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

My review sounds exactly like the previous one posted by ljpinko. We selected Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas based on the many good reviews and recommendations we received. This was the 1st cruise for 2 people in my party and we had ... Read More
My review sounds exactly like the previous one posted by ljpinko. We selected Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas based on the many good reviews and recommendations we received. This was the 1st cruise for 2 people in my party and we had planned on this vacation for over 9 months. From embarkation it was clear that our cruise was not going to be anything like the reviews we read. We felt that we were being discriminated against based on age because of the multitude of crazy spring breakers. The staff would never smile at us and always seemed aggravated when we would ask any question. The answers were always blunt and given with attitude. Basically the crew was unfriendly and the service was extremely disappointing. Not even during the formal dinners could we receive consistent or relaxed service. We gave up asking for our requests and eventually stopped going to the formal dining room all together. The smell of marijuana emulating in the hallways and over our balcony was disgusting. But not quite as disgusting as the condom box left in the hallway or the drunk college girl throwing up in the hallway. I understand that this was the last time the ship was being run before a month long dry dock for renovations but I don't feel that means they should have stopped cleaning midway through our cruise. The glass was becoming progressively dirtier throughout the boat and the drink spills were outweighing the clean carpet. Our room was a gorgeous room, even if I did dust it myself once I arrived. We got the junior suite with a balcony which I recommend as it came with a full shower, tub and a walk in closet. On our first day out to sea we received a notice saying that the maintenance crew wanted to close our balcony for 4 hours to paint and clean it. Why they would have chose to try and do this on a day when we were on the boat all day is beyond my understanding. If they were going to do maintenance pick a day when people are more likely off the boat. Regardless I felt there was no way I was giving up a balcony that I had to pay for during my cruise. Many of the amenities on the boat were inaccessible or not in working order. The beautiful fish tanks we saw pictures of in other reviews were emptied of water and looked dirty. The boat lotto did not work most nights, the "Build a Sea Friend" stuffed animal machine was out of order the entire cruise, access to the bars, pools, hot tubs and casino card tables was basically impossible. The 1 night I finally made it up to the pool deck I found all of the 24-hour pools and hot tubs were closed for maintenance with the exception of 1 pool and 1 hot tub. The hot tub was full of college kids so that left the pool for us to try and enjoy. While sitting on the edge of the pool soaking our legs two men came and started putting a net over the pool without saying a word to us. When confronted they just said "pool closed". Nothing else. It was extremely rude. The casino card tables were surrounded by spring breakers who had no respect for casino etiquette. The dealers were even frustrated with the antics from both the players (I use the term loosely) and the loiterers as they were drunk and rude to the dealers. The final straw that made me go to the customer service desk was the poker tournament. We signed up for the poker tournament and arrived in the appropriate area approximately 15 minutes prior to the game start. Approximately 15 minutes after it should have begun I went to the casino clerk to find out what was going on. I was told it was cancelled because only 1 person signed up. The fact that no one could have contacted us or even came over to the table was just 1 more slap in the face from the service. When I went to the customer service desk to try and talk with someone about all the less than satisfactory experiences mainly regarding the crew and staff of the ship I was met with again disappointment. The rude customer relations representative handed me a blank piece of copy paper and told me to put my concerns/ complaints into the "We Want Your Feedback" box. I asked what would happen when I put it in. He told me someone would contact me within 24 hours. The cruise ended without me hearing anything back from anyone. This review doesn't include all of the bad service, disrespectful college antics (like throwing furniture overboard) and overall complaints but it encompasses most of the problem. When you book any vacation or have any service provided you expect to be treated as though you are an important customer. This was not the case in any way on Royal Caribbean. After the cruise I voiced some of my complaints on the emailed survey and also put in a formal complaint on Royal Caribbean's website (which the website did not operate correctly to take my complaint on the first 10 tries). To date I have not heard anything back except for generic email auto-responses. My husband and I are already planning our next cruise for November but are not looking at any offered by Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I don't even know where to begin with this review. First let me say that I have travelled with Royal Caribbean three times now with my first two times being outstanding, breath taking experiences that led to my loyalty in booking ... Read More
I don't even know where to begin with this review. First let me say that I have travelled with Royal Caribbean three times now with my first two times being outstanding, breath taking experiences that led to my loyalty in booking with you for a third time. This third time comparatively, however, was horrendous. Not only did the boat seem old and out of date, it was also un-clean and the staff was not as friendly as my cruises on Liberty of the Seas. My largest complaint is that somehow it happened that 60-70% of the passengers on this particular cruise were college students on a wild spring break adventure. From two different colleges. Was Royal Caribbean having a special deal with these colleges? This should have been revealed to customers BEFORE booking as me and many other couples and families were extremely dissatisfied, and would have chosen to pay more to book another date or ship. Completely irresponsible and inexcusable on Royal Caribbean's part. No one wants to spend an evening on one of the decks hearing college students CONTINUOUSLY shouting a sports cheer ending with the words "there ain’t nothing finer in the land than a drunk, obnoxious Georgia fan!" I've never heard this cheer before but based on the number of times I heard it on the cruise, it's sad that I now almost know it by heart. The college kids consumed and destroyed everything in their path (no joke). The lines to the bars were so insane and bartenders ran out of ingredients. I bought a drink package and feel that my money was completely wasted, as I couldn't even get to the bar enough to make it worth while. You were sometimes waiting upwards of 20 minutes for a drink. I even timed it once. On the first night of the cruise our waitstaff revealed to us that the ship was about 200 passengers OVER CAPACITY. Is that even legal?? Ethical? Safe? I'm sure Royal Caribbean doesn't care because all they see are dollar signs flashing in front of their eyes and couldn't give two shits about the actual well being of their passengers. Each passenger. Because the ship was over-stuffed, it makes sense as to why the lines to each bar was so long, ingredients were running out, and the general morale of all staff was low. I should probably mention now that I am in my mid-twenties and my boyfriend is in his late-twenties, so that to any staff member, we looked like college students. As such we were treated absolutely horribly. After the first day, the staff began being ageist. Rudely talking to or ignoring us (because we looked like the rude obnoxious college students), not serving us drinks, becoming suspicious of us. There were no delightful waitstaff walking around with fun colored drinks on their trays, because no waitstaff dared to be confronted by students. Even if this had been my first cruise, I would have been confused at the lack luster treatment by the staff. But because I know what amazing things Royal Caribbean is capable of and how wonderful and happy and attentive staff have been on my previous two cruises, the treatment on this cruise was absolutely appalling. I cannot believe I wasted my money to be treated worse than I would be just staying at home. Because I have so many other complaints, I will just list the rest of them off here and try to be brief. Previous cruises I went on were very laid back and casual, staff chatting with you, and overall the entire mood was relaxed and happy. This cruise was rushed, staff did not bother to stop and chat or say hello, not many of the staff smiled, and even our own waiters were rushing around and never had time to get to know us (again comparing to other cruises were everything felt much more personal). Our room attendant spoke very little english which started to become a problem because we couldn't communicate to him things we needed. At one point he just shut our door on us because he seemed really busy and confused. We ordered room service 3 out of the 6 mornings of the cruise. It was NEVER what we ordered. It was late the first morning, and all 3 mornings we either were missing food or got the wrong food or drink. We didn't even bother to re-order because of how long the entire process took. Staff was inconsistent: in the Windjammer on day 1 and day 4 my boyfriend and I were able to get refills on our alcoholic drinks from servers walking by. This was a luxury we were never afforded again, and one server on day 2 even said "they don't refill drinks and it is against our policy" and told us to go to the bar. And wait in line. WHAT? Another issue: the security. In the stateroom next to us, there were 3 college guys and they always had more people over and smoked marijuana in their room and balcony. It stunk up the entire hallway and was very obvious. It would get so bad my boyfriend and I couldn't even enjoy our OWN BALCONY. That we paid extra money to have. The smell was too much and would waft into our room. We called security twice. They never did anything. The second time they were called it was because it was 3am and they were being extremely loud, shouting, and partying in their room and I was trying to sleep, plus they were smoking. The security told me because the people in the stateroom would not answer the door when they knocked to inquire, they couldn't do anything about the issue. The passengers were hiding on their deck smoking- of course they aren't going to answer the door! I could see them from my own balcony! The fact that security can't address an issue because the passenger "won't answer the door and they aren't allowed to go in" is just insane. What is the point of security then? Rules were not enforced consistently. Young people would walk around in t-shirts and swim trunks on formal night in the dining room, and would wear no shirt or shoes in the Windjammer. There was sometimes noise and people yelling/running around drunkenly through the hallways by the staterooms until 5am. Rest and relaxation was not in the vocabulary of this cruise. One thing that extremely bothered me was that I couldn't spend any time on the upper deck or pools. The 30 minute towel rule was not enforced so literally ALL of the chairs were occupied by college students or towels indicating there were people there. The entire time. I once counted a chair having towels on it for over 2 hours, with no people around, and staff did absolutely nothing. This left no spots for people who actually wanted to be on the deck. I felt especially bad for families with small children as the pools were so crowded with drinking college students that there was no way to access them unless you were ONE OF THEM. The college students even hung a Fraternity banner (I can't remember the chapter) over the pool area from some poles. And the staff didn't care. The banner was up all day as if they claimed this boat to be a fraternity boat. The surroundings were all around disgusting with drinks left everywhere (stairs, chairs, hallways, in the middle of the floor) and bathrooms unclean. One bathroom had a plate stuffed in the only toilet stall to cause overflow and there was poop and urine all over the plate and spilling onto the floor. Tables were sticky and overall you just didn't want to touch anything. There was a huge fight on the last night and all the passengers were gathered around and cheering like we were back in high school. It took a while for security to break it up. I'm sorry, but if I wanted a crazy cancun spring break vacation, I would have paid for one. Royal Caribbean was supposedly known for relaxation, fun, perfection, and class. Sadly, you do not mean that to me anymore. Lastly, while our excursion in Cozumel was beautiful and probably the only highlight of the trip (Playa Mia), our second excursion in the Bahamas was 30 minutes late and the staff was not courteous. If I'm paying an arm and a leg for this activity, I expect it to be on time, and if it isn't I expect an apology or some kind of warm welcome/greeting. Neither of these things occurred. Overall the common apology from staff and crew was "Sorry but we were not expecting this. We are unexpectedly busy" How were you not expecting this??? Does no one tell the crew that the ship is going to be over capacity and filled with tons of drunk spring breakers? How come neither the cruise staff nor passengers received any warning? This is unacceptable and made for a horrid cruise experience. I'm sure if this was my first cruise, that it would have been my last. That's how bad and un-special the entire experience was. Only because I know of what Royal Caribbean is capable of from my previous two cruises would I possibly ever entertain the idea to sail again. But most likely I'm going to seek out other cruise companies at this point. In conclusion, I felt this trip was a waste of money and I was very unsatisfied. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I must say this is our first time traveling with Royal Caribbean,, previously we sailed 3 times on Carnival with NO problems, beautiful cruises. Upon arrival on this more expensive cruise with Royal Caribbean, there was somebody's lip ... Read More
I must say this is our first time traveling with Royal Caribbean,, previously we sailed 3 times on Carnival with NO problems, beautiful cruises. Upon arrival on this more expensive cruise with Royal Caribbean, there was somebody's lip balm in on the shelf. and in the closet was somebody's USED anti diarrhea, upset stomach, and laxative medication. There was a broken light fixture and the rooms were WAY smaller than Carnival. The bathroom stunk of pee the whole time regardless of how much it was cleaned and had a gross looking brown stain on the toilet seat that never seemed to go away. Every time i showered, the whole bathroom flooded about 2-3 inches and i had to use all the towels to soak it up, and i didn't want to even touch the water because it didn't seem to be coming from the shower. i told the room attendant. He brought new towels. It happened again and they thought that maybe the seal wasn't right in the shower so a guy came in and used this SUPER powerful smelling caulking to seal the shower in areas. i couldn't go in the tiny bathroom for 3 days because the smell was so strong, and it would make you dizzy. I finally took another shower and it flooded again, this time i realized it was coming from the DRAIN HOLE behind the toilet. DISGUSTING, who knows what kind of germs are in that area that i could be exposed to. On our floor, walking to our cabin, was an exit sign that dripped fluid constantly for the first 3 days. I finally told somebody they stopped the dripping and tried to dry the floor with a high blast fan. There was an overpowering smell of mold on that floor. all you could smell was black mold the whole walk to and from the cabin, TERRIBLE. The food was terrible compared to Carnival, basically the same breakfast, and desserts every single day real cheap and poor. for dinner they always seemed to have cubed beef for example but with a different gravy. The ice cream was good. overall POOR FOOD. in the buffet dining room, there was food and french fries on the floor in the morning from the previous night. The staff was not overly kind and happy like Carnival staff. The ship was dirty compared to our trips on carnival, on Carnival they're always washing the decks and everything seems spotless, on this ship the decks seemed dirty and gross, and pieces of tiles had fallen off the pool exposing rust and stuff. The itinerary was nice. Labadee was nice with the buffet on land. Overall it was the poorest trip we ever took, and a waste of money. i wouldn't have paid HALF the price for that cruise. I emailed in, and just so you all know, Royal Caribbean basically said they can't do anything about it, sorry for the bad experience. no refund, no offer for credit. NOTHING at all, they basically say screw you, you're not important. Whole on board talking to others about the condition of the ship, i heard from different people that this ship was overdue for a 100 million dollar refurbish. If i knew this i would have NEVER picked this ship. i feel i was sort of scammed. They should never charge that much for a ship in this horrible condition. And terrible customer appreciation.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
As an avid family cruiser, this being number 10 our family had high expectations as this was our first Royal Caribbean cruise and New Years cruise. First let me say that the weather and the intinerary were great and as the Captain said, ... Read More
As an avid family cruiser, this being number 10 our family had high expectations as this was our first Royal Caribbean cruise and New Years cruise. First let me say that the weather and the intinerary were great and as the Captain said, "with weather like this, it makes everyone want to be a sailor". Could not have planned the weather any better. With that being said, this will be my last Royal Caribbean cruise as there are just too many out there to become a loyalest, spend the kind of money that we did and receive sub-par food & service, and down right poor management of people. Food on this ship was aweful!! The choice of food was non-existent as they served the exact menu for lunch and breakfast everyday (9 days), with very poor presentation. Dinner was fair, as I guess this helped me lose weight on this cruise (my first time for that). No midnight buffet... never heard of such a thing. Our main servers in the dining room were great and treated us well. Our room steward was awesome as well, who was wonderful on my daughters 19th birthday (decorated room). Laberdee, Haiti which was a great stop and we had an awesome time until we became hungry. I never heard of a cruise ship running out of food on the third day, as the lunch buffet shut down before 1pm. The availble areas for food choice was almost non-existing except the grill area and a small single pizza & dessert counter on the promenade deck. Refreshment As for cleaning up ship, very disappointing again. DIRTY LINENS - Towels stained, dining room table clothes stained, terrible. Champagne glasses in the elevator from the evening at noon the next day, deck 11 (pool area) food, ice cream, spilled drinks not cleaned up regularly (walking in sticky gross food). Dishes in hallways all day. Service on deck by pool non-existent. Other cruises by the end of the first day our server knew our folio number by heart. If I was asked if I needed something on deck 6 times all week it was a lot. I understand that this ship is scheduled for re-hab in March, but no excuse to send in the JV team for a premium New Years event and cruise. (that's how we felt). And New Years Eve not a formal night???? We traveled with family and we had a good time, just very disappointed because we heard so many good things about RC, and that the other lines we traveled on will seem like a low budget ferry line, unfortunately the total opposite happened. For all you Royal Carribean Loyalest's out there, you are missing out on a lot, you have been brainwashed. Try something new and refreshing, you will not be disappointed. Lastly, and I hope someone from the cruiseline reads this, absolutely safety hazard during disembarkation. A total cluster mess. They basically put three thousand people and their luggae in a non A/C warehouse with NO DIRECTION or STAFF to help. I was traveling with my elderly parents who are both handicap but mobile, and put our family in a very dangerous and unsettling situation due to the in inadequacies of management of disembarkation. Their number system is for the birds and will hurt someone if this is not re-visited. The excuse that this was a new building and we are working on this, is the poorest excuse for a manager. You put lives in danger, and some one should be held responsible. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This cruise was a disaster from day one. Shows are well below the standards set on out previous cruises on Monarch, Enchantment, or Freedom. The shows were on the level of a high school talent show...actually worse. The midnight buffet ... Read More
This cruise was a disaster from day one. Shows are well below the standards set on out previous cruises on Monarch, Enchantment, or Freedom. The shows were on the level of a high school talent show...actually worse. The midnight buffet consisted of seafood spread finger sandwiches? The dining room service and food on this ship was appalling. We sent back 5 steaks on this cruise. The cruise director was dull, vulgar and insensitive to passengers. He just wasn't funny or energizing like we had experienced on the other cruises. Royal has given us excellent vacations in the past, but now I question my loyalty to the line.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
From the very beginning this cruise had big problems. Embakation was delayed over 3 hours, people standing in the hot sun, no explanation, no water...a few passed out (rumor was that the delay was caused by the ship losing a lifeboat when ... Read More
From the very beginning this cruise had big problems. Embakation was delayed over 3 hours, people standing in the hot sun, no explanation, no water...a few passed out (rumor was that the delay was caused by the ship losing a lifeboat when hit by a rogue wave earlier). Once on board, no information was put out by the ship. The Captain did mention the delay during the lifeboat drill but because of the noise, no one really heard him. Food: the dining room food was just OK; some night the menu was, for me, unappetizing, so I went to the buffet and found a very nice selecton. BTW, you have to ask for escargot at dinner and lox at breakfast. Lobster night was good. Entertainment: just average, nothing to rave about, with the exception of the ice show, which was very well done and fun. Service: if you met your room steward, good for you. Our small group had a good time at the Schooner Lounge where AJ and Hugh provided the type of service one would expect on RCL. Crew: depending on who you asked, you could get different stories. The service desk was no help, mostly a smile and 'we"ll check into that' type of answer. The daily newlatter was full of errors, obviously not proofread. One day, for example the indicated we would be in Liberty City NJ the next day and folks heading to Newark airport should be prepard to debark early. In fact we were headed to Curaco!! Debarkation: chaos, confusion, disorganizaton, rude workers and only 1 person from RCL to try to answer questions. Bages came out in a random order and good luck finding your bag...numbers were mixed. Add this to the fact that our arrival in Port Canaveral was at a different terminal than we departed from causing a great deal of confusion and a massive traffic jam as new arrivals tried to figure out where to go. Busses were provided to and from the ship to the parking garage (yipee). There were some good things: as mentoned the service at the Scooner Lounge was what you would exprect. Also the Captain (Rick) did an excellent job with his daily noon briefing and he was visible around the ship, even at the buffet...plus he sang at the Diamond club cocktail party (decent voice, too). And the ship's doctor, along with several passengers, helped save a life. One passenger had internal pbleeding and a call went out to passengers for blood...the response was, according to the doctor, overwhelming and saved the man's life.. I would rate this cruise a C at best...I'll think hard before going on RCL. FYI: Explorer will be drydocked next year for a complete upgrade...much needed. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We are long time cruisers of Royal Caribbean, but the Explorer of the Seas was a new experience. The crew were all wonderful. We had the best stateroom attendant and dining room wait staff that you could have ever ask for. All of the ... Read More
We are long time cruisers of Royal Caribbean, but the Explorer of the Seas was a new experience. The crew were all wonderful. We had the best stateroom attendant and dining room wait staff that you could have ever ask for. All of the staff were wonderful. The food was good. The room was wonderful, and very comfortable. Our only complaint which was big -- cigarette smoke was everywhere on the 4th and 5th floors and the open centrum area on the 3rd floor to the dining room. The promenade on the 5th floor is open on both ends with stair cases and below on the 4th floor is the casino. Also a staircase opens from the casino to the promenade in the middle of the promenade and the smoke just fills the promenade area in the afternoon and nighttime. We could not enjoy any of the nightclubs in that area as they were located just outside the casino doors or the staircase. It was really awful, since my husband and I are both very allergic to smoke. So, I ended the cruise very sick! To go from the back of the ship to the front, we always had to go to the 6th or 7th floor and walk the halls. We were recently on the Navigator of the Seas and I did not remember that problem at all. The ports that we stopped were great, and the cruise of wonderful except for the cigarette smoke. Hope that issue is addressed when the ship goes to drydock in March 2015. Also, we had 6 in our party and had 4 massages. That seems to be an area that has also changed. No one thought their massage was very good. Heard the same complaint from people on Celebrity. Have they changed companies? Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
First of all I would never of thought I would write a review but after this trip I felt it was necassary to share some information . We are 3 familes that travel every year and this was our first time together on RCCL. We are in our 40s ... Read More
First of all I would never of thought I would write a review but after this trip I felt it was necassary to share some information . We are 3 familes that travel every year and this was our first time together on RCCL. We are in our 40s and children are ages from 13- 18. Lets first say that our kids were bored . There was close to 500 teens on board and only 2 activity coordinators for these kids. Activities were canceled and there was no notification. There was a kids dodgeball event and a ball went overboard they canceld actvity.We recieved alot of apologies for this but nothing changed regardless. At night there was nothing going on for the kids.The Optix club never had anyone in there because there was no one in there to moniter the room. Most of the kids hung out on the sports deck playing basketball every night. Plus there was not enough security by basketball court at night Food- We never made it to the Dining room except for Dinner which was always good . As for buffet it was the same food every day and night.We had dinner there one night and it was a mess.The staff never cleaned up the food trays and it almost looked like a school cafateria. Pool Deck- Very boring- Only 3 activities at pool deck for the 9 days- Belly Flop ,Sexy Man and Baggo( which is bean bag tossing) Really ?. Same reggae band played 3 sets a day for an hour other than that is was 80s music all day .If you get to pool deck early to put towels down which is frowned upon they will take the towles off the chairs if you are away more than 30 minutes. Evening shows- Some shows good and some were very poor. When they had shows in the maharaja lounge,if you did not get there at least 45 min earlier it would be difficult to get a seat. They had karaokee every night.I am not a fan of karaokee but to do it every night is a bit much. They also had a sing a long at the piano bar.Every night the same routine.It felt like there was no emphasis put on the Adult activities . Cruise Dircetor- Leigh is very funny and witty unfortunatly was not around enough. I actually thought Yerky was the cruise director until 3 days in. Islands- Bermuda very nice... St marteen 1-730.. We didnt get off ship til almost 145 Not the best time to go to and island to go to beach and shop ,You can do one or the other. San Juan-- 8- 2 which really means 830 to 130- Shops dont open til 10 so options limited labadee -- wasnt impressed but kids enjoyed it excpet for seaweed that was in the water and no place to stand. Staff- My waiter and server were Exceptional and my cabin steward was great also- Unless they were taking care of you individualy they were not that friendly I guess becuase it didnt reflect there gratuity. Overall ship condition- I thought the ship was very good condition even though it is going to be dry docked in December. Prior to this we were on NCL the last 2 years and we will go back to NCL. I always thought that RCCL was the King of all cruises but there standards have changed. Even some of the staff had commented on the cut backs that RCCL had made.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
If you like cruises in general, this review is not for you. We went on our first cruise to be able to visit three new countries while still having a toddler with us. Husband, wife and 9 month old child. This ship is not meant for kids ... Read More
If you like cruises in general, this review is not for you. We went on our first cruise to be able to visit three new countries while still having a toddler with us. Husband, wife and 9 month old child. This ship is not meant for kids under 3 years old. (Almost) every singel day, we had to convince some of the staff in a restaurant to help us heat up the baby food. There is a play room, which is really a lounge that they put out a few toys in on the floor. It closes at 3 pm, some times at 4 pm. And there were small objects on the floor for the day before when the place is used as a bar/lounge. Not suitable for kids. So over to the cruise in general. I've never been together with so many obese americans at one time. The average age was about 50 years. The ship is cheezy old, and in desperate need for an update. The food is average. The dinners give you a choice of things, and the staff will help you pick out things. Some days the food was really great here, but breakfast and lunch is always the same buffet. But at the end of the cruise they start to run out of things. We're a young couple, who travel around the world and love beeing active. The activities on this ship is a joke. The all american "please-dont-sue-us" policy makes everything extremely boring. Rock climbing is like this: wait for 15 minutes to sign up. Stand in line for 10 minutes. Climb one route, once with smelly shoes and helmet. Then wait in line for another 10-15 minutes to get a chance to try again. After 45 minutes, the session is closed. There is no lead climbing. We went from Cape Liberty to Bermuda, then St Maarten, then Puerto Rico and lastly Haiti. In all of these places, time is very limited,but you get of the ship right away an into a taxi instead of paying for excursions aimed at old people, you're set to see some good things. There is enough time to get to the french side of st maarten and Maho beach which is a cool airport next to the beach where planes come in right over you. Do some research before you leave to decide what you want to see, then tell the taxi driver. There are taxies waiting for you at all ports except Haiti. Puerto Rico is really not nessecary to do with a taxi. In Haiti, they will not let you out of their resort. Even with a stamped passport. They used to have a waiver program, but this has been discontinued. They will not let you out, so don't waste your (short and precious) time like I did. And when you decide to jump into the water at the beach, there are lines about 30 meters out in the see that you can't swim across, making you feel like you are inside a giant prison for adults that are not fit to enjoy and look out for them selves. There is no point bringing snorkeling gear to Haiti Labadee.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This was our 5th cruise (4th with RCL) and the worst one so far. Will never take another RCL cruise! The embarkation and disembarkation was easy and fast. Our excursions at all ports were great! The problem was that out of 3600 guests, ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise (4th with RCL) and the worst one so far. Will never take another RCL cruise! The embarkation and disembarkation was easy and fast. Our excursions at all ports were great! The problem was that out of 3600 guests, over 1200 were kids from NY and NJ that ranged in age 17 and under. Being from Missouri, did not know that spring break for schools in NJ and NY and that lots of parents took their kids on cruises. We thought that if we waited until college spring breaks were over that we would be safe! Nope. The kids were wild and unruly, loud and obnoxious, not to mention rude. Their parents must have just let them run wild on the ship. Groups of the older kids were yelling and being disruptive in all areas of the ship, especially in dining rooms! Wasting and throwing food, disgusting behavior! Very hard to have a nice quiet meal. They were running in and out of the bars and casino (places you thought were off limits for anyone under 21 (or at least 18). There was no control from the ship staff whatsoever, not even the officers. The kids were not asked or told to calm down or to respect other people. The captain, on several occasions, had to remind the adults/parents, not to buy or give alcohol to minors! Even at the so called "adult" games and karaoke, there were kids in the venues. No adult supervision at all. A lot of the adults were just as rude as the kids. Guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! The ship itself was very dirty, inside and out. We found out after boarding the ship, that it was scheduled for dry dock in August for rehab. So I guess they felt that there was no use in keeping the ship clean when it was on its way to be rehabbed. That's a shame for all us passengers that paid good money for a vacation where we expect to have a nice clean ship. Our cabin was kept clean by our stateroom attendant (Duane), but the pictures all had swipe marks on them that looked like they were made with a dirty cloth. Our balcony was filthy and the chairs were very worn, paint chipping off railings and walls. The mattress on the bed was so worn it had valleys in it. On the second day, after waking up with backaches, we had to ask a supervisor to see if they could put a different mattress on the frame. We got an added mattress pad! The food was disappointing as well. No flavor, very bland. The dining room had very little selection to menu, not much that we liked. Ended up eating a Johnny Rockets on 3 occasions, due to the lack of variety and no taste of dining room food and in Windjammer. Got better food at ports of call. RCL brags about their food and cleanliness of their ships! Nope, not on The Explorer! We were asked to fill out a survey within the first week after disembarkation, which we did. No response from RCL at all. Which, gives me another reason to believe they do not care about their guests, just the $$$ they get from them. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
There is very little positive I can say about this cruise. Much of the blame lies with the Royal Caribbean management. At the best of times, getting into and out of Cape Liberty is difficult. The morning of January 21st, it was nearly ... Read More
There is very little positive I can say about this cruise. Much of the blame lies with the Royal Caribbean management. At the best of times, getting into and out of Cape Liberty is difficult. The morning of January 21st, it was nearly impossible. From previous experience we knew did not want to park directly at the pier because of the traffic pattern. We parked in a lot near the airport. What should have been a been a 15 minute trip turned into an almost hour and a half trip. There was a snow storm going on and the single road in and out of the pier area was not plowed. It was the bumper to bumper traffic in one lane that melted the snow to make any progress possible. Our ticket told us to check in between 11:30 and noon. Because we had left early, we actually got to check in at noon. We were given numbers which we found out were for actually loading the bus from the terminal to the ship. Then we sat in the terminal tent, for another two hours waiting for our numbers to be called. Every few minutes someone would yell over the PA system that if your number has not be called you cannot load and everyone should go sit down. It was almost 1 PM before number 1 was called. Someone who had arrived at 10 AM had been given # 19. She sat in that terminal for almost 4 hours. While we were waiting, Royal Caribbean provided coffee, cold water and we were told there were occasionally cookies. There was no sanitizer near the coffee and water. Since we never saw the cookies I cannot speak to whether there sanitizer near the cookies. Finally our number was called and we loaded on the bus. There was no sanitizer available before loading the bus. Because we were all bundled up, I am sure there was no sanitizer there because I would have had to take off my gloves to use it. By the time we did get on the ship, and into our room, it was almost 3 PM. We had purchased the soda package and our souvenir cups were in the room. We went to the Windjammer to get some lunch. Unfortunately, as soon as we sat down to eat, it was time for the muster drill and we had to report to our station. The ship left late (5 PM instead of 4 PM). Since there was a storm, it was a rocky voyage for the first 36 hours. At times, I felt like a ping pong ball bouncing off the walls as we walked down the hall to our room. I could not go up and down stairs without hanging onto the railings. The sanitizer was placed outside food venues but not outside bars. On day 2, it was announced that the upper decks were still icy so the captain determined they were be closed off. Because the pool deck was off limits, the Arctic Zone (the free ice cream) was not open. (It never was open the entire voyage as the explanation was with the increased sanitation procedures it was deemed unsafe.) However, the Ben and Jerry’s stand was never closed. The show scheduled for the evening of day 2, got pushed back to day 4 because of the severe rocking. It was determined that it was unsafe for the performers. Another performer was moved to have a show. It was the first formal night. Two guys who were having dinner near us told us the mens room right outside the dining room had no running water for at least two hours (6 PM until after 8PM) They had repeatedly reported it but staff was not responsive. It was later that night that the first wave of people who were sick with the norovirus. We were told that was 150 people who got sick then. The speakers for both the enrichment series (space travel) and the destination series were extremely poor. The destinations speaker repeatedly complained about women who dragged men to shop rather than describing the ports to permit us to pick those sights which we should see. He was ill-prepared and a bit argumentative with audience members. It took him ten minutes to complete a thought. The enrichment speaker was just not excited about his topic. He droned on. His wife kept trying to get him to tell stories which might have made his presentation more exciting but it resulted in lots of disjointed thoughts. If the speaker is not passionate about his subject, how can the audience be engaged The morning of day 3 it was announced that increased sanitation was being employed. However, the soda machines were still open and staff insisted that they only way to use our soda package would be to use the souvenir cup (not a clean one). During the day, another 300 people got sick. So that evening the captain announced that we were not going to Labadee but straight to San Juan. That day most of the talks were cancelled because the speakers were ill. Then the soda machines on the main promenade were closed for three days. The sign claimed it was closed for cleaning. So although we had paid for a soda package (because they had diet ginger ale, which I wanted, not because I got sick but because I like it) was subject to the limited time the buffet was open. On several occasions the buffet area was closed and I could not get what I wanted. Otherwise I could get diet coke from a bar. I wanted to avoid caffeine and sugar. The casino remained open through the entire voyage. From my point of view, the casino could have been a serious source of germs. There was no way to wash down each machine between users and the casino was the only indoor venue that permitted smoking. So people would touch the machines, then pull out their cigarettes and place the cigarette in their mouths. The evening of the fourth day, the dance show was again postponed, this time because the performers were sick. A passenger ended up being the entertainment for the evening. We docked at San Juan at 8:30 that evening. We tried to make the best of things by exploring Old San Juan during the daylight hours. The free trolley from the waterfront to the forts was very helpful. I would highly recommend using it to get around Old San Juan. The tour office was closed that day so we could not get info we might have appreciated. St. Thomas we went shopping in the morning. We got rum for gifts and then collected the charms from the Diamond International shops. I did buy some smaller jewelry pieces (earrings and necklace). We took a ship excursion tour of the island. The views were wonderful but to get to them we needed to pass through souvenir shops and bars. That evening after everyone got back on the ship, the captain announced that we were skipping St. Martaan and going back to Bayonne. The captain then was available in the Promenade and was listening to passengers. There was no entertainment (shows) the first sea day heading back to Bayonne. Since they had shortened the cruise, it seemed odd they had no entertainment. We enjoyed going to the shows before we had dinner. No show was a disappointment. The captain had “Captain’s Corner” to discuss the offer that Royal Caribbean was offering as compensation. That was the fullest the theater was the entire cruise. Initially it was $400 added to our on board account and half off a future cruise. People were upset and expressed it. Only one of the people who spoke swore but everyone was angry. The captain said he would get back to the company bigwigs in Miami. That evening it was announced that we would receive the remainder of half off in 4-6 weeks. Although they charge drink packages on per diem, the total cost was charged and the two days we did not receive were never reimbursed. The trip back to Bayonne was uneventful. General Comments With all the increased sanitation, cabin stewards were too busy cleaning public spaces to pay attention to things in the cabin. I don’t blame them but it did show. We ate most of our meals in the dining room as we decided it might be safer than the buffet. Few of our meals arrived hot. Most were lukewarm. The quality of the food was at best adequate. The service was good but the food itself was a disappointment. We will have to decide whether we will take advantage of Royal Caribbean’s offer of half off what we paid on a cruise booked within the year. Some of the issues were unique to the outbreak of norovirus but I think some of the issues were just business as usual. The only way to get good food is to pay extra either in the main dining room (for steaks, seafood) or in the specialty dining areas. Anything at no further cost can be eliminated but things which can be charged will continue without review.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was our cruise #15 so we have some experience and had certain expectations. That last thing was a mistake, especially in the dining and entertainment parts. Embarkation was smooth and we proceeded to our cabin. Our steward did not ... Read More
This was our cruise #15 so we have some experience and had certain expectations. That last thing was a mistake, especially in the dining and entertainment parts. Embarkation was smooth and we proceeded to our cabin. Our steward did not come to introduce himself like on Celebrity and many other cruises so we had to catch him. That was fine. We asked to separate our beds. It was eventually done a couple hours before bedtime but we attributed it to him being busy with all his charges and did not mind. The blankets though were huge, apparently cut for a combined bed and later on constantly spilled of beds. Otherwise the steward did a decent job. We were a little surprised that there were no shower caps, no body lotion, no small chocolate at night on our pillows and a tiny piece of cheapest soap. Steward never replaced it on his own, we had to ask for it each time. I guess these were his orders. The biggest disappointment was food, both in Columbus dining room and at Windjammer cafe. Very limited choice, with very little or no changes day to day and terribly cooked. We never experienced so badly prepared food on any other vacation, not on cruises and not on resorts. Even the replacement food we were given after complaints to Customer Relations was badly cooked. Most of our friends and us, being amateurs, cook a couple levels better. And a terrible smell in the cafe, like in cheap eatery! Waiting staff in the cafe were running like headless chicken, almost knocking people out. This stopped in 5-6 days, apparently after many complaints. Cheap food, little choice. Sushi offered only for dinner but never for lunch. Peculiar! Shows were substandard, with dancers almost lazily moving. Amazing exception was a lead couple, Katia & Anton, which looked 3-4 levels above the rest. Guest performers were mediocre or below, with great exception of Greg London. Activities manager "Erky from Turkey" was absolutely incomprehensible due to heavy accent which he emphasized even more. During the meeting with senior officers I brought our food complaints to the attention of the Hotel Manager, But he was in denial and arrogantly announced that their food preparation was "1000% better" than any given resort. He was delusional. More than a dozen passengers we spoke to supported us completely. Not everything on this cruise was bad, It's a good ship. It was great itinerary. Service in the dining room was excellent, our waiter Alfonso Diaz from India was absolutely the best and so was his assistant. Apparently the engineering and navigation crews did a good job. The ship was clean. The Cruise Director Leigh from Australia was an awesome guy, very funny and charismatic, with great sense of humor = but not too good in supervising {or choosing) his team. Maybe it was due to budget restrains. The desire to cut cost is just showing on every step. And worst of all - the arrogance and denial of the Hotel Manager. Not good experience. Not sure if we ever step our feet on RC again.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We are getting to be serious cruisers. We know what we like and what ports we like the best. We selected Explorer and Bayonne because according to the loyalty ambassador on a previous sailing, we would get double points. He laid out all ... Read More
We are getting to be serious cruisers. We know what we like and what ports we like the best. We selected Explorer and Bayonne because according to the loyalty ambassador on a previous sailing, we would get double points. He laid out all the cruises and we picked two. We arrived at Bayonne on Black Friday and did a park and sail from Carlson's Country Inn. Bayonne absolutely sucks as an embarkation port. We had to wait 2 hours in a transfer from the hotel on the port to drive up. We checked in and had to board a crammed bus to go a quarter mile to the ship. Our room was an inside, which we like in cold weather. The toilets did not work for the first two days. Shower dripped and phone (to call maintenance) did not work. We finally got that ironed out. Then, we're Diamond members and had to ask for a robe. Steward said their management told them not to put in rooms unless asked for. Tacky. Smoke on the ship was terrible. It funneled up from the casino to the Promonade deck and engulfed the Schooner Lounge for the entire two cruises. Carpets were filthy throughout the ship and when people walked on them you could see the dust and dander poof up. The first cruise was decent and they had a Diamond lounge on Deck 14 where we met a lot of cruisers and had a great time. The second had so many Diamond and above that they took over the Maharaja lounge. It was bedlam. Management has no idea how to cope with that many folks. Bartenders "Stan" and "RonaldReagan - seriously) were superb and got tipped well. Quality of drinks at the trough was very disappointing. Colored water vice the juices of other ships. No more "It's my pleasure" from the staff.We saw more and more lipstick left on mugs and glasses and food particles on cutlery. No more priority tender tickets. Overall, the management of this ship royally sucked. We will never sail on this ship again. To top it off, we get back and did not get double points for the first cruise, even though we have a workup sheet from the loyalty ambassador stating we would get them. We complained to their customer services but were told they were misinformed and we bite the bullet. Our loyalty to RCCL is dwaining. To top it off I got sick the last three days with sinunitus. We know not to go to sick bay because you will get quarantined so we always bring Mucinex-D and it worked. It's 30 Dec and I still have it. Bottom line it is the worst cruise in 29 I have ever been on. Save your money and select a different ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
I have been on this ship twice before, both from Cape Liberty. Each time I have found the bar staff, dining room staff and cabin stewards service excellent but this time the service from the explorations staff, guest relations and bar ... Read More
I have been on this ship twice before, both from Cape Liberty. Each time I have found the bar staff, dining room staff and cabin stewards service excellent but this time the service from the explorations staff, guest relations and bar servers was dreadful. If you sit at the bar you will receive a friendly reception from the bartenders and can expect to receive your drink and a smile, however, if you take a seat in a booth at every bar on the ship, it's a far different story if you are alone. Before you think about whether you have encountered this, it's worth mentioning that a supervisor had a meeting with the staff and there were people who freely admit that they always cater to a larger group and there really is no reason why they are disinterested in a party of one. All they have to say about that is, please tell her I am sorry. Some DID eventually come over, but the majority of the time they don't and if they are walking by you get a fly by with "drinks" shouted out. I had decided that since I was alone and had not met anyone on the ship that had planned any excursions (or had not thought to ask me along), I would go ahead and volunteer for the day and clean up the national park on St John so I went ahead and booked that. The day before I received a message so I went ahead and stopped at the desk where i was told that since I was the only one it might be canceled so I should be aware and check back Monday. I went back the next day at 9:10 AM just as the woman at the desk was trying to run off and asked her to PLEASE check out whether my excursion was going (because let's face it, if it was canceled this was really the ONLY time I would have been able to try to book something else), she took my ticket and said "OH yes, this is going, it's been combined with another group". I said, are you sure because I was told yesterday the park was closed until this morning and she reiterated that. I went to get some breakfast and then went off the ship and guess what? Yes, indeed, I was told the excursion was canceled and the woman HAD tried to contact the desk. I went upstairs and spoke with someone at guest relations, asking to speak to a manager because the woman at the excursions desk had lied to me. After explaining to this person FIVE times why I wanted to talk to someone else, I was finally given a phone where the manager of the exploration desk claimed that they called me (coincidentally WHILE I was AT the exploration desk) and that when I did answer they figured I was on my way down. I then went up to my room and despite being told they had called, there was no message. So, unfortunately there was nothing I could do at that point. I hope they are happy with how they treated me. The ship is NOT in the best condition internally. Sure the ship is immaculate, but when the boat rocks, so rocks the walls in some cabins. Consistent noise would be fine, but I guess I was the lucky recipient of a shifting panel and despite being told that they would address it when we were actually in port because they said they had to get into the ceiling to remove the panel, nothing was done and on the return the noise got so bad after the ship started to rock again that they just gave me a key to another inside cabin one deck higher. The food is the same as it's been since we were on the ship in 2007 so the best thing I can say is that it forced me to order different food and I am glad I did as I found the majority of the food was better. Johnny Rockets is just plain awful, not sure why it's so bad on the ship, but it is. I have eaten at many of their restaurants and the only thing I can think of is they must squeeze every last bit of juice out of the burger so what you wind up with is something that resembles a slightly lighter and ribbed looking hockey puck. I do not go to the shows, but if you like trivia and have played it and saved your old answer sheets, bring them along as many of the games have not changed. Sure there are SOME different questions but the name that disco tune, name that big band, name that movie, name that 50's 60's has not been updated since the invention of the phonograph. A few of the staff do bring their own questions with them so you can expect SOME new games, but if you wonder why you missed three and a few teams missed none then you will know why. So, to wrap this all up, you can expect to be treated wonderfully in some places but dismally in others and don't be too disappointed if the staff lie, they seem to have done it so often that they can do it with a smile on their face. As I said to the bar supervisor, RCI should send ONE person for a cruise alone so they can see how everyone offers the exact same treatment. Mind you it IS possible that it's not just on this ship that you will be treated like this, but it's sure disappointing to watch a server go around to every table asking them how they are, how their day was and what they want only to have them do a fly by "need anything" as if you are so unimportant you should not even bother.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
My family and I just returned from a nine day Caribbean Cruise on the Explorer of the Seas. After reading mostly positive comments about this cruise, we believed it would our best cruise ever. But this was far from the truth. The food ... Read More
My family and I just returned from a nine day Caribbean Cruise on the Explorer of the Seas. After reading mostly positive comments about this cruise, we believed it would our best cruise ever. But this was far from the truth. The food on the ship was just adequate, nothing special. My daughter and I looked for the traditional "fun" desserts, but there were none to be found on the menu. No lava cake, New York Cheesecake, or apple pie. Main entree foods were just bland. My husband ordered a steak that was tough and tasteless. Our accommodations were dreadful. We had a Deluxe Ocean view Stateroom and it was extremely dirty. The rugs were stained, pictures on the wall filthy, and the shower walls had mildew on them. The room was so small that we had to rotate clockwise to move around the room. As far as entertainment is concerned, the parades were excellent but all the other show were poor. The ensemble singers sounded like four screaming cats! Thank goodness the dancers were good. There was not much to do on the ship, so my family and I spent a great deal of time in the casino losing money. What does it tell you about the ships activities, if the library was a crowded spot on the ship! The cruise director was not funny or personable. As a special note, Royal Caribbean makes you check out your towels on the pool deck and will charge you twenty dollars for each towel not returned. It just doesn't make sense since the towels are old and dirty. We didn't know about this rule on our first tour and had to go all the way up to deck eleven to get towels. All the other cruise lines we have been on puts the towels in the room. If you are thinking about going on this cruise line, seriously think twice. Check out Princess Cruise Lines! The Caribbean Princess goes out of Brooklyn with basically the same itinerary and is a superior ship. You will not be disappointed! We spoke to many people on this cruise and they all felt the same as we did. Don't be fooled by the commercials on T.V. I hope you find this cruise review helpful because if I had read a review like this one I might have had a better vacation on another ship. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
With more than 30 cruises under our belts, I think I have a pretty good 'base' for comparison purposes. You can review the cruise ports on many sites so I'll concentrate on the ship and services. We drove to the pier and ... Read More
With more than 30 cruises under our belts, I think I have a pretty good 'base' for comparison purposes. You can review the cruise ports on many sites so I'll concentrate on the ship and services. We drove to the pier and arrived around 10am. There was a long line on Port Terminal Blvd but we learned that most of the traffic was from people parking on the right hand side of the road to wait to pick up disembarking passengers. If you arrive before 11am drive up the left side to get to luggage drop off and you'll see that it virtually empty. We dropped of the luggage and then proceeded to park the car for $19/day. From the car it's a 1 minute walk to the tent which they refer to as the terminal. I'm still not sure why they forced us to drop off the luggage before we parked the car as we could have parked the car and dragged the luggage the 1000 feet to drop it off. We're Diamond members, so check in was a breeze and then they put in this small room which probably held 100 people to wait to board. At least they had coffee, water and cookies to kill time. At 11:30 we proceeded to board the ship which involves you boarding a bus for the distance of about 2 ship lengths. Somehow they need to figure out how to build a covered walkway and do away with the buses. We had express debarkation so you can imagine what a pain it was to drag you luggage onto this bus. It would have been quicker to walk to the terminal. The ship is 10 years old and it's in pretty good shape but I hear it's going in soon for refurbishing. It may have been the time of year but we found they're to be many older people on the ship and believe me, I'm no spring chicken. I kept telling the wife that they should have motorized scooter races in the Promenade but she just keeps telling me that I need therapy. It may be because of the location of the port and the people it attracts but I found many people to be rude especially when it came to elevator etiquette. No matter what the age, some of these people think they can just push their way on no matter when they arrive or how big they are. Now for the service on the ship; all the cutbacks that RCCL has made during the recessionary times are starting to affect the quality of the food, entertainment and service of the employees. We have always been ones who enjoyed the shows after dinner but this entertainment was pathetic. The ship board singers and dancers performed 4 nights and this saves a ton of money. There were 5 nights when they brought on outside performers but we only considered 2 of the 5 to be decent. Many people liked the Violinist if you're into that sort of thing. The Unexpected Boys were like a high school group trying to imitate the Jersey Boys.......Poor Our Cabin steward was Alfredo on deck 7 and he didn't do a good job cleaning the ship between sailings. I found a couple of pears in the cupboard above the safe when we embarked which I considered an oversight, but the next day I found someone's socks and ties in the clothes closet from the previous cruise so if you missing these items, you're outta luck. It was only when the Head Waiter made some comments which I considered to be rude that I decided to report the 2 incidents to Guest Services. Being Diamond members, we had access to the lounge before dinner but I was into my second cocktail before the waiter asked for my card and informed me that only wine and Champagne are free. This is different from Celebrity but because the room steward didn't put the Diamond member benefit letter in my cabin we we're unaware of the policy. I complained to the Crown and Anchor team and after 10 days and 3 visits, this issue was resolved. For those of you who decide to prepay the gratuities, be aware that I questioned 3 different people at Guest Services and was told that you CANNOT adjust the gratuities downwards. I have never done this in the past but I was so upset at the room steward, I figured why give him the full amount if he didn't provide the full service. It appears that RCCL's answer to all issues is to send chocolate covered strawberries to your cabin because we received 3 plates of these. My answer to the issue is to send a letter to Corporate to see how they'll treat a dedicated customer. In the past we have been one who would always recommended RCCL but it took only one cruise with numerous problems to change our perception. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
We are two sets of male couples traveling together. while good friends for a number of years that socialize together often we have never cruised together before. Both couples have been on many cruises over the years on numerous lines and ... Read More
We are two sets of male couples traveling together. while good friends for a number of years that socialize together often we have never cruised together before. Both couples have been on many cruises over the years on numerous lines and ships. some of which are no longer around. I personally have sailed on ships with uppers and lowers and baths down the hall, to Penthouse Suites and everything in between. I book based on price and destination. Sometimes I'll get a great deal on the best cabin and other times a lowly inside provides the greatest overall value. We sail once or twice a year on if we can. This was my forth time on RCCI and sadly to say I will not we booking another with them anytime soon as bad outweighs the good. The Good; We sailed from Bayonne, NJ. One of the nicest things is being able to drive to the ship and from out home in Philadelphia. While we don't mind flying to a ship, being able to drive in a couple of hours to board and return home is a huge plus and one of the best things about this cruise. The boarding was fast and pleasant. We arrived at the ship about 12:15 PM and were on board within 30 minutes. While the ship holds 3,400 passengers because everything is so spread out it never felt crowded, except first and last day in the Windjammer Buffet. The Main Dining Room laid out over three decks was lovely. One of the nicest of any ship I have been on. Staff were great for the most part and willing to help out as they could. We got a good price, but not as good as if we had booked earlier. I waited a few weeks before booking last spring and the price went up about 5%. Prices continued to go up as the closer we got to sailing day. We did sailing with a full ship. I think towards the end our standard inside cabin would have cost about 20% more than we paid. While not the best deal we have ever gotten on a cruise the price was good. We paid minimum rate and received a Cat. M on deck seven by the forward elevators, good location. There was a lot of different activities on the ship some something for everyone. Drinks were made properly and not overly priced. Entertainment and shows were good, not great. Ice show was different and we enjoyed it. Productions shows better than some ships I have sailed on but not remember-able. Storage space in cabin was good as were the mattress, pillows and linens. Ship was clean, and well maintained, but decor is showing it's age. Our sailing was the 10 year anniversary of the Maiden Voyage. Liked Johnny Rocket's Diner 50's style Burgers and shakes at an up-charge of $4.95. The only extra cost restaurant was Portofino, on deck five. Selection and taste was only OK. NCL, Princess and HAL all offer better. The Bad; Only the Windjammer Buffet is open for lunch on the sailing day. Most other ships have a sit down lunch available. It was crowded and hard to find a table as people who boarded at 11:30 AM were sitting there after they had eaten waiting for the cabins to be ready at 1:30 PM. At 1:30 PM on the dot, cabins were ready. Our cabin was too small to move around in. The twin beds were made up as a large almost king size. The problem was that when together like this end of the bed hit the small pull out sofa on the one side and the end of the storage cabinet on the other. You had to climb over the end of the bed to get to the tight area along side. Mattresses with curved ends as we saw in balcony cabins would have solved this problem. If the sofa bed was open there is no way of getting into the main bed with out stepping over the sofa bed, plus all the floor space would have been gone. I would not book one of these cabin for more than two. The TV choices were poor, they only had a couple of movies they showed over and over for the 10 days. There were a couple of other movies on the foreign channels that I would have liked to see but never saw on the English speaking move channel. No outdoor seating area for the buffet except by the pool which was full with smokers as kids. No poolside bar-b-cue. or poolside snacks. Food on buffets tended to be cold, rarely hot. Lots of choices but not much taste. The three others felt that everything was too salty, I was OK since I tend to like salty food. However I like a bit more spice and felt everything was bland. The costumes and sets for the shows looked like the were done for a High School production. The one female singer was overweight and busting out of everything she wore. The rolls of fat were not pretty. There were only sections of elevators, mid-ship slightly aft and forward. They where slow and long wait times. Much on the inside activities were on decks 3, 4 and 5. Pools, buffet, gym were on deck 11, with the spa, kids area, miniature golf, Johnny Rocket's and Dizzy's (Crown Viking Lounge on some of their other ships) on decks 12, 13 and 14. Because everything was so spread out the elevators in demand and often crowded. The elevator cars were too small for that many passengers. In total there were only 14 passengers elevators for 3,400 people. I have been on other ships recently that carried 1,000 to 1,200 less and had as many if not more elevators. I have never seen so many people with motorized scooters. They were everywhere. Most didn't know how to drive them and bumped into you in the halls and elevators. Most of the people using them were not handicapped just fat and have a hard time walking. The gym was too small for the amount of people wanting to use it. Some of the equipment was old and broken. The spa was nice but very pricey but I guess that is every ship now days as they are mostly ran by the same vendor. I didn't like overall layout of the ship, it was too spread out. The Ugly; The food has gone down hill in the last few years since my last time on RCCI. In the morning for breakfast no; cranberry, prune, grapefruit, tomato or V8 juice. Not on the menus or on the buffet line. Orange and apple juice served room temperature. Messy buffet with many items looking like they were there from the day before. At the breakfast buffet only one omelet station and one for fried eggs. People pushed and other food got cold while waiting. I spent 25 years designing and laying out restaurants and food service buffets for schools and colleges. Whoever did this ship didn't know the first thing about layout a buffet for this many passengers. Also while they have hand sanitizing stations are the entrance to each dining facility, most passenger walked right by them. On NLC you are forced to use them as they have someone is stationed by the door and they'll not let you in unless you use them. Other lines have hand sanitizers by entrance to all public rooms and elevators. I think that there RCCI should look at what their competitors are doing. Other than breakfast there was never milk for drinking or yogurt on the buffet. If you asked for it, often you were told it was not available. If you went to the manager of the buffet he or she would have someone go get it for you. The cut backs in food area I think were my biggest disappointment with this sailing. I could go on and one about all the little things we notice that have been cut back. Not one to complain and not let anyone know I went to the speak to restaurant manager and hotel manager of the ship. These are the top officers under the Captain. Both I found to be very indifferent. The Head waiters in the various dining rooms were more understanding and said that many former passengers had the same complains but that all these cuts and changes came down for the corporate office. The friends I was traveling with where in an Owners Suite, they had last sailed on The Explorer last March and saw the a major decline since then. Over all the four of us will be going to other lines for our next cruise. I feel badly, but RCCI must be hurting finacially. Many passengers we spoke with love RCCI but when asked most have never sailed on another line. If I do sail with them again if will be one one of their smaller ships which I enjoyed in the past. but who knows maybe they have cut food and service on those ships also? Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
When emigrating to the "Nation of Why Not", be aware that children and teens are not welcome. I'm only 17 years old, but this was my 9th cruise, (on 6 cruise lines from 7 departure ports), so please don't judge me for ... Read More
When emigrating to the "Nation of Why Not", be aware that children and teens are not welcome. I'm only 17 years old, but this was my 9th cruise, (on 6 cruise lines from 7 departure ports), so please don't judge me for my age. I laughed out loud when I saw that the Explorer of the Seas was an editor's pick for best teen cruise. Obviously the editors aren't 17 years old. But more on that later... ...ARRIVAL AT CAPE LIBERTY... Bayonne is easily accessible from New Jersey but not teasingly far from New York. There are signs on Route 440 that mark the entrance. Once there, drive about a mile down the pier, which is desolate except for a new condominium building nearby. Then prepare to wait. I've cruised out of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Cape Liberty. Manhattan is by far the worst, but Cape Liberty is not much better. There was a 30-minute traffic jam getting in to the drop-off point. We waited 90 minutes at Manhattan once, so it certainly could have been worse. But it was nowhere near as fast or efficient as Brooklyn either. "Cape Liberty" is actually a conglomeration of old rotting military buildings. You drop your luggage and passengers off at a tent, then snake back around in between buildings to the parking lot, which is actually closer to the ship than the drop-off point is! We then waited about 20 minutes in the hot tent to get through security, which was just inside one of the buildings. The car-parker met us in line at the tent. Thankfully we are Crown & Anchor members, so we were whisked over into the VIP line for check-in (which was only about a 10-minute wait) while the rest of the passengers formed a line that almost entirely filled the building. Way less efficient than check-in at Brooklyn. Then it's on to the bus that drives about 1000 feet over to the ship. Port facilities are lacking, so everyone has to enter through the "port-of-call" gangways on Deck 1 - not very glamorous at all. This also meant that the midship elevators were unbearably slow the first day. From when we entered the port to when we were settled in our cabin took about 2 hours. ...CRUISE... The ship is okay. 11 years ago it (along with the rest of the Voyager class) was the king of the industry. But today, it's really just average. It doesn't feel that big either. The elevators are in two separate banks, 4 at each (3 forward). 8 at the same bank, or even 6 at the same bank, would probably have been better. But instead elevators were painfully slow and completely crowded any time near dinner or a show. Cabins are EXTREMELY small. The only cabin that I can remember that was this small was on the Vision of the Seas, so it must be a RCI policy to pack passengers in like sardines. We had an interior, Promenade-view cabin. There were two couches in the room, one was so hard I couldn't even sit on it, the other was worn and stained a bit. There was not enough room to walk between the bed and the wall without scarping each. We had separate beds, but there was not enough room to walk between them. Our cabin steward Durgesh was one of the best we've ever had. It was only his third week since being promoted to cabin steward but he was phenomenal, especially considering what he had to deal with in the cabin next to ours. Two 18-20ish guys were under House Arrest for possession of drugs, they must've wrecked the room because they completely shattered the table about half way through the cruise. (Despite them being under house arrest, we spotted them in disguise wondering around the ship almost every day.) Entertainment was above average, but still the standard fare. 2 comedians, a magician, a juggler, 2 concerts (both 50's music) and 3 production shows. Entertainment changes too often to be a good gauge of the ship though. I had heard that the food on Royal Caribbean is sickening. I found it to be just fine, however. Of course, all of the cruise lines have lowered their standards in the past few years, but it was still very good food. Our waiter Nicole and her assistant Esteban were very good. I was also pleasantly surprised to see our head waiter picking up plates and sweeping bread crumbs off the table. Usually the head waiter is too snobby to do the dirty work, but not this one. A few comments and fore-warnings about dinner though: Dinner is rather rushed on this ship. We had Main Seating (6:00 PM) and some nights we were already ordering dessert by 7:00. Most nights we were out of there by 7:30, occasionally 7:45. For a cruise ship dinner, that's a bit short. Our waiter took the 1st person's order after handing the 10th person their menu... she didn't leave in between to let us discuss. Also, there is a photographer that will visit the dining room at least 4 times during the cruise. She pops out from behind the corner as soon as your food arrives. This means moving plates, silverware, glasses taking straws out of glasses and other annoyances like that - as soon as your food is placed in front of you. Very annoying and unprofessional. We finally told her not to bother the 2nd to last night. ...TEEN EXPERIENCE... Yes, there is a curfew. 1:00 AM. (Unless you're physically in Optix - the Teen disco - in which case you can stay out until 2:00.) I read many reviews that the curfew was not too strictly enforced, but for this cruise at least, they were dead wrong! Three security guards found us at 12:57, and waited until exactly 1:00 to intercept us the first night as were sitting on a bench on Deck 12. They actually then stalked us back to our cabins. We got in to a glass elevator and decided to go down to the Cafe, but they watched us from the other glass elevator across the centrum so that once we arrived at deck 5, we decided to just go back up to our rooms. I went back out with my sister (19 years old) at 1:30 and was refused service at first because I was out past curfew. My 19-year-old sister, who was also carded, was not enough of a guardian for me to be allowed out. Normally I'm not a trouble-maker, and I know that the adults reading this think that we must have been doing something wrong to be caught. Well I swear that all we were doing was talking. Oh well, you don't believe me... There are separate groups for 12-14 and 15-17, but they all share the same facility - Optix - and the same teen staff. Typically 10:00-12:00 is for 12-14, then 12:00-2:00 is for 15-17, although times do vary. One group is forcibly kicked out when it's the other group's time. On past ships, I always made friends and we then hung out somewhere else where we could actually talk instead of putting up with strobe lights and ear-piercing rap music. But because of the curfew, on the Explorer there was no other option. It was put up with the teen disco crap or go back to your room and sleep. I'll be 18 next time I cruise, but even though I won't have a curfew anymore, I still won't cruise with RCI again because of the line's strict curfew and its often-hostile enforcers. One incident was serious enough that I needed to meet with the Security Director Willy Carson. He was very nice, and mentioned to me that during the summer the ship takes on volunteer security guards that are not well-trained and speak little to almost no English. He also said that this ship in particular has even more security (and stricter security) because it leaves from New Jersey. No other cruise line that I know of has a curfew. And to the suits at the Miami office who might stumble upon this review, I want to remind you that if you continue to anger and alienate cruisers when they're 15, they'll probably be on Carnival when they're 25 (and 30, 35, 45, 60, 80...) When we booked the cruise last summer it was nearly $1800 for an inside cabin. Since then it came down about $500, but I think it's still worth out to fly to Florida. The cruises are much cheaper and the class of people is much higher. (Did I mention that this ship is the New Jersey of the Seas? Slobs in wife-beaters walking around everywhere, flannel shirts in the dining room on formal night... I never really noticed the ship being dirty, so I have to say that the crew seemed to keep up with the sloppy crowd very well.) All in all, not a bad cruise. But teens, I would suggest the Caribbean Princess from Brooklyn if you want freedom. Surprisingly, Princess - a line known for catering to adults - gave us teens a lot more freedom and trust than RCI did). Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
We choose to give Royal Caribbean a try because this ship was leaving from New Jersey and we live in New Jersey. We choose it because of the convenience factor of not having to fly out to cruise like we usually. Previously we had only been ... Read More
We choose to give Royal Caribbean a try because this ship was leaving from New Jersey and we live in New Jersey. We choose it because of the convenience factor of not having to fly out to cruise like we usually. Previously we had only been on Carnival Ships and loved everything about there fleet. The Explorer of the Seas was directed beautifully through the hallways. We loved the look of the ship. Embarkation on the ship was a nightmare! It had snowed the day we were leaving. The night before we stayed in Country Inn Suites and took there shuttle to the port. The traffic was horrible! We waited in a long line of cars and traffic for almost 2 hours! That was just to get out of the shuttle. After that the checking in process was very easy. We quickly got on the ship and were starving. Unfortunately for us they just closed the buffet style dinner at the top of the ship and there was only one place to get food until dinner. Since they only had one place to get food we waited in a very very long time to eat since everyone was just getting on the boat and getting food. We never had this kind of wait on any Carnival Ship. They always made sure there was plenty of food places open to eat when you first got on the ship! Even Though the ship was beautiful, we were disappointed with our Balcony. It was large but had disgusting mold and paint spots all over it. Again, we never had this kind of issue with Carnival. There was 2.5 days out to sea on this ship and you would think there would have been lots of activities to keep you busy. However there was very little to do for us. The kind of activities they had were napkin folding and jewelry making just to name a few. We did have a great time with the dance lessons but other than that we kept getting bored and there was little to do. Also a lot of activities they did have to do charged a fee to do them! Another disappointment was how Royal Caribbean nickel and dimes you for everything. On all Carnival ships there are rooms with Irons and also washer and dryers. This boat did not have either. If you wanted anything ironed or cleaned you paid for it. When we were out to sea we kept getting incredibly bored. Also on Carnival ships there is usually parties on the deck almost every night. There was only one on this entire ship. Now mind you it was cold the first few and the last few days but even the days it was warm there was really nothing going on at night besides the show. All of the food was delicious. We also ate at Portifino's one night which is there speciality restaurant which was good but not exceptional like we were expecting. We also had a large number of people from other countries who sometimes were quite rude to others. The worst part of this ship were the rough seas! We will never leave from New Jersey or anywhere north from a trip again!Everyone was sick the first few and last few days! We also had a bad experience the third night of the trip when at 4:00 AM in the morning a 100 MPH wind unexpectedly hit our ship and knocked us 12 degrees to the side. Some people got really hurt and the ship lost a lot of glasses and other things when this happen. Many people fell out of there beds and one lady got a black eye and got a concussion from the incident. RC did handle it well. The captain made and announcement 4:00 AM to insure everyone we were okay. Many people had there life vests on and were getting ready to prepare for the worse. I should mention also that all of the shows were fantastic. We really enjoyed them all and especially the ice show! The cruise director was great and he kept us laughing the whole time. My final conclusions are that were will stick with Carnival and only cruise from the south! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
I've been on a few cruises in the past, mostly Princess cruises. This was my first Royal Caribbean Cruise and probably my last with them. To start off the ship was 6 HOURS late pulling into Bayonne NJ. where we were to start our trip. ... Read More
I've been on a few cruises in the past, mostly Princess cruises. This was my first Royal Caribbean Cruise and probably my last with them. To start off the ship was 6 HOURS late pulling into Bayonne NJ. where we were to start our trip. This would not be so bad except for the lack of information the crew were providing us. I also felt bad since it was January and Many elderly people were forced to stand while waiting. coffee and cookies were provided for all guest but after 6 hour of delay coffee and cookies don't cut it for a meal replacement. You would think Royal Caribbean would provided all the inconvenienced guest some sort of compensation, even if it's a free drink and a "were sorry" speech... but nothing. I went so far as to contact Royal Caribbean and let them know of my experience. They sent me a template "sorry for the delay" response where they put the blame elsewhere and not on themselves. I really didn't know how good I had it on Princess until I tried a Royal Caribbean cruise. The Food was very sub-par and I don't even consider myself a real foodie. I'm a simple guy who loves going to diners, and that would be a step up from the food given to us on the Explorer of the Seas. My wife and myself tried all the food options on the ship and were happy with only one... the restaurant we had to pay $20 per person to get into. This was an Italian style dinning experience that we enjoyed. In that restaurant we had three waiters catering to all our needs, and the food was very delicious. It almost seemed like Royal Caribbean forces you into this style of dinning to get the extra cash out of you. In my experience a buffet is supposed to offer food services 24/7. I guess due to budget cuts this buffet was scheduled for the most odd hours of operation. In addition to that the selection of the buffet food was very limited. It seemed like all the buffet stations (which they had many of) were loaded up with the SAME 4 or 5 items. The food reminded me of when I was a child and would join my grandmother at the senior citizens center for lunch. Our Stateroom was conveniently placed right above the one of the theaters so It was very noisy until about 1AM. I usually don't mind loud noises but this was like sleeping right above a club. When the noise did die down every little hinge in the room creaked all night long. I've been on a few ships before in the past but never experienced anything like this. Maybe it's do to the ships age or poor maintenance but it was like sleeping in a creaky submarine. The activities and the entertainment is was got me thru this trip and got my mind off the poor food and staterooms. I really enjoyed everything from the rock climbing to the ice skating and mini-golf. I'm an active person and I must say that they kept enough interesting activities going on-board to really keep us busy. The gym was very nice and well kept as well. I looked forward to going to that gym every morning more than I did the breakfast. I really enjoyed the destinations we landed at. Every place we stopped we had a great time. San Juan was vibrant and lively, while Antigua was an amazing beech destination that my wife and I loved and would go back to any day. Dominica was rich in friendliness and personality definitely one of the more interesting islands I've ever been too, and I've been to many. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Hello folks, First time that I've written a review. So if you have time and patience to read this, you'll understand why I chose to "share". My wife and I were traveling with a group of 33 people, mostly over the age ... Read More
Hello folks, First time that I've written a review. So if you have time and patience to read this, you'll understand why I chose to "share". My wife and I were traveling with a group of 33 people, mostly over the age of 50. We live in Delaware so we thought that chartering a bus to take us stress-free to the port was a great idea. The day before we were to depart, we received a phone call from RCCL to delay our arrival for check-in from 12 noon until 3pm due to the ship arriving late back from dry-dock in the Bahamas. Fine. Thanks for the heads-up. So being compliant people, we arrived in Bayonne at 3pm sharp, only to find at least a dozen buses already parked in a queue. The frowns began...At 4:30pm a kindly travel agent from another bus stopped by to let us know that there were some problems boarding. Not that ANY Royal Caribbean staff would be so kind to tell us that themselves. Finally after another hour our bus was waived ahead to unload luggage and passengers. It was now getting dark, cold and very windy. We were herded into a quarter-mile long line under an open canopy with forklifts whizzing past us and little movement towards warmth. We shuffled along for nearly 90 minutes more in the cold, with no updates on boarding status. Older passengers were starting to grow very weary. Two women in our group (each 80 years old) were actually knocked to the pavement as the line surged forward a little. It practically took an act of congress to get a wheelchair for them. Pathetic customer service. Once inside, a serpentine line stretched for another hour before we finally boarded. Just in time for a lifeboat drill before any opportunity to put down bags and get something to drink or eat. WE DID NOT SAIL FOR AT LEAST 90 MINUTES! What was up with that? The ship itself was dirty, with our balcony unusable for 5 days due to the brown sludge covering everything out there (courtesy of the dry dock). And we paid extra for this privilege? On day 2 we went to see if RCCL was going to make any gesture to the passengers to compensate us for turning a 10 day cruise into a 9 day one. They did make a gesture....an extended middle finger. ZERO! NIL! BUPKUS! I spoke with a 3 stripe hotel manager Mr. Rodriguez (I told you that I would write this MR. R.)who suggested that I put my issues in writing. I did. He said that he would fax it to the home office. I asked for a response in writing and was informed that he was not permitted to share that E-Mail response with passengers, but the answer was still no compensation. Pitiful lack of caring for a potential repeat group customers. I guarantee that our group of 40 next January will NOT be back with you. If you choose to ignore the warning of potential repeated boarding nonsense (just read a review of the Christmas cruise immediately prior to mine (same RCCL debacle)), here are just a couple of additional surprises that tickled me on this cruise.. 1. How about a $12 dollar corking fee to open the complimentary bottle of wine at dinner, that was sent through the Cruise line from our travel agent!!! 2. How about a $75 SITTING FEE for posing for a group photo on the stairs in addition to the $19.95 price tag. 3. How about the closing of some hot tubs and pools during days at sea while it was still warm outside? 4. They were so desperate to serve overpriced drinks that waiter started circulating before 10am hawking them. No wonder people were loaded by dinnertime! Dining room service was a bright spot. Little else besides the company I was with was memorable. CD Jimmie Rose was way out of his element with nervousness for his first time on this class of ship and must have blubbered "Laydeeesngenelmens" a thousand times on this cruise. Well you asked for it RCCL, so this is my little gesture to you. Thanks a Boatload. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
I have just returned from a 9 night cruise with RCI on Explorer of the Seas. First the good points: The cabin was surprisingly spacious for the four of us. There is certainly a wow factor to the facilities, size and general atmosphere of ... Read More
I have just returned from a 9 night cruise with RCI on Explorer of the Seas. First the good points: The cabin was surprisingly spacious for the four of us. There is certainly a wow factor to the facilities, size and general atmosphere of the ship. The staff were excellent, especially our cabin steward Winfield, Milano at the Acquarium bar and all the wait staff in both the formal dining rooms and Windjammer. The theatre shows were pretty good and the ice show was amazing. However, I am extremely disappointed at everything else. Yes, this was our first cruise, but we are well travelled and have never been in a situation where manners and common courtesy are totally amiss. With the exception of our table mates, who saved the holiday from being a complete disaster, I don't think we would have had the opportunity of a single conversation. There were 3,500 people on that ship, with the majority from the New Jersey area. Makes sense as the port is in New Jersey. But what we learned soon after boarding was that despite us booking 8 months ago and paying £6,500 for a family of four, RCI had advertised cut price offers in the local press two weeks before the ship sailed and the ship was now completely full. Call me a snob, but if I pay a high price for a holiday I assume the majority of the guests have too and would therefore be of a certain calibre. Never have I seen such obesity in all my life and to make matters worse, it appears for many their sole intention for the duration of the cruise was to eat. My son stood up from the table one morning and was pushed aside by the fattest man I had ever seen in my life who grunted at him, such was his eagerness to eat his breakfast. My only experience of people this size have been in documentaries on TV where they have discussed where people have become so obese they can't leave their homes etc. They ought to be ashamed of themselves. There were also a lot of mobility impaired people on board and I was pleased that the were still able to holiday with their disabilities, but to my surprise one day as we were waiting for a lift one person reversed out shouting, "Get out of my way" (I could write a novel on lift etiquette or rather the lack of it) Even towards the end of a game of bingo the crew member hosting the activity said after 30 minutes at 11.30am that he wouldn't keep us much longer as it was nearly lunch time and probably an hour since most of us had eaten. That says it all really. Throughout the entire trip it seemed that the cruise line's intention was to extract as much money out of you as possible. Being at sea for two whole days meant that we were a captive audience. Want and expresso or cappucino after dinner? That will be extra. Want to use the golf simulator? That is $25. Bought the soda package but want a bottle of water? That will be nearly $5 and it doesn't include the mini bar in your cabin. One word of warning. If you grant your children signing priviledges then they can run up a huge bill in the arcade (of course that is extra) without pre paying with cash. One of our new friends discovered this after her son had run up a bill of $180 in a couple of hours there. Fortunately she was able to turn the card off for the remainder of the trip. I could go on and on. The sales pitch was everywhere including the TV. Then on the last day they had a massive sale where all the logo items were sold at 50% off or more. Think about those that bought their t-shirts etc at the beginning of the cruise. Some relief came when we got off the boat. You have to queue to get off and queue to get on which eats into your shore time. On the day we arrived in Bermuda, another ship had also docked and then there 7,000 people heading to Horseshoe Bay. I couldn't even see my kids on the beach or in the water, the beach was so packed. Even on the boat, the deckchairs were pushed so close together they touched and you were made to feel like a sardine in a can. It was ridiculous. There was also a general hubbub on the outer desks that was inescapable. There was no personal space or peace and quiet. My husband spent most of his time in the cabin. I had to put my ipod on full blast to drown it out. I have to say that my husband and I have never been so disappointed with a holiday and even if someone gave me a cruise , I wouldn't go. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Let me preface this review by saying that I have never sailed another line because I love RC. No longer... I read the reviews prior to mine and can't even believe that these cruisers were on the same ship! Although, some of the ... Read More
Let me preface this review by saying that I have never sailed another line because I love RC. No longer... I read the reviews prior to mine and can't even believe that these cruisers were on the same ship! Although, some of the experiences couldn't have been shared because they were in my cabin. This cruise was booked after the last 7-night was ruined by a set of Promenade rooms that were so loud, I didn't sleep for 7-nights. Anyway, I'll begin at the beginning; The first cabin, an Oceanview Stateroom, was dirty when we embarked. How dirty, you may be thinking? Stains on the sheets, a dirty washrag on one of the lamps that is affixed to the wall, fingerprints on the sink and bathroom door that were a color that could have been a color close to blood (but I was hoping it was make-up), the micro-suede on the walls that is decorative was torn and stained (with what I don't want to know). Even the carpet was falling apart. There were magazine inserts still on the floor and greasy handprints on the inside of the cabin door. The grand finale of it all...the room had the stench of Body Odor.... This was the cruise line that I talked up so fervently. So I called guest services and asked them to please come and take a look at the room. They did. And sent the Attendant. They bleached the bathroom, claimed the room hadn't been properly turned over and tried to get rid of the smell. This was a room that previously held the Brady Bunch. The smell never went away...Not hours later. We returned later and they moved us to another room...After accidentally throwing away a personal item that I brought from home with the dirty bedding! I can see how they missed the fingerprints! They had to fix the room and the smell just wouldn't go away, so we were moved after dinner. I do wonder if the other reviews were written by RC employees because the shipped rocked so badly, I was seasick like I have never been! Last year, I was on the Mariner during Hurricane Gustav and it NEVER rocked like this ship! By the way....Other than the room on that cruise, it was AMAZING! Oh, did I mention the missing piece of propeller that apparently has NOTHING to do with the ship's functioning? That's right....I was told that the change in our itinerary was an experiment and had NOTHING TO DO with the broken PROP! The toilets didn't flush right because the vacuum system was malfunctioning. So you could press the button, but everything would just stay there. For about 10 minutes. That happened 2 days in a row. The air system was backing up so that the air smelled like fecal material in various parts of the ship at different times of the day. My room (the new one) smelled like poo at 2:30 AM and woke me up out of a dead sleep. When I called guest relations the girl comes down and opens the bathroom door and says "You're right, it's not coming from the bathroom." Really, Einstein....Thanks for that. It was coming from our air system. My husband, who is an EMT saw a gentleman fall outside of the Windjammer because there are no handrails and the SMOOTH marble floor was wet, and it took 15 minutes for the wheelchair to arrive. Meanwhile, the staff was standing around and my husband was on the floor with the poor guy! The dining room was a nightmare...The worst service I've ever had. My saving grace was Toumi! That's why I'm positive that one of the reviews was written be an employee...I am great with names and I can't see spending my whole vacation writing down first and last names.... Thank you to Toumi, my Head Waiter....I have life threatening food allergies that RC failed to forward to the ship. Toumi took care of it after a disastrous first night. My husband and I sat for 30 minutes with no service at all. I think we got served water. I walked out after that. I would have swam home after that. Oh, and the "State of the Art Fitness Center". Maybe for 1982. Plus, half of the treadmills weren't working. I gave up even trying to run the ship rocked so much. It was almost comical most days. I couldn't even enjoy the Enrichment Lectures because lights were flickering and doors were opening and shutting on their own because of the ship rocking and shuddering. This is the middle of the ship....2nd deck...That's the most stable part! The pool was closed down at one point....We got 3 hours in Puerto Rico (but RC will claim that it's a whole port day because we docked overnight:). I don't know about you, but I still consider it a foreign country and am not going out after dark! They delivered our rum to the room that we originally had. When no one was in it, they took it back to the shop and didn't make an effort to try and figure out where it went. We had to get dressed (this was the night before departure) and go to the promenade to pick it up with our receipt from the first night...Thank goodness I keep things! The Guest Relations Managers are blatant fabricators... 1. The passengers should have been told that we were leaving Puerto Rico half a day early prior to the cruise. It wasn't news to them...They knew it. 2. The prop was broken and the ship sailed anyway. RC claims that it doesn't affect the functioning of the ship. If that were true, why did we need an extra half day? 3. I was told that the ship was only going to rock from NJ to FL. Anyone on that ship can tell you it rocked 90% of the time. The other 10% it was stationary. 4. RC needs to take responsibility for it's neglect in this case. 5. One of my tablemates was medically evacuated in St Thomas. There were 3 ambulances waiting in NJ....Coincidence? I have photos that are being printed and video of the ship. RC offered me the standard 25 % future cruise certificate. I said that I would be happy if they would take the Explorer out of the water and make her safe. My Nana could have been one of those who fell. I'm sure that the gentleman that my husband helped is someone's Grandpa. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
As a regular Carnival cruiser, I was very excited to "move up" to RCCL. What I got was a high end reputation and a mediocre cruise. I was disturbed to find no bathrobes in my stateroom -only suites seem to be afforded this ... Read More
As a regular Carnival cruiser, I was very excited to "move up" to RCCL. What I got was a high end reputation and a mediocre cruise. I was disturbed to find no bathrobes in my stateroom -only suites seem to be afforded this "luxury". When it was time to go on excursions, you had to go up to the pool deck to wait on line to get towels!!! The food was okay, not what I had been used to on Carnival. The menu was fraught with dishes that sounded interesting but lacked taste. The idea that the appetizers and salads were grouped under Starters suggested you should only take one. The desserts were gross and unappealing. The coffee was bitter until the day I tried to get a cup and all that came out was sludge. When asking for ice for my hot cup of orange juice I was met with attitude in the Windjammer Cafe. There was not uniformity to things as simple as iced tea or orange juice. One day it was mixed incorrectly and was strong the next day watered down. The idea that a boat that holds 3000 people would have an after hours food area the size of my living room was absurd! My daughter, 11 also a frequent cruiser hated camp. She said there was yelling and decided not to go back. My older two were disgusted with the curfew, especially since we were traveling with other seniors in high school who were already 18 and they could stay out and she was harassed by security guards. Our cabin had fold down beds which were shimmed -I didn't understand why until the noise from vibrations kept me up at night. I went to the spa for an "All over body and facial" I did not get the services I paid for, no deep scalp massage, no reflexology, just a regular massage and facial all for the steep price of $265. Our "stop" in Puerto Rico was from 6:30 am to 11:30 am -Why bother? Labadee, RCCL's private area in Haiti was crowded and the beach was covered with broken coral, you could not go in without shoes. The market there was like a meat market, the vendors were invasive and suffocating -all in a place where I really wanted to spend money and I was so uncomfortable I left without spending a dime. On a positive: The casino bartenders were nice:) Bottom Line: RCCL only wishes it can provide the level of service I get from Carnival for much less!   Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
Just returned from a 7 night cruise on the Explorer of the Seas with my family, there were 5 of us in total, myself, my wife and our 3 children, 2 daughters, age 8 and 5, and our son, age 3. We were looking forward to this cruise, as my ... Read More
Just returned from a 7 night cruise on the Explorer of the Seas with my family, there were 5 of us in total, myself, my wife and our 3 children, 2 daughters, age 8 and 5, and our son, age 3. We were looking forward to this cruise, as my wife and I had previously been on 3 cruises and had always had great experiences on them. We have previously cruised on Celebrity Galaxy, RCI Empress of the Seas and the Royal Majesty when it was still a private cruise ship not part of the NCL line. Taking our past cruise memories into account we figured that our kids were now old enough to enjoy a cruise, at least the 8 and 5 year old. In the years since our last cruise, 8 years ago aboard the Galaxy, we have taken vacations in Disney twice, Las Vegas 5 times, Atlantis on Paradise Island and Europe twice. After doing some research and it seemed like the RC voyager class of ships would be a good choice for cruising with the kids. THE GOOD 1. The Adventure Ocean Camp program was well run and offered many activities for keeping the little ones busy and happy all day and long into the night. Kids could be dropped off from early in the morning and could stay until 10:00PM free of charge or until 1:00AM for a fee of $5.00 per hour per child from 10:00 PM until 1:00AM. 2. The entertainment was also very good. The Vibeology Show was well produced and had the audience tapping their feet and clapping their hands, the music and singing was crisp and the skits well choreographed. Although this was the last cruise for the six month run of this show. Not sure what will replace it. The 2 of the 3 Comedians on this sailing were very funny and of National prominence. The Ice show was well produced and it was quite interesting seeing what the skaters could do on such and small ice surface. Any show that can incorporate music from The Doors, Pink Floyd and Bruce Springsteen among others has to be good. Also had a good acrobat team from Australia perform a few times but their performances were usually too short. 3. The staff at the Rock climbing wall was very attentive and went out of their way to accommodate my 5 year old even though she was too young to actually use the wall. They let her climb up they wall as far as she could get without a harness with one of the staff members spotting her from behind. It would have been nice if somewhere on the literature it stated that you had to be 6 or older to actually be allowed to use the wall, this way we could have left her at camp when taking her sister to try out the wall. The only other issue here is that you are only allowed to use the wall once per cruise, same thing with the skating rink, something that RCI conveniently omits from any and all pre cruise advertising and literature. 4. The ship itself is very well appointed and visually stunning. The midship Royal Promenade is a focal point of the ship and a very unique feature on a cruise ship. The ship is very spacious with numerous public areas and bars, even though there were over 3200 passengers on our sailing we never felt crowded or cramped. The rooms are standard fare for cruising. We had two outside Staterooms with a connecting door. We didn'tt book a balcony since we were concerned for the kids safety being out on their balcony alone. One thing to note, on Deck 3 there is no connecting passageway from the Stern to the Bow of the Ship and visa versa. If you want to get from say the Main Dining room to the Palace Theater you would need to go up to Deck 4 or higher or down to Deck 2, and cut across. Our Rooms were on Deck 3 and we found ourselves going up over and down many, many times. Elevators were plentiful and never much of a wait for them. 5. Room Service was also very prompt and accurate in filling the orders, we would leave the preprinted breakfast cards out and we would receive the order exactly as ordered at the right time the next morning. Great way to keep the kids from bugging us as we were getting ready and they were hungry. 6. The Cafe Promenade has a good assortment of snacks sweets to choose from 24 hours a day, and the selection varies from day to day unlike the breakfast in Windjammer which was always the same. THE BAD Going in with high expectations for a high level of service based on past cruise experiences this sailing was major let down. For the most part service was non existent. Most ship personnel were indifferent or plain rude. 1. What happened to walking onto the ship and being greeted by the Captain or some of the ships Officers and then having someone escort you to your room? When we boarded we directed to a station were our children were given bracelets to wear during the cruise which would indicate their muster, or as our five year old called it Mustard, station in case of emergency. After that we were on our own to find our room. Upon embarking the ship you are on Deck 4, the desk were the kids get their bracelets is towards the stern, so after getting the bracelets we walked down on deck since our rooms were on Deck 3, upon hitting a dead end, we asked one of the crew if they could direct to our cabin they sent us to another non thru passageway on the same deck. Finally another crew member told us of the situation on Deck 3, because of the layout of Studio B area, were the ice rink is located Deck 3 does not have a thru hallway we would need to go up over and down. Okay we went up to Deck 5 as suggested by this crew member thru the Royal Promenade and then down. While walking thru the promenade we asked another crew member to make sure that we were going the right way and were told no our cabin was not that way so back the other way, I was starting to get frustrated at this point, so I stopped at guest relations to get this cleared up once and for all. After asking how to get to our room we were basically looked at like we were dumb as dirt and pointed to a map of the ship to figure out how to get to our room. Gee that was helpful. Finally figured out on our own how to get to our rooms. I guess it's too much too ask that at least the crew know there way around the ship. 2. After a quick bite to eat in Windjammer it was time to make our way back to our room for the Muster Drill, now we have 2 adults and three children but the life jackets are all for adults, our cabin Stewart tells us that the kids don't need theirs and he will bring 2 children's and one infants life jackets to our room after the drill. Okay that's reasonable, return from the drill no life jackets for the kids. Nothing on day two, we ask again we are told no problem you will have them. Day three still nothing, stop by guest relations to inquire/complain about this and we are told they will be delivered right away. Well right away ended up being on Thursday night, day 5. It was after speaking to the Assistant Cruise director about another issue and mentioning this situation of the life jackets that they were finally delivered. Again where is the customer service, repeatedly asked the cabin steward, spoke to guest relations and nothing was done, luckily they weren't needed but what if they were. 3. Okay I don't recall exactly what day this happened but I believe it was day 3, the day at sea from San Juan to St. Maarten. Win an upgrade to the Owners Suite Bingo; we had received two coupons in the Cruise Compass for a free Bingo Card for this, two since we had booked two cabins. So we go to Bingo buy one Bingo Card for $35.00 and present our two coupons, now nowhere on the coupons do they say any purchase is necessary all the cards say is bring this coupon to Bingo and receive a free Bingo card. We are told that we can only use one coupon since we only purchased one card. I ask the crew member to show me on the coupon where it states a purchase is necessary and she says it's not on there but that is the policy. Again I ask her to show me some documentation of where this is implied and she can't, I ask to speak with a supervisor, I am told that no one is available the Asst, Cruise Director is busy calling Bingo as the game has already started. I ask to speak to his supervisor and I am told that he is not available; I ask how she knows this if she hasn't checked. I am told that there is nothing they can do, that I can take it up with Guest relations. Well that would be convenient for them, I go to guest relations they log it into their book and in the meantime I miss Bingo. Don't get my free card and don't get to use the card I paid for since I am going to Guest relations while the game is going on. Sorry I don't buy into that. I ask them to get an officer or supervisor to come down to assist us. Seeing that I am not going to be easily dissuaded from leaving she proceed to give me the free ticket and states "I wish that Corporate would change these coupons as every cruise this becomes an issue. And that we cheap American are always trying to get something for nothing, that a $10.00 ticket is not worth her hassle." So I infer that this has happened numerous times before and they just try to get the passengers to buy a ticket when it's really not necessary the way the coupons are currently printed. I take the cheap American comment in stride as I know that I will be to speaking with the Cruise Director about this after Bingo. 4. We then proceed to play Bingo, having missed the first game by now, the free ticket was just good for the final game which is the chance to upgrade to the owner's suite. After Bingo I proceed to Guest relations to log the complaint about the affair at Bingo, also the problems we had in finding our room, again to mention that still no life jackets for the kids and one other problem that I will detail later. The person looks at me like I have three heads and says he will log these complaints into his book but that it is very rare for anyone to have so many problems. Again this to me seems as if RCI is taking the position that I am the one with the problem instead of working to rectify their shortcomings. Nothing like burying your head in the sand and acting as if all is well. 5. Service in the dining room was passable, Our Waiter was polite and but not very helpful. He would basically read to us what was on the menu but not offer any recommendations or in any way tells us what to avoid. The asst. waiter was friendly and made and effort to learn all our names on the first night and quickly remembered everyone's drink and bread preferences. Service in Windjammer was non existent, plenty of crew around but all they basically did was clear the tables when a party leaves. No ever offered to get us a drink, clear empty plates away to make more room on the table, or see if we needed a high chair, things like that. We actually had one waitress insult my son to another couple that she didn't realize we were friendly with. The situation was that we ran late one day in getting ready to go the Dining Room for dinner and opted instead to eat at Windjammer, now granted when our son does not take a nap during the day he tends to get cranky and restless. So we figured that a late night dinner at Windjammer at a table away form the main crowd was probably best. Half way thru the dinner our son wanting no part of the food that was available got out of his chair and started walking around our table hitting his sisters on the head playing duck duck goose. It was at this point that the waitress called him a brat to another couple. A little while later as I was going up to get some dessert I was made aware of this and confronted her, I asked her how she felt it was okay to ignore our table the whole time, didn't have time to clear any of our empty plates but found it perfectly okay to insult a 3 year old. Of course she denied having said anything, when I asked if she would like to walk with me the couple she made the comment to she ran off into the back never to be seen again. I approached the Dining room supervisor about this and he promised me that he would speak with her and we would get an apology. We are still waiting for that. I understand we probably should have ordered room service that night but if this waitress or others felt that his behavior was so out of line they should have discreetly approached us and recommend we make a plate for him to go or perhaps order room service. I would not have been offended in any way and would have gladly done so. I have taken my children to some fine restaurants, Spago's In Vegas, and hotels, The Peninsula in Chicago, in many places and have no problem removing them from a public area if I see that their behavior is inappropriate. His behavior was no better or worse then several other children we observed during the cruise and therefore we felt that this casual setting was not inappropriate for him. I found this waitress actions to be offensive and abusive and the lack of response from the supervisor equally disturbing. The next night I voiced my dismay to the head waiter in our dining room who explained that the procedure is they keep a log of these complaints during a sailing and if a wait staff received three complaints against them during any one cruise they are let go. So basically the wait staff can insult two passengers per cruise without worries of a repercussion. Pity!! 6. Lastly on the day of disembarkation, we followed the instructions and waited for our color to be called, it was called an hour earlier then we expected and then what we told the party picking us up, but I guess for people rushing to catch a flight this is a good thing. So we make our way to get off the ship hand our Sea Pass card to the guard and we are told there is a problem and we must go to Guest Relations. We do as we are told, when we get to guest relations I am dealing with the same purser that I spoke earlier in the cruise regarding our Bingo incident. I am told that our CC was denied and he will need another form of payment. Puzzled as to why I ask use their phone to call the CC company, in the meantime I give him another card to run. I turns out that Chase put a stop on our first card as a security measure when they saw large charges for purchases on the various islands we had stopped at. Yes I bought the wife a new Tag Heuer Watch and perfume and and and. Okay I actually admire Chase for this Fraud Protection Initiative, now where is the Purser with my Amex card. He comes and has me sign a receipt and then says he needs to go in the back to get approval. I am used to the merchant getting the approval first then the customer signs the receipt, but okay. After waiting for five minutes and no sign of the pursuer with my card or receipt I ask one of the others Pursuers if he can check on where the original one is and what the delay is. He says to me He is in the back Oh really, I know he is in the back I saw him go back there, what I asked is could he check on what the delay is. SO I ask to speak to a supervisor and I am told that he is the supervisor and no else is available. I see another Pursuer existing from the back and ask her if a supervisor is back their which she states yes would I like to speak with him. She gets him for me and as he comes out so does the one with my card and receipt who then disappears into the back again with the one that claimed no supervisor was available. Supervisor was apologetic but offered no other assistance. My gripe he is why wait until a passenger is almost off the ship to inform them that there is a problem with their account, why not contact them before hand either the night before or that morning to clear up any problems. Again a lack of service. 7. The rake in the Texas Hold'em is 10% up to a max of $10 and the table can only accommodate 7 players. This is very very steep rake for a 7 person $5 -$10 game and they would not cut the rake when 4 or fewer players played, a very common standard in any casino. Also would not up the game even though all the players wanted to play higher stakes nor would they run a tournament. Craps table offered nothing but single odds. 8. The water slide could only be used if the child was 46 inches or taller otherwise they had to go with an adult, okay seems like a reasonable safety requirement right. Well when an adult goes down with a child they get stuck half way down and have to walk down the rest of the way since they slide was designed to slow down in the middle. They consider this to be safe. Walk down a wet slippery surface. Now my 5 years is 42/43 inches all and has been on numerous water slides at various water parks with any trouble but on this ship we had to go down together and get stuck half way down. I then had to push her the rest of the way while walking down. THE UGLY!!!!! 1. The thing I found most disturbing was that fact that the shower stall in one of our cabins was covered in mold around the base of it. I have pictures of such. Again various comments to Cabin Stewart and Guest Relations, Asst. Cruise Director and nothing was done about this. How awful, we would not let our children in this shower, we were lucky that we had two rooms, what if we didn't. With all the attention being paid to keeping passengers from getting sick on the cruise, we actually had to sign a form about this, you would think that they would want to address the mold issue. I ended up using this shower most of the time and trying my best to remove as much of it as I could using the shower head, I was able to get some off but not a lot. All in all our experience with RCI Explorer of the Seas was a memorable one but not for the right reasons. We will definitely cruise again but not with RCI, next cruise will be of the Hawaiian Islands, our children loved the cruise and being on the ship, I will not give RCI anymore of my money if they are not going to address their shortcomings and neither should anyone else, there are others choice as far as cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
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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