This was my first cruise at age 75 and have no others to compare it to. My partner is 82 and has been on many cruises so he had those to compare this cruise to. I understand The Explorer of the Seas will be going in to be refurbished in ... Read More
This was my first cruise at age 75 and have no others to compare it to. My partner is 82 and has been on many cruises so he had those to compare this cruise to. I understand The Explorer of the Seas will be going in to be refurbished in March of 2020. I thought the ship was lovely as it was, but not without its quirks. My biggest disappointments were the entertainment, elevators, food.
Day of embarkation consisted to standing in line for 1-1/2 hrs. Not fun for sure. Don't really know what the reason for the delay was due to. Heard 3 different reasons.
This was a caribbean cruise to Labadee, Haiti, Caracao, Bonnaire, Aruba.
Our stateroom was fine, small, but doable. My partner used the small shower and dropped the soap. Trying to pick it up by stooping he could not get up. What a nightmare. We struggled for 15 minutes but he finally managed to crawl out. Whew! These showers are not for big men. Air conditioning worked very well. Our stateroom was kept clean and very well supplied every day. The attendant came twice a day once in am and again in pm to turn bed down and clean again (I thought it was overkill myself). Attendant left the itinerary for the next day.
Ship was very clean. I never saw anything to suggest it wasn't clean. I saw workers cleaning the small tables in the lounge bar with toothbrushes. Geez! Bathrooms on the ship were always very clean and well-supplied. I wished they had paper seat covers but that's just another thing to flush.
Entertainment was at best 2nd class lounge acts. These acts were comedians, singers, the Royal Caribbean Dancers. All shows were about 55 minutes. Did not care for the entertainment and was disappointed when there was no "real" entertainment such as a play or musical.
FOOD! Such a disappointment. 1st night of the 9 days cruise was the best and so I thought well this will go well. Prime rib was excellent, chicken marsala my partner said was very good. All downhill after that. Do not get wrong there were some very nice dishes but the majority of them, in my opinion, weren't very good. Small portions. Yes, I know we could have ordered more. It took a long time to get your starter dish and after that at least 1/2 hour to get your entree. Long, long wait in between. No chance of ordering more food. I had a problem with "New York Strip Steak" that was published on the outside board but when you got the menu it said "New York Strip Loin". This was a very thin and much tougher cut of meat. Not the New York Strip Steak I know. Another night they were serving turkey dinner with baked brie as a starter. Oh good, I love turkey and had never had baked brie. When I saw menu that night there was no turkey dinner or baked brie. I mentioned this to the waiter and he checked and came back and said that was their Thanksgiving Menu put up by mistake. One night I had Shrimp Scampi. Four very tiny shrimp and linguine that had soaked up the very spicy sauce. I didn't even eat the linguine. Waiter asked how I liked it and I said way to spicy. Then here comes a man in a suit (floor manager?). I told him very spicy and it didn't say that in the description. He said it did and then brought the menu to me and it did not say it had chili peppers in it. He said they would have to change that description. This is just one example of the food problems we experienced. Went to the breakfast buffet in the main dining room every day. It was just OK. I liked the little flower shaped waffles. Bacon was a surprise. I think they cooked it in a big kettle. Every piece was stuck together to the next one. You got a clump of bacon which usually consisted of raw and over done all fused together. I took the crispy parts and broke it apart. There was no way to cut this bacon. Lunch buffet was pretty good. You could get a handmade salad. One day I got a steak at the "live steak station". The chef, or I think really just a dining worker doing the steak, gave us a nice steak, better than the New York Strip loin advertised at dinner. Problem with it was after frying it in a pan, pressing it, turning it, cooking it, fiddling with the heat we cut into the steak and it was completely raw. We ordered medium each. Another disappointment. That young man needs more training that was apparent. And it went on and on for the 9 days. I won't even go into length about the Windjammer buffet. Cold food, runny mashed potatoes etc. I do have to give some slack here. That's a buffet for you, how many times is your food hot, or even warm when you have to carry it through a very air conditioned environment in a huge room. No ice cream machines.
One additional comment on the dining experience - at a lunch buffet we were seated way in the back at a table for 2 with 3 other tables for 2. Impossible to get to our table in the middle. Had to walk in back of 3 other tables to get to it. Then we asked to be moved and the floor manager? (he wore a suit) moved us to another round table for 2. OK, there was no butter at the table. I eventually had to get up and ask a waiter for it since it seemed we didn't have one. The menu was still on table and now we had dishes piled up. No one came to remove the dishes or the menus. While we were seated many waiters and waiters standing by the front door had to have seen us but no one came to remove dishes and menus or even ask if we needed anything. We found out the section he moved us to was a closed section. What? He didn't know this? Such confusion in that dining room at times. We just felt abandoned at this table.
The elevators, while plentiful, did not work properly at times. Press the down arrow and the elevators went up. Some seemed to be stuck on the 1st floor and never came up again. Many times we had to go to another bank of elevators to only wait again.
The first stop was Labadee, Haiti. The walk from the ship was long. My partner uses a cane and had a very difficult time making that walk. I never did go to the market because it seemed so far away. I think they had shuttles but there were a lot of people waiting. We had a drink where we could see the water and then they had a mediocre buffet, with hamburgers that were almost crispy they were so overdone.
With the exception of a couple of service staff, everyone was so friendly, smiling, giving you great service. Four people gave us exceptional service and we did give them a private extra tip.
Would I go on another Royal Caribbean ship? NO! I thought the the prices of drinks and anything else that required you to buy it was excessive. The word greedy comes to mind. I thought an 18% gratuity was excessive on every drink. While I probably would not mind if it was on the total of entire order. I want to go on another cruise, but not a Royal Caribbean cruise.
The excursions were nice and we had nice tour guides that we learned a lot from. Read Less