Last July, my little sister and her family took a 7-day Caribbean cruise on the M/S Adventure of the Seas of Royal Caribbean International as a gift to my nephew, Spencer, who had recently graduated high school and was about to enter Kansas State University. The family is no stranger to traveling on large ships, having cruised in the eastern Mediterranean a year or so prior to this one. Ironically, I was the big ship buff in my family growing up yet I have never been on such a lengthy ocean voyage.
On this particular cruise, Marilyn remembered my love of postcards and endeavored to send a card from each port-of-call. To make it even more interesting, she sent me photos of her mailing all but one of the postcards. The first four cards all arrived in Thailand on the same day in early August (including the first and last of the trip) while I received the final card (second postcard of the cruise) in late September.
The cruise began and ended in San Juan, Puerto Rico and took in the islands of Sint Maarten (formerly part of the Dutch Antilles), Saint Kitts, Antigua, Saint Lucia, and Barbados.
In the first batch of postcards received was the last card sent — she mailed it from the ship as it was approaching San Juan on 22 July; it was postmarked with a spray-jet cancellation on 25 July and took just ten days to arrive in Phuket.
The MS Adventure of the Seas is a Voyager-class cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean International, a cruise line established in Norway and currently based in Miami, Florida. As of September 2015, the line controls a 17% share of the world cruise market, with 23 cruise ships in service and another three on order. All vessels under the Royal Caribbean brand have had their names ending with “of the Seas” since 1991. Sister brands owned by Royal Caribbean Ltd. are Azamara Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, CDF Croisières de France and Pullmantur Cruises.
The 137,276-ton, 3,690-passenger Adventure of the Seas was built at Kværner Masa-Yards Turku New Shipyard, Finland. Given yard number 1346 upon order on 24 April 1997, her keel was laid 17 June 1998 and she was launched on 5 January 2001. Completed on 26 October 2001 at a total cost of $500 million, the 1,020-foot (311-meter) long ship was christened by Mayor Rudy Giuliani in New York City on 10 November 2001, sailing on her maiden voyage eight days later. Her port of registry is Nassau in The Bahamas.
From 2001, Adventure of the Seas mostly sailed in the Southern Caribbean and departed weekly from the port of San Juan, Puerto Rico. As of 2012, she is based in the Atlantic in the Summer and offers seven-day cruises from Málaga and in the winter she departs from San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 2013, her summer cruises were based out of Southampton, England and offer Baltic, Mediterranean, and Northern Europe itineraries.
In April 2014, Adventure of the Seas received “Royal Advantage” upgrades, including an outdoor movie screen, digital signage, ship-wide Wifi, new Concierge and Diamond lounges, and the changeover of the Portofino restaurant to the Giovanni’s Table concept first introduced on the Oasis class cruise ships. On May 31, 2016, Royal Caribbean announced features for the upcoming refit in December 2016. This includes the perfect storm water park, making Adventure the third ship to receive this feature after Liberty of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas. She will also receive a flowrider which produces artificial waves that are technically called “sheet waves” for an alternative boardsport that incorporates elements of surfing, bodyboarding, skateboarding, skimboarding, snowboarding and wakeboarding.