Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by Mademypoint: If you cruise solo things you should know
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If you cruise solo things you should know
I have been on this ship twice before, both from Cape Liberty. Each time I have found the bar staff, dining room staff and cabin stewards service excellent but this time the service from the explorations staff, guest relations and bar servers was dreadful. If you sit at the bar you will receive a friendly reception from the bartenders and can expect to receive your drink and a smile, however, if you take a seat in a booth at every bar on the ship, it's a far different story if you are alone. Before you think about whether you have encountered this, it's worth mentioning that a supervisor had a meeting with the staff and there were people who freely admit that they always cater to a larger group and there really is no reason why they are disinterested in a party of one. All they have to say about that is, please tell her I am sorry. Some DID eventually come over, but the majority of the time they don't and if they are walking by you get a fly by with "drinks" shouted out.
I had More decided that since I was alone and had not met anyone on the ship that had planned any excursions (or had not thought to ask me along), I would go ahead and volunteer for the day and clean up the national park on St John so I went ahead and booked that. The day before I received a message so I went ahead and stopped at the desk where i was told that since I was the only one it might be canceled so I should be aware and check back Monday. I went back the next day at 9:10 AM just as the woman at the desk was trying to run off and asked her to PLEASE check out whether my excursion was going (because let's face it, if it was canceled this was really the ONLY time I would have been able to try to book something else), she took my ticket and said "OH yes, this is going, it's been combined with another group". I said, are you sure because I was told yesterday the park was closed until this morning and she reiterated that. I went to get some breakfast and then went off the ship and guess what? Yes, indeed, I was told the excursion was canceled and the woman HAD tried to contact the desk. I went upstairs and spoke with someone at guest relations, asking to speak to a manager because the woman at the excursions desk had lied to me. After explaining to this person FIVE times why I wanted to talk to someone else, I was finally given a phone where the manager of the exploration desk claimed that they called me (coincidentally WHILE I was AT the exploration desk) and that when I did answer they figured I was on my way down. I then went up to my room and despite being told they had called, there was no message. So, unfortunately there was nothing I could do at that point. I hope they are happy with how they treated me.
The ship is NOT in the best condition internally. Sure the ship is immaculate, but when the boat rocks, so rocks the walls in some cabins. Consistent noise would be fine, but I guess I was the lucky recipient of a shifting panel and despite being told that they would address it when we were actually in port because they said they had to get into the ceiling to remove the panel, nothing was done and on the return the noise got so bad after the ship started to rock again that they just gave me a key to another inside cabin one deck higher.
The food is the same as it's been since we were on the ship in 2007 so the best thing I can say is that it forced me to order different food and I am glad I did as I found the majority of the food was better. Johnny Rockets is just plain awful, not sure why it's so bad on the ship, but it is. I have eaten at many of their restaurants and the only thing I can think of is they must squeeze every last bit of juice out of the burger so what you wind up with is something that resembles a slightly lighter and ribbed looking hockey puck.
I do not go to the shows, but if you like trivia and have played it and saved your old answer sheets, bring them along as many of the games have not changed. Sure there are SOME different questions but the name that disco tune, name that big band, name that movie, name that 50's 60's has not been updated since the invention of the phonograph. A few of the staff do bring their own questions with them so you can expect SOME new games, but if you wonder why you missed three and a few teams missed none then you will know why.
So, to wrap this all up, you can expect to be treated wonderfully in some places but dismally in others and don't be too disappointed if the staff lie, they seem to have done it so often that they can do it with a smile on their face. As I said to the bar supervisor, RCI should send ONE person for a cruise alone so they can see how everyone offers the exact same treatment. Mind you it IS possible that it's not just on this ship that you will be treated like this, but it's sure disappointing to watch a server go around to every table asking them how they are, how their day was and what they want only to have them do a fly by "need anything" as if you are so unimportant you should not even bother. Less
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