Review of our April 29 2010 cruise on the Explorer of the Seas
We are a couple in our mid 40's & I am a full time wheelchair user. This was our second cruise on RCL; the first was 19 yrs ago (our honeymoon). We have cruised twice on NCL on the Dawn in 2006 & the Gem 2008.
Debarkation - Arrived at terminal about 12:00 No line, no hassle, was on the ship by 12:30 I was a little worried about the bus to the ship but the staff handled me fine
Ship - We had a balcony room on deck 6, plenty of room for me in the chair and the bathroom suited my needs. The ship accommodated my needs well. Public bathrooms & exterior doors had remote openers. The refrigerators onboard are called coolers because they are set to just keep the contents cool (not really). The ship was nice but I wish they had a bar that was outside where you can order a drink, sit at a table and watch the ocean. The only outside bars were on deck 12, but there were no tables and around the pool behind glass. The shops on the Promenade were unimpressive.
Staff - they could have not been nicer. Our room attendant was always there and always trying to please. We seemed to make friends with almost everyone we ran into. Shelly at the Pub on the "street" (promenade) as my called it, made our night every night.
Food - we mostly ate at the buffet and only twice did we go to the dining room (my time dining) and only once for breakfast, which took way to long. We enjoyed the food, stir fry made to order, pasta made to order. The hamburgers were good and the fries were awesome. The staff in the buffet were great always trying to help.
Alcohol - I enjoyed my Coors Light & my wife the occasional drink. I also enjoyed the shot of the day, great souvenir shot glasses. Prices reasonable
Shows - only went to 3 well almost 3. The first was Mark Eddie Rock Comedian he was good, but the majority of the audience was a little old to understand his jokes about the music of the 70, 80 & 90's. The next night was Fast Forward; I lasted about 10 minutes and left. (I am not one for musicals and if they could sing or dance I might have stayed). The third was the ice show Seasons. It was great; doing those maneuvers on steady ground would be hard, but on a moving ship.
Bermuda - First time being there, nice people, clean, fort was amazing. Nice shops with products made in Bermuda. We took the ferry to Hamilton, nice town.
St. Maarten - this was our fourth trip here, made our way from the dock down the road to town (the water taxi is not accessible) The town looked like it needed a bath, not as clean as in the past.
St. Thomas - this also was our fourth trip here, only went to the shops at the pier and then back to the ship
San Juan - this was our second time here, traveled up the cobblestone hill (a feat in itself in a wheelchair) to about 3 streets up and did some shopping. I have to get a t-shirt at every port. Had lunch at the Hard Rock then back to the ship
6 hours out of San Juan a crew member jumped overboard and we returned to the spot and searched for 8 hrs. The coast guard took up the search for another day covering 1800 sq miles. He was never found. This delayed our arrival into NJ by 8 hrs.
Debarkation - we were told to be out of rooms by 2:00 and we had a Beige color tag #1 and were to be at the main dining room by 5:00. All the people who were to meet in the dining room from 5:00 to 7:00 went there after 2:00. Then they made an announcement that you could only enter the dining room ½ before your assigned time. What a mess. They needed to be clearer on the procedure. At 5:00 we were called and went to the buses, got to the terminal, people went nuts grabbing their luggage and went straight thru customs; no questions they did not even look at our customs cards. We were home by 6:30q
Overall - We both enjoyed our cruise. Flat seas & good weather & Great crew I would cruise again on RCl but I still like NCL better. They have a larger selection of dining venues and they have 2 outside bars.