the room to get ready for supper.  But for the first time ever in the history of our cruising, we decided to skip supper!  Gasp!  I missed steak and lobster!  I know - something crazy must have come over us!  But we were tiring of the two hour meals.  We went to the early seating in the Lyric Theatre for the entertainment show "Behind The Velvet Rope".  It was incredible and the singers and dancers were so talented that the audience gave them a standing ovation once again. After the show, we went to Jesters Nightclub for awhile.  It was still pretty early and it was not very exciting there yet.   We drank a couple of beers, danced one dance and left because viewing of the Gala Buffet was about to begin.  The buffet was definitely on scale with Carnivals if not better.  by midnight we were STARVING! (That's what we get for skipping supper!)  We decided to only take pictures and not to wait in line to eat the buffet.  by this time we had plenty of beer in us and no food so we went to Johnny Rockets and pigged out!  Johnny Rockets has several different cheese burgers with special sauces like the Route 66, St. Louis, Old Number 12 and the Smoke House.  Brian thought they were all fantastic and he recommends trying the Smoke House with Tillamook cheddar cheese, bacon, onion ring, and extra barbeque-ranch sauce.  I liked the Original burger with lots of mustard and no cheese.  Have I mentioned that we are sold on Johnny Rockets?  The ship rocked all night, but we were so tired by the time we got back to our cabin that we went staight to bed and slept like babies rocking in a cradle.  12/14/01 ----- Day 6 ---- St. Maarten We got up about 8:30am and went to the fitness center and I did about 20 minutes on the machine I liked so much.  It is getting harder to work out.  I don't have the same energy level I had at the beginning of the week.  I weighed myself and found that I had gained 6 pounds.  I guess that isn't bad considering how much I have eaten and drank these last few weeks, but I guess that might explain my lower energy level.  Also, Brian had caught a cold and wasn't feeling very well at all.  He had a sore throat and an ear ache.  He did a brief workout and then he did a steam thinking it would help, but I'm not sure a warm moist climate is good for a cold, but I don't know.  The Adventure of the Seas is now in the port of Phillipsburg, St. Maarten.  This is the island of two countries - St. Maarten - Dutch and St. Martin - French.  We had been to St. Maarten on a previous cruise, but had not been to the French side of St. Martin.  The last time we were here, a tender had to take us since there the pier for cruise ships had not been built yet.  Since then a huge pier was built for cruise ships to dock at.  It is an incredibly nice pier, but it is a ways from Phillipsburg.  We didn't realize how far it was and instead of paying a taxi to take us just around the corner, we decided to walk over to Phillipsburg and catch a bus to Marigot, St. Martin on the French side.   Well, Phillipsburg, wasn't just around the corner and we walked about a mile before we got into town.  It wasn't too hot and it wasn't a bad walk, we just were not expecting it.  We read ahead of time that the most inexpensive way to go to Marigot was by bus for $1.50 per person.  We could of done on of the excursions, but we wanted to see Marigot on our own so we found a bus stop and waited.  We realized after about 15 vans went by that those were the buses and that we had to look in their windows for a card that read their destination and wave them down.  It was not a very far distance - the whole Island is only 37 square miles - but it took about 25 minutes to get to Marigot with traffic.  The most congested of the traffic was right in Phillipsburg, St. Maarten.  Marigot was not as crowded with tourists and it was enjoyable to walk around the quaint coastal French town.  We stopped at a small cafe for a thirst quenching Orangina befor setting off to explore.  My favorite part was the marina harbor side with all the French style restaurants on the water front.  It was a picture out of a painting until it started to rain.  We ducked into the Le Gallion restaurant to get out of the rain.  We had to move back from our original table when it started to rain harder and blow in on us.  It was a really cool rain storm that I don't think they get very often.  We ordered a couple of beers and an appetizer that consisted of raw ham, white ham, and homemade (liver?) pate - it was definitely interesting and not what we usually consume.  Then I had mussels with french baguettes that were excellent and Brian had a flank steak that was too rare for his tastes but he ate it anyway and said it was good.  The waiter was very nice, good looking and French of course!  Ooh La La - don't all us girls have those French guy fantasies?  It was a very enjoyable meal and the rain had lessened a great deal when we were ready to go.  We found another bus stop and went back to Phillipsburg and walked back to the ship.  It started raining again when we were about half way to the ship, but we didn't care because we were already damp from earlier and we didn't mind the rain.  We rested and got cleaned up when we got back to the room.  From the looks of the weather outside, it seemed like it was going to rain for the rest of the day and it did on and off.  We went bar hopping for a couple of hours and stopped in the casino for our daily black jack and won $60.  Then we went to supper and Moses acted like he was hurt that we skipped the formal dinner the night before.  We jokingly apologized over and over and said it would not happen again.  He was a very funny guy who we enjoyed very much.  He spent a lot of time with us talking and joking around.  We had ordered a bottle of wine from our interactive television screen to have with dinner but it was not there.  The system was down, but Moses took care of it right away.  I had shrimp that night and Jasper, the head waiter came by and cut the tails and shells off my large butter flied shrimp.  He made it a point to stop at our table every night to make sure everything was okay. The show that night was a singer/impressionist from Canada named Martin Dube who we would get to know a little better while playing Blackjack in the casino tomorrow night.  He sang songs and sounded just like the original artists.  I thought he was great.  There were a couple we thought he shouldn't have tried, but most of his impressions were amazing - even of female singers!  He did everyone from Madonna to Shaina Twain from Elton John to Garth Brooks.  This is the only time I got to hear country music so I was happy even if it was just a couple of phrases.  Country music is one small thing I would request that cruise lines add but we are probably too small of a group to accommodate.  There is a really good assortment of music like piano, jazz, calypso, guitar, top 40 dance, easy listening and especially Latino music on this cruise but no country music.   I definitely liked all that they had to offer, but it would have been nice to hear my favorite type of music too.  But that's just my opinion - Brian of course doesn't share it, because he is a little bit rock and roll.  HA! After the show, we tried to catch the "Rockin' through the Decades" parade in on the Promenade street but it was just too crowded to see anything.  But of course we saw the Krooz Komics on stilts who were just as upbeat and spectacular as ever.  Later there was a "Rockin' thru the Decades" party in Studio B where they had covered the ice with a dance floor.  We had already missed the 50s and 60s and had heard YMCA at least 15 times through out both of our cruises which was fun to dance to for the first 5 times or so.  There were other bands in the 70s besides Village People, wasn't there?  Brian was feeling pretty cruddy because of his cold, so we didn't stick around and called it an early night at midnight. 12/15/01 ---- Day 7 ---- St. Thomas It poured down rain all day long!  I thought it never rained in the Caribbean like that!  We think that St. Thomas got all of its average rainfall for the year that day.  All the excursions were cancelled which didn't bother us because we were not planning on getting off the ship anyway.  It was a bummer though because this was our last day on the cruise and we had been looking forward to swimming, playing minature golf and maybe roller blading while most of the people were off the ship.    Oh well, we had to make the best of it so we had room service breakfast on our balcony and enjoyed the sound of the rain for awhile.  Then we went to workout which was really not a good idea so soon after breakfast.  We should have worked out before we ate because it took everything I had to do 15 minutes on the machine because I was so sluggish.  We sat in the mineral hot tub in the center of the spa for awhile, then we did a sauna and a steam.  Clearly it was going to be a day for pure relaxation and doing as little as possible. Later that afternoon, we went up to the Solarium pool area and dozed on the deck chairs.  It was raining hard but we were under a covered spot.  Brian noticed the Solarium Bar was open so we got a Bloody Mary as we headed back to our room.  Brian decided the Bloody Mary didn't have enough alcohol so he called room service.  I didn't think they would deliver drinks to your room, but they did.  A girl came with a tray that held two very full vodka martinis.  She came in the room, knelt down and placed the tray on the coffee table.  We were extremely impressed that she did not spill a drop.  I would have had vodka all over the place.  We got the cheese out of the fridge that we had bought in Aruba the previous Friday when we were on the Carnival Destiny, ate much of it and watched the movie, "The Mexican".  It was so funny, but it could have been because of the martinis.  After the movie when we were full of cheese and alcohol, we went back up to the Solarium pool and sat in a hot tub. The Adventure of the Seas left St. Thomas at 6pm and headed to San Juan.  The overall mood of everyone on the ship was glum.  Many had never been to St. Thomas and were very disappointed with the rainy day.  We were feeling a little glum because our vacation was almost over.       We went back to our cabin to get our gratuity envelopes ready for the staff that provided such wonderful service. Unlike Carnival who now automatically puts the tips on your sail and sign card, Royal Caribbean gives you the option of putting the tips on your super charge card if you want.  We like to personally give each crew member their tip with a very verbal thank you for all the hard work they did for us.  We then located Teodore, our cabin steward who did a fantastic job cleaning up after us and gave him his envelope. We went to the Farewell show before supper and Ken, the cruise director did his best to put everyone in a good mood again.  There was a comedian and a balancing act that were part of the Welcome Aboard show that we had skipped the first night.  They were excellent.  The ship was really rocking again and it was incredibly amazing that the balancing guy didn't fall and break his neck!  He managed to crawl up on top of a ton of various objects he placed on top of one another, including rolling cylinders and moving things like that.  I held my breath the entire time.  We then went to supper, handed out our tip envelopes and said good bye to Moses, Mustafa and Jasper.  Then we went to the casino for our last night of gambling.  Brian won a little over $70 on roulette while I lost about $25 on black jack.  We were ready to call it quits when we decided to play a Pink Panther dollar slot machine.  I had never played anything more than quarters so that my $20 lasts a little longer, but we decided to live a little since it was our last night.  We played about $10 and won $115!  We cashed out, shopped a little at the Promenade shops and went bar hopping again. Our bar tab by the way was fairly extensive with the wide array of alchol we consumed. Finally, we decided we better get back to the room and pack.  How depressing of a thought that was because I did not want to think about getting off this incredible ship in the morning.  We had a really difficult time packing because for one, we didn't want to and for another the rocking motion was horrible.  I actually got sick to my stomach for the first time.  We managed to get everything packed and out in the hall at 12:15am.  We did not fall asleep easily with the all the rocking the ship did on this last night. 12/16/01 ----- San Juan, Puerto Rico ------ Debarkation of the Adventure of the Seas Yesterday in St. Thomas, we went through immigration process while on the ship.  Everyone had to do this even if they did not get off of the ship in St. Thomas because we were back in an United States port.  But since we didn't get off the ship, we did it at our leisure just before the deadline and there wasn't any wait at all.  It only took a couple of minutes and we were happy to be done with this the day before we debarked.  The morning of debarking, we didn't have to report to a lounge at a certain time and get off the ship when our color tag was called - like we had to on all our previous Carnival cruises.  All we had to do was to be out of our room by 8:30 and we had a leisurely breakfast in the dining room since we were staying in San Juan that day and in no hurry to get off the ship.  Then we walked around and decided to relax in the Lyric Theatre where they had CNN on for awhile, then Animal Planet and the Travel Channel.   They announced airline flight numbers for people to know when to get off the ship.  I was catching up on my notes for this review when finally around 11:45, they announced that all remaining guests should debark at that time.  There were no lines of people waiting to get off and when we got into the massive terminal, it was empty except for a few people and pieces of luggage here and there, so ours was extremely easy to locate.  We hired a porter to load up our bags and take us to a taxi.  He collected our customs card from us and commented about how busy the place was an hour before.  We got into a taxi and headed to the El Convento Hotel because we were not flying back to Anchorage until the next day. We got to the hotel before check in time a little after noon, but our room was ready.  The El Convento Hotel was a small luxury hotel right across from the San Juan Cathedral on Cristo Street in Old San Juan.  For 250 years, it served as a convent to the Carmelite Nuns.  It is really old and slightly musty, but restored very nicely.  It is very comfortable and decorated with Spanish antiques, yet had all the conveniences and amenities we could possibly have wanted.  We had a couple of beers and tried Puerto Rican style pizza in a cafe downstairs and then spent a couple of hours in the hot tub on the sun deck.  It was very cloudy, but it did not rain on us.  The clouds were nice because we didn't have to worry about burning our still pale arctic skin.   We took a short nap and then headed to the lobby for complementary wine and cheese that was being offered from 6pm - 7:30pm.  We called home to check on our dog whom we missed very much and he was doing fine.  We took a short walk around Old San Juan and down to the Governor's mansion to see his Christmas decorations at night and headed back to the hotel.  We rented a bad movie but managed to stay awake to see the Adventure of the Seas go by on its way back out to sea for its fifth official cruise.  Sniff - our vacation is over.  12/17/01 ------  American Airlines ----- Flight 1777 ----- San Juan to Barrow Alaska We checked out of the El Convento hotel at 7:00 and had a light complementary breakfast there.  The porter got us a taxi and loaded our bags and we headed to the airport.  The lines were massive and we were happy to be flying first class thanks to travel awards. We like taking vacations and cruising, but right now, we wish we didn't have to fly to get to these destinations since our location is quite remote and the trip from San Juan to Barrow took us 24 hours.  We were definitely happy to be back home with Merlin, our dog and to put and end to the transportational commute portion of our vacation.  Final thoughts: The worst complaint or more of an "irritation" - that we experienced on both ships - was the population of the Spanish only speaking people on board.  The people from Puerto Rico

received incredible bargains for these cruises and brought whole families.  It was one big party for them and many of these families acted like they were the only ones on board.  Everyone deserves to have a good time, but it was very hard to move through or around large groups of people as they congregated in walk through areas.  They didn't seem to care that they were always in the way of others, and they didn't understand the phrase "excuse me" or they wouldn't hear it until we said it the 3rd or 4th time because they were always talking so loudly to one another.  It was a little bit of a pain at the beginning, but by the end of cruise, it was extremely annoying!  It was uncommon to find ourselves on an elevator with any one who spoke English and on several of the occasions when we were with English speaking people, they commented that they were happy to be on an elevator that was not jammed with loud Latino conversation.   I was relieved to know that we were not the only ones to feel this way.  In closing I'm happy to say we had a wonderful time those two and a half weeks sailing back to back cruises on the Carnival Destiny and Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas.  They are both great cruises, but the Adventure of the Seas was just so incredible that we absolutely fell in love with the ship.  It was really hard to compare the Destiny to the Adventure of the Seas because it was a brand new ship that raises the bar for all cruise lines.  Due to post 9/11 cruise discounts we actually paid less for this cruise than we did for the Destiny.  All of our previous cruises have been on Royal Caribbean International and this Royal Caribbean cruise was by far our favorite cruise to date.   We did not want to leave the ship and we will most likely try another Royal Caribbean or perhaps a Celebrity cruise next time out. Adventure of the Seas - PROs and CONs PRO - Beautiful balcony room (cat D7) with lots of storage and a great circular shower with doors. PRO - In room Television selection was excellent and it was nice to have laundry pick-up service. PRO - The Promenade Deck (street) with it's shops and parades featuring the Krooz Komics were fabulous. PRO - Johnny Rockets is a great lunch or dining option that we enjoyed almost daily. PRO - The Sports deck with it's many activities and the wide assortment of lounges kept us busy. PRO - ALL the entertainment type shows - especially those in the Lyric Theatre and the ice show in Studio B. PRO - The Solarium pool area was a nice place for a quiet swim or hot tub. PRO - Fitness center had many machines - never had to wait for one. PRO - The entire ship is just flat out gorgeous, from top to bottom. PRO - The service was superb in every department. PRO - We felt this cruise was better in every aspect to those we have taken on Carnival with but one exception. CON - Although we found the food presented it the dining room was good it was not in any way impressive or exceptional.  In our comparison of this cruise to our recent cruise on the Destiny we found that Carnival has the edge in the food department. CON - We had hoped the beer selection would be better than Carnival's but it was about the same.

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