Our Thanksgiving Cruise on Adventure of the Seas – Part I

Adventure of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas

The morning of our cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas, we were packed up and ready to go. We walked down by Málaga park to a store where we could pick up breakfast on the go. My husband, a runner, had run that morning trying to find the easiest way to the ship with our bags and came across this store. It was a 2-story store like a CVS or Walgreens with just about everything in health and beauty as well as a few food items. A nice stroll back to the hotel, a quick breakfast, and we decided to check out. At the front desk we inquired about which was the best way to walk to the ship and the man at the front desk looked at us quizzically and said that we needed to take a taxi as it was far too long of a walk. On the inside I’m thinking that I can see the ship and it doesn’t look that far away so what’s the problem?

He jotted down in Spanish what to say to get to the port on a piece of paper although we knew how to ask. That was extremely nice of him and we held onto it anyway. He said the cab would be about €10. The ride over to the ship was probably a little less than 10 minutes, but he was right. With our bags and the distance to get there, it would have seemed impossible. Now there were plenty of people walking over to the ship with small carry on bags, but if you have a larger suitcase like we did, ugh — the walk would have been unbearable. Doable, but unbearable. This is when you opt for easy over cheap and take the cab.

Once we paid the fare, we walked over to the line to enter the building and gave the porters our luggage. Before leaving the hotel I had placed the sticky luggage tags to the bags. I like to keep all of my trip paperwork in one place – a purple plastic folder. I can reach into my carry on easily, grab it, and pull out any paperwork necessary. Although I have transitioned over almost entirely to a paperless system, the rest of the world hasn’t. When we were in Ireland in October and I tried to show my receipt for my car rental on my iPhone, it wasn’t acceptable. Luggage tags are either mailed to you from the cruise line, i.e., Royal Caribbean or you can print them off, i.e., Carnival. The porters took our bags and we entered the building and came upon Security. If you haven’t cruised before, Security at a cruise port is different than at an airport. At the port, they aren’t looking for weapons, but items such as alcohol, irons, and scissors or other types of contraband, but primarily alcohol. Why alcohol? The cruise lines make the bulk of their money from alcohol sales onboard, followed by excursions, the casino, photos, art auctions, etc. If you bring alcohol onboard, you are less likely to buy it from them and they don’t like that. For each sailing, they know exactly how much alcohol they not only have to sell to break even, but how much each individual needs to consume for a profitable cruise. Royal Caribbean doesn’t allow you to bring alcohol onboard although other cruise lines might so check with the individual cruise line prior to sailing.

Adventure of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s cruise terminal in the port of Málaga, Spain

Once through Security, which consisted of placing your carry on bags through the scanner, we were ready to check in. Like the city of Málaga, the building itself was beautiful. In this picture you can see the marble floors in this spotless building. I don’t know how they do it, but I was impressed.

This was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean after achieving Diamond Status on our September cruise. Loyalty programs with cruise lines are somewhat similar to what you might find with hotel chains. Royal Caribbean‘s Crown & Anchor Society honors their Gold (1), Platinum (5), Diamond (10), and Diamond Plus (25) Members. That number indicates the number of cruises necessary to achieve that status. One of the benefits of Diamond status is priority check in, which let us skip the longer lines and head right to our dedicated check in line. We completed our SetSail Pass at home, which requires all of your information such as passport information, emergency contact person, and flight specifics. By completing it online, you simply print out the final page showing that they have that information in their system and you don’t have to complete it in person, which makes for an ultra fast check in process. I only needed to show the SetSail Pass, our passports, and a credit card to set up our onboard expense account, and we were on our way onto the Adventure of the Seas, a 138,000-ton ship in the Voyager Class series that can carry 3,114-guests.

Adventure of the Seas
The Windjammer

We made our way up to the Windjammer to grab a bite and a drink before sailing. Since we still had some luggage with us, we decided to sit back and relax until cabins are available after 1 pm. Admittedly, I wasn’t on my game with taking pictures of the ship on this cruise since we had sailed the Adventure of the Seas back in August/September 2009 when we did a Southern Caribbean cruise. Some of the pictures are from this cruise, but some are from the previous cruise although not much has changed. The first two pictures are daytime pics of the Windjammer in 2009 and the last one is of it lit in the evening.

Adventure of the Seas
The Windjammer
Adventure of the Seas
The Windjammer

Finally, 1 pm came and we were able to enter our cabin, which was a Junior Suite for this cruise. I have to admit that after sailing on the Oasis of the Seas, the Adventure definitely is showing her age. Although clean and spotless, the carpeting and furnishings look worn. Yes, we booked the cruise specifically for the itinerary, but who doesn’t like a cabin with modern amenities? Yes, there is a flat screen TV, which is a nice touch, but the decor is dated. Although she spent some time in drydock in April/May of 2009, she won’t be back in drydock for refurbishment until January/February 2014.

I took a short, albeit bouncy video tour of the cabin to give you an idea of the space of a Junior Suite.

Adventure of the Seas
Junior Suite #9606 on the Adventure of the Seas

I like the larger closet, bathroom, and sitting area although the balcony is somewhat small. I can’t complain, however, because any time I can sit outside next to the water, I’m a happy girl especially when there are three of us in the cabin.

Adventure of the Seas
Looking toward Málaga from the ship

We dropped our bags off in our room, said goodbye to our son who would spend a great deal of time in the teen program while onboard, and headed up to the deck. The view of Málaga from the ship was spectacular, especially as we could easily identify the Cathedral of Málaga and our hotel, the AC Palacio Málaga.

Adventure of the Seas
View of Málaga from the ship

We walked around the deck and so I could take yet more pictures. On the one side of the ship you could see farther down the beach. To the right of this shot in the picture below was an area where they look like they are adding to the port – maybe building it up to add another ship? If so, this will absolutely be a boom to the Spanish economy and a plus for anyone wanting to cruise out of Málaga.

Adventure of the Seas
On the deck of the Adventure of the Seas while in Málaga

The pool chairs were lined up and ready to go for passengers to lay out and soak up the sun. I’m guessing since this would be the last Mediterranean cruise for the season before the Adventure of the Seas crossed the Atlantic to return to San Juan to resume Caribbean cruises, the chairs were out for those passengers because it was cold! I did see a few people throughout the cruise who were daring enough to go in the pools and hot tubs, but I was not about to try it.

Adventure of the Seas
Solarium

Later that night we wandered the decks to see if people were in the pools. If you were so inclined to go swimming, you could make your way to the Solarium, an adult-only area, where there were two huge hot tubs waiting for people to jump in, unwind, and relax. Since I was still bundled up, I couldn’t imagine donning a bathing suit and trying the water, even in the hot tub.

Next time we will finish up our tour of the Adventure of the Seas before heading into port in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

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