The rain held off until we were ready to leave Bayonne, the ship was rocking a little the first 2 days on and off. This time I was traveling with my cousin. We arrived at the port unloaded our bags, checked in and were on the ship within 30 minutes. I read so many complaints about the port and checking in. Of all the times I've cruised I've never had a problem.
Normally my husband and I always get a balcony, but we decided to try the inside promenade stateroom for a change. Big mistake, our cabin was nice, it was clean, noticeably smaller than the balcony cabins. It was nice to be able to look out the window and people watch but I would much rather been sitting on a chair on my balcony. Alvin was our cabin steward, he was very nice, it seemed as though he was always waiting in the hallway to let us back into our cabin. It got to be a joke after a while.
At A Glance:
I have never sailed to Canada and New England so I wasn't sure what to expect. the ship was beautiful as usual. First thing that we both noticed was the huge amount of "Seniors" on board, with walkers, wheel chairs and scooters. I'm not bashing the older folks, I'm just saying there were ALOT of them on this itinerary. I thought it was strange that the shops only offered items from the Caribbean, I think it make more sense to offer stuff from where you are actually cruising to, even the post cards were from the Caribbean, on the last day they pulled out some cute children's T Shirts from Canada and Bar Harbor. The miniature golf course was all new, the last cruise my husband and I went on it was really showing its age. I have never been on a cruise where the outside decks were blocked off so often, there were a couple of windy nights but some nights it wasn't so bad and they wouldn't let us out, which means that everyone ends up inside on sea days with not a lot of choices. I love to sit by the windows in Dizzy's Lounge or The Ninth Hole, not this time, every window seat was taken ALL day long by seniors who were sleeping, knitting, or playing bridge, and I mean ALL day long, it was like that at most of the bars.
There were a lot of first times on this trip, we also tried the My Time Dining option, that lasted 2 nights. Although I had reserved online a table by a window, for 2, at 7pm every night there was a problem with availability. The first night the gentleman said "let me check to see if your table is ready" he came back and whispered something in another mans ear, and then said "please follow me" We were seated at a table right in front of the double doors of the dining area. It kindof felt like where they put the overflow. The 2ND night I asked for a different table, this time he said the table I'd requested online was available. Great! Problem resolved! NOT! After dinner I asked him if that was to be our table for the remainder of the trip. He said no, probably not, and suggested moving our dinner time to 8pm so that he may be able to accommodate us, we agreed. However the next morning at breakfast a man approached me and asked if I was satisfied with my dinner service so far. I explained what had happened with My Time Dining and told him I'd prefer to be moved to the main seating at 8pm. Done! No problem. After hearing other peoples conversations we realized what was going wrong with My Time Dining, it wasn't RCCL's problem, it was the cruisers. A lot of people were under the impression that they could go there anytime and be seated, many times leaving those of us who reserved a time with no table. We heard 2 couples talking at the ice show. One lady asked the other, aren't you supposed to be eating at 5:30? The reply was, "our reservation is for 5:30, but we'll go when we're hungry, after all it is MY TIME DINING" Argh!
I've always enjoyed room service on the Explorer but the food was not good this time. We got breakfast one morning just because we could. The bacon and potatoes were so dry, and the eggs were funky. We rented a movie another night and ordered artichoke dip and honey stung chicken, we were so happy to see they offered the honey stung chicken, normally you can only get it at the Windjammer the first day. The dip was OK, the chicken was not edible, I was much like chicken jerky.