We just finished the 12 day explorer starting Feb 24th. We, myself, DH, DD and SIL, are from Hanover, PA and we have been on 7 cruises, our second on the Explorer. We drove in the day before and stayed at the Fairfield using our Marriott Points. We arrived at the port at 10:30 am DD and I stayed with our carryons while the guys went and parked the car, back in just a few minutes. We were checked in and sitting in the priority boarding area again by 10:45 am ( DD and SIL are still gold but they allowed them to come and sit with us after they checked in at the normal booths) We were put on the bus about 12:15 and went to the windjammer for lunch, made resy at Portofino and when we were finished our rooms were ready. We had a balcony on the hump and DD was in a promenade room. Toured the ship and found our favorite bar tender Zora and the best bar server Andrew or sipping time! Got our first drinks of the cruise! Went to muster drill then to dizzys for our informal M&M. There were about 15 of us and we all got to put faces with the names who we had talked to over the last year. Went out on the deck over the pool bar ( best place to watch the ship go under the bridge) and were wowed again going under the bridge.
Off to dinner our first night and had the most amazing waitstaff of all of our cruises put together! Waiter was Suad ( who sadly is leaving RCCL in April or I would tell everyone to ask of him) and Maria was our assist waiter. For her first contract she was amazing not to mention beautiful both inside and out. We had a table for 6 and were seated with a great couple from Montreal Bob and Lese. Went to the welcome back show, the casino and just walked around, bed around 11p
Day 2 Sea Day Got up at 8a got things in the room put away, DD/SIL arrived at 9:30 am ate breakfast in the Windjammer, walked around the ship,went to the shopping talk, then it was time for our M&M. We were moved and a lot of people didn't make it as they didn't get the change of place or no invitation. DD was one that didn't get an invite with the new site. Gordon cruise director and side kick Phil were there and we had fun as they read the list of screen names and had a few laughs over that. They gave away several prizes. I won the prized mouse and a bingo shirt, DD won the champagne. We were having so much fun that they had to kick us out as there was something else planned in the room! One of our best M&M. Thanks Judi! We also brought gifts from our areas and exchanged them. I got a bag, toy car, baseball and cereal bowl from kellogs ( thanks Mike and Patty) and Mike got a Yankee shirt. I then took a nap! I think all the work of getting ready to cruise caught up with me!
First formal night, I had mentioned how much I like the coconut cake and after we finished our meal our waiter Suad gave me a plate with 4 pieces! Funny story, we were in the elevator with my plate of cake, someone asked what I had and I showed them, one of them took a piece of my cake!! I didn't even react as I was so surprised. After we got off we had a good laugh. It takes all kinds! Welcome aboard party had champagne, then to the casino DD first time in a casino and she won $17 on the nickel slots, SIL won $19 but I had the best night with a win of $63! Went to the show Wild, Cool & Swingin, it was ok. Went to karaoke and DD sang Piano man. Cafe for snack before bed at 1A.
Day 3 Sea Day Warm on balcony this am, got up around 9 am went to Windjammer for breakfast but brought it back to the room and ate outside on the balcony. Very nice for Feb!Went to pool and sat around, meet up with some of M&M friends, SIL went and played dodgeball and we cheered him on then had lunch at Johnny Rockets ( used our coupons). Went to Portofino for dinner, nice as usual. One c/o I have is we were asked if we wanted sparkling water which we said yes, the next day there was a charge for $12.80 on our seapass, went to ask what it was and it was for the water, never signed anything for that. Wish we had been told it was an extra charge as we wouldn't have ordered it at that price for water! Just a word to the wise! After dinner the casino again, we all lost, didn't go to the show, went to Dizzy's for drinks, then the Think you can dance which was ok, late night comic,Ed Regine, he was good. Cafe for late snack and bed at 1 am.
Day 4 St Martin, We got up late, breakfast on balcony, very windy up on deck got some really funny pics! Watch us pull into St Martin. We had planned to go to Maho beach but when we went to get a taxi we were told that it was really bad traffic in that area and we would take a long time to get there so we opted to go to Orient Beach, we had been there before but not DD and SIL. They loved the beach and scenery ! We later spoke to some people who did go to Maho and they didn't have traffic and got to see a few planes, so just make sure you get to go where you want! Back to town to shop and look around, shops were to close at 6 pm but most stayed open later. Went back to the ship for dinner and back to town to the casinos. They are very different from the ship. They were doing Karaoke and playing bingo right around the slots machine but we had fun. The name of the one casino was the Jump up. Back to the ship for poolside buffet started raining hard so off to bed at midnight.
Day 5 Antigua Had room service and ate on the balcony. Had a tour with Antigua Ecotour planned, meet them at 9 am at the pier and they were right on time. We had a nice day on the speed boat, 3 snorkel stops, lunch of fried chicken, salad, pasta salad and wonderful banana bread. They had several different sodas and juices and when we were done snorkeling they brought out rum punch! Back to ship around 4p, nap and dinner, show which was Levent, very good and very funny, casino, I lost, Mike won enough to make up for my loses! ( Sounds like we gambled a lot but only $20 per night) Cafe for snack and bed earlier as the sun wore us out.
Day 6 Dominica Room service again and ate on the balcony. We had a tour planned with Fredos. We had a group of 8 of us from CC and we were able to plan our own day. We were gone about 6 hours saw the Emerald falls, rain forest, Trafalgar Falls, Mr. Nice's Fruit stand, Moure Bruce overlook and botanical gardens and most of the island. A very nice tour and all for $40 pp. Went shopping in town, back to ship for nap ( at least for me) One of the prettiest islands, very green! Ice show Blades, dinner, Love and Marriage game not very exciting, Dizzy's until 12:30 pm.
Day 7 Barbados Again room service and ate on balcony. Had a tour with Cameron Reid planned, we were the only ones in his car and it was a nice personal tour. We went to Ironworks pottery and got beautiful pieces, toured several churches, fire houses (other SIL is a fireman) had lunch in a small local restaurant, went to the beach for a few hours, shopping, dinner and show, Jonathan Clark, funny too, went to 'do you want to be a millionaire', not very good left ,walked around, snack at the cafe and bed at 12 pm.
Day 8 St Kitts We were toured out so decided on a beach day! Again room service and ate on the balcony, Captain had put on the after burners and we got in about 3 hours ahead of time! We had decide to go to Cockleshell beach but taxi was expensive so walked around the port area and asked about taxis again, found a good price to Frigate bay and the monkey bar, taxi $20 for 4 of us, chairs and umbrella for $10, beer $1 on the beach, got massages for $35 each. They used aloe from the plant and it was so relaxing! SIL didn't get a massage but did the jet skis, he had a blast, ate some local food on the beach, some more shopping, dinner, I said something about loving the cookies and I had a huge plate full of them placed in front of me! Took them back to the room with me and didn't show the cookies to anyone in the elevator. The show was Vibeology, it was ok, then off to bed!
Day 9 St Thomas This is one of my favorite Islands! We had a tour planned with Sonny Liston and we had the whole tour booked with CC people (again thanks Judi). We had done this tour last time we were at St Thomas and had so much fun so we wanted everyone to have fun with us, which we did very well! We shopped for 2 hours, 2 hour tour of the Island, then to Sapphire Beach for 2 hours where we meet up with more CC people and had a blast. Back to ship for dinner show, Antiono Salci which was good but we are getting really tired of running all day and night, Island Frenzy Parade, so tired that we went to bed right after and missed the second poolside buffet!
Day 10 San Juan We got in early about 7 am, got off about 8 am, we walked around, DD and SIl went to the Forts and since we have been to San Juan several times we agreed to meet later on the ship and go our separate ways. We were sailing at 1 pm so there wasn't much time to go very far. Had lunch by the pool and spent the afternoon by the pool with the rest of the ship! Dinner was fun, last formal night and Mike got a plate full of the flourless chocolate cake! He was also very lucky in the casino as he won $135 on the nickel slots! Show was The Happenings, listened to the latin band and bed at 12:30 pm.
Day 11 Sea Day Last chance for breakfast on the balcony. It was wonderful. Went to the pool, read and just relaxed. SIL decided to try the rock wall and made it all the way so I decided to try and made it 1/2 way which isn't too bad for an old lady! Dinner, show which was Invitation to Dance, the best dance show I thought, listened to the latin band again and bed.
Day 12 Sea Day Last Day!! It was cool so ate in the Windjammer, cool by the pool but spent some time there, went to the Captain corner where the captain answered people had along with senior officers. It was very informative. Johnny rockets again with coupons, packed, played Bingo which I saved $10 by bringing my bingo shirt I had won at the M&M, SIL won the first game, $240, then was standing for 2 other games and was one number from winning the $8000! Last dinner, will miss our tablemates, Bob and Lese, our waiter Suad and assistant waiter Maria, DD said it was like saying good bye to really good friends and it was a little sad. Ice show was tonight but we had seen it and it was the same time as the Platinum and Diamond cocktail hour so we went to that and DD and SIL went to the ice show Seasons. Show was Dan Wilson and he was very funny also had a late night comedy which was the funniest I have ever seen! Also watched the Karaoke Championship, bed at 1 am. Last Day Got up and went to breakfast in the dining room at 8 am, sat outside the dining room until about 9:30 when our color was called, there was a delay as the terminal had no power so customs couldn't set up but they just collected the customs form form us as we left the ship. We were in our car on the Jersey parkway by 10:30 am! A wonderful cruise! Would love to do a 12 day again. It wasn't too long! Any questions email and I would be glad to answer.