CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews


Royal Caribbean International Adventure of the Seas by BF Southern Caribbean July 1, 2007

Introduction We recently returned from my 3rd cruise and my husbands 2nd. This was our first experience with RCCL. Getting to the ship was a real accomplishment.

Our flight was delayed 7 hours in Philadelphia, compliments of US Airways. Initially, when finding out about the delay and the fear that the Adventure of the Seas would be leaving us behind, there was panic. But finding strength in numbers (about 120+ were affected), passengers banded together and began a rigorous 2 hours of contacting US Airway Customer Service (they were NOT sympathetic) and RCCL. After several hours and numerous phone calls, RCCL agreed to postpone the departure time from San Juan. We arrived at the ship at 8:15 pm and did not depart until 10:00 pm. We must compliment RCCL Customer Service and the Captain for showing some understanding in the situation.

Embarkation was smooth and uneventful. This was a plus as we were exhausted after leaving home at 2:00 am to catch a flight that left at 6:15 am, and arriving in Philadelphia at 7:30 am for the unexpected 7 hour delay. We did take advantage of the online check-in prior to our leaving home. It was easy for even me, a person who is not always comfortable with on-line activities.

The ship was a city within itself. It was amazing to stand on the promenade deck and think that it was actually a ship. Our cabin was a balcony stateroom. It was a little on the small side, but yet large enough for 2 people.

One of the most enjoyable times was spending time sitting around the dining table in the evenings and sharing a meal with two other families. One family had 3 children (12, 15 and 16) and the other family had 2 children (7 and 10). My husband and I are grandparents. I found it interesting that after the first evening, our waiter pulled me aside and asked if I was ok with the set-up. What he did not realize that it brought back fond memories of when we had taken our children on a family cruise several years ago. We still cherish those memories and certainly enjoyed being a part of the family bonding that we were able to observe going on with these 2 families.

The waiter and assistant waiter went out of their way to make our dining experience wonderful. Pitty, assistant waiter, figured out our likes from the very first meal, and we rarely had to ask for anything. Our waiter was always a wealth of knowledge, making recommendations for each of the ports of call. He had been cruising for 15 years and shared with us that August would be the end of his cruising days, as he pursues plans to share his life with a special girl waiting back home.

Ports

St. Lucia: Taking a cruise can be exciting, but bring much anxiety when trying to determine where to go, what to see, and who to use for a guide during the visits to the various ports. There were so many options given by the cruise ship, but we decided to go independent and seek a private tour, prior to our departure date, that would give us a taste of what the island was really like from the perspective of someone who lived there. We were not disappointed.

Fabian's Taxi Tour Service of St. Lucia, info@fabiantoursstlucia.com provided an absolutely wonderful experience for my husband and me. Fabian, himself, met us at the pier and spent the day sharing the beauty of St. Lucia with us. We started our tour as we traveled through the capital of Castries. We visited Walcott Square, where we were able to see a large Samaan Tree, which is over 400 years old. We drove the winding, mountainous road heading south where we were able to see several fishing villages. The views were breathtaking, including Marigot Bay. Part of the tour included driving through the rain forest, which gets 160 inches of rain/year. We visited the Toraille Waterfalls/Botanical Gardens and Sulfur Springs, a drive-in volcano. We had never experienced the sulfur smell of a volcano or the bubbling, black lava. He shared the history of the island that dates back hundreds of years. We were able to see several churches that were over 200 years old. We sampled local foods (tasting freshly made cassava bread, coconut cookies, fresh coconut, sugar cane, banana ketchup and the best, freshly baked bread ever). He provided unlimited beverages including local beer, rum punch, soda and water. We hit the bottled water heavily that day, but could not finish the day without tasting the rum punch. We had the opportunity to swim at Jalousie Beach that lies between the Pitons, Gros and Petit. We stopped along the road and had lessons on the growing of bananas and cashews. We now understand WHY cashews are so expensive in the US! Fabian stopped and bought roasted cashews so that we could taste how the locals prepare them. We were allowed to leisurely view each stop. It was a relaxed tour and one that Fabian created to meet OUR expectations. His vehicle was air-conditioned and comfortable. We could have invited others to join us, but we chose to make it OUR day. We now have our pictures to remind us of an unforgettable day. We promised Fabian we would share our experience with others upon our return home.

Tourism is th primary income source for St. Lucia. Word of mouth is the best advertisement for success. We highly recommend using Fabian's Taxi Tour Service when visiting St. Lucia. His ultimate goal is one of customer satisfaction. He went BEYOND our expectations.

St. Maartin: Upon leaving the ship in St. Maartin, we met up with a couple who we had met in the dining room the day before. We were making plans to walk into town and explore the shopping opportunities, when during our conversation, they invited us to join them for a private tour that they had scheduled prior to their departure from home. The pre-arranged tour was with Joyce Phillips. I must say our decision was an absolute excellent one. Joyce immediately made us feel welcome.

We began the tour stopping in town for some shopping. Once we finished, she began the journey through the town, taking us through residential areas, giving us a clear picture of life on the island. We were able to visit both the Dutch side of the island, as well as the French. We wanted to go to the beach in the afternoon. She took us to a beach that most would never have visited Divi Beach. It was beautiful and not crowded at all. We gave her a pick-up time and she was waiting on us at the designated location.

She had lived most of her life on the island and was a wealth of knowledge. She directed us to the best places to shop for jewelry. I am happy to say that we made a few purchases. Our tour lasted 6.5 hours and she only charged $35.00/person + tipping. Joyce provided a quality tour. She really knows how to "sell" her island. We would like to return and spend some extended time on St. Maartin.

St. Thomas: We had already decided that we were going to visit Magan's Bay and relax our last day in port. We made the choice to go to the beach in the morning. It was wonderful. While everyone else was shopping, we arrived at the bay with very few on the beach. It was peaceful and beautiful. By the time we left at 12:00, it had become quite congested. A wise decision to go early.

Disembarkation

Disembarkation was every bit as easy as embarkation. We enjoyed visiting with friends that we had made during the time that we were waiting to leave.

RCCL is a cruise line that we would re-visit. We were satisfied with the customer service, the cleanliness of the ship, our dining experiences and the many opportunities/activities available.

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