Well, the third RCI cruise for the Gottfried's is over. The suitcases vomited all over the laundry room and I'm drying the last load as I write. So much for fun.
The things we had heard about this cruise, both bad and good, were true. Yes, Explorer is showing her age. So? Don't we all? She was very clean and, barring some rust and bare wood balcony rails, had no problems. I think if I carried 4200 people to sea every week I'd be in much rougher shape than Explorer was!
The passengers were mostly from the Northeast U.S. urban areas. Like most "city folks", a lot of them were oblivious to people outside their circle and many of them were loud. If I were escaping the concrete jungle, I would probably be the same way. I'm a country girl who seldom interacts with more than a dozen people at a time and listens to quiet most days. It was a little overwhelming and crowded to me.
The food was okay. Some was great, some was blah, most was just fine. We used all of the food venues and had no complaints. Everyone was very accommodating and bent over backwards to see that we were happy. It was a typical RCI cruise!
We took our DD, SIL, and twin 8-year-old grandchildren with us (the cruise was the twins Xmas gift). The kids loved, loved, loved Adventure Ocean; some days it was tough to get them to join us for dinner or shows. They and their parents did everything possible. Ice skating, rock wall climbing, mini golf, swimming, napkin folding, inch of gold, fake tattoos, etc., etc. They vacationed with a vengeance! I read a couple of books and played trivia games and participated in Quest. Poppy played a lot of poker. Poppy and I also spent quite a lot of time just watching the kids doing everything. It was a joy to be with them, and a joy to be able to provide them with the experience.
Bermuda is gorgeous. We (all 6 of us and Poppy's mobility scooter) hired Anthony Wolffe, Taxi T1117, for a tour at $55 U.S. per hour. Anthony is a school teacher when not driving the taxi. His descriptions and explanations were terrific; even the kids listened and asked questions. He went out of his way to make sure we were all comfortable, and was happy to stop whenever and wherever we wanted. We went to Crystal Cave, which was great. Anthony gave us an excellent tour of Hamilton, St George, and all points in between. His phone number is 441-705-4310 and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. He made a great effort to find a spot for me to watch Bahamian Long-tails, the beautiful seabirds indigenous to the island. He was quite knowledgeable about all the island flora and fauna and history, and so was the perfect guide for us.
Our second day in Bermuda was spent drifting around the Clocktower and Dockyards shopping areas, watching the glass blowing (which isn't really blowing, lol), and visiting Horseshoe Beach.
Nassau was what Nassau is. We went over to Atlantis to see the aquarium and had a remarkably over-priced lunch at Murrey's. We went to the Straw Market, at which time I said "you're on your own", and went to wander the back streets and alleys of (tourist) Nassau, and back to the ship.
Coco Cay is not my idea of fun, so Poppy and I stayed on the ship while the rest of the gang had a fun beach day. I took Abby, the female-half of the twins for a manicure and pedicure on the ship. It was ridiculously expensive, but she was the hit of the spa. They treated her like a princess, gave her a very appropriate polish job, and we both loved it.
I spent $100 U.S. for the internet package. By the 5th day of the cruise, I had spent $70 just retrieving my email. Internet service was terrible. The worst and slowest that I have had out of 7 cruises to date.
The events in the promenade area are a good idea and well staged, but the space is too small. Getting through that area was quite claustrophobic for me.
All in all, it was a good cruise, no less than what we've come to expect from RCI. I have PLENTY of complaints about Newark airport and Port Liberty... so many that I will NOT cruise out of Bayonne again under ANY circumstances, but none about the cruise itself. Thanks to RCI for providing another great vacation.