533 Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

We were a little dissappointed with our St. Maarteen ATV excursion as we were not told that we would be going to Orient Beach for two hours and we didn't bring out suits.Oh French side is nude! Oh well entertainment! Ship is in good ... Read More
We were a little dissappointed with our St. Maarteen ATV excursion as we were not told that we would be going to Orient Beach for two hours and we didn't bring out suits.Oh French side is nude! Oh well entertainment! Ship is in good shape but going into dry dock soon for updates. Showing a little wear. Lived at the Solarium pool as we had no kids with us and it was our anniversary. Staff was good about making sure that no children 16 or younger were there although there were parents who wanted their kids to hang out in the Jacuzzi.No go! Went to the spa for mani & pedi loved it but they are always trying to push Elmeis products & more services.$29 for the mani. Would have liked a bit more times in some of the ports such as one port we got in at 7:00 but the shops didn't open until 10:00 and we had to be back on ship for 3:00 Always love RCCL. Food was good but not great this time but the service in main diningroom was impecible!   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Leaving out of Cape Liberty was very convenient, since we live in CT.  We took the Academy Bus from New London to Bayonne. The itinerary was great, but it was actually three degrees warmer in CT the day we were in Bermuda!  St. Maarten, ... Read More
Leaving out of Cape Liberty was very convenient, since we live in CT.  We took the Academy Bus from New London to Bayonne. The itinerary was great, but it was actually three degrees warmer in CT the day we were in Bermuda!  St. Maarten, San Juan PR and Labadee Haiti were all very warm.  Highlight for us was the Dragon's Breath Flight Line in Labadee. A little expensive, but worth it! Our cabin was ample and clean, but the furniture was showing its age and the sofa was stained.  Our steward was fabulous and we never had any issues. The ship is showing her age, but the staff was warm and helpful. Most of the shows were very good.  My only complaint was the fact that there were several areas on the ship where smoking is allowed, including the casino. There was one area designated as "no smoking", but since it was not walled off from the rest of the casino, it stunk as much as the rest. The smoke also makes its way up a staircase to the Royal Promenade one deck above. This was my first time on RCI. I might travel out of Bayonne (Cape Liberty) again in the future, but only in warmer months. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This was our 5th cruise (4th with RCL) and the worst one so far. Will never take another RCL cruise! The embarkation and disembarkation was easy and fast. Our excursions at all ports were great! The problem was that out of 3600 guests, ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise (4th with RCL) and the worst one so far. Will never take another RCL cruise! The embarkation and disembarkation was easy and fast. Our excursions at all ports were great! The problem was that out of 3600 guests, over 1200 were kids from NY and NJ that ranged in age 17 and under. Being from Missouri, did not know that spring break for schools in NJ and NY and that lots of parents took their kids on cruises. We thought that if we waited until college spring breaks were over that we would be safe! Nope. The kids were wild and unruly, loud and obnoxious, not to mention rude. Their parents must have just let them run wild on the ship. Groups of the older kids were yelling and being disruptive in all areas of the ship, especially in dining rooms! Wasting and throwing food, disgusting behavior! Very hard to have a nice quiet meal. They were running in and out of the bars and casino (places you thought were off limits for anyone under 21 (or at least 18). There was no control from the ship staff whatsoever, not even the officers. The kids were not asked or told to calm down or to respect other people. The captain, on several occasions, had to remind the adults/parents, not to buy or give alcohol to minors! Even at the so called "adult" games and karaoke, there were kids in the venues. No adult supervision at all. A lot of the adults were just as rude as the kids. Guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! The ship itself was very dirty, inside and out. We found out after boarding the ship, that it was scheduled for dry dock in August for rehab. So I guess they felt that there was no use in keeping the ship clean when it was on its way to be rehabbed. That's a shame for all us passengers that paid good money for a vacation where we expect to have a nice clean ship. Our cabin was kept clean by our stateroom attendant (Duane), but the pictures all had swipe marks on them that looked like they were made with a dirty cloth. Our balcony was filthy and the chairs were very worn, paint chipping off railings and walls. The mattress on the bed was so worn it had valleys in it. On the second day, after waking up with backaches, we had to ask a supervisor to see if they could put a different mattress on the frame. We got an added mattress pad! The food was disappointing as well. No flavor, very bland. The dining room had very little selection to menu, not much that we liked. Ended up eating a Johnny Rockets on 3 occasions, due to the lack of variety and no taste of dining room food and in Windjammer. Got better food at ports of call. RCL brags about their food and cleanliness of their ships! Nope, not on The Explorer! We were asked to fill out a survey within the first week after disembarkation, which we did. No response from RCL at all. Which, gives me another reason to believe they do not care about their guests, just the $$$ they get from them. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This is my second cruise with RCCL. My first cruise was on the Oasis. Booking the Explorer I knew I was going on a smaller, older ship but as a resident of Connecticut, embarking from Bayonne was so much more convenient than flying to ... Read More
This is my second cruise with RCCL. My first cruise was on the Oasis. Booking the Explorer I knew I was going on a smaller, older ship but as a resident of Connecticut, embarking from Bayonne was so much more convenient than flying to Florida. Even still, I expected the quality of food and entertainment to be the same but it wasn't. The Dining Room food was mediocre. The waitstaff was incredible and tried their hardest to please us, but they have no control what comes out of the kitchen. The Windjammer food was good. We dined at Portofino twice and the food was superb there..worth the extra cost. The bar staff was friendly and I am amazed how they learn names so quickly. Many of the live shows were good, but not excellent. We were with a group of 14 and we had blast together. Loved all the ports, wish we had more time in San Juan. Getting back to the ship by 1:30 PM made it difficult to book a fun excursion. Labadee was beautiful and I highly recommend the WaveJet tour. The zip-line is fun over the water but it's only 1 zip!!!! If you plan to zip-line, do it in Jamaica or Mexico, much better experience. Bermuda was beautiful but we felt rushed as the beach spots and Hamilton take too much time to get to and from, waiting for ferries and buses. St. Maarten is incredibly beautiful and we booked a boating excursion (not through RCCL) with Soualiga Destinations that took around the island snorkeling, sight -seeing and to beautiful beaches. Great excursion! The spa treatments were good but pricey and I disliked the staff pushing the products so aggressively--I know it's their job but I had two facials done on separate days and was recommended completely different products each time. The Explorer offered tons of activities throughout the day and night that is appealing to all. It was hard to choose which one to experience! Our stateroom attendant was great! Cheerful and greeted us by name every day. I read the Explorer is getting upgraded this fall. Doubt it if I'll book Explorer again...hoping for the Allure or Oasis comes to Bayonne! Quantum is too expensive for me right now...maybe in a few years, the rates will drop. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We traveled from Rochester NY the day before and stayed at the Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suite at the airport.Not much around there but we took cold cuts for dinner and just stayed at the pool nice and clean $230.we got to park our car ... Read More
We traveled from Rochester NY the day before and stayed at the Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suite at the airport.Not much around there but we took cold cuts for dinner and just stayed at the pool nice and clean $230.we got to park our car for 10 days at the hotel one nights stay and buffet in the morning. We used Independent Driver for our transfer to the port right on time $55.00 for four adults each way very nice service and large van they also picked us up as planned when we got back to port 888-816-0973 Highly suggest over cab service a 15 min ride back to the hotel was 1 hr due to a truck rolled over no extra charge flat rate a cab would have been big $$$$. Getting onto the ship was different they check you in and then you take a bus 200 yards to the ship and get on guess they are building a new terminal things will change then getting off the ship was very slow never got off till 10:30 back to hotel to pick up the car at 12 and on the road bye 12:30. Ship was very clean but old due to be redone soon crew was very nice and the people that sailed were great avg age around 45 years.Food and dinning was great best head waiter we have ever seen in 21 cruises. cabin stewert he was ok nothing great did his job but nothing more.Entertainment on the ship was just ok alot of music playing in bars and that was about it at night unless you went to the show and they were just ok had a great juggler one night. The ports Samana was poor as always took 2 hours to get on a tender to go ashore just to walk around really suggest a excursion if your going there. St Kitts was great take a cab to the Carambala Beach club $4.00 per person each way no charge at club but $10.00 for chair and $10.00 for umbrella nice beach sandy clean high class Drinks at club a little more then avg good food and clean bathrooms. St Marteen We got off the water taxi at center of town went right 200 yds to the 0ne love bar $20.00 for 2 chairs umbrella 6 beers or 5 pops or 2 frozen drinks nice clean bathroom and good food, owner and his wife working there tail off beach is good and then you can shop right in town. St Thomas did the Kon Tiki tour No free drinks with booze just rum punch took us to a beach and over a sunken ship with a glass bottom boat a little pricey went shopping in town after that. all in all nice trip good time and alot of nice people better then going out of New York City Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We had a wonderful time aboard the EOS (as always)  The embarkation process was smooth and we were on board by noon on the 11th. Up to Windjammer for lunch as wait for our room to be ready. As promised our cabin (7566) was ready for us ... Read More
We had a wonderful time aboard the EOS (as always)  The embarkation process was smooth and we were on board by noon on the 11th. Up to Windjammer for lunch as wait for our room to be ready. As promised our cabin (7566) was ready for us at 1:30. Cabin was clean and neat, we met our cabin attendant who was very responsive to our needs. (though we didn't need anything as it was all there the way we asked) Luggage arrived shortly there after, so we were able to unpack and dress for dinner. We were fortunate to have pool time on our second day at sea. (first day was cold, but waters were calm) from this point on it was beautiful weather. We have a routine where we go to dinner, then to trivia at the schooner bar, then to the show, then off to dance or party or gamble.......met some wonderful new friends and connected with some previous cruisers. Our island trips were fun ! Getting off and on ship was uneventful !! Cayo Levantado beach in Dominican Republic was beautiful. First time we had gone there, and the water and beach were great. Unfortunately they did not have several of the items that were listed on the excursion description. No paddle boats, No salsa dancing/dancers - had a hole in my snorkel equipment and they wouldn't give me a new one as you can only use each item once, so I opted to float on my raft, which was fun, but overall a nice day. St Thomas was a tour and shopping which was a great time St Kitts - the beach - one we had been to before, warm, beautiful and relaxing. St Marteen - to Orient Beach - were located in the "nicer" chair section this time closer to the volleyball courts. (Previously was way down the beach) - again, warm, fun and beautiful. The currently wasn't too bad this time. Have been there before and current was real bad. so we were able to enjoy the water this time. Back on board for the trip back - once again had great days as sea. Wednesday was a bit windy and rocky, but after last year being in a storm, this was nothing ! Our overall all experience - WE HAD A GREAT TIME ! Shows and parties were fun - have to say my favorite show was the juggler and my favorite party was the 70's....but all others were worth going to. It was our first time going to The Quest.... and I can't believe we never went to one on our other cruises. What a riot !!! We will make sure we go again on our future cruises. We will miss the EOS when she goes in for a makeover. It is the type of ship we like, not t0o big, not too small. Able to run around and be busy or just sit and relax. We do have two complaints about the cruise though and will pass them along to RCCL. 1 - They no longer non smoking nights in the casino - which for us in unfortunate as the smoking in the casino is real thick and we couldn't stay long. There were "non smoking" tables but half the time they were closed. AND they did not have a let it ride not smoking table - oh well there lose as we had money to gamble with ! 2 - People still are smoking on the patios, which caused us to have to close our cabin balcony door often. I understand that most people who smoke like the balcony rooms for this reason, but RCCL needs to either enforce (announce) their new policy OR find ways to group smoking together, so those that smoke can enjoy and those that don't aren't affected by the drifting smoke. Next up ----- we'll have to give the Quantum a try Deb and Steve.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We were on the Norovirus cruise that ended two days early and missed two islands. It was quite sad, not only that we missed so much, but also because of the poor people who were ill. My wife and I remained well, as did all our dinner ... Read More
We were on the Norovirus cruise that ended two days early and missed two islands. It was quite sad, not only that we missed so much, but also because of the poor people who were ill. My wife and I remained well, as did all our dinner tablemates. We were fortunate. Despite the disappointments, the cruise was a good one for us. The weather in St. Thomas and in San Juan was perfect, as was the weather on the days we missed islands. The weather on the way down was , of course, horrendous because of the snow storm. One of the highlights of the cruise was seeing the staff in action during the crisis. They gave their all and remained pleasant while they worked so hard to keep everything sanitized. All staff including performers and others, participated in the cleaning and in the distribution of food in the Windjammer. They all get A+ on effort and effectiveness. The virus cases kept coming down in number everyday. The containment process was successful. One of the reasons the staff might have been so good and involved was the Captain. What a wonderful, professional, compassionate, understanding and calm person. He always presented himself with respect with all people - even those who were attacking him as if he were responsible for the virus. The things that impressed me most about him was that on the evening that he had to announce our immediate return to Bayonne, he did not disappear and hide in the bridge. As I was wandering around the ship that night, I entered the Royal Promenade and there was Captain Henrik standing fielding questions and explaining to the best of his ability. He really not only cared, but also showed the substance of his ability and concern for the ship and the passengers. Thank you, Captain! Embarkation went well enough, considering we were in a snowstorm. It was cold in the terminal, but everyone was pleasant and helpful. We were on the ship relatively soon -(My wife is on a cane and we were able to move through rather quickly). Of course the worst thing about Cape Liberty is the shuttle process. Debarkation was a nightmare for someone who is handicapped. The pushing and shoving of the guests over rode the concern of staff. The Staff at Cape Liberty was not the most helpful. I understand that all were disappointed, and that the Longshoreman and other port staff were not really prepared for the arrival of a ship on an "off day". So that contributed to the problems. Surprise! We had heard that our cars parked at Cape Liberty would be cleaned off --- and they were. Delighted we were that we did not have that to deal with when we debarked. Will we cruise RCCL again? absolutely --- and not just because we got (or will get) the certificate). We will cruise again because we like cruising -- and because of the way that the staff treated us in a crisis. They are a real team!!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
There is very little positive I can say about this cruise. Much of the blame lies with the Royal Caribbean management. At the best of times, getting into and out of Cape Liberty is difficult. The morning of January 21st, it was nearly ... Read More
There is very little positive I can say about this cruise. Much of the blame lies with the Royal Caribbean management. At the best of times, getting into and out of Cape Liberty is difficult. The morning of January 21st, it was nearly impossible. From previous experience we knew did not want to park directly at the pier because of the traffic pattern. We parked in a lot near the airport. What should have been a been a 15 minute trip turned into an almost hour and a half trip. There was a snow storm going on and the single road in and out of the pier area was not plowed. It was the bumper to bumper traffic in one lane that melted the snow to make any progress possible. Our ticket told us to check in between 11:30 and noon. Because we had left early, we actually got to check in at noon. We were given numbers which we found out were for actually loading the bus from the terminal to the ship. Then we sat in the terminal tent, for another two hours waiting for our numbers to be called. Every few minutes someone would yell over the PA system that if your number has not be called you cannot load and everyone should go sit down. It was almost 1 PM before number 1 was called. Someone who had arrived at 10 AM had been given # 19. She sat in that terminal for almost 4 hours. While we were waiting, Royal Caribbean provided coffee, cold water and we were told there were occasionally cookies. There was no sanitizer near the coffee and water. Since we never saw the cookies I cannot speak to whether there sanitizer near the cookies. Finally our number was called and we loaded on the bus. There was no sanitizer available before loading the bus. Because we were all bundled up, I am sure there was no sanitizer there because I would have had to take off my gloves to use it. By the time we did get on the ship, and into our room, it was almost 3 PM. We had purchased the soda package and our souvenir cups were in the room. We went to the Windjammer to get some lunch. Unfortunately, as soon as we sat down to eat, it was time for the muster drill and we had to report to our station. The ship left late (5 PM instead of 4 PM). Since there was a storm, it was a rocky voyage for the first 36 hours. At times, I felt like a ping pong ball bouncing off the walls as we walked down the hall to our room. I could not go up and down stairs without hanging onto the railings. The sanitizer was placed outside food venues but not outside bars. On day 2, it was announced that the upper decks were still icy so the captain determined they were be closed off. Because the pool deck was off limits, the Arctic Zone (the free ice cream) was not open. (It never was open the entire voyage as the explanation was with the increased sanitation procedures it was deemed unsafe.) However, the Ben and Jerry’s stand was never closed. The show scheduled for the evening of day 2, got pushed back to day 4 because of the severe rocking. It was determined that it was unsafe for the performers. Another performer was moved to have a show. It was the first formal night. Two guys who were having dinner near us told us the mens room right outside the dining room had no running water for at least two hours (6 PM until after 8PM) They had repeatedly reported it but staff was not responsive. It was later that night that the first wave of people who were sick with the norovirus. We were told that was 150 people who got sick then. The speakers for both the enrichment series (space travel) and the destination series were extremely poor. The destinations speaker repeatedly complained about women who dragged men to shop rather than describing the ports to permit us to pick those sights which we should see. He was ill-prepared and a bit argumentative with audience members. It took him ten minutes to complete a thought. The enrichment speaker was just not excited about his topic. He droned on. His wife kept trying to get him to tell stories which might have made his presentation more exciting but it resulted in lots of disjointed thoughts. If the speaker is not passionate about his subject, how can the audience be engaged The morning of day 3 it was announced that increased sanitation was being employed. However, the soda machines were still open and staff insisted that they only way to use our soda package would be to use the souvenir cup (not a clean one). During the day, another 300 people got sick. So that evening the captain announced that we were not going to Labadee but straight to San Juan. That day most of the talks were cancelled because the speakers were ill. Then the soda machines on the main promenade were closed for three days. The sign claimed it was closed for cleaning. So although we had paid for a soda package (because they had diet ginger ale, which I wanted, not because I got sick but because I like it) was subject to the limited time the buffet was open. On several occasions the buffet area was closed and I could not get what I wanted. Otherwise I could get diet coke from a bar. I wanted to avoid caffeine and sugar. The casino remained open through the entire voyage. From my point of view, the casino could have been a serious source of germs. There was no way to wash down each machine between users and the casino was the only indoor venue that permitted smoking. So people would touch the machines, then pull out their cigarettes and place the cigarette in their mouths. The evening of the fourth day, the dance show was again postponed, this time because the performers were sick. A passenger ended up being the entertainment for the evening. We docked at San Juan at 8:30 that evening. We tried to make the best of things by exploring Old San Juan during the daylight hours. The free trolley from the waterfront to the forts was very helpful. I would highly recommend using it to get around Old San Juan. The tour office was closed that day so we could not get info we might have appreciated. St. Thomas we went shopping in the morning. We got rum for gifts and then collected the charms from the Diamond International shops. I did buy some smaller jewelry pieces (earrings and necklace). We took a ship excursion tour of the island. The views were wonderful but to get to them we needed to pass through souvenir shops and bars. That evening after everyone got back on the ship, the captain announced that we were skipping St. Martaan and going back to Bayonne. The captain then was available in the Promenade and was listening to passengers. There was no entertainment (shows) the first sea day heading back to Bayonne. Since they had shortened the cruise, it seemed odd they had no entertainment. We enjoyed going to the shows before we had dinner. No show was a disappointment. The captain had “Captain’s Corner” to discuss the offer that Royal Caribbean was offering as compensation. That was the fullest the theater was the entire cruise. Initially it was $400 added to our on board account and half off a future cruise. People were upset and expressed it. Only one of the people who spoke swore but everyone was angry. The captain said he would get back to the company bigwigs in Miami. That evening it was announced that we would receive the remainder of half off in 4-6 weeks. Although they charge drink packages on per diem, the total cost was charged and the two days we did not receive were never reimbursed. The trip back to Bayonne was uneventful. General Comments With all the increased sanitation, cabin stewards were too busy cleaning public spaces to pay attention to things in the cabin. I don’t blame them but it did show. We ate most of our meals in the dining room as we decided it might be safer than the buffet. Few of our meals arrived hot. Most were lukewarm. The quality of the food was at best adequate. The service was good but the food itself was a disappointment. We will have to decide whether we will take advantage of Royal Caribbean’s offer of half off what we paid on a cruise booked within the year. Some of the issues were unique to the outbreak of norovirus but I think some of the issues were just business as usual. The only way to get good food is to pay extra either in the main dining room (for steaks, seafood) or in the specialty dining areas. Anything at no further cost can be eliminated but things which can be charged will continue without review.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Our party of 4 (two couples in our early 50s) sailed on the first cruise post the virus on January 31st. Embarkation was very smooth and we were on board within 30 minutes of arriving. There was no traffic because the prior cruise ... Read More
Our party of 4 (two couples in our early 50s) sailed on the first cruise post the virus on January 31st. Embarkation was very smooth and we were on board within 30 minutes of arriving. There was no traffic because the prior cruise disembarked two days earlier. Our balcony cabins were ready and the fantastic crew was ready for us too. We found our cabins to very clean and you could see that all carpets had been cleaned. There were many precautions for the first 3 days with hand sanitizer, staff (including entertainers) serving in Windjammer and no handling of salt, pepper, sugar, butter, etc., in the dining rooms. There were no menus in the bars or fruit for drinks until we got to Puerto Rico on Day 3. We understood the precautions and appreciated the extra effort. You could see the staff was tired and stressed but smiled most of the time. Everything went back to normal on Day 3. This was our fourth cruise on the Explorer and we have one more booked in July. She is our favorite ship by far and we love the crew. Each cruise, we are greeted by staff from a prior cruise who remember us! It’s amazing and makes us feel so welcome. This cruise lived up to our high expectations! We found the dining room food to be better than our cruise a year ago. We met the new Executive Chef during one of his many rounds of introducing himself to the guests. The Cruise Director Leigh and Assistant Erky from Turkey are the BEST ever! They made us laugh and just did an amazing job. Our cabin steward was attentive and we were very well taken care of at Dizzy’s by Suzeann, Rosario and Marya. The house band, Bosco and Storm were entertaining. Dizzy’s continues to be our favorite place to spend time… great views and atmosphere day and night! Our first stop was San Juan, Puerto Rico where we had an excursion tour of Old and New San Juan. We found it interesting and our tour guide was excellent. Unfortunately it got dark towards the last hour so it hard to see the later sights. Sail away was at 11 PM and featured dancing under the stars. It was a fun night! We didn’t have anything booked in St. Thomas so we took a cab to Emerald Bay Beach ($6 per person) and spent a couple of hours at the beach. The weather was sunny and warm… just lovely! We got back to the ship mid-afternoon and enjoyed a lazy afternoon on board. Samana, Dominican Republic was the next port via tender. It was our first (and last) time there. We booked a Hike in the Rainforest and natural waterfalls. I have never felt so unsafe in my life. We traveled in an open air bus for about 35 minutes. We went through the center of the city and were stuck in traffic for fifteen minutes. We were all very anxious as we sat in the middle of a city that clearly had its challenges. It is sad to see how people in other parts of the world struggle and I understand that we will see things like this in our travels, but this is the first time we felt unsafe. Once we got to the rain forest, it was a good hike, although some parts were difficult to walk as the ground was damp and slippery. The waterfalls left a lot to be desired and did not live up to the excursion description. After the hike, we returned to a “ranch” where we spent a very long two hours shopping from a couple of tables of local crafts and sampling local fruit, followed by a tour of every bush, flower and tree at the “ranch”. The tour guide was very good but he clearly was trying to fill the timetable of the excursion. We observed him checking his watch again and again. Finally, at hour 4, we got back on the bus and were taken back to the ship. This excursion was expensive, not what was described and made us feel unsafe. Port 4, Labadee! Our first time here and it was amazing! We rented a cabana over the rocks and enjoyed a personal cabin attendant, floats, and comfortable furniture. It was paradise! The weather was once again perfect. Lunch was very nice and the Labadoozies were good too! 5+ stars for Labadee! Upon returning to the ship, we suggested that Royal Caribbean skip Samana and do an overnight at Labadee. There were two and half sea days until our arrival in Bayonne and we were able to spend a day and a half outside and enjoying the warm weather. The second formal night featured lobster which was delicious! There were many special items on the menu throughout the cruise that were just excellent. We were fortunate to have calm seas on this cruise and good weather in all the ports. Disembarkation was easy and quick. We were off the ship, on the shuttle bus, through customs and on our way home in less than 30 minutes. Explorer is in desperate need of a dry dock, much sooner than is planned. Maybe RCCL should have thought about freshening her up for her last year out of Bayonne for all her loyal guests over the years. Much of the furniture in the public areas needs replacing, carpets are worn and the restrooms need attention. It did not stop us from sailing on her and we will again in July because of her outstanding crew each and every time. They are the friendliest and most hospitable at sea. Leigh and Erky are top notch and would love to see them on Quantum of the Seas! The Promenade is our favorite and we are so hoping Quantum will live up to the Explorer of the Seas experience and reputation. We’re booked for February 2015, so we will see. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
I have just gotten off the Explorer of the Seas after coming home two days early due to illness on the ship. This was my first time trying Royal as I have heard great things about it since I have always cruised on NCL. As it was ... Read More
I have just gotten off the Explorer of the Seas after coming home two days early due to illness on the ship. This was my first time trying Royal as I have heard great things about it since I have always cruised on NCL. As it was broadcasted all over the news the trip was very disappointing to say the least. The first day at sea people were already getting sick but when you stick 3000 people in a ship where you can't go outside and no fresh air its a recipe for disaster. People were sick all over the ship and even though some were told to stay in the cabins they were out getting food where everyone else was. Royal did not know how to handle such large numbers of people getting sick and they should have announced for all passengers that were sick to stay in their rooms and go down to the medical unit when it was their turn. As the days went by things went from bad to worse I got sick on the 24th and stayed in the cabin as there was a 3 1/2 hour wait to be seen. Royal then closed everything down - the spa, gym, arcade, Johnny Rockets but go figure the casino stayed open!! I am very disappointed and feel very let down by the trip and then felt Royal started to nickel and dime us towards the end by first saying we will give each stateroom $400.00 credit put on your account which they did, the next day after hearing very disgruntled passengers all day long they revised it to 50% off your cruise and 50% percent off future with addition to the $400 credit, then today claimed the $400 was part of the discount. I am grateful for what they are doing I just wish they had responded much faster and made sure the sick were sequestered properly. As an RN I thought it should have been done differently. Not sure if I will try them again and feel very let down. On a positive note the last night's dinner was fabulous and the staff were outstanding. But hearing how they were going out of their way to make sure the next group of passengers were being told not to worry because they were taking extra measures to make sure their trip would be ok was kind of like a kick to the ribs because we were all still on the ship and I felt they couldn't wait to get rid of us - it felt like we had cooties. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
I have just sailed on the Eplorer of the Seas for 9 days in the Carribean, I have previously sailed on NCL and Carnival and wated to give RC a try since I heard good things about them and the reviews were good too. The ship is nice and ... Read More
I have just sailed on the Eplorer of the Seas for 9 days in the Carribean, I have previously sailed on NCL and Carnival and wated to give RC a try since I heard good things about them and the reviews were good too. The ship is nice and clean. The rooms and bathrooms show sign of wear and tear but that didn`t bother me. My main issue was with the quality of the food in the main dining room. Very limited choices and average taste. A few times, it felt like I was in an Applebees, The first 5 days of the cruise there was barely anything to choose from the menu, The last 4 nights, they stepped it up a bit and offered rack of lamb, lobster, sea bass and lamb shank. The lamb and lobster were good but the sea bass was bland. I was traveling with a group of 17 people and most of them weren`t impressed with the food.Food in Portofino was excellent. Windjammer wss very good too and offered many options,Overall,Carnival and NCL had much better food. RC had better shows than CArnival but NCL is above them all. I sailed NCL Jewl 2 years ago from NYC and it was the best!! Great food, excellent entertainment, just and excellent overall experience. RC seemed to have less staff in the public areas, In 9 days, I was only asked about 5-6 times if I need a drink. On NCL and Carnival, there are drink servers everywhere and they ask you all the time if you need anything. You just need to sit down in a public space and somebody would come to you to ask you if they can get you anything. On the Explorer, I was gambling several times in the casino and had to leave the table and go to the bar to get a drink. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We arrived in NJ the day before the blizzard. Reservations were made through Stay123 at the Crowne Plaza in Elizabeth. It is a lovely property. Service was excellent. Our rate included parkiing for the cruise. I really don't ... Read More
We arrived in NJ the day before the blizzard. Reservations were made through Stay123 at the Crowne Plaza in Elizabeth. It is a lovely property. Service was excellent. Our rate included parkiing for the cruise. I really don't understand the reviews I've seen on this hotel. Recommend it to anyone. We arranged transportation through Abdoul at Independent Driver. He was fantastic. Got us safely to the pier under the worst of driving conditions. Embarkation was no picnic. The most disorganized mess we've ever experienced -- compounded by the passengers who would not sit down (despite repeated announcements to do so). They were determined to stand at the front and down the isles, making it impossible to move when a boarding number was called. We were seated in the terminal from 11:30 to 2:00. Made it to the Cafe Promenade for lunch just before it closed at 2:30/3:00. Now, there is no getting around the fact that this was a difficult cruise. Both for the passengers and for the Captain/Crew. Our inside cabin on deck 7 was kept immaculate by Bonnie each day. With so many passengers sick beginning the evening of 1/22, the cabin stewards did a remarkable job. At one point there was a bit of a linen shortage. But they kept smiling and doing their job. When crew members were not working, they were sanitizing. They seemed to be working around the clock. Officers cleaned and sanitized tables in the Windjammer, a musician manned the salad bar, a delightful HR officer served up hamburgers and hot dogs. One of the ice skaters handed out plates and silverware. It was a difficult set of circumstances; they had to pitch in and they did with a smile. Have to say I admire the Captain and how he handled everything. He scheduled a meeting with passengers, At the end of the meeting, he summarized the points that passengers made, then discussed those points with Corporate. He also made himself available to passengers in the Promenade several times to answer questions or listen to them vent. Announcements were made when there was information to pass on. Out of four, three of us became ill. Do we blame RCCL -- of course not. This was an unfortunate incident that could not have been foreseen. What's amazing, given the outbreak, is that some passengers argued against using the Purell. But it was either use the Purell or not be served. We were able to eat in the dining room four nights. It was our good fortune to have Nicole and Errol taking good care of us those nights. They were wonderful. Dinner on our first formal night (second night of the cruise) was absolutely delicious -- sliced filet of beef. Unfortunately, that's the night everyone got sick. Dinner for the next several nights was odds and ends from the Windjammer. All of our group wasn't up to eating in the dining room until the following Monday night. The quality wasn't there on either Monday or Tuesday. Of the four ports, we only visited San Juan and St. Thomas. In San Juan, we were able to enjoy a wonderful tour thanks to Victor from Countryside Tours. He provided us with an "off the beaten path" tour of his wonderful city. It was a very special experience. We made the best of a bad situation. It was definitely a making lemonade out of lemons situation. We managed to have some fun despite it all. And, the compensation from RCCL was adequate. One thing however -- we will never, ever cruise out of Bayonne (Cape Liberty) again. It was that much of an unpleasant experience.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Let me start by saying this was my third time on the the Explorer of the Seas. The first two were very good, but there was no crisis either. I also want to say that I in no way blame Royal Caribbean for the outbreak for the Norovirus. I ... Read More
Let me start by saying this was my third time on the the Explorer of the Seas. The first two were very good, but there was no crisis either. I also want to say that I in no way blame Royal Caribbean for the outbreak for the Norovirus. I also, can't stress enough the hard work of the crew. After they did their regular shift, they worked another shift cleaning the ship. And from what I have read, these poor people will probably not even be compensated for their efforts. My issue is with the Captain and Royal Caribbean. This was not the first time the Norovirus broke out on a cruise ship. So one would assume that Royal Caribbean would have a contingency plan in place. But this was clearly not the case. The Captain showed no leadership skills at all. Communication between him and the passengers was little to none. The games and excursions (which were not available because we were not going to the ports) ran continuously on the TV. But information to ease the passengers concerns on the status of the virus never mentioned at all. Rumors ran wild. I also spoke to very few people that did not get sick. However, most of these people did not seek medical help because of the horror stories by those people that did seek help. They were in no way equipped to handle such large numbers. I would hate to be on the ship if an even greater crises arose. The compensation RC is providing is very fair, but it only came after the news media got involved. The original compensation was only $400 per cabin. In my case it would equate to $200 per person for lost of 2 days, 2 ports, cancelled shows, activities, closed dining facilities, and a lot of confusion over time changes. I could go on and on, but, the my main issues was the way they handled or did not handle the norovirus crisis. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Our cruise was the one just before the one making all the headlines for the Norovirus outbreak. Two of the days at sea were a little on the rough side. Crew: The overwhelming majority of the crew members were happy and attentive, with a ... Read More
Our cruise was the one just before the one making all the headlines for the Norovirus outbreak. Two of the days at sea were a little on the rough side. Crew: The overwhelming majority of the crew members were happy and attentive, with a few edge case exceptions. Facilities: Despite a renovation in 2009, the ship is showing its age. The giant tube TV in our tiny interior stateroom is a perfect example of this. Ship: On past cruises, I've felt borderline harassment at times by the sanitizer-brigade, running up to me and squeezing lotion into my hands, but I know it's for the best. On this cruise, however, this was not the case. Upon ending the buffet and MDR, there were automatic sanitizer dispensers available but nobody really insisting that they get used, and I saw many people walk by without using it. Shockingly, there weren't even sanitizer dispensers *available* on the embarkation deck just after re-boarding the ship in ports of call. Maybe not so shocking that the cruise after ours had to return to port early. Food: I ate one night in the Portofino restaurant and it was definitely worth the money. Food in the MDR was generally very good. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
I chose this cruise (my first ever) mainly for the itinerary and convenience of the departure port. I was a bit concerned about the age of the ship and the fact that she's due for dry dock and a refit next year, but after seeing how ... Read More
I chose this cruise (my first ever) mainly for the itinerary and convenience of the departure port. I was a bit concerned about the age of the ship and the fact that she's due for dry dock and a refit next year, but after seeing how many people were repeat cruisers and their loyalty to her, I decided to take the plunge. I was not disappointed. Cape Liberty is a bit run down and I understand that there's a plan for building a new terminal there-definitely needed. That being said, RCI is well rehearsed in processing thousands of passengers quickly and efficiently. There were no real delays and they had us aboard within an hour of our arrival. Once aboard we went to Windjammer for a bite and quickly found that pretty much everyone else had already gotten there. We decided to explore the Explorer a bit and come back later. After we were allowed to drop off our stuff in our stateroom, we went back and found plenty of room and some food that's pretty good by buffet standards, compared to Las Vegas casino buffets. The departure was a thrill. Heading out under the Verrazano actually had me excited-never seen anything like it. We had balcony stateroom 6678, and met our steward Dwayne, who was fantastic through the entire trip. Fresh ice was always waiting for us and he made up the room several times a day. The menagerie of towel animals was a nice surprise. I have no idea when Dwayne ever slept, since he seemed to always be available. The cabin was clean, roomy enough, everything worked well, and no rust to be seen. Sure, the TV wasn't a new flat screen, but who's on a cruise to spend the days watching TV anyway? The Cruise and Activities Directors, Leigh and Erky were very informative and entertaining, and I looked forward to each day's edition of "Talking Turkey with Leigh and Erky", and went to a few tapings. They made sure there was plenty to do. With the exception of dinner ashore in San Juan, we ate in the MDR every night. Chef Lorenzo provided a wide selection of exceptional meals. Our waiter Cherryl and assistant waiter Yusef were fantastic with their recommendations and service. I've worked as a waiter, so my standards are pretty high, and I found them to be among the best. I had four excursions booked through RCI, Castaway at Malfini(Labadee), The Old San Juan walking tour, Caribbean Sail to Christmas & Honeymoon Coves(St Thomas), and Sea Trek St Maarten. I had actually messed up my departure times and missed the departure in St Thomas. I had resigned myself to writing it off and finding something else, but the tour operator found another excursion heading to the same snorkeling location and had them bring us to meet our group. Service above and beyond as far as I'm concerned. The shows on board, particularly the Spirits of the Seasons ice show and Royalpallooza parade were all first rate. I'm generally not into production shows, but these really got me. Debarking was a bit tedious, waiting for our departure group to be called, and I think next time I'll try to pack lighter and do the self debarkation. In any case, it still wasn't that bad, and didn't take away from the enjoyment of my first cruise. Looks like Royal Caribbean just hooked a new loyal customer. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Hi all... This was our first cruise, so I have nothing to compare anything to. But, I will say, I have been a member of cruisecritic for a year, so I had tons and tons of tips, hints, and tricks and BIG expectations. First thing off... I ... Read More
Hi all... This was our first cruise, so I have nothing to compare anything to. But, I will say, I have been a member of cruisecritic for a year, so I had tons and tons of tips, hints, and tricks and BIG expectations. First thing off... I am proud as punch that everything was how I thought it was gonna be.. so much so, that we booked another 2 cruises already! The ship the Explorer is mighty big, and plenty beautiful! She was beautifully decorated for the Christmas season. No matter how hard I try and find a down side to this beautiful ship, I can't. Everything to us was more than we expected. The service, the food.. WOW, what can I say! I have never been treated so well on a holiday before. (Thank YOU Royal Caribbean) I joined cruisecritic and quickly found our roll call. And immediately starting making plans. I was amazed at the tips I received. And very happy at the new friendships I have made, here at cruisecritic and also on the ship. Really can't say enough about everyone that guided us through our first cruise. The food was amazing!!! The cabin was more than I expected (middle of the hump was GREAT!!) Everything was WOW!!! Getting off the ship could use a bit of organizing... but, again.. we know no different, but everyone around us was not happy, we were just happy to have just had the best first cruise experience ever, so because it took a little longer getting off the ship was ok with us :D The shore excursions were booked through the ship, and they were great too, we booked tours that showed us the islands, and we got exactly what we wanted. A fantastic tour of all the islands. We did : St.Maartens, St. Kitts, San Juan and Labadee Haiti. Each island had its own little personality and beyond beautiful. The entertainment on the ship was also very good!!! We were quite shocked at how overall the whole experience was... it was WOW from start to finish! We heard many many seasoned cruisers who were never happy.. many people complained (about every little thing) We kept thinking that if these complainers wanted to have this ultimate treatment, that perhaps they should go to a higher end cruise line.. The service and everything else that they complained about is out there, but it comes at a price. I am happy that cruises are now more affordable for more people. Seriously, I don't need someone to come into my cabin 10 times a day and pick up after me, or put chocolates on my pillow... but if I did, I am sure I could pay more and get someone to do that.. I am happy to now be a cruiser.. And, VERY happy with what Royal Caribbean has to offer.. I also love the fact that Bayonne is within driving distance from Ontario Canada.. its really an easy vacation... really liked cruising out of the cold down to the sun and fun, and then back to winter... will cruise out of here again!!!! And will pick Royal Caribbean!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This is my first post on Cruise Critic so I really can't be very discriminating, but giving a blow by blow would be counterproductive. This was our third cruise and the longest we have ever taken. To make reading this more interesting ... Read More
This is my first post on Cruise Critic so I really can't be very discriminating, but giving a blow by blow would be counterproductive. This was our third cruise and the longest we have ever taken. To make reading this more interesting I'm posting under what I feel is important to know about the cruise in terms of my own interests; Karaoke: For me this was a huge surprise. After screwing up the courage to do it on the first night, I went up to the mike every other time there was a session. I realized that some of the songs were hopelessly out of my key. I also realized that although I think I have a good voice, some people have amazing voices and really know how to sell a song. I also realized that listening to others sing is a real community builder and such a community formed. I believe I was the first person on the cruise who proposed a duet to another passenger. It was great fun. Others followed suit. All of the people who sang became part of a Karaoke community. We acknowledged one another elsewhere on the boat. Interestingly enough, people I met in other activities, gave me the honour of attending to hear me. The common theme on many of these posts is that those who participated enthusiastically got the most out of any activity. I was particulary struck by this at the Quest scavenger hunt. Some people just sat in chairs waiting for the others to do something. What fun is that? If that's all you're going to do, why are you sitting there? I guess on that principle, I led the Sabbath services the first week. People coalesced around their common activity and another group of 'cruise connections' was formed. Other activities that I did included Trivia. A great group of people got together there. Some people memorize the answers to the questions from one cruise to another, so it's not likely that you'll win, but the intellectual activity is fun. Also, don't be shy about teaming up with others. Frequently our team name was 'Total Strangers' because we were at the beginning. Another piece of advice to bring to this column is that if you intend to skate and are driving to the embarcation, bring your own skates. My wife always brings her own skates and for the first time I brought my own. I'm not a great skater, but there was a real difference when you skate in skates that fit! In general I found the shows by the visiting entertainers more interesting than the in-house staff, which is not to say that I didn't enjoy all the performances. My favorite was the acapella group playing off of Jersey Boys. They were super. Also, I can't believe anyone found the food anything other than superb. We're mainly ovo-lactate vegetarians and we found plenty to eat that was great. Our room concierge was super as well. My fondest memories got to the social staff Gabriel, Helmie and Bas became real friends. I would be super happy to see them on another cruise. Although I don't feel I had a personal relationship with Leigh and Erky, the social director and second-in-command, I certainly felt they were also doing a great job. If the Explorer was staying in Bayonne, I would be sorely tempted to repeat the cruise another year. We'll probably wind up booking Royal Caribbean out of Florida in the future as the Quantum doesn't have an ice-skating rink. Half a week after getting off of the boat in what was truly a grueling procedure, I still have a glow about the trip. If this is retirement, bring it on! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My wife and I just came off a 10 day cruise on the Explorer last week. This was our tenth time on the Explorer since 8/2007. The cruise port is one of the only things I dislike. The car line can be very long to the drop off point. There ... Read More
My wife and I just came off a 10 day cruise on the Explorer last week. This was our tenth time on the Explorer since 8/2007. The cruise port is one of the only things I dislike. The car line can be very long to the drop off point. There are two lanes that funnel to one and if you get there when passengers are trying to get picked up it can become controlled chaos. You have to take a bus from the drop off/registration building to the ship. When we board the ship it is like old home week. We are recognized by many of the crew and they make you feel special. How they remember you and your names after a year is amazing. They are the friendliest and most helpful crew we experienced in the 24 cruises we have taken. The food was as we expected, plenty of it and very good. We ate in Portofinos one night, the food was excellent but it took 2 1/2 hours to complete dinner. We have seen most of the show so we only go when there is a guest entertainer. This was our forth December cruise and we met so many people from prior years. We got together with them during the cruise and had a wonderful time. We could not get into the Concierge lounge at all during the entire cruise. There was standing room only even when I got there before 5:00. So we went upstairs to deck 14 where they used the 19th Hole bar for the overflow for suite guests. The Explorer is showing her age but it is still a great ship. We had a Grand Suite and it was fantastic. Disembarkation was better only because we had the suite and got off earlier then the rest of the passengers. I few things I noticed since I was on the ship in September was no chocolates on the pillow even in the GS, pictures are now $20.95 and the bag of laundry is now $30.00 even though it was $25.00 on the coupon brochure left in my room. On this cruise so many people I talked to complained about the dining room menu and said they are going to eat in the Windjammer. I will be sad to see her leave Bayonne and I will book one more cruise on the Explorer before then. I am already booked on the Quantum for December 2014.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was our cruise #15 so we have some experience and had certain expectations. That last thing was a mistake, especially in the dining and entertainment parts. Embarkation was smooth and we proceeded to our cabin. Our steward did not ... Read More
This was our cruise #15 so we have some experience and had certain expectations. That last thing was a mistake, especially in the dining and entertainment parts. Embarkation was smooth and we proceeded to our cabin. Our steward did not come to introduce himself like on Celebrity and many other cruises so we had to catch him. That was fine. We asked to separate our beds. It was eventually done a couple hours before bedtime but we attributed it to him being busy with all his charges and did not mind. The blankets though were huge, apparently cut for a combined bed and later on constantly spilled of beds. Otherwise the steward did a decent job. We were a little surprised that there were no shower caps, no body lotion, no small chocolate at night on our pillows and a tiny piece of cheapest soap. Steward never replaced it on his own, we had to ask for it each time. I guess these were his orders. The biggest disappointment was food, both in Columbus dining room and at Windjammer cafe. Very limited choice, with very little or no changes day to day and terribly cooked. We never experienced so badly prepared food on any other vacation, not on cruises and not on resorts. Even the replacement food we were given after complaints to Customer Relations was badly cooked. Most of our friends and us, being amateurs, cook a couple levels better. And a terrible smell in the cafe, like in cheap eatery! Waiting staff in the cafe were running like headless chicken, almost knocking people out. This stopped in 5-6 days, apparently after many complaints. Cheap food, little choice. Sushi offered only for dinner but never for lunch. Peculiar! Shows were substandard, with dancers almost lazily moving. Amazing exception was a lead couple, Katia & Anton, which looked 3-4 levels above the rest. Guest performers were mediocre or below, with great exception of Greg London. Activities manager "Erky from Turkey" was absolutely incomprehensible due to heavy accent which he emphasized even more. During the meeting with senior officers I brought our food complaints to the attention of the Hotel Manager, But he was in denial and arrogantly announced that their food preparation was "1000% better" than any given resort. He was delusional. More than a dozen passengers we spoke to supported us completely. Not everything on this cruise was bad, It's a good ship. It was great itinerary. Service in the dining room was excellent, our waiter Alfonso Diaz from India was absolutely the best and so was his assistant. Apparently the engineering and navigation crews did a good job. The ship was clean. The Cruise Director Leigh from Australia was an awesome guy, very funny and charismatic, with great sense of humor = but not too good in supervising {or choosing) his team. Maybe it was due to budget restrains. The desire to cut cost is just showing on every step. And worst of all - the arrogance and denial of the Hotel Manager. Not good experience. Not sure if we ever step our feet on RC again.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We are a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 teen boys). This was our 3rd time on the Explorer, our 4th RCL cruise and 5th cruise overall. (boys, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd). We love the Explorer. Great size ship, fantastic crew, and most importantly we can drive ... Read More
We are a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 teen boys). This was our 3rd time on the Explorer, our 4th RCL cruise and 5th cruise overall. (boys, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd). We love the Explorer. Great size ship, fantastic crew, and most importantly we can drive to port (about 8 hrs., so it saves on flight costs). We got a fantastic deal on 2 inside staterooms on deck six. The Explorer isn't the newest ship and while there are signs of wear and tear, it's nothing that should affect your enjoyment of the cruise. I sure she will look great after her upcoming refurb. We are looking forward to Quantum coming to Bayonne, but will definitely miss the great deals you can get on Explorer. Fantastic wait staff at our 2nd seating in DeGamma dining room. Food was good, and the lobster tails were amazing, best cooked lobster I've ever had. We sailed 3 nights then 4 port days of St. Maarten, St. Kitts, San Juan and Labadee. Weather was great in all (a couple 20 min rain showers here and there, but mostly sunny blue skies). We didn't do any ship excursions this trip but did book a Tour of St. Kitts privately through a taxi service that was fantastic. Shows were great as usual. We always to the express disembarkation and it was quick and easy. Off the ship, through customs and in our vehicle in less than 30 min. All in all another terrific family cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
What a great cruise, our third time on the Explorer and it just keeps getting better! Embarkation was a breeze, on the ship within 15 minutes of being dropped off. We were treated with beautiful weather, even the sea days down and back ... Read More
What a great cruise, our third time on the Explorer and it just keeps getting better! Embarkation was a breeze, on the ship within 15 minutes of being dropped off. We were treated with beautiful weather, even the sea days down and back were a lot warmer than we anticipated, that was definitely a bonus. The best part of this ship is her crew, they are some of the best we have sailed with in over 25 cruises. They are very polite and helpful, never did we experience anything negative from any of the crew. Our suite attendant Nicolas was truly amazing, this is the second time we have had him and he was great! Everywhere we went on the ship we found the crew extremely helpful and happy to be of service. The food was above average, very good in all the venues we had meals, Portofinos was fantastic, we had dinner there 2 nights. As suite guests we also had Portofinos available to us for breakfast and once again the crew was fabulous and the food outstanding. We are not much for the shows but did see the ice show one evening and it was very good, definitely worth going to see. The ports are what you make of them, not a fan of Samana but we heard there were some nice excursions there, we didn't get to San Juan until 4pm but it was nice to walk around town and see some sights. St Thomas is always a great port for us, good beaches, shopping, and restaurants, we had a full day doing all of the above. Labadee was great, we had been there a few times before but this time we rented a Cabana on Barefoot Beach, this was really nice and we all had a great time, even ran into some crew from the Liberty that was docked with us , we have cruised with them before and it was great to see them. One of the best parts of any cruise for us is to run into friends that were made on past cruises, we had the opportunity on this cruise and it was great to get together over a cocktail and chat. We had the opportunity to spend some time before dinner in the Concierge lounge every night, the Concierge Nizar Laatri was fabulous, even outside of the lounge he was very visible and always checking with us to make sure we were enjoying our cruise, and making sure we had everything we needed to make our vacation great! Aevon and Duran handling the bar service were first class, one of the better experiences we have had in the lounge. The Explorer is showing her age a bit, but still a beautiful ship, our suite was is fantastic shape and there were no issues, we really didn't notice much more than a little wear and tear that would be nominal for her age. The voyager class ships are great, and offer a lot, we are not a fan of the mega ships and usually travel on these and smaller classes of ships, there is plenty to see and do on the Explorer. Disembarkation was a breeze, we were off by 8:45, had our luggage and through customs in 20 minutes, it's always nice for this to go smooth, especially when your are ending a fantastic trip! If you are considering a voyage on this ship we would highly recommend it! We will be sad to see her leave Bayonne, we are taking her on the final trip out of Bayonne when she repositions to Port Canaveral, we are excited to be on this trip and can't wait to be aboard her again!   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We were on this ship 5 years ago and the crew were wonderful as always. She's an older ship (built in 2000) but that did not detract from having a great time. She has corrosion around fixtures, dirty and worn rugs and falling apart ... Read More
We were on this ship 5 years ago and the crew were wonderful as always. She's an older ship (built in 2000) but that did not detract from having a great time. She has corrosion around fixtures, dirty and worn rugs and falling apart furniture. She needs dry dock, no doubt. Our room heater was not working when we boarded. After several calls and attempts to repair, it was eventually replaced with a new heater. We like to walk at least 3 miles each day. Unfortunately, the outside promenade deck was always being blocked off for cleaning, so we could not use it for our walks. The jogging/walking track around the pool area is too narrow and crowded. The buffet was crazy busy at times. Tables were hard to find and at there were repeated announcements over the PA asking to eat and leave so incoming diners have a table to sit at. Embarkation was fine but is definitely a little convoluted with getting on a bus from the luggage area to the ship. Debarkation was worse with folks lugging bags onto the bus for the few hundred yards to the exit gate. The CD and his activities coordinator were great, Leigh and Erky respectively. These guys were a very good team. Special shout out to Leigh who was especially accommodating to the DH and me. Regarding ports, Labadee was lovely. There were two ships in port and we had a slightly crowded feel on Nellies beach. As with most barbeque and beach stops owned by the Cruise ship companies, there was an abundance of rat droppings around the food areas and paths. I know it’s hard to control but it is yucky nonetheless. Nevertheless, our day in Labadee was a highlight on this cruise. When tendering in to the Samana port, take note of the Coconut Palms on shore. It’s a beautiful island. Not without a lot of poverty and struggles but the people are friendly and can’t do enough for you. You will need to make arrangements for a tour as there is nothing to see or do at the tender drop off point. We took a Catamaran Sailing & Snorkeling Tour. In short, the snorkeling was not great and the snorkeling equipment was moldy. Some of us got bit by very small jelly fish which felt like bee stings. The highlight was the stop along the way to sample fresh papaya, coconut and pineapple and a rum drink which were very nice. The guide was very warm and informative about the Dominican Rep. island. In St Thomas, which we have been to many times, we found a great taxi guide (Perry Smith) behind the Havensight mall, cost $20 ea. for 2 hours. Afterwards we were let off in town. Check out Gladys’s Café in town and her wonderful smile and delicious food. San Juan: We opted to jump on a $10/1 hr tour from the pier. Felix was our driver/host. The stay in PR was so brief, it worked out well and we were dropped off near the San Cristobal fort and shopping. Food: I had asked early on if escargot would be available and was told they could not get any due to a shortage only to be served it later in the itinerary. The fish, including the lobster tail, was still sub-par as it was 5 years ago. Mostly just by being over cooked and dry although DH enjoyed his pesto crusted cod with lobster bisque sauce. The traditional thanksgiving turkey dinner was a standout. Thank you RCL. : ) Another night we tried the stuffed turkey breast with apples currants. Rack of lamb was also a standout and highly recommended. Generally the food was very good. Make sure and try something out of your comfort zone at either the buffet or dining room. You may be pleasantly surprised. If you don't like what you have ordered, the staff are delighted to bring you something else. Desserts were great. Try the walnut tart with ice cream or the Chocolate Banana strudel. The entertainment were very enjoyable. We strongly recommend attending as many shows as you can. Bon Voyage.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We recently sailed for the third time on Explorer of the Seas and had a great cruise. Embarkation was efficient. Ship was clean and in very good shape. The crew was one of the friendliest we have experienced. The Captain Henrik Loy was ... Read More
We recently sailed for the third time on Explorer of the Seas and had a great cruise. Embarkation was efficient. Ship was clean and in very good shape. The crew was one of the friendliest we have experienced. The Captain Henrik Loy was great. He gave daily televised briefings that were informative and interesting. The cruise director Leigh was good and his sidekick Erky from Turkey was hilarious. They made us laugh everyday. Our cabin was in good shape and our steward Wayne Quinn did a great job. Dining was also very good. Service was excellent at both breakfast and dinner. Our head waiter Kevin did a great job. The assistant waiter was the star. His name is Coco. Always smiling. Any request was answered with "it would be my pleasure" The food was good except the steaks. Breakfast in dining room was very good. Windjammer buffet was good as well. Portofino was good. Entertainment was okay. Not as good as before. Ice show was nice but needs a refreshing. Same as on our 08 and 2010 cruises. The only two negatives were the door slammers and self assist walk off. The early birds start at 6:15 AM and let the cabin door slam. It sounds like someone is hitting the wall behind the bed with a sledgehammer. I don't understand why people are so inconsiderate. It is like this on most ships. The cruise industry needs to address this. I build hospitals and have stringent fire codes for doors and ours don't slam. If they do we adjust them. The self assist disembarkation needs help with elevators. They need to identify which ones are to be used by those using the self assist program and those being used for general use. Not the way I want to end my cruise by fighting to get an elevator. Once again the crew was the best, always asking if you needed anything and very friendly. Good job! We have always enjoyed Explorer of the Seas. May go again before they move the ship and hope they move the entire crew to the Quantum of the Seas for our cruise on the new ship.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
My husband and I sailed on the Explorer of the Seas on the November 23, 2013 sailing from Bayonne to Labadee, Samana, St. Thomas and Puerto Rico. The itinerary also had four sea days which were really nice. We stayed in Owners Suite 1600, ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on the Explorer of the Seas on the November 23, 2013 sailing from Bayonne to Labadee, Samana, St. Thomas and Puerto Rico. The itinerary also had four sea days which were really nice. We stayed in Owners Suite 1600, which was a great location. I added a more detailed room review with a link to photos separately. The ship is in great condition given her age - if you look closely, yes, you were see rust spots and some areas where the carpet is frayed, and the decor is a little outdated, but the ship is clean, well functioning, and we found that it exceeded our expectations. For breakfast we usually ordered room service, which was delivered on time, and good. There were a few times that the order was slightly wrong, but nothing that would ruin a cruise. The day that we ordered off the suite menu was the best breakfast - we'll do that more often. Also, on the last day, I learned that you can order Room Service from the Interactive TV. For lunch, it was either Room Service, the Windjammer or MDR. This was the first cruise that we ate lunch in the MDR, and it was really good. We'll also try that again. The Windjammer was good as well, but it was the typical fair. For dinner, we ate in the MDR most nights, and service was excellent. Our waiter, Luke, always had great recommendations. I know food is subjective, but this was some of the best food we've had on a Royal ship. One night we had dinner at Portofino's, and it was wonderful - way better than our experience on the Navigator earlier this year. As far as ports, we had a Barefoot Beach cabana in Labadee, which was really nice. Quick tip - there are electrical outlets in the cabanas, so bring chargers if you'd like to charge anything. Also, the floating maps and buffet were good. Samana wasn't as bad as we expected - leading up to that port, everyone was telling us not to get off the boat unless we had an excursion. We tried it anyway - was it a developed port with a Diamonds International, Margaritaville and duty free shops? No, but it was a quaint little port town that is has a high level of poverty (there were children begging for money), but nothing that we hadn't seen in our travels before. It was kind of nice to see a port that hadn't been developed yet. The people were warm and friendly, and at no time did we feel unsafe. St. Thomas was a fun port. I went scuba diving, and then we had lunch and did some shopping. San Juan was also nice. We were there very early - 7am to 1pm, so most of the shops were not open. We walked around a little bit and then headed back to the ship. We didn't go to any shows or do any of the entertainment, but the one comment I have is that the music was WAY too loud. We're in our thirties, and we could barely hear ourselves think. The musicians were outside the bars and promenade, so it was hard to escape them, but we found ways to. Service was also excellent - most requests I made were granted with a smile, and if not, a friendly alternative was given. The crew definitely seemed eager to please and help resolve whatever issue we were running into. Because we didn't do the shows or any of the entertainment, we didn't have any interaction with the cruise director, but they seemed to be having a great time when we did see them and on their daily show. Other than the music being too loud, the only other negative is that the price of the house wine seems to have gone up to $9/glass. Seems very high to me for St. Martin. Oh, and the casino hit us pretty hard, but that's not really the ship's fault. Also, hopefully with the refurb, there will be wi-fi in all the cabins. It was a pain to find a connection sometimes, and if you don't successfully log off, your account will continue to be charged. Finally, make sure to use your relaxed, patient state when you disembark the ship, it's a little painful. Hopefully that will be fixed with the new terminal. Embarkation was easy. Definitely consider the Explorer of the Seas - she's an oldie, but a goodie. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Having previously travelled only on one cruise (Disney Magic, 2012) we decided to choose RC as we heard from a variety of other more experienced cruisers that it was equally family friendly. After 9 nights we can honestly say that the ... Read More
Having previously travelled only on one cruise (Disney Magic, 2012) we decided to choose RC as we heard from a variety of other more experienced cruisers that it was equally family friendly. After 9 nights we can honestly say that the staff ARE very friendly, but there are issues. Childrens programs: a bit second rate. The staff are very nice and helpful, but almost everything takes place inside. Teen program is good but anything younger and its more of a low cost daycare than anything Else. Food: Main dining room food is very good and staff are as well. Windjammer food also good, though a bit repetative after a few days. Dismayed to learn there was only one specialty restaurant on ship as it appeared originally that we would have a few to choose from. All in all, people were definitely trying hard to please you but the ship has had its day. Needs an upgrade. It IS family friendly but seems like the family friendliness is recent, that they are used to the typical chubby food oriented Americans and not people with kids, young people who dont drink and smoke and gamble all that much and kids. Smoking was VERY surprising to be found all over the place. Being Canadian we arent used to this. It was good, but not great. We wont be on RC again except maybe one of the newer bigger ships. Pools: Smaller, sloshy in bad weather, small hot tubs closed for maintenance whole trip. Clean. Room: it was a suite so larger than we had previously, though a bit weird in its layout.. Why do we store clothing in "kitchenette" area? Otherwise good enough. Needs upgrade. General ship appearance: Good, needs upgrade. Ship issues: A water bottle filling station would be nice as you cannot use pop machines and taps in bathrooms do not get cold. Sporting gear and gym is showing wear and tear. Not much to do if you dont wish to gamble or drink. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
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 4.4
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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