Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by Kruise Kapers: Holidays at Sea
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Holidays at Sea
We nicknamed our cruise the "Cruise to Nowhere" given the dates and times we visited each Port (with the exception of Coco Cay, the private island of RCL). We spent most of our time on the ship and despite the cruise being sold out, we felt uncrowded most of the time. Embarkation was a breeze. We unloaded our bags, parked the car, handled all our paperwork and were lunching in Windjammer in less than 1 hour. There were many stories that the Bayonne Port gets gridlock on the roads and is tough to navigate. We experienced none of this. I hope our future cruises have it this good.
The amenities on the ship were great. We especially enjoyed the spaciousness of the Promenade. So much roomier than other ships and it made it easy to navigate from our Forward cabin to the dining rooms. The gym is sufficient though a little tired. There are signs to limit treadmill use to 20 minutes (they should be 30), but no one seemed to adhere to the limit, especially when people were More waiting. We played ping pong and shuffleboard and there was plenty of equipment. We kept forgetting to play mini golf, but the course looked great. The ice rink is a cool feature, but too small. We really enjoyed the ice show. Amazing how they get the speed up to make those jumps!
The food was excellent. I had not expected it to be so good. The steak on the menu was always good. The salmon a little less so. The Windjammer service was great too. The omelets took time and the lines were always long, but the chefs did a great job to move the lines along. We had the best table for our group of 11 in the Main Dining room. Table 539 just above the large staircase in the middle. It was perfect for our group and we had little people traffic to interrupt dinner. Our waiter (Everton) was excellent and Jose his assistant always remembered the drinks and coffee type. We even tried to find them at lunch and breakfast just because they provided top of the line service.
We spent a lot of time in the Solarium versus the main pool deck. It was much quieter and actually easier to get deck chairs together. The whirlpool was good, but we did not spend anytime in the pools. It looked refreshing.
The onboard entertainment was appreciated and enjoyed by the entire group. The shows were fun, the comedians appropriate (for the most part...we were the early dinner seating show and I understand that they were cleaner then). The performers are very talented and did great. Jimmy the cruise director and his staff do a great job. We enjoyed Bingo, dancing in the Promenade and Trivia. We spent most nights listening to Roxy in the Schooner Bar. His very talented and has a great show. He played for 3-4 hours each night.
The kids (from 12-16) did not utilize much of the kids program. A bit too structured and restrictive. They however had a blast on the ship.
Overall, the vacation was fantastic. The only things I'd change is to have more time in either Nassau or Port Canaveral and to have better weather for 2 of the sea days. Unfortunately I cannot change December weather. We'll travel from Cape Liberty again, but only in milder weather.
Coco Cay port review is below since I could not locate it in the Port listing:
Coco Cay was far and away one of the best days of the cruise. We awoke early and had breakfast in the Windjammer then headed over to the Island around 9AM. We found beach chairs with ease (there are so many and if you want a quieter spot, walk around the island a bit). We had a quieter spot on Beach 3. We were close to a bar, both buffets and the rentals for kayaks and floats. Most time was spent lounging, but the kids played volleyball and swam, the parents tanned and read books. At one point, my son and I rented a kayak. In about 30 minutes, we traveled to the nearby island and back. Our friends took a leisurely paddle after us. The hour rental was plenty of time and they did not watch the clock so we probably could have stayed out longer. For $10, the younger ones rented floats and also did a little snorkeling. The weather was great and overall, this was one of the best days of the cruise. Less
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Cabin review: FO7200 Family Oceanview Stateroom
Cabin 7200 is a forward facing Family Oceanview cabin. The area is very quiet and little foot traffic exists outside your room since there are only 4 cabins at the end of the hallway. The bed area for the kids was great. Two bunk beds with a curtain to provide darkness so they could sleep late if desired. The bed was comfortable and the cabin spacious. We had a sofa as well as two small chairs and ottomans. The two windows are large and overlook the heli-pad on the ship. Curtains must be closed at night if the lights are on in order to avoid glare up to the bridge. The location is great for access to the theater, Cafe Promenade, gym and Solarium. A little further walk to get to the restaurants and Windjammer. Two negatives - the location at the front of the ship can be rocky if the seas are rough. The furniture had some stains on it. Otherwise, the cabin was great, the bed very comfortable and the views out of the front windows were as clear as from the bridge.