Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by livvysgram: A Royal Disappointment
Member Since 2006
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A Royal Disappointment
We hadn't sailed on RCCL in a while, choosing Celebrity or Azamara instead. But since they honor each other's tiers, we decided on a Bermuda cruise from Cape Liberty on RCCL so that it would be more convenient for my brother and his girlfriend who would be cruising with us. Their first cruise ever, and they were so excited. We spent the entire cruise apologizing and telling them how "it used to be".
It all began to go downhill at the lifeboat drill. Several people were late, while the rest of us stood not so patiently out on the deck. We haven't had a lifeboat drill outside in years! Lately it's been in smaller groups in a lounge or dining room and we are shown a video. Much better for older people, and All of us!
The dining room food was mediocre or just bad almost every night. Service was very slow, and they kept bringing out extra plates of appetizers for us to try. I suppose that was one way to fill the long wait for our entrees, but all it became was a More distraction and overloaded our table with extra plates. Some evenings nothing looked good, and their was a charge for the "better" steaks in the main dining room. Really?!
We did eat at Portofino's one night and that was excellent!
The Diamond Lounge was a shock. On Celebrity our Elite status there provides a selection of mixed drinks as well as wine and beer for their Michael's Club Happy Hour, and on Azamara ALL drinks are now included. On Royal, it was only beer, wine and soda at the Diamond Lounge, although mixed drinks were discounted 20%.
The little things are gone too. No more lotions, chocolates on the pillow, no travel bag or other " momento" that was a thank you for choosing RCCL. Instead we had a basket in our cabin with little cookies, trail mix, a bottle of Pellegrino and a can of diet coke. I could have done without the cookies and Pellegrino.
Some things were just aggravating, and we had to have Guest Relations correct it for us.
We did enjoy Bermuda, but are really looking forward to our Azamara cruise over Thanksgiving! Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
We enjoyed our 3 days in Bermuda very much. We ported at King's Wharf. Easy on and off of the ship. There was a tourist booth right on the pier where we bought a 2 day combination bus/ferry pass for $25 each. We could ride the bus or ferry as much as we wanted, and we did. We loved the history in St. George's and the smaller shops. Tobacco Bay was small but great! It is a very walkable town if you are in good shape. We took the ferry to St. George's and then the bus to Hamilton the first day, then the ferry back to King's Wharf. The second day we took the ferry to Hamilton and then the bus back to King's Wharf so we could get off at Horseshoe Bay, back on a bus, off at the Lighthouse, back on a bus, and then on to the ship. The buses and ferries were very clean and up to date, and the people were very friendly. Our only adventure was when the bus driver let us off to visit the lighthouse. When we were done, 6 of us waited in the same spot for the next bus. Two buses drove past us, finally an off duty bus stopped to tell us that it wasn't a bus stop where we were standing! We needed to be further down the hill. As we started walking to where he had indicated, a bus drove by and stopped at that bus stop. So here we were, all running madly for the bus. My husband (a retired Marine) is yelling "stop that bus! ". The driver was not happy, but she waited for us all. Then we had the "ride from hell" back to the ship. We all had to stand while she drove very fast, one handed, around the curves, back to the ship. I'm sure the pubs on the island are for the people who survived the bus rides. The last day we stayed in the King's Wharf area and checked out that area. Nice shops and restaurants.