74 Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas Bahamas Cruise Reviews

We are far from seasoned cruisers, but wanted to try a short trip out of FL this winter in an effort to know more and make the best decision about boat options when planning an Alaska trip in 2016. Our previous cruising involved a ... Read More
We are far from seasoned cruisers, but wanted to try a short trip out of FL this winter in an effort to know more and make the best decision about boat options when planning an Alaska trip in 2016. Our previous cruising involved a wonderful Viking River Cruise in 2012 and a West Indies barefoot cruise on the Polynesia in 1983. We think we were spoiled by both of those ships which had populations of under 200. We picked a "mini" cruise to Cozumel and Nassau out of Port Canaveral on RC. Our plans were set in January for a February cruise, so the room choices were limited. We did not read a lot of reviews prior to departure, so we let the whole thing unfold, with mild anticipation due to the boat size. But we were pleasantly surprised by the spaciousness and certainly can understand how travelers can quickly become devoted fans. Our cabin was located on the 2nd deck -- and while that may seem down in the bowels, I suspect we benefited from less rock and nice amount of quiet. I would not have wanted to be over the promenade or to feel the boat pitch. Overall we were pleased with our experience and now have some knowledge to apply toward our trip to Alaska. This ship, while many said was old and we'd heard it was going to be refurbished, seemed quite luxurious to us. 14 floors, glass sided elevators, spas, exercise classes (fee), nice menu choices at dinner, wine bottle saved for the next dinner, some entertaining waitresses. Except for some wear in the cabin (chipped mirror), most of the facilities were great. The movie theatre seats were the most uncomfortable seats I have ever experienced. And the projection was very distorted. I hope that will be addressed in the refurb. We enjoyed all the entertainment, although we're not big fans of Dancing with the Stars, which seem to be hot right now. The ice show was fantastic. Not sure what to have expected with regard to age range on the boat. It was early February, before school vacations. The primary crowd seemed to be consuming a lot of tropical drinks and generally looking for fun. There were 134 children (out of 3100 peeps) which seemed minimal and non-intrusive. It seemed, but we certainly do not know, that the kid's activities existed -- how stimulating, we can't say. There did seem to be a number of kids running around. We fall in the "senior" crowd and met a number of nice people, especially through the open seating dining. We enjoyed the mini-golf, walking path and lounge areas on the top deck. Traveler Be Aware: The casino was heavily smoke filled. The house takes 15%. There was an extra charge for yoga class, spa personnel expect more than the 18% gratuity that is automatically tacked on to the service and there is a lot of drink pushing at every available opportunity--bar tenders looking for tips. It was very off-putting to hear the spa personnel complain about being poorly paid and over-worked. We were at sea on Sunday -- which worked out well, since many ports might be closed to shopping on the Sabbath. Disembarkation was SLOW -- after frequently being told that the US has cut back on personnel -- there were no Global Entry (GOES) lines, which may have sped things up. Best Bargain: utilize the room service! Free -- No hidden fees, a rarity. We used it for early a.m. coffee, but might have considered more if we'd had a balcony room. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We had never been on a cruise before and this was my last cruise. Long lines everywhere - 3 hours on the ship, lines for the elevator, lines for food, lines for guest services. Don't waste your time in line for the food because it was ... Read More
We had never been on a cruise before and this was my last cruise. Long lines everywhere - 3 hours on the ship, lines for the elevator, lines for food, lines for guest services. Don't waste your time in line for the food because it was disgusting. I am not sure if some of the food was edible. Never having been on a cruise before we didn't know things like what deck to go for the safety briefing, how to disembark, how to get off for the excursions. The entertainment was bad. Nothing to do in the way of activities and the choices were so limited. Don't be fooled by the advertisements!! The crew was not helpful. I felt as though my being there was putting them out. To top it off, I write a letter explaining my bad experience and I received a voice mail from someone not identifying himself and telling me reasons I am wrong. For example - he points out that I was disappointed in the food and he tell me that there are 5 meals and 3 of which are staples. What does that have to do with the taste and quality being bad? Even corporate customer service is bad. And he was referring to the dining room while I was referring to Windjammer. Then he just says have a good day and hangs up. No apology or empathy at all. Never go on Royal Caribean. I wish there was an option for no stars for some categories, but 1 star is as low as possible. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
First the downs. My disabled husband and I took a 5 day Bahamas cruise on Explorer of the Seas for a little birthday/holiday getaway. It was an interesting adventure just to get started. We originally booked a cruise out of Tampa, but ... Read More
First the downs. My disabled husband and I took a 5 day Bahamas cruise on Explorer of the Seas for a little birthday/holiday getaway. It was an interesting adventure just to get started. We originally booked a cruise out of Tampa, but this cruise was cancelled by Royal Caribbean. I discovered this on my own while trying to access some info. I don't know when they were going to inform us. Regardless, they did find us a different cruise out of a different port, on different dates. The itinerary and ship didn't matter, as we were not planning on excursions due to the disability. We were set up with a disabled room, given some OBC , and not charged more even though the cruise was a bit more expensive. In the end the change was good. Getting on and off was a nightmare. We arrived at the port, dock 6 at 11 am and traffic was backed up. After self parking we got in a whirlwind of disorganized guests waiting to get in the door. No line just masses of people. I tried to give my bags to the porter, but he said they will scan them just inside the door. I wrongly assumed they would then take them and deliver them to our room. MISTAKE. They scanned them but I had to haul them myself until we could get to our cabin 3 hours later. Getting off was also disorganized. We got stuck for 15 minutes in an open doored elevator because we we reached the floor to disembark it was again a mass of people. We eventually got off and because the ship came into dock 10 we had to be bussed to our car at the parking garage at 6. The bus folks were great. Remember all this occurred while I was pulling all our luggage while my husband was in a power chair. Not fun. Now some good stuff. The staff on the ship was wonderful. Our waiters Presley and Jeffrey, Barista Anthony, and room steward Rome were all great. We ate well and drank lots of specialty coffee. We used the beverage plan and enjoyed the flexibility of soda, water, and coffee at every turn. The ship was in much better condition, than expected after reading earlier reviews. The public areas and our cabin were clean and beautiful. The exception to this was the public restrooms that were not very handicap ready. The auto doors didn't work and they were not well maintained. Our disabled room was very nice and one of the most quiet rooms we have ever had on our 15+ previous cruises. The food was OK. There were some great dishes (Scallops au gratin, Prime Rib, Chicken Marsala) and some not so good dishes, but those we set aside and had something else. Too bad the real ice cream wasn't complimentary. We did love the pastries and small snacks in the Promenade to go with our Coffee Mochas!! Entertainment not so good. Across the board was pretty mediocre. Disabled seating was limited to the last row. We did discover on the last night, you could get assistance to the front row. This is a problem on most cruise ships, but does take away from the entertainment enjoyment. The casino was very crowded as was the movie theater. Neither very disabled friendly. Maybe the April makeover will address these problems. I know this rant comes off very negative, but that is the reality of our trip. There were lots of downs but we will cruise again because that is the one thing that we can do together with our situation. Fortunately just getting away from home is a big plus. Looking forward to the next one. Hopefully on Holland American or Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We're Diamond members, so we've been on a few cruises and I think we know what to expect on board. One of the things we like about our Diamond status is being able to meet other cruisers in the Diamond lounge. This ship ... Read More
We're Diamond members, so we've been on a few cruises and I think we know what to expect on board. One of the things we like about our Diamond status is being able to meet other cruisers in the Diamond lounge. This ship doesn't have a Diamond Lounge. On other ships they would take over one of the other lounges on the ship even though they didn't have a dedicated Diamond lounge. In the case of the Explorer, they took over the card room, but didn't offer cocktails or beer (just wine), and no snacks. We were told if we wanted beer or cocktails we could go to another bar and bring them back to the lounge. Very quickly, the impromptu Diamond Lounge wasn't being used by anyone. With one exception (when visiting the ice show), we had a hard time getting bar service. Every night, multiple times a night, we would sit down in a bar and we couldn't get waited on. We would either have to go up to the bar ourselves, or leave and go to another bar/lounge on the ship. On the last night of the cruise, my wife was on the way up the elevator to try and find the concierge to complain about the poor bar service. She happened to get on the elevator with the officer that manages the bar staff on the ship. She mentioned the lack of service on the ship and that they would be making more money if they could get servers to actually wait on customers, but the officer wasn't very interested in her concern. This tells you all you need to know about the source of the problem. The dining room staff was good, although probably equivalent to what we've experienced on the other ships. It's just that finding crew members doing a normal job makes them seem outstanding on this ship. Even my kids complained about the service in the cafe where you get snacks on the promenade deck. They said it was if the crew acted if they were doing you a favor (if you could get their attention). Getting off the ship at the end of the cruise was a long ordeal, even though we were "self assist". It took over an hour of waiting in lines on board that snaked back and forth through the casino before we got off the ship. Once off, going through customs was a breeze. We've been pretty loyal to RCCL over the years, but it may be time to check out other cruise lines, and we'll definitely not be sailing on the Explorer of the Seas again. The upcoming retrofit won't be solving the problem with the crew. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was my husbands 2nd cruise ( first on Carnival). He said he would never do it again and I begged him to try another one on RCI. He is now in love and decided we will do this every yr. The service was phenomenal!!! Main Dining Room ... Read More
This was my husbands 2nd cruise ( first on Carnival). He said he would never do it again and I begged him to try another one on RCI. He is now in love and decided we will do this every yr. The service was phenomenal!!! Main Dining Room ORLANDO (assistant server)!!!! Best ever! Christopher (server) awesome, and Anil(sp) (drink server) always friendly and knew exactly what we are drinking!! Joseph at the lower pool bar was fantastic!!!! He would have our drinks ready before we even got to the bar! Best service ever!!! Not a fan on the guest service.. The changing of the terminal to load and a different one to disembark was a bit of a mess especially with my husband in a wheelchair . Food was average, but good. I remember on my first cruise with RCI they served filet and lobster as an entree on the menu and now you have it at the bottom of the menu and you have to pay for that. The cruise director Leigh and activities director Erky from Turkey were AWESOME!!! Very entertaining!! I had a lot of fun participating in the activities. Always something to do at the pool. I was not satisfied about missing a sea day and being stuck in Nassau for 2 days. Only to arrive in the ugliest port I have ever seen Freeport. That felt like we pulled into the industrial park. Overall a great vacay!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Itinerary and departure time were changed and we received no notification from Royal Caribbean. If it had not been for the Cruise Critic forum we would have been totally in the dark. Thank you Cruise Critic! Dining room head waiter (early ... Read More
Itinerary and departure time were changed and we received no notification from Royal Caribbean. If it had not been for the Cruise Critic forum we would have been totally in the dark. Thank you Cruise Critic! Dining room head waiter (early sitting) approached us, party of 4 at an 8-top table, and asked us if we were together as he was trying to seat a party of 6. The table next to us also had a party of 4, a family sailing together, of course. We suggested combining the two parties of 4 at the 8-top. Why didn't he think of that? We melded perfectly with the family of four and the party of 6 went to the vacant table. Doesn't the head waiter have a computer? Doesn't he have any common sense? The cruise was fine as was the rest of the staff. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We booked this cruise several months ago because we got a very decent rate on a JS. We like to cruise in December to both celebrate my birthday and rest up for tax season (DH is a CPA). The Bahamas is not our favorite destination; we ... Read More
We booked this cruise several months ago because we got a very decent rate on a JS. We like to cruise in December to both celebrate my birthday and rest up for tax season (DH is a CPA). The Bahamas is not our favorite destination; we booked knowing we'd probably never get off the ship (we didn't). Pre Cruise Roughly a week before we sailed, someone on our Cruise Critic thread noticed the itinerary had changed as had our departure time (originally 4:30, moved back to 7:30!) I got on the horn with Royal Caribbean the next morning and they had no idea what was going on. They told me it looked as though the embarkation schedule was between 2-6. They also had no idea why we lost our sea day and would be staying in Nassau overnight. They promised to find out and call me back; they never did. Bottom line. Communication from Royal Caribbean was awful on this situation (until we got onto the ship and the Captain did his best to deflect the angst). I did receive two days before we sailed a text, a voicemail and an email that boarding would be between noon and 4:30. Many people received no communication. There was a lot of unnecessary angst in the days leading up to our cruise. Adding to it, the confusion about which terminal we'd be going out of and coming back to. T-6 (usually Carnival) can't really handle the Royal Caribbean ships and there had been reports of long delays boarding. It turned out we left out of T-6 and sailed home into T-10. Why? Who knows! A Carnival ship was in T-10 Saturday the 13th. It made zero sense. Embarkation DH felt strongly we needed to get there EARLY on Saturday the 13th. We stayed at the Radisson the night before and took a cab over at 10:00. Note. Flat rate $15 Radisson to the port. Boy, sure glad we did. Yes, we had to wait in line for 45 minutes until they opened the doors but we were 50 or so back in the line and were able to secure a porter to take our luggage. They announced there was a delay (I wasn't terribly shocked) and they'd open the doors at 11:15. And, they did. We were through security and upstairs in the priority boarding lounge quickly and on the ship before noon. However, there is no separate lines outside T-6 for disabled, for C&A levels, etc. And, many on the cruise we met and spoke to said that they waited in line outside for hours and there were no porters to be found so they had to schlep their luggage around on top of it. I recall looking outside our balcony and seeing long long lines at 4:00. We had the muster drill as planned at 4:00 and I have no idea what they did for the people who obviously missed it. Obviously, this process must be improved. My advice to all is: GET TO THE PORT EARLY!!!!! Better to stand outside in line for a bit than get stuck out there for hours on end. The Ship Well, she's limping towards dry dock, folks. Frayed a bit at the edges, stains in the carpet, rips and tears, public bathrooms not in the best shape. Our JS was clean and tidy but worn looking, some chips in the tile in the bathroom, cigarette burns on the carpet, etc. We did have a flat screen TV ;-) And, we could care less, we never watch TV. The one time I tried to use it to check our account, it didn't work. However, the ship was wonderfully decorated for Christmas and it had a good vibe. This was our first time on this class of ship; sort of a mini Freedom-class. We'd definitely go on this class again. I'm not sure, though, why, there was only Portofino and not a Chop's Grille. That seemed odd to me. The ship was decorated for Christmas, always a treat. Stateroom JS 1334, Deck 10 technically aft but not really. Very close to the stairs/elevators. I thought this JS was on the small side. The closet was huge but it seemed "short". Too much furniture in there for my taste; a couch and two club chairs. I didn't care for the balcony; enclosed in metal and very narrow. But, hey. We were on a cruise and we got double points and now we are Diamond. And our stateroom attendant was EXCELLENT. No real noise, we were underneath the pool deck. Every once in awhile when out on our balcony, I could smell the cigarette smoke wafting down from the smoking area on Deck 11 (so don't book starboard Deck 10 if this will bother you). A much nicer smell was every am when they were baking the cookies up in the Windjammer ;-) Dining, Bars, Etc. We did MTD this time. I was a bit worried the first night because they always seem to cram us into a undesirable table by a noisy wait-station and they did so right off the bat. However. We had an excellent waiter and assistant waiter Dominic and Genevieve. Genevieve in particular noticed that I was a bit put off and the next night everything was perfect, even if we were still in the same icky table. The third night, she moved us from another table to a better table and the final night we ate in the MDR, she did so again. It's hit and miss with the dining in the MDR, whether you do early, late or MTD seating, but, it was apparent they are trying to make MTD work as effectively as they can, especially in light of the fact many ships are moving to Dynamic Dining. The food was fine. I don't know why so many people complain about it. We typically order two appetizers each, the entree and maybe dessert if we are not too stuffed. Are some nights better than others? Sure. Ditto your favorite restaurant, I'm betting. We ate in Portofino one night; excellent as always. It was my birthday and they brought me a little brownie thingie and sang Happy Birthday; very sweet. We ate breakfast in the MDR three times, predictable menu but satisfactory. We ate breakfast in the Windjammer a few times; GAH. I don't like buffets mostly due to the mindless mentality of many of the PAX in there. The food was fine, though (the coffee on the other hand, BLECH). For lunches, we'd camp out in the Solarium and head over to the Windjammer, bringing our plates back (which seems to be a popular option for many). Again, the food in the Windjammer was fine. A varied selection every day and also familiar and favorite standards (like Royal Caribbean's french fries...yum). We had good pool-side bar service. We've found once a particular server realizes you're there every day, they will come find you (especially if given an extra tip). We did purchase the Premium Beverage Package; for us, it tends to be worth it, especially since we didn't get off the ship and spent all of our days lounging by the pool. I noticed that many people bought ONE package and shared it. No, they are not supposed to, however, it was fairly apparent that the crew didn't mind/monitor. Our favorite pre-dinner and after dinner spot was the Champagne Bar. Excellent service and interesting conversations with both the bartenders and the other PAX in there. The bartenders were very willing to mix up cocktails that were not on the menu although the menu itself offers a lot of variety. There did seem to be a slight issue in all venues with certain wines that were listed not being available. This did limit the by the glass selections offered via the drink package; on a few occasions, we paid a few bucks extra to get a decent glass of wine. We did not go the room service route this cruise; normally, we order in breakfast a few times or at least coffee. We tried to have coffee delivered the first morning but it never showed up; turns out no one came to take the ordering slip off the door! So, we never tried again. We attempted to drink the coffee provided in the junior suite. It was horrid. Entertainment and Casino At this point in our cruising life, we're not that much into shows. We did go up to Dizzy's in the Viking Crown Lounge one night and the music was great although not jazz, as one would expect. We have more fun watching the other PAX dance (DH is NOT a dancer); especially when they start doing the line dancing. One night while in the Champagne Bar, we could hear the music from the 70s dance party going on in the Promenade; fun. We kept meaning to go to the casino but, frankly, the smoke kept us out. Ports We never got off the ship so cannot comment other than to say Freeport has got to be the ugliest port I've ever been in. The Crew By far one of the best crew experiences we've had. From our SRA to the dining room staff to the bartenders/pool-side servers to the crew we'd run into while roaming around the ship; the majority were extremely friendly and helpful. Fellow Passengers (PAX) Most people seemed happy and relaxed but there were the usual grumblers and those who complained about what seemed to be nit-noid issues. I recognize that many were unhappy about embarkation and I can't blame them, especially if they never got word from Royal Caribbean about the potential delays and therefore stood in line for hours. However, taking it out on the crew who had no part in it is disappointing to observe. We ran into a few people that treated crew members as if they were servants and the usual number of Diamond or Diamond Plus members complaining that the Diamond Lounge was horrid and that there was no priority line at the terminal, etc., etc., blah blah blah. Hey, I get it; you expect some loyalty and benefits for your loyalty to the cruise line but drop the 'tude! One morning at breakfast one lady announced to me, "We're VIP!" I played dumb and said, "Oh, what's VIP?" "Well, we're DIAMOND". Oh, yeah. So are we. Another time I observed a passenger at guest services demanding to talk to the manager, who was away at a mandatory crew drill. "I don't care. Go get her NOW!" Oh please, folks, get over yourselves! I'm not saying that he didn't have a legitimate complaint, but why must people be so rude? Happily, though; these folks were in the minority and we enjoyed several conversations with interesting people of all ages. Speaking of ages, there did seem to be a higher number of children on board this cruise (including many babies and infants) and also teenagers/young adults. As such, I'd say the average age of the PAX on this cruise was closer to 45 or 50. Disembarkation Other than having to get a few more departure bag tags the night before, our departure went smoothly. We had #8 (for Diamond and Emerald AKA VIP (ha ha ha)) to be called between 9:45-10:00 from The Palace Theatre on Deck 3. We had ample time for one last breakfast in the MDR. I noticed this time it just seem more organized; there were not long lines of grumpy self-service people blocking our paths. We sat in the threatre for about 1/2 hour, were called, walked up one deck and were off the ship, through baggage and customs and to our cab in about 1/2 hour. Summary I'm not sure where Explorer will go after dry dock (I don't think it's Port Canaveral) but we would sail on her again (hopefully many of the same crew will be there!) I can't say I like this class of ship more than the Freedom class and definitely I still prefer Radiance class (love all of the glass and gleaming wood) BUT we're happy we got to experience a lovely cruise on Explorer of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Overall, it was a good cruise. Good value, good time. Great staff who worked very hard. My comments will include some suggestions and minor complaints. I would do it again, and probably will. The ship is aging and will have a 40 day refit ... Read More
Overall, it was a good cruise. Good value, good time. Great staff who worked very hard. My comments will include some suggestions and minor complaints. I would do it again, and probably will. The ship is aging and will have a 40 day refit beginning in March 2015. She needs it. Here are some things I wish I knew before booking. I hope it helps someone else. Boarding started at noon. You should wait a couple hours if you can. Noon was absolutely crazy. By 2:00 there were no lines. If you can carry your luggage on board, do it. The inspections are non existent and you have your belongings. Some who checked the bags didn't see them again until after 6:00PM My time dining really isn't. I wanted to be seated at 6:30. I was told I could. You cannot. You can be seated 5:15-5:45 or at 8:00. Not really my time. You all know drinks are expensive on a boat. We ordered the wine package which promised 20% discount. Well, the wines available on this package are very few. The only one that I found on the regular wine had a price that 20% less had I bought it without the package. I may be mistaken, but I will not buy another wine package, The food is pretty mediocre. Not bad, but certainly not great. In general the staff was excellent. Little need to get off the boat at Freeport. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Second time on this ship, 9 years apart, this time with kids. A different experience. The Explorer is still one of favorite ships, although she is by no means the smallest, she still offers the best of both worlds- the feeling of being at ... Read More
Second time on this ship, 9 years apart, this time with kids. A different experience. The Explorer is still one of favorite ships, although she is by no means the smallest, she still offers the best of both worlds- the feeling of being at sea with a range of activities available. Nice mix of passenger ages. Embrakation was a nightmare- rumor that porters were on a slow down and certainly appeared to be true. The luggage was waiting outside while they sat around doing nothing. Our family lugged our own luggage and were glad we did- others we talked to received theirs very late. Unfortunately this also caused debarkation to be a nightmare as nobody seemed to trust personnel to move their luggage getting off the ship. Rather than motivating me to support their union, it made me hope the RCI will look into other options in the future once their contract is up. Onwards to the ship. We still love Explorer of the seas and her crew. We would have preferred a band that regularly played ballroom dance music.... but the musicians were talented. Service was very good overall, staff friendly. Michelle the ice skater (dark hair) was very sweet to my daughter and Yin (cleaned restrooms) was sweet as well. Best show is the ice skating program, hands down. This ship is a great value for 6 yo plus crowd. Daughter loved ice skating and rock wall. Lacked options for children under 3 years- if paying full fare (and it was more expensive to book 1 room than 2 separate), I would expect more entertainment for the younger crowd... at least a nursery. The explorer is in good repair and still has a respectable amount of entertainment options if you are at least six years old. Do not worry about reviews saying she is in poor repair... the worst is faded life boats but to me that in no way impacts the experience. The explorer may be a nice compromise between a mega ship and a bare basics cruise ship. The only question mark was when our entire party was moved to a table in the corner to make room for a larger family on the second night, the families sat at three separate tables that didn't communicate even after being placed adjacent. After asking for our table back, we were given it on the third night- but on the second it was very awkward to be asked after the family had already taken our table. The family could have swapped their best table with us to achieve the same effect- so I believe it was more an issue of not liking the original assigned table. Had we been seated there the first night it wouldn't have mattered to us, but seemed rude to be moved into the corner. Our tablemates from a different family were also confused by the table swap. It seemed like a poor way to handle the situation- honestly wonder if the family took it upon themselves to move verses the staff making that decision. When we were moved back we didn't get our old waiters, so very confusing overall. While I liked all of the waiters this was a bit of negative aspect. For thanksgiving they decorated the promenade and slowly Christmas decorations took over. It was a nice way to celebrate the holiday versus the traditional expectations. Although we love Holland (2 star cruisers), this trip was enough to make us reconsider them as our primary line. For reference- experienced cruisers have sailed with RCI, Holland, NCL, and carnival. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
I got the opportunity to take my first cruise on the EOS out of Bayonne (Cape Liberty) in March 2014. The weather at the port was chilly but that didn't stop the sun from reddening my face. I was jacked to get on the ship and take a ... Read More
I got the opportunity to take my first cruise on the EOS out of Bayonne (Cape Liberty) in March 2014. The weather at the port was chilly but that didn't stop the sun from reddening my face. I was jacked to get on the ship and take a vacation that had been 7 years in the making. I had never cruised so all I had to compare was reviews...on a side note....90% of the people in these reviews are just looking for something bad to write about and will never be happy about ANY cruise they take...with that being said.... The goods about the trip: -Staff was more than happy to work with you if you had a request. Kudos to our room steward, Julius from Guyana. That guy was always working and the highlight of his week was the NCAA Mens basketball Tourney. I love talking sports and even sharing some of my knowledge with him, when we spoke. These people don't get paid enough when you think about it....$12.00 a DAY for your wait staff and room staff? After winning in the casino and buying a watch (which I found about 1/2 the cost on Amazon.com when I got home) I slipped him an extra $50. -Portofino Restaurant: YES IT IS WORTH THE $25 extra. Mom had a seafood kabob that had prawns, lobster tail and salmon and I had the porterhouse that was at least 2 inches thick and cooked to perfection. -Buffet on Deck 11: I ate the first couple of nights in the Main Dining room and I ordered the "Manhattan Strip" the first night and it was luke warm and the shrimp cocktail was mushy and warm...so I decided to eat in the Buffet the rest of the trip and I got the same steak that was in the MDR, So, unless something changes with the main dining room food, I'll eat in the buffet every meal or at Portofino. The skating show: Standing ovation!!!!! Imagine and ice skating rink that is 1/6th the size of a hockey rink with olympic caliber skaters hitting all of the tricks....triple axle, etc. with a broadway themed show. I wished I could've gone again! Also, keep in mind, EOS is going into rehab, which it needs so maybe the Quantum of the Seas will be better. The bads: Couldn't tender to the ship's private Island, but that isn't their fault. I am all about safety The Main Dining room food The decor of the ship was outdated but so was the ship so I won't take off too much for that. I want to try other cruise lines now that I have something to compare it against. Booked an 8 nighter on Carnival and a 14 nighter on Holland America so we shall see! Overall, unless you are a very picky person, or there is bad weather, I don't think there's a way to have a bad time on a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This is the 4th time we sailed on the Explorer. Mainly because it leaves from NJ and we would rather avoid the hassle of flying. The Explorer is a nice ship and even though it is an older one it still offers a lot of things to do. If you ... Read More
This is the 4th time we sailed on the Explorer. Mainly because it leaves from NJ and we would rather avoid the hassle of flying. The Explorer is a nice ship and even though it is an older one it still offers a lot of things to do. If you are looking for zip lines and other adventurous activities you will not find them on the Explorer but there is the rock climbing wall and mini golf, basketball courts and in-line skating. For us just going on a cruise and unplugging, so to speak, and relaxing with each other is our goal. The internet on the ship right now leaves a lot to be desired but I have been told that once it goes into dry dock next March they plan to re-wire the ship so you will have internet in the rooms too. All in all we had a great time especially since they had a very good dance band in the Aquarium lounge every night and two hours of Ballroom dancing in the Maharajah lounge this time out. Its nice to know they listen when guest write to the company. We especially had a good time with Erky the activities director and it was nice to meet his girl and able to talk to them at length Friday night. We love cruising. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We sailed out of Cape Liberty on March 29, 2014. The day we left there was a system that went through and we had rough seas sailing out. I had already been warned that the ride would get bumpy because the currents come together somewhere ... Read More
We sailed out of Cape Liberty on March 29, 2014. The day we left there was a system that went through and we had rough seas sailing out. I had already been warned that the ride would get bumpy because the currents come together somewhere near the Carolinas. Unfortunately, I got sick late Sunday evening. I think the meal I had and the rough seas didn't mix. After that one incident, everything was better. For the most part, the trip was enjoyable and we definitely liked the ship and the overall experience. Coming home got bumpy on Friday afternoon and evening. I think we may have felt more of the ships movement due to the location of our cabin. We were on deck 7 all the way forward. The food and the Dining service was superb. The waitress Denise was awesome the entire week. With the exception of 1 or 2 dishes between the four of us, we enjoyed every meal. With the exception of the rain on Saturday leaving, we had great weather the entire week. The beginning and ending days were a bit cool. It would have been nice to have more time in the ports of Canaveral and also Nassau instead of getting in the afternoon. But the experience was still good. We only did the Coco Beach shuttle in Canaveral. We didn't do any excursions in Nassau, but we did walk around town and the shops. At Coco cay, My wife and daughter did the Para sailing adventure. They had a good time and said it was a great experience. My son and I did the Glass bottom boat tour, and I have to say the guys were fantastic. They actually did more than just point and say look at that. They brought all types of sea creatures up into the boat for you to examine up close. The water was a bit chilly, but hey, that's because of the time the year. The ship was beautiful. We enjoy the sun decks quite a bit. The entertainment and activities were quite good and the cruise director Richard and the activities director Erky did a great job. We do wish they had a exhaust system in the Casino to help rid the cigarette smoke, because it would permeate right up onto the Promenade. We would definitely recommend the ship and itinerary. We would like to try a different itinerary next time as this is the second time we've been to the Bahamas. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
I just returned from the Explorer after a 7 day Bahamas cruise. Here are my thoughts. Day One: Port Liberty is more or less the same as the Florida terminals. Organized chaos, but everyone knows their job. It works. Arrived around 11:00 ... Read More
I just returned from the Explorer after a 7 day Bahamas cruise. Here are my thoughts. Day One: Port Liberty is more or less the same as the Florida terminals. Organized chaos, but everyone knows their job. It works. Arrived around 11:00 am and were on board by 11:30. This was with a party of 10! The bus ride to the ship is really a very small inconvenience. The weather was raining and chilly, so ALL passengers were indoors. The Windjammer was beyond capacity so go there immediately if the weather is iffy. We hustled down to Deck 5 and managed to snag a table for all of us at the Café Promenade. The cabins opened promptly at 1:30, and with the exception of one bag from our group, the luggage had arrived shortly thereafter. Muster took place in a chilly rain. Afterward we ran up to the Viking Lounge. It was as crowded as the Windjammer. Because of the weather, the whole ship went there to go under the Verrazano Bridge. It was woefully understaffed for this many people, but it gradually improved and all was good. Day Two: Day at Sea. Very windy. Pools closed. Deck 12 off limits. Ice Skating show cancelled. Sea sick bags were hanging on railings, but I never saw anyone actually ill, just having trouble walking. I did see someone stuff cookies into one of the sea bags for later! It was a little tough taking a shower. By chance we ended up that afternoon at an informal military veterans get together hosted by the HR officer Mark Sette at the Schooner Bar. It was incredibly moving. The services were well represented with veterans going back to World War II. Some people were still active, and some were proud parents of children currently serving their country. Each and every one introduced their selves and each received a round of applause. We are not veterans. In fact, we showed up early at the Schooner to read while waiting an hour for trivia (remember, the weather was bad outside). I will never miss such a gathering aboard again. Day Three: Port Canaveral. We saw the morning Ice Show. It was the best RCI ice show I have ever seen. We later had the opportunity to meet the ice captain and learned that this particular cast had only come aboard the previous week. Some in our group watched it twice. In the afternoon, we did the Central Everglades Airboat Adventure. Our guide, Anna, was very nice and chatted us up on the 25 minute (each way) bus ride to the Lone Cabbage Fish Camp where the Airboat’s were docked. It was a lot of fun. We saw many, many alligators, but the blue herons were the best. They are beautiful. I don't want to ruin a surprise for anyone, so I will just say that there are a lot of surprises out there. I wish the timing was a little tighter, but I feel that way about most organized excursions. Too much waiting around time. Day Four: Nassau. Having been there many times, I chose to go ashore and shop with some family members. The gentlemen in our group had arranged a private fishing charter and had a blast. Others swam with the dolphins. Just a note about being in port with this itinerary; our ship left very late, but once the earlier ships left, Nassau rolls up the sidewalks. At night, you are pretty much left with just the Atlantis Resort. Day Five: Coco Cay. Coco Cay is a very pretty island. I think I liked it better than Labadee. There are plenty of chairs for sun worshipers and shade lovers alike. The bathrooms are cleaner, and in better shape also. That said, the lunch buffet was downright awful. The food wasn't hot; they ran out of many things, and the macaroni and cheese in one word…inedible. Pair that with general inconsideration fellow passengers had for each other, it was not a good experience. (In order to cut the line, people were going behind the salad bar to help themselves. Not very sanitary. RCI needs to staff the station.). I came back aboard earlier than my group, and the talk at the elevator banks was the bad food. The lunch food frenzy might have been abated if there were snack options available before noon. Next time I will load up on snacks before tendering over. I had the premium beverage package and drinks are very limited on the island. My beverage of choice was not available. If I wanted bottle water (for which I was entitled), I would need to purchase it because the island only stocked Evian and that is not included with the package. Even at lunch, they were only serving fruit punch and lemonade. If you wanted a glass of water, they had to pour it for you. Day Six: At Sea. Good pool weather. Belly Flop Contest went off without a hitch. I did something I have never done; I had my hair blown out for formal night. After some initial confusion regarding whether I had checked in (I definitely had), I was taken in and given a very professional blow out. It cost the same as it does at home ($45-long hair) Day Seven: At Sea. We did the All Access tour. Maeve, our guide, was terrific. Really terrific. Jenn, the environmental officer was especially great, as she performs a very wide range of duties. Also informative was the laundry officer, the human resource officer, the engine control officer (who really runs the ship!), the bridge officer, the vocal captain, the StudioB manager, and the ice captain. All were good. I was really looking forward to the galley tour portion, but alas, an arrogant chef made it abundantly clear that we were not welcome in his galley. I could name him here, but I won't because I suspect he would like that. Dining: We did My Time every night and had Sidney and Hari each evening. They were professional, funny, tolerant, and accommodating. Thank you sirs. I thought the food in the main dining better on the Oasis, but this was fine and has improved over the years. The Windjammer is the Windjammer. Even though it varies very, very little day to day, there are plenty of options to let you change it up. I, personally, enjoy the Asian options. Do they measure up to my Chinese and Thai places at home, no, but the options changed more frequently than the rest of the room. The main dining room for breakfast is nice. Nice change of pace from the bustle of the Windjammer. The main dining room for lunch on the last day of sea was mobbed. We waited 25-30 minutes to get in. It was worth it to enjoy linens and proper tableware. Beverage Service: Half our group chose the premium package, and half paid as they went. Would I do it again, probably not. Did I feel pressure to drink more, yes, but that is on me. RCI didn't twist my arm to buy it. Despite what some posts here on CC have experienced, I always received a receipt to sign. I didn't mind because I like to tip extra. Our whole group did, and at the end of the week we gave cash directly to our favorites. A special thank you to Javier, Alexandrou, and Simon. These gentlemen were always on the ready when we came by. The Ship: The public areas are great. The cabins need some work. I know she is scheduled for dry dock March 2015. I understand chipped plating in the bath room and carpets need to wait. Two out of our five cabins had stained and chipped toilet seats. They weren’t dirty, just very unsightly. Can't that easily be switched out? Our balcony was chipped and rusted. I understand that has to wait, but why were the chairs sagging, rusted and with broken slats? They are easily replaced given they use the same deck chairs and lounges fleet wide. I don't think a passenger needs to point out such obvious deficiencies. But otherwise, the ship for the most part looked great. Entertainment: Erky from Turkey, enough said. Love and Marriage, The Quest, the aforementioned ice show, all great. I wasn't particularly impressed with the song and dance production numbers. My lack of enthusiasm is not a reflection of the production show quality, because I just am not particularly a fan of the genre. I prefer the on specialty acts brought on board (i.e. Cutting Edge, Oasis' "Hairspray", comedians). We do find trivia fun, and spent a good bit of time participating in that. In Summary: As compared to previous RCI cruises, I found the daytime activities on the Days at Sea somewhat lacking. They rely heavily on casino and spa events. I would never choose this Itinerary again. The late arrivals in port really interrupt the flow of the day. We are the get up and go type and like to enjoy a port then come back to enjoy the pool deck, etc. before getting ready for dinner. She is a nice size ship. I was afraid sailing the Oasis would spoil me, but not so. A very good crew. I will be on her again in June sailing to Bermuda with no hesitation.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
My friend and I booked this as a birthday treat, some sun before a couple of days shopping in New York. We flew from Heathrow, UK and landed in Newark, the lady who met us to arrange transfer for the overnight stay at Newark before ... Read More
My friend and I booked this as a birthday treat, some sun before a couple of days shopping in New York. We flew from Heathrow, UK and landed in Newark, the lady who met us to arrange transfer for the overnight stay at Newark before embarkation was lovely, very helpful and we arrived safely if somewhat tired and confused with the erratic transfer. Doubletrees Hilton was ok, but $12.95 for wifi for I night?? Won't be going there again and also no breakfast provided although our holiday package was full board, $30 for breakfast, not a good start. Traffic to the pier was heavy and slow, but check-in surprisingly easy, we arrived on the ship after 1pm and decided to eat, first of our mistakes as the Windjammer was manic, honestly you would have thought the people there hadn't eaten for a month! The staff tried to clear up but the passengers were like animals, we took ages to fine something to eat after being pushed and battered by the rush to get yet more food. The mess on the tables and floor was disgusting. We returned to our cabin, the maid was a star, gave us valuable info, and kept our cabin spotless (7572). My luggage had arrived and I unpacked, the cabin was ok, tired and dated but clean and ok for us. My friend eventually got a call at 6pm, the crew member was rude, demanded she go to deck 1 for a security check on her luggage, it turned out that she was not permitted to bring an iron on board and received a safety lecture, where in RCCL does it say no irons?? But they are happy to iron for you at a minimum of $2.95 per item. We booked anytime dining which worked well for us and the waiting staff and restaurant management were excellent, food mostly very good with only the odd hiccup but we were encouraged to try something else if we didn't like our first choice. Entertainment provided in the Palace theatre was also very good, although obviously provided for the American audience we also enjoyed, even the comedian! Room service - dreadful on a good day!, I do not drink coffee (obviously something the kitchens couldn't deal with), and ordered hot water to make tea with, this proved impossible for them to provide, I kept getting hot water tainted with coffee - you try making tea with it, however the room service could not understand this and on 2 occasions were very rude, inferring I was being difficult!! Also my friend got her coffee pot, cup & saucer, milk I only got a pot of tainted water, no cup & saucer or milk! Eventually in desperation I went to customer relations ( not customer service as they don't provide a service) and explained my problem but no solution was offered. I gave up and went up to windjammer with a stainless steel pot I had managed to grab and got my own. Ridiculous. The Promenade - what can I say?, during the day not too bad but at night, full of rowdy, noisy people, too much alcohol? We went once but didn't repeat the mistake. The excursions - very expensive, we took the transport to Universal studios and had a fantastic day. Would we go again, never! The ship is so obviously aimed at the American market and anyone else is ignored and judged as a nuisance. We met a few other British as well as other Europeans and the consensus was generally the same opinion as ours. The ship is generally tired and dated, the (mostly) excellent Asian, South American & Far Eastern Crew members did their best to make our trip as good as possible and we thank them for this. However this cruise is so obviously for the American market, we were an oddity to be made fun of, and on one occasion photos tried to be taken because we were "English"! In future we will stay with Princess, P & O, or similar. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We sailed this route and Line because of proximity and price. Driving to and from the port is always a plus. Boarding wasn't too bad but they make you wait for buses to take you from the terminal to the ship and the wait can be long. ... Read More
We sailed this route and Line because of proximity and price. Driving to and from the port is always a plus. Boarding wasn't too bad but they make you wait for buses to take you from the terminal to the ship and the wait can be long. The cabin was dirty as they hadn't been able to vacuum since they ship had the terrible Norovirus outbreak about 2 weeks before. They did start vacuuming again about 2 days out. The ship is worn and in need of refurbishing. Nothing was really bad but many places showed their age. I think the biggest negative for us was the smoking. We are used to sailing Celebrity where smoking is almost non-existent. The casino was the worst. We could hardly be in there even though there was supposed to be a non-smoking section. This, of course, drifted up into the main shopping area as they had a stair to that level. Outside on the smoking side (which was often the side the view was on) was just as bad. The food was nice looking but not all that good. Some things were very bland and others were just bad. Our waiter's assistant was obsequious and thought nothing of touching people. I don't mind friendly but standing behind people and resting hands on their shoulders or patting on the back, shoulders etc is not something I expect from the waitstaff. We often felt rushed. We would ask to order drinks which had to be done by someone else and would then have to wait for them to come and in the meantime the waiter would show up to take our orders. We would explain that we wished to relax and have our cocktails first and then order. (Once the order was placed it came in minutes) The waiter would look flustered and sometimes just rush off without a word. Then it might be a long time till we saw him again. The food in the buffet was even less appealing. The one highlight was eating in the specialty restaurant. The food and service there were exemplary. I wish we could have booked more meals there. The 50's style diner was also fairly good. We only attended one show. The comedian was very funny but was only on for a few minutes. The rest of the show was mediocre and I believe we left before it was over. We went to bingo once but it has become automated with machines that play for you. Where's the fun in that? It was also about $50 to use this machine. You could play the old manual way but every game we watched was won by someone using the machines. There seemed to be quite a few people in the room each time we looked in on a game. I guess the prizes are the draw. The other real negative was that there were only 3 stops, ( we don't enjoy long days at sea) We were all looking forward to a day at the beach on the private island. When we got up that morning we were informed that the sea was too rough to use the tenders and we would not be going ashore. Then instead of anchoring and letting us enjoy the warm day, the captain started immediately for New York. By afternoon the weather had already started getting colder. On top of that there were now 3 days at sea instead of 2. Getting off the ship was crazy. We were all given places to wait and times to leave but apparently many folks just got off when they wanted. We went at the appointed time to our lounge only to find that there were only 6 or 7 people there who didn't seem too anxious to leave. They said there had been a lot more there earlier but they had all left a long time before. We made our way to the stairs and found a mass of people all trying to get off. They were streaming in from all corridors and massing on the stairs with no sign of a line or any order. There wasn't any crew to be seen until we got to the ramp and had to scan our cards. Then wait for the buses again. All in all it wasn't the worst cruise I have had. There were highlights, mostly the crew. I wouldn't do it again, though. Not sure I want to use RCCL again anytime soon either. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We drove from CT to the port. We followed pot hole alley. Just kidding, but wow the pot holes in NJ!! My DH and 2 17yr old girls traveled the week of school break February 16th. We had a balcony aft on the 9th floor. While there were over ... Read More
We drove from CT to the port. We followed pot hole alley. Just kidding, but wow the pot holes in NJ!! My DH and 2 17yr old girls traveled the week of school break February 16th. We had a balcony aft on the 9th floor. While there were over 1000 kids on board, it really wasn't that noticable. We have all traveled on RC, the Explorer before and found the food to be much better than in the past. After the first night, the girls found others their age and commenced having the trip of a lifetime, coming in late every night. The cruise is great for this age group, my only advice would be to have a nightly dance party for kids this age. They aren't old enough to go to the bars (18) and too old to really do the typical scavanger hunts. But they did have a ball even though they were always trying to find places to dance. Most parents can attest that if the kids are having a good time, the parents are having a good time. There is nothing worse on vacation when kids are looking at you with glum faces telling you they are bored. Didn't happen here so we had a great time. We enjoyed most of the nightly shows. We are not fans of singing and dancing but thats just our taste. The comedian was good and the magician was perfect for the family audience and was entertaining to all. I had already seen the ice show but the girls went and thought it was great. The marriage show and Quest was a riot. The activities director Leigh was high energy and was perfect for the job, really ad libbing and cracked jokes constantly during the game shows. He couldn't have been better. Our servers turned out to be extremely nice and we got really lucky with our wonderful tablemates: Walter & Phyllis, Meme and John who turned out to be perfect new friends. I would definitely recommend this cruise as I felt customer service bent over backwards when my travel agent did not have wine sent to the room as promised. Anita took care of it immediately and helped me with numerous questions. Walter at excursions was also terrific. One of our guests could not make an excursion because of a migrane and we were refunded with no problem. Tendering to Cococay was really difficult. The line stretched to the second deck and lasted over an hour no matter what time you checked back up until about 1:00. We came back an hour later and still the same huge line. Not what someone wants to do on vacation. Express check out (carrying your own bags out) was also tough and lasted over an hour and a half just to get to our number to get in the elevator to leave. The boat was packed to capacity (3700+) and you felt it whenever we tendered and on the last day when everyone was trying to get off the ship. Otherwise, it wasn't that noticeable. I missed our usual time for dinner one night and we were accomodated at a later seating. I thought that was great. We were impressed with the DR food which was a pleasant surprise. The cabin was clean and comfortable short of the balcony which had chipping paint (they weren't allowed to use a vacuum because of previous noro virus we were told by the cabin stewart, Nicolas from India who was fabulous). All crew were EXTREMELY pleasant everywhere on the ship. They also seemed very hard working. I don't know how they keep such a postive attitude doing this week after week. I also felt they were very fair with the On Board Credits and with any problems related to charges. I never felt like any of the crew did not take any comment or complaint I had of any less than the highest importance. It was nice to get a break from the cold and go to some warmer places. I would book with Royal again. It was tough to come back and cook! We did get a few towel animals which was cute and our room stewart always dropped everything to use his key to let us in our room. He was almost always around if we needed something but we never saw him in the room cleaning it which was so nice. We would come back from dinner and everything would be refreshed. The one thing I do take exception with was the excursion time frame. We booked the "express" from the ship to Universal which was a nice option for us as we were meeting friends there. However, we were supposed to meet at 1:00 and depart at 1:30. We did not depart until about 2:15. That's already alot of time off on a short excursion. Something that could have been avoided was the departure time from the park. The park closed at 8:00 and the bus (way on the other side) was departing at exactly the same time. This took at least a half hour off park time for us. Our ship wasn't leaving until much later so they could have given us the extra half hour. Of course, the iternary for the bus originally stated 1:30 to 10:00 which they changed shortly before the excursion. It would have been nicer to have more time at the park and not have lost it due to the bus schedule. Overall, it was a great vacation and one that my family would do again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Our group of 7 family members just returned from a 7 day Bahama Cruise on the Explorer of the Seas. This was my 5th cruise on the Explorer, and I am so sad to think that she will be replaced at the end of this year. The one main negative ... Read More
Our group of 7 family members just returned from a 7 day Bahama Cruise on the Explorer of the Seas. This was my 5th cruise on the Explorer, and I am so sad to think that she will be replaced at the end of this year. The one main negative was embarkation. It has never taken more than 2 hours to board before, and I never found out what caused the delay. I don't usually curse, but this situation had my blood boiling. All seats were taken, and there were hundreds of people standing around waiting for their shuttle bus #'s to be called. Thank goodness this was the only major negative. We had early dining in the Main Dining Room and were so happy with our service team of Marco & Marko. There was always so many choices on the menu, delivered just as ordered. Delicious. As always we enjoyed the food at the WIndjammer Buffet and the Cafe Promenade. My accommodations - the cheapest inside cabin on Deck 7. But it wasn't long before I went from rags to riches, thanks to a special promotion in Casino Royale. Everyone who had 200 points or more were entered into a chance to upgrade to the owner's suite.To my surprise my name was called.I was immediately escorted to the suite on the 10th deck. It was beautiful. A balcony, a jacuzzi, a huge TV which swiveled from living room to bedroom, a phone in the bathroom. Accommodations that I would never, ever, be able to afford. Many thanks to Helen, the Casino Host. She was great at keeping everyone busy in the casino. My sister=in-law, my grandson's girlfriend and my grandson all made it to the finals in the slot tournament. My grandson came in 3rd in the finals. My brother-in-law won the $500.00 raffle. We all had a wonderful time. I'm glad someone told Melvin (my original room steward on the 7th deck) that I was ok. When he didn't see me after i switched cabins, he was worried about me. Thanks Melvin for caring. Teddy Bear, my deck 10 steward was very attentive. In fact everyone I dealt with on the ship were helpful and courteous. I was worried that the fact that the tips are automatically added to your cabin account would cause a decline in service,but that did not happen. In fact we gave additional tips because of the exceptional services we received. My daughter and son-in-law had problems with a missing piece of luggage and the ship's crew tried to assist them with their loss. Eventually it was turned in by someone who thought his wife had packed it and took it into his room. My sister-in-law appreciated their room steward who assisted her in providing ice to her cabin every day to keep her insulin cold.We all had a wonderful time and were so sad that our adventure came to an end. When I got home and told my other daughter about winning the owner's suite, she commented that too bad the owner didn't come with it . We are all thinking about our next cruise, and it will definitely be with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Embarkation- First let me mention the immediate roads leading to & from the pier are awful, pot-holes aren't strong enough description.. small craters are much better, I'm not sure how people with low riding cars got by them ... Read More
Embarkation- First let me mention the immediate roads leading to & from the pier are awful, pot-holes aren't strong enough description.. small craters are much better, I'm not sure how people with low riding cars got by them without losing their wheels... The drop off area for luggage was very confused, not much interest from porters to assist people. with people disembarking & cars waiting for them it is really disorganized mess.. trying to pull back out to park is tricky to say the least. Into the check-in area wasn't to bad as we were there early enough that lines weren't a problem. The terminal waiting area was the pits. We only saw vending machines, there really should be vendors were you can get coffee or bagels something. Depending on how long you traveled it would be greatly appreciated. When your number for boarding the bus is called you've got to get through all the people standing who don't follow instructions to be seated & not crowd the area for the buses. Another problem is the people who come later with higher numbers board the ship with friends who have lower numbers, now creating a backup on the line.Or just not willing to wait in line. Lets not get into that area as this happens whenever your in a situation with people who are to privileged to wait their turn. The simple solution to that problem is that they should have someone checking the numbers at the gate. Also it's really not that far to walk over to get to the ship, maybe its a safety issue that they prefer the bus but this should be handled better. Perhaps numbered seating areas inside the terminal. Once cleared to get aboard the Windjammer is a JAM alright. Our biggest issue was not letting people know there was outside seating just by leaving the Café & seating by the pool. Again maybe a sign or the washy washy person letting you know about that. The Ship- The Explorer isn't squeaky clean & new but it isn't dirty either. You can see its a well used ship but I don't think the crew is lacking in cleaning or picking up after the passengers, however there might be not enough crew to handle the amount of cruisers. That's on Royal Caribbean for understaffing. The personnel I saw were working very hard to keep things neat & orderly. Dining- I am the pickiest eater on the planet... I had no problem finding something to eat in the dining room. We had 6p.m. for the main dining room, the staff were great, trying very hard to get everything right. The food was tasty and enjoyable. We did hear a few issues from others about not being seated with folks they were traveling with so I don't understand why it couldn't be corrected. That would've upset me greatly. Stateroom- We were in cabin 1366 [balcony] which is below the Windjammer, never heard a thing from above sorry I can't say the same about the people next to us. Please use your inside voice when going through the halls & on your balcony. I booked my vacation a year in advance to get what I wanted & wasn't too happy to find out the policy change to smoking on the balcony the year of travel. It should've been disclosed when we were booking or failing that, we should have been notified when the changed occurred. We respected the change but a better solution should be one side non-smoking & the other smoking. After all the smokers are paying the same amount for their cruise as non-smokers and are [or should be] entitled to the same considerations. Port Canaveral- We went on the trip to the Kennedy Space Center. The ship gathering spot was organized & handled in a timely fashion until you stepped outside of the terminal where the group leader just walked off to get the bus & didn't bother to wait for the entire group to gather. Some of us got caught behind people who [after being told multiple times what they needed to leave the ship] didn't have the required ID & some people just don't or can't walk as fast as others. So that was a huge cluster, people who were waiting to pick others up told us which way the leader headed. The bus ride to the Center would've been better if the guide spoke in clear English & didn't wait until you were passing something to tell you about it. The Driver we had leaving the Atlantis area was wonderful, funny & informative as well as the guide returning to the ship. Nassau Bahamas- Very crowded there was another Royal ship, a Disney ship [love Disney nothing compares] & a Norwegian ship. So streets were jam packed as were the shops, but what can you do?? Also I've been to Nassau many times over many years and it is really going down hill, no where as nice as it once was, sad... Coco Cay- Second trip on Royal that we didn't make the island. That isn't a big deal for me per se... the problem is Royal always seems unprepared to deal with passengers when this happens.. The ship becomes an over crowded cranky mess.. people just jammed everywhere who are angry & bored... Get a clue Royal have a plan at the ready when you have to bypass this island.. I don't know, have a letter explaining to the cruisers what TENDERING means and how much the WEATHER & conditions of the SEA has on this island visit... ??? Spa- The folks in the spa are Wonderful, Pleasant, Helpful and very nice to deal with. They do a great job & work very hard to please their clients. I was even more happy to have won a Stone Massage the first day of the cruise. Shows- "Invitation to Dance" was great, the amount of talent of singers, dancers & the band was simply wonderful. The movement from one theme to the next was smooth and very enjoyable. The only problem we saw were the columns in the Palace Theater which obstructed the view from many of the seats. There was another show called something Effect an Acappella type group, they were okay but not impressive. The finial review show was fairly boring with the exception of the cruise directors very funny 10 questions asked by cruisers... that was very funny... but we could have done without it... The Pool- I don't go on a cruise to bask in the pool or hot tubs but to sit pool side with a book, a drink, relax and people watch. I do sit on the Smoking side as I'm a smoker. First- I really don't understand the non-smoking people who insist on walking through the smoking area and make faces.. really walk on the other side. Second- There was one [1] table with two [2] chairs placed on that side so anyone else sitting there needed to put their drinks or any other personal items on the deck floor.. not very sanitary.. when we approached several different levels of people to place some more tables & chairs we were told to sit on the other side, not very helpful if your a smoker.. not all smokers run to have a puff and run away.. some of us like sitting & reading in comfort with our coffee on a table with the occasional smoke... that's our idea of relaxing on our vacation... [Disney Cruise line manages to accommodate smokers] Third- This brings us to the people who take over the table by getting there at the crack of dawn to place towels, books etc to save the table until they return from breakfast or wherever.. just as others do with the pool lounges.. That is not first come first served that is selfish self centered behavior.. Cruise Director- We didn't have any real time contact with him [Leigh] but we did enjoy watching them on TV in the stateroom while we were getting ready for the day, dinner or resting at the end of the day.. fairly funny along with his assistant. Windjammer- Many stews, not large assortment of other food choices or desserts. Things really don't alter from day to day.. Most food was either bland or salty or over fried. The one exception was the Asia area which was very well done. The service people there were helpful & pleasant. Really loved the server who walked around with a full tray of coffee & water on his head WOW is all I can say to that... the Washy-Washy gal was very into her job & funny. Aside from that you again have the people with no to zero manners cutting in line.. Bars- All of the different bars were interesting & the bartenders worked very hard to be helpful & fast. The Drinks were well made and their knowledge of different types of drinks was great.. They made it a fun time even for those who were sitting in the area to watch.. The Promenade-It looked pretty & the shops were nicely done. However, Every time we ventured into that local it was very crowded. Why they had the fruit carving demo there is beyond me... So many people you couldn't see or hear most of what was going on.. Same problem with cooking demo in the Windjammer.. . Casino- Let me start with I AM A SMOKER.. The smoke smell is very overwhelming I would think they'd have a better ventilation system.. Debarkation- The elevators need a better plan.. We are early risers so we went to breakfast, then went to the cabin to get our luggage as we signed up for Self Assist departure.. Upon reaching the elevators we found the port side blocked off. So going to the other elevators we found lines waiting to either go up for breakfast or trying as we were to go down to Deck to leave the ship. Whenever an elevator came down it was packed so we had to get on an elevator that was going up in order to then go down to deck three [3]... Here's a better plan, put a crew member on each elevator along with a sign stating where it is going. example two elevators going up for breakfast, two going down for deck assignment to self assist departure on each side & that leaves the other elevators to get from assigned deck to deck one [1] to exit the ship, it should also be mentioned you need your sea pass to get off the ship.. Once off the ship the Wait for bus back to terminal, again it could've been walked. Our wait was not long since we were pretty much the first off the ship.. later in the day it probably took longer..Then going through customs we were early out so no lines but I could see that being an issue later in the morning.. The Cruise was okay & enjoyed but the Smoking issues & lack of poolside tables are a big deal.. Smokers are not Second Class Citizens our needs not just Non-Smokers should be considered and acted upon in a fair and equal basis.. I have been on other Cruise Ships that have accommodated both non-smokers and smokers in an equitable manor.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
This was our 4th cruise with Royal Caribbean and the first three were all great!!! Now, we have experienced something a bit different from what we were expecting….. This was not the cruise vacation we had expected, but then again, maybe ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise with Royal Caribbean and the first three were all great!!! Now, we have experienced something a bit different from what we were expecting….. This was not the cruise vacation we had expected, but then again, maybe our expectations were overly high. Don’t get me wrong, the vacation was not horrible. But it also wasn’t spectacular. Disclaimer: this review is entirely my opinion!! Others on the same cruise may have found it to be great. The other two couples we met on the cruise were also disappointed, so I also know that my opinions are not only mine. The Explorer of the Seas is part of Royal Caribbean’s Voyager class of ships. In my opinion, they are the workhorse of the fleet. They hold over 3,000 guests and employ a crew of hundreds. Although there are over 3,000 guests on board, I did not feel the problem of crowding that many people do. The ship is quite spacious. The cruise departed Cape Liberty, Bayonne, NJ. This is where the trip got off on the wrong foot. Previous cruises we have taken allowed us to deposit our baggage with a porter, check-in, take the mandatory pre-cruise picture that they try to sell you, and then allow you to board. At Cape Liberty, you do all of it, except board. Upon check-in, you are given a number and you have to go to a waiting area until your number is called. The waiting area is just that and we had to wait about 45 minutes until our number was called. Then we had to cram into a shuttle bus and be driven to the boat. Once we got off the bus, it was into another line to log into the ship’s security system and then wait for an elevator to go up from the embarkation deck (deck one). The elevator line was ridiculously long, so we opted for the stairs. We were told our stateroom was ready so we headed there first to drop off our backpacks and check out our room. We had an interior cabin, nothing thrilling. We decided to do it cost-effectively and save some money. The cabin was old and the room attendant was nice, although not incredibly good at his job. I bent down to pick something up from the floor and found old sunflower seeds under the bed. Yes, you do have to bend over to vacuum under the bed!! We decided to acclimate ourselves with the ship and grab some lunch in the Windjammer café. As we had been on two of her sister ships on previous cruises, we knew the ship well and started to relax on our vacation. The emergency procedures drill was completed with efficiency and professionalism and before we knew it, we were on our way. Everybody was quite excited and we were happy to finally be on vacation. Our luggage arrived shortly after departure and we unpacked and stowed everything. Dinner was a casual night but as we were even more relaxed than casual, we had dinner in the Windjammer. Mongolian stir fry was the specialty and we were happy to enjoy the freshly cooked dinner. There were other generic items in the café and there was never a fear of starvation! The crew was polite and efficient, although with little personality. My theory on that coming up later. We enjoyed the rest of the evening with the Welcome Aboard show which included a comedian, the ship’s orchestra, and the ship’s Cruise Director. Here’s a highlight of the cruise! The Cruise Director, an Aussie named Leigh Xuereb was absolutely fantastic!!! This guy was high energy, funny, and everything you want in a Cruise Director. Although we didn’t have a chance to meet him one-on-one earlier in the cruise (though our own fault), we did enjoy a nice conversation with him on the last night. He is top notch and I hope Royal Caribbean knows what they have in him. Day two was a day cruising. There were plenty of activities to do on the ship and if you were bored, it was mainly your own fault! Although we were cruising south at 22 knots, it was a bit chilly on the outside decks, though there were still quite a few people sitting outside and in the hot tubs. No complaints on this day and we were well on our way to experiencing the Royal Caribbean WOW that they are often advertising. Day three was a beautiful day as we were now off the coast of Florida cruising towards Port Canaveral. The sun was shining and our weary winter bones were starting to thaw out. We had purchased the Disney Express Service excursion through Royal Caribbean and had someone meeting us at the parks with tickets to go in. Our instructions were to meet in the dining room at 1PM, and that the shuttle would leave at 1:30PM with an arrival at Disney at about 2:45PM. This was fine for us as we already knew that there wasn’t a lot of time to be had. Unfortunately, the excursion was incredibly disorganized and when we finally left the port for the park, it was already 2:15PM. So we lost now 45 minutes of our already short time ashore. We had a quick and fun visit at Hollywood Studios and Epcot Center, and then headed back to the ship for our 10:00PM departure. We were exhausted by the time we got back but forced ourselves to the adult comedy of Jeff Nease. On day four, we visited Nassau, Bahamas. Once again, beautiful weather and we looked forward to another warm day. We had no excursion planned and only planned to go into the town and stroll the shops and do a little souvenir shopping. We had been to Nassau before so we knew what to expect and didn’t have much in mind to do. After a nice day, we made our way to dinner on the ship and spent our first dinner in the formal dining room. We were at a table with three other couples and we all had a very good time together. We were lucky to have some very nice people dining with us. We left Nassau at midnight and headed to Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean’s private section of the Bahamas. As this cay is so small, the plan was that the ship would drop anchor and tender boats would bring us in to the shore for a day of fun in the sun and on the beach. Unfortunately, the waves were so strong and high that the Captain decided to not stay in the interest of the safety of the passengers. I can’t condemn him for his decision. I consider him the expert and his first priority is the safety of the passengers and crew. So, we started heading back to Cape Liberty a day earlier than originally planned. This meant that we would have three days at sea on the way back. The Captain told us that the ship would travel at about 13 knots in order to arrive back in Cape Liberty by Sunday morning, our scheduled arrival time. We headed east into the deep Atlantic and the seas started to become a bit rough. It was not a problem for me, but you could see that others were not enjoying it. The Captain made several announcements advising passengers that there would be moderate seas for the next couple of days and that passengers should make sure they use the railings while traveling on the stairs. Three days at sea and the crew was definitely hard at work making sure there were plenty of things to do. The Cruise Director Leigh and his sidekick, Activities Manager Andre the Dre, were quite visible and did a very good job scrambling to create activities for the guests. Once again, hats off to Leigh and his team!!! The last night of the cruise is not only filled with trying to have some last minute vacation fun, but also with having to pack. It’s the sad reality that vacation is coming to an end. My wife received 5 bracelets from her father at Disney in a nice Disney-themed box. Along with two other boxes with bracelets in them, we had left them on our table in the cabin. We went to dinner and enjoyed the final night with our new friends and the farewell show. As we finished packing up our belongings in preparation for disembarkation, my wife asked me if I had already packed the box with her bracelets. My negative reply to her brought tears to her eyes as the box was now missing. We searched high and low and found nothing. I confronted our cabin attendant asking him if he had seen the box. He confirmed that he had seen the three boxes on the table, but did not know where the one box had gone. I did not accuse him of theft, frankly I had no evidence. He suggested we go to the customer service desk to report the missing items. We filled out the necessary form and the customer service agent called security, only to find out that security was too busy with the docking process to come and speak with us. Basically, we were SOL. So now, we simply wanted off the boat. Getting off the boat was a nightmare!!!! We chose the “express” option where we have to carry off our own luggage. Our assigned time to disembark was 10:30AM, which we though was very late. Every other cruise wanted you off as quickly as possible!! Additionally, we had a car waiting for us at 9! We waited about 30 minutes for an elevator, in the end going up to deck 11, only to have to come back to deck 1 for disembarkation. Once again, it was a mess at Cape Liberty with the shuttle service. Hundreds of people carrying suitcases and cramming into the buses. Fortunately, US Immigration and Customs was a breeze!! Believe it or not, we were out in about 10 minutes after finally getting off the shuttle bus. Time for some final impressions: - Royal Caribbean charges gratuities automatically now for the staff. So there is guaranteed money coming to the staff. This takes away the incentive to go above and beyond and the staff seems to know this. This was the first cruise I was on that I didn’t get to know the cabin attendant and his family!! Usually I know more about them than I do about most people. The staff seemed to be very robotic and lack personality. - Cape Liberty is a disaster. A massive infrastructure under the direction of the monopolistic Port Authority and they don’t even have a respectable terminal for the processing of passengers? This was a major disappointment. - The inability to stop at Coco Cay was disappointing, but I can’t fault the Captain. His decision was purely driven by safety and I commend him for taking this decision. - The Explorer of the Seas is in desperate need of a renovation. It’s really become an old ship and is heavily used. There were light bulbs out all over the place and I think the maintenance crew of the ship is probably overworked with their workload and don’t have much time to do some renovation work. - Did I mention that Cape Liberty is a mess??? - The lack of attention by the security team in a possible theft situation was disheartening. What if the situation were more critical? Do they really have so few security officers that one couldn’t be brought to us to discuss the issue? By the way, after we got home, we tore everything apart and the bracelets are definitely missing. - The food was not spectacular. No, we did not go hungry and there was always something good to eat. Breakfast was the best and freshest. Made to order omelets, made to order eggs, fresh fruit, baked goods, etc. The food in the main dining room was not very exciting and some food even came out cold. When I complained about something, I was only offered another meal. Frankly, when I complain about food, I expect someone to actually do something about it, not just offer me another meal. - The headline entertainment was very good. It was not excellent simply because their headline show was horrible. I had trouble staying awake. In fact, the lady next to me was snoring, which is probably what kept me awake!! However, their comedians, traditional show, and the musical act of Edge Effect were great. The ice show was also very good and should not be missed. - We didn’t have the kids with us on this trip (good thing!!) so we did not experience Adventure Ocean, the children’s program. However, our past experience is that it is good, but Royal does not cater to kids. If you want a cruise company that caters to kids, then you need to cruise Disney. - Will I cruise on the Explorer of the Seas again? That’s a 50/50 question. I like the itineraries that it does, but I don’t like the current state of the ship. If the difference is in the Cruise Director and its Leigh, then I am there. He was really fantastic!!! - Will I cruise with Royal Caribbean again? Most likely. Face it, they are the best, although many people on the way out said they would stick with Celebrity, which is Royal’s sister company. - By the way, did I mention that Cape Liberty is a mess????   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
I sailed on the Explorer of the Seas out of NJ on February 23. This was my 4th cruise but my 1st on Royal Caribbean and my 1st out of NJ. (I have sailed on a 7 day Princess Cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale and 2-3 night Carnival’s out of ... Read More
I sailed on the Explorer of the Seas out of NJ on February 23. This was my 4th cruise but my 1st on Royal Caribbean and my 1st out of NJ. (I have sailed on a 7 day Princess Cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale and 2-3 night Carnival’s out of Port Canaveral). I went on this trip with a friend of mine. We are both 30 year old single females. We booked the cruise about 5 weeks before based on the price for length of time. Embarkation: We were staying on Deck 10 and arrived at Port Liberty around 11am as advised by the guest ticket booklet. Check in went fast but we had to wait until almost 1pm for our bus #23 to be called to get on the ship. Once we got on the ship we had to wait another half hour for our room to be ready which was OK because we just wanted to eat lunch and explore. Once we went to our room I was surprised that we had plenty of room for all of our stuff. It was an interior room with no window. Entertainment: I feel that Cruise Director Leigh Xuereb and his entire staff were the best part of the entire cruise. The Sail Away Party on night 3 when leaving Port Canaveral was great! A bunch of finger foods everywhere. We danced the entire time. The 70’s party on day 5 was a lot of fun. The cruise staff did a good job of making sure people were dancing and having a good time by starting a conga line and posing for pictures. The Quest Game show was hilarious and so much fun. Next time I will remember to wear pants though because it involves a lot of running and jumping around. Aside from the parties anytime the cruise staff was around they always interacted with the guests. Leigh, Andre (the Activities Director), Helmi (another staff member) and all took the time to talk with us more than once and make sure we were having a good time. The staff was very entertaining and I would choose to go on another cruise if I knew the majority of them would also be on there. The ice skating show was great. We were assigned by muster station and able to sit in the 2nd row. Since they told us the first day which day we were assigned we were able to plan so we didn’t miss it. The Chamber bar could use a revamp but the Silent Party that they had was a lot of fun. Guests were given headphones and could change the station and dance to a different song than their partner. I had never participated in anything like that and thought it was a great idea. I wasn’t a big fan of the Broadway style shows. I felt like it was a lot of singing and focus on the main singers. The first comedian Jeff Nees was funny during the Adult Show but the second one that was brought on later in the week Jimmy Carroll was not entertaining. The Edge Effect was a 6 man vocal band that performed one night. They were great! Food/Meals: The windjammer was average. There were a variety of options both healthy and not so healthy. The omelet line was always very long. We never ate there for dinner but one night after dinner we walked through and noticed there was a Mongolian station. It would have been nice to know what types of stations would be offered before we decided to stick with the main dining room, but I will keep note for next time. We ate in the dining room one day for lunch and there was a great salad bar station. We chose the My Time Dining for dinner and usually at between 5:30-6:30 every day. We asked to always be sat with a large group but 3 of the nights they sat us at a two person table. During those nights the wait staff was excellent. Remembering what we had ordered the night before and being accommodating if there was an entrée we didn’t like (such as the eggplant parmesan – too watery). The other 4 nights we ate at different tables with other people. The lobster was great. The lamb chops were my favorite dinner of the week. The steak was OK (my friend and I both ordered Medium Well and they came out looking completely different). The appetizers were really good particularly the bay scallops and I was able to eat a Caesar Salad with my meal every night. If we tried to order one appetizer they would always ask what else we wanted to try. I had hoped they would have some out of the ordinary items to try (such as frogs legs like I had on another cruise once) but everything was normal. We dined in Columbus on Deck 5 and the waiters did not participate whenever there was music and the other two levels did. One night the fried seafood platter was very greasy and I asked for a salad instead and the waiter brought me out two salads to make sure I had enough food. There was a mini buffet one day in the promenade that had sausage stuffed with cheese and jalapenos (it was great!) as well as pulled pork, meatballs, snow cones, desserts, etc. We joked that it was the buffet that was supposed to be served at Cocoa Cay. We did not eat at Portofino or Johnny Rockets. Beverages/Bars: I purchased the Premium Package before I boarded which included all alcohol, beer and wine under $10. A soda cup was delivered to my room to use in the Coke Machines which I never used. This was perfect for me because I definitely had 6-10 drinks depending on the day. It was great that I could order a drink and if I didn’t like it or wanted something different I could just order something else. The bartender at the Aquarium bar was great! He was personable and could make anything. We ordered Chocolate and Coffee Martini’s one night which he made perfect. The rest of the bartenders on the cruise were not very friendly and didn’t seem to want to have a conversation. The same goes for the bar waiters especially on the pool deck. I have been on previous cruises where they were much more friendly. I did like the fact that they were not annoying or trying to hound us down for drinks though. Except for the one female server at the Irish Bar. She was able to get me one of the best Irish Coffee’s I had ever had. But the next day when I went back she was not there and I was told they didn’t have coffee and I had to order the liquor myself and then go get my own coffee. I loved that every bar was able to make Mimosas. I was surprised that the pool bar allowed glass bottles and that they did not offer any beer buckets. I will definitely order another beverage package for any future cruises that I go on. Deck Activites/Daytime events: There was an adult mini golf competition on day 2 which we participated in that was fun. The rock climbing wall was never busy. There were two ping pong tables which we used once a day. There was a dodgeball competition on day 6 which had a decent turnout of about 45 people. We played BINGO on the 2nd and 7th day. I had never played BINGO before and I felt it was a little pricey ($32 for 4 games, 6 boards each) but I don’t know if that is average or not. Ice skating was available on days they didn’t have the show. The hot tubs were never crowded and there is a separate adults only pool with two hot tubs. You can also use the hot tub in the gym if you wanted. I would have liked for there to have been a covered pool since it was a ship leaving in the winter from NJ. That is something I will keep note of for the future. You can also walk out onto the helicopter pad which was a great experience. You can get there by walking through the Cigar Bar or Maharajas Lounge. There were Singles Events scheduled every day but never really any turnout. I would have liked those to have been promoted more. Shore Days: I did not participate in any excursions in Port Canaveral as I was meeting friends for lunch. My friend participated in the Surfing excursion. She said it was disorganized and not something she would spend $81 on again. In Nassau we got off the ship fairly quickly and explored downtown but didn’t spend much time there since we had been there many times before. The day we were supposed to go to Coco Cay they said the winds were too high to tender (35-45 mph) and that a few sailings before a boat had flipped therefore it was unsafe to go there. Since everyone was ready to go to a beach that day the pool area was packed and turned out to be one of the best days on the cruise. I was impressed how fast they were able to come up with activities to fill the day. Even though there was a downpour right before the Belly Flop competition there was still a big turnout. Other: We didn’t have any major issues. I would suggest that they provide liquid hand soap in the staterooms considering they were very aggressive in making sure everyone sanitized their hands. Not once was I worried about getting sick. I also found it to be odd that if I left a half a drink in my stateroom all day/night that they would not clean it up. I had to leave it in the hallway for it to be taken away. I would suggest providing a better selection of sandwich items, maybe to include wraps. Overall: I felt that the cruise was definitely worth the money (with taxes we spent $575 each before the beverage package) and I would definitely sail again from NJ. I would just wait until it was a little warmer so that there are more days to be outside. I would definitely recommend this ship for people that want to just have a laid back vacation and enjoy some great entertainment.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
After tons of snow and freezing cold weather my family and I were more then ready to warm up in the Bahamas sunshine. Our group consisted of 10 people ranging in ages from 9 to 70 years old. Were we celebrating my parents 45th anniversary, ... Read More
After tons of snow and freezing cold weather my family and I were more then ready to warm up in the Bahamas sunshine. Our group consisted of 10 people ranging in ages from 9 to 70 years old. Were we celebrating my parents 45th anniversary, so my bother and I treated my parents to their first cruise. EMBARKATION: Was a complete mess. I was prepared for it from reading other cruise critic reviews but you don't understand the full chaos until you're stuck in the cruise traffic jam. (Think I95 during rush hour in a major city then add a major accident into the mix...yeah it was that bad) They say they are building up the terminal for Quantum of the Seas....where??? ... I didn't see any construction going on. Instead after waiting in line for an eternity you drop off your luggage and passengers at this oversized army tent like structure. (Not to mention there are passengers that are still getting off the ship waiting to be picked up in the same area and cars and taxis cutting across lanes to get to them) Where the rest of your traveling party wait in the cold for you to squeeze your way back into traffic, drive in between two decrypted buildings to park at the on site lot at $19 a day. Then you walk back to the tent building and cross through all the traffic where you then begin to hunt for the rest of your traveling party. From there you move to a building where you go through security. Then wait on a different line to check in. Being that we had priority boarding the check in line went fairly smoothly. This is where our real troubles begin. We had 5 staterooms all crossed reference with each other all in a row. Only 2 of the seas pass cards had the dining information printed on it. Both were children, one had traditional 6pm seating (ok great that's what we had requested) his 9yr old sister had late seating 8:30pm. Obviously someone made a mistake but no worries we thought well have it corrected at the dining room when we board. (more of that later) After taking our first family photo of the cruise we waited in a large holding room waiting to board the shuttle bus. The PA system wasn't loud enough to really power over the mass of people talking so I had to really focus to hear what boarding numbers we're bring called. After about 45 minutes of standing we were able to board the bus. The ride over was less then 5 minutes. We could have walked over to the ship faster! FIRST IMPRESSION OF THE SHIP: She is huge. I know other reviews have said she run down and outdated. Quite the contrary. She is modern sleek, clean and tastefully decorated. Lots of warm wood tones throughout the ship. You really have to look extra hard to find a stain on the carpet. Some staterooms have flat screens and others have tube TVs. But who goes on a cruise to watch the 5 channels of TV anyways? DINNER RESERVATIONS: We headed straight for the main dining room to fix our seating. My paper works says we are confirmed traditional 6pm dining. We aren't a fan of MY TIME as you get different waiters every night which dampens the quality of service. And having such a large group it was the one time a day where everyone would show up and we could chat and regroup. We were told that there was nothing available. That we would have to show up for MYTIME at 5:30pm to have a chance for such a large group to sit together. I just don't understand how I can have confirmed dining but yet not have it and how they can split up a single stateroom into different dining times and to top it off put a younger under age child by herself in a totally different time and dining location...or not assign any dining at all... I guess they thought we were going to eat at the buffet all day every day...it baffles me! STATEROOM 9345: is an inside cabin. Small, but adequate for a 7 day sailing. She has a new flat screen TV (still had sticker on it) sofa, coffee table, dresser with storage, vanity mirror and chair. Our king bed configuration made it hard to walk around the sides of the bed. Room has a slight vibration, nothing too major. I had purchased through Royal Caribbean website site the anniversary stateroom decorations and cake for my parents stateroom. It was supposed to be in place when we arrived. Nothing....spoke to room steward she stated she'll have them up and ready after muster drill....NOTHING...spoke to her again…after dinner was told...NOTHING....to cut a long story shut and after multiple trips to the front desk and different excuses and different times that I was told that they were supposed to be in place and having to prove I purchased them (bring all receipts) finally after 9 pm did they fess up and tell me they ran out of decorations.....cricket....cricket...Really they wasted my entire first day I spent it at the front desk going back and forth when all they could have said was miss we ran out in the first place. My other issue was my room key. This little thing was nothing but a nuisance for me. It didn't work at all....I could get into my room and I couldn't purchase anything on board. Not even obtain the soda or virgin drinks from my royal refreshment package. I was told that I didn't exist. I sure existed when they gladly took my money to purchase this cruise. I existed at check in at the pier....why not now. It was so frustrating having to wait online at the front desk day after day wishing they would just fix my card already...but after every new card they issued me....it didn't work. (Grrrrrrrr). By day two I was at boiling point. I tell you the only people I got to know on this cruise was everyone that worked at the front desk. After so much frustration I asked them if they can duplicate my husband card since his was working and I'll be him for the rest of the cruise...of course they couldn't do that. They rather stare at my face every day. OBC: what's the point of evening having on board credit when they not going to honor it. Once again my fellow cruisers bring all your cruise paper work of what you’re supposed to get. Glad I did but it still took a fight to even get it. I booked this cruise during a WOW Sale and I was supposed to get $100 from Royal Caribbean, $70 from my travel agent $25 for referring guest and $50 that I purchased online. Did I have any.... of course not...the way my luck has been going this cruise why would I expect that to turn out right. After calling my agent that finally amount came over but with Royal once again I had to prove that I owed this...ok by now I'm getting offended with all this proving. So much for customer service! Epic failure on Royals part. I'm supposed to be a relaxing vacation but here I am doing more "work" then I actually do at work and talking my throat dry. So once again I showed them my booking paper work and after standing there forever and after agent after agent and managers looking at my documents they finally put all amounts into pending....pending what’s that supposed to mean? I had to still wait till the next day after they confirm this amount with corporate. Ugh frustrating...the thought of possibly having to spend time at this desk again the next day. Finally after hours wasted of my vacation one of the agents said he'll refund me for my undelivered cake package. I asked for it in writing. He said he couldn't give it to me in writing. I told him my fear is that it won't go through like everything else with this cruise and I'll spend time at home of the phone with Royal with no proof that I'm even supposed to get a refund. He said he promised he'll refund me and give me free internet time on Saturday evening so I can check my card balance and see that they refund has been posted. Ok thank you, we shook hands. PORT CANAVERAL: By the time we got to Port Canaveral warm weather and sunny skies greeted us. I'm still trying to figure out why the cruise line chooses to stop here. Yeah I get the Disney excursions but I wish they would build up the immediate area because there's nothing and I mean nothing to do around the port. With the late arrival (2pm) paying all that money to go to the theme parks which are an hour away didn't seem worth it to me. I read here on cruise critic that the Radisson hotel provides a free shuttle to the hotel and Ron Jon Surf Shop. This is not true! The "free" part isn't true; however they do provide a shuttle at $12pp. Royal charges 15pp. We opted to stay on the boat to enjoy an empty ship. NASSAU BAHAMAS: is Nassau...I think I just been there one too many times. Only reason I only bother bout getting off the ship was because it was my parents first time there. The island was crowed as we were in port with Norwegian Sky and Royals Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas. A lot of the sidewalks are under construction which forced pedestrians to walk in the street. Yes it was scary...worse than trying to "jaywalk" in NYC. COCO CAY: loved it. I waited till 11am to board the tender to the island. It is the perfect time to go ashore as it's just after the morning rush over and right at the start of the beach BBQ. Plenty of lounge chairs throughout the island. I even enjoyed some time swinging in the hammock. The BBQ featured hot dogs, hamburgers, BBQ chicken, Ribs, rice and beans, Mac & cheese and corn on the cob. There was also fresh fruit and cookies. The kids enjoyed the water slide. At $20pp for all day use it was a great value as it kept them highly entertained. I stuck my toe in the lovely blue water however; it was way too cold to go in any further. There were a few "polar bears" out there enjoying the water. GYM: went to the gym 5 out of the seven days. I arrived when it opened at 6am. There is a variety of equipment and a whirlpool. The whirlpool opened at around 7 am. The ladies locker room had a stream room and dry sauna. By the time I got done working out (about 7:45am) and using the sauna the gym was packed and all 20 Life Fitness treadmills taken. SHOW: "Invitation to Dance" performed by Royal Caribbean singers and dancers and from the creators of Dancing with the Stars was a complete bore. It started off so slow I found myself nodding off by the time the music became up-tempo it was in a different language so I really couldn't get into it. Finally...English...but it was "Mumbo Number 5" followed by "She Bangs...She Bangs”.... (Enough said) SHOW: "Tribute to the Temptations" has made my top 5 list of best shows that I've seen on cruise ship. They sounded great just like the original group. It was one big sing-along in the Palace Theater. SHOW: "The Magic Experience of a Bob Brizendine." Is he a comedian or a magician? I don't know but he sure was great. Bob had good audience participation and interaction. Don't walk in late or you'll get singled out and greeted by the entire audience as my husband found out the hard way. It sure was funny! SHOW: "Spirits of the Season" ice show was really enjoyable. Bring a jacket to the show as its pretty chilly inside. Entrance to the show is according to muster station so make sure you have your sea pass card handy, otherwise you'll have to wait till almost show time before you can be seated. SHOW: "Fast Forward" performed by the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers was great. The show recreated scenes from iconic dance movies such as "Fame," "Footloose" and “Saturday Night Fever" among others. It was one great big sing-along and trip down memory lane. SHOW: “Farewell Show” I could have spent the last evening of the cruise doing something else instead of watching the “Cruise in Review DVD,” or listening to the cruise directors. If you have seen a farewell show before then you can SKIP this one. WASHY WASHY: after the incident a few weeks ago "washy washy" was out in full force. I didn’t mind it at all. There are plenty of hand sanitizers throughout the ship. At the Captains night he wouldn't even shakes hands with anyone instead he gave the kids "a fist pound." I found that some of the public bathrooms water ran “yellow.” ROYAL REPLENISH PACKAGE: found this upgrade from the soda package which also included virgin drinks and specialty coffee and teas to be worth every penny spent. Starbucks coffee at the promenade café was included and I started off every day with a Carmel Frappe and ended nightly with a Tazo tea and virgin Miami Vices and CocoLocos in between. I do wish there were more soda machines placed throughout the ship. Yes I know you can always get soda from any of the bars but I did enjoy having all the different options that the machine provided. The soda cup however was a pain to carry. THE STORM: that wasn't really a storm. The Captain made an announcement that we were headed into a thunderstorm with high winds and as a precaution all open decks were off limits. I really appreciated the advance notice that the captain gave. The ship did well during the storm, it moved and rocked a little but not to a great extent, all shows and activities still went on as planned. The storm passed relativity quickly less than an hour. 24 HOUR POOLS: if you enjoy a late night swim or dip in hot tub I recommend going at night as the pool and whirlpools are open all night and are completely empty. My husband and I enjoyed the Solarium whirlpool...we had it all to ourselves at 11pm. Then we took a refreshing dip in the empty pool. By the way the solarium pool is slightly heated to a refreshing temperature. Only one of the two main pools were heated the other felt like “Ice water” and that was evident by the amount of people packed into the one heated pool as the other was empty. ROLLERSKATING: the one activity I was looking forward to doing had very limited open times and when I did make it there it was "closed due to poor track conditions." I was told it was closed because of water on the track. Really!!!! It was very veryyyyy little water which could have been wipe up with a napkin...SERIOUSLY. ICE CREAM MACHINES: only one outdoors on deck 11. Otherwise you have to pay for one in the café promenade. STUCK IN ELEVATOR: members of my family were stuck in the elevator for about 15 minutes it stopped between floors. The elevator resumed service by its self...needless to say we avoided that particular elevator for the rest of the cruise. THE BLACKOUT: for some reason unbeknown to the passengers the ships power was loss for about 30 minutes while we were in Nassau...no explanation given. KIDS IN ELEVATOR: there were over 1800 children onboard and I could almost swear each and everyone wanted to play in the elevator pushing alllllll the buttons or just taking up valuable space in the evaluator because for some odd reason they find it entertaining to ride up and down over and over again. Can't blame Royal however; I would like to have a little chat with their parents. (Lol) WINDJAMMER: was exactly that jammed packed. Ok I know I went at peak times and trying to find a table for 10 proved to be difficult at best. By day 3 we figured out it was easier to find a table if you asked the "washy washy" lady at the door to help get you a table. JONNY ROCKETS: at $4.95pp service was BEYOND SLOW! Took forever to get a milkshake and I thought they had to fly to land to catch the chicken for my sandwich then fly back to cook it on the ship. It was delicious when it finally came but where was my chili cheese fries? I never received it but it managed to make it on the bill. DEMBARKATION: was not as bad as I previously read...but still not great. We signed up mid-week for "self-assist" debarkation and we given group "I." That morning we ate breakfast in the main dining room at 6:30 am an enjoyed the view of NYC harbor as we docked. We went back to our stateroom gathered our luggage and headed for the waiting area which was on deck 4 of the main dining room. At exactly 8:30 group "I" was the first group called to depart. We headed to the elevators which were manned by a crew member to send the elevators priority to deck 1. If you are able to drag your luggage down the flight of stairs do it as it's much faster than waiting for the elevator. Once on deck 1 you scan your sea pass card and let out a big sad sigh as you leave the ship. Then you wait in a covered outdoor area for the shuttle bus. I think the seats should be removed on the bus and make it standing only, that way they can fit more people and luggage inside. We were able to board the second bus. Being that we were the first group called off the ship there was no wait to get through customs. We waited at the same passenger drop off location as embarkation for 2 members of our traveling party to fetch the cars. By the time we were loaded up the luggage and backed out the parking space it was 8:45am. My advice would be to debark EARLY as I could see how that whole process could back up and cause delays. UPDATE ON REFUND: I received my refund on March 3rd for the undelivered stateroom decorations and cake. All in all I had a great cruise. Love the ship. My parents enjoyed their first cruise as well and are ready to book another one.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We sailed on the 9 th of February, two weeks after the ship docked early with the Novovirus on board! We weren't sure what to expect as we hadn't sailed in the cold before. The port wasn't as bad as we thought it would be ... Read More
We sailed on the 9 th of February, two weeks after the ship docked early with the Novovirus on board! We weren't sure what to expect as we hadn't sailed in the cold before. The port wasn't as bad as we thought it would be after reading some reviews. Not up to usual port standards but not too bad! We got a taxi from New York it cost us $107 as the line going into the port was very slow moving. We were shuttle bused to the boat and headed straight to the windjammer. Cabins were ready at half one and we sailed out of Cape Liberty that evening as it snowed! Suitcases arrived at around 6 o clock and we had a lovely cabin attendant. This was my 8th cruise and fell below the standards do what we have come to expect from Royal Caribbean, lots of small things nothing major. Not as many waiters at the bars so you have to queue up and wait to be served, we sent some clothes to the laundry for washing and ironing and it came back a mass of wrinkles and had to be sent back again. We are Crown and Anchor members and this is the first cruise we went in where there were no vouchers, the discounts were supposed to come off automatically, some did but some didn't and we had to queue at Guest Services to get it sorted. We booked the tour of the Kennedy Space centre but our bus broke down and we were delayed, so we didn't have as much time as we would have liked at Kennedy :( We were given a 20% refund but would have preferred more time! The second formal night was cancelled, first 7 night cruise I was ever on that had only 1 formal night! We had a fab waiter and assistant waiter in the dining room and they really made the cruise for us. The cabin was fine and didn't show any signs of wear and tear, but there was a lot of paint flaking on the balcony, this was power washed and did improve it. It was obvious that the virus was on board again as they really stepped up the hand washing with people making sure that it was done, to quote " washy washy, no washy washy no foodie foodie". Cabins on our deck were also being fumigated! The weather wasn't great, we had a nice day in Nassau, but had thunder lightening and high seas also! Wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be but it meant that inside the ship was very busy as most outdoor activities were moved indoors. There were talks that we wouldn't be docking at Coco Cay as the weather was bad, but we did and went over to the island on the tenders. Lovely island, plenty of sunbeds, lots of ppl selling drinks, we stayed for an hour and half and decided to go back to the ship when the clouds started rolling in! We were halfway back to the boat when the heavens opened! Everyone on the open top deck got soaked. We heard that the boat after us couldn't dock and had to go back to Island and wait and then try to dock again ( they must have been soaked)! The shows were good, great singer and juggler, one of the nights there was only one show, and another night The Love and Marraige show was all that was on. ( On previous cruise this was an afternoon show on one of the at sea days)! The ice show was brilliant! All in all we enjoyed the cruise just not as much as previous cruises!! I know Explorer is going in to be refurbed later this year and maybe things are just winding down on board.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Overall, this was a terrible cruising experience. We have been on at least seven cruises with various cruise lines including Cunard, Carnival, Disney and one previous cruise with RCCL. After this experience, we are very unlikely to ever ... Read More
Overall, this was a terrible cruising experience. We have been on at least seven cruises with various cruise lines including Cunard, Carnival, Disney and one previous cruise with RCCL. After this experience, we are very unlikely to ever cruise on Royal Caribbean again. Some examples of what we experienced, in no particular order: • The experience of getting on and off the ship was awful, especially at Co Co Cay. It was a complete disaster; we have never experienced anything like it on a cruise before. What added to the frustration was when I tried to tell a member of the cruise director staff (Amy T.) that a contributing factor was that the elevators were opening on Deck One, allowing people to cut in line -- she was dismissive and sarcastic with me (we were told the elevators were programmed to stop at deck 2, but after waiting on the 2nd deck for an hour, when we finally made it to the 1st deck people were exiting the elevator and getting straight into the line- we saw a few people almost resort to fist fights over this – never great to have your kids view this type of behavior) We later found out that the line at the forward tender station was practically non-existent, while the line at the aft station stretched up the second deck. Plenty of people, including us, were in line for OVER an hour. While the crew, with radios in their hands, just watched, and never once mentioned there was another exit from the ship. • Information in the Compass was often at odds with what the crew told us. An example was the question of whether there was to be one or two formal nights during the cruise. During the “first” formal night our waiter informed us there would only be one formal night, we expressed our surprise, and he said we should double-check with Guest Relations – we did, and they confirmed there would be only the one formal night. (On other lines, the entire week is explained at the start of the cruise.) GR told us there would be only one formal night – on Sunday night. Then on Friday morning we read in the Compass that that evening there would be another formal night. Again, we approached GR; this time they concluded that the Compass must be right, and there were indeed two formal nights. A few minutes later, when we returned to our stateroom, we received a call from GR telling us the Compass was incorrect. That night would not be a formal night. But how do you suppose most people were dressed that evening? • We paid for the premium drink plan. I have one drink: a gin and tonic – with lime. The ship decided to not put fruit in any cocktails. I appreciate the desire to make cleanliness the priority, as I think was the main motivation behind this, but I was given several conflicting reasons about why I could not ever have a lime with my drink. Meanwhile, we were always able to get lemon for our water in the dining room. This was a constant point of frustration and irritation, especially given what I had paid for the drink plan. • The entertainment on the last night of the cruise was awful. While I cannot name the entertainer (Jeff something I think), it was more than just not entertaining; it was rude, crude, and uncomfortably off-color. Indeed, there were plenty of children in the audience, including our pre-adolescent girls. This, after the cruise director talked it up the night before and implied that the entertainment would be family friendly. • The various staff did not seem to follow their own “rules”. Our girls were very excited to go ice skating on Saturday. We showed up 15 minutes prior to the 1:45 session (it’s supposed to be first-come first-served 40 skaters per session) only to be told that not only was that session already closed, but they had already given out the slots for the remaining 3 sessions for the day, only “standby” was available. There was never any communication that we should have showed up in the morning and signed up for a slot during the day – many people in line were very angry. Overall, most of the passengers we chatted with were very unhappy with how things were handled on this cruise, the staff were clearly “going through the motions” and were tired and cranky. The only WOW in this vacation was “WOW I can’t believe I spent all this money for such a bad vacation!”   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We decided on this cruise because of the destination. Our family flew into EWR 2 nights before embarking. We were glad we did because of the winter weather. We stayed at Best Western Plus Newark. The proximity to the airport is great. ... Read More
We decided on this cruise because of the destination. Our family flew into EWR 2 nights before embarking. We were glad we did because of the winter weather. We stayed at Best Western Plus Newark. The proximity to the airport is great. Also, this hotel has a cruise shuttle package to Port Liberty. Because we had an exta day we were able to spend a day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Coming from our home in Saskatchewan I have to say I was nervous about the transportation options into the city, but we made out fine and came acoss many friendly and helpful people! We enjoyed a leisurely morning the day of the cruise because the shuttle to the port didnt leave until 11:00 am. Well, it was supposed to leave then, but it was a half hour late. That wasn't a hardship tough because the port was fairly close to the hotel. We have cruised 3 times prior to this, but this was our first time from Bayonne. This definitely was not the best terminal. Checking in was a breeze because we had a suite for a stateroom and were treated royally. However we got on the shuttle to the ship the same time that all the other people who shuttled from the hotel did. We've cruised twice with NCL and once with Disney, but this was our favorite cruise! The cruise director, Leigh, was super! Andre, the activities director, was also super. The entertainment was exceptional! We went to every performance and were never disappointed. Our family ate in one of the main dining rooms every night. The meal selecrtions were very good! Our 16 year old daughter didnt participate in the teen events but the teens that I saw seemed to be really enjoying themselves. Apparently there were overr 1100 children on board but we wouldn't have guessed that. We went to the Kennedy Space Center for our excursion in Florida. That was really interesting and good value. The ship docked at Nassau Bahamas. We didn't do any excursions there but we walked around and looked in the shops. We were tendered in to Coco Cay. What a beautiful little island. However it was too hot for me so I went back to the ship after lunch. One of the perks of being in a suite was the concierge service.  Denzil, the concierge, was very helpful all the time. And friendly!  Actually, all the crew were very friendly! Debarkation was very smooth and straightforward. We were nlessed with a very friendly shuttle driver back to our hotel. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
My boyfriend and I went on our first cruise ever on the Explorer to the Bahamas on Jan. 5th and while this was our first, it certainly won't be our last! A friend of ours dropped us off in Bayonne and initially we felt a little ... Read More
My boyfriend and I went on our first cruise ever on the Explorer to the Bahamas on Jan. 5th and while this was our first, it certainly won't be our last! A friend of ours dropped us off in Bayonne and initially we felt a little overwhelmed with all of the hustle and bustle going on around us and weren't sure where to even start! Luckily, almost immediately someone assisted us with our luggage and we ended up finding our way onto he ship pretty easily and without too much of a wait. We opted for a room with a view of the Promenade, and while it was no ocean view, we really enjoyed the room! We never noticed any noise from the Royal Promenade, even when parades an such were going on, and I enjoyed being able to look out and see what was going on on the ship and how many people were out and about and such. Not at all RCI's fault, but day 2 on board was extremely wavy. My boyfriend and I both had on our Sea Band wristbands and we still could not get out of bed without feeling queasy. Being first time cruisers we weren't sure if these kind of waves were common, but we ended up meeting a gentleman who played in a band on board and his said that is was the waviest day at sea he has ever experienced! The first few days we didn't venture outside too much, not only was it cold but the winds were wild! We enjoyed exploring the interior of the ship though and Royal Caribbean felt the itineraries full with things to enjoy inside. We enjoyed the Windjammer, the food wasn't anything exceptional, but it's a massive buffet and we were able to find plenty we liked and always left with full bellies. And whenever we were a little tired of the Windjammer we would head up to Johnny Rocket's, which is not included, but you can pay a $5 cover charge and enjoy as much food as you'd like! We were very impressed with the dining hall, we did My Time Dining and were seated in the Columbus dining room. The menu changed every night and even my boyfriend, who is a bit of a particular eater, not only always found a starter, entree, and desert that sounded appealing, but he never had a complaint! We were very impressed with the food there and found ourselves looking forward to dinner each night. We saw a lot of the shows and found the ice skating show to be the best! We also really enjoy the adult game show, "The Quest" we were really unsure of what to expect but it was a lot fun really high energy and, Leigh, the cruise director made it a lot of fun. Port Canaveral; Day 3: Once again, not at all RCCL's fault, but our day in Florida was during an arctic chill and it was 38 degrees and super windy! Because of the weather, we decided not to book an excursion. Instead we took a shuttle to Ron Jon Surf Shop and explored that, had some starbucks, enjoyed the wifi a bit, then took a quick stroll on the beach before we decided we had enough and headed back to the ship. Nassau; Day 4: Finally a break from the cold! While it was pretty much all overcast, we had 80 degree weather and couldn't find a reason to complain. We think this day was probably the highlight of our trip. I have always wanted to see Atlantis, and we were contemplating booking a tour through the cruise line for $60 a piece. In the end, we decided to listen to some reviews I read on the internet prior to the cruise about not booking an excursion and just taking a cab from the island to the resort and purchasing day passes once you get there. Do this! Seriously the best decision we could have made! We were snatched up by a man almost as soon as we got off the boat, along with probably 6 to 8 other people and he took us to a van that would take us to Atlantis for $4 a person. we got a bit of a tour on the way over, and our cab driver told us where to go when he dropped us off, but said that if nobody stops you, keep walking! We took his advise and walked all through the hotel, the casino, the lobby, and eventually made it outside without ever being stopped. Once outside, we weren't entirely sure if we were breaking any rules or not, but decided to just take our chances and explore the resort. It was incredible and we saw so much! We kept passing "checkpoints" where staff were hanging around and we were certain we would be stopped at any moment for not having any wristbands on like everyone else we saw, but they never did! In the end we saw the all of the resort minus the water park, the aquarium, the beach, and plenty of the interior for free! We felt like we got the deal of the century and only had to pay for our cheap cab fare. We even ran into two other couples that we shared a cab with on the way over and they all got stopped and had to pay at some point. Overall we had an incredible day and I was so happy to finally see Atlantis, and for such a steal! :) Cococay; Day 5: There was a bit of a delay getting off the boat in Cococay, I guess the waves were intense and the boats that transfer everyone to the island could not do their jobs safely. We didn't mind too much, we took our time getting out of bed and about an hour or so later they started allowing us to the island. It was finally a beautiful sunny day! I was ecstatic to finally see the beautiful turquoise waters of the Bahamas and was in my glory. I remembered a tip I read somewhere prior to the trip, and this I would definitely recommend! Right when you get on the island there are lots of beaches nearby but they get very crowded very quickly! If you just keep walking almost directly across the island, you were reach Barefoot Beach. It is beautiful and way less crowded! We laid out here and enjoyed the water and it was much more private. The only excursion we booked was on this island, we booked the Wave Runner tour. So much fun for thrill seekers, we were airborne most of the time! You definitely get your moneys worth I was surprised at how far away from Cococay you actually get to go and it is just a fun experience with unique views, but be prepared to get soaked! Overall, this trip was kind of trial and error for us. There are some things we will do differently next time, and others we will not! -We did "My Time Dining" and paid had our gratuities prepaid. This I would do again, we liked not having that extra money tacked onto our bill at the end, plus it was nice to go to dinner whenever you were hungry! -Next time we think we will purchase the alcohol package. We are both 21, and while neither of us are big drinkers, but we realized quickly that we were not all not comfortable enjoying a drink here and there because of the steep prices. We would have liked to be able to enjoy a drink here or there more comfortably and for about $40 pp/pp we could have and still got our moneys worth! -Next time we also might splurge a little more on a balcony, not a necessity but would be nice for sure! -Also we don't think we will do another winter cruise, at least not when leaving from such a northern port. It really puts a limit on the activities! We would have loved more outdoor time on board. -We did the "express" option when we disembarked. Meaning we decided to carry our own luggage off the boat and while I certainly worked up a sweat going down 7 floors, it was quick and easy and will do it again! -Ultimately we did decide we will definitely cruise with RCI again! We truly enjoyed their service and Leigh and Erky, our cruise directors were fabulous! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Explorer of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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