I recently returned from a long awaited Royal Caribbean cruise. The ship, Adventure of the Seas, is home ported in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The ship itself was beautiful, and among the best of cruise ships afloat. But events on board far overshadowed the beauty of the ship.
Let me start by saying this is not a complaint regarding race, ethnicity, or culture. Please remember this as you read this complaint.
The Adventure of the Seas is a Voyager Class ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet. It takes on as many as 3500 passengers. However, this ship does not consistently fill up in advance, so Royal Caribbean deeply discounts the fares to local Puerto Ricans. I have always found Puerto Rico to be very hospitable. But these low fares attract locals who would not normally afford to cruise. That would be Ok if it wasn't for the "thug" crowd it attracts.
Everyone knows that rude people are encountered anywhere, especially when 3000+ people are huddled into one vehicle. But I have been on 20+ cruises and this one was much different. Everywhere I went on this ship, there was blatent rudeness and misbehavior.
This cruise had two sea days. I normally enjoy the pool area on these days. But in this case, the pools were filled with very obnoxious kids who were running, splashing, and actually jumping on people in the pools. The pool area was total chaos and the ships crew did nothing to control it. To avoid it, I tried the Solarium pool, which is adults only. Unfortunately, a few hundred other people were in there for the same reason. There wasn't even room in the pool.
The ship was full of people walking around with their pants down to their thighs, showing their underwear. On more than one occassion, I saw these people flashing each other gang signs. One night the Promenade had to be closed off due to someone knocking over the liquor table and breaking several bottles. Another night, the Solarium was trashed with broken bottles.
Everywhere I went, the stairs were blocked with people sitting on them. When I asked them to move, they played the "No Habla" game. What made it worse is that they thought it was funny. The line cutting was out of control. The loud behavior in the theater was very annoying. The pushing into the elevators before letting people out was just plain aggravating. The yelling and screaming in the halls at all hours of the night almost drove me to violence. This stuff happened every day and at all hours. Complaints to the crew went ignored and nothing was done to bring order to this ship. The only relief was in the ports, where we were able to get away from the ship.
Sitting in the airport after the cruise, every single person I talked to, including Hispanics from the mainland, said they would never cruise with Royal Caribbean out of San Juan again. Even Puerto Ricans themselves were complaining of the behavior on board.
On board, a man named Carlos who was a Puerto Rican, was in the room next to me. One day, out on the balcony, he told me he was embarrased about the behavior of his people. By the way, that's exactly how he said it.
As I stated, I know this stuff is encountered everywhere and on every cruise. But, never have I encountered it this much.
I waited over a year for this cruise and spent a lot of money. I booked one of the more expensive suites. If I had it to do all over again, I would immediately switch my reservation to a Florida based cruise. Doing a little research after this cruise, I found that this has been a common complaint on the Adventure of the Seas for several years now. This tells me that Royal Caribbean's only concern is to fill the ship and make money. Sounds like a short term goal to me, because they just lost me as a repeat cruiser.
Ft Lauderdale, Florida
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