This was my fourth cruise on the Explorer of the Seas. For many family members it was their first, Let me get the one negative out of the way right away and that was the weather. Cloudy, Cold, Windy and Wet was the forcast most everyday. But you can't fight Mother Nature.
Embarkation is so easy for us as we live in Bayonne. Bayonne is a wonderful town, and hopefully the powers that be in town will improve the scenery at the port, realizing that thousands of people get their impression of Bayonne as they embark on their cruises. A 10 minute cab ride and upon arrival a quick and professional move through security and check in, and in no time we all met at the Windjammer for a relaxing lunch. It is always fun to see the faces of the new cruisers as the ship looks like it is not going to make it under the Verazzano Bridge.
As we got together in the Windjammer we realized everyone had different dining rooms, tables and times for the main dining. I put together a list of everyone, met with the dining room Maitre D - and we were all seated together at one table
I highly objected to Royal Caribbeans new procedure of Mandatory Tipping. I have always felt that I give a tip according the the grade of service I receive, and I was worried that the service would suffer as $12 daily was automatically deducted from my stateroom account for tips. I was pleasantly suprised by the great service that was provided by the staff. Agus Kosim, my stateroom attendant always had a smile and a greeting for me, took great care of my stateroom, and rooted for me when I told him I was on the way to the casino. I was happy to provide an addtional tip for his service. Our Waiter Dinesh, and Assistant Waiter Sherma were fantastic in the main dining room. After the first day Sherma knew i liked a cup of tea, and after that seconds after I sat down in the dining room, I had a nice cup of tea in front of me. The food was fantastic, the service was fantastic and we all chipped in tips over and above what was automatically deducted. My daughter and her husband were celebrating their 27th Wedding Anniversary and our dining team made that celebration a special one.
Although the weather was horrible, Royal Caribbean does everything possible to keep everyone entertained. The shows were great. Wildfire - 3 young men singers was fantastic. John Wing -hysterical comedian. And of course for me - I enjoy the Casino. Helen Mavrozumi was a great casino host.
As always the time flys by too fast, and you find yourself home dreaming of planning the next cruise.
I took a nice walk independent of any excursions. There are nice restaurants and shops within walking distance of the ship dock.