After straying from the RCCL brand for a little bit (due to cost issues), I decided to celebrate my 20th anniversary in style by booking a 9 night Caribbean sailing with ports of call being Bermuda, St. Maarten, San Juan and Labadee.
All I can say is I do not know why I ever strayed. RCCL is truly a line that aims to please its customers. I realize that some may disagree with me, but in my experience, this is a valid opinion.
Embarkation was really easy. For this cruise, my membership in the Crown and Anchor Society jumped up a level from the Gold level so for the first time in our cruising life, we were ushered to the priority embarkation area. It was fun, speedy and easy.
The Explorer is still a beautiful ship. We sailed her back in 2006 when she was fairly new, seven years later, she is showing some signs of aging, but remains a very nice and well maintained ship. But one has to realize that sailing out of NYC can place a lot of wear and tear on even a ship of this size, she is always being banged around and the route to Bermuda is never an easy one. Captain Henrick Loy and his staff have certainly kept her in shape.
The food was very good with a nice variety to select from. Of course after eating hotel/ship food all week, it is nice to get back to some home cooking but I had no complaints except for my resulting weight gain! Oh well, back to the gym!
The wait staff was amazing and attentive and did their utmost to attend to your every need. They made all meals enjoyable and fun.
On our sailing, we were fulfilling a Wish for a girl from Toronto named Marianna. What a sweetheart of a young lady. She along with the Captain and his staff managed not only to fulfill this young ladys wish to sail, but all of us as guests managed to set a record and raise a little over $11,000.00 for the Make a Wish foundation. Captain Loy is truly a man with a heart, on this cruise if we surpassed the $8,000.00 mark, Marianna was permitted to push him off a 'gangplank into the pool fully dressed! At the $10,000.00 mark, Marianna was permitted to throw a pie in his face. Both fundraising targets were reached and the Captain was such a good sport.
Also I would like to extend a special mention to the entertainment staff, Leigh Xuereb and his partner Frank the Tank. They made the entertainment on this ship first rate. Partnered together these two were so energetic and so entertaining. Leigh has enough energy for everyone on board. What a team! Every morning I had to watch the daily morning show to see what antics they were up to. So entertaining!!! The ice show is also a DO NOT MISS. All in all the entertainment is FANTASTIC. If you are bored with the entertainment on this ship, then YOU ARE BORING!!! In terms of the Make a Wish fundraising goal, Leigh currently has no hair as he was shaved BALD on this cruise. Hence our final goal I hope I got the numbers right!!!<
My only complaint is that some older passengers not all some tend to be so cranky and they treat the staff as if they are sub-standard. I witnessed some of this treatment and all I can say is that the staff on this ship are truly classy always a smile and always willing to please. I never saw anyone lose their temper even if they were being mistreated. Lighten up older people. Sail Holland America is you are not happyI am a fifty something year old and I LOVED this cruise, the staff and the ship. Again, lighten up!!!
My 20th anniversary was celebrated with a vow renewal and Carol-Ann the Explorers event coordinator was amazing! She made certain that all of our needs were taken care of. And, if anyone questions the $595.00 cost for the renewal, all I can say is, it was worth every penny.
Our ports of call were beautiful and the weather was amazing. All in all, we had a great time and I have decided never to stray again. As they say, you get what you pay for and for the price RCCL provides the most bang for your vacation buck!