Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by nsb06751: Another great cruise!
Overall Member Rating
Another great cruise!
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Bayonne (Cape Liberty)
We were on this ship 5 years ago and the crew were wonderful as always. She's an older ship (built in 2000) but that did not detract from having a great time. She has corrosion around fixtures, dirty and worn rugs and falling apart furniture. She needs dry dock, no doubt. Our room heater was not working when we boarded. After several calls and attempts to repair, it was eventually replaced with a new heater.
We like to walk at least 3 miles each day. Unfortunately, the outside promenade deck was always being blocked off for cleaning, so we could not use it for our walks. The jogging/walking track around the pool area is too narrow and crowded.
The buffet was crazy busy at times. Tables were hard to find and at there were repeated announcements over the PA asking to eat and leave so incoming diners have a table to sit at.
Embarkation was fine but is definitely a little convoluted with getting on a bus from the luggage area to the ship. Debarkation was worse More with folks lugging bags onto the bus for the few hundred yards to the exit gate.
The CD and his activities coordinator were great, Leigh and Erky respectively. These guys were a very good team. Special shout out to Leigh who was especially accommodating to the DH and me.
Regarding ports, Labadee was lovely. There were two ships in port and we had a slightly crowded feel on Nellies beach. As with most barbeque and beach stops owned by the Cruise ship companies, there was an abundance of rat droppings around the food areas and paths. I know it’s hard to control but it is yucky nonetheless. Nevertheless, our day in Labadee was a highlight on this cruise.
When tendering in to the Samana port, take note of the Coconut Palms on shore. It’s a beautiful island. Not without a lot of poverty and struggles but the people are friendly and can’t do enough for you. You will need to make arrangements for a tour as there is nothing to see or do at the tender drop off point. We took a Catamaran Sailing & Snorkeling Tour. In short, the snorkeling was not great and the snorkeling equipment was moldy. Some of us got bit by very small jelly fish which felt like bee stings. The highlight was the stop along the way to sample fresh papaya, coconut and pineapple and a rum drink which were very nice. The guide was very warm and informative about the Dominican Rep. island.
In St Thomas, which we have been to many times, we found a great taxi guide (Perry Smith) behind the Havensight mall, cost $20 ea. for 2 hours. Afterwards we were let off in town. Check out Gladys’s Café in town and her wonderful smile and delicious food.
San Juan: We opted to jump on a $10/1 hr tour from the pier. Felix was our driver/host. The stay in PR was so brief, it worked out well and we were dropped off near the San Cristobal fort and shopping.
Food: I had asked early on if escargot would be available and was told they could not get any due to a shortage only to be served it later in the itinerary. The fish, including the lobster tail, was still sub-par as it was 5 years ago. Mostly just by being over cooked and dry although DH enjoyed his pesto crusted cod with lobster bisque sauce. The traditional thanksgiving turkey dinner was a standout. Thank you RCL. : ) Another night we tried the stuffed turkey breast with apples currants. Rack of lamb was also a standout and highly recommended. Generally the food was very good. Make sure and try something out of your comfort zone at either the buffet or dining room. You may be pleasantly surprised. If you don't like what you have ordered, the staff are delighted to bring you something else. Desserts were great. Try the walnut tart with ice cream or the Chocolate Banana strudel.
The entertainment were very enjoyable. We strongly recommend attending as many shows as you can.
Bon Voyage. Less
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