Finally, after the mammoth journey, we were in San Juan and as I woke up to the sun streaming into our hotel room I felt myself start to relax. Trevor was looking out of the window and told me he could see the ship. Scrambling to look I was awed by the size of the huge boat which had docked in the harbour just across the road. Once Sam saw it he was almost impossible to calm down and started leaping around like a gazelle.
After a lovely breakfast of eggs, French toast, bacon and orange juice we brought our cases down to the bell boy and waited to be told where to go. After what seemed an age but was only an hour and half we were directed to a bus for transfer to the ship. One of the other passengers told us to expect boarding to take time as we had to have a sea pass created with all our details on so we could come and go from the ship as we pleased. Plus, with almost 3000 people boarding that day it was unlikely it was going to be a speedy affair, but once again I was wrong. At least this time it was in our favour.
When we arrived at the dock we had to show our papers to the security officer who was directing everyone to join one of 3 queues, all of which we fairly lengthy. However once we produced our papers the man’s face broke into a huge smile and said “Aaah you have a suite you are very special guest.” It was true, I had decided that as this was going to be the holiday of a lifetime for us, I wanted to do it properly and had spent extra money booking a Grand Suite with a balcony so that we could enjoy watching the ocean and sunsets and beautiful scenic views. The guy led us past all three queues straight to the front of the boarding line and showed us straight to the desk where our sea passes were made up in record time and before we knew it we were boarding the Adventure of the Seas. The whole process took about 5 minutes and I have to say it was amazing walking past the hundreds of people queueing for about the 50th time but this time in the boiling heat. We stepped into the belly of the ship to be greeted, by name, by some of the staff and told to go and have lunch and wait for our cabin to be ready. Wow this was starting off very well indeed.
Stepping into the glass lift and pressing floor 11 as we had been directed, we watched as we ascended over the most fabulous promenade. Shops, cafes, bars, even an English pub all waited for us to explore. Everything seemed to be made of gold from the handrails to the fixings for the gigantic chandeliers which hung everywhere. Never in my life had I seen such ostentation done so well. Calypso music welcomed us to the 11th floor where we were shown into the largest buffet restaurant I had ever seen. Sam’s face was a picture with his mouth open, for once not having any words.
So, we come to the food. Everyone I have ever spoken to about cruising has told me that the food is spectacular and that there is nothing like it. Yep that pretty much sums it up. Salads, chicken, fish, fruit, pasta, soups, breads, desserts, every type of food imaginable was there for our enjoyment. I can only begin to imagine how many people it takes to make this amount of food 3 times per day every single day for 3000 people. Not only that but this was one of about 8 restaurants on board, mind-blowing. I can’t even remember what I ate now, I just know it was delicious and I am so glad I am not on a diet right now.
Soon enough an announcement came over the tannoy system that cabins were ready so we excitedly rushed to find ours. Of course that was easier said than done and we got lost at least three times, ending up in the theatre, the ice rink and the promenade before finding out corridor. Sam put the car key in the lock and pushed open the door to our suite. WOW! A huge double bed, a sofa bed, a beautiful bathroom, a mini bar, big flat screen TV and a double balcony were ours for the next 16 days. Not too shabby for Mrs Julie (as I was to be called from now on by the staff). We could certainly get used to this, especially when we found out that we have our own personal concierge, Fernando who makes up our room twice a day, and who gave us his card telling us to call him any time if we needed anything. We found out later that the general sea passes are blue whereas ours are gold and it is a great buzz to produce it and be given special treatment like VIP seats at shows, priority dining, and access to the VIP pre dining area.
We set sail at 8pm on an overnight cruise to our first port of call St Croix in the US Virgin Islands. Don’t go away, my next blog will tell you all about St Croix and our next stop St Maarten where we had an amazing encounter with a huge astronauts helmet and millions of tropical fish.
Ahoy there mateys, til next time.