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Adventure of the Seas Cruise Review
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This was a six night cruise from Cape Liberty, New Jersey (New York harbor) calling at: Bar Harbor, Maine; Saint John, New Brunswick; and Halifax. Nova Scotia. (See accompanying photo/video feature).
Adventure of the Seas was the third ship built in Royal Caribbean's Voyage class. (See our introduction to the Voyager class).
At just over 137,000 gross tons is a large cruise ship. Indeed, for some time the Voyagers were the largest cruise ships in the world. Now, with new cruise ships seemingly becoming ever-larger, Adventure and her sisters may well soon become medium-sized cruise ships.
Adventure is a resort-style, mass market ship. She was designed to give passengers a variety of sports, dining and entertainment options. Over the years, she has been enhanced, adding new sports features such as waterslides and two additional specialty restaurants.
Although she has been enhanced, she has not received as an extensive makeover as her sisters Explorer and Mariner. As a result, she maintains more of the original Voyager class atmosphere. If you enjoyed Explorer when she was based in New York harbor, you will enjoy Adventure.
Along the same lines, she remains classic Royal Caribbean. This summer, she is sharing Cape Liberty with with Anthem of the Seas and next year with Oasis of the Seas - - ships that can be viewed as representing versions of the new Royal Caribbean. While all three ships have many common elements, the cruise experience offered by each is significantly different.
It is highly appropriate for Adventure to be based in New York harbor. She was officially named in New York not long after the September 11, 2001 attacks and her god-parents were first responders to that tragedy.
Adventure has an impressive three-level main dining room. Two levels overlook the ground floor of the restaurant with a grand staircase connecting the levels. We enjoyed both the service and the food in the main dining room.
Breakfast and lunch (sea days only) are open seating. For breakfast, there is a section reserved for guests who are Diamond-level and above in Royal Caribbean's loyalty program, the Crown and Anchor Society. On this cruise, we found that the waiters assigned to that section were so pleasant and efficient that it made breakfast there a real pleasure each morning.
For dinner, two levels of the dining room follow the traditional system where each guest has an assigned table at either the early or late seating. The ground floor follows a flexible dining system where the guests determine when they want to dine. We chose the flexible system and it worked quite well. Each evening when we arrived at the restaurant, we were seated immediately and with only one exception, we were seated so that we had the same waiters each night. (Note: We do tend to eat late whereas most guests eat early and we made dining reservations before the cruise began).
As a result of various refits, Adventure has three specailty restaurants (Chops Grille, Giovanni's Table and Izumi). She also offers a Chef's Table experience.
The Chops Grille is located in what was originally the upper level or the ship's nightclub. Having lost the Gothic décor, the room looks nothing like it used to but rather like a comfortable contemporary restaurant. We found no reason to change our view that Chops can always be relied upon for a good quality dinner.
Giovanni's Table is located near the ship's buffet restaurant on Deck 11 in the room that was originally Portofino's. This venue was conceived as a more casual venue then Portofino's with family-style sharing of food. However, it has not worked out that way. Rather, it is an upscale venue offering premium quality dishes. It can be thought of as as Chops with an Italian flavor. We very much enjoyed the meal and the service in Giovanni's.
Adventure also has a number of alternative casual dining venues. In contrast to the one on Anthem, the Johnny Rocket's is a full-scale version, complete with 1950s style diner and the traditional Johnny Rocket's menu. We thought that the premium burger and large ice cream sundae were well-worth the nominal charge.
We were somewhat disappointed in Cafe Promenade, a complimentary venue on the Royal Promenade. The sandwiches were uninteresting and the pizza suffered badly from being kept under warming lights. Indeed, we found that the only way to get acceptable pizza was to wait for a new pie to appear from the kitchen and immediately go to the counter and order pieces from that pie.
Speaking of over-cooked, the cookies throughout the ship were rock hard - - not just crispy but rather something that makes you think about dental insurance. However, these were exceptions to the otherwise enjoyable dining experience on Adventure.
Adventure has two main entertainment venues in addition to several bars and lounges with live music.
The Lyric Theater is home to the ship's production company. They put on one show “Invitation to Dance,” which was very much in the tradition of cruise ship song and dance revues. On the other nights, there were performances by visiting entertainers including singers, comedians and a magician. Again, traditional cruise ship entertainment.
The ship's skaters performed “Cool Art, Hot Ice” in Adventure's ice rink, Studio B. This show featured virtuoso skating, music, costumes, theatrical lighting and props. It was more like a theatrical production show than the type of ice skating performances that you see on television. The show was very well-received by the standing-room-only audience.
In addition to these shows, there were game show activities such as Battle of the Sexes, the Love and Marriage Game and, of course, the Crazy Quest.
Most of the passengers on this cruise were from North America. Considering that school was still in session, there were also a considerable number of children. However, Adventure is well-equipped for entertaining children and so we did not find the number of children intrusive.
Weather and nautical
The weather during this voyage was good. We had sunshine and calm seas the first sea day as Adventure sailed slowly up the coast. We also had good weather in Bar Harbor and Halifax. St. John was overcast with some passing showers. The final sea day was quite foggy. In general, it was significantly cooler throughout the cruise than it had been when we left Cape Liberty.
These weather conditions did not pose a challenge for Adventure. She sailed smoothly without significant motion. She arrived at each port on schedule.
Adventure appears to be well-maintained. We observed some exterior rust but nothing significant. Inside, the only problem we had was with the stateroom safe, which was not working properly. Shortly after this was pointed out to the room steward, two maintenance men arrived, removed the old safe and installed a new one in a matter of minutes.
People often think of Canada New England cruises as something for the fall when the leaves are changing. However, there is a great deal of natural beauty in these places during the late Spring and during the summer. In addition, it tends to be cooler here making it an escape from the summer heat.
Although the business district in Bar Harbor has become much more tourist-oriented over the years, it does not look commercialized. In any event, the main attraction of the place is the natural beauty outside of the business district. You do not have to go far to see the scenery. One of our favorite things to do in Bar Harbor is to walk the Shore Path, which begins near where the tenders arrive. (Since there is no pier, all cruise ships have to tender in Bar Harbor and this was done efficiently on Adventure).
St. John has also grown over the years. However, the changes here have been positive. The old warehouses that used to stand along the road by the cruise ship pier are gone and have been replaced by new more attractive construction. Still, the real attraction of this stop is the natural wonders outside of town.
Halifax is a prosperous urban center. The boardwalk takes you along the shore from the cruise port to the center of town. Inside the town are a number of attractions such as the Citadel and the Museum of the Atlantic. On this cruise, we walked to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and to the Dalihousie Art Gallery, stopping along the way to enjoy the beautiful Public Gardens.
Above: A balcony cabin on Adventure.
Cruise ship review - - Royal Caribbean International - - Adventure of the Seas - - Canada and New England 2019