Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by dooBdoo: Not so
Overall Member Rating
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Bayonne (Cape Liberty)
Remember - you must approach a RCL cruise with RCL expectations. If you are expecting personally prepared gourmet meals, look elsewhere. I have never believed you should complain about the ambiance in an "Applebees" since you know what you are getting into when you cross the threshold.
I don't complain - and this review is a review, not a "whine list!"
RCL was originally called by the industry "Mass With Class," packing in more passengers than Celebrity, but maintaining a higher level of service. It appears they have decided to cut corners to maximize profit, and it shows.
It was a nice cruise, nice ports, nice shopping, nice weather and nice people.
The staff was wonderful and friendly. In all areas.
Some staterooms/public areas are a bit "tired" -stained couches and scratched woodwork, but overall the ship was wonderfully clean and trim - just a bit shabbier than others.
The entertainment was very good - nice variety - and More I liked the "no kids" adult comedy policy late night. Do NOT miss the ice show.
Two major areas of concern:
1. The food. A MAJOR concern. If you like Asian food, you will like lunch and dinner. RCL has found ten thousand ways to make cheap rice and vegetables and cheap cuts of meat into exotic sounding dishes. Every single night at dinner you have no less than two "exotic" choices but the bottom line is you will be eating a mass-produced glop of curry/lemon pepper/hot pepper flavored "trash meat" and rice, vegetables or noodles that is the staple diet of millions of starving third world peoples. The preparation is nice, the presentation is nice (albeit the plates have shrunk so the portions look bigger) but the quality of the food rates a C-. No more bread baskets, they save money by doling the rolls out one at a time!
2. "Cape Liberty" - you can call a hog wallow a castle, but it's still a hog wallow! The Bayonne Terminal - is a mile long, boarded up warehouse ride back to a scene from "On the Waterfront." Check the bag get on the bus . . . get on the bus? Yup, and wait until you have 2 walkers and two wheelchairs ahead of you when you are leaving the ship and have to catch a flight. A dedicated "handicapped accessible" bus would be nice. You will enjoy the cattle pens as you come up to the desk - every last person was there was cheerful and helpful - but the cookies, coffee, juice for waiting RCL guests has disappeared.
RCL could really be a nice cruise line if their marketing and development people would stop looking at the bottom line and would look at Cruise Critic reviews. Most of them are spot-on. Weed out the disgruntled and the effusive first-timers and you will see that RCL ain't what it used to be.
Will I go back. Yes. I know what I'm getting and am comfortable with it. I just will be more restricted in my diet! Less
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