Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by rfinn5: OK Cruise but not as good as it could have been
Overall Member Rating
OK Cruise but not as good as it could have been
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
All in all the cruise was OK but we had several complaints. Most were traceable back to cost cutting by RCI.
We arrived at Port Terminal Blvd at about 10:30 and the traffic line was huge and barely moving. I saw another review advising pulling into the left lane and bypassing the slow right lane. We complained to a guard about the line jumpers and he said that they were supposed to be port workers only. He said they didn't pay him enough to argue with the other line jumpers. It took us 45 minutes to get to the terminal.
Check in went very fast for us as our daughter is in a wheelchair. RCI always pulls the wheelchairs out of line and gives us special care. This is appreciated as juggling carry on luggage, coats, paperwork and a wheelchair can be challenging.
Dining in the main dining room left a lot to be desired. We requested a large table near a window where our daughter would be out of the traffic pattern. They put the three of us at a table for four in More the main traffic pattern. She was bumped into constantly. We tried to change things but were told it could not be done. Not meeting new people at dinner was disappointing.
Service was slow till and we were pretty much ignored till the Table Captain asked how things were. I pointed to the dirty appetizer dishes, the empty drink and water glasses, etc that had been sitting on the table for 45 minutes. Things picked up after that but the injured response from the waiter made us feel uncomfortable. It was apparent that they were understaffed.
I felt the menus were not as good as on previous cruises. Most nights three of the five entrees and most of the appetizers were vegetarian. I know vegetables are cheaper but the lack of choice for meat eaters was noticeable. Due to service issues we ate over half the meals at the Windjammer.
I felt the Windjammer was quite good. I'm a big breakfast fan and they do a good job. You can get eggs your way and omelets made to order. Their omelets were the real thing, not a crepe wrapped with some filling. The stir fry at dinner was excellent.
There was a lack of activities on board--if you are not into trivia, you are pretty much out of luck. I did a lot of reading.
There were several elevator and power outages as part of a failed drill. Apparently backup generators did not switch on properly and it took several tries over a long period of time to get things working. This left a lot of people in wheelchairs and with mobility issues stranded. One of the aft elevators was out of service for the entire cruise. This was an issue as these elevators served the Main Dining rooms. We frequently pushed the up button and took and up elevator up and back down just to get on.
Entertainment was quite good. The ice shows were outstanding and the production shows were enjoyable. My wife remembered one show recycled from a previous cruise four years ago but I didn't remember it so it was as good as new. The other shows were fun. The only disappointment was a group from Brazil. They started out with a black light puppet show that was really original and well done. This was followed by a demonstration of whip cracking, whooping and what not that was a disappointment. At the end they told us that both parts of the show were done by the same group.
Disembarking was OK up to the point that we set foot on the pier. There were a large number of wheelchairs and only one bus with a ramp. We waited for over a half hour while one bus after another came and picked up the other people. One fellow whose wife was in a chair was having a fit. This may sound trivial but people in wheelchairs often have health problems and sitting for 45 minutes in the New Jersey cold is a real hardship. Less
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