Hi all! Here is my review of the 9 day Bermuda- Caribbean cruise. This is only my second cruise, both of which were on EOS. As everyone else says, boarding at Cape Liberty was smooth and quick. We got to the port at around noon, and were on the ship within 30 minutes.
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
Explorer of the Seas Cruises to the Eastern Caribbean
Labadee is beautiful and has much to offer. The kids zip-lined first thing in the morning and had had a great experience. The beaches are beautiful, and you have your choice of shade or sun. We went to Columbus Cove and have no complaints. The scenery was spectacular. The only negative, and it's a big one is the aggressiveness of the vendors.
Wish we had more time here- arrived at 7am, all aboard was 12:30. We had breakfast and left the ship by 8 to avoid the mad dash. Shops don't open until 10 or 10:30. We walked to Fort El Morro and did the self guided tour for $3/person. We all enjoyed it and would recommend. We walked in the old part of the city a bit, but was limited by the time in port.
Ok- I have to say that all I heard before arriving in St. Maarten was that Orient Beach was one of the top ten beaches in the world- #6 I believe. I have to say I was a bit disappointed. I was expecting clean wide beaches, which there is not. There are lots of small hut type bars that rent chairs and umbrellas for a great price, but crowd you into a small stretch of beach that is also taken up with vendors not only coming up to you (which is ok, I'm all for free enterprise), but also running back and forth on the beach in front of you. So if you want to relax and gaze at the water, it is not so easy. Also, the beach was full of dried seaweed. The people were very friendly, but I would try a different beach if I were to go again, I definitely would not put Orient Beach in the top 10 beaches of the world. The shops in St. Phillipsburg closed at 6pm, because we were told it wasn't the safest place to be after dark ( this was from the shop workers themselves), so if your ship is only there from 12n- 8pm, be prepared to wrap things up by 6.