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Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by Noreen411

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Explorer of the Seas
Explorer of the Seas
Member Name: Noreen411
Email: noreen.s.chin@citi.com
Cruise Date: June 2008
Embarkation: Bayonne (Cape Liberty)
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Cabin Category: D1
Cabin Number: 1688
Booking Method: Cruise Line
See More About: Explorer of the Seas Cruise Reviews | Eastern Caribbean Cruise Reviews | Royal Caribbean Cruise Deals
Member Rating   5+ out of 5+
Dining 5.0
Public Rooms 5.0
Cabins 5+
Entertainment 4.0
Spa & Fitness 5.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Shore Excursions 5.0
Embarkation 5+
Service 5.0
Value-for-Money 5+
Rates 5.0
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Ship Facts: Explorer of the Seas Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Explorer of the Seas Deck Plans
Paul's 40th Birthday on the Explorer
June 2008 - Royal Caribbean - Explorer of the Seas - Bermuda and Caribbean Cruise - Noreen & Paul (Paul's 40th Birthday Cruise)

WHO ARE WE?

Noreen - 40 years old; First Vice President at an Investment Banking Firm in New York City. I will be the author of the report. Paul - my husband; turning 40 years old on the cruise; former Business Owner

PLANNING

My husband Paul and I went on our first cruise in May 2003 on Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas. Prior to that, I was leery of cruises thinking I'd feel trapped on a boat and bored. I love to be busy all day and our trip on Voyager proved that there are tons of things to do on a cruise. We booked a balcony cabin for that cruise and upgraded at the pier to the owner's suite. We had a great time and decided we definitely want to cruise again. In October 2003 Paul and I went on our second cruise on Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas. Once again, we had a great time and confirmed that we enjoyed cruising.

Paul bought a small business in early 2005. He worked 7 days a week and wasn't able to take any time off. He did not want me to miss out on taking vacations so I spent several vacations in 2005 going to Disney World with various friends and family members.

In 2006 my friend Cathy and I cruised on the Mariner of the Seas in March 2006 and the Enchantment of the Seas in September 2006. Paul and I cruised on the Explorer of the Seas in August 2006 and really liked the ease of cruising out of Bayonne NJ and not having to fly.

Paul sold the business in 2007 so he has a life again.

Paul and I cruised on the Explorer of the Seas in February 2008 on the 12 night Southern Caribbean cruise. We celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary in February 2008.

We are both turning 40 in 2008. We've been saying we want to go away or do something fun on our actual birthdays when we turn 40. My birthday is in April and Paul's is in June (yes I'm 8 weeks older than him). Disney World has been my favorite vacation spot for years so we spent my birthday at Disney World. If I could do an Alaska cruise for my birthday I would, but unfortunately, that won't happen in April as it isn't the right season. Paul has been talking about how much he enjoyed the cruise that we drove to and not having to fly.

On April 17, 2007 I called Royal Caribbean and booked the June 5, 2008 Explorer of the Seas cruise to Bermuda and the Caribbean. I was able to book the much-coveted cabin #1688 (an aft corner balcony). This will be our first aft cabin. The price was $1649 each + tax for a total of $3,485.46. Our Platinum balcony discount ($200) was applied for a new total of $3285.46. I left a $900 deposit bringing my balance down to $2,385.46. Balance is due 3/27/08. Paul and I have talked about this cruise, but he hasn't committed one way or the other what he wants to do over a year away. We normally don't like to book things in advance and prefer the spur of the moment planning, so we'll see what happens. I'm guessing he's going to decide months from now that he does want to do this cruise and will say let's go ahead and book it. By then the prices will have gone up but instead of him saying we should have, I can say "Don't worry, I did"

I applied for and received the Royal Caribbean Visa card in late February 2008. They were having a promotion for 10,000 bonus points for applying. Since you receive double points for any Royal Caribbean purchases we'll get another approximately 5,000 points when I pay off the balance of the cruise if I use this card. Once the 15,000 points appeared on my statement, I called to redeem for $150 On Board Credit. I asked for the coupon number and called that into Royal Caribbean. They applied the OBC to my statement before I received the redemption certificate in the mail. The person on the phone even said that if I get the certificate to mail it in, but not to worry if it doesn't show up.

On March 19, 2008 I called Royal Caribbean, added the cruise insurance and made my final payment using my new Royal Caribbean Visa card.

I bought 100 shares of Royal Caribbean stock in December 2007 prior to the price falling but we were able to get on board credit with this for our February 2008 cruise and I will submit again for this cruise as well as the one we have booked for September 2008. I faxed over my March 31, 2008 statement showing ownership of 100 shares for $200 onboard credit.

The Cruise

The Explorer Itinerary is as follows: Thursday 6/5/08 - Leave from Cape Liberty Cruise Port, Bayonne New Jersey Friday 6/6/08 - At Sea Saturday 6/7/08 - Bermuda Sunday 6/8/08 - At Sea Monday 6/9/08 - St. Maarten Tuesday 6/10/08 - St. Thomas Wednesday 6/11/08 - Puerto Rico Thursday 6/12/08 - At Sea Friday 6/13/08 - At Sea Saturday 6/14/08 - Return to Cape Liberty Cruise Port, Bayonne New Jersey

Transportation We live in Northern New Jersey (Bergen County) so can just drive down to Bayonne for the cruise and park at the pier.

Excursions

In March 2008 I reserved a rental car for St Thomas since when we were there in February 2008 and wanted to get a rental car, they were all out. This way it's reserved in advance and we're all set.

We are thinking of getting a rental car in St Maarten as well, but I wasn't able to reserve one in advance so we will take our chances of trying to get one at the pier.

For Bermuda we are thinking of renting a scooter. You cannot rent a car in Bermuda unless you are a Bermuda resident, but you can rent a scooter.

DAY BY DAY

The week before our trip We were busy leading up to our trip. We had our traditional barbecue on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. We usually do barbecues for the all the barbecue type of holidays. I stopped at Party City and bought some 40th Birthday decorations for our cabin. I looked at the set ups Royal Caribbean can do, but figured I can pick out what I want at Party City and decorate the cabin myself. I also bought myself a cute new outfit at Kohls to wear the day we get on the ship. It's a little corny, but it's kind of cute - Navy capris with little white anchors and a matching navy top with a big anchor in the middle. When else but on a cruise could I wear such a thing? Even Paul thought it was cute when I modeled it for him.

Kiki (our dog) was very tired after the activity of the barbecue so slept most of Monday. That worked out since I was able to sneak the suitcases down to the basement without her waking up. She gets upset when she sees me pull the suitcases out since she knows we're going away. Now I try to sneak everything downstairs and pack in the basement when she's sleeping. I guess it's also easier to lug the suitcases out from the basement to the car rather than having to go down the stairs with full suitcases. I also started putting the toiletries and other odds and ends downstairs waiting to be packed.

The day before our trip - Wednesday 6/4/08 Nothing out of the ordinary today. Just finished up at work knowing I would be out for a week and 2 days. I did some more packing once I got home. Knowing we are leaving from Bayonne it's a very easy night and not stressful since we can finish up in the morning.

Thursday 6/5/08 - Embark Today was an easy day. We ran errands in the morning. Our washing machine broke recently so I stopped at the Laundromat to do another load of laundry. We finished packing. I picked up Paul's car from the dealer where it was in for service. We spent some time with Kiki (our dog). We also stopped at Fortunoff on the way to Bayonne to pick up Paul's watch that was being fixed and was finally ready. We were really hungry as we were doing these errands since we didn't eat before leaving thinking we would have lunch on the ship. When I went into Paramus Mall (where Fortunoff is) I got some pretzel bites from Auntie Anne's to hold us over.

The ride to Bayonne took about 45 minutes. We arrived around 3pm. It was a great time to get there; there were absolutely no lines. We dropped off our luggage and I waited with the carryons while Paul went to park. When he came back we walked into the Platinum area and were the only ones there. Once processed we walked onto a waiting bus. We were the only ones on the bus. We waited a few minutes and 2 more couples got on the bus and then we went over to the ship. Here too, we just walked right on.

We went up to our cabin - # 1688 - corner aft balcony. The balcony is great; it's huge. There were 2 chairs, a table, and 2 lounge chairs, and plenty of room to walk around. You do have to be careful not to bang your head on the beam. Once you know it's there, it's very easy to avoid. The room is wider than the regular balcony rooms. It is probably the same width of the Junior Suite we had in February. The pole in the middle of the room isn't bad. The only time it is in the way is if you are lying on the bed trying to watch the TV - one side of the bed has an obstructed view. Not that you should be spending much time on a cruise watching the TV, but when we go to sleep we like to put the TV on to put us to sleep.

We met our cabin steward. He explained things like his hours, etc. He said they don't automatically leave ice unless you request it. We requested ice both during the morning fixing the room and the evening turn down. We also asked if he could empty the refrigerator since we brought on some bottled water and a 12 pack of cans of soda. He emptied the fridge quickly and put the items in a bag and took it with him. I liked that better than last time in February (in the Junior Suite) the cabin attendant asked us which cabinet we didn't need and stored the stuff in there.

We went up to the Windjammer. Paul had honey stung chicken. I had a little piece of the chicken and some fruit. The chicken was good.

We walked through the dining room to see where our table is. It's on the 4th floor - table #475 for 8 people by the window.

We stopped at Portofino to see if we can make reservations for dinner tomorrow night for Paul's 40th birthday (his actual birthday). The guy originally said how about 9pm? I said that's too late, how about 6pm. He said he can do 6:30pm. I said that's fine. I also told him that tomorrow is Paul's birthday.

At 4:30 we went back to the cabin to get the life preservers for the muster drill. Our station was outside near the back of the ship. Many people were late so it took a while.

After the muster ended it was a bit of a mob scene so we just hung out on the deck. We ran into Millie from Cruise Critic and her family and they had the same idea. We chatted for a few minutes.

We dropped our life preservers back in the room then headed to the Promenade for Paul to buy his soda card.

We went to dinner and met our tablemates, waiter, and asst waiter. Our luggage hasn't arrived yet so we went to dinner in the clothes we got on the ship with. Many people in the dining room looked like they were also wearing whatever they boarded in. Our waiter is Rex and our Assistant Waiter is Gabriel. Gabriel was very funny because he came by with the basket of bread and said let me introduce the bread and he would go through the different types of bread in the basket. It was very cute.

The other people at our table are: Todd and Jaime - a couple from Chicago on their honeymoon. They are mid 20's/early 30's. They have a 5 year old daughter named McKenna who was home with the grandparents and Jaime is newly pregnant (maybe a few weeks) so she was drinking virgin strawberry daiquiris.

Walter and Sue - a couple from Queens celebrating their 23rd anniversary. They are late 40's/early 50's.

Sylvia and Caroline. They are on the cruise for free because they are hosting acting seminars. They are actresses. Sylvia is 68 and Caroline is 78. I couldn't believe the energy these two women have. Before we even ordered our first course Caroline told Walter he was the stable boy and she was the milkmaid (I think it was a reference to a movie).

We knew this was going to be a fun table. Usually the first night is pretty subdued with people making polite introductions. We were laughing and carrying on already.

For our meals we had the following: Appetizers - We both had the Vidalia Onion Tart. I'm not crazy about this anymore, it was too oniony. I know, what do I expect ordering an onion tart? But there were too many pieces of onion in it. Salad - Paul had Caesar salad; I skipped the salad. EntrEe - I had the shrimp ravioli and Paul had the prime rib. These were both good. For dessert I had the strawberry pavlova, a new menu item, which was pretty good. Paul had the chocolate cherry cake. I drank Sprite and Paul had Iced Tea.

We were at dinner for a long time and didn't get finished until 8pm. The Welcome Aboard show started at 7:45 so we figured we'd see it on TV later.

There was a huge line for the ice show tickets. I think they need to work out a better system for the ice show ticket distribution. Once we got them we went to the casino. The 5 cent Fortune Cookie machine was taken so I went to the poker machine in the corner that I like. I put in $20. I played for a little while then hit 4 2's with an Ace for 800 quarters ($200). I lost some back and cashed out $140.

Paul stayed to play some poker and I went upstairs to unpack.

The room at the back of the ship definitely rocks much more than in the middle. It's actually more of a vibration than a rocking.

We like the size of the room. I got everything put away and organized. The big giant suitcase I left in the corner, but the others were under the bed. Most of the suitcases nest inside each other so it was pretty organized.

I hung the 40th Birthday Decorations that I brought. One sign I stuck on the outside of the door. One sign I stuck on the wall inside the room. And a decorative thing on the table. I brought scotch tape purposely to be able to hang these.

Paul came back around 2:30am when the casino closed. He was surprised by the decorations. We have to move our clocks forward 1 hour so it's really 3:30am on the ship.

Paul said the promenade cafe wasn't making any more pizza and that the oven closed at 2:30 (3:30 with moving the clocks forward) and even the bar at the promenade closed so he couldn't get soda.

We went to sleep happy to be on the ship.

Friday 6/6/08 - At Sea - Paul's 40th Birthday The shower tube is roomier than I remembered it being. I definitely prefer the doors over a curtain that sticks to you. I woke Paul up around 10am and we went to the Windjammer for breakfast. I had fruit, yogurt, and granola - I made my own little parfait. I also had a mini croissant. Paul had a bagel with cream cheese and lox and some other stuff.

After breakfast we stopped back at the room to drop off the little cereal box we took (Corn Pops) to bring off the ship in Bermuda tomorrow in case we want a little snack while running around.

Our room was already made up and our confirmation for Portofino's was on the bed - it says 7pm instead of 6:30. 7 pm is fine so we will go at 7.

We went to the casino for about 45 minutes. Then we stopped on the promenade where Paul bought a big box with 5 cartons of cigarettes for about $85. It's a terrible habit he has and I wish he would stop smoking, but at least he's a polite smoker (only outside). I'm a non smoker and he's a smoker and as long as the smoker is a polite smoker like Paul, you can co-exist nicely.

We went to Dizzy's Lounge at 1pm for the Meet & Mingle. There was a relatively small turnout. I like what they did by going around the room and having everyone introduce themselves by their name and their screen name. It was a definite ice breaker to help talk to people. Little prizes were raffled off. We didn't win anything. We hung out for a little while with several of the people we have chatted with on line.

At 2pm Paul played in the Blackjack Tournament. He made it to the final table but was knocked out and didn't win anything.

We had a snack at the promenade cafe. They have a specialty pizza each day. The name of it is listed; today was California Pizza, but it doesn't say what is on it. We guessed it would be something like pineapple and ham. We ended up asking and it was avocado and chicken. We had a piece and it was really good. I'm glad we asked what it was.

We went back up to our cabin and hung out on the balcony on the lounge chairs looking through my Bermuda book. We have been going back and forth regarding what to do on Bermuda tomorrow. We are leaning towards renting scooters so we have the flexibility to go wherever we want on our own timeframe. I read my book for a bit. I never have a chance to read books or magazines anymore. The only time I get to do so is either on a plane or a cruise.

Paul went down to the casino to play poker.

I stopped at the Future Cruise consultant to fill out a Next Cruise form. Since no one was there, the guy working there (Brent) said he would do it online for me. He gave me a printout and two family/friend vouchers. I won't get an email like last time since he gave me a hard copy. The hard copy he gave me just looks like a memo with the booking number and saying it's a Next Cruise. Last time when I got the email, it seemed more official and looked like an actual booking confirmation.

I met Paul in the casino and played a few slots. Then we went upstairs to change for dinner. It's formal night but Portofino's doesn't require formal dress. We dressed up some anyway. Paul wore a dark suit. I wore a red lacy/blousy top with slinky black pants.

Portofino's was pretty empty tonight. One couple sitting near us said they made a reservation to eat in Portofino's each night of the cruise since they don't like having to eat with others in the dining room. They were chatting with us for a while so it's not like they were anti-social. Or maybe we are just so friendly they couldn't help ending up talking to us? They told us that the chef was making them something special not on the menu tonight.

We had two waiters. They start off by bringing out a bread basket with different types of bread and various spreads for the bread. One was roasted garlic that the waitress took the cloves out of and mashed right in front of us.

We started off with appetizers that we shared - fried calamari, shrimp on risotto, and Caesar salad. The fried calamari was delicious. The Caesar salad was made table side and was very good. They ask if you want the various ingredients included. I told them to leave out the anchovies.

Next we had our pasta course. I had the pappardelle with mushrooms in a cream sauce. Paul had the spaghetti with seafood. The pappardelle was fantastic. I left some because I was getting full already. I would have been happy just having that as my entrEe.

Our entrees wee served next. Paul had the Filet Mignon. I had the skewer with lobster, shrimp, scallops, and salmon. There is a great presentation when the skewer comes out. I had to take a picture of it before it was de-skewered. Paul's steak was absolutely delicious - melt in your mouth good. My skewer dish was OK except the lobster was mushy. I mentioned it to the waitress when she saw I wasn't eating it. The Maitre D came over next to check on it. I told him the same. He offered to bring me another one or a whole different dish if I wanted. I was pretty turned off by the lobster by now, but I didn't want anything else, I was already full. Everything else was good so I wasn't going to get worked up over a mushy tail.

For our Pre Dessert (for lack of a better term) we were given a little plate with two cookies and two chocolate covered strawberries to eat and digest a bit before ordering dessert.

The waiters and the Maitre D came over with a little chocolate cake covered in whipped cream, raspberries, a candle and written on the plate it said "Happy Birthday Dave". They even sang including the name Dave as often as possible so it went something like this:

Happy Birthday to you - Dave Happy Birthday to you - Dave Happy Birthday dear Dave Happy Birthday to you - Dave.

We were cracking up. After the song finished we told them his name is Paul. It was really cute and sweet. They were mortified that they had the name wrong. We didn't mind. We were having a good time at Portofino's.

For dessert I ordered the sampler which we shared. It had mini version of the desserts - tiramisu, vanilla crème brulee, flourless chocolate cake, and pistachio panna cotta. The panna cotta reminded me of rubbery jello. The flourless chocolate cake was the cake they covered in whipped cream with Paul's candle. The crème brulee was really good but not like any crème brulee I had before that's usually toasted and crispy on top. This was more like a thick custard. I had a few bites of the different items. The Tiramisu was also very good.

The service at Portofino's was flawless. Except for the mushy lobster the food was great. We paid and tipped extra. It was definitely worth the nominal fee they charge.

We went out on deck to walk off some of the food since we were stuffed.

At 9pm we went to the show - Delisco - a vocalist performer. He was very good and we enjoyed his show.

After the show we went back to the casino for Paul to play some more poker. They were doing prize giveaways in the casino and would go to the different tables and either ask a question or say something like the first person dealt a 2, etc would win something. At Paul's table they asked how many ships are in the Royal Caribbean fleet. Paul won an 8 * 10 picture of the Explorer. He guessed and the answer was 23 I think. He actually started at 26 and worked his way down saying, 25, 24, 23, 22, etc. It was like the Price Is Right show where they had a game and you had to guess the price of a prize and you would just keep counting once you got close until you hit the number.

I went upstairs around midnight. We had a cute swan towel animal. When I walked into the bathroom I noticed we are missing a bath towel so I called housekeeping to ask for one. They showed up in a few minutes with a new towel. Then I realized the towel animal is our towel. We had our compass for tomorrow but no Bermuda map. I was already in my PJ's so didn't feel like getting dressed and going down to guest services for a map. They will probably give them out at the gangway tomorrow.

Saturday 6/7/08 - Bermuda I ran up to the Windjammer to get fruit, bagels, cream cheese and lox (the lox for Paul). We had breakfast on the balcony while we docked.

We walked off the ship a little after 9am. We walked over to Oleander Cycles and renter a double scooter. The cost was $55 + $30 (mandatory insurance) for a total of $85 for the day. It was a cute scooter with a basket in the back and the seat lifted up to put valuables in since it was secure (locked and you are sitting on the seat). The guys working at Oleanders recommended putting the valuables under the seat since there have been incidents where things have been taken out of the baskets. You drive on the opposite side of the road than we do in the US. There were people of all ages renting scooters. They did a good job explaining how to use them and even had everyone do a practice run around the block. If you didn't look like you were handling the scooter well, they had you go around again. Paul did well, so once he was back, I hopped on behind him and we were off.

We drove out of the Royal Naval Dockyard and over to Hamilton. We parked on Front Street and wandered around and bought a postcard, a magnet, and an ornament. We stopped buying tons of souvenirs many trips ago. You are able to park the scooters all over, it's very easy.

We drove towards the Aquarium/Zoo next. It's so convenient just to park the scooters right on the street. The Aquarium/Zoo was $10 each to get in. It was very cute and took us about ½ hour to walk through.

Although Bermuda is only approximately 22 miles long, the speed limit is low so it takes a while to get anywhere. Bermuda is beautiful. The water is so clear and turquoise.

We found the Swizzle Inn and had lunch there. I tried the Rum Swizzle drink which was pretty good. The way it's served is cute; the drink itself is in a pitcher with ice and there is a strainer on top so you can pour the cold drink into your little glass without the ice. Paul is driving the scooter so stuck to soda. He tasted the Rum Swizzle. I had the fish sandwich which had cheese, tomato, and tarter sauce on toast. It came with fries and coleslaw. It was really good. The fish was crispy and fresh. Paul ordered an appetizer platter that had wings, mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, jalapeno poppers, and conch fritters. It was way too much food. We should have just gotten the sandwich to share. Our bill with tip was around $55.

We were too stuffed to get ice cream at the Baileys homemade ice cream place across the road.

We ran into a couple who are also on the Explorer. They went to the caves and took the bus. The caves were right near the Swizzle Inn but we were running short on time so figured we would do them the next time we are in Bermuda (we are booked for the 5 night Explorer to Bermuda this September).

We didn't make it to St George - another place to visit in September.

We wanted to head back along the South Shore to stop at either Elbow Beach or Horseshoe Bay. We kept getting lost and were going in circles. There was a nice breeze so it is comfortable driving around. We finally stopped at a gas station and asked for directions.

It was a pretty long ride. We got back to the Dockyard a little past 4, returned the scooter, and walked toward the ship. All Aboard is at 4:30 so we didn't have time to explore the Dockyard. Paul bought a Bermuda Ginger Beer in the soda machine at Oleander cycles when we returned the scooter. It was kind of like root beer but spicy from the ginger. It was nice and cold and refreshing but spicy.

We got back on the ship at 4:25 and showered again. I got a little sunburned from riding the scooter. Paul fell asleep for a little while once we were back in the room.

We went to dinner and found out that the waiters brought over a cake and sang Happy Birthday to Paul yesterday and we weren't even there. Our tablemates ate the cake.

For dinner tonight we had the following: Appetizers - We both had the Shrimp Ceviche. I didn't like it - it was too tart Entrees - I ordered the vegetable Pad Thai but it was too spicy for me. Paul ordered the Sirloin Steak. He also ordered the Thai Shrimp. I ate some of the shrimp and a few pieces of Paul's steak. Paul finished my Pad Thai. Dessert - I had the coconut parfait. Paul had the cappuccino cake. The waiters brought another slice of the cappuccino cake with a candle and sang to Paul.

After dinner we wandered the ship a bit then played in the casino.

At 9pm we went to the theater and saw Fast Forward. It was packed.

We wandered the promenade through all the shops, but didn't buy anything. We walked around the deck above the pool deck.

At 10:30pm Paul played in the Poker Tournament. The winner goes to the finale at the end of the cruise. The winner of the finale wins a cruise on Freedom of the Seas in December to play in a bigger tournament. Paul didn't win.

After the tournament we got pizza at the promenade and went upstairs. I read my book for bit.

We had our C&A gift - baseball caps.

Sunday 6/8/08 - At Sea We went up to the Windjammer for breakfast around 10am.

It is nice and sunny out today so the pool is packed. People are elbow to elbow in the pool as well as the lounge chairs. We debated joining the masses but decided against it. We spent some time outside walking the upper deck above the pool.

We went into the card room and played Othello.

The promenade had a $15 sale on a lot of items so people were shopping but it wasn't too crowded inside since most people were out by the pool.

We stopped at the Library to see if Paul could find a book to read. There was a man there yelling at the worker about problems he was having with the internet. He was yelling and cursing. The woman who worked for RCCL was so calm and said she would not speak to him if he was going to curse and scream at her. He finally calmed down a bit and apologized for getting upset. I was very impressed with how she kept her cool with him. What I don't get is why he was sitting in the library with his laptop instead of upstairs (one floor up) in the computer area.

We stopped at the Computer area to look at Royal Caribbean online just to check prices of a few cruises, but the connection was down so we gave up.

We went to the dining room for lunch around 1pm. Paul had a tank top on when we walked over so the host asked him to put on a Tshirt. I ran upstairs to grab one for him. It wasn't a big deal and only took a few minutes to get the Tshirt. I totally forgot he couldn't wear that in the dining room or would have reminded him to change sooner.

We were seated with two young women. We chatted with them for a bit. Two older couples were seated at the table next so we all said hi to everyone. One man looked like a mess - his hair was a big fuzz ball and all over the place. He and his wife must eat in the dining room often for lunch/breakfast because he was joking with the waitress about having a cigarette served with his meal. At one point he commented about how you used to be able to smoke at the table and he doesn't like that you have to go outside. I replied that would be horrible if people were smoking at the table while others are eating and we would have to constantly wave smoke out of our faces. He wasn't too pleased with me after that comment Smokers have the right to smoke and should have areas to do so, but I shouldn't be forced to breathe it when I'm eating in a dining room.

Paul had a chicken and noodle dish. I tried the pulled pork sandwich with French fries. The lady next to me ordered jambalaya, didn't like it and sent it back for the pulled pork sandwich. I didn't like my pulled pork sandwich so sent it back for corn cakes. This was much better.

For dessert, which we ordered along with our meal, Paul had pineapple sherbet and I had the warm almond cake with chocolate cake with a chocolate center. I ate the outside but not the chocolate part.

After lunch we went back to our cabin and sat on the balcony. I read my book. Paul went inside, lay down, and fell asleep. Once he woke up we went to the casino for a bit.

We played Bingo at 3:45 and didn't win. It was moved from Maharajas lounge to the theater.

The cruise director, Mike Hunnerup, isn't around too often. The activities manager is Anna Banana. She's not a counselor in the kids club so doesn't need such a silly name. They (Mike and Anna) are OK, but compared to Gordon and Phil who were the cruise director and activities manager on our cruise on the Explorer in February 2008, they pale in comparison. I wasn't crazy about Gordon back in February, but by comparison, I liked him more.

We went upstairs to get dressed for the Crown and Anchor (C&A) Welcome back party at 5:15. It was packed. We both had a rum punch from the passed around drinks. The captain spoke then the loyalty ambassador and maybe someone else. I couldn't get over how packed the room was.

After the party, we went to dinner. There was tomato/focaccia salad on the table for us all to eat. It was very good. It was light and refreshing and much tastier than I expected.

Appetizers: Paul and I both had the crab cake appetizer that we enjoyed. Soup: We both had the asian chicken soup - I didn't like it. I expected it to be more creamy like the chicken corn soup I've had in Chinese restaurants, but this a clear broth instead. Entrees: Paul had the Osso Bucco and I had the pork. Mine was just OK. Dessert: Paul had the dulce le leche cheesecake. I had the white chocolate mousse. I wasn't crazy about the mousse.

The waiters brought over a piece of cake for Walt and Sue who were celebrating their 23rd anniversary today.

The 9pm show was a comedian - he was pretty good.

10:30pm was Invitation to Dance in Studio B. Passengers get to dance and can audition to be part of the show. They chose 4 couples. The first couple who was chosen shocked us since the girl was pretty bad.

11:30pm was late night comedy with Jeff Jenna. He's funny but we saw him before on another cruise. We stayed for the show since it was a little different.

We spent some time in the casino. I played the poker slots that I like. I lost a little but played for a decent amount of time. While sitting there a crew member came by and offered me a chocolate covered strawberry - yummo. He was walking around with a tray offering them to all the passengers.

There wasn't a poker game going on so Paul was playing Blackjack. We left around 2am and stopped at the promenade for pizza. The special today was a vegetable one and was very good.

We went upstairs and there was a definite vibration in the room. The hangers in the closet were rattling so Paul put a chair in front of the closet doors to stop the rattling.




Monday 6/9/08 - St Maarten After a late night in the casino and knowing we aren't docking until noon, we didn't rush to get ready.  We were probably ready by 10:30. An announcement was made that we would be docking in approximately 25 minutes. We already saw land from the balcony.  We went up to the front of the ship outside to watch. A lot of other people had the same idea.  Around 11:30 we headed to the Windjammer. We skipped breakfast so wanted to have an early lunch before getting off the ship. We had fish and chips which was very good. The fish was not greasy at all; it was nice and crispy. We enjoyed it. We had a cookie and some fruit. By now we saw people getting off so we went to our cabin to grab our bag and head off.

We walked right over to the car rental area and they were all trying to get our business. We went with Reynolds car rental and had a bright green Toyota Rav4 with a pull off top and air conditioning. It wasn't in the best shape with dents and scratches all over it. A van took us to the place where the cars were but we can return it back to the pier. Of course, I was a little paranoid about the shape of the car and pointed it out to the person working there, who was telling me not to worry about it.

We started off driving opposite where our original plan was so we went with the direction we were going. We headed into the French side first.

Our first stop was at Orient Beach. We actually started at either Kontiki or Bikini; they were all connected. The beaches are beautiful with such clear blue water. As we made our way down to Orient itself people were nude. This one older guy was just flapping around totally nude. We didn't stay there too long.

We drove through Grand Case next just looking at the sights. We made our way towards Marigot. In St Maarten we drive on the same side of the road that we drive on in the US so it's easy to get around.

We drove back onto the Dutch side and drove to Maho Beach. We parked for $3 in an indoor lot for the Maho Beach Hotel. We walked through the lobby which was nice and even stopped in the little casino and played a bit on the 5 cent and 1 cent machines.

We walked through the pool area onto Maho Beach. The beach was much smaller (less sand) than Orient but the water again was beautiful. There was a road right near the beach that we could have parked on for free, so we'll know for next time. We didn't see any planes fly over us to land but we saw a few take off. A big American Airlines jet took off. The spray of sand was crazy. A family that stood directly behind it got tossed onto the beach. There were signs on the beach advising you of the backspray from the planes and to be careful.

We went back through the hotel to the car.

We drove to Phillipsburg. We kept hitting pockets of traffic in the towns - ex. Grand Case, Marigot, etc. We made it to Phillipsburg close to 5pm. I jumped out on Old Street and stopped in the Belgium Chocolate Shoppe to get an assortment of candies for $16. Last time I paid an extra $3 to choose my own, but since Paul was waiting in the car trying not to drive too far down the street, I just took the premade selection.

We parked and walked around. We stopped at a restaurant, I think it was called Green House and got a table to have a drink and some appetizers. They had Happy Hour Specials - $3 off the appetizers and buy 1 get 1 free on the drinks. I think we confused the waitress a bit. We ordered 1 mudslide and 1 BBC. What did we get? We received two of each drink. We also ordered the wings (for Paul) and fried calamari. The drinks were not strong at all - they tasted like a shake. A couple we started chatting with from the ship joined us and we hung out for a while. They are from Staten Island - Lisa and Joe.

We put $5 worth of gas in the car to bring it back on ½ where we got it. We drove Lisa and Joe back to the pier.

Back at the pier, Paul went to return the car and the 3 of us got out. Lisa and Joe went back to the ship to try to make their late seating for dinner.

I waited for Paul. He came by and said the car rental guy was having trouble with the credit card - something was wrong with his machine. I know my card is fine. He wanted us to pay cash. We didn't have enough cash left with us since we were planning to use Amex. Also, I didn't really trust handing him cash. At least with American Express, I know they are behind you. He said he would try it again tomorrow. The total was $75.

We got back on the ship, went up to our cabin, showered and changed, then headed to the Windjammer for dinner. I had a little vegetable sushi. Paul had an assortment of food. The turkey cutlet was good since he gave me a piece of that.

We missed the very beginning, but watched most of the show - Wild, Cool, and Swinging.

We stopped in the casino to play some slots. Paul was able to play poker; they finally have a full table.

I didn't want to stay up too late since we have Immigration in the morning.

Tuesday 6/10/08 - St Thomas We had to go down for Immigration at 8am. The line was huge and went all the way from the dining room to the other side of the promenade on the 5th floor. It moved quickly though. Paul was so silly. He got dressed, but then put his robe on over his clothes and went to Immigration like that. A lot of people would comment to him about the robe. Paul is such a ham.

After Immigration we went up to the Windjammer for breakfast. We asked one of the waiters to fill our little cooler with ice. It's a small soft one you carry over your shoulder. We wanted to bring it off the ship since we will have the rental car. We stopped back in our cabin and put a few bottles of water and cans of soda into the cooler.

We were off quickly and took the Shoppers Shuttle to Havensight then crossed the street to Avis to pick up our rental car. We reserved the car in advance. We reserved a regular midsize type, but the woman upgraded us and we had a bright blue Suzuki Grand Vitara. It was clean and in perfect condition.

You drive on the opposite side of the road than we do in the US. Once again we started driving but were going the opposite way than I originally planned. The island was easy to get around and we quickly found another road to take.

We stopped at a scenic lookout (designated by a picture of a camera on our little map) where tour buses were stopped too. We were able to see the ship in the harbor. The view was amazing. We started talking to a tour guide that was there who told us that we can't drive up the Mountain where the cable cars go anymore since they were losing business. We also found out that the view we have here is the same one you would see if you took the cable car up to the top, it's just the other side since we saw where the cable cars go.

Our next stop (and the tour bus too) was Drake's Seat. This is another amazing lookout with a view of Megan's Bay.

We continued on to Mountaintop. The tour buses didn't come here. This was a nice scenic stop with a whole indoor shopping center and bar. We bought their famous Banana Daiquiri for $7.50. It was very good. We wandered and took some pictures while we were here.

We drove to Megan's Bay which cost $2 to park and $4 each so a total of $10 admission. We went to the opposite end from where the tour buses were pulling in. It was much quieter where we were. I was surprised that there were not lounge chairs to rent where we were. We spent all our time in the water. We met a nice couple - Amanda and Tim from Louisville, Kentucky. There were staying on St Thomas and came for a friends wedding. They also got engaged while they were on vacation. They didn't have a rental car and would use cabs or the hotel shuttle to get around. There were the four of us and a handful of other people where we were. We were at the beach for about 2 hours. I rinsed off in a "not as salty" outdoor shower then changed.

We took Tim and Amanda with us and drove to the Red Hook area. We had lunch at the Burrito Bay Deli. Amanda was there before and said it was very good. Paul had a jerk chicken enchilada. I had a chicken quesadilla. The food was very good. Tim paid for lunch. It wasn't necessary but they wanted to thank us for driving them.

We drove them back to the Marriott to drop them off. The lobby is beautiful. We were able to see our ship from the back of the hotel lobby.

Paul and I drove to Charlotte Amalie. There was tons of traffic in that area. We just drove around.

We parked back by Havensight and walked around some of the shops there.

We returned the car around 4:45. We took the shoppers shuttle from Havensight back to the ship.

I was very happy to take a shower and wash off the rest of the sand.

We went to dinner at 6 and had the following: Appetizers - we both had the scallop risotto Soup - Paul had cream of garlic. I skipped the soup. Salad. Paul skipped the salad and I had the caprese Entree - Paul had the lamb shank and I had the garlic shrimp. Dessert - Paul had tiramisu and I had Angel Food with strawberries.

After dinner we (me, Paul, Todd, Jaime, Walt, and Sue) went to the Chamber since Sue read that they had Disco hour in the Compass. It was family disco hour with a bunch of kids dancing. They finished around 8:30 and the bartender closed the bar and said they will reopen at 10.

We went into the casino. Jaime likes the machine where you put in quarters and they are on a shelf and push the others trying to get them to fall off. It's silly but she was having the best time playing.

The 6 of us went to Win a Cruise Bingo. A couple sitting in front of us told us they met on match.com and are now married. We had to make the Big X design. I started off not getting any numbers, and then finally got a few. When I needed 3 numbers, the first two were called in a row. Then I stood up (you have to stand when you need one more number). There were a bunch of people standing already. What is the next number? The one I needed. I yelled "BINGO". So did one other woman. We both had to go to the front for a tie breaker since they only give 1 cruise away. So they call 1 more number. She had it, I didn't. So she wins a cruise and I get nothing. I was so excited to call Bingo and then nothing. I saved my winning/losing card. They asked for my SeaPass - I don't know why. When we went down for the tie breaker, the other woman wasn't even excited. I was bouncing off the walls.

That was the closest I ever came to winning anything substantial.

At 10:30 we watched the Love and Marriage show. That was cute. The longest married and the newlywed tied.

We went back to the Chamber for a bit. Jaime wanted to dance. The DJ was horrible. No one was dancing. Jaime requested a song. Then another couple requested a song. The DJ was like he'll try to play the requests soon. Then finally Jaime's requested song "Hips don't lie" by Shakira was played and people got up and danced.

Unfortunately, the DJ went back to his idea of music after her song so everyone got off the floor. We left the Chamber.

It was about 12:30 by now. Jaime and Todd left to go to sleep. Paul and I went to the casino. I played a joker poker machine (my favorite one was taken so I chose another one a few away) and hit 4 Aces for 800 quarters ($200). I played a bit then cashed out $200 and went to a different machine. I hit 4 4's for 400 quarters ($100) and cashed out at $80. I played another machine for a bit but the casino was closing so we left to go upstairs.

Wednesday 6/11/08 - Puerto Rico We met Todd and Jaime for breakfast around 8:40am and went to the Windjammer.

We are only in San Juan until 1:30 so can't do too much.

We walked to the Coach Outlet. It's really hot here. I bought a cute new summer bag and matching wallet. The prices were great. The bag is one of the patchwork style ones that was originally about $260, marked down to $199 and then 40% off so it came out to about $120. The wallet was also marked down and then 40% off and came out to about $15. I haven't bought myself anything on vacation in a long time. We ran into Millie and her family at the Coach outlet too - they looked like they bought a nice assortment of items.

We stopped in Walgreens and Jaime got Aeroplanes (things for ear pressure on a plane). We also bought a soda since it was so hot out.

We stopped in a T-Shirt store and had one custom made for Walter. It has a picture of a horse and we had them write Walter the Stable Boy on it. It's a running joke at our dinner table. The shirt was $40 so each couple paid $20.

We took a few pictures then wandered through Hard Rock. We went into a gallery with dried butterflies in cases. These were beautiful but very expensive.

We had lunch at Senor Frogs. What a wild place. We all had soda and shared two types of Quesadillas (chicken and beef) and we also ordered chips and salsa. The total with tip was $50 so $25 per couple. We were standing on the chairs dancing along with everyone else. We were probably the only boring people in there not drinking alcoholic beverages (we all had soda).

We went back on the ship to shower. Paul took a nap. I read my book on the balcony.

We went to dinner at 6. We had the waiter present the T-shirt to Walter on a covered plate. He loved it. We all had a good laugh.

For dinner, I lost track of exactly what we head but think we had breaded mushrooms for an appetizer and I think I had the baked cannelloni that I didn't like.

Our table was getting crazier by the day. We were having a great time together. A few people ordered ice cream for dessert. When it was served it consisted of two scoops of ice cream with a long lady finger cookie standing up between them. Use you imagination as to what this represented to our dirty minded group. It didn't help that Jaime and Caroline both leaned down and started licking the cookie.

At 9pm we went to the show in the Theater - Scott Record, a singing impersonator. He was good. Then we spent a little time in the casino.

At 10:15 was the 70's Disco Street Party on the promenade. We met up with all our tablemates. The crew members were dressed like the Village People. They threw T-Shirts into the audience. Paul caught one.

At 11, Todd, Jaime, Paul and I went to the Quest. This was much tamer than prior games we've gone to. We knew what to expect but they didn't and we let them be surprised.

We went back to the casino until they closed at 2. We had a slice of pizza on the promenade and then went up to bed.

Thursday 6/12/08 - At Sea We slept a little later than usual today. Paul ran up to the Windjammer and brought down breakfast a little after 10.

It's a nice day out so the pool is packed.

We walked by the spa and asked if they had any availability for the spa tester expecting the answer to be "No". It was around 11:20 when we asked and they had an 11:45 appointment available so I signed up.

Paul went off to wander and he was going to come back for me in about an hour.

The spa tester lets you choose from various items - 3 for $89; 5 for $109, or all 7 for $129. I chose the 3 for $89 and chose the following: Neck, back, and scalp massage Mini facial Foot and ankle massage

The changing room was in use so I had to go down the hall to the bathroom to change. I didn't need to completely undress - just take off my top and put a robe over my capris. The treatment was done in the room where they do manicures, pedicures, hair, etc.

You sit and put your feet up on a stool and then you are covered with warm towels. The top of the robe is pulled down a bit so your neck, shoulders and upper back can get massaged with cool oil which felt very good on my slightly sunburned shoulders. Then your scalp is massaged. It sounds weird but it felt nice. Then it was back to more of the shoulder massage.

After the back, shoulders, and scalp are done, towels are piled up so you can lean back comfortably for your mini facial. Of course the woman is horrified when I tell her I don't use this that or the other thing she mentions. I was a little worried about the facial. Who wants someone rubbing all this gunk on your face? It was better and more relaxing than I expected. After rubbing and wiping off various potions, she put some cream around my eyes and covered my eyes with a mask.

Then she started the foot and ankle massage. This was great. I really enjoyed it. I'm not sure if it's because I was having all these things done already or what, but it was very nice.

Once done my mask was taken off. At that point she recommended various products for me to buy. I told her I would think about it and come back if I wanted to get them.

I went into a curtained area to put my top back on then she gave me the bill to sign and said the gratuity is not automatically included and it's up to me. I gave a $20 tip on an $89 treatment - that is a bit over 20% so hopefully the appropriate amount.

I would definitely do this again. I liked the sampler since it was a little bit of a few things. Paul was waiting for me when I came out so I rattled on and on about how nice the spa treatment was.

We had lunch in the Windjammer and then headed to the Casino.

Paul and Todd played in the Blackjack tournament that started at 2. They didn't play the early rounds but waited so they would know what score they had to beat.

Jaime and I went to the Ice Show "Spirits of the Season's" at 3pm. The guys were still busy with the tournament. Several of the skaters fell during the show. One girl not only fell, but practically slid on her face. Aside from a few spills the show was spectacular.

After the Ice Show we met the guys in the casino. Neither did well in the tournament but they were playing regular blackjack now and doing well.

Tonight is formal night. Jaime does her eye makeup beautifully. I've been admiring it since we first met them. We started talking about it and she agreed to come do my eye makeup tonight.

Jaime and Todd came to our room around 5:30 and it took her maybe 10 minutes and she did a great job.

Paul didn't want to be left out so said "put some eyeliner on me too!" It was sort of a joke but turned into a dare and the next thing you know Jaime put some eyeliner on Paul too.

We had a bet going to see if the table would notice. We went to dinner and Paul was batting his eyes and carrying on normal conversations with everyone and no one noticed so Paul won the bet. We finally told everyone what was going on after we had our appetizers. Once it was pointed out, then they noticed.

We had the following for dinner: Appetizers - I had the mushroom in puff pastry. I think Paul did too Entree - I had the fisherman's plate (lobster tail and shrimp). Paul had the fisherman's plate and prime rib Dessert - I forgot what we had.

At 7:45 was the Platinum/Diamond Party in the Maharajas lounge so we went with Walt and Sue. I had a Pina Colada. It was much less crowded than the C&A party. I didn't even look at the buffet since we just ate. We spoke to a few of the officers there since they were making rounds. Walt mentioned the Win a Cruise Bingo and how they should have some kind of consolation prize or something if there is a tie breaker. She suggested we speak to Mike Hunnerup the cruise director so we did. He was saying that they hate when more than 1 person calls Bingo. But his answer was "Well you didn't win if it's a tie." He asked our cabin number and called Anna Banana and said they already had my cabin number and would be sending something. I was a little put off by his response. I'm not asking for anything, just suggesting that maybe they think of a way to make people feel better if it gets to a tie breaker in the future. Even if it's something silly, like a pin or magnet that says "I almost won a cruise at Bingo".

After the Platinum/Diamond party we went to change and then meet back in the casino.

I was the only one interested in seeing "Invitation to Dance" which was the 9pm show so I told them all to stay and I would come meet them after. I wasn't crazy about the show. The dancers are very good, but I expected it to be more about the competition. Two of the competing couples danced one dance each at the end of the show.

When I came out of the show and headed towards the casino I saw Paul, Todd, and Jaime waiting by the entrance to the Chamber. I asked how they did and Paul says he lost. OK. But then he was making a funny face so I knew he really won. So I hold out my two hands cupped and say "Let's see". Next Todd puts his hands next to mine and so does Jaime. Paul was up about $700 from the last hour of Blackjack.

We went into the Chamber for Motown Hour and met Walt and Sue in there. We were dancing a lot. Sylvia came down and was dancing too. She's 68 years old and looks great and has so much energy. Caroline, who is 78, was upstairs chatting with some of the bikers.

There are a group of Harley Davidson motorcycle riders on board. They take their bikes off at each port and ride around.

Sue was talking to a few of them at the bar and found out that they limit the sailing to 35 bikes. The captain even rode on the back of one of the bikes in one of the ports.

A little after 11 we went up to Maharajas Lounge for Karaoke Superstar. Jaime told us one night at dinner that she used to do some opera singing. Paul was planning to sing too but someone was already singing the song he wanted -My Way by Frank Sinatra so he didn't sing. Jaime sang Bring on the Rain by Martina McBride. I never heard the song before but listening to her sing makes the hairs on your arms stand up her voice is so beautiful. She easily made the finals and has to perform in the Palace Theater tomorrow at 3pm.

We made plans with Todd and Jaime to meet tomorrow around noon for lunch at Johnny Rockets.

After Karaoke everyone else went to their cabins while Paul and I went to the casino until it closed around 2am. We had a quick stop for a slice of pizza on the promenade and then up to bed





Friday 6/13/08 - At Sea We slept until about 9 today and then went up to the Windjammer for some breakfast.

On the promenade we stopped in the logo shop for a little album. I was happy to see that they have postcards of the ship again. They also had postcards from the different islands which is good to know in case I forget to get one on an island in the future. I like to buy a postcard with the name of the island to put in my album to separate which place is which.

We went back to the cabin to drop off our small purchase and we pulled out the suitcases and started packing. I got most of it done before Todd called at 12:15 and we met to go up to Johnny Rockets. There was a wait so Paul put our names on the list. Walt and Sue strolled by so we added them to our party. We had a lot of fun together. We really have a great group of tablemates. After burgers, fries, onion rings, etc we were all stuffed.

Jaime went to change for Karaoke Superstar. We all sat as close to the front as we were able to go. On the way in we bought tickets for the final Bingo.

There were about 8 performers at Karaoke Superstar and Jaime was the last one to perform. The first few were pretty bad. The next few were pretty good and the audience was singling along and clapping. Some of them were good performers and really got the audience into it. When Jaime sang the audience was silent, mesmerized by her singing. She won. Everyone received little medals and certificates but she also received a trophy.

Paul and I stayed for Bingo. We didn't win anything as usual. The guy who won the jackpot (about $8,000) was a college kid and so excited. Everyone was happy for him.

At 4pm the Poker Tour Finale started so we went to see the end of it. They had special tournament times throughout the week for a $60 entry fee. The winner of each tournament won a seat at today's finale. The winner today wins a cruise for two on Freedom of the Seas in December and a seat at a poker table on that sailing. They were having trouble getting players some of the nights. I think most people prefer individual tournaments for cash daily or however often, even if it is a smaller payout. This way it is very "winner take all." The finale didn't end until maybe 5:30ish.

6pm was our last dinner in the dining room with our tablemates. We exchanged addresses, email, etc.

We had the following: Salad - Caesar salad for the table Appetizers - I had the shrimp cocktail. Paul had the hummus with pita and also the spinach dip with chips. Entrée - I had the Mahi Mahi Tempura. It was very good. I asked for some white rice to go with it. Paul had the steak and the turkey. Dessert - I had the banana parfait. Paul had the Key Lime Pie.

We all lingered over dinner, and then went to change, finish the packing, put the bags out, and then meet up in the casino.

Todd, Jaime and I went to the Farewell show at 9. Paul stayed in the casino. Charles Peachock was the performer. He did an amazing juggling performance. The cruise director did the 10 dumbest questions. A lot of info and thank you's were given. The singers and dancers performed. It was a good show.

We all met back up in the casino and saw Walt and Sue who went to the parade at 10:30. We stayed in the casino. At 11:30 the 4 of us went to the late night comedy show with Jimmy Carroll. He had some funny parts but it wasn't that great. I found myself checking my watch often.

Jaime and Todd went upstairs after with plans for us to meet at 8 for breakfast.

Paul and I stayed in the casino. We said goodbye to the casino friends. At 1am we went for our last slice of pizza then I went upstairs and Paul went back to the casino until they closed.

Paul said he ran into Lisa (the woman we met in St Maarten). She said she saw us in Senor Frogs in Puerto Rico but we didn't hear her call us. It's noisy in there. Paul told her she should have just come over.

Saturday 6/14/08 - Bayonne, NJ - Debark We got ready and packed our carryons. At 8am we were just docking. Todd and Jaime came by and we went up to the Windjammer for breakfast.

We ran into Walt and Sue so the 6 of us had breakfast together. We had more fun and laughter. We found out that Walt and Sue were married in Jericho Terrace 23 years ago. Paul and I got married there 10 years ago.

Sue suggested we go to Maharajas lounge; it was set up as a Private Departure Lounge for Platinum, Diamond, and Diamond Plus. They were giving out special departure tickets. We had #8.

Getting off the ship took a while. They were still calling the Express walk off around 9:30. Then they announced a delay.

Luckily we were able to get off via the priority debark from the Maharajas lounge a little after 10.

We found our luggage and drove Todd and Jaime to the airport. We just managed to stuff everything in my car. Luckily, Jaime is so tiny she doesn't really take up any space. For a quick ride to the airport this worked. We were all wedged in pretty tight with the luggage. It would not have worked for a longer trip.

Once we dropped them off we drove home and were home by noon. Kiki was thrilled to see us. We played with her and did some unpacking.

We took a huge sack of laundry to the Laundromat since our washer broke. The good thing about the Laundromat is I was able to do 4 loads of laundry at once. I took it home to dry. Kiki came with us to the Laundromat.

FINAL THOUGHTS This was another great trip on the Explorer. We had great tablemates which helped make the trip even more fun. Renting mopeds/cars on the different islands was the best way to go for us since it gave us the freedom/flexibility to see what we wanted on our own time schedule. It will be so hard to fly to a cruise since we are so spoiled with the Explorer right here in NJ.

I'm happy to answer any questions.

Publication Date: 07/13/08
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