We decided to go on this cruise at the last minute. We had done the same cruise on the Explorer in April of 2005 (see review Tim,N,Sue April 2005). The decision to go on this cruise was really made by the price that was available and since we had enjoyed the first cruise on the Explorer we were interested in seeing if we would have the same opinions after doing the cruise a second time. Overall this was our 3rd cruise with RCI, the second being in April 2006 where we sailed with the Brilliance on the 11 day Panama Canal.
We booked the air fare through RCI and the price was far better than what we could have done on our own. We arrived at the ship by 3:00 and had about a 10 minute wait to register. We were surprised at just how many people were waiting but the lines moved quickly and the RCI staff managed the lines well. Our cabin was D1 balcony on the 10th deck. We firmly believe that the cost for a balcony is well worth it and we see the balcony as a significant trip enhancement. Our cabin was directly under the Windjammer and we did not hear anything at all during the whole cruise. Our cabin was almost right at the back and it is quite a walk from the centrum to the stateroom.
Main dining room. Excellent all week. Good selection, great taste and there is something for everyone each and every day. We found the portions to be too big but when asked our waiter brought smaller portions. We ate all but one of our dinners at the main dining room.
Windjammer. For a buffet the food was excellent. Lots of selections and the quality of food was high. The only dinner we ate at the Windjammer was good. The tables were made up with tablecloths and flowers. Rather than the usual buffet plates they had a nicer and smaller dinner plate. We were both impressed with the experience.
The Gym. I can put on weight by looking at food so I have to exercise each day. On the first day the gym was packed but after that the gym was only half full. The equipment was good and well maintained.
Entertainment. We went to every show and had a great time. Most notable were the Ice Show and Jay Johnson were the highlights. The cruise director Alan Brooks was a sitcom of his own. By far the best C.I. we have had. The Love and Marriage show was hilarious due to his interaction with the 3 couples.
The Ship. The Explorer still has the WOW factor and was in good shape. Staff were always cleaning, polishing and repairing. For a ship that is working 7X24 the furnishing etc was in good shape. We really noticed the new bedding. A huge improvement. The mattresses and sheets were excellent.
The ports. Since we had done the cruise before we didn't plan anything. In Cozumel and Belize we were barely off the ship at all. We wanted to relax and we found that we were almost all alone on the pool deck during port days.
Overall. Both of us had a fantastic time. This cruise was equal to or better than the first time we went on the Explorer. We love the Voyager class and would not hesitate to go on this ship or itinerary again.
The only down side was the bus driver from the port to the airport. Although not a RCI employee his actions could reflect on the cruise line. Virtually from the port to the airport he kept telling us that it was by his doing that our luggage was getting to the airport and that he should be properly compensated for his efforts. When we got to the airport he closed the door behind him while he unloaded the luggage, opening it only after all the luggage was unloaded. He then stood with his hand out scrutinizing each tip for its value. A minor annoyance. We always tip the driver but I don't want to be blackmailed into tipping. This was the only negative that we had.
P.S. The staff were always "UP" and interested if you were enjoying yourself. I have no idea how they keep up the high energy each and every week. Consider us loyal to Royal.