Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by LoveBritian: First Time in Bermuda
Overall Member Rating
First Time in Bermuda
Embarkation: Bayonne (Cape Liberty)
My husband and I decided to sail to Bermuda for our 25th anniversary celebration, along with my parents who were celebrating their 50th. He has only been on one cruise (Disney with kids) before and this was my second RCI cruise.
We drove up from VA/PA on the morning of the cruise. The RCI website directions were a little off, but it was easy enough to get back on track once we saw the ship waiting for us at Port Liberty, NJ. The arrival process went smoothly, and the checkin specialist kindly switched my parents' and our rooms which we were appreciative of.
My advice for enjoying a cruise is to "embrace" the activities that are offered and make the most of your experience as long as you balance it with what you require for downtime. We happily attended the evening shows, the ice show, did a few exercise classes offered w/out charge in the morning, trivia contests, port of call talk, bingo, liquor tastings and walked/ran on the track each day (a favorite). We found More all of the crew we interacted with positive, helpful and responsive to any questions or needs as they arose.
We did have most of our Bermuda visit under rain clouds which was disappointing but we made the best of it by hiring a taxi in advance to show us the island. Colin Jennings (firstname.lastname@example.org) was great (40$ per hour) and we highly recommend him for a full Bermuda experience. He showed us all the sites including letting us go up the Gibbs Hill lighthouse, smallest drawbridge, lunch in St George (Wahoo Grill was a great lunch!) back roads, neighborhoods, etc. We didn't get to suntan on the pink sand beach but we still have a good feel for the island. He dropped us off in Hamilton--great British shopping, and we returned the next morning to finish up. The ferries are crowded, a little disorganized and hectic, so plan ahead for wait times and little information. On the second day we spent a few hours on the man made Snorkel Park beach which satisfied my need to spend a little time in the sand but was crowded and small swimming area. We brought our own folding chairs/beach towels on the cruise so these saved $ from renting a spot/keeping track of a RCI towel.
Our balcony stateroom was great for the two of us...my parents always stay in an interior room and seriously, they are missing out on the water view, breeze, and true feel of being on the water. I couldn't stay in such a small room, guess I'm spoiled! The dining room food was very tasty, we felt like the options (we ate some Vitality selections) were plentiful for us and some of the soups and desserts were lovely. The windjammer is less desirable, but certainly has some choices that are better tasting and healthy for you.
Disembarkation went smoother than embarkation...my husband did express checkout and dealt w/the car, so by the time the rest of us departed, he was ready to pick us up. Recommend that strategy!
My husband doesn't like large crowds, so I am happily surprised to report that there were many aspects of the cruise he enjoyed--probably his biggest complaint was getting a deck chair easily--and he had a great time. He loved the music available throughout the evening and the promenade cafe. For me, this size ship is perfect--I had been on the Navigator, so I knew what to expect--and look forward to sailing on a larger class ship with the whole family next time! Less
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