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

To start off, my family and I have been on over 12 cruises in the past four years, mainly with Carnival and a couple with NCL. A friend said we had to try RCI, so we gave it a shot. My wife and I are in our early 50's and love to ... Read More
To start off, my family and I have been on over 12 cruises in the past four years, mainly with Carnival and a couple with NCL. A friend said we had to try RCI, so we gave it a shot. My wife and I are in our early 50's and love to cruise, and it's always fun trying out a new ship, this one was no exception. It was the first with a promenade and ice skating rink. I read the reviews on the ship (after we purchased our tickets) and to be honest, we were a little concerned, but like all cruises, it's what you make of it yourself. That being said, it was a good cruise. The food was about average, the entertainment (shows) were not very good in my opinion, the rooms were average size/shape, and the horror stories we heard about the crew was completely off. The cheerful can-do attitude of these folks was some of the best I had ever seen. Our room steward Odelin Michel) was by far the best we've been associated with during our cruising experience. He was very customer friendly and very professional. I hope we meet up with him again down the road on another cruise. The dining room staff was also really good, but the food was just so-so. The Entertainment Director was pretty good too - he was everywhere, which was a nice change from our last couple cruises. The casino was about average. The reviews stated the ship was worn/old. We didn't see that, it was very clean and we had no complaints. The Captain was from Tampa, if you can believe that. Yea, one we could understand every word (lol). The ship stopped in Cozumel Mexico and Freeport Bahamas. For the life of me, I'll never understand why ships pull into Freeport. I've been there about three times, and each time I ABSOLUTLY HATED IT! That town is a dump/industrial wasteland. There is one place to go (and it costs about $20 to get there) and that's the casino/hotel, market and beach. Trust me - stay on the ship and get a tan or a message during this "port visit," you can thank me later. Cozumel was interesting. If you're on Carnival it pulls in to what appears to be there own little piece of the island with all the Carnival shops you've come to expect. If you're on RCI, it pulls into Senior' Frogs and the downtown area, so our last two visits were different, which was a nice take on things. The crowd on RCI was a little older than we're used too. My wife and I both commented that it appeared we were the youngest cruisers on the ship there for a while. After 1 a.m. in the morning, our 26 year old son and his friend informed us that the 20-30 crowd came out of the woodwork and danced the night away. I'll have to take his word for this - I was fast asleep by then. So it was older crowd by day, younger crowd by night. That sums up RCI on this trip. I guess the grass isn't always greener on the other side - I think I've learned a thing or two about other cruise lines and - I'm headed back to Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I cruised on this ship in 2001. Really enjoyed it. This trip started off bad and went down hill from there.the cabin was okay. The noise from the next cabin was terrible. It was a promenade cabin with an adjoining door . As soon as the ... Read More
I cruised on this ship in 2001. Really enjoyed it. This trip started off bad and went down hill from there.the cabin was okay. The noise from the next cabin was terrible. It was a promenade cabin with an adjoining door . As soon as the next cabin C Turned on the tv we had to turn on ours they were right by the door with no sound proofing. The ship spent an extra day in port in Nassau, to have work done. The shipped was jacked up And caused flooding in my room when we showered. We had wave on the floor. Maintenance fixe it on the second day after my first complaint. I really missed our day at sea. Dining was good, choices limited. The entertainment was very good. The bands were excellent. On the seventies day and the next they played the same Tape or cd in every public place. Enough not to ever when to hear a slide again. The Jacuzzi in the spa was ice cold. The others in the adult area were lukewarm and like a Bath tub. very disappointing.this ship need dry dock, an overhaul even the trash cans in cabin wer Rusted. Public restrooms molding rusted and cracked. The ports were nice ,but the day at sea is needed. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This review is not intended to imply that the Explorer of the Seas is a bad ship, it is in almost every way...mediocre. The ship is in dire need of a refurbishment which is happening later this year. In the meantime the cabins have dingy ... Read More
This review is not intended to imply that the Explorer of the Seas is a bad ship, it is in almost every way...mediocre. The ship is in dire need of a refurbishment which is happening later this year. In the meantime the cabins have dingy carpeting, chipped fixtures and a bit of a musty smell to them. They are adequate and functional but somewhere around a Best Western hotel room by comparison. The cabin steward did a fantastic job keeping things clean and in order and even started the towel animals around day 4. The dining room food was average for the most part. Nothing really stood out as fantastic and if you don't go to the dining rooms for the service than you might as well head to the Windjammer. The Windjammer is faster, has a bit more variety and allows you to get something more than the slightly undersized dining room portions. The highlight of the dining room was the excellent service we received from our Head Waiter Pepito and his Assistant Michael. The shows were below average to average. Their was a good comedian on day 3 - Scott Alexander, an average comedian Etta May and a horrible juggler/Comedian named Scotty Cavanaugh. The production shows were really cheesy and I watched a lot of people walking out during the performances. The ice show was not bad. The performers were good but the ice is just too small for them to really do anything to wow the crowd very much. Their were not as many activities as I have seen on other cruises and what they had was mainly talks designed to sell spa services or jewelry disguised as an enrichment talk. The exception to that were the Art Enrichment talks which were done by Sean O'Connor. Sean really put effort into bringing some good information and answering questions. The ports were okay with the exception of Puerto Rico which is nothing more than a crowded, dirty american style city with a spanish name. Beware of the "water park" in Haiti (Labadee) as it is just a bunch of inflatable obstacles floating in the water, most of which you can't even climb on to without above average upper body strength since they don'y have ladders, just handholds. Also, on embarkation day be prepared to be herded in to the Windjammer for the buffet where there is nowhere near enough seats for all the people who are waiting with nowhere else to go because you can't get into your cabin until at least 1:30. Also, you spend a great deal of your vacation waiting for the elevators most of which arrive already full to capacity. If you don't mind stairs you will save yourself a lot of waiting and frustration. Again, I don't want to sound as if this was a bad cruise because it wasn't. It also was not a good cruise. We all agreed it was mediocre in almost every way which was disappointing because I don't think you pay that kind of money hoping to have a so-so time on a cruise. This was our 2nd RCCL cruise and I think our last. We have enjoyed a couple of cruises on Princess much better and I think that is where we will return. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Our family of 11, six adults and five grandchildren ages 13-22 just returned from the Explorer. Although we all had a great time, and thanks to the Captain for avoiding Hurricane Arthur, Royal Caribbean needs help. The ship which is going ... Read More
Our family of 11, six adults and five grandchildren ages 13-22 just returned from the Explorer. Although we all had a great time, and thanks to the Captain for avoiding Hurricane Arthur, Royal Caribbean needs help. The ship which is going into drydock shortly, certainly needs it. The public spaces such as the dining room and promenade are still quite lovely....but the cabins, pool deck, public bathrooms etc are in desperate need. The staff needs lessons on how to smile and being courteous, which they do lack. I am aware that the customer service desk does get beaten up with complaints, but if you intend to work in this area you need patience and need to be polite to your guests, and surely a smile would go a long way. The few times we needed to approach them, and not for a complaint, they can be somewhat rude. The Dining room staff was great, service was wonderful, but the food quality is just not there. We travel on Celebrity as our choice cruise line, and RC cannot hold a candle to them at all. Now the worst, was their Buffet. Same selections everyday, no stations, horrid layout and everything looked so unappetizing...we of course ate in the Dining most of the time. RC is great value for families, but would not choose to cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Embarkation and Debarkation: The Bayonne, NJ port is by-far the worst and most disorganized that we have experienced, compared to the NYC and Miami ports. The main reason is that you must take a shuttle from the main registration/customs ... Read More
Embarkation and Debarkation: The Bayonne, NJ port is by-far the worst and most disorganized that we have experienced, compared to the NYC and Miami ports. The main reason is that you must take a shuttle from the main registration/customs building to the ship, whereas at other ports you can walk right onto the ship. The wait for the shuttles is what makes the process super long. We arrived for embarkation and got a shuttle number at 10am and did not board the ship until past 12 noon - advice: arrive early! Debarkation was even worse - we lined up for the "express" self-assist at 9am and it took 1.5hrs to get off the ship and off the shuttle...and this is before you even reach the customs building! Again, long waits all due to that darn shuttle!! Many people volunteered to just walk (honestly, it would've been a quick 5 min walk), but the shuttle was not optional! Never ever ever again will we cruise out of Bayonne, NJ....FML! Entertainment: Not much to do or see during the day if you are like us and in your 20s. Evening headliner shows were the same old singers and dancers every time. Love and Marriage show was pretty lacklustre and not very funny compared to the ones on the Carnival ships - maybe it was just that the couples they chose on our cruise were really boring? lol i dont know! If you want a seat at the Quest show, get there at least 30mins early otherwise it becomes standing room only. No magic shows or comedy shows, which was a bummer. Lots of trivia, bingo, jewelery-making, food demos, and scrap-booking sessions. Pools and Hot Tubs: Abundance of these all around the ship and most are 24hrs. Not very crowded, so I'm sure you can find a spot - the ones in the Solarium are probably your best bet! Lounge Chairs: No need to wake up early to reserve lounge chairs on the decks - plenty for everyone, even on sea days! Food: Windjammer buffet sucks, especially at lunch time. Exact same pasta, burgers and hot dogs every single day, with no variation (not at all an exaggeration). The best burger is the room service bistro burger, and the best pizza is in Cafe Promenade (windjammer and room service pizza not as good). Main dining room food was excellent - pick one of the port days to go to Portofino (main dining room menu not as good on those evenings) Advice: If you want "my-time dining", make sure to book this option at the time of your reservation. Don't book set-time dining to avoid the pre-paid gratuities, thinking that you can easily switch to my-time when onboard the ship - there is very little flexibility to switch dining preferences once you are onboard. Too many unhappy people got stuck with 8:30pm dining. Ports of Call: Bermuda - Hands-down the best beaches (Orient Beach is the most highly-recommended). We really regretted not spending more time on the beach. Since it was our first port, we figured we would have lots of beach time in the other ports, but the other beaches simply cannot compare. Strongly recommend to make this your beach day and save your shopping, excursions, island tours for another port! St. Maarten and San Juan - Excellent for shopping! San Juan had a Coach Factory store, Polo Ralph Lauren, Victoria Secret, Dooney and Burke, Abercrombie, etc. Unless you plan to visit the rainforest, there is really no need to spend money on an excursion in San Juan because it is very much a walkable city with lots to see and buy - plus the city's shuttle is free! Labadee - We did the zipline and spent the rest of the day on the beach. Zipline was $95 per person and highly recommended, especially if you have never done it before. The beach was nice, but sand is extremely rocky (unlike the fine-grained sand found in Bermuda). Watershoes or at least rubber flipflops are necessary if you want to step foot into the water. Lots of people (ourselves included) rented the floating water mats for $14 - worth it because the water was very shallow so swimming was kind of difficult. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Cruise 8th to 17th May  Having been cruising for 12 years I have seen the steady decline in that time of the offerings on cruise ships. Gone are the after dinner mints, the bedtime chocolate and the first class entertainment. Bayonne, ... Read More
Cruise 8th to 17th May  Having been cruising for 12 years I have seen the steady decline in that time of the offerings on cruise ships. Gone are the after dinner mints, the bedtime chocolate and the first class entertainment. Bayonne, New Jersey: The cruise terminal is under construction so embark/disembark occurs thru the old wharf sheds. Peak time is between 1100 and 1300 so try to avoid arriving between these times. We joined the vehicle queue at 1120 and arrived at our cabin at 1320. I think everybody arrived at the same time. By 1330 all of the cars had gone and the process was a lot easier. The Ports: Kings Wharf, Bermuda; Fantastic port, clean and friendly people. Philipsburg, St. Maarten: Half a day in port and it rained so we didn’t get to see much. The entry back on to the ship was very disjointed and I’m sure that the security staff slowed down the process so that we were in the rain longer. San Juan, Puerto Rico; Another great port but an early departure so again sight seeing is very limited. Labadee, Haiti; An RC owned peninsula. It’s nice but really it offers the same as what’s on the ship. It takes 30 minutes to walk the whole area and look around and then you just relax at Columbus Cove and have a swim. There are way too many vendors at the market stalls and they all sell exactly the same stuff. Entertainment: The most entertaining thing on this ship is the Cruise director Leigh and his offsider Erky from Turkey. The production shows in the theatre were good but not excellent. The spectacular ice show was terrific and is not to be missed. The headliner magician, singer and comedian were pathetic and poor old Bobby Arvon really needs to retire, he never hit the note all night and I was embarrassed by his performance. However, there was a BonJovi Tribute band one night - Blaze of Glory. They were good! But really is a cruise ship the place for this type of act? My wife and I are dancers. In reality there are no dance floors on board that are used for dancing. So for us the lounges on this ship are misused. We spent most nights in the Aquarium bar with the Philippine Band. They were fantastic and one of the best bands at sea. But the dance floor is a small tiled area in front of the aquarium to the side of the band and it holds four couples comfortably. Bear in mind there are 3000 on board. Studio B is the ice skating ring. It is cold and damp as you would expect. The Ice skating show is fantastic so don’t miss it. But the other night time events that are held here are just miserable. The floor that slides across the ice is always wet. The chamber is next to Studio B so it also feels very damp in places. Dizzy’s Bar “Turns into a lively dance club by night” No it doesn't! There is room for two couples to dance and everybody else watches or dances between tables – what a joke. The Latin band that played here didn't know what dance music was and couldn't tell the difference between a Samba and a Tango. Maharajahs Lounge “Live music, dancing and entertainment” Most nights this area is used for karaoke and not used for dancing. If only the staff would move the karaoke up to Dizzy’s and have the dance band in this lounge. Casino: I’m not a gambler and not a smoker so my biggest bugbear with this place is there is no clear straight walkway to get from one side to the other. Of course the non smoking side was also full of smokers. The ship herself is very nice. She is showing signs of wear and tear, so there are stains on carpets and lounges. Her best feature is the promenade. It can be quite noisy and is frequently cluttered with market tables but still a nice feature. Room: We had a promenade view room on the 8th floor. We did get a bit of noise from the promenade but it didn't affect our sleep. Peek a boo bridge overlook is a great spot to view the charts to see where you are and how close the reefs are. You can also see the ship doing its thing with the crew standing around. Solarium: It’s not actually a solarium at all. It’s another outdoor pool and you get very wet when it rains. The Food: I was pretty impressed with the food on board. We ate in the main dining room and had great dining partners. Our wait staff were fantastic and very entertaining. I was happy with all of the menus and food quality. Even the food at the Windjammer was pretty good. The one time I complained about the eggs being cold the staff immediately cooked fresh for me and removed the remainder from that tray.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Having cruised for 35 years on a multitude of ships, I have seen the decline of the cruise experience first-hand. From the cheapening of the menu offerings to the boilerplate entertainment of second-rate comedians and under-rehearsed ... Read More
Having cruised for 35 years on a multitude of ships, I have seen the decline of the cruise experience first-hand. From the cheapening of the menu offerings to the boilerplate entertainment of second-rate comedians and under-rehearsed "broadway" revue type shows, to fewer and cheaper on-board activities and the relentless attempts to shake as much profit from such things as "premium" restaurants to art auctions I am sad to state that the "Bean-counters" have ruined what was once an elegant and memorable experience. And so on to the Explorer of the Seas. The Good, the Bad, and the downright Ugly. First, the food.The menu was repetitive and mediocre. The buffet offerings were often cold, unappetizing, and of poor quality. Many dishes left the impression of being leftovers. The grille offered cold hamburgers and low quality hot dogs. The salads ingredients were limited and in at least one case had an insect crawl out of a salad served at the evening meal. At the buffet, what was listed as ham was in fact pork, and what was later served as ham was tough and tasteless. The breakfast menu was generally good with a good variety of standard breakfast fare. Many of the pasta offerings were undercooked, and fillers like french fries were all too frequent. The desserts were repetitive and bland. Small cups of Jello, cookies, and glutenous mousse were found all too often. Was there a pastry chef on board? There was so little variety it was obvious that there was little attempt at creating tasty dessert offerings. The dinner menus were unexciting as well. All too often in an attempt to have at least a decent meal, one had to choose from a recurring nightly offering list or main entrees which varied in quality. With respect to the repeat menu items, the salmon was often dry and the strip steak was tough and unappetizing. The stewards were truly heroic in their attempts to satisfy. Kudos to them. The entertainment and on-board activities - The shows at the theater were well lit and the sound although often too loud for comfort were uneven. The singers in the production shows were good, but the dancers looked under-rehearsed. The choreography was routine and simple - dance moves that one could see at a local studio recital. The timing of some of the dancers was off beat and looked sloppy. The comedian was a second tier improv artist who used sound effects to get laughs. He was mildly amusing at times. The shows were often at an inconvenient time for late seating guests - 6:45 - not an optimum time to be entertained. The Ship - The Explorer is about 14 years old and looks it. Stains on the carpets, peeling paint on deck chairs and claustrophobic balconies which do not allow access to adjacent cabins. My wife and I were in a party of 6 and were not able to see or communicate with each other as we were able to on Princess. The balcony rail cut directly across one's sight line when seated in the chairs provided. The plexiglass safety panels were dirty and obstructed views. The pool areas were clean and open and offered a multitude of seating for poolside activities. The exercise spa was large, well-lit and equipped with a variety of machines as well as a hot tub spa. The on-board activities were limited. There were line dance classes and some non-complementary crafts, but more often there was trivia and little else. The library and card room provided some opportunities for quiet time and games like chess, checkers, and cards. I am distressed at the rush to "dummy down" the cruise experience so patrons don't have to dress for dinner. To me, one of the elegant things about a cruise is the chance to dress in a manner one would at a fine restaurant. There are too many casual nights and the two "formal" nights are, let's be honest, another chance for the photographers to take overpriced portraits. There used to be Captain's Table and strict dress codes. I've seen too many diners in jeans for formal night. Whatever happened to good manners? I can dine with people in jeans at Burger King. Where's the enchantment in that? And now, the truly ugly - The medical staff. On the second day of the cruise I had the distinct misfortune to visit the medical facility for dehydration. I was treated with rudeness bordering on contempt. The nurse in charge was dismissive and condescending and spoke to my wife - a brilliant former teacher - in a voice and comportment one might use to a naughty child. The doctor was argumentative - I tried to tell her what I needed to feel better yet she gave me a cursory exam with no confirming diagnosis, an unnecessary EKG, blood tests, and then she disappeared to a "meeting" so I was informed. I never saw her again. After 5 days I received a bill which overcharged me by $170 which included a procedure I did not have and a charge for a second EKG which the nurse later claimed was administered 2 hours before I went to the medical center in the first place. Unprofessional, unethical, sloppy records, and improper billing. These megaships being built are really floating theme parks not cruise ships. When I think of what the experience used to be like, it makes me less likely I'll ever take another cruise. The thrill is gone. The new philosophy of milking every last dime out of the passengers is the last straw. Now, if I want a decent meal, I have to buy it at 25 or 30 dollars per person. I can do that on land! A tour of the galley costs, cover charges, overpriced excursions all with the goal of fleecing the uninitiated first-time cruiser. Shame! I remember the days when you had midnight buffets, theme nights, seven course dinners, dessert trays, elegant room service, and on and on. Those days, alas are gone. Thank the "Bean Counters". Even the chocolate on the pillow at evening has been discontinued. Were they that costly? Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Completed a 9-night cruise aboard the Explorer with a total of 13 family members raining from 70+ to 9 years old during Easter break. We have taken other RC cruises and are Anchor members but this has to be one of the poorest experiences ... Read More
Completed a 9-night cruise aboard the Explorer with a total of 13 family members raining from 70+ to 9 years old during Easter break. We have taken other RC cruises and are Anchor members but this has to be one of the poorest experiences we have encountered at the highest prices we have ever paid. It started with the emergency drill with outdoor muster stations - in the cold. Usually they set muster stations on various inside locations so obviously nobody was prepared to stand outside for almost 45 mins in the cold. As a general point, remember that the ship cruises along at about 25 knots (about 20 mph) so two days going and two days coming we're just about lost as it was too cold and windy to do any outside activities. The ship is rundown and desperately needs to be refurbished. As you walk around the ship you can clearly see that paint is faded, wood trim is peeling and that it's just old. The interior is in much better condition than the exterior but still dated. Most of the staff was friendly, especially our dining room staff but generally you can see that the workers are tired. There was one lady running the audience participation dances by the pool that clearly did not want to be there and it showed in the faces of the guests that were participating. Also, was a bit surprised to be told by our room attendant that we "needed to give her a 10" on out post-cruise survey since RC doesn't we new work contracts for anyone who receives less than 10. Talk about a guilt trip. Dining options are certainly NOT as good as other RC, such as the Oasis. The buffet offered the same tired options everyday, absolutely no variety. The main dining room is usually our favorite but it was nothing better than what I would get at a retail restaurant chain such as Outback. The wait staff was great but understaffed and it showed. Let's be honest, people go on cruises to eat and the food overall (except for Johnny Rockets) was a disappointment. I would compare it to what you would get at a Cancun 3-star all inclusive. The stops were good. Too little time in San Juan but Labadee was excellent. Head to the beach by the water park where you have lots of space and the kids can enjoy. We took advantage (again) of the full photo package - $325 (with 1st day coupon) gets you all pics on CD and all printed photos. We went to every photo station multiple times and the photographers were wonderful. The entertainment was even worse than the food. For a cruise that leaves the NY area (where we have Broadway), the person who books these acts should be fired. One evening, they had the guy who had the theme song to the 1960's show Happy Days. We had to suffer through an hour show with a one-hit wonder from 50 years ago. Usually, cruises have a Broadway night, a Michael Jackson night or something close to Cirque de Soleil. Not on the Explorer! You get some guy who sang one song or three young actors who nobody knows. Really the worst. If you are like us, you consider taking a cruise out of Florida and think that it may be less expensive to leave out of NY. But, in Florida, there is more competition and the cruises fight to offer more for their customers. RC has sadly failed the Explorer and it's obvious in the presentation, exorbitant pricing and poor overall experience. If you really want a great time, go to the Oasis of the Seas out of Ft Lauderdale. Read Less
Sail Date April 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
This is only our second cruise, so by no means are we an expert. My expectations on RCI were set a little high as it was going to be a good size ship and sailing for 9 days. Plenty of time to be pampered. Over all it was OK to good. We ... Read More
This is only our second cruise, so by no means are we an expert. My expectations on RCI were set a little high as it was going to be a good size ship and sailing for 9 days. Plenty of time to be pampered. Over all it was OK to good. We had a good time. Our steward (Danny) was great. He kept our room clean, kept my ice bucket filled and even taught us how to make the little towel animals. Most of the other staff were good too. From a staff point of view the problems were minor. The hall ways in the sleeping areas always were partially blocked with cleaning supplies at just about all hours of the day. Carts, trash, vacuums etc were always in the hallways. I saw them occasionally on Carnival, but not all day long. The other issue was that the dining room staff had little regards to the passengers. Constantly cutting us off as we walked to and from the dining tables. Several times I almost dumped my food or drink because of it. I will say there was no pushiness on the sales staff and they were always willing to help. Food was a big disappointment, both in the main dining area and the buffet. When you talk to most people the first thing they talk about is the FOOD. In this case it is also the FOOD that was at the top of my mind. But not because it was so good, but the fact that is was so mediocre. In the dining room the food was about what I would expect in a diner, but more limited in selections. The quality was also nothing to write home about. In the nine days of dining, I cannot think of one meal that was exceptional. Deserts were disappointing and on several nights, I skipped the deserts as nothing was appealing to me. Breakfast was probably the best of the meals and menus. Lots of fruits and a good selection of cereals and breakfast foods. Quality was good as well. HOWEVER, coffee sucked! I haven't had coffee this bad since I was in the service. It was STRONG, Bitter and lacked flavor. I did find that if I added whipped cream to it from the fruit bar, that it was OK. Lunch was nothing to write home about. The menu was limited and mainly consisted of pasta and other low cost items. Water, Ice Tea and Lemonade were the only free drinks available. Sodas were extra or required a purchase of a drink package. For some reason teaspoons were not readily available and had to be asked for when needed. Splenda was in short supply. Entertainment was good. The acts were worth while seeing. Some of them were scheduled late (10 PM or later) so we didn't see them all. They did have a sailing away party one night but it was way too late for us with the arrival in port the next morning. There was a problem at one port with getting everyone off in time. Something to do with docking of the tender boats. We missed our scheduled excursion. Since we hadn't prepaid for it, there wasn't any lost. In fact the highlight of the trip was an excursion with "Tour Samana with Terry". They provided a private tour for us that we would have never been able to match with RCI sponsored tours. It will be the 'talk' of our cruise for years to come. We stopped at San Juan for about 5 hours on a late Sunday afternoon. Shops were closed and our tour was pretty much a joke. The stop at the fort being the only worthwhile stop. Next we stopped at St Thomas. Pretty nice trip. We did our own thing here. Found lots of tour options once you get off the ship and saved some money as well. Samana was our third stop. No dock here so you take shuttle boats to the island. That was where the problem was delaying us from getting off the boat so we missed out scheduled tour. Again Terry and his crew saved the day. Our final stop was on a RCI owned resort. Basically a big ripoff. You pay for just about everything. Water at $4.50 a bottle, no soda, all the shops are keyed to selling you as much as possible. Got to the point we walked in the middle of the street and didn't pay any attention to the calls to come in and shop. Lunch was about par for what was on the ship. Drinks in the bars are not our think, however, I do occasionally like to have a Kalula and Cream. We went to one of the bars to listen to some music on our second night at sea. I ordered my drink and before it even made it to the table I saw there was a problem. Turns out it was made with skim milk. The waiter remade the drink and again I knew it wasn't right. The second time the waiter said he made it with half and half. I asked the bartender what they used and he also said half and half, so I asked to see the container. He pulled up a bottle of whole milk. Apparently they didn't know what half and half or light cream was. At $7 a drink, I wasn't happy with it and had them remove it from the bill. That was my last drink. Pictures of the cruise were a big rip off as well. $21 a shot regardless of the size of the picture. But since we don't cruise that often we did purchase a couple of them. Last item was the motion of the ship. Explorer of the Seas is not a small ship, but you felt every wave. Seas most of the time were 2-5 feet and it was like being a drunken sailor most of the time. The only time it didn't rock and roll was when she was stopped or going dead slow. Not sure why, but was very noticeable. So our hats off to Danny for taking care of us and Terry and his crew for showing us a great tour. As for the rest, better luck next time. 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
We took the family (9 in total) cruising to celebrate my 60th birthday. The kids had arranged for gifts to be waiting in our stateroom upon our arrival, but wanted it to be a surprise. It took them 2 days to ask if I liked them. They were ... Read More
We took the family (9 in total) cruising to celebrate my 60th birthday. The kids had arranged for gifts to be waiting in our stateroom upon our arrival, but wanted it to be a surprise. It took them 2 days to ask if I liked them. They were very disappointed when I said that there was nothing waiting for me in the cabin. The hotel said they'd never received the order but promised they would be rectify problem in a day or two plus a complimentary bottle of champagne. Nothing appeared. So my son canceled the order and requested a refund. Two days later I was woken up at 10:30pm by room service delivering a bottle of wine. I knew this wasn't from my family because I don't drink wine. The following day I received a plate of cheese and crackers. Both "gifts" arrived without any explanation. So I went to the front desk, where I was told that they were by way of an apology for the failure to delivery the items ordered for my birthday. I said that there should have been a note by way of explanation and why deliver at such an odd hour. I was told that as I'd put the do not disturb sign on the cabin door they were left with no alternative other than to deliver late at night which was incorrect, I'd never used the sign. It became clear during the trip that the hotel side of the ship is very disorganized. I had never encountered so many individuals at the front desk with so little knowledge of the workings of their ship. Usually these guys are pretty much on the ball. There seemed to have been some kind of problems with loading the baggage with hundreds of cases lying around the dock as we boarded. We didn't receive our bags until very late on the first evening. First time I've ever had to go to dinner in the clothes I traveled in. Far too many teenagers running riot through the ship with little or no control. Did feel that the staff had their hands full there. Lots of noise in the hallways at night. We had to call security on last night as there was a group of people partying on the helicopter pad an area that's out of bounds. Dining room staff were excellent and very good to the grandchildren. The Windjammer restaurant was a zoo most of the time, a place to be avoided at meal times. Would have been happier with more lunchtime choices to eat. Not too much to do on the ship if the weather is bad. The evening's entertainment was poor, some of the worst we've seen on any cruise ship. We're experienced cruisers and we were prepared for "Caribbean" cruising where standards are lower, so all in all we had an enjoyable trip, but it has made us think twice about cruising with Royal Caribbean again.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Let me start off by saying I have sailed on RCI before and love their company. I will try and be as detailed as possible so as to help those in the future who are looking for a cruise or a honeymoon. I will break it down in segments so ... Read More
Let me start off by saying I have sailed on RCI before and love their company. I will try and be as detailed as possible so as to help those in the future who are looking for a cruise or a honeymoon. I will break it down in segments so that one can quickly navigate to a section they are interested in. PORT: The Cape Liberty port in Bayonne, NJ is an eyesore. There are many run down buildings in the area. RCI tries their best in making good use of the space but you cannot miss the broken down buildings and ships around that part of the port. C'mon RCI, I have been to other posts and they look great compared to this one. As we drove there, there was a bad smell in the area and seems that there is a refuse station nearby, or at least smelled like one. Embarkation was a breeze and the staff was sure to help get you situated in areas for boarding. Once we were on the ship, at 1200, nothing was open and we along with many other guest just sat around. SHIP: The ship is immense. I have sailed on other cruise lines and this still is one of the biggest ships. She is starting to show her age though. Many rust spots on the exterior to include our balcony. The exterior furniture, including the pool chairs even had rust on them, which caused a stain on my wife's bikini. The interior carpets are worn in some areas, but that is to be expected for the amount of people that are in the ship and for the last 13 years. The crew does their best to keep things working and clean. They are AWESOME at working to make the cruising experience pleasant. YES, it is time for a makeover.STATEROOM: Our room was very clean and our stateroom attendant, Selwin, was awesome. He did everything he could for us ALWAYS calling us by name. He seemed to be ALWAYS working and at times I felt bad for him with the way some of the other guest treated he and other attendants. Just because they are from other countries with accents doesn't make them second class people. Good for you RCI for hiring those from around the world. The stateroom was smaller than how it was explained. Our Princess stateroom with a balcony was much larger. The room furniture was quite outdated, however we were one of the few people who actually had a flat screen TV, although small. The stateroom carpet was old and worn. As mentioned before the balcony had a lot of rust in the corners and the support beams. We were careful after staining one of my shirts not to lean on the beam. The bathroom was clean, but again their was rust in the corners where the metal was exposed. It was well stocked, even twice in most days with towels. FOOD: Main dining was a wonderful experience. The food was great and staff did everything to make it enjoyable. The food was well cooked and the choices were amazing. Portofino was also an amazing dinner choice. We met other honeymooners and became friends with them. My Time dining worked great because we dined with our new friends for the rest of the nights(7). Now the Windjammer was quite the opposite. It was cafeteria food at best. The burgers were dry and it was the same choices pretty much everyday.The guests in the Windjammer were like herds of cattle just scooping away, getting food all over the place, and the staff barely could keep up to try and clean the mess. We chose to grab food and bring it back to our room, along with many other couples, because there was no control in the room. People would just bump into each other, spilling and there were A LOT of kids running around. There should be more control or at least more adult areas. Of the adult only areas, we saw no real control of keeping the teens out. This is probably why I will not cruise an RCI cruise again and still with some of the more high end cruises. RCI is much more suited for families, and parents who just will let their kids run wild. SHOWS/ENTERTAINMENT: I have been on many cruises and found Leigh and Frank(Cruise Director and Activities Manager) to be phenomenal. Probably some of the best in the business which explains why they area leaving the ship for promotions, at least Frank that is. I imagine Leigh will end up on one of the newest ships, deservedly so. We will definitely miss the Frank-Leigh Speaking show. They made it enjoyable to watch in the morning as we got ready for the day. The ice show and the singers were great. The hypnotist as well as the juggler was a joke, c'mon RCI is that all you can line up with the budget that you have. I know that they have to accommodate all the guests but even all the people in the Palace Theater thought those last two shows mentioned were unworthy. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Went on the Explorer for a 9 day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. I was so very disappointed in the appearance of the ship. It certainly has seen much better days. Furniture in our handicapped stateroom was stained. Upholstered ... Read More
Went on the Explorer for a 9 day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. I was so very disappointed in the appearance of the ship. It certainly has seen much better days. Furniture in our handicapped stateroom was stained. Upholstered furniture in the dining room was stained. Arriving in Bayonne, New Jersey, the access was extremely bad. Having a handicapped person with us, we did not receive information on how to get a wheelchair. Handicapped person was very evident walking extremely slowly with a cane. Personnel could have helped, but did not. Trying to get checked in was a nightmare. Personnel came across with an "I could care less" attitude. Finally getting onto the ship, tried to get a wheelchair for handicapped person, but received a run around. When we arrived in our stateroom, the motorized wheelchair was there, thankfully. Attempting to get a table in the Windjammer was impossible. Personnel did not offer assistance to handicapped person attempting to balance dinner plate and cane. Received absolutely no pertinent information from excursion desk personnel, even after they could see person was in motorized chair. Ports of Call were fine. Did a snorkel in Bermuda which was wonderful. Boat personnel did everything possible, and even more, to assist handicapped person onboard, in and out of the water. Did not take any tours in Puerto Rico as we had been there previously. Did island tour in St. Maarten, which was nice. Unable to do any shopping due to handicapped person not having the option of taking motorized chair on the tour. Labadee was a beautiful place. Again, personnel, aware of handicapped person, offered no information or assistance. Dining room servers were very attentive. Room steward was adequate. Would probably not said again on Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We traveled from Virginia Beach to Bayonne to go on our first cruise with many family members. When we arrived at Cape Liberty we had to wait an hour in a traffic line to drop off our bags. Not impressed with the start. The process at ... Read More
We traveled from Virginia Beach to Bayonne to go on our first cruise with many family members. When we arrived at Cape Liberty we had to wait an hour in a traffic line to drop off our bags. Not impressed with the start. The process at Cape Liberty is disfunctional making the initial start of the cruise an unpleasant experience. Parking cost were outrageous at $19/day. After a rushed process of mass confusion and a few shuttle busess we were on the ship. Don't bring kids unless you have them tethered to you during the check in process. After getting settled onboard things calmed down, until the second day. Then the sea decided to toss us about like a plastic toy in a wave pool. Not much we can do about nature. Our Capt did an outstanding job at steering the ship through this harsh storm. Due to steaming delays, we had to miss our first port labadee, Haiti. We received the gracious reward of spending 12 hours in San Juan which I rate as close to Tijuanna Mexico. We would have traded 12 hrs in San Juan for 1 hr in Labadee. Ship was very clean and well maintained. Nightly Entertainment was good. Trivia, Bingo, Ice show, musical and comedians. (comedian was a little dry). Food Menu selection was poor. Windjammer served same food daily.. Needed some variety. Casino was too small and Casino staff was rude. Excursion in St. Marteen was dissapointing. (bus trip to Marigot and then some beach time at Oriental Beach. Trip was not worth the money and it was not very well organized. I got a tour of where the bus drivers home was, what school he went too, the firehouse, hospital, police station, local super market and a few other points of interest to the bus driver. Lunch was to be served but they ran out of food with approx 10 people not getting anything). Stateroom Attendant Service was excellent. Our stateroom attendant "HERMAN" was very professional and very attentive to our needs. He was the best and really made what started out as a bad trip a pleasurable experienc. Our toilet was broken and our shower head was broke but Herman made sure they were fixed promptly. Cruise Director Richard Spacey was very helpful and entertaining but he could have had a few backup events planned for the foul weather days. returning home: Again, not a pleasurable experince getting off the ship. It was a long wait to disembark. Bathrooms were closed, no drinks available during a 2 hour wait. Then a long walk to collect luggage and get back to the car. Overall I would give this cruise a 6 on a 1-10. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
This was the first time I sailed out of someplace other than Fla. I figured I would give it a shot. I have always sailed with RCI and I feel that the past cruises are a fair comparison. Leaving out of Cape Liberty was a painless and ... Read More
This was the first time I sailed out of someplace other than Fla. I figured I would give it a shot. I have always sailed with RCI and I feel that the past cruises are a fair comparison. Leaving out of Cape Liberty was a painless and quick process. We parked right at the dock (19.00 Per day) No issues. Since we were accustomed to sailing out of Fla... The cold days were a change of pace for me. The view of Manhattan and the statue of Liberty were to die for. Since we were repeat customers, we knew what to expect. With that being said, the only things I am going to touch on here are the negatives/ changes that we have noticed since our last cruise 3 years ago. Day One: Easy boarding, staterooms were ready at 1:30 as promised. While the ship is showing it's age, it's still beautiful. I found a lack of activities to be involved with during the cold days at sea. Usually we'd be partying on the pool deck, since that was not possible, I figured my husband and I would spend some time in the solarium during the cold days....totally forgetting that this class of ship does not have an enclosed solarium. I would suggest to RCI that in the future, maybe they should provide the ports with cold weather in the winter time, ships that have enclosed pool areas, just a thought. This was the ONLY day we ate in the dining room. Day two-At Sea I decided to kill the boredom by getting a facial. First time I have ever used the spa services on board. While it's expensive.... it's so worth it. I plan to utilize the spa services on board more often from this point on. Day Three-At Sea Spent most of the day checking out the ship. Went to the "screening room" While I expected it to be small, what i didn't expect was the lack of being able to view the screen unless you sit in the very front row. We ended up leaving because so many folks (adults) were playing musical chairs and talking. Day Four- Labadee- This was my first time at ALL the ports on this itinerary. My husband and I decided to try the zip line on the island. It was a blast. I thought it looked scarier than it was. Actually- the ride out side of the resort area to get to the zip line platform, was the scariest part. I was surprised at how breathtaking the island was. We plan on visiting the island again and spending the entire day on the beach. Day Five- San Juan- We have never been to this port and decided to stay on the ship and take advantage of the empty pool deck! Day Six- St Thomas- At this port we booked an excursion to swim with the sea-lions at Coral World. We had a fantastic time. Remo was a wonderful "little" guy (500 lbs) I love to have experiences such as this one. something you may never have the opportunity to do again. I highly recommend any of the excursions at Coral World. After our excursion we did a little shopping at the port and then made our way back to the ship. The husband and I are people watchers and LOVE to watch folks, so we spent alot of time on the ship. Day Seven- St Maarten- Nothing planned at this port. We walked into town and went to a couple stores then waled the boardwalk. This place is beautiful and if you have the money a wonderful place to buy Jewelry. Day Eight- At sea....... Decent Day at sea.. Took in some sun ( the last of it before returning to winter) Day Nine- At sea- 70's night- Parades and Dancing on the ship Day Ten- At sea- WOW- The front that came thru the east that created the weird weather caught up to us. Today the seas were SOOO bad.... I didn't even get out of bed until dinner time, and we ordered room services. We were both ready to go home after this day at sea. The Food: The food in the dining room as well as the windjammer did not meet our expectations. The food in the dining room was not the quality that we were used t from RCI. Which is why we only ate in the dining room one night. on Day two we went to the windjammer and discovered you can practically get the same food there as you can in the dining room. Which is why we opted out of formal dining all week. Next time- we will go for the my time dining plan in the dining room. The best food on the entire ship was at the Cafe Promenade and Johnny Rockets.. we ate twice at Johnny Rockets and were at the cafe all the time for sandwiches and cookies. Just was not up to snuff as it was on the previous cruises we have been on. The service: As always the service was great. Everyone was friendly and Leigh and Frankie were awesome! The service from the dining room staff left a lot to be desired. The staff there didn't seem to engage the guests like the ones we have been accustomed to. Over all, we had no issues with the service and if there was something we needed, it was provided to us promptly. The shopping: This is where i was Truly disappointed and frustrated... If you have cruised before you know every day is a sale. On this ship, they would rope the tables off and would not even allow you to touch the merchandise before the sale began. This created crowds and chaos on deck 5. often jamming foot traffic to the point where the disabled folks had issues getting through on that deck. One of the final days of the cruise, there were women who were almost engaged in violence over the 2 for 20.00 t-shirt sale. I found this to be ridiculous. Especially since most of the folks who were on this cruise were >40 years old. When the confrontation began,no employees, not even security did anything to stop it. in my opinion it was ridiculous. Both on the part of the guests as well as the cruise line. I do not know why you would create such chaos over a T-shirt sale. Especially since these sales that were only supposed to last for a few hours were found the very next day in the stores at the SAME SALE price... WOW. All in all We had a good time. We learned to stand back and watch the fights, wait until they were over and then get our sale merchandise. I guess people just forget how to act! Some of the activities that we usually participate in were not as prominent on this cruise. I assume the reason is that most of the crowd was older. The Chamber was empty most nights, with the exception of Disco night. Battle of the sexes was fun and we missed out on the quest ( it just does not seem as fun as it did when we were younger) The most fun I had on this cruise was the time I spent at the cafe talking to an 89 year old gentleman named Howard. He was living life!!!! I hope to have 1/2 as much energy as he does when I am his age! He was the superstar of the cruise! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
we were on the 12/13/2012 cruise. everyone knows the hassels getting on the ship, so i'm not even going to address it. it is what it is. after getting into room, we had a handicapped room, so it was large, went to windjammer for a ... Read More
we were on the 12/13/2012 cruise. everyone knows the hassels getting on the ship, so i'm not even going to address it. it is what it is. after getting into room, we had a handicapped room, so it was large, went to windjammer for a lunch. Gee! the food was bad from day one. it never got better, never any selection, and it got progressively worse as the days went by. the lunch menu in dining room was almost non-existant so we actually left and went back to windjammer. please someone explain to me why every single menu item has some sort of indian spice attached to it. even roasts that were being sliced had curry spices. yuch! the evening fare was no better. does nobody on this ship know how to cook a piece of beef? even the lobster tails and shrimp were tasteless. if this is the revamped menu what was the old one like? i've been on older RCC ships in the past couple years such as majesty and enchantment, the food was quite decent, i wonder why a ship coming out of new york would have such inferior food. carnival and norwegian were 10 times better. the service i would say was good. the wait staff and cabin attendants were wonderful. however, i have never been so put off by staff at the front desk as i have by these nasty people. they were rude. i travel with friends. 3 cabins of women friends. we are not couples and as i'm the agent who actually books us, i make it known from the beginning, when i book and in follow ups. please someone tell me the reason on board credit should be a hassel to split. after specifying when booked i went to the desk on day 1 to make sure it had been done. told to come back on day 2, did so, and we were still arguing on day 9. this isn't rocket science. and such attitude. the entertainment venues were better than i remember. although i don't love ice shows, they were available to those who do enjoy them. good karaoke, and the women piano player was quite good. what i didn't appreciate was the fact that there was no info on what the entertainment actually was for the evening. a general term for comedian, to me is not a juggler. got to the show and a guy is tossing balls in the air. left there quickly. the ventriloquist much the same. put in a blurb on what the entertainment is for the evening. a couple of things that kind of got to me. this is the first time i have had to go up to pool deck to get a towel to take to the beach. they are usually available as you leave ship. if they insist on doing it this way, why not let everyone in on the secret so that we all didn't have to go back upstairs. although i never say never, i would be hard pressed to recommend RCC to any friends or clients who ask my opinion. it's gotten that bad. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Background- We have sailed with Royal Caribbean since the late 1980's, however not recently though, so we were not aware of how much the line has changed. Embarkation- Cape Liberty does not ... Read More
Background- We have sailed with Royal Caribbean since the late 1980's, however not recently though, so we were not aware of how much the line has changed. Embarkation- Cape Liberty does not operate as efficiently as say Miami or Fort Lauderdale or the many other better known cruise ports. Bayonne is known as a container shipping facility for which they are better suited. Royal Caribbean homeports one or two of its ships here and the staff does try to make it easy. However, it can get very confusing and frustrating under the system that they have. Ship- Explorer of the Seas is an older ship of the Voyager class ships and it does seem to be showing signs of wear. It is due for a refit I believe in 2014 but it still does not have all the amenities of the Freedom class ships. The decor throughout is very muted, quite frankly bare and the staterooms are fairly small as well. We booked a junior suite not knowing the actual size of the room but were pleasantly surprised, roughly 300 foot. The room made up for all the other inconveniences that we had.Activities- Activities were minimal at best. Everyday a different form of trivia and spa lectures and demonstrations seemed to dominate the day. At night there was always a show although not very good and plenty of varied music for listening and dancing pleasure. Poolside games were non existent although the children's activities were a full agenda all week. Dining- RCCL has deteriorated in this category the most. Things that were always standard fare in Main dining room were non existent. For example. they took away lobster and escargots and made it for fee. Also gone are the cheese trolley and port wine for dessert as well as table side service. Head waiters do not make special foods anymore for you if requested and meats such as veal and lamb were nearly non existent on the menus. Portions are very small although the waiters will always bring you additional. Food presentation is a horror show, looking like the food was just slapped on to the plate. Very unappetizing. Several meals came out on such hot plates that you knew was just microwaved and the food was actually cold. Beef was used on a regular basis, with the menu hardly changing, and always was served with a cream sauce. In fact, most of the meals were served in a cream sauce, which tells me that they were camouflaging day old meat. Windjammer Buffet was another experience not to be believed. Seating was very difficult at all times of the day and the wait staff not too accommodating in that venue. Breakfast is the same wherever you go, but lunches were routinely the same day after day. Also, I must mention that the serving platters had the food just heaped on them which did not give you incentive to eat. I could go on about quality and preparation but I'll try not to make this a long review. Service- Service throughout the ship was excellent and the crew works really long hours as well. Summary- All in all, Royal Caribbean has cut back dramatically in all areas. They really need to step up a notch or two in my honest opinion to remain competitive with some other cruise lines. We normally sail with the luxury lines such as Seabourn and Crystal and even Oceania, and although you do pay a little more, the cruise experience you receive cannot be rivalled anywhere. Cruising became all for big money and as a result service and personal attention has suffered. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This is the third cruise my husband and I have gone on, but our first with Royal Caribbean. I will first give some background on why we choose this trip so you understand what we noticed. We are from the Midwest area, and went on our ... Read More
This is the third cruise my husband and I have gone on, but our first with Royal Caribbean. I will first give some background on why we choose this trip so you understand what we noticed. We are from the Midwest area, and went on our first cruise in April of 2011 with Carnival. We decided we liked it so much that we booked another for November of 2011 with Carnival. Both of these left out of Florida, and the first time we drove, and the second we flew. While we enjoyed the sites, and weather, what we enjoyed most about the cruise was the ability to relax, not worry about where to go to eat, and enjoy the view off of our balcony. For 2012, I started looking into cruises that left out of the NJ, NY area because they were less of a drive, which is cheaper than airfare to FL. Since both of our previous cruises were with Carnival, we thought we would try out Royal Caribbean. Based on this cruise only, I didn't think the extra money spent on a Royal Cruise was worthwhile. I will include positives as well as the negatives below. Arrival at the port: We actually left our car at self storage lot in the area that provided free shuttle service to the port. (Premier something?) It worked out extremely well, but the cars get quite backed up at the port and it took a while (1 hr), once in the port area to be dropped off. The port has freshly dry walled bathroom walls with no paint and was somewhat rough in appearance but functional. I was sure if this was due to hurricane damage from Sandy or not. ON board - room condition: Our room initially looked okay, but after the first night my sinus's started hurting really bad. Luckily I brought some medication (not needed on the previous cruises), but I still had issues the entire cruise. I, at first thought that there was a detergent that was used, that I was allergic to, until I noticed the mold. Typically I wear glasses, so until I put my contacts in day 3 or 4, when I showered, I didn't notice the black mold growing in the caulked corners of the shower and door. I was able to run a tissue down one of these corners and wipe away some of this mold. I think this may have been the cause of my sinus issues. Condition of ship: Some of this may be due to hurricane damage, but I was very disillusioned that it wasn't blocked off better and the maintenance activities shown. One of the main pools was missing a large section of tile, several tiles in the adult pool area were broken, a banister was missing on one of the upper deck and trim on the ship. Seas: The seas were pretty rough on the trip down to the Caribbean, and very very rough on the first day traveling back. Our last day was very calm. Entertainment: Activity Director and staff were awesome and we really enjoyed them. More of the major entertainment on board was about engaging the cruisers in the activity, and they only had a few comedians and shows, one a night vs, a couple. (I would consider this a style preference and not a negative) Wait Staff and Food: Our main dinning wait staff and food was awesome. If you do go on this ship, ask for Desmond and Euclid. They are the best. Euclid even saw us on the Windjammer the one day, noticed what we were drinking and brought us fresh glasses. It was great. The windjammer was nothing special, though I really enjoyed there "mongolian" style stir fry the one night. There are different style cookies each day and they generally have a sugar free one, these were pretty good. Also the pizza was pretty good. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
The sailing was in late November for 9 nights from Bayonne, NJ with ports at San Juan, St. Thomas, Samana, DR and RC's private island Labadee, Haiti. Embarkation was a nightmare with traffic backed up at the approach to the luggage ... Read More
The sailing was in late November for 9 nights from Bayonne, NJ with ports at San Juan, St. Thomas, Samana, DR and RC's private island Labadee, Haiti. Embarkation was a nightmare with traffic backed up at the approach to the luggage drop off and check-in so that it took about an hour from entry to the port to the counter. The counter check in process was easy and fast. The ship itself is an "old girl" in need of a facelift (a refit is scheduled for 2014) with rather small public rooms and a Windjammer buffet area, which looked more like a cafeteria. The Windjammer buffet had no outside seating area. We took all our meals in the dinning room except for a lunch at Johnnie Rockets cafe for which there was an additional charge. As a matter of fact, it appeared that almost everything on the ship was a "profit center", e.g. for the first time in our 35+ cruising experience there were prices on the dinner menu to order special items like lobster. Our balcony stateroom was comfortable and roomy with plenty of storage. As Diamond Club members, we were able to take advantage of a cocktail bar area reserved for members from 5:00 -- 8:30PM for complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks. A really nice perk. Mixed drinks were discounted in this members lounge. The ports were fine except for Labadee where everything but the food and swimming were at an extra charge. On sea days there were plenty of lounge chairs for all. One oddity was the "gangster RAP" music played continuously at the pool area, which received many complaints but went on non-stop. Music and entertainment (especially the ice show) had to be the highlight of the cruise although the room with the largest dance floor was underutilized for other activities. All the service personnel and crew were outstanding. The debarkation process was another nightmare in so far as busses are used to transport guests from the ship to the baggage/customs area, which extended the debarkation time to hours. We will never sail again from the Bayonne, NJ port! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
This was our fifth trip on Explorer and we travel to Cape Liberty rather than Baltimore strictly because of the staff on Explorer, they've been stellar. This trip the staff & crew felt off, and our travelling partners who have ... Read More
This was our fifth trip on Explorer and we travel to Cape Liberty rather than Baltimore strictly because of the staff on Explorer, they've been stellar. This trip the staff & crew felt off, and our travelling partners who have been on Explorer 38 times prior picked up on that as well. Still very friendly and said hello, but when you'd ask for something or ask a question, the answer would be "I don't know" or "I can't help you" or an outright "no." Some examples - and yes these may seem picky (fair warning) We couldn't get VO or Bourbon in the Concierge Lounge because there are rules about stock liquor, but we could get it up in Cloud Nine where they made accommodations. At dinner, when a plate came without the vegetables that everyone else's came with, the waiter would say they "ran out" and refused to bring another. It wasn't the normal, again very friendly, but not helpful. The dining room menu changed about three weeks ago and we all thought it was much improved, both from a variety and a taste perspective. However, it took so long for our meals to come out, we weren't sure if it was because of the new menu or if it was our waiter. We had a 6pm seating and arrived at 6pm, but we never left before 8pm because of how long it took to get our meals. Unreal. I have a few cruises booked on Royal Caribbean but we're seriously considering moving them to Celebrity. First port was San Juan and we arrived at 4pm and left at 11pm. Since it got dark at 4:45pm, that port was quite useless. One other major issue - when we tendered in the Dominican Republic we had an excursion planned. All excursions met in the Palace Theater to embark. Royal Caribbean had a meeting with the DR President and RC Miami officials planned on board, so the tender process was halted while the President transport was handled. That delayed our excursion by over 90 minutes, vacation time we never got back. RC should have planned around that, but it definitely felt they prioritized that meeting over the current guest's vacation time. Also - the ship was deviod of Splenda, you could not even ask for it and get it. They didn't have it stocked at all. So if you prefer Splenda, better bring your own. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
This was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean, but our second cruise overall. This time, the check in process in Bayonne was quick and easy. We arrived at 11:15 AM and were eating lunch in the Windjammer Cafe by 11:45 AM. We walked ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean, but our second cruise overall. This time, the check in process in Bayonne was quick and easy. We arrived at 11:15 AM and were eating lunch in the Windjammer Cafe by 11:45 AM. We walked around the ship for a while until our room was ready, sometime after 1:30 PM. Our luggage arrived before 5 PM. During the muster drill, the staff assertively told me to stand in the far back of the deck (for 30 minutes, in the heat) and would not let me go to the front. I am petite. As a result, I was unable to see or hear anything during their life jacket presentation. Our Promenade stateroom was an interior cabin which overlooked the main thoroughfare. The room was small and the location was noisy. The carpet, furniture, and mirrors were worn. However, Danny, our room steward was attentive and kept the room clean. The ship is showing signs of wear and tear, especially the hallway carpets. The staff works hard to clean the ship. However, a few times we had to remind the staff that the common bathrooms needed attention, especially in the evenings. We ate most of our meals in the main dining room. We enjoyed the main dining room's fruit and granola cereal bar at breakfast and the upgraded salad bar at lunch. These were healthier meal options. We ate dinner at the 6 PM traditional seating. Our waiters, Carmo and Marko, were very attentive and remembered our special requests. Overall, the food in the main dining room was decent and the service was leisurely. However, the ship's food was saltier than the food I prepare at home. In addition, the dress code was not strictly enforced in the main dining room despite the signage. My husband bought the soda package, which included a cup that could be used at the Coke Freestyle (125 different flavor combinations) machines in the Promenade and Windjammer. There is a microchip in the bottom of the cup which only allows refills every fifteen minutes at the machine. We participated in various shipboard activities --complimentary liquor tasting, free exercise classes, trivia contests, port and shopping show, art auctions, diamonds and gems seminar, destination lecture, volleyball tournament, backstage theater tour, etc. The lively and informative art auctions included free champagne and prize raffles. We did not spend much the main pool area since we could not get a lounge chair and the music (both recorded and live) was too loud. The adults' only pool was better. The ice skating show was amazing - better than any of the production shows in the Palace Theater. My husband was happy that there was a live, human dealer at the Texas Hold 'Em poker table. However, the rules of the game changed every night, causing heated arguments between the players and the dealers and the casino floor managers. Also, the casino bartenders did not stop serving alcohol to the obviously drunk customers who were shouting across the bar at each other on several nights, disrupting the gaming tables. The non-smoking policy was not strictly enforced on the ship. I saw a bartender, who was selling beer on the deck, walk past a passenger who was smoking a cigarette on the non-smoking side of the ship and he did not say or do anything to redirect the passenger. I also walked through a dense cloud of smoke on the 7th floor hallway. When I complained to a female crew member, she said that the staterooms are non-smoking, but guests can smoke on their balcony. Seriously? The smoke was so thick it penetrated from the balcony, through the stateroom, into the common hallway. There were about 1,000 children on the cruise and most of their parents were nowhere to be seen. The tweens and teens were shouting and running through the hallways and Promenade from 10:30 PM -- 1:30 AM. Most staff members were friendly and willing to please the guests. We will cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Just got back from the Explorer 9 night cruise. We had a great time however there are some serious problems with this particular ship that really need addressed. Sadly with this particular cruise ship being almost sold out continuously I ... Read More
Just got back from the Explorer 9 night cruise. We had a great time however there are some serious problems with this particular ship that really need addressed. Sadly with this particular cruise ship being almost sold out continuously I doubt anyone will do anything. Why should they when people seem to continuously make excuses for the management of this ship. This cruise left on August 2nd with over 3600 people (600 plus were kids...ugh). Sounds bad until I heard from the cruise director that the next cruise had over 1000 kids. Good luck with that. The teenagers are like packs of wild animals. They are in certain places doing nothing but causing trouble which is what teenagers these days do when left alone.Despite the faults of management we did not let the issues raised below take away from our vacation. We just noted them and moved on. Captain = C Nice guy, good looking, visible, approachable and funny but he is not on top of things. This ship supposedly has 100 people dedicated to maintenance. I'm sorry but I don't think using duct tape to hold up lights and placed over elevator buttons which are missing plus the tape appeared in our state room at various places is acceptable. Nor do I think windows that have blown gaskets that cause the window to be completely clouded should be left in that state. The stains on our sofa in our room on deck 7 (balcony) were so bad nobody would sit on it. If I stayed at a hotel and saw such things I wouldn't be very happy and I don't think it should be acceptable for a ship. I don't want to hear "but she is 10 years old". Last time I checked RCCL doesn't lower the prices based on the age of the ship so why do so many people find this acceptable based on the ships age? Ultimately the captain is responsible. If these kinds of things are acceptable to him what else are they not keeping up on? In my experience it's not one or the other it's all things that are dealt with the same way whether its maintenance or safety or food. RCCL is just trying to save money by not fixing these things or the captain doesn't care. This ship isn't supposed to be dry docked for 2 more years. Are they going to wait that long? Ports = A The only thing that should be addressed somehow is the amount of time spent in Puerto Rico. Lot's to see for history buffs but not enough time to do much. Bermuda is great. One piece of advice..take a cab to any beach you want to go to. Any other way takes too long. A cab ride to Elbow or Horseshoe beach is about $30 and takes about 20 to 30 mins. The ferry at the terminal where the ship docks only goes every 30 minutes so if you miss one it takes too much of the limited time you have on the island. We usually go to elbow beach to avoid the crowds at horseshoe. Rental for lounge chairs and umbrellas are available for $10 for each item. There is a beach restaurant with a shower, bathrooms and a bar nearby. Great beach. Don't wear anything shiny into the water or risk the fish going after it. Nothing dangerous but unnerving for some. St. Marrten was very nice. Got off the ship and instead of taking a cab to orient beach which is very nice and interesting since it's clothing optional we opted for going to great bay beach which is in front of the town where the shopping is. We rented four lounge chairs and two umbrellas for $15. Yes $15 total. Get a massage from the women on the beach instead of the ship. You can get a full massage for $50 right on the beach. Just as good as the ship and over $100 less. Labadee was nice but be careful. If you decide to go to the market to do some shopping and help out the starving Haitian's be ready to be mobbed. They are very aggressive. My advice is push back hard and you will be fine. I don't know why RCCL allows them to be so aggressive. We didn't really want anything but when you have these poor people begging for money to eat we just bought stuff so they could have the money. We rented a cabana which was worth it but skip the "upgraded buffet" as we waited at least 40 minutes for food and the "upgraded" food which was shrimp and steak was all gone. Ridiculous set up by RCCL. No management to be seen anywhere to fix the bottleneck which was only two cooks, two grills and they only cooked two diff things at a time. Poorly executed. For those of you not in a suite or renting a cabana the regular buffet was fine. No lines. Food = D- All I can say is it was pretty awful at times. Other times it was average to better than average but I wouldn't call it good or anywhere near great. I'm not counting my thoughts about requesting a private table for four since our family hasn't been on vacation for years together and we are diamond members but we were not given what we requested. It was later resolved so when I tell you about the food I'm not counting that whole episode as part of the evaluation. We read all the reviews and took all of the really bad ones as well as the really good ones with a grain of salt but I must say we are not picky eaters and we found ourselves playing a game we called "guess what this food is supposed to be". You could actually see people with multiple plates of food on their table continuously leaving the plates full in search of something they could eat. You want specifics? Okay this is what we found with no exaggeration. Keep in mind some days it was fine for the same food I'm about to call out and other days not so good. We found...pancakes so hard a fork would not penetrate them, crust on the French toast that was so hard it could break your teeth, eggs benedict with the egg yolks solid, steak that was grisly and not tasty, green stuff coming out of chicken that was neither tasty or identifiable, chocolate cake (we think) served on Caribbean night that I'm not sure was cake, sherbet that was without a doubt freezer burned, spaghetti sauce that we think was actually a cross between tomato sauce and salsa, the Danish were not fresh, desserts not thawed properly, no vegetables in windjammer except broccoli the entire time and they should just stop making the non-sugar desserts and leave it at that. Someone please explain why they have to put corn in just about everything. Portofino's was disappointing as well. The selection sucked quite frankly and it wasn't up to par with past visits to this restaurant. I don't know what the story is but the management of this ship and the cruise line should be ashamed. What was good/acceptable food wise? The so called Asian night was a good dinner with the rice, ravioli in the MDR, breads (rolls in MDR and raisin bread in windjammer), mashed potatoes in MDR, turkey, ribs, surprisingly the pizza (even the make your own at the windjammer) and lobster night was okay. Forget about the sushi at Jade in the windjammer unless you want salmon and nothing but salmon. No tuna...ever or anything else unless you call California type rolls sushi. And don't tell me "well they are making food for 3,000 people". There are no excuses for what we experienced except using cheap ingredients and/or using bad chefs or they just don't care. If they really cared about the quality of the food or had proper procedures in place that food would not have made it to the passengers. Johnny Rockets was great. Nothing bad about it. A great shout out to Mr. Rick Frampton. Always smiling and eager to please. You gotta go see them dance. Nice bunch of people. The service in the MDR was great except for one thing. The wait for iced tea or a soda or anything other than water was at times way too long. My advice if you want anything other than water, order it before anything else and ask for two. For those soda lovers out there the Coke machines were installed and tested by the passengers on this cruise. It was free during the testing but will only be part of the soda packages going forward. Crew = A+ I found no fault with the crew even though their leadership is questionable at best. They were always eager to please, trying to help and doing their jobs with a smile. Special shout out to "No Wasi, No foody, No happy". You'll have to go on the cruise to figure that out. Also, Raphael in the Windjammer and Nicklas our room steward. I'd hire all of you in a minute. Cruise Director Richard Spacey. A+++ Easily the best one I've seen in my limited number of 8 cruises. Always smiling, friendly, very approachable and quite visible during the cruise. If they have a better director than him I'd be surprised. Entertainment = B+ Didn't go to all the shows but the onboard staff are good singers. I think they pay them extra for every song they use the words New York cause you'll hear it quite a few times. I thought the magician was a good twist on an old trade. Didn't see the comedians show at midnight but he was okay in the main show one night. The game shows are worth the price of admission. You have to go to the quest game show if you don't go to any others. Just leave the little kiddies with the baby sitter. Other cruise lines have top entertainment coming onto the ships like the blue man group or Cirque du Soleil but RCCL is lagging here. Pools = B. The bingo crowd was very efficient at saving chairs in the adult only area. By 9am forget about getting a spot. There are only limited sun areas there anyway. We found it much less stuffy and not as loud next to the pools by going to the level above the pool on the sides and getting lounges. Plenty of them and the view of the ocean is unmatched. The pool water several days into the cruise was getting ugly. They should change it more often. We did love the fact that they leave some of the pools and hot tubs open 24/7. If you're a people watcher there is plenty to see. Watching the terribly morbid obese people on scooters run over people to get to a table only to get up and walk to the buffet is especially interesting oh and the ridiculously fat kids with two plates of food running over people to get to the Jell-O is quite a site. Watching the vultures at the 75% off on watches sale is an experience. People five or six deep buying two, three even four watches at a time for junk was a study in human behavior. By the way, the watches were on sale again the last two days. Someone has to explain to me how the shopping guy gets away with telling everyone that the reason the Caribbean is so cheap for diamonds is because they have very little mark up and then offering a 65% off coupons to everyone. I'm convinced that the company gets a kickback from the stores they so heavily push everyone to go to. I wouldn't trust any of them. Someone please tell management to keep an attendant in the gym area at all times. I don't think they would like seeing children climbing on all the machines or towels and god knows what thrown everywhere but we did witness this. Older people needed help with the operation of the machines and were left guessing. The silent dance parties are strange to me but people seemed to like it. The chamber was great for dancing unless you have an issue with smokers. There are plenty there. Not sure if it's allowed but nobody did anything about it so I assume it was okay to smoke. Watch your mixed drink orders. Unless you're getting a martini or something on the rocks make sure they don't use the best stuff. As an example a red bull with top of the shelf vodka....$11. The casino people are fantastic even when they are taking your money. For those lottery fans the jackpot is up to over $535,000 and climbing. Numbers pulled every night at 11pm in the casino. Lots of slot, blackjack and Texas holdem tournaments. The only downer was that most of the slot machines are ancient. For those who want to access the web...Good luck. Fifty cents a minute if you buy a package and for that you get dial up speeds. They are using satellite technology which is all they have for the time being and as usual it's very slow. It's good for checking emails but don't expect to do any big time surfing. Bandwidth is really limited for now. My beef is simply that if it's this slow then don't charge. One of the cruise lines is going to figure it out first and offer it for free to gain share. With today's intensive web/cell phone connected generation they will get more customers. Some news we found interesting was regarding the new sunshine class ship coming in a couple of years. Apparently RCCL wants to put it in Bayonne but there may be trouble on the horizon as the port authority is threatening to make it a cargo only port. I'm guessing that's just a negotiating ploy but getting that new ship there would be very nice as long as they address the food situation and build a real cruise terminal instead of a warehouse that is not set up for such an operation. Taking busses to the ship is not very efficient for anyone. It works but I'm sure it's not what they want for a new ship. Getting on and off the ship is easy and well-orchestrated. If you want a cab there are plenty upon arrival. No need for a car service. Watch the van guys as they will wait and wait till the van is full before leaving. If I ever did this port again I would arrive around 2pm as you won't wait at all. As I said at the beginning we had a great time as a family despite several misses by RCCL. Would we go on that ship again? Probably not.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
The Good: Emabarkation was perfect. We arrived about 10:30, checked in right away, and were escorted to the waiting area. There were coffee and drinks available while you waited (free). Around 11:30 we got on the bus that took us to the ... Read More
The Good: Emabarkation was perfect. We arrived about 10:30, checked in right away, and were escorted to the waiting area. There were coffee and drinks available while you waited (free). Around 11:30 we got on the bus that took us to the ship. No issues at all. Once on the ship, everyone headed for the WindJammer. They weren't opened yet and it started to get crowded so we went down to the Promenade Cafe (which Starbucks and Ben&Jerrys is a part of) thinking we'd get some pizza. But that wasn't ready either. We hung around, had coffee and about 12:30 had pizza. After a "quick" lunch we headed to our room. My husbands luggage was there, mine wasn't. Apparently they were short workers as people took the day off (July 4th was the day before). I did get my luggage a few hours later and this really was not an issue. But, it would of been nice had we been told when checking in that there may be a delay. Our room: We had a JS. Perfect amount of space for two people. If anything, even a bit too big. We didn't need that much room but totally appreciated it. Especially the walk-in closet. Our room attendant Kenny(beath?) was a sweetheart. I loved the towel animals. We're pretty low maintenance so didn't make any requests, but it was obvious she would of done whatever she could to make our trip comfortable. The Ship: We thought it had a great layout, lots to do, good shows. You'll never be bored. Also, I found they keep it very clean which I totally appreciate. Bermuda: Loved it. In fact, we're going back for a few days. It's such a clean, gorgeous and relaxing place. I'm mad at myself for not going there sooner. We went to Horseshoe bay beach (along with everyone else) and rented chairs and an umbrella. Bring cash as they don't take credit cards. Spent a few hours there then took a cab to Hamilton. Had a great lunch, then caught a ferry back to the ship. St. Maarten: Maho beach was the best. Had a blast watching the planes land while eating and drinking at the Sunset Beach Bar (get the Mahi Mahi, delicious). Make sure to stand directly in it's path as it's landing too. Amazing watching the plane fly so low over you. Wen then took a cab downtown. The stores there are pretty much the same- liquor and jewelery. If you don't plan on buying anything, you might as well skip it. There's really nothing going on there. Labadee: We rented an over the water cabana and that's where I spent most of my time. I read, slept, had a great lunch at Barefoot beach and just relaxed under the cabana fan. Was a great, slow day. But, if it wasn't for the cabana I would not have loved Labadee. I went swimming at Nellie's beach and found the water dirty. I mean really people, do you need to drop cups into the water?? What the hell.. just so wrong when you're snorkeling and see plastic cups instead of fish/coral. My husband wanted to try the zipline but they had nothing available. So if you're interested, be sure to book in advance. The Bad: The food. Well, what can I say.. Based on my previous two cruises (with different lines), I wasn't expecting much but was still disappointed. We always found something we could eat but the only thing we enjoyed was the barefoot beach buffet in Labadee (the shrimp skewers were delicious). I don't know if it's the quality, or the cooking, but I'm betting on quality. Even the Chopps steaks we ordered ($15 surcharge) were bad. And I didn't think you can go bad with a Filet Mignon. Johny Rockets was a wate of money. The chicken sandwich I had was so disgusting I wouldn't feed it to a dog. It looked like various pieces of chicken, thrown together to make some kind of fillet with some gelatenious substance holding it together. Just terrible. My husbnad got the burger. He said it was ok but later tasted WJ's burgers and said it was the same.. lol.. We had My time dining and never had to wait for a table, but we only ate in the MTD 3 times. Portofinos was fine. Nothing special, but not bad either. Ate there twice. The rest of our meals were at Cafe Promenade. Lived mostly on the pizzas and sandwiches from there. The servers in MTD and Portofinos were wonderful though. Very nice and helpful and genuinely felt bad that were didn't love the food. They were the best part of our dining experience. Puerto Rico: Only left the ship because my hubby has never been. We walked around the fort, stopped off at CVS then back to the ship. It's pretty much what most people do as you only get a few hours early in the morning. Most stores open too late, and there really isn't that much to do around the port. I spent a week there before I was married and didn't like it. Too many reason to list and pointless as you only get a few hours in port anyway. The Ugly: The hoggers- From the chairs by the pool, to the seats at the shows. I don't care if your party of 8 just simply needs to sit together all day, everyday, at the pool and at the shows. That's just ridiculous. I had a woman who hogged the 5 chairs to the right of me all day. But there were never more than 2 people from her party using those chairs. Just soo wrong. Same with seats at shows. Your whole gigantic party does NOT need to sit together. And you sir, the one who just had to stick out his arm while stretching over 4 seats to indicate they were taken as I was walking down the steps and simply looked over.. wow, just wow. All in all was a fun cruise and I'd recommend them if you don't care much about food.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
First off, Cape Liberty. I only choose Cape Liberty because I live in NY, therefore I don't have to fly. However, on this day (July 5th) only 20% of Cape Liberty's bagging staff was there, causing a 2 hour delay in our departure ... Read More
First off, Cape Liberty. I only choose Cape Liberty because I live in NY, therefore I don't have to fly. However, on this day (July 5th) only 20% of Cape Liberty's bagging staff was there, causing a 2 hour delay in our departure from Bayonne. It was really no big deal, as we got to our first port of call on time (Bermuda), so clearly the baggage staff that was there worked really hard. Cape Liberty Rating: 4/5 Staterooms: I was in a Deluxe Balcony Stateroom on Deck 6 AFT, I found the staterooms to be larger than my cruises on the Celebrity Summit. However there was a lot of rust on the balcony, stains on the walls, carpets, sofa but for some reason it didn't bother me that much as the ship IS 12 years old and was not renovated once. Staterooms Rating: 4/5 Food: The food was for the most part, disgusting. The buffet was the WORST buffet I've ever been to, with the same stations of food repeating everywhere. There IS a sushi station, however, it was only used for sushi ONCE during the 9 day trip. The Main Dining Room food is a little better than the food in the buffet, and I would DEFINITELY recommend having your meals at the Main Dining Room instead of the Buffet (Windjammer.) The WJ had disgusting eggs, long lines, not enough tables, hard pancakes, food with hair in it and terribly bitter coffee. The Main Dining Room also had EXTREMELY small portions. Compared to Celebrity, which I thought had AMAZING food, Royal Caribbean was mediocre. I did not use Portofinos, however I did use Johnny Rockets, and it was DEFINITELY worth the $4.95 for a decent meal. Also, on Celebrity they had a poolside grill and the buffet opened 24/7. Royal Caribbean did not have this. They had Cafe Promenade opened 24/7 and even the food/treats there weren't that great. Would definitely go with Celebrity if you want better food. Food Rating: 2/5 Service: I'm going to separate this into every area I've visited as it varied greatly. Stateroom Attendent: VERY NICE, made towel animals every other day, some people on the cruise got none the entire trip. He made sure all our needs were taken care of. Main Dining Room Asst. Waiter: She was such a sweetheart, she was funny, always made sure our cups had water in them, we had enough bread, and always making conversation, giving us tips and laughing. Main Dining Room Waiter: Same as above, he was nice, funny and always made sure we were happy. Room Service: Slow. That's all I can say. Main Dining Room Bar Service: The guy was very nice, and even decorated our cups when we asked. Windjammer: They do an okay job for the amount of people they're serving. Johnny Rockets: Kind of slow, but I didn't care as it was a good meal for once. Poolside: The bar service is terrible. They follow you around asking you to buy drinks, wake you up from a nap to see if you want a drink. They try to push the drinks way too hard. Cruise/Activities Director: Leigh was amazing, funny and the best cruise director ever. Same with Frank The Tank. Main Dining Room (Lunch): The server got mad when I asked for 2 desserts I wanted to try... Guest Relations: No problems. For the most part, the service was OK, I would also say celebrity was better, due to the fact they do not try to push their drinks as much. Service Rating: 3/5 Entertainment: One of the comedians made fun of a young kid... terrible. Some dancers were off key. The Quest Game Show was hilarious. The Ice Skating Show was good as well. The band by the pool (One Love) was good, however after having the same band every day it gets tiring. The Entertainment for the most part was pretty good. Entertainment: 3/5 Activities: Every activity I took part in was fun. Activities: 5/5 Shopping: Was better on the Summit. Not much at all, prices aren't great. Shopping: 2/5 Public Rooms: Well cleaned for a 12 year ship. Many public rooms with activities going on all day. Public Rooms: 5/5 Overall: The cruise was pretty good, however I would choose Celebrity over Royal Caribbean. But don't get me wrong, I would travel with RCI again in the future. OVERALL RATING: 3/5 Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
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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