Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by CrabbyHarper: Facilities great, food mediocre
Overall Member Rating
Facilities great, food mediocre
Destination: Canada & New England
Embarkation: Bayonne (Cape Liberty)
I chose this cruise for a small group, and was very pleased with the group arrangements. We had dedicated meeting space for most of the cruise, and there was a staff member always available to meet our needs. I chose the cruise based on the port of embarkation, the itinerary and the price. The itinerary changed during the planning period and we lost about half of our cabins when that happened. The original itinerary included Cape Breton Island (Sydney, NS), Quebec City, and Prince Edward Island. The final itinerary included none of these. Many of our potential group cruisers voted with their feet - out!
Embarkation and disembarkation were about the smoothest I have experienced in 20 cruises.
The Junior suite was wonderful! More storage space than we would ever need, and a large "hump" balcony. The bed was as big as our king-size at home, and the mattress was firm. It was also very quiet.
The ship was a stunner! The largest I have ever sailed More on, but everything was easily accessible, except the elevators during mealtime. The ice shows were well worth while, but the rest of the entertainment was forgettable.
Food: I had requested two tables of six at the main dining for our group, and we got one table for 12. The service was glacially slow. Though the dining time was listed for 5:30, often we were still looking at the menus at 6:30. My DH and I only ate in the Dining Room three times. We simply could not stand to sit there for over 2 hours in a noisy room for mediocre food. Eight of our group ate at the 8:00 dining, and were happy with the service, often leaving the dining room by 9:30.
We ate lunches in port where possible. Breakfasts were in the special Diamond dining room - the Balboa. The continental breakfast was as much as we could have desired, and the room was quiet, but companionable with other Diamond Cruisers. We often ate dinner in the buffet - the stir fry and sushi were excellent! Eating in the buffet allowed us to attend the early showings at 6:30, or chill out in the Diamond Lounge. The 19th Hole was open from 5 - 8 pm with free wine and champagne, but no hors d'oeuvres, and a 25% discount on overpriced drinks. But the view was terrific and the company was nice.
However, I have stopped expecting great food on a cruise. We ate one night in Portofino and it was about as good as dining was in the main dining room on the old Nordic Prince in 1988.
Everyone we met, staff, crew, waiters, bartenders, stewards, customer service were just great! Friendly and helpful. Our steward Robert was the best - he did everything we asked and expected him to do and we rarely saw him, only the results of his work. I treasure unobtrusive service.
Would I cruise RCL again? I might, especially if I were leading a group again. But I would have lowered expectations about the food. Less
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Cabin review: JS9318 Junior Suite
Great location, quiet, near elevators, balcony on the "hump" allowed better range of vision. Walk in closet and copious storage space. Don't like the bathtub - the sides are much too high and the grab bars not conveniently located. Almost fell twice with foot caught in shower curtain. Very conveniently located to Concierge Lounge, but alas, Diamond members are no longer allowed to use it, nor are Junior Suite guests.Read All Junior Suite (JS) Reviews >>
All in all a great time
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