Well, I didn't want this review to start out negative, but I have to tell it like it is----
Let me give you a little background first. My first cruise was 25 years ago on Carnival in a cheap inside cabin.I have since done Disney twice, Princess once, two 4 nights on Royal Caribbean and two 5-7 nights on Royal Caribbean. I'll start from the beginning and try to be as fair as possible.
A little chaotic---in a warehouse type building this time, scanner broke so only two lines to process many people.
It started pouring buckets about 2 hours after we boarded and we watched all of our luggage sitting out in the rain, with no shelter, with no one attempting to get it out of the rain or shelter it.
LUGGAGE DELIVERY--OR NOT!--There were 6 of us in 3 cabins and everyone got their luggage late and wet except me. My luggage was no where to be found. After repeated attempts to locate my luggage by the time we went to bed at 1 a.m. there More
was still no word on my luggage as well as no apologies or immediate concern.
**I also must add the following--they have no method of telling whether or not your luggage made it on the boat--there is no scanning or documenting of any kind. Also, I realized when I dropped my baggage with the aggressive baggage handles at the entrance who make no bones about telling you that they work for tips that they did not give my any type of claim ticket. So in reality, I had nothing to prove that I actually brought any luggage with me. This is a major flaw in cruising--how can their be no method of bookkeeping or documenting? It thought maybe next time, I'd take a picture of my luggage with the handler--don't know how that would help, but it would have made me feel better about having something to prove I had luggage if I had to.
LUGGAGE TO BE CONTINUED....
FOOD--lunch was o.k., nothing special, but nothing to complain about
dinner was a crime--They now show only 2 columns to select from (although they have been doing this for about 5 years, it still amazes me) Soups, salads and appetizers are grouped together and it appears that you only have one choice. I continue to order soup and salad with no complaints from my exceptional waiter. The food, however, is diminutive. One night there was shrimp scampi on the menu and when the order came, there were 6 medium size shrimps on the plate and that's it. How could that feed my 2 hungry teenage boys? 6 shrimp for dinner!! Where was the bounty of food that will no longer be synonymous with cruising? Each subsequent night was no better.
We paid an extra $20 per person one night to eat at Portofino's and it was average at best and once again only 3 courses!! My meal was pasta with mushrooms (which was horrible, by the way) the menu is heavily "fish" influenced and I wanted Italian not a seafood restaurant. The waitress asked me if I didn't like the meal and I politely told her no and that was the extent of the inquiry--no offer of another item, or a refund, or a sorry. Why did she ask?
Lastly, the late night pool party and "food" display was anemic and only set up for 1 1/2 hour, then everything was broken down and no more food.
FOOD BY THE POOL?--not any more
remember the days of hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, and pizza at the poolside grills? Well on this boat there were no poolside grills--you have to go into windjammers (the buffet) and there are not bathing suits allowed, so you can't come from the pool and eat. I had a coverup on that amounted to a short dress and they told me I couldn't enter unless my dress was longer or I had shorts on. I understand this in a restaurant, but give me an option by the pool!!
Our first comedian was actually horrible, can't believe he was booked--Tommy Savitt (I think was how you spelled his name)
2nd show as a ballroom dance show (yawn!)
3rd show was a music review by the ships entertainers (so-so)
4th show was an impressionist that was o.k. but didn't do anyone younger than Rocky Balboa (he did Mack the knife, Ed Sullivan, Barney Fife) none of our kids or the other kids had any idea who he was impersonating. This was for the over 55 crowd as well as the ballroom show--even though our boat was about 40% under 20 years old.
5th show-- a magician/comedian which I did not have high hopes for since I am not a fan of magicians, HOWEVER, this guy--Chad Chesmark was hysterical. He was the only show we liked and wished we saw more of him on the boat. He was mostly a comedian that used magic as for his material.
Though no credit goes to RC, but our weather was great 75-78 all week and sunny with really calm sea's.
MISC.--It seems that everyone has their hand in your pocket on this cruise. You can now pay to upgrade your steak at the main dining room ($14.95 extra for a fillet)-- everywhere I turned, I was signing a charge for something. My massage and facial was an extended sales session for $125 cream for my face, the "free" detox seminar told us to detox by spending $150 on detox stuff. I know that this is a silly complaint, but they do NOT have regular mustard, only Grey Poupon. Who like Grey Poupon on a hot dog? This cruise is mostly American's--supply us our mustard! Such a basic condiment...
DRINKS--the pop package is not worth it because the soda tastes medicinal or chemical. I am sure it is not Coke or it is not being mixed right or with dirty equipment. Pay the $1.75 for a clean can of coke instead.
ACTIVITIES--I can't quite put my finger on it, but there was a lack of things to do. I, for the first time, found myself bored at times. There was no ship tour or kitchen tour (there was a backstage tour), bingo was slooooooooow and boring. Casino was nice with great stewards. I don't know exactly what else I was missing, but at times, there was nothing to do.
BACK TO MY LUGGAGE...
My luggage showed up the next day at 4 p.m., they delivered it to the wrong room and the person didn't say anything until the next day??!!Anyway, no one said I am sorry, no one said, "since it was our fault, here is "fill in the blank". All we got was our cabin steward telling us he found it on the 3rd deck and the customer service guy saying he found it for us searching the halls. How could they both find it---it seems they both wanted either a tip or accolades for fixing their mistake. How about my incredible inconvenience and worry? Nothing was said or followed up by RC, so as I fumed in silence, I took solace in knowing I could share this on Cruise Critic. Royal Caribbean needs to step up their game, they are falling off quickly. I hate to do such a review, but those who have cruised before will know my complaints. Charge me more upfront and give me better food, better entertainment, stop trying to sell me everything, and take resposibilty when you do something wrong. A simple, "I so am sorry" can go a long way. Less
Explorer of the Seas Cruises to the Western Caribbean
Cabin review: Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony
Cabin was roomy --with a still a tiny bathroom, but we didn't feel cramped. Good location on the ship--close to elevators but we didn't hear anything for guests or the elevators, only kids jumping around in the cabin above us. there is no conditioner in the bathrooms--be sure to bring some along.