Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by Dave: Explorer of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean
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Explorer of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean
This was our 6th cruise, second on RCCL. Arrived at port by shuttle van service. Very smooth embarkation, arrived about 1pm and cabin was ready. Had been upgraded from Balcony to Jr Suite so luggage tags had incorrect cabin number and took a little while to arrive, but showed up before we sailed at 5pm. Cabin 1630 was deck 10 just behind bump, very private, great view. The mattress changeover was still taking place, first night was on the old cot mattress, changed the next morning to the new...big difference, actually feels like a bed. Overall ship is in great shape, shows a little wear and tear as would be expected on a 6 year old ship. Air conditioning system seemed to struggle, many areas of the ship seemed very warm. AC in cabin was adequate, but at lowest setting was not as cool as we would have liked. Service throughout the ship was very good. Cabin steward was was efficient and responsive.
Dining was the weak point on this cruise. Main Dining Room, requested table for More 4, 2nd seating. Taken to table for 12, however assignment was quickly and easily changed after talking to maitre d. First three nights food was just not to our liking, poor quality, limited selection, odd seasoning. Desserts were very uninspired and nothing chocolate appeared until the 4th night. It was like we picked up a new chef in St Thomas, from there on food was much better and variety seemed to improve. I know these are fleetwide menus and recipes but food on Adventure of the Seas last year was much better. Windjammer Cafe is a cafeteria and served cafeteria food, ok, but nothing great. Ate breakfast and lunch there on occasion. Breakfast was the better meal. Breakfast and lunch seemed to have just about the same selection every day. Did not eat dinner there. Temperature of the hot food was just warm most of the time, a little concerning with all the food borne illnesses out there. Johnny Rockets was great and entertaining. Bar Service around the ship was efficient.
Ports: St Thomas..been there, done that, so went on St John Beach Tour. Beautiful beach, decent snorkeling. Port time was strange...1pm-11pm. Returning from tour about 5:30, shops at Havensight were closing and city center was a ghost town. Decided to eat dinner in town, found one open restaurant, The Green House...open air bar/restaurant at city dock. not much to look at, but great chicken/ribs/drinks. Seems strange to stay in port till 11pm when there is little to do once the shops close.
St Maarten..Did the zipline tour in the am. 9 ziplines, 23 crossings of rope swings, cables, bridges of swinging logs, slats, rope, etc. Lot of fun, lot of work. Definitely an exercise. After return, changed and went by water taxi to old town Phillipsburg for shops and casinos.
Puerto Rico..San Juan, another odd scheduling 7-3, hit a couple casinos in town after breakfast. Seems like St Thomas and Puerto Rico times should have been reversed, much more to do in the evening in San Juan.
Labadee..great location, layout, beautiful water, not much to look at from a snorkeling stand point, but very relaxing. Vendors in shops are very aggressive and insistent, nothing extremely unusual or unique, but fun to wander. Lunch on island was great. Tendering to beach is by large ferries, so no cramped lifeboat transport. Lots of shade and tram for those that need it to get around this very large area.
Entertainment, etc: Ice show, as all say, was great, productions shows ok, 2 lead singers out so 2 dancers lip syncing their parts. Headliners..Comedian Carl Guerra,terrible; Comedian Sal Richards very funny; Action comedian Michael James, mediocre, boring left show before end; The Drifters, Great; Comic composer Billy Fellowes, great and Acrobats, Majestic very good.
RCCL Photographers throughout trip were everywhere and now travel in herds blocking your way.
Nice touch on RCCL ships...pools and hot tubs are open 24 hrs. Nice to soak in hot tub before bed.
Disembarkation went very smoothly except for the hold-up for the usual few who don't make it to immigration. Seems like with the Sea Pass card system they could just be flagged as they tried to get off and not hold up 2500 passengers for a few that can't or won't follow directions.
Overall a great trip! Less
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