To celebrate my husband's 62nd birthday, I booked a cruise on the Explorer of the Seas. We had taken a previous cruise on the Explorer and were 99% satisfied with that trip, but I became a little worried after reading numerous negative reviews about the appearance of the ship, the horrible and boring food selections, the apathy of the staff, etc. Well, I can put all that negativity to rest! My hubby and I had an absolutely wonderful time on this cruise - one of the top three we have ever taken!
First - embarkation. We arrived at the Port at about 11 a.m. and were treated "Royally" due to our Elite status. There was some confusion due to the previous cruise arriving back in port an hour later than scheduled, but we worked around it and were on the ship and in the Windjammer Cafe in relatively short time.
Food - this is the first time that we had late seating for dinner and I was a little leery of eating dinner that late (8:30 p.m.) with my health issues but we decided to give it a try. Well, we absolutely loved it - it was so much more relaxing than the main seating where we had to leave whatever we were doing to rush back to our cabin to prepare for 6 p.m. dinner. We will book late seating for all future cruises!
The options on the menu each evening were varied and we always found something appealing to order. The food was cooked to our liking and quite tasty! Kudos to Chef Dennis who we had the opportunity to meet and speak with. There was one minor mishap in that I found bacon bits in my New England Clam Chowder - on a Friday...during the Lenten Season. Chef Dennis was very apologetic and blackend salmon was served to our entire table; even though it was not on the menu!
Also, a shout-out to our wonderful waiter Edmund, and assistant waiter, Juan. The service was outstanding!
Accommodations - we had a mid-ship balcony and were very pleased with our cabin steward, Joseph G., who went out of his way to make sure we had everything our hearts desired! The cabin was always straightened - even after our mid-day naps; we got extra towels without asking (some used for our towel animals) and he just made our cruise even that much more enjoyable!
Ports - since we had been to the ports before, our ultimate goal was to relax and enjoy all activities, etc. on the ship and not do the "running around touristy thing." We stayed poolside and chilled; although hubby did disembark for Labadee to a while and said it was absolutely gorgeous.
Entertainment - Didn't enjoy the singers/dancers as much this trip. They were too loud and the shows were the same. They really need to update their material! The ice show was superb, as expected, and did not disappoint. They should do more, though. Perhaps open skating/instruction with guests?
I absolutely loved Jeff Tracta and the comedians were good, too.
The highlight of the cruise, though, was definitely Richard Spacey and Frankie! They are hysterically funny - ALL THE TIME! Love your sox, Richard!
Disembarkation - We did the Express Walk Off. The ship was docked and cleared by about 7:30 a.m. or so and we were off the ship by 8:20 a.m., in our car and on our way home by 8:30 a.m. The end to a very enjoyable, relaxing cruise.
Bon voyage, Explorer....we will definitely see you again!