329 Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas Bermuda Cruise Reviews

I was traveling with 6 of my family members. Our itinerary changed from Bermuda to Canada 24 hrs before our departure, thanks to Gonzalo and the Bermuda authorities. we were notified on Friday Oct 17th, at 4:30pm. I recieved a text, and ... Read More
I was traveling with 6 of my family members. Our itinerary changed from Bermuda to Canada 24 hrs before our departure, thanks to Gonzalo and the Bermuda authorities. we were notified on Friday Oct 17th, at 4:30pm. I recieved a text, and also RC's website posted a message. The compensation package was 25% back if you cancelled. We decided to go, because some family members were flying up from Florida to join us. We stayed in Junior Suites and recieved $425.00 onboard credit. Check in at Cape Liberty was a breeze. They have a seperate check in for suite guests. We were on the ship in about a hour from arrival. Junior Suite 9306: this is the only way to go. Our suite was spacious and tons of storage space. It has a walk in closet, soaking tub, and a big balcony. the staff was friendly and attentive. The main dining room service was good and fast. The food was just o.k. I've had better on other cruise ships. The portions were small. there version of a mile high lemon meringue pie, was a 2 inch lemon tart with a spponfull full of merginue on top. Portofino restaurant was not good. They were having staff issues, and we didn't recieve our meal for 1.5 hrs after ordering it. After making multiple complaints and recieving our luke warm plates, our bill came to "0". This is my first time on RC, and you could notice that EOTS needs a makeover. I will try RC again, but on a newer ship. As of right now I would give them a C- Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We were supposed to go to Bermuda on Explorer on 18 October. We were not notified by RCI or our travel agent at all that the itinerary had changed due to Hurricane Gonzalo which hit Bermuda a day prior to our set arrival. Thank goodness we ... Read More
We were supposed to go to Bermuda on Explorer on 18 October. We were not notified by RCI or our travel agent at all that the itinerary had changed due to Hurricane Gonzalo which hit Bermuda a day prior to our set arrival. Thank goodness we called our travel agent at 10pm the night before to confirm that we were good to go because otherwise we would not have known about he change! We were able to completely change our attire/packing to accomodate the tundra that was Canada. (brrrrr) There were people on the cruise who had not gotten notification at all and they were not happy OR prepared for chilly temps. RC's compensation was unfair, if you ask me. We were given a $250 room credit if we chose to sail. If we chose NOT to sail, we would only be given 25% of our paid price to apply to a future cruise. We would have gladly accepted 100% OR even 75% of our paid price to apply to a future cruise with RC. Bottom line was that the boat still needed to sail. We were disappointed (as was EVERYONE onboard), but we decided that the compensation was not good enough to stay home. Our friends had purchased trip insurance, but it did not cover this situation. So, Bermuda remains on our bucket list. Off to Canada we went.... I knew going into port in Bayonne to expect construction, traffic and congestion. The process was pretty smooth overall and pretty well organized. No complaints. At the end of the cruise we chose to express check out which means we carried our own luggage of the ship. This allowed up to leave earlier. The lines were long and people were angry. But somehow we made it through in under an hour. All that said, Overall, our experience on the boat was great! The food (in the main dining room) was great and the staff was pretty great too. There were a few grumps in the group, but no one worth complaining about. Hey, I figure THEY were just as disappointed as we were that we were heading to Canada. The waitstaff and the bar tenders were great and everyone seemed very friendly social. Food in the WindJammer wasn't awful, but but it seemed (to me) like the same selection day after day, so after the 2nd day I was looking for other options. We chose MyTime Dining which was great because we could eat when we wanted to and were lucky enough to have the same waiters each night. Our assistant waiter was the Washy Washy guy (Nestor) and we enjoyed him very much. The selection on the menu each night was good and the portions sizes were small, so I never felt guilty ordering 2. Also, the food came out rather quickly which we were please about. Our cabin steward was rarely seen. He kept our room clean and followed through with all requests. The room showed a few signs of wear, but nothing that was worth complaining about- especially knowing that Explorer will be dry docking in the spring for a complete overhaul. The common areas were very nice and always clean and the Promenade actually looked the more up to date than the rest of the ship. I used the fitness center daily, and I think it was a great space. It was never too crowded and there was plenty of equipment. And finally the entertainment.... it was AWESOME! The shows were really outstanding. The singers and the dancers were great! We got to see the Bon Jovi tribute band Blaze of Glory and they were awesome too! The finale comedy show with Steve Shafer at the end was really great too. The Quest game show was hysterical and not to be missed. For me, the entertainment was really the best experience of the entire trip. Are we still disappointed that we didn't make it to Bermuda? Yes. Do we feel like RC's compensation was fair? Not really. But we did have a good time regardless and we made the best of the situation. We will definitely continue to sail with RC and we are already looking into booking Liberty or Freedom this Spring- never during hurricane season EVER again!   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
I have sailed with RCL 6 times before, 20 times total between 3 different cruise lines, and I have never experienced such atrocious service, disgusting facilities, and horrible food as Explorer offered on this 9 day Bermuda and Caribbean ... Read More
I have sailed with RCL 6 times before, 20 times total between 3 different cruise lines, and I have never experienced such atrocious service, disgusting facilities, and horrible food as Explorer offered on this 9 day Bermuda and Caribbean cruise. I have talked up cruises so much, that our friends who have never cruised before decided to join us this time for their first cruise. It was so bad, that on day 3 they said it would be their last, and I would definitely think twice before sailing with RCL ever again. Start from the beginning, embarkation was fairly standard, and actually went pretty smooth, discounting the long wait on the shuttle bus to actually get to the ship itself. Our cabin was very nice, clean, albeit with an ancient TV, but that doesn't really matter much, who wants to spend time in the room anyways. Sailaway was exciting, going under the Brooklyn bridge, ship horn blasting, probably the nicest sailaway I've ever seen. And then the "fun" started. My friend and I went to the casino bar to have a cigarette (legit smoking bar, no breaking rules here). When we got there there was no bartender, and no ashtrays on the counter or anywhere else to be seen, so I used the glass I just finished drinking out of to ash into. Moments later a bartender appears, runs over to us, snatches the glass from in front of us and proceeds to YELL at us, "You can't do that, do you do that at home". I was incredulous, but politely responded as to what else I was supposed to do when there are no ashtrays, but the bartender would just not stop yelling and berating us, though he did slam the ashtray on the table in front of us, with such force I was surprised it didn't break. I refused to accept the rudeness and asked the bartender to speak with me more politely, or I will go have a conversation with guest services (which I really don't like to do, I don't want to cost anyone their job). At that point he threw up his hands, turned around and walked away, without even offering an apology! A few days later I did mention the incident to the casino manager in the process of a casual conversation, and he was visibly upset with that, brought over the casino manager for a personal apology, "It's a smoking bar, ashtrays should be everywhere, what are you supposed to do, ash on the floor?" I was willing to chalk this incident up to a random moody bartender, and tried not to let it ruin the vacation, but that was not the end of poor service. It was everywhere, at every bar, and pretty much from every crew member ever encountered. Coming up to guest relations to ask a question, the attendant made me feel like I was taking up his precious time by asking him. Bar stewards at the pool deck were non existent, I'm used to seeing them walking around offering drinks pretty much constantly, but this time on all 5 sea days that we had, they would walk around maybe once an hour, if that. I don't mind going up to the bar to get my drink, but whenever I did that, I felt like the bartenders were doing me a favor serving me. Even when there were 5 people at the bar waiting for service, they were too busy talking amongst themselves, or walking around pretending to look busy, rarely acknowledging the people waiting in line. I routinely had to wait more than 5 minutes at the bar for someone to take my drink order, and it wasn't because they were busy helping other customers. At one bar, when I walked up, I was greeted with a surly "What do you want", without even so much as a smile. Speaking of smiles, they were non existent from any crew members encountered anywhere on the ship. On every other cruise line, when you run into a crew member while walking about on the ship, you get a smile and a greeting, but no on the Explorer. At best you get a nod of acknowledgement, but more the norm was getting completely ignored. Now onto the food. I could put up with the same options for breakfast in the Windjammer, that's usually the norm on RCL ships as I have seen, but the barely edible options were unacceptable. Scrambled eggs were powdered, floating in half an inch of water, and had the flavor of old cardboard paper, no matter how much salt, pepper, or tabasco you put on them. Smoked salmon was nowhere to be found, and when the buffet crew was finally asked for some, I was told they didn't have enough, so they just kept it in the back and you had to ask for it every day, hoping they didn't run out. Fresh omelettes were the only decent option at breakfast time, apparently obvious to everyone else as well, judging by the very long lines for them. Lunch time offerings were so poor, I decided to skip lunch most days, something I never do on cruise ships, as I used to love the special dessert offerings. What passes for dessert on Explorer, was the same every single day at lunch time - "out of the box" angel food cake flavored roulade, and chocolate roulade, that tasted stale and dry the couple times I dared to try it. Freshly baked cookies were so hard and stale, trying to take a bite out of it hurt your teeth. Food in the dining room at dinner time was only mildly better, my friend's seafood options were routinely overcooked, the steak was tenderized to the point of no longer having any fibers, pasta dishes were passable, but the soups were usually good, the highlight of my day. I did like the after dinner tea options, they offered various organic teas, much better than other lines' offerings of Lipton black tea only. Same story with desserts - flavorless, barely edible, not even a hint of gourmet desserts I am used to at other ships. Normally I eat often and a lot on all cruises, and gain an average of 5 pounds per cruise. I actually lost a pound on this cruise, without exercising, that's how bad the food was. Public areas were usually filthy, I barely ever saw anyone cleaning up. Case in point, we used to go to the same area on deck 14 by the rock climbing wall, with our morning coffee. We'd leave the cups at the tables there when we were done, come back a few hours later with our drinks, oh look, our coffee cups are still there, but now we add the drink glasses. Coming back in the evening - surprise surprise, all the cups and glasses are still there. Similar story was on the pool decks, staff was cleaning up maybe once an hour, which is unacceptable when there are 3,000+ people on the ship and the pool deck is filled to the brim. Restrooms were disgusting as well, especially the ones around the Windjammer. Usually every cruise restroom has a sheet of paper with the time and name of the last person that cleaned it, and during busy times it's about every half hour. I didn't see those sheets of paper in any bathrooms, and by the looks of some of those, if they were cleaned once a day, that would seem too much. Despite the atrocious experience my companions and I had on this cruise, several crew members truly stood out and actually helped improve our mood during their interaction with them. Firstly they were our dining room waiters, Ronel and Leoncio, who were truly an amazing team, every request was noted and never had to be repeated again, water glasses were always full, they remembered every preference from the first time it was mentioned, and they really made the dinners spectacular every day, despite the below passable quality of food. Secondly, I need to make a special mention about the casino staff and crew, because other than the dining room staff, they were the only ones on the entire ship that provided the level of service that one comes to expect from a brand name such as Royal Caribbean. If it wasn't for them, I would probably have left the ship in San Juan and never looked back. We did end up missing St. Martin because of a hurricane and the busted engine the ship had which limited the top speed, delaying our arrival back to Bayonne, but hurricanes are the risk you take sailing during hurricane season, so I can't fault the cruise line for that. I am thankful for the choices the captain made that kept us out of danger. But next time I choose to take a cruise, I will think twice before choosing Royal Caribbean, I do not want to risk ruining another vacation. I also intend to write to Royal Caribbean, because the level of service on Explorer is completely unacceptable, and something needs to be done about this. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was my fifth cruise and overall and by far the worst. It was my first time cruising with Royal Caribbean and may well be my last. From the un-organized boarding and un-boarding of the ship to the lack of activities and overall poor ... Read More
This was my fifth cruise and overall and by far the worst. It was my first time cruising with Royal Caribbean and may well be my last. From the un-organized boarding and un-boarding of the ship to the lack of activities and overall poor service. I will say the dining wait staff and cabin tender were all excellent. I also liked the drink packages available and the option to purchase all photos for one set price. The food options were limited and quality was not up to expectations set by other cruise lines. The bar tenders and staff were not as friendly and accommodating as other cruises I have taken. The ship has some mechanical propulsion issues and hours at ports were reduced immediately after setting sail. Thumbs down Their private port of Labadee, Haiti is very nice, but excursions over priced and short.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We had a Great time until departure. The Captain announced that we would be an hour late as there was a maximum speed which he was not allowed to exceed. 'Tough sailing because of the weather.' I do not know the reason for the ... Read More
We had a Great time until departure. The Captain announced that we would be an hour late as there was a maximum speed which he was not allowed to exceed. 'Tough sailing because of the weather.' I do not know the reason for the speed limit. If he went 2 nautical miles faster he would have made up the time in the apx 1,000 nautical miles which we traveled. Breakfast was not extended. He did not tell us to 'sleep in'. More later in the note. Food was very good, except that we kept sending it back because it was barely warm. Our regular waiters were smart and efficient. They used the microwave to 'hot' the soup. Unfortunately we got various stations for breakfast and lunch. My omelet was hot but Marilyn's scrambled eggs were cold. Cold went back As octogenarians we could not climb the 'wall'. There was a lecturer for history who was good and one for art who was also good. The rest of the time we stayed indoors or out with books. All of the books in the library were at least 10 years old. We brought current books. The cabin lady was good, I had no complaints as she knew how to make the bed. The shows were good; even the comedian (whom I usually don't like). The ship visited the tropics but the interior was chilly; like it needed someone to turn on the heat. The weather prevented us from going to one port. We were issued credit for the landing fee of about $35. It came with strings; it had to be spent on board. Back to the tedious debarkation. We were assigned to the refrigerator; the ice rink. I understood when we were there for a while that three times the number of people in the room made for lots of body heat. Hundreds were forced to stand. I pity those who were uncomfortable. We were tied up at the dock but no excuse for not having us have a late wake-up and late breakfast. When released from the staging area we had to go to Deck 1. The corridors were packed with people not moving. Fortunately no one fainted from the closeness. When we arrived at the bus after about 1/2 hour we noted that for part of the ride it was a single lane (alternating direction) because construction material block one roadway. Great planning!! Refreshments were announced for the ice rink, only in the almost 2 hours we were there they ran out and were not replenished. Fresh water was not available and the guy in charge of the crowd did not know where there was any fresh water. Very incompetent and untrained. I was up at 7 AM, finished breakfast at 8 AM and got to load my car at apx, 12 Noon. There were hundreds behind me as we were green 12. I should have stayed for lunch except that the Customs guys would have left. I loved the small Celebrity ships, RC owns them but has learned nothing from them. To return to RC I need a big $ inducement. Most of those traveling with us will spread the word of our departure and the speed limit placed on the ship. Probably something wrong with the electrical motors.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
My wife and I, and three other couples recently returned from a 5 day Royal Caribbean cruise to Bermuda. We have cruised previously on other cruise lines, but this was the first “Cruise Experience” for two of the couples in our party ... Read More
My wife and I, and three other couples recently returned from a 5 day Royal Caribbean cruise to Bermuda. We have cruised previously on other cruise lines, but this was the first “Cruise Experience” for two of the couples in our party and our first with Royal Caribbean. In preparing for this cruise/vacation, I researched many reviews and found some information to be accurate and some not. I thought I’d post my observations for better or worse. Cape Liberty, Bayonne, NJ – Make no mistake about it, the port is a physical mess due to the construction of the new port terminal. That said they are organized and the boarding process went smoothly. Word of caution – arrive prior to 11:00am! Arriving at noon or later, add an additional hour or so to the boarding process. Also, upon returning to the port we experienced major delays in the disembarkation process. The issue was not the cruise line but with the port/terminal as you had to be shuttled from the ship to the terminal by bus. This created a backlog of passengers waiting to depart the ship, with some people standing in line for over an hour and several passengers were extremely aggravated. The elevators to deck one (to leave the ship) were not working so you had to take the stairs down only to stand in line to await the shuttles to the terminal – this by far was the most unpleasant part of the trip. Note – I’m told that the “early/express” departure option encountered the same issue. Explorer of the Seas – My personal preference in cruise ships is a larger ship as I find them to offer more amenities, activities, specialty restaurants, bars, pools, etc. The Explorer of the Seas was in excellent condition – clean outside and in. The service and attention provided by all members of the crew was second to none. The shows in the Palace Theater were very entertaining as was the entertainment in the various bars throughout the ship. There were two items that I took notice of - one would be the vibrations that were sometimes experienced in the upper decks of the ship – specifically while dinning at the Windjammer & Portofinos and relaxing in the Viking Lounge. The vibrations did not bother me but it did other passengers. Second are the lines/wait times to get a drink at the Bars located poolside. They tended to be overcrowded throughout the afternoon hours. Not really a big deal since this is to be expected and that you simple have to walk a short distance to another bar. Food & Drink – If you plan to drink (alcoholic beverages) during the cruise, I highly recommend that you purchase one of the drink packages. Yes it’s an added expense but it’s more convenient than pay as you go – the liquor is top shelf – and you don’t have to review your on board account everyday to monitor/worry about your budget. Our party of 8 dined at Portofinos two nights. Yes this is another added expense but the food was fantastic, the service outstanding and atmosphere was quite and relaxed. We reserved a set table and time to dine the remainder of the nights in one of the ships three main dining areas – deck 3 Magellan. The staff was great, as they accommodated all of our requests without question and provided excellent service. The food for the most part was average to good, however it could not compare to Portofinos. Then there is the Windjammer – "washy, washy" - We had lunch there twice and breakfast once and that was more than enough. Crowded lines, seating took some time to locate & secure, and the food was slightly above cafeteria grade. Do yourself a huge favor and have both breakfast and lunch at the main dining room. You’ll have to adjust your daily schedule slightly as the dining room hours are more limited than the Windjammer, but it is well worth it. Bermuda – Simply Beautiful with the nicest people we’ve ever encountered – anywhere. We purchased a 2 day seapass at Kings Wharf which allows for unlimited ferry & bus trips. We ferried into Hamilton & St. George and self toured, we bused to Horseshoe Bay and several other locations. Don’t mess with the scooters, take the ferry of bus. We shopped at Kings Wharf for gifts and things. We can’t wait to go back, as we would like to have more time to truly experience Bermuda. All said and done – a very nice cruise Royal Caribbean!   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Our group consisted of 3 couples, all Crown & Anchor members (gold level). We chose this cruise partly because of the port and extended our vacation a few days to go into the city. This was all in all an excellent choice. We drove up ... Read More
Our group consisted of 3 couples, all Crown & Anchor members (gold level). We chose this cruise partly because of the port and extended our vacation a few days to go into the city. This was all in all an excellent choice. We drove up the day before and had booked our rooms and Country Inns and Suites in Elizabeth. We had 2 Park and Cruise rooms and one regular. Parking was for 10 nights so we could leave the cars there while we cruised. We had transfers to Port Liberty from the hotel. Worked wonderfully. Glad we went this way because the traffic into the Port was horrendous and it was a rainy morning, We got off right at the baggage check location, quick shuttle to check-in (and as C&A members, that was a breeze). The hotel was very nice (has a free continental breakfast--but get there early because they run out of eggs quickly). There is an IHOP and Ruby Tuesday right beside the hotel which is nice and it's just a short walk to an incredible mall. I highly recommend this hotel for a pre- or post- cruise stay. We stayed 3 nights after the cruise and could get a complementary shuttle to the airport and from there took the train into the city. On board we had a nice lunch and found our sail away spot on deck. If you want a table on deck, you better get there early. There are few tables, mostly lounge chairs. The cruise was great but I cannot say as much about the MDR. Our waiter Ricardo was wonderful but the food left a lot to be desired. It was OK, but not great. One of our group ordered a steak and it was very tough -- he couldn't even finish it. I enjoyed the cold soups but stay away from the lobster bisque. It was brown and tasted more like fishy pumpkin soup than lobster anything, The rest of the food was OK. Best was last night. I think no one was paying the way too expensive extra $$ for the surf & turf that was on the MDR menu so we had lobster and prime rib which was very good. We did lunch in the MDR once and they did have an excellent salad bar which we all enjoyed. Windjammers food was very good. You had most of the selections from the MDR plus so much more. That's where we ate breakfast, lunch, and a couple of dinners. We did go to Portofinos (sp) one night and it was excellent. The meals are generous in portion size and very good. I chose the Risotto which was really a heavy meal but it tasted perfect, just couldn't eat much of it. Definitely worth the extra 25 or so $$ per person. We made good use of the drink packages. Definitely the way to go if you plan on having cocktails. I know everyone has to figure out whether it will pay for them to do that, but it was so much easier and no surprises at the end. FYI: There was a lot of discussion on the message board here about gratuities added to your drink purchases if you had the package. We categorically DID NOT have a gratuity added to our drink purchases. EOS is showing her age a little but still a beautiful ship. All in all the service was good, but not quite what I remember from past RCCL cruises. Bermuda: We had incredible weather and really enjoyed our visit. We booked the Shipwreck snorkel excursion, Only 3 of our group were actually able to snorkle. It is in deep water and while not rough, the water was not glassy. It was too much for me so I enjoyed a rum swizzle while my husband had a ball in the water. One couple (experienced snorklers and divers) had purchased gear on board which promptly broke. WIth both of them, a clip broke as they were taking off their masks. One lost their snorkle. RCCL did replace the equipment but they are not comfortable using the boats equipment so they didn't get to do much. The excursion does say it is a strenuous activity so believe them. Earlier in the day we had walked to the beach area close to the dock so I got my water time there. This was the first week in October and while a little cool when you first get in, the water was fine for swimming. That evening we took the water taxi to Hamilton and had a great dinner at the Lobster Pot. My husband and I chose to stay on board the next day. The weather was so great, we had a really good pool day. My biggest complaint about the whole cruise was debarkation. We all elected to do the Self-Assist. It was an unorganized, ridiculous experience. I realize that a large number of people chose this option on this cruise but this was totally mis-managed. We all were told to report to our stations. Ours was on the 4th level. There was one person there holding a microphone which I never saw him use. At one point, everyone started passing the word that we had been cleared to leave. Come to find out, the 3rd level had also been cleared to leave. So here was everyone trying to carry their luggage down the steps at the same time. There were no staff members anywhere in sight to help direct people. I know part of the confusion was that people without baggage were trying to go out then. I also know that they should have known better but an announcement before everyone was turned loose might have at least weeded some of them out. I talked to several people who had disembarked this way before and no one could believe what a mess this was. But we did finally get off the ship and waited just a few minutes for our shuttle from the hotel. As I said, we stayed a few days to go into the city and thoroughly enjoyed that. The only thing I will recommend to anyone who asks is a restaurant in Chinatown called Uncle Boon's. If you like Thai food, this is an amazing place. Very small so go to there website to make reservations or you may have a wait. Food is not your typical Thai choices but you will not soon forget your meal. A little pricey but worth every penny Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This is an amazing ship with lots of amenities; tons of things to do and see, and plenty of restaurants and bars. Expect lines for most things most times of the day s there are thousands of people on board. The ship has an amazing layout ... Read More
This is an amazing ship with lots of amenities; tons of things to do and see, and plenty of restaurants and bars. Expect lines for most things most times of the day s there are thousands of people on board. The ship has an amazing layout and is very easily negotiable; I have been lost on other ships for days before learning my way around but this ship is simple. The shows and entertainment were all top notched with excellent musicians in the bars at night as well as great evening shows and a perfectly amazing ice show. The food was excellent especially in Portofino, the specialty restaurant. The bars were always fun and lively, but you may need to wait or walk around to find space for more than two as most of the amenities are usually crowded. Count on waiting for seating, mini-golf, the rock-climbing wall, etc.; in fact, I would count on waiting for just about everything. The huge ships have more and more people as well as the amenities. The ship is showing signs of wear and some of the staterooms are simply dated and worn out with failing fixtures, phones and electronics. Most of the common areas are well maintained and decorated, but the less travelled spaces need work. She is however scheduled for a major refurbishment in Spring of 2015. The cruise line and the staff do an incredible job. The only major failures I found were with fellow travelers. Many are inexperienced and didn't understand their agreements, and were ready to start fights with the staff when they attempted to explain dining arrangements, drink packages, excursions, etc. Many of the clientele found it perfectly acceptable to leave all their trash and drink glasses laying around, let their kids run screaming down hallways, smoke in unauthorized areas, cut in lines, etc. Many of the things that most normal members of society find discourteous can be found in high frequency on these more budget cruises. Despite the crew's best efforts to deal with the dregs, it does unfortunately spill over and negatively effect the enjoyment of the mannered people on board. All in all, Explorer of the Seas is an awesome ship with an excellent crew. Royal Caribbean does a splendid job. Expect lower quality shipmates on the cheaper itineraries. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
The ship was fine and very enjoyable, however I could see the need of the soon to be overhaul. It wasn't to the point of disliking the ship in any way as we were there to have fun and did so. Our ship couldn't do the expected ... Read More
The ship was fine and very enjoyable, however I could see the need of the soon to be overhaul. It wasn't to the point of disliking the ship in any way as we were there to have fun and did so. Our ship couldn't do the expected speed so it left us having less time on a couple of the Islands which was disappointing but I'd rather sail safely. So there is some fixing to do on the ship, as Royal C. clearly knows and I believe is planned. We loved the ice show and the comedian. The other shows we didn't fully watch and missed some simply because we headed for the hot tubs in the evenings. Loved the pools and the hot tubs. Although too many were shut down nearly at once, too early and the bar nearby also ( 9 pm , why when your on vacation ) But we had a wonderful time together (myself and my 2 grown daughters ) We enjoyed the Horseshoe Bay Beach at Bermuda. I never swim in the ocean but I did there and it was clear water and the sand was great, A Fantastic Time! Our Island time in Bermuda was cut short but we made the best of it. We did the helmet dive , Sea Trek in St.maarten. I was a bit nervous at first but one of my girls had done it before at another Island and so she loves it. I did just fine and what a great experience! The team /guides were very skilled and always making sure we were fine and enjoying the adventure. We walked in a guided walkway about 20 ft. down and saw many fish and held a sea urchant. St.maarten is so beautiful ! On the Island of Puerto Rico we did a bus tour to visit the rain forest. It's very lust and with beautiful waterfalls. Labadee, Haiti our final Island was also cut short and thankfully we got both parasailing and jet skiing in just in time to board the ship and set sail. The parasailing was a amazing experience for my girls, their first time. The crew was superb. I'm a big girl and they did a fantastic job, perfect landing ! One of my girls wanted to jet ski again I was nervous however I went forward and I'ts the best fun I've had in many, many adventures in my life. We were very busy enjoying the Islands and when we were on ship it was just relax and lots of laughing having the time of our lives. Made a lot of memories, just what we intended. The meals in the dining room was excellent and the staff was even better ! We did go to the Windjammer also and it was nice to have lots to select from. We loved the breakfast there. the omlet station was unbelievable! Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was our first experience with Royal Caribbean. Having sailed many times with Carnival and Norwegian, we were eager to see what Royal Caribbean was all about. My husband's sister/husband drove up from Florida to our home in ... Read More
This was our first experience with Royal Caribbean. Having sailed many times with Carnival and Norwegian, we were eager to see what Royal Caribbean was all about. My husband's sister/husband drove up from Florida to our home in Georgia. The four of us drove up together to my husband's brother/wife and all six of us then traveled to Cape Liberty to sail together. Embarkation went smoothly enough for us. I found the ship was showing some age. I understand she is going in for a refit, soon. The Explorer is an attractively decorated ship, though. We sailed pretty full, I believe. The dining areas, promenade, elevators, etc. were all crowded. I thought that the Explorer's gift shop was poorly stocked. There were a lot of empty shelves, racks, etc. I'd hoped to find a ship specific ornament, as I collect one from every ship we sail on..but there were none to be had. The air conditioning worked great in our cabin, but we felt it was a little warm and stuffy in most of the public areas of the ship..such as the theater and dining and shopping areas. We had a Jr. suite which I loved. One of the best staterooms we've had, yet. Deck 10..almost dead center across the back. Huge balcony, awesome view...large cabin. Walk-in closet. Tub and shower. Very spacious. Our door had some damage to it, though, and the dead-bolt was not operational. We just made sure our valuables were locked in the safe. Our room steward, Lola, was awesome. Seemed to always be working. Our room was always spotless and ready for us. Our dining room server, Jo Patrick, was wonderful. Took amazing care of us. We ate often in the Windjammer buffet. The food was always plentiful and tasty, but we found it to be kind of chaotic. Things hard to find, at times. The beverages were a little hard to get to, as well...though the servers were really good about circulating the room and bringing you anything you wanted. Once we were back at Cape Liberty, debarkation was chaotic. We were called by numbers to leave the ship once our luggage was ready in the terminal. We felt we were moving along, nicely, when we were brought up to a sudden halt and forced to stand in a crowded 'clump' because they said our luggage was, as it turned out, NOT ready. Once we were able to grab our luggage, it was a breeze moving on through customs. It was rainy and miserable, so we were all grateful when we got everything out and loaded into our van and headed down the highway. :-) We enjoyed this trip, though. It was a great mini-reunion with family that we hadn't seen in quite a while. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Cabin – We had a deluxe balcony 6624 on the hump. The room was large with a small sitting area and desk. The bed is two twins either separated or apart with comfortable linens. The bathroom is the typical small room with sink, toilet and ... Read More
Cabin – We had a deluxe balcony 6624 on the hump. The room was large with a small sitting area and desk. The bed is two twins either separated or apart with comfortable linens. The bathroom is the typical small room with sink, toilet and shower, but the shower had a nice door closure instead of just a shower curtain. The shower pressure could have been a little more powerful. The balcony was a cove style and you not able to open up adjoining balconies. Also, you can purchase WIFI, but it does not work in the rooms. Our AC was not working properly the first night so it was 1000 degrees in the cabin so we had to sleep with the balcony door open to get any air. Luckily, it was cool out so it helped, but it was a rough first night. They fixed the issue immediately the next day. Service – The service as a whole was dismal. The staff really makes it seem like you are putting them out when it comes to everything. However, wait staff in the dining room at night were the best, especially the main server who brought us specialty items and really took care of us, but the bar server seemed annoyed with us for ordering so much. Again, we felt like we were putting him out. Our cabin steward was very aggressive and not the most friendly. She just seemed demanding to the point where we were afraid to ask her for anything. At one point she kicked us out the room because we were taking too long and she needed to clean it and I was forced to shower in my friend’s cabin next door. Then when I went back to the room to get the rest of my clothes she seemed very annoyed. She said we needed to work on her schedule. The bar staff was just okay, except Marlon in the Schooner lounge who was very friendly and knew my orders just as I arrived. Overall it just felt like we were not very welcome and the service were extremely lacking. Food – The menu I found lacking, but the food was very good in the main dining room. Everything cooked very well and tasty. We started to order the special vegetarian Indian meals since they took them off the menu and it was amazing. Even one of our friends who had lobster indulged and ended up eating a whole other Indian entrée it was that good. It was a mix of masala with naan bread and either beans and cheese. You need to order it the night before though so we would glance over the menu that night and then order it for the day evening. We went to Portofino one night and that was a great experience. The food was incredible, especially the risotto. I strongly suggest doing this one night because the food and service were far superior. The buffet area is small and crowded with lines with typical buffet fare. After hours there is only one place to get sandwiches, pizza and snacks. I did like the idea that it was more than just pizza and the sandwiches were really tasty. The pizza reminded me of frozen recooked, but satiated my late night cravings. Also, the coke/soda machines were awesome! If you get the drink package you can just fill up your own soda and ice in cups they provide. Casino – The casino is a really good size and can be a little smoky. They had a really good selection of slot machines and tables. We had a good time there, but the dealers were not very personable and just there to do their job. I like a more fun atmosphere in the casino. Entertainment and Activities – Activities are lacking and the ones that do go on are very crowded with people. I wish they would do some more games, scavenger hunts, trivia and other things. They only had one activity a day it seemed and they were packed. We heard from a lot of people that things like the ice skating rink, slides and rock wall were closed a lot and even when not it was very limited. The one late night comedian was just terrible. Not funny in the slightest bit. Our whole group of 10 left since it was that bad and we saw many others doing the same. As for shows, I heard they were good. They had various bands and a piano bar, but they did not seem so happening. The one night of karaoke was packed and most people were really good. Still, sometimes I like more a fun time karaoke time. The night club did have a silent night, which sounded stupid, but was a lot of fun. You wear headphones with two types of music and can dance. People looked silly dancing to nothing and so it was fun for the participants and voyeur. So, that turned out to be a lot of fun and great idea. Port Days – We had a two full days and overnight in Bermuda. We opted for a private sail boat excursion, which was only $75 PP and we got 3 hours to sail around Bermuda and then swim and snorkel in a private area. The sailing was really relaxing and fun and then swimming in the water was amazing. The ocean was crystal clear and 84 degrees. We saw lots of coral and fish. The next day some of us went to St. George, which was far to get to, but very nice historic city. Some did Hamilton, which was described as similar to most Caribbean port cities. We went to snorkel beach where there were tons of fish and coral to see. Beware if you go at peak hours because they charge you to get in and for snorkel gear, chairs, and umbrellas. We then did a cab ride to Horseshoe bay just to see it. The ride there was very scenic and our driver gave us a little tour speech about the island. Horseshoe Bay was very crowded, but the water was amazingly clear and warm. They also had some cliffs to climb nearly. On our ride various hotels were pointed out and there was one that looked so beautiful I would love to come back and stay there. Embarkation/Disembarkation – I do not like port liberty. We got there and stood there for 15 minutes trying to figure out if we needed to load up our bags ourselves to the crate holders or have someone else do it. I had priority check-in and asked three different Royal Caribbean representatives where to go and was waved off and told to go into the mass line. I finally got to a friendly counter person and they informed me that the priority check-in was useless now. Then we had to get loaded onto a bus to get to the ship and stand in more lines to get on board. My friends from NJ said it would have been easier to fly down to Florida and go out of one of their ports. As for leaving the ship, that was another terrible experience. We had to do self-assist because we had an early flight at 11:30AM. We started to leave at 7:45AM and it seemed everything was blocked and no real instruction where to go. People were wandering around aimlessly lost. We finally got down to the right area and tried to find a crew member to explain our situation, but were waved off and thrown into another line that went on forever. We had to drag out luggage around for 45 minutes, down 2 flights of stairs, then finally off the ship to board the bus and get to the main port. It was pretty rough. They are rebuilding the port to streamline the boarding issues, which is due to launch in November so that might make a huge difference. Conclusion - The ship was very crowded wherever you went and the service was very lacking. I think this is a great way to see Bermuda, but you need to expect such madness on board during the non-port times. The promenade was really nice and when not crowded was a nice place to hang out. I spoke to other people and many felt the same way, but also some had done the itinerary before and had a much different experience so it could have been timing. Would I do it again, probably not, but I will be trying other Royal Caribbean ships to see what they have to offer.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
I took this cruise with two girlfriends as a quick getaway. We had a balcony room for three on deck 8. Our room was a bit on the small side, but worked out fine. I have sailed on RCI 5 times prior, and have also cruised three other lines. ... Read More
I took this cruise with two girlfriends as a quick getaway. We had a balcony room for three on deck 8. Our room was a bit on the small side, but worked out fine. I have sailed on RCI 5 times prior, and have also cruised three other lines. EOS was the very first cruise ship I ever sailed on in 2005, and while the ship overall is in OK shape, it is no secret that it is time for a major refurb. There were signs of wear and tear, and things that needed to be updated. This cruise was appealing because we could drive to the port. Since we were leaving husbands/kids behind for this trip, it had to be a fairly quick one. We arrived at Cape Liberty at around 11:30. Getting to the port was a bit confusing, having never been in that area before. But we did OK. Once at the port, we pulled up, dropped off our luggage, then proceeded to the parking lot. We paid the attendant, parked and headed over to the terminal. I realize that this port is in major transition, and is temporary, but they can make some much needed temporary improvements. Namely in the way of restrooms. I found one restroom, that had one, yes ONE bathroom. Not a bathroom with a few stalls, ONE bathroom. And it was filthy at that. No need for this. In the terminal I encountered my very first snarky employee. Perhaps I have just been lucky in my limited cruising experience, 9 completed, but the attitude shocked me. It was over something very silly at that, I had seen the person in front of me put all the things in their hands in the bin to go through the scanner. So while I don't usually put in my Passport, and won't again, I did that day. Monkey see monkey do I guess, but I got a stern unpleasant speaking to about it from the terminal agent, and she went so far as to accuse me of being an idiot basically. I just smiled, apologized and kept moving. But not the way I like to begin my cruise experience. We had to take a bus from the terminal to the ship, again probably a temporary measure while they build a new terminal. Not a big deal, but a bit of a pain. Then we entered on the first floor of the ship. I like entering in the grander ship areas, not the bellows, but not a big deal. We took the stairs and headed to the Windjammer. We had lunch, then we were able to go to our cabin to unload our things about 1:30. We took the stairs a lot during this saling, elevators were hard to come by. But it was better to get the exercise from the stairs anyway. That afternoon I was sitting on the balcony enjoying the mild weather when the Captain came on to give his welcome aboard speech. Part of his speech was a warning that we were likely going to encounter rough seas on our first sea day. He was not incorrect in his assessment. It was rocky all day. It didn't bother me or anyone in my travel party, we did not experience any illness as a result, but it did get old walking as if we were drunk all the time becuase of the constant ship movement. But, you'll have that in cruising, and it was only a minor annoyance. We went to the show that night, but I can't tell you a thing about it. I fell asleep within the first few minutes and slept through the entire production. The travels of the day before to get to the ship caught up with me I guess. We did not attend any other shows. We spent a fair amount of time in the casino. I liked that a section of it was non smoking. You are still in smoke of course, but it isn't as thick in the non smoking section. Dinner was anytime dining for us. It worked out fine. We didn't always get the "time" we wanted, but it all worked out. The food was fine and portions were reasonable. We also had some snacks at the Cafe in the promenade. They always had a good selection of sweets and sandwiches. Bermuda was lovely. The first morning it was rainy and overcast, but the afternoon was OK. We went to Horseshoe Bay. Beautiful. Then we stopped at the Swizzle Inn on the way back to the dock and had rum swizzles of course. Yummy. We had purchased a two day ferry/bus pass, that was our transportation, and it worked out fine. The second day the weather was beautiful. Sunny and warm. We went over to St. Georges to explore. We walked around a bit, and then took the ferry back and did a bit of shopping. The trip back to Bayonne was again a bit rocky, but nothing like the journey over. And I imagine this is typical for this voyage. All in all, this was a pleasant quick trip. The ship had everything needed for a relaxing vacation, and the staff was helpful and kind. Bermuda was a great experience, I plan to go back sometime soon.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Well I have to report that this cruise was very disappointing. Not considering the cruise port itself, I think that will improve greatly when the new terminal is completed. Our cabin was clean and our Steward (Stanley) did a great job. We ... Read More
Well I have to report that this cruise was very disappointing. Not considering the cruise port itself, I think that will improve greatly when the new terminal is completed. Our cabin was clean and our Steward (Stanley) did a great job. We had an old tube type TV that cut off the sides of some of the programming. We found the public bathrooms to be the biggest disappointment. On three occasions the ladies room near the entrance to the main dining room on deck 5 were either completely closed or most of the stalls were out of order. My girlfriend reported that there was a line of 11 women waiting for 3 useable stalls on one occasion. I personally found the mens room at the exit of the theater to be completely trashed with a pile of toilet paper that was almost a high as the toilet itself. I went there because my girlfriend told me about the "all push button" features of the ladies room on the opposite side. Well I pushed the entry button, the door slid open, I stepped in and there was a button that said "lock" I pushed that and there was a loud click that made me think the door locked. Then I looked around and saw the mess. I decided I would leave. Then the door slid open and there was another guy entering even though the door was "locked". I think he thought I made the mess but I assured him I did not and left. The main pool area service was terrible. There were empty drink containers and glasses all over the place and it seemed the pool folks would only come around to clean up about once an hour. I was never able to order a drink from my lounge chair and had to stand in a long line to get our drinks. This happened on three separate days. The best I can say is the crew had a bad attitude. I did a two week cruise on the Grandeur of the Seas with Captain Rob Hampstead (sp) and I thought by the end of that cruise I knew him personally. We heard his voice quite often and saw him at least once a day but usually three of four times each day. He was a great person to be sailing with. I never saw Captain James McDonald on this entire voyage. We did dinner in the Main Dining room on two nights, one being the Formal Night. We were on Mytime dining but had the same wait team both nights. Andel (the one and only) and Johny were very good and real friendly. The food was less pleasing. I had a pork dish (chop) the first night and it was very tough. Portions were small and the selection seemed limited. The Windjammer food was just bad. We had lunch there twice and dinner once (but I later went to Johnny Rockets for a great burger). There were just things missing. There was never a show in the dining room where the cook staff came out in their white suits and presented themselves to the diners. There was never a chocolate night with the sculptures and the treats like we had on Grandeur. They didn't do the watermelon carvings and the carved fruit presentation like they did at the Windjammer on the Grandeur. This ship is in desperate need of an overhaul! The sandwiches and snacks at the Promenade Cafe were a pleasant treat. The Casino bartenders were just overwhelmed most of the time but the Crown and Kettle was usually pretty much empty. This may have very well been our last cruise. I am thinking about an All Inclusive Resort like Sandals or something in the future. I have sailed on three cruise lines and never had service like this. I almost forgot to mention the uneasy feeling I got when there were divers under the boat doing some kind of repairs every time we were docked. I understand that on a previous cruise just before ours that they actually stopped at sea and had divers go under for repairs.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
DH and I eagerly arrived at Cape Liberty to embark on a 5 day trip to Bermuda. This is my 3rd cruise, his first. We arrived at the terminal just after 12:30pm and had to wait quite a bit to park our car. Once we parked, it was a short time ... Read More
DH and I eagerly arrived at Cape Liberty to embark on a 5 day trip to Bermuda. This is my 3rd cruise, his first. We arrived at the terminal just after 12:30pm and had to wait quite a bit to park our car. Once we parked, it was a short time through the terminal and then to the shuttles taking us to the ship. Yes, this process seems silly, but until the new terminal is completed, it works even if it isn't as efficient as it will be. Our cabin was lovely with lots of storage. Archelle, our stateroom attendant was a gracious hostess and ready to meet our needs. When she learned we were celebrating our 25th anniversary, she personally delivered a bottle of wine to us. That goes above and beyond the service level you might expect. The ship itself was clean and we never had trouble finding things to do. Cruise Director Keith was fabulous. We really enjoyed the daily Coffee Talk shows as well as the cooking demonstrations by Executive Chef Gary on the ship's main tv channel. We tried several of the bars on board and were happy with the variety of drinks offered. I had pre purchased the soda package, and it is well worth the money. The ship has several Coke Freestyle machines available so you can get a variety of soft drink and lemonade choices any time you like. Food was plentiful and excellent throughout the trip. We had MDR first seating in Da Gamma, table 426. Hubby enjoyed the Indian selections in the Windjammer. We also really like the Cafe Promenade for a quick bite. The Muffaletta sandwich was my favorite! Highlight was Portofino on our final evening. Delicious food and beautiful presentation. Would definitely do it again. Bermuda is breathtakingly lovely. We spent our first day at Horseshoe Bay...took the bus rather than pay for the shore excursion. Bermuda busses are an experience all in themselves! Beach was stunning. Perfect weather. The next morning, we did the Catamaran Snorkel trip through RC. We had a fun ride to the reef and spent 1.5 hours enjoying the snorkeling. Our hosts made Rum Swizzles for us before the return to the dock. Loved this excursion and would do it again in a heartbeat. Entertainment on board was great. We really liked the production shows. The main singers were really good. I personally did not care for the comedian on night 1, but that's a matter of personal preference. Love and Marriage Game show was really a hoot! Debarkation is a bit unorganized...but again I think this issue will resolve itself when the new terminal is completed. Overall, our time on Explorer was fabulous. I'm ready to go back right now! Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was a fun cruise despite some minor setbacks. As far as the departure and pier procedures, it was typical. The folk at Cape Liberty were on par despite the environment and building which they are refurbishing and expected to complete ... Read More
This was a fun cruise despite some minor setbacks. As far as the departure and pier procedures, it was typical. The folk at Cape Liberty were on par despite the environment and building which they are refurbishing and expected to complete by 2016. It is basically a construction zone. Safety and staff were optimum and well-delivered nonetheless. Explorer of the Seas was nice despite its age and we were aware that it is going into rehab in March 2015. It's an old ship, but the common areas are clean and the art/ decor remains glamorous and does not appear dated at all. The wooden and steel features of the ship are chipped and over-painted, but the old girl is rock steady. As far as the line's offerings: this was my partner's first cruise ever so he had no expectations. I on the other hand thought that the activities and the food were substandard and from those I spoke to who were veteran cruisers of this line stated the same, adding that the cruise traditions overall have degenerated. These in-your-face, LOUD, crowded, floating cities are the new genre and yet hopefully the tradition of a peaceful but fun adventure of a classic cruise is not all but lost. Our stateroom was OK. The bath sink water pressure lacked, but the shower was great. Bring your own toiletries, those given are cheap crap. The rest of the cabin is somewhat dated. Plenty of storage for clothing, the closet is huge (we had a superior balcony room). The balcony is sufficient, but the chairs are old, stained, burn-marked. The little plastic table is just stupid. The bed(s) were comfy, the linens and pillows soft. Old TV, who cares. The stateroom attendant was marvelous and personable. The mini bar is ridiculously over-priced and I would advise anyone who cares to hydrate themselves atop all the booze and salted food find a reasonable water source because getting bottled water on board is costly and laborious, and there is only the main buffet or the Promenade Coffee-house venue for "free" water other than bathroom sink taps. Their Refreshment stations (with free cup if you purchase the beverage packages) do not give water but only sugary marketed Coca-Cola products. Windjammer Cafe is a clustered mess no matter how you slice it. The hand-washing with Purell liquid is annoying ("Washy-washy" -- POW!) -- as someone who has studied infectious disease, Purell is not a substitute for soap and water. I would use it more on my way OUT than in, frankly. Finding a seat in there was impossible, and the food was not worthy of marks more than any Country Buffet. They had everything you could hope for for a common breakfast or lunch and it was fresh (or at best carefully recycled), but the fare was a repeat of the same horse chow everyday, industrial processed and kicked up in presentation -- and I would say the same for dinner but less so in the main DRs. It was a hit or miss there. The last 2 nights were best, but we did experience tough or dry poultry and dried up fish. The shrimp is thawed pre-cleaned blech. The breads were good. The dining staff are stupendous and truly gracious and hard-working. These international heroes work 14 hour days, 7 days a week and deserve every over-tipping you can give them. The nightly menus were themed around a spice, but the offerings were essentially bleak. Again, presentation seemed to override quality (yeh, yeh, we eat first with our eyes, I get it --,but I'm hungry and want more creative flavor -- it was mostly devoid of that). And portions were so delicate: the prime rib cut was less than a princess if there is such a thing. The pool area is so crowded and loud, and the pools are small and generally overrun by kids or blobs. The adults-only Solarium (lovely and breezier than the main pool) isn't always enforced. The kids are jump-and splash-happy -- many with absentee/ aloof parents -- and some of them are lucky not have been drowned by some annoyed adults. Why they play loud rap and dance music on the pool deck in the early morning confounds me when the hungover and sleepless just want a peaceful cup of java and an ocean view. The silly sexist events are so loud (the microphones), you can't converse with someone sitting right next to you. If you smoke, you are a pariah on this ship. They make it purposely inconvenient. It is therefore not a "health" issue when the smoking areas are where the children gather, whereas the adult areas are smoke free, PLUS they sell cigarettes on board! Figure that. The cement-based ashtrays are unreachable unless you are right next to one and smokers who are also drinking or eating have to rely on the deck floor to place their glasses/ plates because there are only 2 tables in the entire area. To that I say FU. The pool bars are poorly organized. I feel sorry for those tenders who have to make 10 steps back and forth across the bar three times to make one drink. And every drink needs a receipt, guest-check book? They need to start incorporating a bracelet scanning method and the bar managers need to get creative with better expedition of service. We waited sometimes up to 15+ minutes to get served. The attendees around the pool? Hit or miss. A $5 tip on one drink tip is obviously not enough to get a return trip to your seat or table for a drink. I also need to say the "beach" drinks are cloyingly sweet. Did I order a cocktail (margarita) or cartoned flavored sugar syrup, sour mix over ice? Unless you prepay the beverage/ booze packages, you are clearly being sent into pre-diabetic sugar comas at a very big cost. I made the best of a $45/ day (!) package and ordered top shelf, neat or on the rocks. The lounge servers were more attentive (except the Casino where the boys chatted to each other constantly in their native tongue and basically ignored you). Albeit, if not for the cruise director Keith, Explorer would be sunk. This man brings to life the most worn out, lame, over-the-hill entertainment forms for which after not cruising for 10+ years until now, I am amazed the same shtick is still all that they can come up with. The singers and dancers are always superb and too talented actually to be wasting their lives giving their all to unappreciative audiences. Jordan and Robin are specifically Broadway-bound and I hope they don't miss their ship. I was fortunate to tell Jordan in person what an incredible talent he is. The Love and Marriage game was a lot of laughs. We missed the ice show as it was scheduled midday for us and the last nights shows were a mere half hour post our seating time. Thanks for that. I heard the ice show was another cluster-slam anyway. Unless you want to play bingo or trivia games or sing karaoke, there is not much else to do. The night club venues are loud and crowded and the music spins invariably suck. Bermuda. I was in Bermuda years ago and it has lost some of its color and peaceful simplicity. Despite warnings left and right from other reviewers and the ship itself -- ya see, the cruise lines get commissioned from every little sale of souvenir or food bought at the newly renovated and overly-priced tourist trap venues at the Royal Dockyard -- , we rented scooters to see the island at our leisure. It was not a pleasant experience as it had been in the past: 35mph is BS -- people drive aggressively and well over the mph. Oleander bike rentals, although kind, I fear are treading water as their cycles are PsOS and are not designed to physically handle the roads there anymore. I was hoping to be a safe roadster and was envious of other better-built vehicles/ riders I saw. You do take a chance doing this and injuries do/ did occur. We were lucky not to get killed or maimed but were equally lucky to see the northern parishes and the GIbbs Lighthouse --- and don't miss the Zoo, best place ever -- before scootering became too stressful to bear with the traffic and speed. We took the ferry back from Hamilton, bikes in tow We also heard of terrifying bus rides around the island. Take the ferries and take taxis is your best bet...or walk-- which this week it was too god-awful hot and humid, impeding further travels about the island. The views of the sea remain breath-taking. St. George upholds its historical charm -- please don't miss out on the culture of Bermuda. It is fascinating. Forego just shopping and treat yourself to some history. The cost of touring Bermuda -- that hasn't changed obviously. It's an expensive place to let go in. If you have it, go for it. We lucked out on self-assist disembarkation and made our way from the stateroom just as they announced for you to go to your assigned area, --- try to avoid the Central elevators and walk to fore or aft of ship lifts. Don't go early or you will be stuck in the back of the line when they call for exiting the ship. Everyone needs patience during this. Customs was a breeze thanks to expediters at the port. Sailing is a dream. Sailing out of NJ is great not having to fly to a port. Best moments are moonlit late nights on the bow or sky deck or off your balcony and being mesmerized by the water and waves. We saw wonderful lightning storms over the sea. Having convenient food is helpful even if it isn't gourmet. Cruising is still a great value and this 5-nighter slowed down time enough to make me not grouse about the money we spent. It isn't what it used to be, but despite having an okay experience, next time I will be more selective. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Just got in from our 5 day Explorer of the Seas trip to Bermuda and figured I would post a review before the memories fade! Before I begin, I'm generally not one to focus on the negatives. This cruise had a lot of them, however. ... Read More
Just got in from our 5 day Explorer of the Seas trip to Bermuda and figured I would post a review before the memories fade! Before I begin, I'm generally not one to focus on the negatives. This cruise had a lot of them, however. Embarkation: For us it was a breeze. We left CT at 8:30 am and arrived at the port around 10 am. We hopped out, dropped off our luggage and were placed in a line to board a shuttle to the ship. The shuttle ride is approximately 5 minutes. Once at the ship, we went through security and were on the ship by 11. A number of people we met who arrived at noon (RCCL's suggested arrival time) said they had to wait in about 45 minutes of traffic getting into the port. I purchased the Ultimate Package for drinks, which I will probably do again. It cost $55 per day, and includes everything at the bar, including Red Bull and other non-alcoholic drinks. It also included Starbucks coffee, which I found to be disappointing because they don't have fresh brewed Starbucks - it's Americano style with espresso and water. I tried the Seattle's Best brewed coffee provided at no cost, and it was repulsive. There were serve yourself soda/juice machines around the ship (Promenade and Windjammer) for those who purchased the packages, which was excellent. I wondered how they knew the RCCL cup Service on board the ship was extremely slow pretty much everywhere. I read about this in reviews and thought "it can't be THAT bad", but it was. Bar service: They had one bartender most days at each pool bar, who was left to serve the entire deck since nobody was walking around offering drinks. A few times, I had to wait at the bar for 20-30 minutes. I'm a patient person but, wow, this was not what I'm used to when on vacation. I felt awful for the lone bartender because rude passengers would make comments to him and, clearly, it's not his fault. Dining room service: We had the pleasure of being served by quite possibly the most miserable server at sea. He did not smile, he did not enjoy friendly conversation, and the last day, he did not join the other servers to sing (we don't care about the singing, but it was clear he just did not want to be there). The service was incredibly slow. Stateroom service: Amazing. Jarson was fantastic and went over the top to ensure our needs were met. The only issue we had was trying to get our clothes pressed for formal night - they arrived at 5:30 PM when dinner was at 6. A little too close for comfort. Food was not great. Windjammer food was absolutely disgusting. I read previous reviews about how wonderful the Windjammer food was. No way. The burgers were dry, fries had a strange taste, and the pizza was soggy and awful. Dining room food was good. Not excellent, but good. Portion sizes were very small, and I asked a few times to have two meals brought to me. Room service food was decent. Johnny Rockets was very good, but it will cost you a bit. Ship was nice, but she needs her dry dock soon. The public areas - with exception to the public bathrooms - were kept clean. The bathrooms were simply disgusting - I don't know if it's because of the passengers or the lack of crew to tackle the issue. The carpet in the stateroom hallways, and in the staterooms, need to be torn up. There were many stains on the carpet in our stateroom, but we had an inside room so we rarely spent time there anyway - it didn't bother us at all. I'm not sure why but, overnight, our stateroom became extremely hot. That being said, our room felt quite large for an inside, and the location was great! Disembarkation was pretty easy. We did the express walk off at 8 AM. Carried our luggage out and in 30 minutes, we were off the ship. Overall, the cruise was mediocre. I do feel on this ship, we were offered a subpar experience and in order to obtain good steak or good coffee, we had to pay extra. I will definitely cruise on RCCL again, but definitely not on the Explorer. The ship needs a huge overhaul, and not just in looks. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
First off waited 2 hours to embark the ship, the stateroom was disgusting dirty, old TV, no hot water and LOUD NOISE AND VIBRATION due to engine and propeller problems. The cruise was crowded. Sitting dinner was difficult, the buffet was ... Read More
First off waited 2 hours to embark the ship, the stateroom was disgusting dirty, old TV, no hot water and LOUD NOISE AND VIBRATION due to engine and propeller problems. The cruise was crowded. Sitting dinner was difficult, the buffet was horrible, and the service was extremely slow and unhelpful. Everyone seemed miserable but that didn't stop the cruise employees from hustling more money from cruisers. $67 for bingo, $14 for drinks, and barely any activities. Internet was expense and very slow if it worked at all. It rained the entire trip and the engine and propeller BROKE cause trip shortened. YES THIS OLD SHIP HAD MALFUNCTIONED CAUSING ENDLESS STRONG SHAKING AND VIBRATION IN THE ROOMS. IMPOSSIBLE to sleep. I also got food poisoning. Instead of 3 days in Bermuda we had 6 hours. Customer service quality was the worst experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Background information: Me-32 Wife-28, traveling with 12 family members, been on one cruise prior (Carnival) Hotel information: N/A, we drove to port from home Ship information: Largest ship I've ever been on, awesome layout and ... Read More
Background information: Me-32 Wife-28, traveling with 12 family members, been on one cruise prior (Carnival) Hotel information: N/A, we drove to port from home Ship information: Largest ship I've ever been on, awesome layout and design, overall a very attractive ship with lots to offer, there are some signs of age and a few dated looking features but I wouldn't have really noticed had I not read reviews prior to sailing. We did have an issue with an azipod going down and a hurricane chasing our butt but I'll elaborate more on that in the summary. Activities: 50% of all activities were trials and sales pitches, the only half was actual things to do which I would call "enough". We got caught in the Quest game (still embarrassed), saw the farewell show and a few other things. All were well done. Service: Exceptional. I was thoroughly impressed with all levels of service, cleaning crew always working (especially in buffet/mdr), room steward, chefs, various service and management. Every interaction was pleasant. Port & shore excursions: Rained out, we were planning on mopeds to Horseshoe, instead we trekked to Snorkel beach for a few hours. Water was great, plenty of fish and hardly any crowds due to winds and rain. Travel to embarkation Port: One of the worst travel experiences of my life. NO OFFICIAL SIGNS on how to get to port, i.e road signs off the ground. There are very few "signs" at all. Some are wheeled, others were picketed signs stuck in the ground but the areas are completely over grown and covered by grass, you can't see arrows on the signs until it's too late. This is why people hate Jersey! Bayonne is in horrible shape as they built a real port, dirt roads, inefficient long car lines, 40 min wait for buses just to cart you LITERALLY 100 yards away to the boat from check-in. Speaking of check-in, it was a make shift setup using laptops that ended up going down while we were in line, causing a 1hr delay. Just a horrible rotten experience, worthy of altering trip plans or delaying a vacation from this port. Cabin: Excellent. We had an interior stateroom on Deck 6, it was clean and spacious due to smart design (tons of storage in closet and drawers). It was in overall excellent shape with no chips, cracks, stains. The bed and pillows were surprisingly comfortable and a real treat after a long night of boozing, gambling and dancing. Shower had strong, consistent pressure. Stanley our Room Steward was excellent. Only issue we could complain about would be some rattling due to the aforementioned azipod issue. Once that was resolved, so was the rattling. Dining: Excellent. We lived off Windjammer breakfasts/snacks, Main Dining Room dinners and late night Cafe Promenade snacks. WJ had pretty good food overall, everything was fresh looking and tasting. The best being their cooked to order items (Omelets, stir fry). Absolutely nothing looked or tasted "disgusting or nasty" but you sometimes wonder what "Fried Fish" actually is. The MDR was very good food with top notch service from Benjamin and Mario. Everything was fresh and delicious, portions vary depending on what you order. The salmon was small and the steaks were big, you can order more but realize you're getting the whole plate, not an extra piece (learned that the hard way). Eat at 5:30 and you'll be treated to instant sit down and serving, every night we left our table around 7 and watched as 100 people sat outside the MDR, pissed and starving. Cafe Promenade was the best, our late night haven for truly good pizza and delicious olive bread foccacia sandwiches. We stopped there every night after the casino and met a lot of great....drunk people. Children's clubs: No children but we traveled with 1 infant, not a lot for them to do, much more form the 4-10 crowd. Entertainment: What we saw was great, I got roped into the Quest game show and anyone who's seen it knows how it ends, I had to dance....lol. The farewell show in the theater was solid, funny comedian, good band, worth the time. The Cruise Director Leigh and TT were solid, Leigh is funny and fit for the job. Lots of good little bands across the ship most nights in the bars, the Latin band on deck 4 in front of the casino was really good. Lots of stuff always going on in the Promenade, looks just like an indoor mall, it was definitely, "the place to be". Disembarkation: Family elected to wait out the crowds , it was much, much easier and straightforward then embarkation. Summary: Overall I'd give my experience on the ship a 9/10. It would have been damn near perfect had we not lost an azipod and stopped in the middle of the Atlantic for an hour, sort of nerve racking for a green cruiser. There was also a septic issue with the boat as well, many people (including one of my family members) bathrooms stunk horribly and 1 section in our hallway always had a hint of septic smell, but it didn't effect anything I did. For the trouble with the azipod we were given a $200 credit we could use or cash out on, we though this was accommodating seeing as it only cost us a couple hours in Bermuda. Excellent food, excellent service, attentive staff and a brilliant layout/design really made this a cruise to remember. Sure, we got chased out by a hurricane and had to leave early but that was no fault of the cruise line. I'm glad Captain Jack kept us in the loop and had the know how to make that call and keep us safely out of it's distance. I would absolutely recommend this cruise line and ship. It's my understanding this ship is getting an overhaul in 2015, I'll be very interested to see how it's updated and what it'll have to offer, we'd love to cruise it again someday. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
I chose to take a cruise to celebrate my 40 th birthday this past June. Me and my daughter decide to go to Bermuda but when we arrive there a hurricane hit Bermuda and to leave early. The captain and the staff kept us update to date on ... Read More
I chose to take a cruise to celebrate my 40 th birthday this past June. Me and my daughter decide to go to Bermuda but when we arrive there a hurricane hit Bermuda and to leave early. The captain and the staff kept us update to date on everything that was going on. We left early but no matter what we had a blast. This is the best cruise I've ever gone on. All the staff went from point a to point z in customer service. The food was delicious and non stop. The entertainers and shows were continuous and fun! I chose My Time dining, I want to saw thank you to everyone especially Angelo and Michael! You Rock!!!! Leigh and T T was very enteraining and informative. The buffet staff was very friendly and helpful. The person who cleaned my room was very helpful and nice. If but I only wish that they had a juice bar for people who workout but otherwise I will recommed Explorers of the Seas to my friend! And to anyone who talks negative, ITS NOT TRUE! Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
My family traveled on the 5-Day Bermuda cruise out of Cape Liberty on August 2014. We have sailed on many river and ocean cruises before and have been on 7 previous Royal Caribbean cruises prior to this voyage. Our family comes together ... Read More
My family traveled on the 5-Day Bermuda cruise out of Cape Liberty on August 2014. We have sailed on many river and ocean cruises before and have been on 7 previous Royal Caribbean cruises prior to this voyage. Our family comes together only once a year and coordinating so many people's schedules (14 in total) made this vacation truly important. Needless to say, we were massively disappointed in the travel vacation and felt that our vacation was not worth it (spent $7000 for 6 of our party, not including on-board spending and tips). First, the good. The service level was acceptable. Despite our cabins' worn look, our cabin attendant was very friendly and service levels for evening dining was very good. In essence, the crew members that we had the most contact with (housekeeping & dining) did a great job in cleaning and delivering their service. Their professionalism and smiles were on par with our expectations. In addition, we have to say the fitness center and sport facilities were on-par and adequate for active travelers. We liked the quality of the commercial treadmills (LifeFitness 95T) and felt the spin and bootcamp classes were good with a large studio located on the 11th Floor for classes. Did not have much interaction with the Cruise Director so have no comments there. Now for the negatives. Embarkation was a nightmare. We arrived at Cape Liberty around 12:10pm and essentially hit rush hour for embarkation. It literally took us 2 hours and 50 minutes to get onto the ship. We spent about an hour and a half in our car because the passenger dropoff area is the main bottle neck because it is one single lane for cars to get through the passenger area. Subsequently, priority check-in, security, and check-in was another 45 minutes. Afterwards, you had to take a shuttle bus to the one single vessel entrance and then onto the vessel. Once onboard, the chaos that is Windjammer took place. Fellow travelers fighting for tables, trays, forks and elbow room. We were in in Windjammer at 3pm with food service shutting down at 3:15pm in order to get people to their muster stations for the 3:30pm drills. The bedlam and chaos in Windjammer was absolutely unnecessary had the embarkation process not been so bottlenecked. Another problem was the itinerary. Captain on Day 2 informs us that the ship has some engine problems, thus we are going to be 2-3 hours late into port for Day 3. We end up able to disembark around 12:30pm in Hamilton but are informed that the ship has to leave in 18 hours due to Hurricane Cristobol. Here was our biggest peeve: we were essentially cut short one day in Bermuda. First, we arrived 3 hours late to port and then we essentially have less than 12 hours in port. Captain says ship will depart at 7am but this is essentially telling everyone to be onboard that night. Kings Wharf was a washout due to the rain. Couldn't see much in Hamilton because it just rained and rained. Staff in King's Wharf didn't provide much guidance as the info centers were packed from people trying to stay out of the torrential rain. The ship's public areas itself seemed small and worn. Our cabin was fine and housekeeping did as good a job keeping the cabins clean and maintained. But the swimming pool is too small for 3000+ passengers. Only one swimming area and it was just CROWDED all the time. In addition, the swimming pool is next to the smoking area and the non-smoking area did not have enough seats as people were taking several beach chairs at one time. There were no water slides for our kids and with the pool at 1.7m (5'6" feet), our kids couldn't even go swimming on our last sea day. The biggest problem we had, however, was the food. The food lacked variety and we just got sick of the dishes. This 5-day vacation in essence turned to 4 Days-At-Sea. Windjammer's cleanliness bordered on inhumane as there was the constant "vomit" smell in the buffet area. The plates or dishes smelled like vomit. The whole appearance of the buffet just didn't appear sanitary or appetizing as we had kids/people grabbing at the food with their barehands and service staff not keeping the buffet tables clean enough during meal times. Main dining room service was slow in the morning to take orders, serve coffee, and simply pour water. Lunchtime, the Main Dining Room menu was uninspired and what annoyed me was how petty the Make-it-yourself Salad bar chefs were. On two separate occasions, I asked the Chef Salad crew member for more mozzarella balls and Prosciutoo and on both occassions he grunted and gave me two small two mozzarella balls and a SINGLE EXTRA SLICE of Prosciutto... A SINGLE SLICE. Given that the Explorer of the Seas did not have many extracurricular activities, we were bored and just turned off from the cruise vacation. What makes us very upset is we spent $7000 for this vacation. This cruise vacation was NOT worth $7000- not for 4 Days at Sea, not for dirty food and crowded swimming pools. RCCL gave a $200 voucher for the inconvenience for the shortened stay in Bermuda but considering that tipping/gratuities was $500 alone, it hardly made our trip worthwhile. We just felt ripped off on this trip. From the nickle-and-diming at the salad bar, to the $67 Bingo Machines and paying for everything on the ship ON TOP of our $7000 vacation, this was just about as bad as it got. We had three future RCCL trips scheduled and will be cancelling at least one of them at this point. Hopefully after some time has passed, our view may change. But at this point, we are leaning towards our vacations on Disney Cruises and NCL. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
we are just returning from a 5 day trip to hell, oops, Bermuda and back. we never made our excursion as we were more than 3 hours late do to a propulsion problem. it rained the entire first day once we got thee. the 2nd day we left early ... Read More
we are just returning from a 5 day trip to hell, oops, Bermuda and back. we never made our excursion as we were more than 3 hours late do to a propulsion problem. it rained the entire first day once we got thee. the 2nd day we left early due to Hurricane Cristobal heading our way. We had more than 900 little children on board so imagine what fun it was for two days on board with nothing much planned for anyone over 50. It looked like Carnival cruise Lines! At least carnival has a program for kids to keep them entertained most of the day. Cant say much for RCL in that area. Warning: If you have any business to attend to while on board be aware there is NO WI FI IN YOUR CABINS. you must go to a hot spot area. As we all know internet service on board is slow, but without cabin wi fi it became a task an my spouse was not a happy camper. It took way more than an hour to embark due to all the construction in the area. they are building a new terminal here it looks like. Also for those of us that are Platinum travelers there is non priority window at the pursers desk. and the wait in line can become ridiculous too say the least. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS SHIP TO ANY EXPERIENCE RCL TRAVELER UNTIL IT GOES TO DRY DOCK I THINK IN MARCH. YOU WILL BE DISAPPOINTED   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was our 6th trip to Bermuda and second cruise on the Explorer of the Seas. We had previously cruised to Bermuda once on the Voyager of the Seas and twice on the Norwegian Dawn. We also stopped at Bermuda on other extended itineraries ... Read More
This was our 6th trip to Bermuda and second cruise on the Explorer of the Seas. We had previously cruised to Bermuda once on the Voyager of the Seas and twice on the Norwegian Dawn. We also stopped at Bermuda on other extended itineraries on the Voyager of the Seas and the Crown Princes. My wife and I have been on 20 cruises since we started cruising in 2013. Five of us traveled on this cruise: My wife, college aged son and I were in one cabin and my 2 sisters in the adjoining balcony. Since this was a 5 day cruise we packed light. Each of us had a standard carry on and a backpack and still felt over packed. Without luggage to drop off, we arrived at the port at 10 A.M., parked and checked in very quickly. Since we had a friend who worked at the port we were able to go to the VIP lounge and get priority boarding. The VIP lounge at Cape Liberty (Bayonne) has nice chairs, but other than that, there is nothing VIP about it. Maybe it will be better when the new terminal is completed for the Quantum of the Seas. Once it was time to board we took the shuttle bus to the ship. Immediately upon boarding a crewmember recommended we go to the dining hall and make reservations since we had my time dining. We did so and selected a 5:45 dining time at the same table each night, thus making it more like early dining instead of my time dining. This worked out well since we wanted early dining, but it was already filled when we booked our cruise. We ended up getting a round table for the 5 of us with a great location right by a window on the port side of the ship. Next we went to the Windjammer for lunch. Having early boarding meant there were no lines and plenty of tables. The Windjammer offers a great variety food, some good, some just ok. The best item that day was the carved, melt in your mouth pot roast. This would be our only time using the Windjammer. We preferred long, leisurely dinners together in the dining room as well as lunches there. As we anticipated our cruise, our son was looking forward to dinners together more than anything else. We were looking forward to leisurely dinners with great conversations as well, so all our dinners would be in the main dining room. Following lunch we enjoyed some frozen yogurt out on the pool deck while waiting for our cabin to become available. Once the announcement was made we went to our cabins on deck 7 mid ship starboard, a few doors down from the library. Great location. First thing we noticed is that when you have adjoining cabins, you have a chair instead of the normal couch because a couch would block the door connecting the cabins. Also noted that we had nice Samsung flat screens. Not all cabins on the Explorer have flat screens. Old technology is being replaced when needed. The next thing we noticed was a checklist on the bed. This is the first ime we have seen this and it makes so much sense. Using the checklist, we noted that the pull down bed should be opened, that we needed ice each day, and requested robes. This list is also used for your bed configuration, together or apart. You fill out the checklist and leave it on the bed for the steward. This is a great idea because you often don’t get to meet your steward on the first day. Our cabin was kept immaculate by our steward. One day he asked us, after cleaning, if we would mind not leaving anything around after cleaning as senior staff was inspecting his work that day. We gladly complied. Muster drill on the Explorer is done under the lifeboats, which I think is better than going to a lounge like some ships do. This way you really know where to go in an emergency. At the end of muster, our American/Canadian Captain welcomed us aboard for our cruise to beautiful Hawaii!! This captain had an incredible sense of humor and, unlike other captains we’ve had, enjoyed the microphone. His day two report involved more comedy including letting us know that our current position was “on the ocean”. Once muster ended it was off to the bow heliport for sail away. What great views you get from this spot. First night dinner’s best choice was the prime rib. It was cooked perfectly and melted in my mouth. Our server Nepthale, and his assistant Mario were absolutely incredible. We were never without rolls or water. In fact, our water glasses were never less than half full. Nepthale was also great with our 21 year old son who wanted and did try everything, each night ordering 3 appetizers, 2 or 3 main courses and 2 desserts. And sometimes Nepthale would bring him a 4th entrée so he could try something else! And my son finished everything he ordered!! Royal’s food is top notch and better than some other mass cruise line fare. The menu offers great options making it sometimes difficult to choose. Of course you can order what you want, so if you think two (or more) items look good, go ahead and order them. You are on vacation. Several times my wife and I would order different items to share and a third item between us. The welcome aboard show included one dance number and a comedian named Don Gavin who was somewhat funny, but not memorable. As a matter of fact, the overall entertainment on this cruise was extremely week with only one production show and 4 nights of so-so comedians. No magicians, no hypnotists, just comedians. The best show on this ship is still the ice show, which had the same theme as 3 years ago when we were on this ship. One nice thing is that you no longer wait in line to grab tickets to the ice show. You are assigned to a show based on your muster station. So much simpler. Day two was a sea day. I love these and spend much of the day reading on promenade deck 4. I dislike the fact that many of the newer ships have done away with this deck in order to maximize revenue producing venues. This wrap around promenade with shuffle board courts is perfect for a leisurely stroll, reading, or just sitting and watching the ocean go by in a quiet place without all the noise of the pool deck. We also took advantage of the great weather and very smooth seas to play some mini golf on the sports deck. Breakfast was in the dining room. The menu consists of typical breakfast foods that are available each day along with two daily specials. The French toast is excellent! There is also a fruit, cereal and yogurt bar where you can select additional items. For lunch, this becomes a salad bar where you pick out the items you want in your salad and it is prepared for you assembly line style. The lunch menu is similar to the breakfast menu in that it has every day items and a couple of specials each day. I would suggest you avoid the pasta of the day at all costs because it is overcooked and chewy. If you order it anyway, get the red sauce, which is excellent and avoid the white, very bland, cream sauce. On the morning of day 3 we arrived at King’s Warf in Bermuda. The Norwegian Dawn was already in port when we got in. Our plan was to take a ferry to St Georges for the day and then a bus to St. David’s. Unfortunately, the ship was not cleared quickly enough by immigration for us to catch the ferry and we would have a 2 hour wait for the next one, so we took the ferry to Hamilton instead, walked around Front street and a couple of parks before boarding a bus to St. Georges. The ferry and bus system in Bermuda is economical and easy to use. I just wish their schedules were more frequent. You really don’t need an excursion on this island. Weather was humid, but not too hot. Once at St. Georges we headed down to the waterfront for the historical reenactment of the dunking chair punishment. This is held at noon each day during the summer months and the cast does a great job. I had seen it before and expected it to be fun. What I didn’t expect is that they now use a “volunteer” to play the town drunk and I was drafted for the part (fortunately the town drunk does not get dunked). I was coached on my lines and enjoyed being part of it, although I think my wife and son enjoyed it more as I was arrested and tied to a post. In the end we got some nice photos and a big wet hug from the woman who was dunked, so I did end up getting wet. Afterwards we had local fish sandwiches at a place called GoJos before hopping on the ferry back to the ship. It rained on the trip back, but we did not get wet. On day 4 we decided to stay around the dockyard. It was very humid out, but we wanted to try Fun Golf, a new miniature golf course right next to Snorkel Park, a lovely beach. The golf was somewhat expensive at $15 per person but well worth it. It truly is one of the best mini golf courses I have ever played: 18 holes modeled after some of the most famous golf courses around the world, including sand traps and water traps, all with a great view of the Atlantic! The owner of the course told me that a good score would be anything around 65 so I was pleased to get a 60 while my competitor family members all got on the 70s and 80s. After golf we went to the nearby Clock Tower Mall and did a little shopping before heading back to the ship. As we got back to the ship it started raining. Upon entering the ship you must remove sunglasses and hat for security. While waiting to board the elevator, my wife noticed that somewhere, in the course of the day, she had lost a favorite earing. Another passenger heard her disappointment and directed us back to security where the earing had come off when she removed her hat. They had placed it in an envelope for lost and found. Crisis averted. Once on the ship we decided to get lunch at Johnny Rockets. There is a $5.95 service charge and a fee for drinks or milkshakes, but everything else is included. They serve you onion rings and fries as soon as you sit down. Food and service are excellent here. After lunch it was back to promenade deck 4 to read and watch people run back to the ship in heavy downpours and gale force winds that reminded us of late afternoon Florida rains. With departure set for 5 P.M. and all back on board by 4:30, under sunny skies, we watched the ship pull her lines in and begin sail away at 4:35. Shortly afterwards, the Norwegian Dawn began to follow on its trip back to Boston. Looking back we could see the sun disappear behind clouds and more heavy rain that we had avoided by leaving early. Later that night, after a wonderful dinner of lobster and prime rib, and not so funny comedy show, we saw the Norwegian Breakaway in the distance, lit brightly and headed to Bermuda from New York. Day 5, our last day, would be a sea day. Seas were slight and you could barely feel any motion. This was a disappointment because I like the rocking motion at sea and this cruise was just too smooth. Again, much of the day was spent reading and enjoying the treats of the Royal Promenade Café where fruit, pizza, small sandwiches, fresh baked cookies and coffee are available 24 hours per day. We would laugh at the people spending $4 and up for Starbucks in this area when Seattle’s Best (a Starbucks brand) was equally good and free. After our last dinner on board we went to the Bon Voyage show. We had missed the farewell parade in the Royal Promenade because it was scheduled at our dinner time. The last show always has the crew represented, which is great, because the crew on this ship always offers incredible service. After 20 cruises on all the major lines I can say the Explorer of the Seas offers, without a doubt, the best service of any ship. The show itself was once again a lackluster comedian. Once the show was over, I stopped yawning, woke up and played some shuffleboard on deck with my family before heading to the cabin to begin packing. Packing would actually be quite simple with just carry on luggage. We do not gamble, so I cannot review the casino. And none of us drink, so I cannot review the bars. For us cruising is about relaxing, unplugging, and enjoying family. We did have $50 onboard credit which we actually had trouble spending but managed to use it for our Johnny Rockets fee and several souvenirs. We couldn’t help but smile the last morning as people were going through pages and pages of on board expenses and we had none. Arriving home in New York Harbor is always fun. We woke up early and watched from our balcony as we got closer and closer to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, while looking at Brooklyn and Queens in the distance and watching planes fly into Kennedy Airport as the sun came up. Took our cell phones out of the room safe and began to reconnect. There would be close to a thousand emails to deal with later in the day. Posted on Facebook that we would soon be home. Facebook gave my location as the nude beach at Sandy Hook! We got dressed and went to our last breakfast in the dining room, which was good as usual. Once finished we went to our cabin, watched the ship dock, finished getting ready and headed to the lounge to wait for the announcement that those doing self assist could leave. This became the only real frustrating part of the cruise. Though well organized, this process was extremely slow due to the logistics of the shuttle buses taking you from the ship to the terminal. The last time we cruised on the Explorer, you got off and waited in a holding area for the shuttles. This time, because of the new terminal construction, there was no holding area. The shuttles came one at a time right to the ship. This made the process extra slow as the line backed up the stairs and elevator areas in the ship itself. It took us about an hour and a half standing in line waiting to get off. I felt bad for families with young children who were antsy with so much waiting in crowds. And this was the easy self assist! This will not be a problem once the new terminal is completed and the shuttles are no longer needed. Once off the ship, we got into our car in the parking lot and were home within 30 minutes, wishing that we were embarking. Now we are dreaming about our next cruise in October on the Coral Princes to the Panama Canal. The Explorer of the Seas is an older ship, but still a wonderful, clean and well maintained ship with a great crew. It may not have all the bells and whistles of the newer stock, but it does provide a wonderful cruise experience with plenty to do, or not do, depending on your interests.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This is our 8th cruise, the 6th with Royal Caribbean, 4th on the Explorer of the Seas. We traveled with a group of 8, 4 cabins. Our ages ranged from 19 to 75. Getting on the cruise was a nightmare. When we reached the cruise port at ... Read More
This is our 8th cruise, the 6th with Royal Caribbean, 4th on the Explorer of the Seas. We traveled with a group of 8, 4 cabins. Our ages ranged from 19 to 75. Getting on the cruise was a nightmare. When we reached the cruise port at Bayonne, we waited 1 hour in a line of traffic to drop off our suitcases. Only half of the car ports were open due to a lack of staffing. Then another 20-30 minutes to park because only one line to the parking lot was open. Getting off of the ship was worse. We and about 1000 other cruisers were stuck in an extremely packed line for up to 2 hours. People were bickering and getting frustrated. Worse cruise disembarkation ever. When we finally were able to get off the boat, we realized why the line inside was not moving. There were not enough buses to transport the people to the luggage area. Getting on and getting off the boat was the worst example of customer service I have ever seen. Cruise was full to capacity. Could not change our dining room table that was placed in the doorway. Everywhere was just too crowded and service suffered. On the positive side, the food was good and our stateroom attendant was nice. Cruise director was great.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Got back last week from yet another fantastic cruise on the Explorer, a five nighter to Bermuda. The only real downside was getting to the port. The Bayonne bridge is closed on weekends for construction so I decided to cut through ... Read More
Got back last week from yet another fantastic cruise on the Explorer, a five nighter to Bermuda. The only real downside was getting to the port. The Bayonne bridge is closed on weekends for construction so I decided to cut through Manhattan. Huge mistake. I figured that Saturday morning traffic wouldn't be bad but I forgot one thing-NYC has parades nearly every weekend and it's a nightmare trying to find your way around them. I would recommend taking the GWB and bypassing Manhattan. Once we finally got there, we did have to wait through a long line of cars to drop off our luggage with the porters, took about 30 minutes. After we parked however, and things were in the hands of Royal, things rolled right along. From the time we parked to the time we boarded was under 15 minutes. And one minor advantage to the long delay getting to the ship was that we had immediate access to our stateroom. I booked an aft corner stateroom-9390, and had ordered decoration since we were celebrating my wife's birthday and out anniversary. The decorations were nicely done. The cabin itself is a good one. It's a little wider than the other balconies I've been in, and the balcony itself is also a bit bigger. It's got a bit of a funny layout because the railing is canted inward, which takes away a bit of standing room but is fine to stretch your legs under in the lounger. Once again, the food was first rate, from the selections in Windjammer, sandwiches on the promenade, to the fine meals in the MDR. The bartenders were quick to fill orders and made some nice strong drinks. I also finally found the cigar lounge and discovered that its a nice, very quiet place to relax. On to entertainment. Erky was away, he's getting married but his stand-in Titi worked very well with Leigh's brand of wackiness. The love and marriage show was a killer this time around, and I took the bronze in the belly-flop competition. And the ice show, Spirit of the Seasons was terrific even though I had seen it before. The seas were much smoother than our last cruise in April, and the weather was nicer except for a couple of brief showers in Bermuda. Did a helmet dive with Greg Hartley again and it was better than the first time around. I highly recommend it (www.hartleybermuda.com). We also took the sunset cocktail cruise-too cloudy to see the sunset but the unlimited rum swizzles made up for that. The rest of the time was just relaxing on the beach at Snorkel Park. We had dinner at the Bonefish bar and grill. There's nothing like fish that was still swimming the day you're eating it! The rest of the cruise was fun, won a bit in the casino on the first and last nights so that pretty much covered what we spent on shore. It's nice ending a vacation with the same amount of money in your pocket as when you started. Getting off the ship wasn't too bad, everyone's numbers were actually a little ahead of schedule, and traffic leaving wasn't a problem as the bridge was open again. All in all, it was a great time and I'm looking forward to my next cruise on Explorer in December. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Here is our take on our Explorer of the Seas August 9, 2014 5 nighter to Bermuda. We have cruised just once with Royal Caribbean so we figured since we didn’t have priority status we’d arrive at the port after the main rush. We ... Read More
Here is our take on our Explorer of the Seas August 9, 2014 5 nighter to Bermuda. We have cruised just once with Royal Caribbean so we figured since we didn’t have priority status we’d arrive at the port after the main rush. We arrived just after 1:30 to a very long and slow-moving line of cars entering Cape Liberty. After about 15 minutes we got dropped off, handed our bags over to a very uninterested porter, and continued into Security. That line moved quickly as did the very short line for Gold level check-in, and within maybe 15 minutes we were on the bus headed to the ship. This port is still a disaster with the lines and the using of buses to get you to the ship. Hoping this is resolved with the completion of the new terminal. Not sure how the new building will affect the long line you wait in before even getting out of your car or parking, but we’ll see. Our bump-out balcony cabin was small as was expected. The balcony was nice and deep and the furniture on it had seen better days. The back of both chairs was very discolored and dirty. I do wish the chairs reclined somewhat. There was a small table which was handy. Everything in the cabin was in working condition. The safe looked like it had been through a war, yet it worked fine. Carpet is quite worn. Plenty of storage space. The bathroom was tinier than I remembered; you could sit on the toilet and rest your head on the sink at the same time, which may come in handy I suppose. Refrigerator, desk, couch and little table. I thought the bed was ok but my man didn’t care for it. I like that it's right by the sliding glass door. Muster was relatively quick and painless, and we headed to the bow for sailaway. It was a beautiful day for sailaway and we really enjoyed it. Windjammer buffet still gets quite crowded as is expected. Not impressed with the food or the food selection. Wish they had more of a veggie selection than salads. We did find the dinnertime Indian food to be excellent. I discovered coconut ranger cookies and ate a lot of them. We originally had early dining and our SeaPass cards had a sticker showing we were switched to my time dining which was fine. We only ate dinner once in the dining room and the food was just ok. I do like the three story dining room. We had one breakfast in the dining room at a table with others. They did not get our orders right, and everyone else had already eaten their breakfast by the time my omelet arrived. The dining room has decent coffee. Past guest party was in the Maharaja lounge and was very nice. Various drink offerings like punch or some kind of sparkling wine, beer, and juice. Captain sang a few songs. Enjoyed the offering of “What Season Are You?” a color analysis system to identify which colors are most flattering for your skintone. This was big in the 80s but has fallen out of vogue, which is too bad because you really can see the difference the right color makes. It was cool to see the ladies get analyzed, and how the flattering colors contrasted with the unflattering. We also did the martini tasting with Anthony and Denzil one day which was a lot of fun. Also offered was a wine tasting and a few “favorite drinks” tastings where they feature the most popular drinks as samplers. Had fun at the 70s disco tunes competition, but the hostess didn’t seem like she was really into it. Finish the Lyrics lasted a long time and was quite entertaining. That host had fun with the crowd. They need to give better prizes out than a keychain. Bermuda. We took a taxi to Coco Reef the day of arrival and had a wonderful day there. Came back to the ship around 7pm. It poured rain later that evening. The next day the weather looked iffy so we didn’t venture far as we had planned to; took the ferry to Hamilton for a few hours for $8 round trip. Rained, was sunny, rained, was sunny. Sat on our balcony enjoying the evening, and about 10pm or so we saw the NCL Breakaway (fabulous ship!) off our starboard side on their way to Bermuda. (yes, I had binoculars!) Debarkation. We were to report to one of the restaurants to wait for express debarkation or whatever Royal calls it. The ship’s lines were tied just after 8, and at 8:20 it was announced that the ship was cleared and to head to the assigned areas. At 8:25 we were then directed to the stairs to leave. More lines to get off the ship and then a line for the bus. Fortunately the customs/immigration lines in the terminal building moved quickly. We were ready for pickup at 8:45. So despite the lines in the stairwells and for the bus, it was pretty quick. Things we liked: that you could be on the bow for sailaway, the size of the balcony, the coconut ranger cookies, martini tasting, Dizzy’s lounge, Bermuda. The ship interior is decorated very nicely. Did not like: smelling cigarette and cigar smoke on our balcony, worn areas on the ship, crowded pool area (typical of most ships I suppose), the sacred beach towels that have to be signed out (not left in the cabin like other cruise lines do), hosts of some of the games seemed like they just wanted to get it over with, the port itself for embarkation and debarkation (lines everywhere). Being charged after final bill for mini bar items we did not use and having to waste time on the phone with RCI. In 40+ cruises that has never happened before. Other random observations: $7.95 per minute for using the cabin phone. Lobster or filet mignon offerings for an upcharge in the dining rooms (though a nice lobster tail was offered at no additional cost one night and it was tasty). The Windjammer had some of the same options for dinner as the main dining room. Odd that the dinner buffet starts at 6:30pm (late?). Buffet is closed at 9pm for the night. No robes in cabin. Ice cream machines were not always working. Coffee in the buffet is bitter. Liked the machines in the gym. TV had the same shows on all the time, Big Bang Theory, Sex & the City, Mentalist. Needs a better navigational info channel. Why do people leave their outside lights on? The moon was shining off the water so beautifully and yet we had their light ruining the view. I know that people love the Promenade area but it really isn’t that exciting for me. At the past guest party the captain announced that about 1/3 of passengers are C&A members, which meant there were a lot of newbies onboard. The newbies did not care for the hassle of this port--we learned this from some of them as we rode the bus back to the terminal from the ship with them. We assured them that not every port is like this. We did have a nice cruise and enjoyed being on vacation. Read Less
Sail Date August 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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