This was our fifth trip on the Explorer of the Seas. DH is 60++ I am 50+. We booked this trip just to go on a getaway cruise, we have both been to Bermuda several times. We arrived at Cape Liberty at 11am and were having a picnic outside the Windjammer by 12:30. We booked the smallest inside cabin on the ship and were perfectly happy. The room steward, JOANNA was great and our cabin was consistently cleaned and supplied. Yes, it did have a couple stains on the loveseat and carpet, and the TV was old. But we expected that because it was the same cabin we had a year ago. The Captain took the time, after the lifeboat drill, for a brief 9/11 moment of silence and mentioned the "Teardrop" memorial where the ship was docked. We had early seating for dinner; the waitress, Yulia and assistant Oscar were really two of the best I have had in 10 other cruises. The food in the Main Dining Room is what you would expect at a nice wedding for. a few hundred guests. It is good but not gourmet. The best thing about the MDR is the new friends at your table. We had 407, near a window and met six terrific people. By the end of the cruise we were all (8) singing together at the Schooner Bar. Anyway, I think that the portions are small , especially appetizers , but you can always request seconds. I enjoyed the prime rib, and DH enjoyed the lobster. We did eat one night and most breakfasts at the Windjammer. More than anything I like a variety, and the Mongolian grill was a treat. At one breakfast I was totally surprised how good the pancakes were. I thought they would be dry, from being mass produced and sitting in a serving tray. Try fluffy and terrific. We also ate dinner at Johnny Rockets. Kudos to Nino and Melvin.. They remembered me from several earlier trips. The food there is good diner fare, worth the cover if you actually eat. I loved the Chili, absolutely loved it. They really do dance in the aisle, it was one of our trip's highlights. There is always food available in the Promenade Cafe. Pizza, sandwiches, cakes, fruit and unbelievable scones. I grabbed cookies there more than once.
We both enjoyed the midnight adult comedian, Jim David. This is the first time on a ship that I have seen truly adult humor, usually it is pretty tame. The show WAS PACKED AND IT WAS GREAT. Hats off to RCL. If you are easily offended, skip Mr. David's show. We generally do not do the big song and dance production shows, but many people I met on this trip said that they were very entertaining. We did grab tickets for the ice show. We saw it on the last trip and it was again a terrific performance. It is kind of chilly, think about a sweater . We spent a couple happy evenings with Anselmo at the Schooner piano bar. He had a great voice, played requests and never took a break. The Schooner Bar was standing room only by the end of the cruise. We also frequented the casino. I played the penny machines, DH played quarters and dollars. He hit a jackpot on a quarter machine. The first one in his life. So yes, it does happen.
Bermuda is truly a beautiful and safe place. Our first day we bought transit passes on the ship and had an easy trip to Horseshoe Bay Beach via local bus. This is a a very popular, must see beach. It is so big that it never seems crowded. There are changing and shower facilities, plus a snack bar. You can rent chairs, umbrellas and even snorkel equipment. The sand is slightly pink and soft as silk. The water was warm even mid-September. There are fantastic rock formations you can walk through at low tide. The return trip was just as easy. However, public transit (busses and ferries) do get jammed in the late morning, you might consider getting a slightly earlier start. That evening we had the Rum Swizzle Sunset Sail. It was the only RCL excursion that we booked. I thought it was nice, DH thought it was mediocre.
For the second day we stayed around Kings Warf. We visited the clock tower shops and the glass blowers. All an easy walk from the ship. We never rent scooters, but we did try a short Segway tour. It was only supposed to be a half hour but Eugene spent an hour showing just the two of us all over Kings Warf. The Segways are easy to use, but we were a bit concerned about going out in traffic. Following Eugene we managed just fine.
In between events, DH and I spent time hanging at the ship's Crowne and Kettle pub. The bartender Chris served great drinks and entertained us (when it was slow) with magic and card tricks. He made me a perfect Blue Motorcycle, even though it was not on any menu. Thanks Chris!! I had purchased the soda package prior to the trip. You get a special note on your sea pass card, and a cool plastic travel cup in your cabin. You may also purchase the soda pass on the ship. You do not need the cup to be served soda, all you need is the note on your card. Soda, on this trip was $2.62 a glass, gratuity included. The pass is $6.00 a day for adults. I think it worked for me. There is a 15% gratuity on drinks, plus they seem pricey. DH adds an additional gratuity on the tab, usually a dollar or two, and like magic the drinks are better and almost worth the price. The lesson here is instead of fretting about the price of drinks, try to make friends with the bar staff. It's worth it. We enjoyed the evening Diamond/Diamond Plus event up in the 19th hole bar. They served wine and champagne gratis, there was a 25% discount on all other beverages. This was our first cruise as Diamond members and we were pleasantly surprised to find a plate of chocolate covered strawberries and delicate cookies in our cabin.
Certain things about cruising we have come to expect. During embarkation the Windjammer is jam packed. We just grabbed some food and headed outside. It was lovely. The pool deck, as well as the adults only Solarium are crowded on sea days. But there are so many places to hang out. It's not a problem unless you are determined to bake yourself. In general, the Windjammer does get crowded at 10:30am. It seems downright crazy and you must fend for yourself if you want coffee, but we never had a hard time finding a seat. If you show up at 07:00am waiters will literally swarm you. You choose. We had the option of going to a private breakfast dinning room for Diamond members, up until 10:00am, but we liked the Windjammer crowded or not.
Disembarkation was quick. The one change RCL made that I disliked was the private disembarkation lounge, a Crown and Anchor perk. It had been at the Maharaja lounge, where there are many, many comfy sofas and stuffed chairs. It was switched over to the Palace Theatre, with its not so comfortable theatre seats. I asked and was told it was due to the large number of platinum, diamond or diamond plus cruisers. The Maharaja lounge was reserved for families?? I looked and it was empty. No big deal.
We had a great trip.