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

We read reviews before our vacation. We doubted a lot, but we decided to try. We returned yesterday and so happy, like we were in a paradise! The crew was phenomenal, the cabin was very comfortable, the service was excellent. Food was like ... Read More
We read reviews before our vacation. We doubted a lot, but we decided to try. We returned yesterday and so happy, like we were in a paradise! The crew was phenomenal, the cabin was very comfortable, the service was excellent. Food was like from haven. It's very hard to please to everyone, when over 3000 tourists on the ship, but if you are normal honest educated, intelligent person, you have to be reasonable and objective critics. The roomservise was fantastic, the waiters work was absolutely excellent. We would like put the waiters names Vas, Presly and Lynch Del Rosario, Franklyn. Thank you for great service! I'm laughing when I am reading the reviews: "a lot of people in elevators". Do you try to use the stairs? The entertainment was very interesting: picturesque iceskating show, library, bars, cafeteria, music bands and all shows. Thank you very mutch to all personal of the cruise. We are looking for another trip. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We sailed on the 8 night New Years cruise that we booked a month before.It was great, but there were some snags along the way. THE ROOM: We stayed in the Oceanview rooms on Deck 2 (2544). They were nice, and to be expected for an ... Read More
We sailed on the 8 night New Years cruise that we booked a month before.It was great, but there were some snags along the way. THE ROOM: We stayed in the Oceanview rooms on Deck 2 (2544). They were nice, and to be expected for an oceanview room. Smaller in size, limited closet space.. the works. The room had an old CRT television in it where the buttons on the TV itself did not work. Bathroom was nice, but my family's oceanview room next door had the toilet overflow during our trip. It was close to things, but if you wanted to get to the aft gangway or the aft of deck 2 or 3, you would have to go up to deck 4 or higher and walk across. Close to elevators, which was convenient. THE FOOD: Food was what we expected. There was nothing terrible, but nothing fantastic either. Windjammer had the same food each morning for breakfast, which became extremely tiring at the end of an 8 night cruise. I have to give a shout out to the curry each day for lunch.. that was yummy. MDR was fine as well, they only had escargot one night, which my family was disappointed about. There was A TON of lamb on the menu. At least 3 nights, if not more, had lamb as the meat of choice. I was all lambed out by the end of the cruise. THE SHIP: The ship was in clear need of updating, but it was fine. Some faded carpets and rust on the railings here and there, but nothing to ruin my trip over. She is beautiful, just needs some TLC. THE SPA: We immediately booked our couples massage once we boarded. When we arrived at our appointment the next day, they attempted to split us up because they did not have a couples room available. We obviously said no, since we paid for a couples massage, we wanted to be together. We were stuck in a small room with 2 beds and you could hardly move. We were not given robes or anything. Just told to get undressed and under the sheets. The massage was great, but we would have preferred the whole "couples experience". ENTERTAINMENT: Leigh and Erky from Turkey were wonderful. They made all of the activities fun on the ship. We did not attend any shows (prime time in the casino), but we heard guests ranting and raving about The Mentalist that was on board. Quest is not to be missed. We went to the Mystery Dinner Theater in Portofino. It was great and the wine was free-flowing. It was cheesy, but all in good fun! NEW YEARS EVE: NYE was great. Champagne was plentiful and the music was booming. They had balloons drop down at midnight on the promenade. They also had obscene "pay to be there" options for NYE. This included a balcony over the promenade for 1000 per couple or 600 per couple. There was also a private party in the Solarium. Not our scene. PORTS: We went to Labadee, San Juan, St. Croix and St. Maarten. Labadee was wonderful as always. Although the lunch needs some updating. The bars were also overrun and it took 30 minutes or more to get drinks. We ended up going back to the ship to eat in the early afternoon. San Juan was different, I liked the culture. We went to a hole in the wall and had a big dish of paella for dinner. St. Croix was absolutely dead port-wise. It has a lot of potential, and it needs to be nursed by the cruising community. They had a great fort museum right off the boat, where we learned a lot about the Virgin Island's slave trade. If you want some history.. go there. St. Maarten hasn't changed a bit, and everyone in our family walked back on the boat with a piece of jewelry. A LITTLE PIECE OF MAGIC: Our waiter in the MDR was wonderful. A person in our party had SEVERE food allergies to many items, and I have never seen a waiter more accommodating. Overall, the cruise was great. My family had an amazing time, and we can't wait to sail back on the Explorer.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Overall our 8 night cruise to San Juan, St. Croix, St. Maarten and RCCL's private resort was a lot of fun. The weather was sunny and warm, and honestly, how can you complain with being in a tropical paradise? We most especially ... Read More
Overall our 8 night cruise to San Juan, St. Croix, St. Maarten and RCCL's private resort was a lot of fun. The weather was sunny and warm, and honestly, how can you complain with being in a tropical paradise? We most especially enjoyed the wide range of activities every day on the ship, including talented entertainers in the Place Theater and Studio who were great. I liked the Cruise Director, Leigh, who came across as a genuinely funny man with the huge job of keeping 4,000 guests entertained. His side-kick, Erkey was good too. The ship was clean and was well kept despite its age. I looked hard for the frayed carpet and blemishes in public areas and could find none mentioned in other reviews. The cabins were a bit roughed-up and did show their age with scuffs on the walls and a few areas with chipped paint. The cabins were clean and our steward attentive to our daily needs. There were only a few things on the Explorer which could have been done better. The lack of a Midnight Buffet was inexcusable. The cheap sandwiches and desserts served up at the pool one night were disgusting and not a Midnight Buffet. The food in the main dining room was fairly bland and portions smaller than expected. Our waiter was more than willing to bring us more food if we asked. There was one black mark were our original table assignment was in a back dining area reserved to handle the overflow on the busiest cruises. The Head Waiter, Albert made everything right by getting us a wonderful table in the main dining room after we complained. He could have easily blown us off saying the ship was full and nothing was available. The ship was crowded and this was most evident in finding chairs top-side on decks 11 and 12, which were highly in demand. As for nightlife, Dizzy's on Deck 14 had great live music almost every night. I found quiet spots on deck at night in the back of the ship on Deck 11 that was especially nice when we were eastbound into the strong wind. Deck 4 is really cool under the lifeboats and is a much better place to walk than deck 12. Lastly, get out to the bow of the ship via Deck 4 one night when wind conditions are favorable. There isn't anything that compares to the total darkness lit only by the moon and stars.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Last fall after visiting Universal Studios for a week my wife who is a big Harry Potter fan wanted to go back for Christmas however after checking prices and deciding that the park would be too crowded. We decided to take a cruise and ... Read More
Last fall after visiting Universal Studios for a week my wife who is a big Harry Potter fan wanted to go back for Christmas however after checking prices and deciding that the park would be too crowded. We decided to take a cruise and found that this cruise to be the most affordable available. So early on the morning of December 23rd we left our home in Maryland in a light drizzle and headed to Orlando where we arrived 15 minutes behind schedule at 11:10 AM. After retrieving our luggage we found the Royal Caribbean representive who escorted us to the ground transportation departures area for our transfer to Port Canaveral we were on board a bus on off to Port Canaveral by 12:00 Noon we arrived at the cruise ship terminal 10 at 12:45 PM and after our luggage was off loaded by the porters for transfer to the ship we got off the bus and headed in to the terminal as we entered and were on line to go through Security the fire alarm went off and we had to leave the terminal. After some confusion about where to wait for the all clear and the fact that the staff at the terminal had to yell as no megaphones were available it created some confusion. Around 1:30 PM check in resumed and after clearing security we made our way to the check in counters which was done by decks and completing the mandatory norovirus questionnaire we got our welcome photo we found ourselves on board. Since our cabin was available we went to our cabin to drop off our carry on and jackets. We arrived at our cabin and found an invite to a reception for Crown and Anchor Society Members and headed to the Windjammer for lunch. On the way into the Windjammer I bought a soda package and got a tumbler which you had to use if you wanted to get soda from the Coke “Freestyle” Machines located in the Windjammer and on promenade deck by the Café Promenade. As the Windjammer started to get full we headed to the Promenade deck where we decided to check the menu for dinner and to have a snack at Café Promenade and then headed to our cabin where we met our cabin steward and took a quick powernap. At 4:00 PM we made our way to our muster station for the mandatory guest Assembly drill. All guest had to check in with a crew member who checked off our names on their list. After the evacuation drill we headed to the Viking Crown lounge for sailaway and a drink. As we watched the ship make its way down the channel the connects Port Canaveral with the Atlantic Ocean. We had nice views of the visiting Norwegian Breakaway who was in the port on a visit on her cruse from New York to the Caribbean and the Kennedy Space Center and its launch pads. However with in half hour we found the ship at sea and after dropping off the pilot with the pilot boat we were off to Haiti. We headed to our cabin where our luggage was awaiting us we unpacked and headed to the Windjammer for dinner. After dinner we headed to the Royal Promenade to buy some souvenirs and then it was off to the Palace theater for the Welcome Aboard show hosted by our Australian cruise director Leigh who welcome everybody on board advised of the number of kids on board along with the breakdown of passengers by country. There were lager numbers of guest from the US but also China, Canada, Brazil, Australia and several European Countries. The show which is more of a variety show had some singing, a preview of a scene form one of the production shows and finally some juggling and comedy by Dan Bennette. After the show we headed to Café Promenade for a late night snack some more shopping and then we watch the Bon Voyage parade which was very entertaining. After the parade it was back to the cabin and off to sleep as tomorrow was the first of two day at sea. After a very restful night of sleep we awoke on Christmas Eve around 9:00 AM and after dressing headed to breakfast at the Windjammer. After breakfast we headed to the Palace Theatre for a Welcome Back reception for Crown & Anchor Members. The reception which included free drinks had some entertainment and then an introduction of the Captain and the Ships officers. The new top tier guests were presented with their pins and a bottle of Champaign. The presentation ended with a presentation of upcoming cruse deals with the ships loyalty specialist. While the reception was fun it was not as good as the reception we attended on Carnival a couple of year ago. After the reception we headed to a very entertaining Chili Cook-off where two teams of the ships chefs made their version of Chili while my wife had some chili I want and got my lunch form the Windjammer. After lunch we headed down to deck three to Studio B for the Skating Show “Sprits of the Seasons”. Due to limited capacity of studio Beach performance was allocated based on you muster station. The show as always was outstanding as the show is performed on a rink which was about half the size of a standard rink. I would recommend if you travel on a Royal Caribbean ship with the skating show that you take one in it is a wonderful treat. After the show we changed and headed to the pool for some swimming and a snack. After our snack it was time to head to the cabin to get changed as it was formal night. After getting some photos taking by the ships photographers we headed to dinner. Where I had a delicious shrimp cocktail and a steak which was a rather tough cut of meat and a chocolate soufflé that was ok. My wife had two appetizers one was a salad the other was a soup, Shrimp Ravioli which was quite good and crème broule that was cold. After dinner we headed to the palace for the show “Fast Forward” This was a very good review of Music form movie musicals. The shows on Royal Caribbean are also very good as they feature a live band as well along with a full complement of singers and dancers. After the show we headed to the Royal Promenade to attend the Capitan’s Reception which featured free Champaign and an opportunity to get a photo taken with the Captain. After the Captain introduced the senior officers there was a sing a long of Christmas carols. After Caroling we headed to the Place showroom where we attended midnight mass conducted by Father Enrique Camacho from San Juan, PR the mass was very nice and it was good to see that some of the ship’s crew were able to attend. After mass it was off to bed as it was Christmas and time to spend a relaxing day at the beach at Labadee, Haiti. We awoke at 8:00 AM and shortly after Leigh our cruse director announced that Santa was on the Royal Promenade and would be available for photos in Studio B. After showering and getting dressed for the beach. I went down to deck three and found two long lines of young people lining up by last name to get photos with Santa and a much shorter line to get towels for the beach so I picked up our beach towels. After breakfast at the Windjammer we took some pictures from the deck and then returned to our cabin where we gave our Christmas tip to our cabin steward and headed to explore Labadee. As we were leaving the Ship a group of local school children in uniform arrived to visit the ship for a special Christmas celebration. After getting our photo taken by the ships photographer and by my wife in front of the ship. Labadee is a private resort operated by Royal Caribbean and is a peninsula shat is on the northern coast of Haiti on the Island of Hispaniola which after Cuba is the second largest island in the Caribbean. To get around there were several trams which bought people from the pier to the various attractions. We got on one and got off at the market where we found the locals to be very friendly and eager to show and sell you their goods. My wife was able to negotiate the price for some souvenirs. We then headed to the beach on the Southside of the resort which faced the ship and after getting our beach chairs and finding with the help of the local beach attendant a nice spot to site we headed for the water which was pleasant. For lunch we headed to one of four buffet barbeques that were operated by chefs from the ship. The menu included hot dogs, burgers, ribs and bbq chicken. With salads, beans and corn on the corn on the Cobb. There were also selections of deserts available. Along with some complementary drinks (water, ice tea, lemonade, fruit punch). For those wanted alcohol or soda the Bar Staff manned the bars and the waiters were all for Haiti. After lunch we returned to the beach and around 2:30 PM we headed back to the ship along with most every one else. We showered and headed to the Promenade Deck for a snack. After our snack we headed to pool deck for sail away and then up to the Viking Crown Lounge for a drink and to watch the sunset. We then returned to our cabin where we began the process of packing. At 6:30 PM we headed to dinner in the dining room where I had one of the best turkey diners I ever had along while my wife a delicious fish platter. After dinner we headed to the palace showroom to see “Don’t Look Back” the Boston Experience” which was not all that good as me and my wife along with about 1/3 to one half of the audience left. We headed back to the Viking Crown Lounge to listen to the band there and then to bed. Friday was out final day at sea and were up at 6:30 AM and were at breakfast on the Windjammer by 7:30 AM as the Windjammer was starting to get full we headed back to our cabin to pack and to decide which suitcase will would use as our carry off. Around 9:30 AM we headed to the Royal Promenade to look around and headed to the screening room to see one of my favorite Christmas movies the Polar Express. After the movie we headed up to the Johnny Rockets on deck 12 for lunch and the restaurant was full and the service was the slowest of any Johnny Rockets I found on any of our previous cruses even though extra staff and tables were brought up from the Windjammer it was slow but the Burger fries and onion rings were very good. I actually prefer Johnny Rockets to the Guys Burgers served on Carnival. After lunch we headed to the Royal Promenade so my wife could do some final shopping while I ceheckd out the college football scores from the sports bar. After making our purchases we headed back to the cabin to finalize our packing and for a nap for my wife while I watched some College Football on the TV. Around 5:30 PM we headed to the Royal Promenade we headed for the Royalpalooza Parade featuring the entire entertainment staff. After the parade we headed to our cabin to get our bags ready to be placed outside our cabin for pick up. Since we liked none of the choices for dinner in the dining room we had our final dinner at the Windjammer. After dinner we returned to our cabin to place our bags outside for pick up and headed to the Palace for the final production show of the cruise, the production was “Invitation to Dance” with choreography by Luis Van Amsell of ABC’s dancing with the Stars which was terrific. At the end of the show the was a farewell song featuring some of the ships officers. After the show I got my phot with Leigh our Cruise Director. Then it was off to bed since Tomorrow it would be off to home. Saturday we awoke at 5:30 am and after showering, dressing and dong some final packing of our carry off we headed to the Windjammer for breakfast and to view our arrival at the pier. Our ship would be the first ship to arrive and depart later that day form Port Canaveral’s new terminal 1. As we arrived we found that there were two Carnival Ships the Liberty and Sunshine, Disney’s Fantasy along with an unidentified ship from Aida. After breakfast we returned to our cabin and completed our packing and shortly after 8 AM we headed to deck for to the dining room which was our designated waiting lounge after finding a place to wait we had some coffee and pastries but we did not have to wait very long as our tag numbers were called at 9:15 AM and we headed off the ship and into the brand new state of the art terminal 1. After we got to the arrivals hall we were able to find our luggage go through Customs and by 9:45 AM we were out of the terminal and headed to our transfer to Orlando International Airport at 10:00 AM we departed and were at our terminal by 11:00 AM. Overall we were pleased with our Cruise but felt that the food service was not as good as it was on previous cruises with Royal Caribbean bur if Royal Caribbean offered an itinery we were interested in would sail again with Royal Caribbean.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Critique of Explorer of the Seas departing Port Liberty 10/9/14 Great time until debarkation. The Captain announced that we would be an hour late as there was a maximum speed which he was not allowed to exceed. 'Tough sailing because ... Read More
Critique of Explorer of the Seas departing Port Liberty 10/9/14 Great time until debarkation. The Captain announced that we would be an hour late as there was a maximum speed which he was not allowed to exceed. 'Tough sailing because of the weather.' I do not know the reason for the speed limit. If he went 2 nautical miles faster he would have made up the time in the apx 1,000 nautical miles which we traveled. Breakfast was not extended. He did not tell us to 'sleep in'. More later in the note. Food was very good, except that we kept sending it back because it was barely warm. Our regular waiters were smart and efficient. They used the microwave to 'hot' the soup. Unfortunately we got various stations for breakfast and lunch. My omelet was hot but Marilyn's scrambled eggs were cold. Cold went back As octogenarians we could not climb the 'wall'. There was a lecturer for history who was good and one for art who was also good. The rest of the time we stayed indoors or out with books. All of the books in the library were at least 10 years old. We brought current books. The cabin lady was good, I had no complaints as she knew how to make the bed. The shows were good; even the comedian (whom I usually don't like). The ship visited the tropics but the interior was chilly; like it needed someone to turn on the heat. The weather prevented us from going to one port. We were issued credit for the landing fee of about $35. It came with strings; it had to be spent on board. Back to the tedious debarkation. We were assigned to the refrigerator; the ice rink. I understood when we were there for a while that three times the number of people in the room made for lots of body heat. Hundreds were forced to stand. I pity those who were uncomfortable. We were tied up at the dock but no excuse for not having us have a late wake-up and late breakfast. When released from the staging area we had to go to Deck 1. The corridors were packed with people not moving. Fortunately no one fainted from the closeness. When we arrived at the bus after about 1/2 hour we noted that for part of the ride it was a single lane (alternating direction) because construction material block one roadway. Great planning!! Refreshments were announced for the ice rink; only in the almost 2 hours we were there they ran out and were not replenished. Fresh water was not available and the guy in charge of the crowd did not know where there was any fresh water. Very incompetent and untrained. I was up at 7 AM, finished breakfast at 8 AM and got to load my car at apx, 12 Noon. There were hundreds behind me as we were green 12. I should have stayed for lunch except that the Customs guys would have left. I loved the small Celebrity ships, RC owns them but has learned nothing from them. To return to RC I need a big $ inducement. Most of those traveling with us will spread the word of our debarkation and the speed limit placed on the ship. Probably something wrong with the electrical motors. Norman Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This is the 4th time my husband and I have sailed on the Explorer, and its the first time I can honestly say I was very dissapointed. We hardly saw our room attendant to ask any questions, although our room was always cleaned for us. The ... Read More
This is the 4th time my husband and I have sailed on the Explorer, and its the first time I can honestly say I was very dissapointed. We hardly saw our room attendant to ask any questions, although our room was always cleaned for us. The bartender in the casino bar (the woman) was very friendly,but we tried to ignore the tall gentlemen, as he always was grouchy. I say Rude Cruise because it was a different class of people traveling on the ship. The pushing and shoving, and sitting on trash cans by the elevator was not acceptable. I guess thats what you get now when you travel out of Bayonne. Avoid the "tee shirt" sale. You will get trampled ! Our Captain was excellant. He avoided the bad weather the best he could. Although we didn't stop at St. Maartin, he sailed West and found us sunshine. The Windjammer...is another story. The mongolan grill is nice, but the cooks don't understand..mild, or spicy. They just make it all one way...bland. People are still saving seats, and didn't get up after they were done their meals. Many times we had to take our plates outside. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We just got back today from our 10 day cruise to the Eastern Carribean. Overall everyone had a great time. We traveled with our two daughters ages 21 and 25 , one of their friends, my sister in law and her son. The embarkation from Bayonne ... Read More
We just got back today from our 10 day cruise to the Eastern Carribean. Overall everyone had a great time. We traveled with our two daughters ages 21 and 25 , one of their friends, my sister in law and her son. The embarkation from Bayonne was slow but not awful. The ship was very pretty and didn't show it's age unless you were looking for things to complain about. Our staterooms were small, but we also had a handicapped room which was very spacious. The boat was very clean. The dining room and housekeeping staff were top notch. There were many venues for evening entertainment including a piano bar, a pub with a guitar player, a salsa band and a dance band. The shows varied from excellent to just ok. We liked the female singer and the last comedian the best. The ice skating show was very good. The food was good but was a little too salty. There were no lines at the buffet but there were not enough tables for everyone to sit. The pools were very nice and getting lounge chairs was not too bad. We sent someone down in the morning to put items down to ensure we had seats for later. The pool band was very good and not too loud. We took a package to horseshoe bay in Bermuda. We should have just taken a cab. The beach is beautiful. We also took a beach break package to st Marteen. We didn't arrive at the port until 1:30 so we only wound up with 1 and a half hours on the beach. We were supposed to be dropped off on the way back to shop but the stores were already closed. We should have just taken a cab to Orient Beach and rented beach chairs from one of the bars on the beach. We walked off the boat to Old San Juan and did some nice shopping as we were only in the port for the morning. Labadee was wonderful. The have improved the island nicely since we were last there. We went all the way in to Colombus Cove which had bathrooms, a bar, food and a nice beach. You will need water shoes for the first beach at Labadee as the water has lots of rocks and coral. Labadee now has dock and is totally handicapped accessible. The younger people in our group went to The Chamber every night and had no difficulty finding friends. We all enjoyed the karaoke. We are already thinking about going on Royal Carribean next summer and are looking forward to the new port at Bayonne. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Hotel Information - We stayed on Staten Island at the Hampton Inn. Good staff and very affordable. They provided parking while we cruised, shuttle to and from the port, and breakfast in the morning. The staff was friendly and helpful. Be ... Read More
Hotel Information - We stayed on Staten Island at the Hampton Inn. Good staff and very affordable. They provided parking while we cruised, shuttle to and from the port, and breakfast in the morning. The staff was friendly and helpful. Be aware, that the pick of the shuttle for us was 45 minutes late. Other than that, we were happy with our experience. Ship Information - Ship was in good condition. We like this size of ship better than the smaller ships because of the variety of activity. Activities - Great variety of activities. There was always something to do if you wanted. Service - As always, Royal Caribbean staff always provide terrific service. The staff got to know us quickly and attended to our needs. The one time we needed assistance with changing something, they were able to accommodate us quickly. They are the reason that we will sail with them again. Port and excursions - Very happy with the choices we made except for one stop. I recommend the walking tour of Old San Juan and the visit to the butterfly farm on Saint Maarten. Both were very interesting events. Also, on Bermuda, we visited the museum on King's Warf. For $12 per person, its a great way to learn a lot about the history of Bermuda. Skip the Deviil's Isle tour. Its not worth your time. Cabin was exactly what we expected based on our previous experiences. It was clean and well kept. We had a interior cabin so we didn't spend much time in it except for sleeping. Dining - The food was outstanding. Really enjoyed the huge variety and everything we ate was well prepared. We only went to the Portofino restaurant once. It was good but with the high quality of the food available elsewhere, its not necessary to spend your money on the optional restaurant. The night we went, it was a murder dinner theater. It was fun and enjoyable. Children's club - The kids enjoyed the activities that they participated in. Our children made friends on the ship quickly. They chose to spend most of their time hanging out with the new friends. The entertainment at night was excellent. We went to all of the shows and were very happy with all of them except for one. We never had a problem getting a seat. We enjoyed the live music available throughout the ship. Disembarkation - It was pretty well done. We stood in line for about 20 - 30 minutes but it wasn't too bad. We waited in the dining room so there was plenty of room for people to sit. Summary - Overall, we were very happy with our experience. Taking a 9 night cruise is definitely a great way to spend a vacation   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This was my third cruise and first time on Explorer. We did read CC reviews beforehand and joined a very active M&M group online. Without question, we had a great time and would sail on Explorer again. We drove up from Virginia the ... Read More
This was my third cruise and first time on Explorer. We did read CC reviews beforehand and joined a very active M&M group online. Without question, we had a great time and would sail on Explorer again. We drove up from Virginia the morning of departure and parked ($19/day) at the port. We chose to park and roll our bags to the "tent" terminal instead of waiting in the luggage drop off line, and highly suggest everyone do this. We arrived at 10:30am, quickly went through check in, and then waited for about 45 minutes to load the bus and get on the ship. Surprisingly quick embarkation for the chaotic terminal that is being replaced now with the construction of a new terminal. We then fought the crowds at the Windjammer and had a first cocktail at the Sky Bar. Vacation began! Our room 8618 (hump cabin with balcony) was a perfect size for two, clean, and comfortable. Our cabin steward Henry wasn't seen often, but our room always was cleaned up throughout the trip. Yes, we had an older tube TV (I didn't really care) and the furniture was a little scuffed, but nothing that ruined our vacation. The lid/seat on our toilet broke on the 6th day and was replaced within 6 hours and I never had to say anything, as it was repaired automatically. The ship looks great. Ignore the nay-sayers who say she is poor condition. Yes, it is not new, but the maintenance staff could be seen all week painting, cleaning, and keeping her in good condition. I am impressed with how good it looks knowing there are 3000+ on her every week for over 12 years. Food in the MDR was good to excellent each night. Some items better than others, and when I didn't like something, our waiter brought me something else. Our waiter Christopher and assistant waiter Maria did a super job keeping us happy, with plenty of Asiago cheese rolls, more than one appetizer each, and always asked if we wanted to try different entrées. We did dress in tuxes on the two formal nights, and about 25% that we saw did as well. But many wore nice suits, and that was fine. Lastly, The Windjammer is a buffet and always had plenty of options to choose from. The fresh omelet station is a must in the mornings. We only watched one of the main theatre shows, and it was pretty good. We preferred spending our evenings in the lounges listening to live bands. Really enjoyed the Latin group Azucar in the Aquarium bar and C Wind Band in Dizzy's. Wasn't much of a fan of the piano guy in the Schooner bar. Even though the ship was sold out, we never had a problem finding a deck chair, and enjoyed the pools and Jacuzzis often. The best bartender is Arif at the Sky Bar. Go see him! The poolside fun was a mix of DJ music, Caribbean music group Umoja 4, line dancing, and games and contest. All fine. The cruise director Leigh and activities director Irky are both great. The best piece of entertainment is the Ice Show. Fantastic performances and a not to be missed activity. We also partook of the Casino with some blackjack and slots and always had fun. Beware of the smoking in there if you are easily bothered by that. We also enjoyed the rock climbing wall and mini golf. So much to do onboard, I can't see how people get bored. Ports we visited were all good: Bermuda we went snorkeling, St. Maarten we took a taxi to Moho Beach to watch the airplanes land, San Juan we went to the Bacardi factory and then shopped, and on Labadee we just relaxed on the beach. Didn't spend a lot of money in ports and still had a great time each day. Sadly, the cruise had to come to an end. 9 nights is great cruise length. We did self assist disembarkation, which means we carried our own bags off the ship. We got off very quickly but heard others had a horrific experience with disembarking. In summary, Explorer is a fantastic ship with a super staff. No, it is not a shiny new bauble, but they do take care of her. We enjoyed our cruise immensely and are booked for another RCI cruise for summer of 2015. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This was the first time sailing out of Bayonne. Our group of four consisted of two 18 year olds, a 52 year old mom, and an 80 year old active grandma. We live in Brooklyn so Bayonne turned out to be super convenient. Traffic on a Thursday ... Read More
This was the first time sailing out of Bayonne. Our group of four consisted of two 18 year olds, a 52 year old mom, and an 80 year old active grandma. We live in Brooklyn so Bayonne turned out to be super convenient. Traffic on a Thursday morning was not too bad and we arrived at the port in about 45 minutes. Embarkation was relatively smooth and we were aboard ship by 12:45. Went directly to the Windjammer for lunch. Had a little trouble finding a table for 4, but not too bad considering the hour. Of course, it was packed. The quality and variety of food was surprisingly good. We ate breakfast and lunch at the buffet daily and dinner in the MDR. The quality of food in the MDR was far superior and we thoroughly enjoyed our meals. The service was exceptional. Our waiters, Erol and Jeffrey were fantastic! They were super friendly and very accommodating and seemed genuinely concerned that we were happy with the food and service. In fact, everyone we encountered seemed to try their best to make us happy, from guest services to our room steward. We all agreed, as seasoned cruisers with over 30 cruises on over 7 different cruise lines, that the service and the professionalism and friendliness of the crew was the best we ever encountered. Because of this we will certainly sail with Royal Caribbean again from Bayonne. The reviews saying the ship is run down or dirty is simply not the case. Yes, she is an older ship, but she has been impeccably maintained. We had inside cabins on Deck 7 and we found them to be spacious and well-appointed with enough hangers, closet pace, and storage. The quality of the food in the MDR was superb. We enjoyed every meal. The buffet was surprisingly good too although we found the burgers to be too well-done for our liking. We enjoyed all the shows, especially the ice skating show. Daytime activities were numerous and varied. No complaints. We enjoyed all the ports. Labadee was beautiful. We would sail again just to visit this port. All in all we really enjoyed everything about this cruise and would not hesitate to sail again on the Explorer. If you can go just go. You won't be disappointed! Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Background: This was my third cruise and my husband's fifth. We are both in our early 30s. We were very blessed on this trip to have mostly calm seas and good weather, which was right off the bat a huge improvement over my last cruise ... Read More
Background: This was my third cruise and my husband's fifth. We are both in our early 30s. We were very blessed on this trip to have mostly calm seas and good weather, which was right off the bat a huge improvement over my last cruise in which a hurricane tailed the ship across the Caribbean and closed half our ports of call. We hit the jackpot in two other ways as well, one being that we had easily the best random stranger tablemates I've had (all young couples around our own age, and we ended up hitting it off immediately), and I had one of the best surprises I've ever had the day before our departure, when I logged in to triple-check our reservation and discovered that the actual, mythical upgrade fairy had bestowed upon us a leftover balcony. YAY! Embarkation: Barring a few impatient guests, the whole thing was overall smooth and nothing to note. The ship: We've previously sailed on both the Voyager and Liberty so were familiar with what to expect. She seemed to be in pretty well-oiled condition. I understand the ship is due for dry dock this coming winter, meaning her interior is older. You can see this if you're looking for it, in the carpets, the older tvs, the windows seeming in need of a good powerwashing in some areas. But really, she was as clean and tidy (if not more so) than the vast majority of hotels I've stayed in. I'm really only describing this because I've seen others mention concern, really, I would have otherwise thought nothing of it. The room: Like I said, we lucked out and were moved to a leftover balcony just prior to cruising. It was my second time in a balcony. The cabin we were moved to was #7660 which is port side, aft above the rear lifeboats. We must not have been the only cruisers struck by lightning, because several cabins around us were listed as available the day before the cruise, and were all full on the voyage. Being port side on this sailing was definitely the way to go. We ended up on the dock-side at all four ports, and got to enjoy observing the docking procedures for the first time. The cabin did still have one of the old-style tvs (which my husband made much mockery of), but one potential perk for privacy lovers is that the cabin is right next to a fire wall/door, meaning the one wall is thicker and the balcony wall on that side is made of metal, not a divider. The service: My husband and I are pretty low-key travelers and didn't run into any snafus on this trip. In my experience everything was great. Both our room steward and waiters were perfectly friendly and helpful when we had questions. Our stateroom attendant brought us a corkscrew and wineglasses no questions asked, and on more than one occasion both in the Windjammer and in our hallway, someone stopped what they were doing to help me carry my things (I swear, I'm young and not frail). One of the high points of the ship you can't miss, is the lady who mans the purell station outside the Windjammer and sings dance songs about handwashing. She's hysterical and often had the kids dancing with her. Speaking of kids, a general observation: There were far fewer kids than I expected for a summer cruise. I don't know if it's because it was a longer trip, or the crazy winter resulted in longer school years and fewer vacation days for the parents, but I didn't feel like I was constantly seeing kids dart around the way I did on our last sailing on Liberty. Activities: We didn't go to most of the parades or shows. At 30, ice shows and musical reviews generally aren't our thing. We did go to the comedy show on opening night and were moderately entertained, as much from people watching as from the actual show. We also did trivia on several occasions and enjoyed this. We had a general gripe that they need to limit the size of the teams here, us playing as two just can't compete against big 6-7 person families. However when you're competing for a keychain your gripe isn't really worth worrying over. It's just for fun. The food: My husband and I had differing opinions here. I'm a pretty adventurous eater, with a lot of influence from the local health nut/international communities where I live. From this perspective I found some high points worth noting, mainly the station in the Windjammer dedicated to Indian and Asian food (and usually vegetarian Indian at that), and the make-your-own stir-fry they have available at dinnertime. This is a very worthy alternative if nothing on the MDR menu is calling to you. We ended up doing just that on two of the casual nights. As far as the MDR goes, we did both notice that the portions were smaller than we had on our last cruise (several years ago), but as both of us have grown more health-conscious since then we were fine with this. We both tried several things with both hits and misses, my personal favorite being a chocolate espresso souffle for dessert one night. Di-vine. One major downside we both also agreed on: this ship can't cook a scallop to save its life. Seriously, don't get them. We tried them three times between us and every time felt they were slightly undercooked. We did have lobster night (second formal night), and all three guys at the table ordered it. One mentioned how he loved lobster and was sure he wanted two, and our waiter (Andrew) brought an extra tail not only for him but for all three of them. We thought that was pretty cool. Also, the coconut ranger cookies that everyone on Cruise Critic mentions loving made frequent appearances, and we loved them so much I've been googling recipes to try and recreate them at home. As far as the coffee goes, I drink it regularly. I've seen criticism of the Windjammer coffee so I'll say I found it pretty comparable to what you'd get at a place like IHOP. It's not gourmet but it's certainly better than the can of Folger's they give us at work. One last thing about food: We went to Johnny Rockets one day for lunch and it was good, pretty comparable to Five Guys we thought. But we'd like to suggest to RCI that what they really need to to replace it with Chipotle. The ports: We were blessed with remarkably calm seas and good weather on our trip. However when I say that, please note I'm a fisherman's wife and don't blink at a little swaying. We decided on two excursions The first, in Bermuda, was a catch-and-release reef fishing trip (reference the previous section). This was actually far more fun than catching rockfish at home because the crew really knew their spots and put us right on top of the fish. Everyone on the boat caught something and most people more than one. So for my H, this was great, and for me the pace was fast enough to keep my attention and hey, I got a nice boat right and view of the reef out of it. Our other excursion was a trip to the El Yunque rainforest in Puerto Rico. They call it a hike in the program, but all the paths are paved (they need to be, it would be very muddy otherwise); it is really more of a nature walk with some stairs and hills. The downside to this trip is easily the long bus ride it takes to get from the cruise port to the rainforest. You definitely want to be off the ship and ready to go when they dock. But on the other hand, it was really beautiful in the forest, there were no mosquitoes, we saw some great views and some wildlife, and the temperature was perfect compared to the hot sun by the port. If you like getting out, I think this is a part of Puerto Rico worth seeing. Debarkation: It is a crying shame that RC doesn't put more effort into this. It's the very last part of your cruise you experience and probably the first thing in your mind when you get home. Anyway, since we had driven and had a long day of driving and relatives ahead of us, we decided to the the self-debarkation a whirl rather than waiting for our tags. This was just awful. We were told by various crew members that when we arrived at our waiting area, we'd get numbered tickets to organize the procedure. So, we showed up an hour early and were among the first there. No crew members, no tickets. More people arrive. Finally, just after the ship has officially docked, Erky from Turkey strolls in and states that the line will form on one side of the room, eliciting shouts from people on the other side who 'arrived first' (but after us, although we aren't the type to shout and make a scene over this). He promptly caves and moves the line to their side, disgruntling all the people on the first side who had arrived early too. So now we all move to the 'line', except Erky has left and placed another crewmember in charge, who vaguely directly newcomers to the end side of the room. Then when they call us to start downstairs, makes no effort to control which side of the room is leaving first and the thing ends as basically a free for all. Super organized guys. Seriously, that ticket thing people had mentioned to us would have worked so much better. The only upside to this whole thing was that we did, in fact, get off the ship around 9:30, breezed through customs, and were headed home before most regular tickets would have even been called. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We have been on 23 cruises over the past 20 years. This was our fourth cruise with RCI. We arrived at the terminal at around 11:00 to find two long lines of cars waiting to drop off their luggage, which took about 45 minutes. After paying ... Read More
We have been on 23 cruises over the past 20 years. This was our fourth cruise with RCI. We arrived at the terminal at around 11:00 to find two long lines of cars waiting to drop off their luggage, which took about 45 minutes. After paying for parking ($19/night), we were directed to a tent and got a number to board the bus which would take us to the ship. We were on the ship by 12:15 and a quick and seamless check-in. The port is under construction building a new terminal and while not ideal right now, it will be a wonderful option in the future. It was a pleasure not having to fly as the port is only 1-1/2 hours from our home. We immediately went to lunch in the Windjammer, which was jammed! It was difficult finding seats for the 8 of us, but we managed. At 1:30, an announcement was made that cabins were now ready, so we dropped off our carry-ons and then explored the Explorer! Although old and scheduled for a dry dock rehab next year, I found the ship to be in nice condition, certainly nothing to be concerned about. The food in the Main Dining Room was wonderful. I can't understand some of the complaints I read previously. We had My Time Dining and I had made reservations on line beforehand for the 8 of us. We ended up at the same table each night and with the sames servers, Imdat and Michael, were attentive, funny and caring of our requests. We did not to any ship excursions. We went to Horshoe Bay in Bermuda - took the bus for $8 r/t; did a private excursion in St. Maarten, walked around old San Juan because we were only there for such a short time and spent a gorgeous day in Labadee. We found the service by everyone on the ship to be great, especially Guest Services when my husband got sick one day . They were very helpful. Our cabin was kept spotless although we did not see much of our cabin steward, which is the way we like it! I would have given this ship a "10" except for two things, We were very disappointed in Portofinos. Not only were the menu choices limited and uninteresting, but the food came out cold and was not very good. We all agreed the food in the MDR was far superior to what we had in Portofinos. I had made reservations on line beforehand as we were celebrating our 47th wedding anniversary so this was disappointing. Also, we were seated in the entrance way and that certainly lacked ambiance. I will say that service was okay. The other disappointment was the entertainment, mainly the three production shows. Only one we considered okay, but the other two were certainly not worth watching. The cruise director, Leigh and his co-hort, Erky from Turkey, were highly amusing and very enjoyable, as were the various parties they had each night. I will be sure to attend The Quest on any more RCI cruises I do - that was a riot! Disembarkating was slow, but we expected that because we knew we had to board the buses again to return to the terminal. However, we were back in our home by 12 noon! All in all, it was a fabulous cruise and one which we would like to do again, expecially when the Quantum or Liberty cruises out of the Port Liberty.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We have cruised on Explorer of the Seas out of Bayonne 3 times. It is never quick to get through the traffic but this time was ridiculous. We left our home in Rockland County NY at 11:15, breezed down to Newark and got on the road to the ... Read More
We have cruised on Explorer of the Seas out of Bayonne 3 times. It is never quick to get through the traffic but this time was ridiculous. We left our home in Rockland County NY at 11:15, breezed down to Newark and got on the road to the terminal...and sat and sat and sat in traffic. Our driver was starting to get really frustrated. What should be a ten minute trip took over and hour. The check in was a breeze and we were on the ship in less than 15 minutes. We were in a JS on deck 9. We were mid ship and loved the room and location which was close to the elevators and made it easy to get to everything. We decided to eat our dinners in the Wind Jammer as dh doesn't care to wait through dinner service. We found the variety and quality of the food to be fine..not super but certainly we always found a variety of things to eat and we liked having so many choices. We did eat in Portofino and both were impressed. The food was so good and the waiter was attentive without being intrusive. We had visited all of the ports several times and did not do any excursions. We wnt to all of the shows and thought they were all worth viewing although we did not care for the show with all the older songs. We especially enjoyed the head liner Zack! Disembarkation was a repeat of embarkation. We finally made it to the pick up area about 11:00 am but our diriver didn't reach us til 12:00 because of the bottleneck of cars. We very much enjoyed our cruise and the ship except for getting to and from the ship! Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This was my second cruise on the Explorer. I cruised again because the first one was wonderful, well this one was better. The ship's royal promenade is the perfect addition to a cruise ship. Starbuck's/ Ben and Jerry's at ... Read More
This was my second cruise on the Explorer. I cruised again because the first one was wonderful, well this one was better. The ship's royal promenade is the perfect addition to a cruise ship. Starbuck's/ Ben and Jerry's at the same counter-perfection- Great snacks like pizza and little sandwichs totally fresh no matter what time of night. Cute little shops to stroll around. And that is only for when I want to do nothing. There is an activity from 7am to after midnight. This cruise I found myself attending just about every event, mostly because the cruise director Leigh and the activities director Erky from Turkey are hilarious, I just wanted to be at whatever event they were running. I cannot say enough about the staff on the ship. The Starbucks barista's made a perfect cappucino EVERYTIME, even my local Starbucks doesnt.! The ladies in the buffet "washy washy" always fun and entertaining as they dispense hand sanitizer. My room attendant and waiters were a joy to be around. I am told that the Explorer will not be at Bayonne anymore and that makes me sad, However, I booked my next cruise on the Quantum of The Seas while still onbaord because my experience was so wonderful I am sure it will continue on the new ship. The room was quite comfortable,being one flight abouve the promenade I got coffe at 6am and sat on the balcony every morning to watch the sun rise. One morning I watched a rainbow form and stretch across the sky it was spectacular. The bathroom had room for all the personal items I brought and I liked the shower. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Airport to port: the four of us took a taxi van which cost us $50.00 + $5.00 tolls + tip. Cruise Port: Poorly organized. The shuttle to the ship does not start until 11:30 and not before. Room: Our family had rooms next to each other. ... Read More
Airport to port: the four of us took a taxi van which cost us $50.00 + $5.00 tolls + tip. Cruise Port: Poorly organized. The shuttle to the ship does not start until 11:30 and not before. Room: Our family had rooms next to each other. Upon opening room 1339 (10th floor), the smell was so bad it was uninhabitable. We were told to wait until 5:00 to find out if there were any available rooms. One was available on the 8th floor at the back of the ship. There were no other options. Dining: Dining room was good but not excellent. Service was slow but that can be expected when serving so many. We enjoyed the windjammer instead. It’s true they served almost the same food every day, but it was great food and many selections. Love the different food stations. Much better than Carnival. Carnival has you always in a food line and if you want seconds, back to the line you go. Bermuda: City bus transportation is available when you get off the ship. We used one token each ($7.00 ea.) to get to Church Bay. We love to snorkel, but water was too rough but would be a great place if calmer. Puerto Rico: We did the rain forest excursion. Expect to travel a good hour in an air conditioned comfortable bus. First stop is walking a short trail, second stop is the information center and third stop is a waterfall next to the road. But if we could do it again, we would tour old San Juan on our own and tour the forts and historical spots. St. Maarten: Just did the beach at the ship port. Labadee: There is a free tram to take you to the different beaches. Upon arriving at Columbus Cove, we were greeted by a man that insisted that he set up our beach chairs (for a tip). Be just as insistent and tell them you will get your own. We were the only ship docked and obtaining free chairs was no problem. But if there are more ships docked, it could be very crowded. Since we were the only ship docked there were only two stations set up for lunch. Leigh & Erky (cruise directors) were a highlight of the cruise. Very funny and truly seem to enjoy their jobs. Disembark: Absolutely terrible. Not organized at all. Our suggestion is to just take your time and don’t be in any kind of hurry. Once you’re off the ship, customs is no problem. Shuttles are available to take you to the airport for $16.00 ea., but they don’t leave until they’re full. The Oasis spoiled us last year. But the Explorer did offer the best ports we have visited.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Left on a Thursday out of Bayonne - very easy embarkation. I love this port. It is only 45 mins from my house so we drive and leave the car in the lot. Never had a problem. Since this was the only ship leaving that day, the crowds ... Read More
Left on a Thursday out of Bayonne - very easy embarkation. I love this port. It is only 45 mins from my house so we drive and leave the car in the lot. Never had a problem. Since this was the only ship leaving that day, the crowds weren't bad and we were on the ship by 11:30. This was our 2nd time on this ship and I will am sad that she will be leaving the Bayonne Port. The ship is so pretty and just the right size. Our cabin was a D1 Aft Balcony cabin. This cabin was so big!...and the balcony was huge. Two chairs, two lounge chairs and a table! Not seen very often on cruise ships. This room was just as big as a mini suite, but we paid the price of a Balcony. Since it is an Aft balcony, the walk from the elevator was a bit far, but it didn't bother us too much. With all the room in the cabin, it more than made up for it. The food in the dining room was outstanding. We had "my time" dining and made reservations before we boarded. Never had to to wait. We were seated with the same waiter - Gopa - and he was great! The entertainment was so-so. After the 1st show, we didn't mind if we missed any of the other shows :) However, there was a BonJovi Tribute band one night - Blaze of Glory. OMG, they were AMAZING! They also played an acoustic session one day and that was standing room only. Unfortunately they didn't give more shows - I would have went every night. Our room steward, Devon, was so friendly, as was most of the staff. Washy-Washy lady was a big hit by the end of the cruise! As for the pool area, we liked staying in the "solarium". It wasn't as noisy as the main pool area and we didnt' have trouble getting chairs. Disembarkation was just annoying - waiting around as on every other line. No major problems though. We had a fabulous time on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We were a little dissappointed with our St. Maarteen ATV excursion as we were not told that we would be going to Orient Beach for two hours and we didn't bring out suits.Oh French side is nude! Oh well entertainment! Ship is in good ... Read More
We were a little dissappointed with our St. Maarteen ATV excursion as we were not told that we would be going to Orient Beach for two hours and we didn't bring out suits.Oh French side is nude! Oh well entertainment! Ship is in good shape but going into dry dock soon for updates. Showing a little wear. Lived at the Solarium pool as we had no kids with us and it was our anniversary. Staff was good about making sure that no children 16 or younger were there although there were parents who wanted their kids to hang out in the Jacuzzi.No go! Went to the spa for mani & pedi loved it but they are always trying to push Elmeis products & more services.$29 for the mani. Would have liked a bit more times in some of the ports such as one port we got in at 7:00 but the shops didn't open until 10:00 and we had to be back on ship for 3:00 Always love RCCL. Food was good but not great this time but the service in main diningroom was impecible!   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Well what can I say? I have never experienced a holiday like this before. I felt so looked after by the staff and nothing seemed to be too much trouble! We had an interior room which was a bit dark but otherwise very comfortable and very ... Read More
Well what can I say? I have never experienced a holiday like this before. I felt so looked after by the staff and nothing seemed to be too much trouble! We had an interior room which was a bit dark but otherwise very comfortable and very well attended by the staff. It was cleaned twice a day and each evening we were left a lovely little towel animal! Leaving Cape Liberty was a bit rocky but if you go sit in the middle of the ship you can handle it a bit better. The activities on board are great, something for everyone. The gym was great, had all the equipment you could need with an amazing view to boot! The food was excellent. We always had breakfast and lunch at the windjammer. Always lots of choice and the food was of excellent quality! We had evening dining in Magellan at the 8.30 seating. The food and service we received here was second to none!! Every night had a different menu with so many fantastic choices. If we were finding it particularly difficult to choose, we were brought all of our options!!! Our waiting staff, Marko and Wan were beyond amazing. They were friendly, funny and so attentative. I've never been to any restaurant where I received service as good as this! The Islands we visited were: Bermuda- not overly hot in April, but be careful, it can be decieving. We went to horseshoe bay which was beautiful. St Marteen: my favourite island by far. So gorgeous! We went to orient bay where we went jet skiing. It was so much fun. Lots of bars and huts for food here and the water was beautiful! San juan: went to the rainforest which was fantastic, but took most of the day so didn't get to see much of the island. We did have theee best sangria here however!! Labadee: Beautiful island owned by royal caribbean. really well kept, lovely beaches and lots of fun activities. We did the zipwire here which was fantastic if not a bit timeconsuming considering it only lasts 45 seconds. All in all, the cruise left me relaxed, happy and maybe a tad fatter but I would definitely recommend it to a friend! I personally would have liked more time at St Marteen and Labadee but you can't have everything!!! Awesome time had by myself and the hubby!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We had a wonderful time aboard the EOS (as always)  The embarkation process was smooth and we were on board by noon on the 11th. Up to Windjammer for lunch as wait for our room to be ready. As promised our cabin (7566) was ready for us ... Read More
We had a wonderful time aboard the EOS (as always)  The embarkation process was smooth and we were on board by noon on the 11th. Up to Windjammer for lunch as wait for our room to be ready. As promised our cabin (7566) was ready for us at 1:30. Cabin was clean and neat, we met our cabin attendant who was very responsive to our needs. (though we didn't need anything as it was all there the way we asked) Luggage arrived shortly there after, so we were able to unpack and dress for dinner. We were fortunate to have pool time on our second day at sea. (first day was cold, but waters were calm) from this point on it was beautiful weather. We have a routine where we go to dinner, then to trivia at the schooner bar, then to the show, then off to dance or party or gamble.......met some wonderful new friends and connected with some previous cruisers. Our island trips were fun ! Getting off and on ship was uneventful !! Cayo Levantado beach in Dominican Republic was beautiful. First time we had gone there, and the water and beach were great. Unfortunately they did not have several of the items that were listed on the excursion description. No paddle boats, No salsa dancing/dancers - had a hole in my snorkel equipment and they wouldn't give me a new one as you can only use each item once, so I opted to float on my raft, which was fun, but overall a nice day. St Thomas was a tour and shopping which was a great time St Kitts - the beach - one we had been to before, warm, beautiful and relaxing. St Marteen - to Orient Beach - were located in the "nicer" chair section this time closer to the volleyball courts. (Previously was way down the beach) - again, warm, fun and beautiful. The currently wasn't too bad this time. Have been there before and current was real bad. so we were able to enjoy the water this time. Back on board for the trip back - once again had great days as sea. Wednesday was a bit windy and rocky, but after last year being in a storm, this was nothing ! Our overall all experience - WE HAD A GREAT TIME ! Shows and parties were fun - have to say my favorite show was the juggler and my favorite party was the 70's....but all others were worth going to. It was our first time going to The Quest.... and I can't believe we never went to one on our other cruises. What a riot !!! We will make sure we go again on our future cruises. We will miss the EOS when she goes in for a makeover. It is the type of ship we like, not t0o big, not too small. Able to run around and be busy or just sit and relax. We do have two complaints about the cruise though and will pass them along to RCCL. 1 - They no longer non smoking nights in the casino - which for us in unfortunate as the smoking in the casino is real thick and we couldn't stay long. There were "non smoking" tables but half the time they were closed. AND they did not have a let it ride not smoking table - oh well there lose as we had money to gamble with ! 2 - People still are smoking on the patios, which caused us to have to close our cabin balcony door often. I understand that most people who smoke like the balcony rooms for this reason, but RCCL needs to either enforce (announce) their new policy OR find ways to group smoking together, so those that smoke can enjoy and those that don't aren't affected by the drifting smoke. Next up ----- we'll have to give the Quantum a try Deb and Steve.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We traveled from Rochester NY the day before and stayed at the Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suite at the airport.Not much around there but we took cold cuts for dinner and just stayed at the pool nice and clean $230.we got to park our car ... Read More
We traveled from Rochester NY the day before and stayed at the Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suite at the airport.Not much around there but we took cold cuts for dinner and just stayed at the pool nice and clean $230.we got to park our car for 10 days at the hotel one nights stay and buffet in the morning. We used Independent Driver for our transfer to the port right on time $55.00 for four adults each way very nice service and large van they also picked us up as planned when we got back to port 888-816-0973 Highly suggest over cab service a 15 min ride back to the hotel was 1 hr due to a truck rolled over no extra charge flat rate a cab would have been big $$$$. Getting onto the ship was different they check you in and then you take a bus 200 yards to the ship and get on guess they are building a new terminal things will change then getting off the ship was very slow never got off till 10:30 back to hotel to pick up the car at 12 and on the road bye 12:30. Ship was very clean but old due to be redone soon crew was very nice and the people that sailed were great avg age around 45 years.Food and dinning was great best head waiter we have ever seen in 21 cruises. cabin stewert he was ok nothing great did his job but nothing more.Entertainment on the ship was just ok alot of music playing in bars and that was about it at night unless you went to the show and they were just ok had a great juggler one night. The ports Samana was poor as always took 2 hours to get on a tender to go ashore just to walk around really suggest a excursion if your going there. St Kitts was great take a cab to the Carambala Beach club $4.00 per person each way no charge at club but $10.00 for chair and $10.00 for umbrella nice beach sandy clean high class Drinks at club a little more then avg good food and clean bathrooms. St Marteen We got off the water taxi at center of town went right 200 yds to the 0ne love bar $20.00 for 2 chairs umbrella 6 beers or 5 pops or 2 frozen drinks nice clean bathroom and good food, owner and his wife working there tail off beach is good and then you can shop right in town. St Thomas did the Kon Tiki tour No free drinks with booze just rum punch took us to a beach and over a sunken ship with a glass bottom boat a little pricey went shopping in town after that. all in all nice trip good time and alot of nice people better then going out of New York City Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Our party of 4 (two couples in our early 50s) sailed on the first cruise post the virus on January 31st. Embarkation was very smooth and we were on board within 30 minutes of arriving. There was no traffic because the prior cruise ... Read More
Our party of 4 (two couples in our early 50s) sailed on the first cruise post the virus on January 31st. Embarkation was very smooth and we were on board within 30 minutes of arriving. There was no traffic because the prior cruise disembarked two days earlier. Our balcony cabins were ready and the fantastic crew was ready for us too. We found our cabins to very clean and you could see that all carpets had been cleaned. There were many precautions for the first 3 days with hand sanitizer, staff (including entertainers) serving in Windjammer and no handling of salt, pepper, sugar, butter, etc., in the dining rooms. There were no menus in the bars or fruit for drinks until we got to Puerto Rico on Day 3. We understood the precautions and appreciated the extra effort. You could see the staff was tired and stressed but smiled most of the time. Everything went back to normal on Day 3. This was our fourth cruise on the Explorer and we have one more booked in July. She is our favorite ship by far and we love the crew. Each cruise, we are greeted by staff from a prior cruise who remember us! It’s amazing and makes us feel so welcome. This cruise lived up to our high expectations! We found the dining room food to be better than our cruise a year ago. We met the new Executive Chef during one of his many rounds of introducing himself to the guests. The Cruise Director Leigh and Assistant Erky from Turkey are the BEST ever! They made us laugh and just did an amazing job. Our cabin steward was attentive and we were very well taken care of at Dizzy’s by Suzeann, Rosario and Marya. The house band, Bosco and Storm were entertaining. Dizzy’s continues to be our favorite place to spend time… great views and atmosphere day and night! Our first stop was San Juan, Puerto Rico where we had an excursion tour of Old and New San Juan. We found it interesting and our tour guide was excellent. Unfortunately it got dark towards the last hour so it hard to see the later sights. Sail away was at 11 PM and featured dancing under the stars. It was a fun night! We didn’t have anything booked in St. Thomas so we took a cab to Emerald Bay Beach ($6 per person) and spent a couple of hours at the beach. The weather was sunny and warm… just lovely! We got back to the ship mid-afternoon and enjoyed a lazy afternoon on board. Samana, Dominican Republic was the next port via tender. It was our first (and last) time there. We booked a Hike in the Rainforest and natural waterfalls. I have never felt so unsafe in my life. We traveled in an open air bus for about 35 minutes. We went through the center of the city and were stuck in traffic for fifteen minutes. We were all very anxious as we sat in the middle of a city that clearly had its challenges. It is sad to see how people in other parts of the world struggle and I understand that we will see things like this in our travels, but this is the first time we felt unsafe. Once we got to the rain forest, it was a good hike, although some parts were difficult to walk as the ground was damp and slippery. The waterfalls left a lot to be desired and did not live up to the excursion description. After the hike, we returned to a “ranch” where we spent a very long two hours shopping from a couple of tables of local crafts and sampling local fruit, followed by a tour of every bush, flower and tree at the “ranch”. The tour guide was very good but he clearly was trying to fill the timetable of the excursion. We observed him checking his watch again and again. Finally, at hour 4, we got back on the bus and were taken back to the ship. This excursion was expensive, not what was described and made us feel unsafe. Port 4, Labadee! Our first time here and it was amazing! We rented a cabana over the rocks and enjoyed a personal cabin attendant, floats, and comfortable furniture. It was paradise! The weather was once again perfect. Lunch was very nice and the Labadoozies were good too! 5+ stars for Labadee! Upon returning to the ship, we suggested that Royal Caribbean skip Samana and do an overnight at Labadee. There were two and half sea days until our arrival in Bayonne and we were able to spend a day and a half outside and enjoying the warm weather. The second formal night featured lobster which was delicious! There were many special items on the menu throughout the cruise that were just excellent. We were fortunate to have calm seas on this cruise and good weather in all the ports. Disembarkation was easy and quick. We were off the ship, on the shuttle bus, through customs and on our way home in less than 30 minutes. Explorer is in desperate need of a dry dock, much sooner than is planned. Maybe RCCL should have thought about freshening her up for her last year out of Bayonne for all her loyal guests over the years. Much of the furniture in the public areas needs replacing, carpets are worn and the restrooms need attention. It did not stop us from sailing on her and we will again in July because of her outstanding crew each and every time. They are the friendliest and most hospitable at sea. Leigh and Erky are top notch and would love to see them on Quantum of the Seas! The Promenade is our favorite and we are so hoping Quantum will live up to the Explorer of the Seas experience and reputation. We’re booked for February 2015, so we will see. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We were on the Norovirus cruise that ended two days early and missed two islands. It was quite sad, not only that we missed so much, but also because of the poor people who were ill. My wife and I remained well, as did all our dinner ... Read More
We were on the Norovirus cruise that ended two days early and missed two islands. It was quite sad, not only that we missed so much, but also because of the poor people who were ill. My wife and I remained well, as did all our dinner tablemates. We were fortunate. Despite the disappointments, the cruise was a good one for us. The weather in St. Thomas and in San Juan was perfect, as was the weather on the days we missed islands. The weather on the way down was , of course, horrendous because of the snow storm. One of the highlights of the cruise was seeing the staff in action during the crisis. They gave their all and remained pleasant while they worked so hard to keep everything sanitized. All staff including performers and others, participated in the cleaning and in the distribution of food in the Windjammer. They all get A+ on effort and effectiveness. The virus cases kept coming down in number everyday. The containment process was successful. One of the reasons the staff might have been so good and involved was the Captain. What a wonderful, professional, compassionate, understanding and calm person. He always presented himself with respect with all people - even those who were attacking him as if he were responsible for the virus. The things that impressed me most about him was that on the evening that he had to announce our immediate return to Bayonne, he did not disappear and hide in the bridge. As I was wandering around the ship that night, I entered the Royal Promenade and there was Captain Henrik standing fielding questions and explaining to the best of his ability. He really not only cared, but also showed the substance of his ability and concern for the ship and the passengers. Thank you, Captain! Embarkation went well enough, considering we were in a snowstorm. It was cold in the terminal, but everyone was pleasant and helpful. We were on the ship relatively soon -(My wife is on a cane and we were able to move through rather quickly). Of course the worst thing about Cape Liberty is the shuttle process. Debarkation was a nightmare for someone who is handicapped. The pushing and shoving of the guests over rode the concern of staff. The Staff at Cape Liberty was not the most helpful. I understand that all were disappointed, and that the Longshoreman and other port staff were not really prepared for the arrival of a ship on an "off day". So that contributed to the problems. Surprise! We had heard that our cars parked at Cape Liberty would be cleaned off --- and they were. Delighted we were that we did not have that to deal with when we debarked. Will we cruise RCCL again? absolutely --- and not just because we got (or will get) the certificate). We will cruise again because we like cruising -- and because of the way that the staff treated us in a crisis. They are a real team!!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Hi all... This was our first cruise, so I have nothing to compare anything to. But, I will say, I have been a member of cruisecritic for a year, so I had tons and tons of tips, hints, and tricks and BIG expectations. First thing off... I ... Read More
Hi all... This was our first cruise, so I have nothing to compare anything to. But, I will say, I have been a member of cruisecritic for a year, so I had tons and tons of tips, hints, and tricks and BIG expectations. First thing off... I am proud as punch that everything was how I thought it was gonna be.. so much so, that we booked another 2 cruises already! The ship the Explorer is mighty big, and plenty beautiful! She was beautifully decorated for the Christmas season. No matter how hard I try and find a down side to this beautiful ship, I can't. Everything to us was more than we expected. The service, the food.. WOW, what can I say! I have never been treated so well on a holiday before. (Thank YOU Royal Caribbean) I joined cruisecritic and quickly found our roll call. And immediately starting making plans. I was amazed at the tips I received. And very happy at the new friendships I have made, here at cruisecritic and also on the ship. Really can't say enough about everyone that guided us through our first cruise. The food was amazing!!! The cabin was more than I expected (middle of the hump was GREAT!!) Everything was WOW!!! Getting off the ship could use a bit of organizing... but, again.. we know no different, but everyone around us was not happy, we were just happy to have just had the best first cruise experience ever, so because it took a little longer getting off the ship was ok with us :D The shore excursions were booked through the ship, and they were great too, we booked tours that showed us the islands, and we got exactly what we wanted. A fantastic tour of all the islands. We did : St.Maartens, St. Kitts, San Juan and Labadee Haiti. Each island had its own little personality and beyond beautiful. The entertainment on the ship was also very good!!! We were quite shocked at how overall the whole experience was... it was WOW from start to finish! We heard many many seasoned cruisers who were never happy.. many people complained (about every little thing) We kept thinking that if these complainers wanted to have this ultimate treatment, that perhaps they should go to a higher end cruise line.. The service and everything else that they complained about is out there, but it comes at a price. I am happy that cruises are now more affordable for more people. Seriously, I don't need someone to come into my cabin 10 times a day and pick up after me, or put chocolates on my pillow... but if I did, I am sure I could pay more and get someone to do that.. I am happy to now be a cruiser.. And, VERY happy with what Royal Caribbean has to offer.. I also love the fact that Bayonne is within driving distance from Ontario Canada.. its really an easy vacation... really liked cruising out of the cold down to the sun and fun, and then back to winter... will cruise out of here again!!!! And will pick Royal Caribbean!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This is my first post on Cruise Critic so I really can't be very discriminating, but giving a blow by blow would be counterproductive. This was our third cruise and the longest we have ever taken. To make reading this more interesting ... Read More
This is my first post on Cruise Critic so I really can't be very discriminating, but giving a blow by blow would be counterproductive. This was our third cruise and the longest we have ever taken. To make reading this more interesting I'm posting under what I feel is important to know about the cruise in terms of my own interests; Karaoke: For me this was a huge surprise. After screwing up the courage to do it on the first night, I went up to the mike every other time there was a session. I realized that some of the songs were hopelessly out of my key. I also realized that although I think I have a good voice, some people have amazing voices and really know how to sell a song. I also realized that listening to others sing is a real community builder and such a community formed. I believe I was the first person on the cruise who proposed a duet to another passenger. It was great fun. Others followed suit. All of the people who sang became part of a Karaoke community. We acknowledged one another elsewhere on the boat. Interestingly enough, people I met in other activities, gave me the honour of attending to hear me. The common theme on many of these posts is that those who participated enthusiastically got the most out of any activity. I was particulary struck by this at the Quest scavenger hunt. Some people just sat in chairs waiting for the others to do something. What fun is that? If that's all you're going to do, why are you sitting there? I guess on that principle, I led the Sabbath services the first week. People coalesced around their common activity and another group of 'cruise connections' was formed. Other activities that I did included Trivia. A great group of people got together there. Some people memorize the answers to the questions from one cruise to another, so it's not likely that you'll win, but the intellectual activity is fun. Also, don't be shy about teaming up with others. Frequently our team name was 'Total Strangers' because we were at the beginning. Another piece of advice to bring to this column is that if you intend to skate and are driving to the embarcation, bring your own skates. My wife always brings her own skates and for the first time I brought my own. I'm not a great skater, but there was a real difference when you skate in skates that fit! In general I found the shows by the visiting entertainers more interesting than the in-house staff, which is not to say that I didn't enjoy all the performances. My favorite was the acapella group playing off of Jersey Boys. They were super. Also, I can't believe anyone found the food anything other than superb. We're mainly ovo-lactate vegetarians and we found plenty to eat that was great. Our room concierge was super as well. My fondest memories got to the social staff Gabriel, Helmie and Bas became real friends. I would be super happy to see them on another cruise. Although I don't feel I had a personal relationship with Leigh and Erky, the social director and second-in-command, I certainly felt they were also doing a great job. If the Explorer was staying in Bayonne, I would be sorely tempted to repeat the cruise another year. We'll probably wind up booking Royal Caribbean out of Florida in the future as the Quantum doesn't have an ice-skating rink. Half a week after getting off of the boat in what was truly a grueling procedure, I still have a glow about the trip. If this is retirement, bring it on! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We are a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 teen boys). This was our 3rd time on the Explorer, our 4th RCL cruise and 5th cruise overall. (boys, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd). We love the Explorer. Great size ship, fantastic crew, and most importantly we can drive ... Read More
We are a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 teen boys). This was our 3rd time on the Explorer, our 4th RCL cruise and 5th cruise overall. (boys, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd). We love the Explorer. Great size ship, fantastic crew, and most importantly we can drive to port (about 8 hrs., so it saves on flight costs). We got a fantastic deal on 2 inside staterooms on deck six. The Explorer isn't the newest ship and while there are signs of wear and tear, it's nothing that should affect your enjoyment of the cruise. I sure she will look great after her upcoming refurb. We are looking forward to Quantum coming to Bayonne, but will definitely miss the great deals you can get on Explorer. Fantastic wait staff at our 2nd seating in DeGamma dining room. Food was good, and the lobster tails were amazing, best cooked lobster I've ever had. We sailed 3 nights then 4 port days of St. Maarten, St. Kitts, San Juan and Labadee. Weather was great in all (a couple 20 min rain showers here and there, but mostly sunny blue skies). We didn't do any ship excursions this trip but did book a Tour of St. Kitts privately through a taxi service that was fantastic. Shows were great as usual. We always to the express disembarkation and it was quick and easy. Off the ship, through customs and in our vehicle in less than 30 min. All in all another terrific family cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Explorer of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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