October 2014 - Adventure of the Seas to Europe - Western Europe
Cruise got off to a bad start after receiving an email form RCI informing us that boarding times were later because the previous cruise had an outbreak of 'Norovirus' and they were going to do a 'deep clean'. Turned out, that the previous two cruises had experienced the same and when you look at the size of the ship, you realise that there is no way that they could hope to carry out a 'deep clean' in 5 or 6 hours - try 5 or 6 weeks. We decided not to have the room attendant service the room and wiped down everything with disinfectant. Having always been careful over hand washing etc., we managed to leave the ship without any sickness. However, the food in the 'Windjammer' gave us some concerns, as it was frequently luke warm. One day, my wife had a glass of milk and found a large piece of debri at the bottom of the glass, which looked like a thin slice of Brie (cheese). After that, we used the small pre-packed milks.
I do not know whether or not it reduced the risk of food poisoning, but the 'Windjammer' closed at 5pm and then opened again between 6.30 and 9pm. When it is closed, there is only a small bar open where you are able to get a very limited amount of food - pizza, cake etc. Imagine several hundred people getting back on the ship after a port visit and all looking for refreshment!
The daily programme or 'Cruise Compass' as RCI call it, was dreadful with very little information. For example, "Movie: 'Veronica Mars' Screening Room 4 pm". Never heard of it. Sci-Fi? Cartoon? Drama? Anyway, with 4000 odd people on board, your chances of seeing it in a small room are pretty low. Does not compare well with the 3D screening of 'Madam Butterfly' in the theatre on our last cruise or the latest 'Spiderman' which we missed because there was so much else to do. You could always stay in your room and watch TV, except that there was no information about what was on and that was very little unless you are willing to pay $8 (£5) or more to watch an 'on demand' 2 year old movie. Anything free, apart from the normal news channels seemed to be dubbed in Polish.
I mentioned 'Benidorm' and that takes us to the 'Royal Parade'. This is like a street with shops and bars either side, and where most of the 'events' take place. Towards the front of the ship, it stinks of cigarette smoke coming from the casino, but apart from that, it is far too small for the number of passengers on board. There was an 'Halloween Thriller Performance' but nobody could move, so bit of a 'damp squib'.
Shows were OK. Some better than others, but they were not every night. Wine is very expensive and RCI prohibit taking any drinks on board or buying the same when in port. Unlike other cruise lines, they do seem to enforce this condition. Generally, the ship is better for children than adults, with far more to entertain them.