Explorer of the Seas live report 12/13/19-12/22/19
I will try updating each day, but cruising vacation may get in the way. I will also try to “periscope live”-socialwork911-. I will try to post pictures here as well, if I can figure it out too.
12/13- Car service will pick us up at 9am, be at Port Miami around 10am to embark as early as possible. Sail away is at 5pm
pre sail away party planned at schooner bar 2pm
slot pull planned for 10:30pm
12/14- sea day
meet and mingle in morning…161 people signed up
#6 OW cabana reserved at barefoot beach
cabin crawl planned 11:00am
12/17-Bonaire-8am-5pm. Excursion planned and booked through RCI, Bonaire Hightlights North and South, 9:30am-12:30pm
12/18-Aruba-8am-10pm. No pre-planned excursions
12/19-Curacao-8am-5pm. Private Journey Excursion booked through RCI-Jewish Heritage Tour, 9am-1pm
12/22-arrive back to Miami 7am
Who we are:
I, 63yo, clinical social worker and adjunct professor and DW 59yo, computer programmer, DS, just turned 21 and finishing a radiology therapy program, joining us.
This is our cruise history: Harmony of the Seas 3/19, Harmony of the Seas 12/18, Harmony of the Seas 12/17, Oasis of the Seas 7/16, Carnival Victory-10/15, Oasis of the Seas-3/13, Explorer of the Seas-12/09, Explorer of the Seas-12/08, Brilliance of the Seas-12/07, Jewel of the Seas-4/07, Radiance of the Seas-8/06, Jewel of the Seas-4/05, Staten Island Ferry to Manhattan- 5/98-3/2010, Spirit of New Jersey 8/97- chartered for our wedding
We are Diamond + and have Aft cabin 9394, 2 bedroom GS on deck 9. We have always booked suite cabins, GS or OS…this will be our first time in a 2 bedroom GS. Generally, we are easy going and relax on our vacations, spend time on our veranda, walking around the ship, attending shows and people watching…..and eating…..going to the Gym daily is on the agenda too.
Since this ship has no Coastal Kitchen, we have booked the Ultimate Dining Package as we have found the food in MDR and buffet never to be hot enough (temperature wise). In addition, we find those venues too crowded for our liking. And while the dining choices are limited on this class of ship, Chops, Giovanni’s and Izumi….we will make due. This package also gives us lunch options during sea days.
DW and DS have booked the refreshment package. We usually have one/two alcohol drinks a day.
We love the Oasis class ship, with all its amenities, and were hesitant to book this cruise since it is an “older” ship, without a CK and right before it’s due for being “amped-up”…..but we love the ABC islands and the price was right, $6686 for 9 nights in a suite, all in with gratuities, booked it while on our last cruise and got $300 OBC too.
Here is the packing list I use
7 tee shirts, 2 Hawaiian shirts, 2 long sleeve dress shirt, black jeans, beige dockers, 2 pair shorts, 2 pair gym shorts, 6 pair underwear, 5 pair socks, bathing suit, water shoes, dress shoes, boat shoes, rain jacket, meds/toiletries...I think that's it
ropped of at Miami 10:15 terminal G. This a small old terminal.... we walked right in, got sea passes , no line for suite guests the waiting area is cramped and small at about 11:00 we boarded the ship went to concierge lounge, it’s empty . There were some small sandwiches and fruit and cookies, not worthy of suites. The lounge is an “inside “ room can’t tell if it’s day or night. It is on deck 9, same as our cabin. Had two cappuccinos and went up to see the diamond lounge. This is on deck 14. This lounge is bright with a dedicated out door area. Sadly the refreshment offering was the same poor selection. Having the unlimited dining package, we went for lunch at chops. One server, 6 tables... just unmanageable, we waited 30minutes from the time we order still we got our food. I ordered the hamburger, it was perfect, DW had steak salad, excellent, DS order salmon, but when he saw my hamburger, he ate half of my burger instead. Rooms opened and went to see our cabin, we carried on our bags so that was easy.... the room is nice, very spacious for the three of us, great for 4. They say it holds 8 but that would too many. At 4:30 met up with concierge and booked our lunches and diners for the rest of the cruise. Diner at 6:30 in Giovannis, I had filet minion, one of the steaks , Luke butter, DW had linguine and clams, she said it was good, looked just ok to me, DA has mushroom risotto, it was just ok. The roasted squid, was great as was the ahi tuna appetizer. Dessert, chocolate cake , but who had room. Watching basketball as I write this Miami vs LA-right game. In about an hour going for the slot pull as organized by our roll call.... meet and mingle is 9am tomorrow morning, seems early for me. We will try so do a galley tour, as we never did that before. The ship does need a dry dock, as some windows are “smoked” and cabin furniture is tired. Also the second bedroom in this cabin does not have a tv, do is sad.... I’m sure in dry dock it will be added. To be continued
Good morning the slot pull last night was well attended and fun... lost $20. But well worth the hour of fun it provided. Walked into the wind jammer this morning , way to crowded for me at 8am. Saw at least two blown windows. I know at dry dock in match all should be fixed, but really no reason to not fix them, since it seems like they been this way for over a year already The bed was firm, but I like a firm bed. I’ll post some room pictures later coffee in concierge lounge is good small cold food offerings same in diamond lounge, but I had to empty the coffee grounds for the machine to work. Good thing I learned how to do this a few years ago meet and mingle in an hour
the dry doc will place the CL, or SL in a great location, but without a CK on the ship, it falls short of great. Lunch at chops, the slowest service ever, we are not going back there. Walked into the windjammer to check out offering, it was a madhouse, even for a cup of coffee... never going there.... went to CL for coffee, safe and quite.... going to the gym, will report back on it.... Izumi tonight. Entertainment seems lack luster... the production show... invitation to dance,a fusion of Latin and ballroom dance... really, dancing is not a production show.... more of nothing to do... glad I brought a book to read
At the suite cocktail reception, the guitarist entertainment played stairway to heaven and some other rock tunes.... I stood up and applauded her. I was the only one.... went over to her to say thank you.... she is playing in the schooner bar till 8:30 tonight she said
Just got back from the gym. Had a good workout. The gym is nice lots of machines and not empty but not over crowded
Tonight’s dinner was at Izumi. At first the server said the unlimited dining package was up to $30.00. My email says $35.00. Then he checked with the manager and I was correct. Why would a server say this? A poor staffing issue, one sushi chef for the whole restaurant, 25 tables.... well that means I waited 20 minutes for my appetizer... unacceptable.... my sashimi was very good.... DS had DX sushi plate.... the rice was like mush, way over cooked for sushi rice.... tomorrow is labadee, a beach day with my favorite cabana #6 OW, dinner at Giovanni
Labadee is great...barefoot beach was half empty... guess suites and pins stayed on the ship. OW cabana 6 is great. The lunch included baby lamb chops and lobster tails
Tonight was dinner at Giovanni, we wanted calamari which only on the lunch menu, our server went and spoke to the chef and got it for us.... love that extra customer service, a nice tip was earned.... all the food was great too.... clearly the best restaurant on this ship service and food, everyone smiles and greats you. Hanging out in schooner bar, guitarist playing rock songs, deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, queen... can’t beat that entertainment on a small ship.... tomorrow is a sea day.... I’m going to try and have breakfast, so far I’ve only had coffee..... also room crawl tomorrow 11am..
Relaxing sea day. Had about 10 people for room crawl, great time, Izumi lunch, again the server says unlimited dining package is $30pp.... I had to train them.... thinking of speaking to loyalty ambassador? After went to ice show... ok, not as good as show on harmony.... the story line was the four seasons..... really no story at all.... dinner at Giovanni, service is great, food good.... went to comedy show, very funny.... spent some time in schooner bar, a few drinks and some music.... good time.... tomorrow is Bonaire, breakfast in Giovanni, as suite guests, off the ship by 9ish.... doing rci excursion, best of north and south, 3 hours, than just probably walk around town.... dinner at Giovanni again, headline show is mark Preston, former member of letterman music group
oday we were in Bonaire.... the waves were very rough from labadee, lots of sick people.... but the weather is perfect
bagel and lox for breakfast and off the ship by 9am.... rci excursion both and south.... about 35 of us on a small bus, with seats built for small thin people.... the bus should also have a clear dome so everyone can really see sights.... the driver did a great narration job... went to a museum of sorts and had some complementary- meaning prepaid-cactus liquor.... very tasty, also charging 50 cents to use the bathroom? , WTH is with that RCI
Next stop slave huts, next salt piles, a good overall tour
Went to test the pizza when we got back... no serrentos, so pizza choices very limited, I wanted a mushroom and pepperoni pie, not possible... either plain pepperoni or mixed vegetables ... RCI, really, instead went to johnnie rockets .... Regular fast food
Dinner was at Giovanni, ordered the branzino, after 15 minutes they come out and say they are out of it and only have halibut.... servers should know this and have a note in the menus
Tomorrow is Aruba, no excursion planned, just go out and walk around
Good morning from Aruba.... great weather and blue waters.... sailing was rough last night... very windy and bouncing seas.....no plans, just a leisurely breakfast at Giovanni, banana pancakes, and walk around. We are in port until 9:30pm.... not sure what and where to go once it gets dark off the ship.... my risk tolerance is -1
Rough sailing seas getting to Aruba.... had banana pancakes at Giovanni, alway good and great staff.... spoke with loyalty ambassador about my good and not so good experiences.... she seemed less than interested in what I had to say, IMO
walked off the ship and toured the downtown area. I guess I needed to do more research as I was hoping to find a big Dutch/German influence... in fact not one Dutch or German restaurant anywhere, mostly Columbia’s and Venezuela food and language spoken? I guess Aruba had a big immigration flow from those countries and all the Dutch want back to the Netherlands. We even asked some policemen where are the authentic Dutch restaurants, he said there aren’t any.... WTH....did family soft archery competition, we came in 3rd, bronze medal, but it was fun... dinner at Izumi, good fish, service was ok..... tomorrow is Curacao and private journey, Jewish heritage tour.... afterwards we’ll walk around town, maybe it’s more Dutch ...love to have authentic lunch.... dinner at chops tomorrow night
Great day in Curacao, meet our tour guide for private journey, Jewish heritage tour... we had a private van, driver and guide... went to two Jewish cemeteries, art museum tour, synagogue, Jewish history museum and distillery to taste Curacao alcohol... the entire tour was fully narrated... not rushed in anyway, no crowds... highly recommend
back on the around 2pm for our nap
out for dinner at 6:30 at chops, good meal and service.... not much going on this evening, as has been the case for most of this cruise. So off to watch the democratic debate and post game show.
tomorrow is a sea day
Dinner at chops was not great, the filet minion was chewy, had a real night at schooner bar, piano player was entertaining another fun sea day tomorrow.... doing a galley tour, ping pong, dinner at Giovanni and comedy show.... sadly packing too
Last day of this cruise... loved nine nights....breakfast at Giovanni, went to do our galley tour.... very interesting.
we went pick up our free8x10 diamond pictures. And then off to ping pong.... after a quick and small lunch at Azumi. The manager came over and asked if everything was ok.... it was, as the last time we ate their it wasn’t and I. Told him,
we then went back to the room to start our packing and relax on the veranda. Watch the wake and read our books.
went out about 5 to listen to some music at the schooner bar before dinner. Saw our room attendant in the hall, and thanked him for great service and gave him an additional tip....
Dinner at Giovanni did not disappoint, they had our calamari and the filet minion was perfect.... everyone there knows our name and always has a smile, gave our servers and manager an additional tip.... they made our trip
after went to the final show and comedian... funny show.... had the drink of day for $8.00....
we walked the ship to take our last looks and enjoy till our next cruise
ended up in the concierge lounge for a cappuccino and back to the room to finish packing, sadist night of the cruise
tomorrow early breakfast and the concierge will escort us off the ship at 8am. Our car service pick up is at 9am
for my last post I will do an overview of what I thought were the good and not so good experiences, IMO
thanks for coming along on my trip.... I look forward to going with you next time
getting off the ship was a mess......the concierge took us to the front of the line where they check out your sea pass card and then you are on your own....last year on harmony (ft lauderdale) we were taken all the way through to a special customs line..maybe this just how it's done in miami .
IMO, here are my highlights of the good and not so good.
service at Giovanni’s, the most friendly servers and good food
being on cruise is always (usually) better than work
the 2 bedroom GS is really nice....lots of space to stretch out, nice veranda
diamond lounge...lots of light and indoor/outdoor space
guitarist and piano player in schooner bar
the fish in Izumi is very fresh, nice choices
private journey excursion in curacao
#6 over water cabana on Labadee
lunch on Labadee-lobster tails and lamb chops...among other choices
the meet and mingle and seeing people you know throughout the cruise
NOT SO GOOD:
the staff was not friendly....no consistent initiated greetings from staff ....one needed to greet them first
food and service at Chops was poor
service at Izumi was poor
MDR and Windjammer had really poor food and was always over crowded
not many activities to do during the day
concierge seemed disinterested
small inside room for concierge lounge
"production shows" were boring
of course all these things are subjective opinions, my views and your view may vary greatly....seemed like the main things to do on this ship were drink alcohol, gamble and lay in the sun....JMO Read Less