14 Day Transatlantic Cruise
San Juan, Puerto Rico to Malaga, Spain
Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas
May 01 - 14, 2011
By: Philatsea
Photos courtesy of Rumrunner 1 and Philatsea

Adventure of the Seas
Adventure of the Seas

I only booked this cruise on the Wednesday before the cruise sailed on the Sunday. I had been watching for several weeks before this cruise for specials from Celebrity, Princess and Royal Caribbean. I had received a good deal from Princess for the Sapphire Princess for a 7 Day Mexico cruise. Then there was a price drop on Adventure of the Seas and a quick check of air showed that the cruise with air was almost the same price except the cruise was double in length. I was able to book a Promenade Cabin for under $500 for a single, this is almost unheard of.
This became a no brainer. I talked to my Travel Agent mid day on Wednesday and he held a cabin till midnight so I could see if air would fit into my plans.
I soon learned that Us Airways and Delta were having a First Class Airfare war and thus First Class airfare was the same if not cheaper than Economy. I also noticed that flying Seattle was far better for flights than flying from Vancouver. I was able to secure First Class airfare from Seattle to San Juan. I was then able to book airfare from Malaga to Gatwick a very low price on Aer Lingus. I then had to book the Hilton hotel at Gatwick.
I then saw airfare on Air Transat from Gatwick to Vancouver for a price but soon found out I could not book it on the Canadian site and had to book it on the UK site. When I did this I found the price was a couple hundred dollars less. No idea why but I will take it. I was then offered an upgrade to Premium Seating for a price that worked out to less than if I had booked on the Canadian site. For a 9.5 hour flight this became a done deal.

I had my daughter drive me to Seattle and caught a red eye to Philadelphia with a 1.5 hour layover then onto San Juan arriving at 11:20 AM. I took a taxi to the Port and as my last cruise nothing has changed to try and get into this port. It took about 30-40 minutes to travel less than 1/2 km because of traffic. The Caribbean Princess was also in port with Adventure and thus making traffic a problem.

I joined a line-up to drop my luggage of that I was in for about 20 minutes. Once this was done I quickly cleared the Security check and then onto check-in. From the time I dropped my luggage off to boarding was about 10 minutes. I did notice that when my Seapass card was presented and had no table number for dinner. This would mean a stop later on to get a table.
I also noted that people that were with me were Diamond members and used the Diamond check-in and they were still in the line when I finished. This isn't much of a perk if it takes you longer than someone who is not a Diamond member.

I soon boarded the ship on deck 4 and was surprised. My first impression was WOW. I have to say I have always reluctant to sail a larger ship than that of the Radiance class. My initial impression was while it was larger it was well laid out the mall would appear interesting. There appeared to be lots of options.
The cabins would not be available till 1:30 PM so I went up to Windjammer to eat. Walking into the Windjammer was a nightmare. There were three tables at the entrance with cutlery and plates on them. The salad bar started right after the tables and thus slowed things down. The problem at the rear of the Windjammer there are 4 more stations the same but staff were not directing people down there.
The selection of food appeared to be good.

Once I finished lunch I went and located my cabin to drop my things off. When I opened the door I noticed things just appear o be right as if my cabin wasn't finished or ready. I didn't worry and left my things behind to go off and locate the the dining room so I could get my table. I was given a table 6 next to the window that had only 2 other people at it.

I then walked around to explore the ship some more and then worked my way up to the Solarium Bar where those from Cruise Critic Meet and Greet were meeting. Since I had only booked a few days out I had no idea who anyone was. Upon arrival I began to talk a few and soon Claudio who turns out lives about 15 km's from me introduced himself and then there was Kim from Victoria and her Parents who don't live far from me.
We had a couple of drinks and good conversation but soon had to leave for Lifeboat drill.

Arriving back at my cabin (6257) I ran into my Cabin Steward Lloyd who had just dropped off mu luggage. He introduced himself and I introduced myself. I asked him about and extension chord and distilled water I had ordered and he said he had no idea because his paper shows this cabin along with 4 others empty for this cruise. This was a totally different policy than the Serenade of the Seas in January. In fact it was the old policy from 2 years ago.
My luggage delivery was his first indication that the cabin was occupied.
He would look into it get it for me as soon as possible.
This would explain why my cabin didn't look like it was ready for prime time.

6257

I had enough time for a quick shower to get ready for lifeboat drill followed by dinner. It was when I turned the water on in the sink that I had brown water coming out. Okay it just continued so I didn't think it would be bad for a quick shave so I just let it run. After I finished it was still dark brown so I called the front desk and they would look into it.

Would you drink this?
Would you drink this?  Even if you were told it was safe?

I decided to take early seating for dinner this cruise which was 6:00 but was delayed till 6:30 for lifeboat drill. Upon arrival at the table there was a couple from Arizona sitting there. Soon Claudio came to the table and decided to join us as he was a single at his table and there appeared to be 3 empty seats. About 15 minutes later a couple from San Juan joined us but no others so Claudio felt it was safe to stay.
The table Steward Carlos was efficient and friendly.

After dinner I went for a walk then to bed as it had been a long day for me.

May 2 - St Martin

We arrived into port along with Silver Whisper. I went ashore just after 9 and walked around for a bit before catching the ferry into town. My goal was to walk over to Fort Amsterdam on the other side of the harbour and find a geocache. When I was here in January the one I tried to find was missing so I had not found one on this Island yet. The walk was a long one with it being 8.1 km roundtrip.
I walked along Front Street then through Little Divi resort then into Fort Amsterdam. Fort Amsterdam was built in 1636 and protected the harbour from attack. It contained many old cannons and a few buildings. The cannons were not in as good shape as I have seen on other islands in the Caribbean. The Fort was interesting in the fact that is was right at the end of the point and had a harbour on each side of it.
I love Geocaching because I get to see historic sites like this off the beaten path that I would not normally nor would the average tourist.

Click on thumbnails below for larger version - will open in new tab

I am at Fort Amsterdam Fort Amsterdam Guide One of several canons Older canon view from the Fort back to the ship


Walking back I found that most shops were closed and as it turns out today was a holiday in St Martin, so went back to the ship and spent the rest of the day on there.

view of the harbour I am at a lookout on the way back

Tonight when we retired from bed we were to move our clock ahead one hour.

One thing to note and that is some nights there is a parade down the mall between 11:00 PM and midnight. The music can be heard inside the promenade cabins.

May 3 - At Sea

Today was a nice warm sunny day. I woke late and was hard pressed to make the Meet and Mingle in the Blue Moon for 11:00 AM and when I arrived  found no one there. Okay down to the front Office and I was told it had been changed to for 11:30 AM. I arrived at the Imperial Lounge and there were roughly about 100 people there.
    There were drinks served along with food. Many of the Senior Staff attended along with the Hotel Director.

The Hotel Director made his way to our table and introduced himself. He asked how things were going and anyone one was having any problems. I mentioned the brown water for the last two days and he said yes that was a problem He said that the ship was currently changing the out the copper pipes for plastic and when they take apart the fittings dirt enters the system. Cabins down stream of this begin to have a problem. He further explained that water samples have been sent off to CDC for testing and they were told to increase the chorine content and the water is safe. It was further explained that just letting the water run for an extended period of time will also clear it up.
This project will run through August of this year before it is completed.

The Meet and Mingle continued with the drawing of four prizes. There was group photo taken that was available in the photo shop for $19.95.

Tonight would bring another 1 hour time change forward and will continue nightly. Many on board are finding it is catching up with them and have found themselves sleeping in till much later that they do at home.

Tonight was the first Formal Night and most men were in a Sports Jacket and tie. There were a few Tuxes and a few in Polo Shirts. It was aid that many couple's won't pack Tuxes and Formal Dress's because of weight when flying to/from Europe for a Transatlantic cruise. They tend to be less Formal.

Captains Party
Captains Party on the Promenade

After dinner tonight I enjoyed the music around the ship and then ended up at the Duck & Dog Pub and staying there till it closed. I then headed to the Coffee shop where they serve pizza and sandwiches for a quick bite. While there I ran into someone from the Meet and Mingle and we talked for a bit and we both realized it was well after 2:00 Am and with the time change coming up it was now 3:00 AM, time for bed.

May 04 - At Sea

Today was a nice sunny day with the seas still like glass and the air temp.26C.

I went up to the Windjammer for a quick breakfast and the problem still exists with people clogging the entrance instead of heading to the rear stations that are seldom used. As I woke up late this morning I was at the tale end of the breakfast time.

After breakfast I headed to go for my 5 laps around to complete my mile. While doing so I saw a whale in the distance putting on a show and many flying fish along the side of the ship. 

After the laps I lied down in a deck chair to watch the flying fish. It didn't take long before I fell asleep. This wasn't the smartest thing to do as the UV index was 10 and I was asleep for about 2 hours. I woke and returned to the cabin to find I was very nice shade of red.
    It was now time for a shower which wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I applied Aloe Vera and then dressed and headed the down to the Promenade.
    There was a 3 piece band playing near the Duck and Dog Pub and it was turning into quite an event with the Puerto Ricans dancing and singing. I sat with my table mates from Puerto Rico I stayed till around 5:30. At this time it was time to prepare for dinner which was at 6:00.

After dinner is was a rather lazy night listening to the music of Take 4. Take 4 is one of the best bands I have seen in some time.

May 5 - At Sea

Today I didn't rise till just before 10:00AM. Today was overcast and a little more wind than the sea days prior to this. Once again I caught the tale end of breakfast and then it was off for my walk.

During my walk the wind picked up slightly and soon after my walk it really picked up with many people heading inside quickly. It was Cinco de Mayo day on board and it was suppose to be held by the pool. This was soon moved because of the wind to the Promenade.

We are almost mid-Atlantic and I have seen several birds flying near by the ship today. No idea what they are but they are a long way from the nearest land. 

Today was the Crown and Anchor Party down in Studio B or the Ice Rink. There were 2 parties one at 5:1 PM  and then at 7:45 PM. I attended the 5:15 PM party and it was well attended.

May 6 - At Sea

Today had high overcast with filtered sun. There was a stronger wind that there has been making the morning walk a tad bit difficult when going into wind.
The seas were still calm for the most part.
After my walk I went to sit in the hot tub but was soon asked to leave by the pool attendant as the chlorine level is way to high and they needed to close the hot tubs.

Today I attended the morning Coffee Chat with Anne Bass the cruise Director in the Duck and Dog. There were only 3 other people there. I went more to ask a few questions as to how many on board right now. The ship appears to have lots of space and all the deck chairs are not close to being full so this alone was a good indication that the ship was not full. Anne said we are about 600 people short. There are 600 from Puerto Rico and 450 from Canada and then 300 from the UK and it drops from there.

I must admit this size of ship is growing on me. I think though because if has 600 fewer people than it normally does this causes it to look and be much better quality than it would when full.
I have found that at night there is so many venues with music and good music at that. There is something for everyone.

Just outside the Sports Bar this is what he is pointing at Cafe below my room

Something that has bothered me from Day 2 and still bothering me is ESPN is delayed 6-7 days. There is currently the NBA playoffs as well as the NHL Playoffs and we get nothing in the way of current scores. For this reason alone the Sports bar has been empty since the start of the cruise. I am not sure why one would even have it open because nothing is current on the TV's.

Many of the ships shops are being closed one by one for 24 hours to be changed over for Europe. The Fashion Store re-opened today and I went in to see the difference and the big difference is they have a large selection of Puma now. I didn't notice any other changes.

One of the great places was the Cafe on Deck 5 as pictured in the photo above. It had fresh Coffee and Tea as well a Pizza and sandwiches for the daytime/evening and pastry for the morning. It was open 24 hours.

May 07 - At Sea

Well today was another day at sea, but not like the others we have had so far. The weather was good and the Captain came over the PA at 1300 saying all passengers are ordered to be on deck for 1315 around the pool.

Well you see it was time for King Neptune to make his mid Atlantic appearance. King Neptune made his arrival and the order was read by the Captain. There was several of the ships Officers that appeared before King Neptune and received their punishment. Once this was done they had to "cleansed" in the pool.


Captain waiting for King Neptune King Neptune arrives Ships Officers are presented to King Neptune

Fun was had by all and it was a lot of fun to attend.

King Neptune then left and the mid Atlantic Mad hatters Party began.
People had been making hats for the last couple of days for this and the judging was to happen today. There were many unique hats that included a Pirates Hat made out of the Cruise Compass. There was a Hat made by a 10 year old of the Adventure of the Seas which turned out to be the winner.

Mad Hatters Party
The ship hat won...

Tonight was Jonathan Kane who is the only tribute act endorsed by Elton John. This proved to be a great show. I sat front row and must say if you closed your eyes you really couldn't tell the difference. I enjoyed this show very much.

Tonight starting at 22:30 in the Royal Promenade was 70's night. Events like this run the whole length of the Promenade and are very loud. I decided to watch from my cabin and I can tell you I had no problem hearing the music. If one wanted to try and sleep during these events one would need ear plugs. This is something to consider if you book one of these cabins and go to bed early.

May 08 - At Sea

Today was our last sea day before we arrived in Tenerife tomorrow.

Today was slightly overcast and cooler than it had been. There were few people around the pool and many pretty much hung around the inside of the ship.

I had a lazy day today and the best I could do was the Duck and Dog Pub.

Duck and Dog Pub

Today was also another ice show in Studio B, the only problem for me is one has to get tickets for this event before they can attend. They do open the doors up the last 5 minutes before the show starts to allow those who didn't get tickets if there is room but this isn't the way I want to attend a show such as this.

Tonight after dinner we had Suzi Woods a vocals singer who has appeared before the Queen. All I can say it is likely a good thing they had her show tonight as she gets off the ship tomorrow. All I can say she sang songs most have never heard of before and I would say 50% of those that attended fell asleep including me. I am sure I looked good sleeping in the front row.
I would guess that if her show had been earlier in the cruise she might have been put off the ship earlier than she had planned.
I am sure that the only other thing that kept men watching was her slit in her dress and far it went up.

I suppose that would have expected better entertainment on a Transatlantic cruise but in this case there was only one act I would consider worthy of a good act.
As I have said before I am not one that generally likes production shows and rarely attend one. I only attended one this cruise and while it was good it wasn't great.

May 09 - Tenerife, Canary Islands

Well today we arrived in Tenerife and I had not booked any shore excursions. This was largely due to I had planned to geocache along the way. Last night I lied on top of the bed with the covers still on the bed and not turned down. I put my back out and was in extreme pain last night. I have not had this much pain since I first injured my back. I have found that walking is the best thing for it.

I left the ship and headed towards the city and a park for my first and only cache. Parque García Sanabria was the cache location. This was what is called a multi cache which has many stages (8 in this case). The different stages took me to many places in the park including the Bamboo Garden and then the Rose Garden. There was the "cat" I had to find as well and answer some questions.
Once all the questions were answered I calculated where the cache should be. I went to the location and had to remove a rock in a wall. I did this and a small lizard jumped out at me. Okay heart is still working but the lizard decided this was "his" home and went back inside. I had to stick my fingers in there and retrieve the cache. I did this and had no problems.

Tenerife shore line Plaza Parque García Sanabria

After doing this cache I walked around the city and then headed down back allies and other places and never felt threatened. I managed to walk about 8 km today.

I worked my way back to ship and arrived back mid afternoon. It was a great day here.

Tonight was the Love and Marriage Gameshow which is always popular on board any cruise. While this wasn't the best one I have ever seen, it was still very good.

May 10 - Gran Canaria, Canary Islands - Las Palmas

My back was still giving me problems so lets try and walk it off again. I left the ship and headed to my first cache which was located at the city bus loop in Las Palmas. I arrived and looked and looked and could not locate it. I soon left and off to my next one and when I arrived someone was sitting where it was suppose to be. I waited for a short time and then left for my next cache. This one was called Olof Palme which was one of many tribute cache to the assassinated Prime Minister Olof Palme in the 80's around the world. Streets in many countries have been renamed as a result. This was another interesting cache and one of the reasons I cache.

I went back to the previous cache and the guy sitting there was gone so I sat down. The only problem there was a guy on the bench across the way watching. I waited for him to leave but a Father and Daughter arrived next to me and the daughter sat down beside me. The father was standing there and I soon saw a GPS and said to him I am sitting on it and we are being watched.
I saw he was wearing a SFU T-shirt and I said are you from Vancouver and he said yes. We soon introduced our selves to each other and found we knew other cachers in our area.
The guy across the way soon left and Rolly soon had the cache in hand and we both signed the log and were off to the next one. The next one was  the one I just did so back I went. We then decided the next one was about 2 km as the crow flies but lets try and do it. After walking along the beach for sometime we stopped along the beach and took a table for 3 and ordered some Sangria. After this refreshment we were off again for the next cache up the hill. We winded our way to the the street that led up to the cache. Once we arrived at the cache the view was fantastic. In the distance we could see the ship.

Phil and Rolly
Phil and Rumrunner1

Phil with Adventure of the Seas in the background
Phil with Adventure of the Seas in the background

We soon headed back to the centre of the city and the bus loop to see if we could locate the cache missed earlier in the day. Rolly said he tried to find it with his daughter earlier and could not locate it. We searched some more and we decided that maybe we should give up. Part of the problem was the area was covered in cockroaches. It was suggested that we would stop at the cafe there and have some more Sangria.
I said there is only one place it could be and let me go have one last look. Soon after taking my pen out and digging around I located it. It was a great feeling.

Phil found the cache
Phil found the cache

We then sat down and had another jug of Sangria and then headed back to the ship. When we arrived back at the ship I checked the mileage for the day and it was 14.2 km.

Tonight was another Production show which I did not attend. I was sore from the long walk and went back and watched a movie and then to bed.

May 11 - Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Today the weather was warm and windy.

It should be pointed out that Lanzarote is described as a Lunar-like Landscape. There are many dormant Volcano's.

Rolly and I had talked about renting a car and heading out around the island to get some caches. Rolly's daughter decided she would join us.

We headed ashore around 9:00 and there was a rental car place near the ship. We walked down and found we could rent a new Chevy Cruz for E 45.00 with insurance included.

We soon headed out for points south. I was driving and Rolly soon learned that what was indicated as main roads on the map or GPS were in fact single lane roads in one way direction.

We arrived at the first cache which were the ruins of an ancient windmill. The cache was on a hill which over looked a camel farm.

Windmill camel farm below

Once we left the area we headed more in land and ended up at a dormant Volcano where we headed out on a bout a 1 km walk to a cache called La Bomba. A lavabomb once was liquid lava that erupted and turned and twisted in mid-air until it got a plum-like shape and congealed before hitting the ground.
Looking at the size of this one I would hate to be around when these things rain down.
We soon located the lavabomb and the cache. It truly looks like a moon escape.

lavabomb Phil and Rolly by Labomba

We left here and headed back down to do another cache but stopped at a local winery where we sampled three different types of wine. One was a red and one a dry white and a dessert wine. I must admit I liked the red while Rolly and his daughter liked the dessert wine.

vineyards in the volcanic rocks
Vineyards growing in Volcanic rock

Once back on the road we were going to do a "virtual" cache which suggested we climb to the top of a Volcano and then back down and inside it.
I must admit that with my back bothering me the last couple of days I was a bit worried getting there and not being able to get back.

Volcano where we are headed yes we are going up there Rolly starting up Yes those are people down inside The wine after the Volcano

We soon started the hike to the volcano and then up the side for the look inside. t was down inside and then we had to locate a Olivine. The problem is we didn't know what this was. Rolly soon walked over to some German Tourists and talked to them in German and they showed us what a Olivine was. This cache was now done.
I have to say this was one of the most amazing caches I have done. Hiked to the top of a volcano and then inside.

Olivine
Olivine

We managed a few more caches on the way back to the ship ship before dropping the car off at 3:00 as the back on board time was 3:30. Total walking today was about 6.5 km.

Once again we left people behind again. This happened in the last two ports as well.

Tonight was Johnathan Clark who I did not see. I was preparing for the Quest. Yes this is a adult scavenger hunt. You just don't know what will take place and everyone I have been to has been different to the last one. While some items carry over there are different variations of it.

May 12 - Maderia, Portugul - Funchal

Well today's weather was forecast for rain showers. Rolly his daughter and I headed ashore around 9:00 and then into town. We managed to find our first cache near a Fort but then things went downhill. The weather turned ugly with rain and thunder and lightening. We continued along our way and came to a row of cafe's where a cache was located. We soon found it and decided to sit down at a cafe for a sandwich and Maderia wine. While sitting here we signed the log and I put the cache back. It was long before the heavens opened up and the real show started.

Phil and Rolly
Phil and Rumrunner1 and Ice

Our food soon arrived which was a Cheese and Pineapple on a fresh Portuguese Bun. This was something that any of us had never tried before and the three of us agreed we not only liked it but would eat it again.

We soon headed out after the rain stopped to locate an internet cafe but this was harder than we thought. You see they consider internet cafe's what we call "hot spots" so we were unable to locate one with computers. This was followed by our last cache of the day which we were unable to locate.

Walking back it once again started to rain and we came upon another place to stop and have some Sangria and wait the rain out. Rolly and his daughter decided to try and call home instead of locating a internet cafe. While it was 6:30 AM back home they figured someone should be home. They were successful in the call and all was well.

more to drink

Yes there is a cache in that wall
yes, there is a cache in that wall

Once the rain stopped we headed back to the ship and Rolly and his daughter stopped at a fort at the end of the pier and I continued on. As I approached the ship the rain started once again.

The good news tonight was everyone was back onboard.

I had a rather easy night sitting in the pub tonight talking to people I had met on the cruise.

May 13 - At Sea

Today was our last day on board and also a sea day. Last night we once again had to turn our clocks ahead 1 hour at 4:00AM. For the first 6 sea days we turned our clocks ahead one hour and almost all found this difficult. I have talked to others who say on their transatlantic cruises they did it at noon so not loose any sleep. I remember on the last sea day waking up after 11:00 AM because of the time changes.

I had received an invitation to attend an event called Canada Day. This was a fun event which included free wine and drinks. The Captain was from Canada as well as the replacement Cruise Director.

I decided to lie around the pool and enjoy a last soak in the hot tub.

Solarium Pool Pool other direction of the pool

I didn't decide to pack till after dinner. I did this and then there was one more Parade on the Promenade. Good thing I didn't want to go to bed early.

May 14 - Malaga, Spain

I had planned to get off the ship at 7:00 AM then catch a taxi with a friend to the airport for a 10:40 departure to Gatwick England. This occurred as planned. The only wrinkle in all this we had to pick-up our passports once we left the ship. I have seen passports lost before or misplaced and this takes time and if this happens then one can't leave.

I received my passport and then headed for the airport. I arrived long before my flight was ready to check-in.

Once in London (Gatwick) I went to the Hilton at the airport and checked in. I went for a walk a short while later and then came back to watch the FA Cup on TV.

Food - Formal Nights

Food is subjective. I have not talked much on this, as in recent times RCI has reduced the food budget by upwards of 40% I am told. This was reality on the Serenade of the Seas in January. When I left that cruise I said it would be highly unlikely I would cruise with RCI again. This cruise was booked as I said for under $500 for a single so price played a part in this.
The food on this cruise was much better with the Cold Soups being very good. The other foods were for the most part very good. There were a few misses but for the most part I found the food much better.

Formal nights were vastly different because most people left suits at home along with their Tux's. I suspect this is to do with weight for flying home. I took a Jacket and wore it with slacks and shirt and tie. This worked very well. Many others were dressed the same.

Overall Thoughts

I had said that I would likely not sail Royal Caribbean again soon after my January cruise. I did this cruise because a Transatlantic cruise has been on my to do list. The price etc fit this very well. I am glad I did this cruise. I had great table with Larry, Nancy, Claudio, James and Julianna. They made dinner very enjoyable. Then there was Rumrunner1 and his Daughter "The Ice" that made the port even more fun! Thank You to all of you! Having done this cruise as a single it was very different and I enjoyed it very much. I met several other people on board with Al, Pat and Kim from near where I live. I had a great time with this family and couldn't have met better people.

I would rate this cruise a 8/10. I had the brown water problem at the start but I didn't let it get to me for one main reason. It would be a very long 6 days at sea if I did. There was great variety of things to do during the day. I never lacked for anything to do. I would like to do this cruise again but would rather do it from East to West and have the clocks go back daily.

While in port I cached, I managed to see some great places off the beaten track, sample some great wine. Meet some great people!

I look forward to my next Royal Caribbean Cruise.