PRE BOARDING: My husband and I were booked on Explorer of the Seas to set sail on October 28th, 2012. We live in Binghamton, NY. We were to sail out of Bayonne NJ. Prior to the trip, we were very worried about weather since hurricane Sandy was headed straight for New York and New Jersey. On Wed prior to the cruise we really started to worry about the weather. Should we go or not? What about our car at the port? I made a call to the port and the attendant assured me that the parking area never flooded and that the car would be ok. By the time Saturday the 27th rolled around, the storm was massive, with the threat of severe flooding. I thought that surely, Royal Caribbean would put out more notices of changes in itineraries, delays, cancellations, or at least warn us about the parking situation. The only thing they put on their website was the fact that they were monitoring the situation and would keep us posted. I called RC directly, and they said that there was no more information and that we should just show up. I went on line and they shut down the live chat on their site. I decided that the best option for us at this point was to rent a car and head to the port on Sunday morning. We made up our minds that if they offered us a deal to postpone and take a cruise at another time we would do it. We were really apprehensive about cruising during this storm. My heart went out to the people that had to make the trip by air, and then have the cruiseline potentially cancel and be stuck in NJ. We headed to NJ on Sunday morning. My husband had to drop me off at the ship, then go to Avis drop the car off, get on a train, then cab and I met him in a holding area near the ship. We were informed that the destination was Bermuda. We were very happy about that, but again, apprehensive about the impending storm.
SUMMARY ABOUT PRE-BOARDING: I was very disappointed in the lack of communication that I experienced from Royal Caribbean. We had no clue if the trip would be cancelled, delayed by a day or two, or our itinerary would be changed due to the storm. All we knew is that we should show up at the ship, and what ever happened, happened when we got there. No words from RC about the parking situation and the possible flooding of the parking lots. It was every man for themselves.
ON BOARD EXPERIENCE: Sunday-The ship was pretty, I really liked my stateroom (1240) We headed out to sea and the captain announced his course. I really thought the captain did an excellent job of communication when we were on board, we headed south trying to avoid the worst of the storm then head to Bermuda. As the hours passed the sea got rougher. It was a bumpy ride for sure. When we woke up on Monday, our balcony was flooded and the water was coming in the sliding glass doors from the balcony. After a few phone calls maintenance came up and tried to suck some of the water up from the carpet. The carpet stayed wet and somewhat stinky until we got to Bermuda when they replaced the whole carpet. Many people experienced flooding in their staterooms and water went into some hallways as well. The crew did their best to accomodate everyone. I felt sorry for the people that got flooded, not a nice way to spend a cruise. They had to close down the Windjammer cafe' due to the rough waves on Monday, and set up a make shift cafeteria on the Main Promenade deck with sandwiches, water, coffee, ice tea etc. I liked the food on board. The Windjammer opened back up later, and every day the food was very good and it was organized. The dining rooms were very good as well, the staff was attentive and happy.
SUMMARY OF ON BOARD EXPERIENCE: Nice ship, clean. Food was good. Staff was very good. I liked the captain alot. I liked my stateroom.
BERMUDA: Thankfully, Bermuda was warm and sunny! Bermuda is so pretty, it is my second time there. We booked a pantoon boat from AQUATIC BERMUDA for a whole day. We went to our designated area that we were suppose to meet the owner "Tony Crockwell". HE NEVER SHOWED UP!! We waited for 3 plus hours, calling and leaving messages for him on his cell phone. Finally I went into the nearby Police station and the policeman told me that Tony is famous for doing this to people. He said "let me try him, I have his card". When he called Tony, Tony answered, and the policman put me on the phone. Tony told me that I was suppose to call him from the pier (which he never told me) and he stated he was so busy, and that it was too rough for the pantoon boat. We were very upset to say the least, we wasted alot of time waiting for this guy. My suggestion would be to look elsewhere if you want to rent a boat. The day was not a total loss though. We took the ferry back to the ship (from Hamilton) ate lunch, and took the ferry over to St. George. I absolutely loved it there. It is very charming with old buildings, churches, and quaint shops and streets. St. George use to have cruise ships dock there, but with the size of the big ships they can no longer dock there. I hope that more visitors to Bermuda visit St. George. The next day we went to Horseshoe Bay which was lovely, and the final day we stayed at the Dockyard and shopped.
Summary OF BERMUDA: Beautiful, beautiful island. Love Horseshoe Bay and St. George. BEWARE OF AQUATIC BERMUDA RENTALS.