Just back and would do it all again!: Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by jerseybeachmom
Overall Member Rating
Just back and would do it all again!
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
As far as the ship- she is still lovely. I thought the staff did an excellent job of keeping her clean, and yes, she is showing her age, but there was nothing that I found intolerable. We had 4 cabins on Deck 6- one balcony and 3 Promenade interior cabins. On our last cruise we stayed in interior cabins to save some money. I would definitely recommend the Promenade interior cabins as they were roomy and you had some light coming into the cabin. Each cabin had more than enough storage space.
Pool areas- it may have been just my perception, but it seemed like less people were saving chairs by the pool and honoring the "no saving" rule. We always stayed up on Deck 12, so finding seating was not a problem. More There were a few kids in the solarium on Day 2, but one of the main pools was closed due to splashing water out because of some rough seas, so no one really said anything. We switched back and forth between solarium and main pools depending on how crowded they were. Areas were clean, but I wish they had more than 1 towel return station!
Dining- we had breakfast and lunch in Windjammer, and dinner in MDR. The MDR food was good- not gourmet, but tasty enough. The only really negative note I have is that the shrimp were tiny frozen shrimp that even I wouldn't cook with. The portion sizes are just fine- my family is not one that needs an overflowing plate, and the staff was more than happy to bring us 2 of anything we desired. The Windjammer salad was very fresh all through the cruise, and the omelet stations were great. Our MDR waiters were fabulous and gave us some great tips on the ports. The ham sandwiches in the Promenade Cafe were very tasty and should not be missed, along with the coconut cookies, which are in both Cafe and Windjammer. The wine tasting is well worth the $20 cost and I highly recommend, although most of the wines are red, so if you are a white drinker- pass on this.
Staff- The staff was very friendly and most went out of their way to make you happy. We had my-time dining pre-arranged for a group of 8 and when we checked on our reservation on day 1, the dining room didn't have any record of it. Even though we were a group of 8, they were able to book us for our selected time each night. Richard Spacy was the Cruise Director and is hysterical. He made our trip memorable when he noticed my daughter and niece watching the disco parade from their Promenade cabin, then proceeded to go to their cabin and dance in the window! Leigh is the Activities Manager, and these 2 complement each other very well. Another nice touch is that the Captain is very visible during the cruise. The Q&A session was interesting and had some great questions brought up. He also lead the Walk for Wishes, and did a maritime trivia session. Our first day at sea,(Day 2) was a bit rough and he kept us well informed of what we can expect.
Ports- We visited Bermuda, St. Maarten, San Juan, and Labadee. Our time in San Juan was only 5 1/2 hrs, so there really isn't to many options for activities. Plus, shops didn't open until 10-10:30, and all aboard was 12:30. I will say I had the BEST cup of coffee in a little coffee shop by Subway near the port. If you are a coffee lover- don't miss this place. Locally grown beans and available to purchase. Expensive, but well worth it! This was our first time there, so we walked to El Morro fort and toured old city. It would have been nicer to get to St. Maarten before 12 noon, but we made the best of our time there. Labadee was beautiful, but the aggressiveness of the vendors was a turn-off. My teenage daughter was walking through them to get a soda when we first arrived, and she was frightened enough that she would not walk through them again. They will come up to you and put things on you without you asking. I am surprised RC tolerates that.
Overall we had a great time and would do this cruise again. They need to update the shows in the Palace theater- they are the same as 2 years ago and more experienced cruisers had the same comment. I haven't sailed other cruise lines, but I give the RC experience a thumbs up! Less
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