Due to the fact that our past 3 cruises all either started , or finished badly(always due to weather conditions), my husband agreed to another one ONLY if we didn't have to fly anywhere. The discovery that RCI had a cruise leaving year round from NJ suited us perfectly. Plus, due to a situation that arose on our previous cruise, we had a credit awaiting us. What more could we ask? Little did we know that(or realize) that leaving from the Northeast in January mandated that we bring more warm weather clothing. The first 2 full days at sea were cold, and I foolishly thought the ship would have a retractable roof over the pool area. Definitely should have packed some turtlenecks and sweaters. Seemed such a waste to have to spend the 4 sea days inside(2 going, 2 returning). Live and learn. The crew on Explorer were, by far, much more pleasant then on Voyager, though the ship itself needs an overhaul. Our balcony had railings that were peeling, and the balcony itself had quite a bit of rust on it. RCI has cut back on the quality of food on board which we raved about in the past. With all the competition in cruises, and the ailing economy, would think they would go out of their way to make sure passengers will return. With fights on board, another passenger boasting about being caught with drugs, and a prostitute, it is very doubtful we will be taking another RCI cruise.
We had a grand suite, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Had a huge balcony,
though as previously stated, need an overhaul. The sleeping area was
tastefully done, and the bed was very comfortable. All tables had
granite counters and there was just adequate drawer space. I wasn't too
pleased to have said drawers under the bar, and next to the
refrigerator. The bathroom was almost too big(after all, how much time
does 1 actually spend there?}, but beautiful, all marble and granite.
Due to the cold weather, glad we splurged, but would have liked better
in-room entertainment. Plus, if you are going to the expense of
installing a Bose sound system, why have a cheap, old-fashioned TV?
Dominican Republic was absolutely the worst port we have ever been to.
As we were warned not to wander far from the ship, we elected to take a
cruise-sponsored tour. The guide was extremely rude, and poorly
prepared. When asked by a passenger what time we needed to return to
the bus at a rest stop, responded with "How do I know, I don't have a
watch". Knew we were NOT going to have a worthwhile, or informative
tour. The island is filled with garbage, and poverty-ridden areas, and
that is all we saw. Was this meant to make us all feel guilty we had
spent money on a cruise? Far from it! I work in a service profession,
and deal with the poor frequently. This is not how I wanted to spend 4
hrs of my vacation.
To make matters worse, upon leaving the port, the ship hit something
underwater, damaging a propeller. This we learned the following day
when the stop at Labadee was cancelled so we could limp back to NJ.
Just great, now we had 3 full sea days returning home. The cruise did
give everyone a refundable credit, which was appreciated.