I sailed on the Explorer of the Seas on June 6-11, 2009. It was quite possibly the most ridiculous cruise I have ever been on. We boarded the ship around noon and were not able to go to our cabin which was no big deal so we went to the buffet for lunch. We attempted to find our way around the ship and did some onboard exploring. Once we arrived in our stateroom we unpacked then headed back on deck. We did have to request a child's life jacket as there was not one in our cabin. We also saw our cabin attendant once probably the whole week. Once we returned to the deck, we hit the pools/hot tubs. My husband's flip flops were stolen from underneath a deck chair (how rude). I cannot believe people would actually steal a pair of flip flops. Are you kidding me???
As many people are aware, the Bermuda bus pass can be purchased onboard so I went to purchase the bus pass for myself and my husband. Upon acquiring the bus passes I was told I needed a pass for my 4 year old son. I found this odd since the Bermuda tourism website specifically states that children under 5 are free. So I reluctantly bought the children's bus pass since it stated on the back of the bus pass that children under 3 required a bus pass and the Purser's desk is considered to be a wealth of information regarding the ports that you will be visiting. So off to Bermuda we went and when the transportation authority punched the ticket for my son they asked his age. When I told them 4 they asked why they sold me a bus pass as the age was 5 that required a pass. They would not refund me the money as they were not the issuing authority. So when we arrived back onboard the ship I went directly to the Purser's Desk for a refund. I was told no on two separate occaisons since the ticket was punched already. I tried explaining that they had misleading information and that they should be aware of the policies of the ports they are visiting, but to no avail. I was told repeatedly that since the ticket said age 3 and up they are forced to honor that. So they knowingly sold me an unnecessary bus pass. This is not RCI's maiden voyage to bermuda....they have been visiting this port for years!!! There is no way that I was the first person that this happened to. It was not until my husband went to the Purser's Desk and had to get a little rowdy would they even look into the matter. Not for anything, but if the ticket said Mickey Mouse was driving the bus would they promote that too??? So a day later they credited our account, but the service regarding this discrepency was a disgrace. This should have never happened in the first place. What kind of scams are they pulling on their passengers??? I also met a couple from Brooklyn who was having an issue with customer service and previously sailed on Princess (like myself) and said how much better Princess was/is.
Also, the workers at the towel exchange were pure miserable!! When I returned a towel instead of exchanging it, the girl at the towel return desk was completely disgusted. I didn't realize that you could exchange without giving your cabin number.
We felt the food in the dining room for dinner was average. Nothing spectacular and portions were a little small, but pretty good. The desert selections left lots to be desired. There is the absence of a late night eatery. The only selection in this dept is room service or a grab and go cafe. I prefer the pizzerias and grilles on Princess and Carnival. On a bright side, our assistant waiter Mina was great!! She actually would cut my son's food at dinner and help him feed himself. She would even help us in the buffet and have drinks waiting for us at our table if she spotted us. Absoultely one of the best assistant waiters I have ever encountered on a cruise!!!
All in all the island of Bermuda was beautiful and the Happy Hour spa package was worth the money and my son loved the kid-friendly hot tubs. I have sailed previosly on Carnival and Princess and the service on Princess is light years better than RCI. It's safe to say Princess is still the best cruise line that I have sailed on and would not particularly recommend RCI to anyone. It's amazing how poor customer service can totally ruin your experience.