This was our 23rd cruise, our fifth on RCI, our second on Adventure of the Seas, and our fifth cruise from San Juan. We are a married couple ages 57/55. We cruised with 2 other couples.
For some reason you didn't just drop off your luggage curbside; they made you stand in a big line to drop off your luggage. Then you got in another line to check in. I didn't see the point, except maybe that the guys taking the luggage seemed to being doing pretty well on tips since everyone in line was watching. We had pre-registered through their new Online Registration Program, which made things very quick: They just scan your credit card, pop out your Sea Pass and you are on your way. There were lots of lines open so only a few people were ahead of us. We arrived at port at noon and were onboard by 12:20 or so.
This is one of my favorite ships. It's hard to believe you're on a ship when you're in the promenade (is that a good thing?) It is beginning to show its age in a few spots. The upholstered items in our cabin had numerous cigarette burns, but that's to be expected with time. We had a room on Deck 8 overlooking the promenade -- an inside room with a view! We really enjoyed it. I thought noise might be a problem, but it was not.
The only thing I didn't like about the beds is the rounded corners at the foot. I'm very short and even my toes hung off the edge. This also made it difficult to keep the blankets on the bed. The bathroom has a shower door rather than a curtain, which I liked, but I usually shower in the spa anyway -- it is roomier and has a larger shower head. The end shower has a glass block wall that gives you lots of sunlight and a ledge to sit on when shaving!
It was nothing to rave about, but that's true of most cruise ship food nowadays. The fish was usually pretty dry and only one night did it pass muster. The lobster was actually good and a nice size, although they no longer give you your own little butter pot. The service was delightful. There is no longer a wine steward; the waiter takes care of it. No complaints.
The buffet is the downfall of this ship. It moves slowly because it lacks individual stations, but that's true of many ships. The deserts are separate and they have started pouring drinks and placing them at the end of the line; on previous trips, you fetched your own from the crowded beverage station. But you do get your own coffee, there and there seemed to be a chronic leak that left a dangerous puddle in a high traffic spot. And the coffee –aaargghh! It was awful, just awful. If you want good coffee, have breakfast in the dining room, where it's actually passable. Also, if you order a pot delivered to your room, you get the good stuff.
We didn't go to the specialty restaurant this time, but I heard it was wonderful. And if you like good coffee and ice cream there is a Coffee Shop and a Ben & Jerry's.
Johnny Rockets Diner is a pay restaurant but it was only about $5, I think -- an old-style diner with great hamburgers and fountain drinks. The staff also entertains you with a Saturday Night Fever dance routine. It's great for lunch on your sea day.
Ports of Call
This ship does two itineraries. Both go to St. Thomas, St. Maarten and St. Lucia. This week they did Antigua and Barbados; next week they do Aruba and Curacao instead. All are lovely islands with their own flavor. There was only one sea day, which for me is not enough. A port each day wears me out and I need more down time - but then, I could have seven sea days in a row and be fine with it.
The entertainment was the standard cruise line stuff. I thought one of the production shows was a little out there - maybe I'm getting old but it was just weird to me, sort of disjointed with awkward costuming, although the sets were very nice. We heard that from a few other folks too, but the younger crowd seemed to enjoy it. They had a great comic and pianist. The theatre did not seem to have any bad seats.
The dance music was very good and there was lots of it, although they would take one-hour breaks after a 45-minute set, so you had to hop from bar to bar if you wanted to dance the night away. I found that annoying, since we really like to dance; we wasted a lot of time traipsing around.
The security seemed pretty good, although they could have shown a greater presence in Jesters, the late-night dance club. A rowdy bunch of "ladies" really wanted our table near the dance floor and repeatedly asked us when we were leaving. When all six of us got up to dance, one of our group saw one of these women sweep her arm across our table, dumping all our drinks into the seats! The waitress did not want to replace our drinks, but the manager on duty did. Although several people saw the incident, the security guard outside the door was not asked to do anything about the group. Now that our seats were soaking wet, we took our fresh drinks and left.
Two fights broke out in the Jacuzzi at poolside; if the pool security had kept a better handle on a brewing situation that probably would not have happened. But once punches were thrown, they jumped in pretty quick -- which subsequently shut down the entire poolside for about 15 minutes per incident. Given the recent well-publicized incident on an RCI ship, you'd think they'd be a little more astute.
Tips can be put on your account, but they give you certificates to place in the envelope -- kind of a nice compromise.
We didn't use it - too expensive. I use a dockside facility in each port for about $3 per 15 minutes.
This seemed slower than usual, but we usually are in the first group or two called. This time we stayed over in San Juan, so we were in the last group. The first group was called at 8:10, the last group at 11:10. Once your number was called it still took another 20-30 minutes to exit the ship.
Overall: Loved it, would do it again - and probably will.