This was probably one of our top 3 cruises to date. This was our fourth time on the Explorer of the Seas and our next cruise in September 2014 to Canada and New England will also be on the Explorer. Yes, the ship shows its age and lack of recent refurbishment, but true beauty comes from all facets! The Explorer crew is one of the nicest, best crews we have experienced recently. The Cruise Director, Leigh, is really personable and his staff all seemed to enjoy his or her job. Our stateroom attendance, Charles, was also very good. He was never intrusive and always spoke when he saw us and any request was met with I will take care of that and he followed through.
Subjective as it is, the food in our opinion was good to great. We ran into a couple things that were on the bland side, but most everything else was cooked perfectly and tasted great. I love the cold soups and was not disappointed at all. In the dining room, our waiter Benjamin from the Philippines was the most efficient, personable waiter we have had in quite a long time. Ray, the assistant waiter, ensured all the glasses were full and we had bread if we wanted it. The ultimate highlight of the cruise was Thanksgiving dinner. The turkey was exquisite. The individual pumpkin pie was perfect. If I could have eaten two plates, I would have ordered another it was that good. Exceptional.
The only hiccup we experienced was in Portofino. The waiter, Alex, seemed to have received more tables at once that he could handle and unfortunately, my wife and I were the recipients of the poor service as a result. He has several tables with officers and seemed to ensure he catered to them before paying attention to us. We sat one time 30 minutes between courses…thank goodness it was desert or it would have been cold! The fillet I received was cooked medium to medium well and I asked for medium rare. When I showed this to Alex, he argued with me that I was mistaken. Trust me, I know when a steak is over cooked and this one was, I don’t need a waiter to tell me I am wrong. He never offered to have it replaced nor did he apologize in any way shape or form. I always tip extra at Portofino, but I have to admit this time, he received very, very little in extra tip.
Weather in the ports was great, though it did rain every morning at every port, but it’s the Caribbean in November, what can you do! Seas were a little rough going down and back, but with the fronts coming off the coast, the ship was more stable than I expected, so that was positive.
Overall, a GREAT cruise and it we would put it in our top 3 favorite cruises to date. Thank you for reading.