Explorer of the Seas 7/21/11-7/30/11
This was my wife and my first cruise and our honeymoon cruise and we had an absolutely amazing time. Check-in was a breeze. We got to Cape Liberty at 12:45 and checked in withing twenty minutes, even with a pretty long line. We were on the boat before 1:30. We got to our room and unpacked and then had lunch at the Windjammer. Our room attendant, Amilcar, was awesome. Our stateroom was decorated to celebrate our honeymoon. He made really cool towel animals, our room was always clean and tidy and he was a source of information about what to do onboard and onshore. To top it off, he was just a great guy, congratulating us on our wedding and very personable. Our dining room waiter and assistant waiter were great. Kishan was always pushing more food on us, asking us how our day was and letting us know what to expect the next day in the dining hall and around the ship. Nino was "Johnny on the Spot" with water, bread, soda, coffee and tea. He's a great guy and the woman he is marrying in four months is a lucky girl to have him. Special shout-out to our "cousins" at table 404 for making dining and onboard activities so much fun. We lucked our getting you six as our tablemates, because we've made lifelong friends with "cousins" Darlene, Crystal, Mike and Tina and Nanna and Auntie Barb. Captain Olav was a very fun guy, which was unexpected. He was all over the ship and easy to talk to. Cruise director Jimmy Rhodes, Activities Manager Jacinta White and their staff (Elvis, Nordia, Patricio, Marco etc) were so much fun. They were just as entertaining, if not more entertaining that the Palace Theater and Ice Show entertainment. They are just hilarious and they wanted to get to know you and wanted you to get involved. I think I'll have clinchpoop, fulfahrt and "How You Cruisin" stuck in my head for the rest of my life. The Quest Gameshow and the midnight poolside dance party....awesome. The dancers, comedians (Al Romos and Carl Banks), The Drifters were amazing shows. There was always something to do and getting involved with the staff and the shows was a great way to make the memories and friendships last. Each port of call was beautiful (Kings Wharf, Bermuda...St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and San Juan Puerto Rico. I can only talk about the excursions that my wife and I participated in, but they rocked. In Bermuda we shipwreck snorkeled...never felt so small in my life...but in a good way. Swimming four miles out in a coral reef with two wreck will do that to you. The guides also gave us a boat tour of Bermuda on the way out and back in and took us through some areas that get a lot of turtle visits...awesome. Snorkel Park and a little shopping was a good way to relax afterwards. Rhino riding (small motorboats) in St. Maarten and St. Martin was my favorite of all our excursions...even more fun than a waverunner. Swimming on Happy Beach with their crew was fun too. In St. Thomas we took a bus tour (pick-up truck with a cab on the back) of the island. Great views of the island and ocean from the mountains. We went powersnorkeling in Turtle Cove afterwards. That was really fun as well. The boat ride out and the sail back in with a great crew helped. In San Juan, we rode ATVs through the El Yunque Rainforest....FANTASTIC!!! Easy to ride and great views.
The only complaint I have is the roving bands of teenagers at all hours of the day and night. I realize that teenagers need freedom and that they can't spend every waking hour of those 9 days with their families and should get to know other kids from around the country and world. I was one and wanted it, but if their curfew is 1:00am, it needed to be enforced a little better by the staff and their parents. I also don't need to see to highschool age kids grinding on each other (front to front and front to back, if you know what I mean) in The Chamber (dance club). I overheard a collection of teenage boys setting up a fight the last night (after 1:00 am) and heard that there were at least two other fights earlier in the cruise. But I won't harp on this complaint. I've made my point.
All in all, a life-changing experience on the Explorer of the Seas and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. We're trying to talk our families into going with us next year. We look forward to seeing Jimmy, Jacinta, Captain Olav and the crew again very soon.