Great Cruise: Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by Georgeny
Overall Member Rating
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
We arrived at Bayonne about 11:30, spent 1/2 hour crawling in car line until at baggage drop off area. Baggage drop off easy then drive around corner into long term parking $19 a day. The lots could use some pothole and cleanup work but were okay. Close enough to walk to ship area.
Through security, they were strict took two cans of beer away from guy in front of us. Next as GS small room on left for priority desk. 5 minutes we were on bus shuttle and on way to ship. Really wish they would expend terminal and do away with those buses. High step and crowded but at least only like 2 minute ride.
Our Suite was ready, Jo, our suite stewardess was very happy personality and smiley. She maintained suite adequately and was readily available. Always greeted you by name More with a smile. Service wise we have had better and worse, often did not remove used small plate or whatever. But if you asked her she readily did what was requested, problem more that you had to ask for even some routine things but when you did she was quick to respond. We were not unhappy with her at all just nothing extra was tipped, we did not feel it was warranted.
Dining room was excellent enhanced by having great table mates. Waiter and assistant waiter prompt and good service was had. Again, has better and worse we were happy enough but did not feel any extra tipping was warranted. Head waiter stopped by each night pretty much. We had second seating De Gama dining room table 434 I believe, good location in rear.
Food was very good never had a bad meal except for steak wife had. Three times back all tough, she gave up. Rest was fine, thought the buffets were more than adequate, Didn't dine at extra cost restaurant honestly I do not like the concept. Our table mates did for Fathers Day and raved about Portafino's. I also was not happy to see three EXTRA cost dinners PLUS extra gratuity, on the main dining menu each night. When they finally start alacarte if that is there intention that will be when cruising ends for me.
Ship itself was in far better condition than lead to believe in some reviews. YES carpet stains and wear noted in hallways but for most part all looked good and was very clean. I believe they do have some water issues, seems all water is hot even cold. To the point that at times shower and sinks on full cold produced near scalding water. They did take water system offline twice for few hours while in port for " routine cleaning " but I really think they have a problem they are trying to correct.
Concierge lounge was great, Mahmoud was excellent concierge!! Private island Suite Beach Barefoot beach was great. For GS you get complimentary drinks before dinner and hot appetizers etc in there. Did tip the servers and concierge there they were fantastic and attentive during the whole cruise. You also have reserved seating area at main pool, part of the tiered area. Since in the sun we preferred solarium pool area, padded seats and some shade also adult area. You also have reserved area in show lounge, two rows mid way. Used that but was unnecessary all the tines we were in show lounge. Plenty of seating no problem. You do get pretty much full menu ordering in GS which is nice if you want something more than light breakfast. Room service was EXCELLENT best we have ever seen on a ship. After second day they knew what our more or less standard order was and had it there minutes after calling for it.
Entertainment was good, we don't go to much except comedy shows. Downside of cruising a lot seen enough dance numbers. Nothing spectacular was again adequate, but we are tainted having seen so many cruise shows.
Ports, short stays, Bermuda we love weather was rainy and windy first hours great last two hours. San Juan again short can't really do anything, went across street and hit casino in the Sheraton. Ship casino was pretty decent size. Didn't see any big wins though. St Maarteen very nice by pier area. No more tendering is nice. Private island was best of the trip!!!
Internet access - bad old school hot spots not through out ship. First time in a while that couldn't connect in cabin. Took $99 package and received 20% off for coupon in cabin. That makes it .43 a minute, first two days unusable they couldn't get internet. After that barely adequate. This will be addressed in 2014 retrofit we were told. Phones in cabin still 7.95 a minute, again 1.99 or 2.99 more the norm on ships now. We did have coupon again in book in suite reducing calls to 1.99 a minute at conclusion of cruise. Had to go to desk and advise them for corrected bill as it discount only appeared for one call.
Guest Services desk very polite and quickly addressed any need. No complaints.
Overall great cruise we enjoyed it yes would sail her again even before she get done over. We had not sailed RCL for over five years as we had been unhappy about change to past passenger levels but we decided time heals all.
George in NY Less
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