My husband and I just returned from a Caribbean cruise March 5th to 15th on the Explorer. This was our third cruise on Royal. It was our first cruise without our children, and our first winter cruise. We had a rocky start as the ship got caught in a winter storm at sea. So our second day was spent mostly in our room due to the tossing about. Thank goodness for our very experienced captain who kept us safe, so we were not able to visit the port of Labadee. Also, the rest of the crew was just wonderful when we did venture out of our room. Some people complained about missing the port however, I was just glad that we were safe. The rest of the cruise was just wonderful as we had good weather. My husband had booked things to do in Labadee but of course that did not happen. Although I previously visited two of these ports a good time was still had. In San Juan we took a long walk around Old San Juan, very picturesque. We shopped in St. Thomas, great weather, fun stores, so much jewelry. In St Maartin we went to the shopping area and then to Orient Beach. The beach was pretty and the water was warm a a little rough. People had to watch their children carefully here because of the waves. There were some women selling small items and offering massages but they were not aggressive. If you have ever been to Turks and Caicos this beach does not compare. Here are other comments about our cruise.
Sail away - We watched the ship go under the bridge. So fascinating as there is so little room for the ship to fit under.
Concierge- Since we were in a suite we had the advantage of concierge services. Mario was the best concierge ever. He kept us in the loop and introduced us to many wonderful couples to chat with. We met with several of the other couples several times. Mario was always there to give us suggestions or make adjustments we needed. He also always chatted with us and the other people to make sure we were happy and entertained. The wait staff in concierge were very attentive.
Suite Attendent- Our suite attendent Augus was just wonderful. He truly took great care of us. He made our stay a delight.
Wait Staff - Marvelous in the dining room and windjammer
Dining room attire - two dress up nights. No tux required. No gowns required. Just look nice as you would if going to a very nice restaurant on dress up nights. On the other nights just don't wear shorts. Other than that it seemed that everything was very relaxed. Both my husband and i are fine with the dress code policy.
The Food - We enjoyed our food in Windjammer and in the regular dining room. We did not have dinner in Portofino's as the menu did not seem appealing to us. But everyone who went there said the food was delicious. We always found something delicious to eat in Windjammer. There were many fresh fruits and lots of salad to eat for lunch so I was happy. Meanwhile my husband was happy with the meat offerings and the varied other selections. Room service was great. The food was always hot and delivered on time.
Coffee - Very good coffee. It was not necessary for me to have the premium coffee.
Drinks - Some of the special mixed drinks are very delicious, but expensive.
The shows - Fun shows. We looked forward to them every night. The ice skating shows are just fantastic. They are not to be missed. The comedian was just ok.
The Ship - Clean, clean, clean. Looks extremely good for an older ship.
Will I go again? Absolutely, I already have two more cruises booked for this year.
The casino - Fun, many penny machines but very smokey. Fortunately there were two non-smoking evenings, hurray for that. There was a lot less smoke during the day.
Promenade - A fun place to shop (many great bargains) and hang out.
Activities - so much to do, mini golf was fun, fun games to participate in or not. Don't miss the Quest. Much art to look at and many auctions. We did not go to any auctions as we have done that before, but viewing the art was still enjoyable. Very active sports area. You can even ice skate.
Getting a Chair - We were always able to find a chair or lounge. There are many quiet places to be if you would prefer not to be around the pool.
Music - Loved the live Caribbean music played around the pool and on the Promenade. Lots of live music played all around the ship, enjoyed listening to it.
The cruisers - Just so nice. There were many older cruisers. There were many wheelchairs and scooters. I was a bit surprised as the summer cruises are not like this. The crowd in the summer is definitely younger with many families and newlyweds. Of course there were children but not many, there were newlyweds on this cruise and many couples of all ages.
Spa - cute, nice, clean, no extra fee to use spa, nice jacuzzi in spa area
Exercise Equipment - much to chose from and up to date, no extra fee to use equipment
Complaints - None, just compliments
Old San Juan is beautiful. We enjoy long walks. So we did that there.
Nice beach, shopping ok. lots of shops.
Great shopping, lots of jewelry stores