Room 1692 Deck 10 Aft (Stern) D1 Baloney
Embarkation: Car service picked us up at 11:40 AM from Wayne, NJ. We experienced very little traffic on the roadways until we reached the left turn on 440 onto the terminal entry. Here we waited 15 to 20 minutes to make the turn. Entered terminal and passed through security very quickly. Once inside, the line for "Platinum& Diamond"guests appeared long but moved remarkably fast. We were put on the bus and off to the ship immediately. We were told that the rooms would be ready by 1:30. We took a chance and went to our room which was ready. Dropped off our carry on luggage and were enjoying the buffet in the Windjammer by 1:05 PM. - Overall one would have to give the entire boarding an A+.
Accommodations: It was a very large room and balcony (by ship standards). Room was well over 20 foot and the balcony had two lounge chairs, two regular arm chairs, and an attractive table with plenty of room to maneuver. The room had the standard king size bed, dressing table, coffee table and triple sofa. There was plenty of room on each side of the sofa. There was enough draws and closet space for our, well over packed, clothes. The bathroom was the marvelously spacious, to be expected, area that any 75 lb., 5 ft person could enjoy! A+
Staff and service: All and I mean all of our interaction with members of the service staff was at a minimum great and mostly exceptional.
Our room attendant who, aside from day one when we made some request that he handled expediently, keep our room in top order down to the towel animals. A+
Our table service staff, head waiter, waiter, and assistant waiter were efficient, congenial, and professional. A+
Diamond event staff was friendly and efficient. A+
Wait service for dinning room for lunch and breakfast ranged from A to C+.
Service desk personnel were an A-.
Food: Breakfast - The Windjammer the made to order omelets and fried eggs, were excellent. The toasted bagels and muffins were very good. Most everything else, including the staff, was very good. A+ The breakfast foods in the dining room not as good as in the Windjammer. B to C+
Lunch - The Windjammer was good. We never eat the hot dogs or hamburgers so we have no opinion on them. B+ The dining room lunch menu ranged from A- to B+. However, the salad bar was exceptional. A+
Mostly, the meals were very good. The exceptions being the roast duck which was dry and the NY steak which was over cooked. The escargot was not the best I've had on a cruise ship. The prime rib was exceptional - done to perfection. All the soups were very tasty. Since I rarely eat desert, I have no opinion here. But, my wife, who has never found a desert she didn't like, was not disappointed on this cruise. A to B
The Explorer did show signs of age but overall it was in good repair. There were the usual elevator problems at meal time.
We were in the Aft and experienced much "creaking" the day/night that the seas got a little rough.
The ice show is a do not miss event. The theater shows may not be Broadway or Las Vegas quality but they are entertaining enough.
Some of the bit shows such as the "Cooking Demonstration" had me rolling over with laughter. As they say, "Seek and you shall find.
The Promenade Parade is really special for first timers.
With over 300 fellow passengers over 80 and an extra ordinarily high number of Diamond and higher the cruise was not a "young person's cruise". Luckily we are 65 plus and fit right in. There were only a very few children on board.
We enjoyed six table mates that kept the "happy" spirit alive at our dining experience a joyful experience. The truth being that we only met "duds" during the trip.
I, like most Diamond Members, was taken back by RCI's decision to discontinue the privilege of the Concierge Lounge. I was most pleased by the alternative provided in its' stead. The service staff was exceptional. Nice job RCI.
I did have one major grievance. We had selected main dining with a 6:00 PM seating. Our tickets stated 6:00PM but when we arrived onboard we were informed that it would be 5:30 PM. On three occasions, tours or ship activities cause a major problem that caused us to be late even after we had to forego showering and making a most hurried change over to evening clothes. Also, on this cruise there was a time change that, in effect, had us seating at 4:30 Eastern Time. I was very unhappy with this time change. (Note: I contacted RCI to find out what the main seating would be on a forthcoming December cruise and was informed that they could not tell me. "Each ship makes the call.")