Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by bellbandmom: The Ups and Downs of Cruising during a Polar Vortex
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The Ups and Downs of Cruising during a Polar Vortex
This is my first time cruising with Royal Carribean. I did not plan this trip or I would probably have chosen a different itinerary. We had a good time and there were some highlights but for me, there were far more disappointments. Let me say this was the rockiest cruise I have ever been on and that is by no means the fault of the cruise line. We traveled during the week of the "polar vortex" so compared to the rest of the US, our conditions were better than most.
That being said, I have never been seasick on a cruise and it happened twice during this one….not fun. We traveled with my son, his partner and his partner's parents and it was an enjoyable, bonding experience for all of us but there were definitely some pitfalls. I have cruised before though and had other cruises to compare this to. My son and my husband were first-time cruisers on this trip. My husband and I had a large suite with a nice balcony. It was very nice but this ship is old and needs updating More badly. The lighting did not work properly in our room and maintenance showed up the evening before departure (while I was packing to go back home) to fix it. I sent them away and told them they could fix it after I disembarked. Not great customer service!
Several staff members at the lounges and especially in the casino were rude. I am not accustomed to this at all on a cruise. The general clientele on this ship were less than classy and a little trashy. I encountered rude individuals all week long on this trip and I was shocked at the language and the way people dressed on this ship. Again, not the fault of the cruise line. Let's talk about the cuisine…..
Overall, the food was simply mediocre and I had one meal that should have never left the kitchen. The food in the Wyndjammer was "ok" at best - think Las Vegas low budget buffets. We had our evening meals in the Da Gamma dining room and there were some hits and misses (mostly misses). The lasagna, lobster, most appetizers and most desserts were extremely good. Some of the soups, and many of the main dishes fell short. The salmon was awful and tasted like I was eating sandpaper. Most fish dishes were overcooked and bland. That being said, we had a wonderful wait staff and our waiter "Earl" was fabulous. He made our dinner meal extremely enjoyable.
As a suite guest, we had access to a private lounge on the 9th floor and the 19th Hole on the 14th floor. Both served free appetizers and drinks. This was a very nice perk although again, the food was not fabulous. Denzil Fernandes, our concierge was delightful and did everything he could to make our family's cruise experience a good one. I booked two spa visits while I was there and ended up with the same masseuse on both days. She was nice but I waited well beyond my appointment time for my service. She did a fairly good job but did not ask me the common questions a good masseuse should ask - in particular, about pressure. I had bruises on my thighs and back after the first massage. I took advantage of the "Happy Hour Spa Special" on the second visit and told her to use light pressure and it was a better experience. The second experience felt rushed though and I did not get the full time for my service because they were behind and the lady before me had lost her rings in the sink and maintenance had to retrieve them. I should have asked for a discount but didn't. I liked the girl that did my service but do feel I was cheated a little on the allotted time. The cruise directors: I have to give a huge shout out to Leigh and Erky! What a great team they made. They definitely know how to make things fun! Loved them! I do think the weather was a big factor on my level of enjoyment with this cruise as well. We could not go up on the pool deck with the exception of one day. It was just too cold and windy.
The port of call in Cape Canaveral was pure misery because of the weather and in all honesty, the tour we booked (Kennedy Space Center) was a huge disappointment because the tour was extremely disorganized. I would have stayed on the ship had I known the weather was going to be so miserable and the tour so disorganized. Our trip to Nassau was a little better but overcast and rainy. Atlantis was beautiful but forget the casino. Extremely high limits and no wins at all for anyone that I witnessed. We enjoyed our day at Coco Cay but again, due to high winds, our kayak excursion was cancelled. Because of the weather, we spent an extraordinary amount of time in the casino on the ship and lost A LOT!!!! Good for the ship but bad for us. Very disappointed but again, the weather is not within the control of the cruise line. I also feel there should be smoking lounges (enclosed) on the ship. The smoke was unbearable in the casino. Hated it! I would cruise with Royal Carribean again but would probably select a different port of embarkation (different itinerary) and a newer ship. Less
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Cabin review: 1552
Overall very accommodating, had our lighting worked properly. Roomy though and plenty of closet/drawer space. Suite in desperate need of updating.
Port and Shore Excursions
This was our port of embarkation and it was chaos. Getting there is confusing and we waited in our vehicle forever just to get our bags off-loaded and get our vehicle parked. I hated every minute of it. Again, clientele added to the misery (not the fault of the cruise line but perhaps attributed to the actual port of embarkation). I would never choose this port again.
This was our favorite day. Weather was better although we did get soaked in a downpour while we were there AND our excursion was cancelled due to high winds. The staff was not set up timely in the bars and dining areas due to weather delays so our day was pretty short. I do believe if the weather cooperated, this would have been a perfect day. Beautiful island.
This was fun. We shopped but the it was rainy and cloudy that day so again, weather was a factor. We did go to Atlantis and that was fun to see but everything in Atlantis is so expensive and overpriced. We visited the casino and the limits were extremely high and we saw no one win a thing. the staff at Atlantis were very rude as well. I would never book a trip to Atlantis after actually experiencing it on this trip.
Kennedy Space Center
The weather was miserable which added to the bad experience. We had a very disorganized tour and my husband and I actually got separated. The tour guide rushed through the exhibits and she was very hard to follow. The actual museum was very enjoyable though. We did enjoy the exhibits that we had time to see but wish we had a better, more organized tour guide.