This was my first cruise, my boyfriend (Italian) had cruised with Costa on several occasions.
We flew from the UK to Miami..great flight and excellent room in the Intercontinental in Miami. Embarkation was slow due to a threat in New York but that was understandable and made us feel safer that security was tight. Got on ship around 1.30 and wow she was amazing.
We started exploring straight away before our luggage arrived. I had seen pictures before but I could not believe how large the Explorer was. It does not feel like you are on a ship...the Royal Promenade is just like a street. So cool!
We had a Junior Suite on deck 10 1638...lovely, spacious and very clean..our attendant Manuel Sterling from Costa Rica was amazing...kept the room crystal clean and every night made a different animal from the towels. Although we liked the junior suite next time we shall book the grand suite. Luggage arrived around 1500 which was very quick so we then could enjoy the Grand Romance Package..flowers champagne, chocolates, etc in our room.
We made the mistake of going to Portofino..a big let down..the service was not to a high standard...on numerous occasions they forgot to refill glasses and take away plates...there were only 4 customers so there was no excuse. The food was awful...being half Italian and my boyfriend being from Sicily we were very disappointed with the quality and the pasta was like rubber.
Dining in the dining room Vasco da Gama was a completely different experience. Excellent to say the least. Our Waiter Emelito from Manila and Catalina from Chile were First Class and every night made our dining experiences unforgettable. Food there was much better than Portofino. We purchased the Platinum wine package so we had champagne 5 nights at a good price. We also bought the champagne cocktail package which was a great deal so most night after dinner we went to the Champagne bar. Andriy from the Ukraine an excellent Barman.
Excursions: Belize..city and sanctuary tour. I enjoyed the sanctuary tour however was not very impressed with the city tour. Belize is still a poor country and parts of it reminded me of Brazil. Costa Maya Chaccobean ruins...amazing. Cozumel Passion Island -paradise ..clean sand sea and fun. Grand Cayman-snorkeling and Stingray City tour with Nativeway. Awesome. Definitely a tour I shall do again.
Our cruise was first class from start to finish ..only one complaint about member of staff at guest relations..no customer service at all, never smiled and gave us wrong information on 5 occasions..I mentioned this on the satisfaction survey as it does not give a good impression of Royal Caribbean.
Loved the cruise so much I'm already looking to book the Explorer next year.