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

With 27 members of our family alongside, our cruise on the Explorer of the Seas had to be the most disappointing family cruise ever. And we have done many. As avid cruisers (more then 50 cruises for me and my wife) we expected a certain ... Read More
With 27 members of our family alongside, our cruise on the Explorer of the Seas had to be the most disappointing family cruise ever. And we have done many. As avid cruisers (more then 50 cruises for me and my wife) we expected a certain level of quality of food, entertainment, service and hospitality. All fell well short. Can you imagine having turkey served TWICE in nine days on what should be a elegant cruise line? Believe it! The "daily steak" on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line menu was the same as the "steak and cheese" sandwich delivered by room service. The quality for a sandwich was good. The quality for a fine dinner was dismal. Clearly the cruise line promotes their guest to buy drink packages. It was also clear that once the packages were purchased the bar staff and open bars were difficult to find. While the famous "midnight buffets" are a thing of the past the Explorer of the Seas now provides only a Cafe to provide the late night snacks for thousands of passengers. Not a level of service one expects from a cruise line. The singers and dancers provided POOR performances at best. There were headliner magician, singer and comedian who were very good but the company that sails daily with the ship were terrible. Harsh but true. The cruise director and activity director were great and their staff were fun. Unfortunately, they couldn't make up for the shortcomings of off-off-off-off broadway level singers and dancers. The buffet was marginal at best for dinner and lunch. The breakfast, both buffet and sit down restaurant were cold and uninviting. For breakfast in the dinning room one day we had 6 of us. We were paired with another couple and expressed surprise to the hostess seating us. He comment was "well you should have asked for a table for just you." Some customer satisfaction driven crew might have offered a more empathetic tone and who knows maybe accommodated their "guest" with a table for six. The bottom line we will most likely avoid Royal Caribbean Cruises going forward. Additionally, we will strongly discourage others to sail with them. Norwegian Cruises clearly offer superior cruises, entertainment, food and services for more reasonable fares in my opinion. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Let me start by saying this was my third time on the the Explorer of the Seas. The first two were very good, but there was no crisis either. I also want to say that I in no way blame Royal Caribbean for the outbreak for the Norovirus. I ... Read More
Let me start by saying this was my third time on the the Explorer of the Seas. The first two were very good, but there was no crisis either. I also want to say that I in no way blame Royal Caribbean for the outbreak for the Norovirus. I also, can't stress enough the hard work of the crew. After they did their regular shift, they worked another shift cleaning the ship. And from what I have read, these poor people will probably not even be compensated for their efforts. My issue is with the Captain and Royal Caribbean. This was not the first time the Norovirus broke out on a cruise ship. So one would assume that Royal Caribbean would have a contingency plan in place. But this was clearly not the case. The Captain showed no leadership skills at all. Communication between him and the passengers was little to none. The games and excursions (which were not available because we were not going to the ports) ran continuously on the TV. But information to ease the passengers concerns on the status of the virus never mentioned at all. Rumors ran wild. I also spoke to very few people that did not get sick. However, most of these people did not seek medical help because of the horror stories by those people that did seek help. They were in no way equipped to handle such large numbers. I would hate to be on the ship if an even greater crises arose. The compensation RC is providing is very fair, but it only came after the news media got involved. The original compensation was only $400 per cabin. In my case it would equate to $200 per person for lost of 2 days, 2 ports, cancelled shows, activities, closed dining facilities, and a lot of confusion over time changes. I could go on and on, but, the my main issues was the way they handled or did not handle the norovirus crisis. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
I have just gotten off the Explorer of the Seas after coming home two days early due to illness on the ship. This was my first time trying Royal as I have heard great things about it since I have always cruised on NCL. As it was ... Read More
I have just gotten off the Explorer of the Seas after coming home two days early due to illness on the ship. This was my first time trying Royal as I have heard great things about it since I have always cruised on NCL. As it was broadcasted all over the news the trip was very disappointing to say the least. The first day at sea people were already getting sick but when you stick 3000 people in a ship where you can't go outside and no fresh air its a recipe for disaster. People were sick all over the ship and even though some were told to stay in the cabins they were out getting food where everyone else was. Royal did not know how to handle such large numbers of people getting sick and they should have announced for all passengers that were sick to stay in their rooms and go down to the medical unit when it was their turn. As the days went by things went from bad to worse I got sick on the 24th and stayed in the cabin as there was a 3 1/2 hour wait to be seen. Royal then closed everything down - the spa, gym, arcade, Johnny Rockets but go figure the casino stayed open!! I am very disappointed and feel very let down by the trip and then felt Royal started to nickel and dime us towards the end by first saying we will give each stateroom $400.00 credit put on your account which they did, the next day after hearing very disgruntled passengers all day long they revised it to 50% off your cruise and 50% percent off future with addition to the $400 credit, then today claimed the $400 was part of the discount. I am grateful for what they are doing I just wish they had responded much faster and made sure the sick were sequestered properly. As an RN I thought it should have been done differently. Not sure if I will try them again and feel very let down. On a positive note the last night's dinner was fabulous and the staff were outstanding. But hearing how they were going out of their way to make sure the next group of passengers were being told not to worry because they were taking extra measures to make sure their trip would be ok was kind of like a kick to the ribs because we were all still on the ship and I felt they couldn't wait to get rid of us - it felt like we had cooties. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Starting on our 5th day of the cruise, my wife was in and out of Deck 1 Medical Facility with an upper respiratory disease that she caught during the cruise (incubation is approximately 3 days) and was treated with antibiotics. That ... Read More
Starting on our 5th day of the cruise, my wife was in and out of Deck 1 Medical Facility with an upper respiratory disease that she caught during the cruise (incubation is approximately 3 days) and was treated with antibiotics. That apparently caused her to come down with diverticulitis, which in my wife's case caused severe abdominal pains. Initial pain killers did not work. Finally she was given the good stuff and we made it home, where I immediately dropped her off at our hospital. The doctor kept her for two nights. I caught the upper respiratory infection after the 7th day on board. We both used good sanitary procedures throughout the cruise, which apparently was not enough to prevent contact with the carrier person. We went on the cruise to revitalize our selves from high tension jobs. This was our 7th time on the Explorer, but also our last. Possibly also our last with Royal Caribbean because they have gone down hill in other areas. I was told their is no credit for missed days, even though it probably was a crew member that passed on the disease. We know of several others on board who also came down with the disease. Has anyone else know of this problem on the Explorer? Has every ship this uncontrolled disease? Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Check-in was no problem. The cruise departs at 3:00 and they let us board at 1:00. I was really looking forward to the Explorer cruise as I had gone on a Carnival Miracle the year before and had a great time (food was excellent--gained 10 ... Read More
Check-in was no problem. The cruise departs at 3:00 and they let us board at 1:00. I was really looking forward to the Explorer cruise as I had gone on a Carnival Miracle the year before and had a great time (food was excellent--gained 10 lbs, service was excellent--smiles everywhere, and entertainment was okay). I was so disappointed and vowed never to go on anothe royal carribbean again. Problems with the Explorer of the seas cruise: Food and drink first: Food tasted horrible, was not properly cleaned/plated correctly. There was hair in one of the entrees given to us. My ginger ale had a big piece of black brush/lint in it (very repulsive). The shrimp tasted spongy and was not deveined (i.e. shit was not cleaned out.) The drinks were extremely watered down and soda was incredibly flat tasting. Service: Every dinner meal took over 2 hours to finish. The wait staff was incredibly slow. We basically sat for 30 min after every plate was finished before we were served a new plate. At breakfast, we sat down at a table for 6 and shared with another couple. The couple got up and left after a few minutes but their plates were never cleaned up the entire time we sat there even though 2 new people joined us at the table. The wait staff did not even come with the breakfast pastries for us to choose from. The bar staff did not serve one of our friends for no reason and just ignored him. The entire staff appeared very disgruntled and mentioned there had been cuts. Cabin: The shower was so tiny that I had trouble turning around to shave. I am a size 4 girl so I can't imagine how anyone fit comfortably in the shower. Room was really tiny, only a few inches of space to walk around. The bath towels had yellow stains on them. I don't understand how they can clean the room and give you towels which are stained all over. The beach towels also appeared dirty. I wished I had saved my money and gone elsewhere. We had a big group of 40 people and the majority of us were very disappointed with the trip.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
I am a long time cruiser going back twenty years. I had sailed on RC many years before on the 1200 passenger Nordic Prince. I have sailed on HAL the past five cruises, but found a deal on RC sailing out of NJ so I would not have to pay ... Read More
I am a long time cruiser going back twenty years. I had sailed on RC many years before on the 1200 passenger Nordic Prince. I have sailed on HAL the past five cruises, but found a deal on RC sailing out of NJ so I would not have to pay airfare. My friend insisted on booking a balcony cabin so we could eat breakfast out there each morning. Upon boarding the Explorer, I found a beautiful ship that needed maintenance in alot of places. FOOD-AWFUL!!-However, I also found really bad food as well. We planned on room service breakfast, however, you can't get grapefruit halves from room service. So we tried the Windjammer buffet-can't get grapefruit there either. In fact, you can only get two kinds of juice-apple and orange. We found the breads almost inedible. The muffins were totally tasteless-the biscuits inedible, the food cold and bland. The high point was the omelet station. At lunch, the situation was worse. Pretty much every station had the same food. Vegetables were pretty much non-existent unless you count potatoes as a vegetable. The salad bar was limited to greens and a few vegetables, and a couple of salads with tasteless tomatoes. No protein was available for the salads. In another line, cold cuts were present-ham and salami only every day. The fish of the day was always breaded and fried. One sugarless dessert was available at lunch. There were almost no room service choices. Any food that should be spicy-curry, etc., was bland beyond belief. In the dining room at dinner, things improved somewhat. However, the menu was very limited. I had hoped to get fish every night. Fish other than salmon was only available two nights-and one of those nights it was friend. The wait staff had no clue about who got coffee every night, lemonade, etc. The waiter did not speak enough English-as a consequence, my dinner was messed up two nights. I had a NY strip steak that was as tough as shoe leather, and without the Bearnaise sauce that would hide its dryness. Indian food was alway bland-the curry I had no one would every recognize as curry if they were blindfolded. RC-GIVE US ALL YOUR MONEY PLEASE!-The bath towel deposit policy is ridiculous. You are charged $20 per towel, which is supposed to be refunded when you give your towel back. My friend was charged $40 for two towels despite turnign them back in. Other friends were charged $5 each for the freshly squeezed orange juice in the dining room. They were Swedish, and the waiter never explained that there was a charge for the OJ. RC has chains for an inch stations at every dining room, and spa attendants bugging you to sign up at the dining rooms. You must pay $15 for a filet in the dining room. My friend bought the filet twice, and said it was worht the money. He also said that the only good food he ate was the food he was charged extra for-Portofino, filets, and OJ. We both went to Portofino. I give it high marks for bread only. My appetizers were totally tasteless, as was my entree-which was supposedly garlic shrimp. My friend was asked if he wanted Pelligrino water. No one ever had him sign a slip for that-or told him there was an additional charge. No one ever filled his water glass (or mine) after the initial filling. Both he and I felt that RC was trying to nickel and dime passengers at every chance-many other passengers we talked to felt the same way! GYM-RC made it very difficult to work out. You could not get breakfast before the gym opened. If you did not get to the gym right away, all the cardio equipment was full. of course, when there are only 20 treadmills and 5 are broken for the entire cruise, it does increase the difficulty. The walking-jogging track is a narrow space between two rows of deck chairs. This means if anyone is sunbathing, or if people are strolling the deck, it is almost impossible to jog or walk the track. RC is far, far behind HAL in food and services. I don't know if I could sail on RC again. Both my friend and I were actually glad to leave the ship after 9 days because the food was so bad. I went to Johnny Rockets and got the worst burger I have ever had. It must have been precooked 45 minutes ago as it had no juices whatsoever, and was as tasty as a wood chip. I am not sure if I would go on RC again even if someone offered me a free cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
we have sailed rccl about 25 times, not to brag brag brag, but to give an idea of our history & experience with the line. this was the poorest ship we have ever been on. the food was terrible, the service in the dining room was very ... Read More
we have sailed rccl about 25 times, not to brag brag brag, but to give an idea of our history & experience with the line. this was the poorest ship we have ever been on. the food was terrible, the service in the dining room was very poor, our waiter didn't even come back to check to see how we liked our food. we started sailing rccl 1982 on the song of norway. in those days the food and service were excellent. the food on the windjammer right now is "slop." the tiny piece of "hash browns" that was served for breakfast in the d.r. is a small nasty, soggy, oiled square. my almond trout was swimming in oil. even the desserts have gone down, something rccl was very good at. i was soooooooooo sad on the last cruise. i personally loved rccl and felt a huge letdown with this cruise. i approached one of the head waiters in the windjammer, where the service is non-existent, and he could not disagree with me. he said rccl is now appealing to the "masses" and is trying to steer the people who are willing to pay more to celebrity. we have sailed celebrity twice and in those days just prior to its purchase by rccl saw little difference. the waiter said "how much can one expect when one pays $600 for a cruise?" we paid about 1400 for suite(no air). we expected the same cruise we used to receive from rccl. maybe first time cruisers actually think this is a good cruise??  they have never experienced what it was like in the 80's???? we were on the radiance for 22 days last year out of vancouver to hawaii and onto san diego. it was pretty good. we have crossed the atlantic on the brilliance and its was pretty good. is it the type of ship??? are the voyager ships poor?? are the radiance ships excellent?? are all rccl ships going down hill? we have a cruise on the vision scheduled in dec. if i could cancel it i would, but we have air independent and will loose all our money. our sister said the exercise machines were in pathetic shape. there was so much smoke on this ship i hardly ever went out. i have never seen a worse ship for cig. smoke. if you are very anti-smoking this is not a good ship for you. my sister's bed was so bad she demanded another bed, which she actually got the following day. we arose and there were hundreds of mattresses in the hall!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i guess more people complained. they were on the dock at our next port. my sister talked me into having a pedicure in the spa. the lady "lillie" asked me how many meals it eat per day. i answered two. she said "and you eat alot don't you????????" wow. i was pretty insulted. then she continued on to tell me the coke i had purchased from rccl was toxic and all the food we eat now is toxic, building up toxins in our lymphatic tissue.  i spent about 1 hour being lectured. i was very insulted and enraged. she condemned the medical drugs people take, saying that is it causing their illnesses. when i asked about her education, i did not receive an answer that told me she had pathology, pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, therapeutics, etc. she told me my ankles were swollen. my ankles were/are not swollen, i am in the health profession, i know peripheral edema. she finally asked me what my profession was and after i told her, she kinda ceased with the medical lecture. i wanted to drill her on her medical knowledge, but decided to try to get this over with. my husband said i should have walked out. i am on a cruise to enjoy myself, and i sit there for one hour being reprimanded. my sister went to customer relations and was told we were just complaining because we wanted a credit. i want nothing from rccl. i guess they don't want anything from us either, especially our money, because we are doing some serious thinking to change cruise lines. i guess to have a better experience we will have to go to radisson, crystal, seaborn?? i am willing to pay more money for a better cruise and it doesn't appear rccl is going to deliver it. Richard Fain is only interested in the bottom line. i guess thats why rccl has gone from 3 ships to 22. i challenge Richard Fain, to somehow disguise himself and book an explorer of the seas cruise. table 477!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
My first cruise ever, with my 17-year old son, he had gone before with a friend and liked it so we went again. Horrible is the best word to describe this; if you are contemplating your first cruise, DO NOT do it! 3800 dollars gets 2 people ... Read More
My first cruise ever, with my 17-year old son, he had gone before with a friend and liked it so we went again. Horrible is the best word to describe this; if you are contemplating your first cruise, DO NOT do it! 3800 dollars gets 2 people on the boat only, after that they want money for everything, plus "gratuities" even though they are added into the bill. If you don't pay them, you get dirty looks and not even a 'thank you'. Off-boat excursions are hugely expensive also, so we did none of those, but it was great to get to a new island just to get off that boat, which was filled with 2900 people and constantly rocking while at sea. Do NOT believe anyone who says you can not feel the rocking of a boat while at sea, you CAN, at all times; and we had calm seas. Beds; small. Stateroom; small. Shower; impossibly small. 9am every day a weather announcement is made, waking you up from a dead sleep; imagine, who would ever guess someone would want to sleep in on vacation? Can't do that, you need to be woken up and told it's 88 and sunny every day, for what I don't know. I would never go on one of thesethings even if you paid me and tied me down, it was the most horrible, amazingly bad thing I have ever done. "All-inclusive" is far from that; even paying 3800 up front, they wanted more for everything and we had to pay 52 dollars each for cokes all week! Outrageous; when you showed the coke card to a staff member you got a dirty look and never a Thank You, always just the 'free' Coke and no smile. This only got a "poor" rating because the people in the dining room were friendly and polite, everyone at the other bars were rude and always looking for tips and "gratuities"; I want to add also that the ship, on 3 or 4 occasions, left us reminders with "gratuity guidelines" for the staff, from maids to waiters; saying they should all get about 100 dollars each!! Crazy, I would never tip the maid at the Sheraton 100 bucks for 9 days, so why would I do that here? The constant look for gratuities was similar to begging in my book, and disgusting and also ruined my holiday completely. This was, by a very very long shot, the absolute worst vacation I have ever had in my 45 years. And imagine, some people go on these things 3 or 4 or more times? How is that possible? I could not wait to be home and now that I am on dry land and happy in my normal shower and queen-sized bed I could maybe look back and laugh except that I wasted 5000 dollars all told and could have gone somewhere cool with my son like Europe or basically anywhere else! You people contemplating your first cruise or even worse, going back on one again; what are you thinking about??   Read Less
Sail Date August 2007
My wife and I have cruised 14 times, with the last 3 on RCCL ships out of Cape Liberty, NJ. Embarkation was fine; the access to cape liberty is very simple even with 3100 other very excited passengers. We were on the ship very quickly; ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised 14 times, with the last 3 on RCCL ships out of Cape Liberty, NJ. Embarkation was fine; the access to cape liberty is very simple even with 3100 other very excited passengers. We were on the ship very quickly; our luggage was at our doors within 2 hours. I needed 2 rooms because there are 5 members of my family. We had an outside balcony and an inside directly across from us for out 2 older children. Ship We had been on the voyager 2 times, thus explorer was virtually the same ship, less decor. Food It seems that RCCL quality has really taken a nose-dive here. Food was poor, tasteless, rushed. We used the late seating for dinner, and only used the formal dining room for dinner. Our waitress was more concerned with telling us about just how hard she had to work, all the RCCL hardships she had to endure, while holding out a picture of her 20 months old. Well, after a few days of this, i-we got to the point that we just wanted her to go away. Ports San Juan, don't bother getting off the ship. We had been there 5 times, same old dirty city. The lucky part is that we were there for only a few hours. St. Thomas, love it. Left my wallet there!!! Our jeweler picked us up at the pier. Upgraded wife's wedding ring. Ouch. St Maarten, loved it. Orient beach on the French side. I will go back there next year.   Labadee/Haiti, nice place, completely run by RCCL. Big fence to keep the locals out. Very pretty. Service Room service was greatly improved. We used this only for morning coffee, continental breakfast. Ordered it with overnight room service door tags. They would call as it was coming, always early or on time. Public rest rooms were a mess. Early or late they were dirty. There were always dirty paper towels, empty drink cups etc on the floors. Maybe they should consider rest room attendants. It seems that besides the staff, people working in the shops, pursers desk etc., the crew, wait staff, room attendants, etc. have become very Americanized. It used to be that they would go out of the way to be friendly, helpful etc. Now it seems that they expect more $ each time beside the 15% automatic gratuity. What happened? The only major issue that I have is this: On the last night of the cruise when RCCL distributes all purchased alcohol, it is their practice to drop off the boxes to each room without having it signed for. Being that there are many children onboard, many teens feel that they have the chance to steal bottles and experiment. The teen club was closed early that night because of excess numbers of drunken children on board!!!!! The issue is that the Optix teen club is where parents are not allowed. This is a crew chaperoned area that is for teens only. What happened? I wish I knew. My wife and I found our 15-year old daughter in her room with 3 other girls. She had been brought there to vomit. She continued to vomit for 4 hours. She also continued this for the 3 hour ride home. Granted, it was a matter of time for the teen experimentation, but we placed our faith in RCCL for the safety of our kids in the teens-only Optix program. This is wrong. Our 16-year old son also told us of another male teen that had his stomach pumped in the med facility onboard that night. Liability? At this time our cruise with RCCL went from a very acceptable fun time to a horrific mess.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2006
RCL ~EXPLORER OF THE SEAS ~ MY REVIEW April 3, 2004 Sailing Port ~ Miami Itinerary ~ Eastern Caribbean This was our second cruise on Explorer and my personal 13th RCl cruise ~ three more making 16th total cruises (1 Princess & ... Read More
RCL ~EXPLORER OF THE SEAS ~ MY REVIEW April 3, 2004 Sailing Port ~ Miami Itinerary ~ Eastern Caribbean This was our second cruise on Explorer and my personal 13th RCl cruise ~ three more making 16th total cruises (1 Princess & 1 Carnival) and one Windjammer out of Maine. My heart will always belong to Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Just the sight of RCL's ships is exciting! Embarking......Diamond Members so it was very fast. We booked a pre cruise thru RCL and it was wonderful. We stayed at the Hyatt, had adjoining rooms and RCL provided our transportation to the hotel from the airport and to the ship the next day. Our cabin steward was one of the best we have ever had. Our cabins were made up as soon as we left them. "V" accommodated & anticipated the fact that my 16 month Granddaughter would be taking a nap daily. In the evenings, same service.....made up as soon as we left our cabins. He made us cute towel animals and the cabin was always clean, refrigerator refilled, ice in buckets, etc. Special little things were done for the baby by 'V'. Our robes were always there, dry and clean. We let him know just how much we appreciated him too ~ realize it is his job, but picking up for 7 females, in two adjoining cabins, is no easy task! (and remember one was a 16 month old) Needless to say, 'V' received a great tip! All our luggage arrived by 4 PM and we found that we had ample space for all our clothes and shoes. Having adjoining cabins is always a plus for the 7 of us....as is having the 2 balconies. Friends of the family had an inside across from our 2 cabins....that worked out wonderfully....although, next cruise, they are going to get a balcony cabin too ;o) Sunday was our first day at sea. Several in our family decided to sun for the day and had no problem finding lounge chairs.....but did notice the chair police out and enforcing. If you got up to use the restroom and were gone too long, your belongings were taken off the chair and it became someone else's. They felt their 'policing' was a bit too strict in some cases. Guess there is no easy solution to this situation. RCL pools are salt water so always fresh and clean. We enjoyed them very much. We have cruised this itinerary so much, we decided not to take another excursion when we stopped in St. Thomas or Puerto Rico.....although most of us did get off the ship and shop. In St. Martin, 4 from our family went on an excursion - Beach/Snorkel. Felt it was too much and not really enough time. Next time, will just go to a beach. In St. Thomas we shopped in the AM and came back on the ship, ate and enjoyed the pool with a lot less people! In PR 5 went shopping while 2 of us stayed back to relax around the pool. NASSAU....it was Good Friday so all the downtown stores were closed....not a surprise to us. We planned around this and went to the straw market and bought some traditional pocketbooks and a few items to bring home to friends. Senior Frogs was open & we enjoyed it in there ;o) FYI: Full head of braids was $100. and my niece has very long hair. FOOD: Windjammer - We found the food to be delicious and a nice variety. ROOM SERVICE: Most mornings we ordered room service for breakfast and ate on our balconies. It was relaxing and not a rush. My Mother and I also ordered late in the evenings when everyone else was out and we were baby-sitting the baby ;o) A+ room service. DINING ROOM: Service was very good. Presentation attractive. Roy and his assistant took care of us very well.....mannerly and helpful. The dining room shows were same ~ entertaining. The FOOD in dining room on the whole was not impressive. The cold soups were to die for - Peach and Banamarama were my two favorites! Turkey dinner, I was told, was great. Steaks were OK, Prime Rib better. Veal was very good. Chicken -good. Desserts all looked yummy although I did not have any. My sister-in-law enjoyed all the seafood dishes she ordered. One niece ordered Caesar Salad with Chicken every night and loved it. Nice variety for the baby.....she had lots of special attention too ;o) Johnny Rockets will be charging VERY soon on Explorer as well as all their ships...this was explained to us at the Meet and Mingle Party. Not a real issue with me - if on vacation and I wanted JR for my meal, I would go for it. I didn't this cruise but nieces did. We have a JR in a mall near us at home. We decided not to go to Portofino's this cruise. Rating foods is so hard because we are all so different......I do not cruise for the food (there is always something I like and eat) so hope this helps and does not change anyone's plans re: cruising with RCL. I have been on other cruise ships and liked their food less and others better. A lot has to do with the Chef, but most of all personal taste. SHOWS: RCL is known for it's fantastic shows and again they did not let us down. Do not miss the ice show! It is just fantastic....although the same show we saw before when we were on Explorer, we still enjoyed seeing it again. Hal Frazier came aboard ship for a show. I did not go to it. No one in my family did so I cannot comment on the show itself. INTERNET: We decided not to take our laptops this year for service in our cabins.....using the Internet cafe was almost as easy and worked well for me. I was able to email my husband daily and he me. That is the only reason I use Internet -to email my husband ;o) otherwise, I would not take the time to play on a computer while on vacation. MEET & MINGLE ;o).... Our Meet and Mingle Party was a huge success. Our teens met and had a wonderful week together. They are probably busy on their own computers now emailing back and forth! I know the adults I met are wonderful people.....again, thank you for the Meet and Mingle Cruise Critic and RCL ;o) My family of Gals are booked on RCL Serenade of the Seas already for next Easter. We were booked on Jewel of the Seas, but decided on Serenade instead. That may even change - but for now ~ we are booked ~ March 26th, 2005 and hope to book on the Ultra Voyage Class RCL ship Easter 2006. CASINO......a few in our family won ~ always a good thing ;o) Thumbs down to all the cruise lines for charging so much for the soda cards. It cost $48. which did include tax and gratuity, for an adult soda card. I felt a bit steep for soda fountain cola. Ice cream was all over the ship.....always a plus. The Explorer is a beautiful ship with a fantastic staff. Dana, at the Purser's Desk, was probably my favorite person on the ship. He is such a nice person. Had no problem getting a wheelchair for my Mother, and we did not order one ahead because she felt she would not need one. I think part of that was luck, but we were most grateful. Actually we liked some changes that they offer Diamond Members.....the gifts and treats delivered to the cabins almost daily were a wonderful surprise. Thank you RCL. Happy cruising! Lindy Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
This is going to be a rather lengthy review so please bear with me, but keep in mind, I traveled with a small group and we all had basically the same review. DAY BEFORE CRUISE/ we arrived in Miami, we had reservations at he Wyndham beach ... Read More
This is going to be a rather lengthy review so please bear with me, but keep in mind, I traveled with a small group and we all had basically the same review. DAY BEFORE CRUISE/ we arrived in Miami, we had reservations at he Wyndham beach resort, which I highly recommend to everyone. It was clean, right on the beach, the service was excellent, I think I could have spent my vacation there. DAY ONE/ embarkment was long and you waited forever, this was to be expected. When we got on the ship, lunch was waiting at he Windjammer cafe, but due to the thousands of people getting on, finding a place to sit was a challenge, plus so many people were just wondering around looking at things and just bumping into everyone and everything. Our luggage arrived in a timely fashion and our cabin steward, Salvatore, was terrific. Let me tell you, the rooms are soooooooooooooo small It is very difficult to get around to the other side of the bed, CARNIVAL rooms are much bigger. You had to turn sideways to get past the bed, very very very small, our friends had the balcony room, (which I do recommend) and it was just as small, but at least they had light. DAY 2,AT SEA....don't try to get a deck chair, because people wake up at 7:00 a.m. and put towels on them, so by the time normal people wake up all the chairs are taken, (we found out later that people did that) rude rude and more rude. Ship is really crowded, so expect to wait in line for all activities. DAY 3 PUERTO RICO- we started the day touring Old San Juan, we had the distillery tour and the Old San Juan tour, but the night before, it was cancelled, and we started the day wondering what to do. We ended up touring the city on our own, and shopping... We were told by the SHOPPING QUEEN ON BOARD, SANDRA, not to buy too much because items were cheaper in St. Thomas...so we held off.  DAY 3 ST. MARTIN, OR Maarten OR HOWEVER THEY SPELL IT.... Our favorite port, beautiful beaches...nice people, great GUAVABERRY PUNCH..... You have to get the guavaberry, it is the only place to get it and it is fabulous. Most of all...DO NOT LISTEN TO SHOPPING SANDRA ON THE SHIP.. This is place to shop,,,get everything here, liquor, cigarettes, (9.95 per carton) We don't smoke but that is definitely a deal... Everything is cheaper here, especially the jewelry, and it is much nicer. LOVED THIS PORT... That night at dinner, started the many times our waiter, Teodore, from Romania, reminded us of the tipping practices practiced at the end of the cruise...This became quite annoying as he was a very moody waiter, not at all like some of the other passengers around us who had happy bubbly waiters, our busboy, was Lucas from India. He was so sweet, but during one of Teodores tipping speeches, Lucas was filling coffee cups and in front of all the guests, he reprimanded and embarrassed him...It was very uncomfortable. DAY WHATEVER... St. Thomas... This is the place shopping Sandra tells you to buy all of your jewelry, and liquor and stuff...DO NOT LISTEN...They must get a kick back, because at this port things are higher priced. It is a lovely place and we did the B.O.B. excursion. It is an underwater scooter... It was great. You can snorkel until it is your groups turn to ride B.O.B. the crew take your underwater cameras from you and actually will chum the fish so you are surrounded by fish and take your picture... This excursion lasts about 3 or more hours and is definitely worth it. We ate dinner at Portofinos, and was worth every penny spent. $20 per person. The service excellent, the food can't even tell you about my lobster, because it was mouth melting. Not that the food on the ship is bad, Portofinos is better. and you don't have to hear constantly about tipping...(we did, because they didn't keep reminding us) plus the service was excellent, they even cut my salad... NEXT DAY, AT SEA...same as before, you had to reserve any beach chairs early, We did rock climbing and miniature golf and it was great. I highly suggest everyone at least try the rock climbing, it is an experience. Next day, Nassau, what a difference in this city from the last time we were here. They cleaned the city and redid lots of buildings it is actually very pleasant...(not like St. Martin). Back at the ship, our waiter was practicing his nightly tipping speech...now the tv has started with their RECOMMENDED TIPPING... it is very annoying. We are tippers who will tip where the service is. On the final night, I gave our Head waiter, who was excellent, our waiters envelope by mistake, our waiter actually left our table to go to the back and count his money, when he returned he told us that we should have given him $50, we realized we gave him the wrong envelope and he put out his hand for his remaining tip... it was so embarrassing... I didn't put $50 in the envelope to start with because his service was just poor, when he was done serving us, we only saw him to return to give his tipping speech. Lucas the bus boy was always there... keep in mind, you only have this waiter for dinner, breakfast you are seated with other people...strange as it may seem, nothing like CARNIVAL.... Will we ever travel Royal Caribbean...probably not... Read Less
Sail Date February 2004
Explorer of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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