We are first time cruisers so we did not know what to expect. RCCL Explorer of the Seas was beyond our expectations. Since we had booked our trip rather late we could only get a OV room on the 2nd deck. It was actually fine for our family of 3. We slept great and felt very little motion while in our room. Our steward Mark was from St Vincent and he was AMAZING!!! My son wants him to be our steward on our next cruise!
I booked the cruise and air thru RCCL. The transfers went smoothly. The lines were long at the pier but they did move. This ship is HUGE.. By the end of the week, I still could not find my way around. Had lunch in Windjammer and that pepperoni pizza was great!! Being from NY I am used to good pizza and this was pretty darn good!! It became an everyday treat for me :( not good for my waistline!
Our first day at sea was wonderful. We had great weather the whole week. Got out to the pool early as I had read horror stories about the chairs. We actually had the same chairs every time we were out the pool. Even though the ship was full, it never felt crowded at all. There were crew that were patrolling the deck for chairs that were left unattended. My DH used the gym every day and was really happy with it. I walked the track for my ship shape bucks and did some other classes. At the end of the week, I was able to get a lanyard, keychain and a backpack. The belly flop contest was hysterical and the CD Allan Brooks was a lot of fun. He got thrown in the pool at the end of the contest... lots of laughs. Had formal nite, ordered a bottle of Cabernet $38.00 and had very good steak. Georgi our waiter was really nice. They work hard and deserve those tips!!
Our first port was Puerto Rico. My family was thinking of staying on the ship for the day but then decided to go to El Morro. So we grabbed a cab and asked the driver to take us to El Morro, well he dropped us off in Old San Juan and we walked the rest of the way (10-15mins). He said the traffic was too bad to get us there... Did some touring and little shopping and got back to the ship early. Wasn't too impressed with PR.
Our 2nd port was St. Maarten. We absolutely loved this place... We hopped in a cab to Divi Little Bay. Got some chairs and an umbrella for $15.00 total. Had a great morning at this beach. A couple of pina colada's which were tasty. Tried to snorkel, but only saw a couple of fish. My DS and DH rented waverunners, $45.00 for a half hour. They had a blast. It got really crowded at Divi. About lunch time we headed over to MAHO BEACH. This is the beach where the planes come right over your head and land in the airport. AMAZING! Had lunch at Sunset Beach Bar and Grill. Pretty good, had drinks etc. $60.00 for the 3 of us. Nice atmosphere, steel drums playing. This made my day cause I really wanted to go here. Grabbed a cab back to the ship with plenty of time to spare. What a great day in St Marten. We would like to go back for a landbased vacation, that is how much we enjoyed it!
Our 3rd port was St. Thomas. I had booked a tour with Godfrey, $25.00 per person. Shopping, Sightseeing and Snorkeling @ Coki Beach. The tour was well worth the money. Godfrey was great. Had banana daiquiris at Mountaintop. The snorkeling was amazing at Coki. Rented chairs there for $5.00 each - not a very big beach and it was crowded but a good day! Godfrey got us back to the ship with time to spare. I def. recommend him!
Our next day was a day at sea which we needed to relax. Got up early for those chairs and had a relaxing day at the pool. DH and DS went blading and had lots of fun. We had tickets for the ice show before dinner. That was a lot of fun. Amazing that they have an ice rink on the ship!! Our 2nd formal nite and we had LOBSTER which was real good. DS and DH has 2 tails each. Then we played miniature golf after dinner. Can't say much about the late nite entertainment as we were exhausted and usually sound asleep by 10:30... heard the love and marriage show was fun!!
Our 4th port was Nassau. Since I travel to Nassau every year for my Annual Girls Trip I knew my DS and DH would not want to go into town. So I booked the Dolphin Encounter thru RCCL. It was so much fun, got great pics. Got to feed, hug and kiss the dolphins. My DS loved this!! Next time he would like to do the swim... Knowing our trip was coming to an end was very sad. We did not want to see the word "SATURDAY" on the elevator floor! :)
Highlights of our 1st cruise: An amazing ship ~ Beautiful weather ~ Great people ~ Great food ~ Even better drinks ~ Wild and Haynes comedy team ~ Ice Show ~ Pepperoni Pizza ~ Bloody Marys in the morn ~ Mark our steward ~
I really don't have any negatives for this cruise, perhaps because I have nothing to compare it to since it was our first cruise. There were some people on the trip who were complaining about things, but i think some people are just never happy! But i can tell you it has hooked us on cruising and we are already thinking of our next trip. We travel about 4 - 5 times a year and my DH and I both said this was one of our best family vacations.