Lovely Ship - Bring your IPOD: Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by nessa11434
Overall Member Rating
Lovely Ship - Bring your IPOD
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
Too little time in San Juan (the best shopping is there by far! Take the free trolly by the bus station to the top of the hill - get off at El Morro and walk down bearing to your left to get to the outlet stores early).
Disembarkation was horrific (be sure to load up on fruit/yogurt/bottled water - as we had to wait quite a while to be called to disembark and the food staff ran out of provisions; all the elevators were being used by folks with lots of luggage or in wheelchairs/with baby strollers - Pack very light for departure, TAG EVERYTHING TO BE PICKED UP THE NIGHT BEFORE! I had to schlep 4 bags down 10 flights of stairs!)
The wait staff seems a bit over-extended in the main dining room - hence - orders were confused or forgotten (I think they call this economizing) They tried VERY hard though - but clearly More are overworked.
NOTE - GRAND SUITE 1568 IS ACROSS FROM THE SERVICE ENTRANCE AND WHEN THE STAFF BRINGS SUPPLIES THE NOISE CAN BE HEARD EVEN WHILE ON THE BALCONY - THERE IS NO WALK IN CLOSET IN THE GRAND SUITE - THE JR. SUITE IS JUST AS NICE - WE HAD 1638 - MUCH QUIETER WITH A NICE BIG CLOSET!
Most important BORING MUSIC! Hey - I'm a NYer - we got it all here (thank goodness) where was the Rock & Roll, R&B??? What little decent music they had started at 10 PM and ended at 12 midnight. Somebody give Dave Chapman their playlist please - and if I heard "Piano Man once, I heard it 10 times...enough! The ship needs a musical director under the age of 40 with a hint of nostalgia - not an obsession with it. The latin band was really quite good, unfortunately, Latin entailed everything from Rhumba to ChaCha so you got maybe 1 dance in (if you could find a dance partner - I learned to lead - new skill - thanks RCL).
On the positive side:
Good service (Roger Forde was our stateroom attendant - he was outstanding - bought a chaise to my suite for the terrace)
Funny Cruise Director
Great Gym/Spa (the steam room was very underutilized as was the whirlpool there)
Prompt Room Service (you can order from the main dining room menu and then go to the Windjammer to feast!)
I would do this cruise again with my family but if you want to just party all night and then fall asleep in the sun during the day to work on your tan - go with Carnival - cheaper - less pretentious and a whole lot more soul and variety of late night entertainment. Less
Port and Shore Excursions
A shopaholics' paradise! Take the trolly to El Morro and walk down-hill - get a map from the tourist kiosk in Old San Juan - the ones from the ship are useless.
Get a golf cart/taxi from the ship to the dock and then take the ferry to the mainland - there is a beach which is very nice and you can get umbrellas & chairs (we got 2 of each for $20 for about 3 hours) - nice service - GREAT DEALS ON LIQUOR! A liter of Bombay Blue Sapphire for $13, Absolut 1.4 liter 2/$19.99.
Too hard to get to town or St. John's best beach from the ship (cab/ferry/cab + waiting...return + cab/ferry/cab) Fair shopping - Diamonds International had a clearance center on the 2nd floor - we made purchases from the Royal Caribbean Jewelry Store - had just what we wanted with reasonable prices - good service too (got free cleaning, extra links for a watch and free gift wrapping).
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