This was our first time on Royal Caribbean and their Anthem of the Seas was just wonderful and roomy. Service was great and rooms were also. Almost all the meals were good. Shows and other activity was so much to do. Except for one meal ... Read More
This was our first time on Royal Caribbean and their Anthem of the Seas was just wonderful and roomy. Service was great and rooms were also. Almost all the meals were good. Shows and other activity was so much to do. Except for one meal and the power blow out in out cable. and their North Star broke when we were going on it. Love the Visual cam screen in the inside cable. Make you feel you have a outside view.
Casino was the only negative. The Bar crew would not fill up my Soda cup and very long wait. Prices for drinks were well over $10 each time. Service was very slow and long time wait. There no free drinks like in Caravel or NCL. The machine ate your money without any payoff. You keep playing but bunch of small wins would keep you going till the machine said you had enough. Never saw anyone hit anything. Tables were packed and saw a lot of reasonable good winners. My wife was the player and said it was not good. Machines were recently and some old favors. I hate smoking and like all cruise I been on they allow this and after half a hour I had a burning inside mouth and coughing heavy. I could not enjoy myself there and gave up going back there because it go too nasty with smoke and my cloth smell of the smoke. Sad why they continue allow this for health issue reason.
In Bermuda we took a bus tour around the island and the bus drive and guide was a chatty fellow very friendly and full of information. It was a back breaking ride to most of the sites. Going to Lighthouse over looking King Wharf area and driving through made areas all the way up to St. George town square for a 45 minute stop. We ended out trip in Hamilton shopping area with a ferry pass back to the boat. Shopping is upscale and you have to look for what you want. I always love Mark & Spencer from London and a small store was there. In Port around King Wharf her was some site to see but the Mall and Diamond international was the only limit store. Everything else including the glasswork was Ok. If not great but if you do not wanted to travel too far away from ship it will do.
Cable Attendant Arunkumar Chauhan we were in room 11-281 was the best housekeeping person we ever had on a cruise. My wife blow out the power in the cable with her air dryer (don't bring your own and over load the outlet) the blower work fine the first three days but blow the TV and outlet and Visual screen. Arukumar to get it fix within hour once we were out of the room.
We had great food and service in all the Restaurants we when to (we did not go to the Italian or other pay ones, did not wanted to pay the fee for it). The only bad experience was in Chic where the service was slow and long wait for your plate then it was cold. Possible two large group that were next to us was the cause. Chic Headwaiter came over to our table in Silk the next night and offer his apogee and send a bottle of champagne to our room. Silk, Grand, American Icon and Solarium Bistro and Windjammer (Buffet) Michael Pub ($), Johnny Rocket (Small $) Were the places we visited all great clean and great service.
The Royal Esplanade shopping area is two floors 4th and 5th casino was right below it on the 3rd. I got a nice watch on sale. My wife got her 30th anniversary ring for herself. She also got a free bottle of champagne. So we had two bottles to take home. Gift shop was very limit. But wait till the last day when all the shop bring out the stuff at deep discount. That when the crowd comes. I got a few $20 special watches gift to tale home. Duty free and liquor was a large selection.
North star ball broke when we came to go one it. They said they will inform us when it working and later in the trip. We never got a message and I found they place use the last day at a time when we had other thing doing. So we never when on it. It only when up and down and did not move. If you go on that do it when you are in port. You get a better view then just water. Flowrider and Bummer Cars/Skate Ring and wind tunnel was very busy so book online before you go. Very long wait. I like to find reading area the Solarium in the front of the ship with the hottubs was nice But I found places quite and with a nice Starbuck read my book and nap a little. Music Hall is your place to go for dancing and fun time. Two70 had a light show. The rock show was a the band Queen music was good if you like their music.
The Internet connection with on board Voom was good and never lose it connection. My wife was Facebooking the whole trip with pictures. And texting family. TV was limit to a few channel but the kids had the most fun with Dreamworld entertainment on board and great staff kids and teen clubs About more then half the channels on TV were for kids. Room service come with a small cost and very limit selection. Soda plan it great had my big cup with me. Buffer had a great soda machines and many bar fill it up. Except in the casino.
I suggest book all your stuff before you get on the ship. Do a day planner before you go. The TV onboard has when you turn all the fact planner and service at your touch. You check your account and message right there. Before you go book your dinners and rides you want to go on and shore stuff. Have it all lay out don't wait till the last minute to do something on ship. Customer Service and Next Cruise was very helpful and good. Do everything before hand and pay for it. As we did we had onboard credit due to having Royal Carb Credit cards. Our bill was low till we brought high end gifts for ourselves. .
I think I cover everything. Enjoy your cruise we did. Read Less
WE left out of NY.. and sailed to Bermuda.. Parked at the doc.. 280 for the week.. easy park.. took elevator down to loading area.. very easy no problems at all.. Worth the cost, if you want to have your car.. You are given times to be at ... Read More
WE left out of NY.. and sailed to Bermuda.. Parked at the doc.. 280 for the week.. easy park.. took elevator down to loading area.. very easy no problems at all.. Worth the cost, if you want to have your car.. You are given times to be at the doc for loading but no one followed that at all. Check in time for us was 12:30, we were there much earlier and were able to load once 12:00 came. Check in was easy, no problem at all. Once on the ship you were able to go to your cabin right away.. a fantastic feature that other ships did not have. Restarunts were open so you could eat. Music pool all ready for you to party. We sat up on a higher level so that we could wave goodbye and check out the views. We went under a bridge which was fun. The ship was clean and big... . crew members were great.. helpful.. friendly.. a little hard to understand sometimes because they are from all over the world..We had a balcony room 13712.. great views.. clean..
The ship is big.. this trip was not crowded and had A small amount of kids on it, I assume because it was Oct. I did not care for the layout of the pool area.. small for the amount of people on the ship. I did like that there was a childs pool area and a adults pool area. 4 Hot tubs around the adult pool that children were in. 2 of them had signs adults only. The pool area could have been designed a little better, not enough area to sit around the pool. Pool is small, not much room to swim during peek hours. The atrium area is used for many shows.. truly not enough room for all that want to see the show. They were putting in new carpet on the cabin room hallway floors which was a bit of a pain because you could not always get the elevator for your floor..So you had to use the stairs. Elevators were slow and said they could hold 20 people but truly only about 12.
The buffet could have had better quality foods I think..and displayed better. Only 1 restaurant was open late and the same thing on the menu every day.. 3 Restaurants serve the same food.. More choices were needed.. Limited menus.. We only ate in a few restaurants. Manhattan Room was very pretty and food was very good. Free or Fee up to you. I did have Lobster one night and surf and turf another night. Both those meals were 30.00 each. Loved the Noodle Bar and the way that they served. Everyone was served together. Food was good. We played Bingo and Deal or No Deal.. Both very costly. The Second City is a improve show. Make reservations early.. they are so very funny and very good.. They have R rated times and family times. All the game shows were funny.. Mostly PG.. some R but great shows.. We did not see Burn The Floor.. One Dinner show that is a MUST is the Jungle Show. Food and Act was beyond fantastic and worth the extra money.. I was truly amazed. We paid to use the Thermal Spa. It was very nice..
Bermuda was beautiful. The weather had said rain the entire time we wee going to be there.. Guess what.. I could count the rain drops.. It was hurricane season and I was concerned , Hurricane Matthew was stirring up trouble but not for us. We did not do much while in Bermuda, I really just wanted to sit on the beach. I was worried about booking things based on the weather. Last minute I did get a mini bus booked through RC that cost us 39 each to go to Horseshoe bay Beach. It was only a 3 hour stay.. Could have saved my money and paid 7.00 each for the same type of bus andcame back when we wanted. We did that the second day. There are buses and cabs right outside the ship. Cabs are costly.. We did rent a scooter the last day and drove out across the island . Many people rented scooters for the entire time we were there. Great idea.. In the long run you will save money. Horseshoe Bay is the most beautiful beach that I have ever seen. There is a little cove area that is perfect for the little ones and the older ones. Nice waves for the ones that want that. I was just reading some other reviews and noticed that many complained about smokers. I did not see this as a problem, there was only one place that they were aloud to smoke and that did not bother us at all. I am not a smoker. Overall it was a nice ship with friendly crew. Read Less
Loved the mid-sized ship. The Summit was in excellent condition and beautifully maintained. We had an Aqua class cabin and enjoyed the privilege of dining in Blu. At first we thought we might not like Blu because of the "spa" ... Read More
Loved the mid-sized ship. The Summit was in excellent condition and beautifully maintained. We had an Aqua class cabin and enjoyed the privilege of dining in Blu. At first we thought we might not like Blu because of the "spa" cuisine we had heard about, but the menu had excellent offerings nightly like shrimp cocktail, French onion soup, steak, grilled salmon or chicken, if you didn't want to order from the main menu. Breakfast and dinners were so good that we dined here daily. We felt no need to go to the specialty restaurants. Desserts were excellent, too. This is the first time in 39 cruises that we ate both breakfast and dinner in the dining room. Usually we'd go to the café, but service in Blu was incredible. Friendly crew, right on the ball all the time, from the hostess to the waiters to the wine steward. Production shows were very good (but loud - bring ear plugs). Didn't care for the comedians though. Pool areas were crowded on sea days but lovely on port days when most people were ashore. The classic beverage package worked great - no need to upgrade to premium. I could get anything that I would want with the classic package.
Our balcony on deck 9 had a large overhang about 15 feet so you couldn't see the stars at night, but on the other hand, you were sheltered from too much hot sun. Everything worked well in the cabin - the toilets, the air conditioning, the refrigerator, and the bed was comfortable (made a slightly larger than queen size when put together). Cabin stewards kept it clean. We weren't crazy about the hors d' oeuvres that were delivered at 4:30 (hummus, pita pieces, a few nuts or olives or sliced cherry tomatoes), but it was a nice idea. A bottle of champagne awaited us upon embarkation which was a nice touch. I would definitely recommend this ship if you are looking for a relaxing cruise, with excellent service and a nice itinerary. Read Less
SHIP - The Breakaway is a beautiful, huge ship with much to do onboard. We never felt too crowded, considering all the people on it. We had a balcony on the 12th floor and the new bathrooms are much more spacious than on the older ships. ... Read More
SHIP - The Breakaway is a beautiful, huge ship with much to do onboard. We never felt too crowded, considering all the people on it. We had a balcony on the 12th floor and the new bathrooms are much more spacious than on the older ships. However, the terrace is smaller due to the newer narrow rooms.
Note the door locks - bring a credit card like card or ask for extra room cards. When you go out put the card in the slot so that your electric charges continue to work and the air conditioning stays on in your room. Also, room lights won't work unless a card is in the slot (next to the door). Just push it back down when you return after the room is made up to use the lights. Also, if your sliding doors are unlocked or open the air conditioning will turn off. You can bring a case (sealed) of water onboard with your room tag on it - a great savings from their bottled water. Ask your cabin steward to empty the refrigerator if you aren't going to consume the items in it (extra charges) and you can store your stuff in it. Never did this before and it was handy to grab a couple of bottles for touring or the beach or pool.
Note - no free room service any more. There's a charge of $7.95 for it for most hours.
ENTERTAINMENT - We were disappointed that there wasn't a show every night in the main theatre since repeat shows were necessary in order to accommodate everyone. The entertainment was good, but you had to pay to see the Cirque Dinner Show, which was similar to the acrobatic cirque show they used to have for free. Second City was in a small venue and many people didn't get to see them, as in the past when they were in the main showroom. The Burn the Floor dance show in the main showroom was great, and they had a bonus show for one night starring one of the leads in Wicked (Elfaba) who was fantastic. Wasn't impressed with Rock of Ages - not like the Broadway version. Missed Howl at the Moon - which everyone loved.
RESTAURANTS - The Manhattan Supper Club was wonderful and we ate there several times. There is supposed to be a dress code which is printed in the Daily Bulletin, since it is upscale, except they do not enforce it (nice slacks or skirts/dresses and no suits or jackets required - not too formal). However, several people came in shorts and cut-offs and sandals and looked like they belonged at a more casual restaurant or the buffet. There were also young children that were running around the dance floor playing and nearly missing the poor waiters who were trying to get across the room. People who may have wanted to dance were discouraged with the children on the floor (meanwhile the parents were standing on the sidelines watching them run around until several waiters asked them to get the children back to their tables). We asked a head waiter about the dress code and he said they had enforced it in the beginning cruises, but then got notified by corporate that they should not stop people from going into the supper club, regardless of their attire. Why not? Other cruise lines do! This Club is a really terrific bonus and they should try to keep it a little upscale, and enforce the dress code. Also, they might want to make it Adults Only or children above a certain age. The musicians and singers were great. This is the crowning glory and most upscale offering on any Norwegian ship we've been on in the past 9 cruises. Loved the Brazilian Barbecue - fabulous meal - we were all stuffed with the amount of food and desserts. Le Bistro was, as always, terrific, as was Cagneys. The other two main restaurants Taste and Savor (have identical menu to the Manhattan Club) and are wonderful. One of them is open for lunch when you board, so we went early and had a wonderful formal lunch before the ship sailed.
QUIET ADULT AREA - FREE - Didn't use the Haven Private Area and found a nice, quiet area at the back of the boat at Spice H2O for Adults Only NO CHARGE - with two jacuzzis and a waterfall you can sit at to cool off, as well as a bar and small buffet down the hall. They show outdoor movies there at night (family friendly).
RIDES, ETC. - The tube slides, bungee, and zip lines drew a lot of people, so get on line early and make sure you wear sneakers - no sandals or other shoes allowed. The two bowling lanes were a nice addition, as was the Ice Bar and outdoor eating at the Specialty Restaurants.
SAFETY DRILL - Our big complaint on the last few Norwegian Cruises is that they have a more slipshod way of conducting the pre-cruise safety drill than other lines. For some reason they don't make people practice putting on their vests and going out to their assigned areas on the lifeboat deck so they know where to go if they get lost from the crowd. They just meet in a dining room and get shown how to put on a life vest - half the people don't even watch. It is not in the closet anymore but under the bed. We were hunting for our's when we got in our room. In a real emergency many people may not know how to get their life vests on themselves or their children without a practice run, and I think there would be chaos getting out of the restaurants to their assigned areas on deck without doing it once. We much preferred the old way of having a real practice drill.
GET YOUR FERRY SCHEDULE AND MAPS OF BERMUDA AT THE FRONT DESK. THEY RUN OUT. GET THE FERRY/JITNEY PASSES RIGHT AT THE DOCK.
TOURING BERMUDA - Bermuda was fabulous, as always and this was our third time there. Love the fact that we are in port for 2-1/2 days. Found a great independent driver named Lewis Foggo (firstname.lastname@example.org) who gave the four us a 5 hour tour for $100 less than Norwegian's in his SUV. He was willing to start our tour at 10:00 rather than 8:00 so we could enjoy breakfast in the dining room. He customized the tour for us and took us to the beaches we wanted to walk on, as well as the scenic spots and neighborhoods on the island. We had a 45 minute lunch in St. George and asked him to join us - he was so interesting and nice and full of great stories and facts about his island. He extended our tour to make up for the time at lunch and when we finished seeing Hamilton suggested that it would be quicker to take the ferry back to the ship when we were ready since the roads clog up during the rush hour (caught a 4:00 ferry back) and it was worth the $5.00 (get a ferry/jitney 2 day pass if you think you'll use it again). .
You can take the ferry to Hamilton and St. George (beautiful little town and easy to navigate with little museums and restaurants right at the dock). Note: Returning from St. George the ferry goes first to Hamilton then to the dock. No direct ferry to the dock. Only take cabs with the blue flags (certified and held to rate schedules). All these things are right at the dock - ferry, jitney bus, to Horseshoe Beach, Hamilton, Aquarium, etc., cabs, boat tours, parasailing, etc. and there is even a little beach there (10 minute walk) Snorkel Park Beach where kids can swim with the dolphins, learn to snorkel and snuba, rent chairs, jet skis, kayaks, etc. with a little restaurant. Lovely and convenient - easy to go back to the ship for lunch and return to the beach - especially with kids. Also very interesting is tour of Dockside Area and the little malls and craft shops - potter, glass blowing, etc.
The HAMILTON FESTIVAL is on Wednesday nights from about 7 - 10 p.m. Eat early and take the ferry there at 5:30 or 6:00 (check ferry schedule - jitney bus is a long ride with MANY STOPS).
SHIP FIREWORKS are on Friday night at 10:45 p.m. If you have a room on the port side you can watch from your terrace. Read Less
We enjoyed this cruise a great deal. It was my second, my husbands first, and we were celebrating a 20th anniversary. We live somewhat local to Boston so we took public transport right to the cruise line, which eliminated the need for ... Read More
We enjoyed this cruise a great deal. It was my second, my husbands first, and we were celebrating a 20th anniversary. We live somewhat local to Boston so we took public transport right to the cruise line, which eliminated the need for parking and hotel. We found the embarkation process to be quick and painless. We stood in a long line to check our bags,(have your bag tip ready and showing so your suitcase doesn't make its way to the bottom of the pile) but found it moved quickly, and we were soon on our way. Our passports were checked, and we made our way up to security where we quickly learned "knitting sticks" were ok, but my husbands utility knife was most definitely not. It was taken from him, and returned the last night of the cruise when we presented our tag at the customer service desk. We then filled out papers swearing we did not have Ebola, and made our way to counter where we provided credit card information, got our room keys, and some additional cruise information. The process was again, quick and painless, and everyone we encountered was pleasant. (including the confiscating screener). We stopped for a quick pic, and then moved up the gangplank. As we boarded, we were greeted warmly by the cruise staff. We presented our electronic keys for boarding, and experienced the first of many sanitizer spritzs. We went right to our room and found it already made up quite nicely with congratulatory gifts, and welcome notes awaiting us. Being right off the Stardust theater and the casino initially made us nervous as it was already smoky and somewhat noisy. The corridor doors we stuck open, even though they had signs indicating they shouldn't be so we called for help, and went off to explore. When we returned the doors were still stuck open, and now we were really worried because the noise and smoke had greatly increased. Luckily some maintenance staff was nearby and they closed the doors for us, which instantly eliminated the noise and smoke for the rest of the cruise. Our bags arrived very late that evening, so future note to self, bring the bathing suit in your carry on. I knew this, but I guess it didn't really register until too late.
We found the restaurants to be quite nice, whether paid or complimentary. Service was in general lovely, the food was good,the atmosphere pleasant, and the staff kind and attentive. We in particular noticed that one of the senior staff members was omnipresent. First thing that morning she had been overseeing the breakfast buffet,then later in the day she was serving drinks at the main poolside bar, even later that evening she was assisting in the dining room, She was just everywhere, always smiling, and she seemed to very much care for her staff. We saw this repeatedly in the coming days, to the point we stopped her to comment on our observations. She was so appreciative and gracious, she even took the time to send a treat to our room as a thank you. We were very impressed with the restaurant and buffet food service staff. The only place we just did not enjoy was the Blue lagoon. Service and food quality was lacking here and I don't believe we will go that route again. I suspect this restaurant also services room service requests.Service to the room was very, very slow, and not to order. For example, we ordered hot dogs and got relish and onions, but no ketchup or mustard. Other items ordered weren't what were expecting either so we decided to forgo that option for the remainder of the cruise.
We loved the entertainment. The shows were so much fun, and we felt the talent was quite good. We loved all the oldie but goody songs, and the dancing. Clearly a lot of work and rehearsal goes into these productions. We also thought the cruise director was amazing. He was funny, warm, and very good at keeping things moving along. He also, never seemed to stop, moving from one activity to another in quick succession, yet he never made anyone feel rushed or unwelcome. We want a "Dingo Dave" on every cruise. The newly wed game was an absolute blast! I've not laughed that hard in a long time!
We paid for extra for the spa and enjoyed every minute of it. I did get chased down a few times, and learned I must always bring a room key to obtain a locker, and to identify myself with. The massage I got was amazing, though I find the prices outrageous compared to my local area, and I absolutely hate the high pressure sales pitch at the end to buy the products. But hey, I guess we all need to make a living. I'm certain the staff does not enjoy this aspect of the job either, so I endured politely. I would get a massage again though, it was that good! I think I would have enjoyed the fitness facilities, but found that getting a machine was quite difficult so I gave up. The facilities seemed clean, and well maintained. Those that were using it didn't want to leave! :)
We enjoyed the art seminar, and learned a lot. We attended the art auction and found it also quite informative and interesting.This was a first for us, but we found that the staff walks you through the bidding and purchase process, and the art is worth looking at and enjoying. We even got a few complimentary prints in the deal along with a nice piece of art. (Still waiting for it to be delivered)
Our favorite part was just walking the decks. The view is just amazing, and the ocean so vast. We also enjoyed the hot tub at the very front of the boat where we could just sit and gaze out at an endless ocean. We met some interesting people, and felt the tension just roll away. The one thing we would have enjoyed was more indoor public seating areas. The library was the only place to relax indoors, and it offered zero views. Sometimes you just need to escape the sun, or in our case the cold, and outside of restaurants there isn't much place to congregate or play a game other than the restaurants. We found ourselves just hanging in the room, which made the picture window even more important.
Disembarkation was a little muddled with some conflicting information floating around. There was a disabled couple who had been told to sit in particular spot, but then someone else came along and was rather brusque in telling them they could not be in that spot. They were quite upset and likely embarrassed by the commotion. In cases like that it would be good to inform folks ahead of time. For us, we made our way to the general area, waited as instructed, and made our way quickly off the boat when the time came. It was generally a good system, except people sometimes just don't listen. Not sure how I would change things, but we did pretty well with the whole process. We decided to taxi to the nearest commuter rail station, and sat gazing sadly out the window of the train wishing we were already back on the boat and off to a new adventure. Not to worry though. We took advantage of the advance down payment program for our next cruise. Cant wait to tell everyone about that one too!
We feel the good ratings we gave for this cruise were well justified. Noting is ever perfect, but Norwegian came pretty darn close. They strive to provide a good experience from the moment you embark, to the moment you leave. Cruising is a great equalizer in our opinion. Everyone, no matter your station in life, gets to feel rich and pampered, in a beautiful, well maintained setting, at exotic locations, for a comfortable price. How can you go wrong? Read Less
I chose to take a cruise to celebrate my 40 th birthday this past June.
Me and my daughter decide to go to Bermuda but when we arrive there a hurricane hit Bermuda and to leave early. The captain and the staff kept us update to date on ... Read More
I chose to take a cruise to celebrate my 40 th birthday this past June.
Me and my daughter decide to go to Bermuda but when we arrive there a hurricane hit Bermuda and to leave early. The captain and the staff kept us update to date on everything that was going on. We left early but no matter what we had a blast. This is the best cruise I've ever gone on.
All the staff went from point a to point z in customer service. The food was delicious and non stop. The entertainers and shows were continuous and fun! I chose My Time dining, I want to saw thank you to everyone especially Angelo and Michael! You Rock!!!! Leigh and T T was very enteraining and informative. The buffet staff was very friendly and helpful. The person who cleaned my room was very helpful and nice. If but I only wish that they had a juice bar for people who workout but otherwise I will recommed Explorers of the Seas to my friend! And to anyone who talks negative, ITS NOT TRUE! Read Less
This was our 6th trip to Bermuda and second cruise on the Explorer of the Seas. We had previously cruised to Bermuda once on the Voyager of the Seas and twice on the Norwegian Dawn. We also stopped at Bermuda on other extended itineraries ... Read More
This was our 6th trip to Bermuda and second cruise on the Explorer of the Seas. We had previously cruised to Bermuda once on the Voyager of the Seas and twice on the Norwegian Dawn. We also stopped at Bermuda on other extended itineraries on the Voyager of the Seas and the Crown Princes. My wife and I have been on 20 cruises since we started cruising in 2013. Five of us traveled on this cruise: My wife, college aged son and I were in one cabin and my 2 sisters in the adjoining balcony.
Since this was a 5 day cruise we packed light. Each of us had a standard carry on and a backpack and still felt over packed. Without luggage to drop off, we arrived at the port at 10 A.M., parked and checked in very quickly. Since we had a friend who worked at the port we were able to go to the VIP lounge and get priority boarding. The VIP lounge at Cape Liberty (Bayonne) has nice chairs, but other than that, there is nothing VIP about it. Maybe it will be better when the new terminal is completed for the Quantum of the Seas. Once it was time to board we took the shuttle bus to the ship. Immediately upon boarding a crewmember recommended we go to the dining hall and make reservations since we had my time dining. We did so and selected a 5:45 dining time at the same table each night, thus making it more like early dining instead of my time dining. This worked out well since we wanted early dining, but it was already filled when we booked our cruise. We ended up getting a round table for the 5 of us with a great location right by a window on the port side of the ship.
Next we went to the Windjammer for lunch. Having early boarding meant there were no lines and plenty of tables. The Windjammer offers a great variety food, some good, some just ok. The best item that day was the carved, melt in your mouth pot roast. This would be our only time using the Windjammer. We preferred long, leisurely dinners together in the dining room as well as lunches there. As we anticipated our cruise, our son was looking forward to dinners together more than anything else. We were looking forward to leisurely dinners with great conversations as well, so all our dinners would be in the main dining room.
Following lunch we enjoyed some frozen yogurt out on the pool deck while waiting for our cabin to become available. Once the announcement was made we went to our cabins on deck 7 mid ship starboard, a few doors down from the library. Great location. First thing we noticed is that when you have adjoining cabins, you have a chair instead of the normal couch because a couch would block the door connecting the cabins. Also noted that we had nice Samsung flat screens. Not all cabins on the Explorer have flat screens. Old technology is being replaced when needed.
The next thing we noticed was a checklist on the bed. This is the first ime we have seen this and it makes so much sense. Using the checklist, we noted that the pull down bed should be opened, that we needed ice each day, and requested robes. This list is also used for your bed configuration, together or apart. You fill out the checklist and leave it on the bed for the steward. This is a great idea because you often don’t get to meet your steward on the first day. Our cabin was kept immaculate by our steward. One day he asked us, after cleaning, if we would mind not leaving anything around after cleaning as senior staff was inspecting his work that day. We gladly complied.
Muster drill on the Explorer is done under the lifeboats, which I think is better than going to a lounge like some ships do. This way you really know where to go in an emergency. At the end of muster, our American/Canadian Captain welcomed us aboard for our cruise to beautiful Hawaii!! This captain had an incredible sense of humor and, unlike other captains we’ve had, enjoyed the microphone. His day two report involved more comedy including letting us know that our current position was “on the ocean”. Once muster ended it was off to the bow heliport for sail away. What great views you get from this spot.
First night dinner’s best choice was the prime rib. It was cooked perfectly and melted in my mouth. Our server Nepthale, and his assistant Mario were absolutely incredible. We were never without rolls or water. In fact, our water glasses were never less than half full. Nepthale was also great with our 21 year old son who wanted and did try everything, each night ordering 3 appetizers, 2 or 3 main courses and 2 desserts. And sometimes Nepthale would bring him a 4th entrée so he could try something else! And my son finished everything he ordered!! Royal’s food is top notch and better than some other mass cruise line fare. The menu offers great options making it sometimes difficult to choose. Of course you can order what you want, so if you think two (or more) items look good, go ahead and order them. You are on vacation. Several times my wife and I would order different items to share and a third item between us.
The welcome aboard show included one dance number and a comedian named Don Gavin who was somewhat funny, but not memorable. As a matter of fact, the overall entertainment on this cruise was extremely week with only one production show and 4 nights of so-so comedians. No magicians, no hypnotists, just comedians. The best show on this ship is still the ice show, which had the same theme as 3 years ago when we were on this ship. One nice thing is that you no longer wait in line to grab tickets to the ice show. You are assigned to a show based on your muster station. So much simpler.
Day two was a sea day. I love these and spend much of the day reading on promenade deck 4. I dislike the fact that many of the newer ships have done away with this deck in order to maximize revenue producing venues. This wrap around promenade with shuffle board courts is perfect for a leisurely stroll, reading, or just sitting and watching the ocean go by in a quiet place without all the noise of the pool deck. We also took advantage of the great weather and very smooth seas to play some mini golf on the sports deck.
Breakfast was in the dining room. The menu consists of typical breakfast foods that are available each day along with two daily specials. The French toast is excellent! There is also a fruit, cereal and yogurt bar where you can select additional items. For lunch, this becomes a salad bar where you pick out the items you want in your salad and it is prepared for you assembly line style. The lunch menu is similar to the breakfast menu in that it has every day items and a couple of specials each day. I would suggest you avoid the pasta of the day at all costs because it is overcooked and chewy. If you order it anyway, get the red sauce, which is excellent and avoid the white, very bland, cream sauce.
On the morning of day 3 we arrived at King’s Warf in Bermuda. The Norwegian Dawn was already in port when we got in. Our plan was to take a ferry to St Georges for the day and then a bus to St. David’s. Unfortunately, the ship was not cleared quickly enough by immigration for us to catch the ferry and we would have a 2 hour wait for the next one, so we took the ferry to Hamilton instead, walked around Front street and a couple of parks before boarding a bus to St. Georges. The ferry and bus system in Bermuda is economical and easy to use. I just wish their schedules were more frequent. You really don’t need an excursion on this island. Weather was humid, but not too hot. Once at St. Georges we headed down to the waterfront for the historical reenactment of the dunking chair punishment. This is held at noon each day during the summer months and the cast does a great job. I had seen it before and expected it to be fun. What I didn’t expect is that they now use a “volunteer” to play the town drunk and I was drafted for the part (fortunately the town drunk does not get dunked). I was coached on my lines and enjoyed being part of it, although I think my wife and son enjoyed it more as I was arrested and tied to a post. In the end we got some nice photos and a big wet hug from the woman who was dunked, so I did end up getting wet. Afterwards we had local fish sandwiches at a place called GoJos before hopping on the ferry back to the ship. It rained on the trip back, but we did not get wet.
On day 4 we decided to stay around the dockyard. It was very humid out, but we wanted to try Fun Golf, a new miniature golf course right next to Snorkel Park, a lovely beach. The golf was somewhat expensive at $15 per person but well worth it. It truly is one of the best mini golf courses I have ever played: 18 holes modeled after some of the most famous golf courses around the world, including sand traps and water traps, all with a great view of the Atlantic! The owner of the course told me that a good score would be anything around 65 so I was pleased to get a 60 while my competitor family members all got on the 70s and 80s.
After golf we went to the nearby Clock Tower Mall and did a little shopping before heading back to the ship. As we got back to the ship it started raining. Upon entering the ship you must remove sunglasses and hat for security. While waiting to board the elevator, my wife noticed that somewhere, in the course of the day, she had lost a favorite earing. Another passenger heard her disappointment and directed us back to security where the earing had come off when she removed her hat. They had placed it in an envelope for lost and found. Crisis averted.
Once on the ship we decided to get lunch at Johnny Rockets. There is a $5.95 service charge and a fee for drinks or milkshakes, but everything else is included. They serve you onion rings and fries as soon as you sit down. Food and service are excellent here.
After lunch it was back to promenade deck 4 to read and watch people run back to the ship in heavy downpours and gale force winds that reminded us of late afternoon Florida rains. With departure set for 5 P.M. and all back on board by 4:30, under sunny skies, we watched the ship pull her lines in and begin sail away at 4:35. Shortly afterwards, the Norwegian Dawn began to follow on its trip back to Boston.
Looking back we could see the sun disappear behind clouds and more heavy rain that we had avoided by leaving early. Later that night, after a wonderful dinner of lobster and prime rib, and not so funny comedy show, we saw the Norwegian Breakaway in the distance, lit brightly and headed to Bermuda from New York.
Day 5, our last day, would be a sea day. Seas were slight and you could barely feel any motion. This was a disappointment because I like the rocking motion at sea and this cruise was just too smooth. Again, much of the day was spent reading and enjoying the treats of the Royal Promenade Café where fruit, pizza, small sandwiches, fresh baked cookies and coffee are available 24 hours per day. We would laugh at the people spending $4 and up for Starbucks in this area when Seattle’s Best (a Starbucks brand) was equally good and free.
After our last dinner on board we went to the Bon Voyage show. We had missed the farewell parade in the Royal Promenade because it was scheduled at our dinner time. The last show always has the crew represented, which is great, because the crew on this ship always offers incredible service. After 20 cruises on all the major lines I can say the Explorer of the Seas offers, without a doubt, the best service of any ship. The show itself was once again a lackluster comedian. Once the show was over, I stopped yawning, woke up and played some shuffleboard on deck with my family before heading to the cabin to begin packing. Packing would actually be quite simple with just carry on luggage.
We do not gamble, so I cannot review the casino. And none of us drink, so I cannot review the bars. For us cruising is about relaxing, unplugging, and enjoying family. We did have $50 onboard credit which we actually had trouble spending but managed to use it for our Johnny Rockets fee and several souvenirs. We couldn’t help but smile the last morning as people were going through pages and pages of on board expenses and we had none.
Arriving home in New York Harbor is always fun. We woke up early and watched from our balcony as we got closer and closer to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, while looking at Brooklyn and Queens in the distance and watching planes fly into Kennedy Airport as the sun came up. Took our cell phones out of the room safe and began to reconnect. There would be close to a thousand emails to deal with later in the day. Posted on Facebook that we would soon be home. Facebook gave my location as the nude beach at Sandy Hook!
We got dressed and went to our last breakfast in the dining room, which was good as usual. Once finished we went to our cabin, watched the ship dock, finished getting ready and headed to the lounge to wait for the announcement that those doing self assist could leave. This became the only real frustrating part of the cruise. Though well organized, this process was extremely slow due to the logistics of the shuttle buses taking you from the ship to the terminal. The last time we cruised on the Explorer, you got off and waited in a holding area for the shuttles. This time, because of the new terminal construction, there was no holding area. The shuttles came one at a time right to the ship. This made the process extra slow as the line backed up the stairs and elevator areas in the ship itself. It took us about an hour and a half standing in line waiting to get off. I felt bad for families with young children who were antsy with so much waiting in crowds. And this was the easy self assist! This will not be a problem once the new terminal is completed and the shuttles are no longer needed.
Once off the ship, we got into our car in the parking lot and were home within 30 minutes, wishing that we were embarking. Now we are dreaming about our next cruise in October on the Coral Princes to the Panama Canal.
The Explorer of the Seas is an older ship, but still a wonderful, clean and well maintained ship with a great crew. It may not have all the bells and whistles of the newer stock, but it does provide a wonderful cruise experience with plenty to do, or not do, depending on your interests.
My wife and I have sailed on Royal Caribbean several times before and are Gold Members. Last years trip to the Western Mediterranean was amazing with a few small glitches. This years 25th anniversary cruise aboard the Explorer of the Sea ... Read More
My wife and I have sailed on Royal Caribbean several times before and are Gold Members. Last years trip to the Western Mediterranean was amazing with a few small glitches. This years 25th anniversary cruise aboard the Explorer of the Sea to Bermuda was absolutely horrible and after speaking with other passengers, I find we were not alone. I booked this cruise as a surprise for my wife’s and I 25th anniversary. I pre-booked a 75 minute deep tissue couples massage for the evening of the 15th. I also Pre booked an anniversary dinner for 2 at Portofino restaurant on the 16th to celebrate the night and had all of the paperwork to prove it.
Upon arrival at the ship we fought through the typical Bayonne NJ traffic and in a decent amount of time made it to out stateroom. After waiting in a lounge to get to the room (6638) we were able to see our accommodations for the first time. I was surprised to see an old tube version TV instead of a newer flat screen. I was told that the ship would undergo a complete rehab next year and it would be upgraded at that time. Is it really so hard to take out the antiquated televisions and swap them out? I have lived with old tube TV’s my whole life so that did not bother me so much and I shrugged it off. In the bathroom was an old porcelain garbage can covered in rust. It looked terrible. The bed was still separated into twins and I requested to have them pushed into a queen. I laid down on one side and could clearly feel a ridge running down the center of my mattress where the coils had separated. If I rolled to the left I would continue to the floor. It was not a small ridge it was severe. I asked the attendant if there was possibly a pad that could be put down to soften the ridge and she stated she would look into it. I was thinking a foam egg pad which I had seen in the hallway from the previous cruise who must have had the same complaint. Instead she provided me with a pad no thicker than a bedspread. It did not help but I put up with it for 5 days. Her attitude was poor and she rarely followed through with our requests. When I returned later that evening I had to push the bed together myself. As for those cute little towel animals we found on last years cruise every evening, We got them only 2 of the 5 nights
While checking in at the dock the hard sale guys started their spiels and we bought an extra evening at the Portofino fine dining restaurant. The meal was excellent and the service first rate. For desert they brought out 2 towers of chocolate covered strawberries and various cake pieces. The dinners and massage were booked in advance with COSTCO Travel who also got us multiple ship board credits. One of which was for $50.00 dining and another each for $238.00. On day three we went to the desk and looked at our current charges. The $50 dollar credit showed up as $25.00 according to Royal Caribbean. We asked about the discrepancy and were told by Christine that if I supplied copies of my paperwork then she would straiten it out . We gave her copies that specifically stated $50. And she went to work on it. The same thing happened last year and the attendant fixed it within 15 minutes. This time however, we were told that we would need to take it up with COSCO when we got back to the United States and there is nothing more that they could do. I knew better!
On the first full day at sea we went to the pool in the solarium, which was supposed to be for adults. Multiple teens and young children were in the hot tubs and chairs were already taken with towels holding their spots, despite nobody occupying them all day. There was only one bartender at the bar and no waiters or waitresses on the deck. After waiting in line for 20 minutes, I was able to order my drink. The bartender stated he did not know where the other bartender was but mentioned they often pull them for a private party. It was the talk of the deck as many people were quite disappointed.
After a few minutes at the pool my wife and I went to the salon to confirm our spa reservation for the 15th. We have you down for a 75 minute Swedish couples massage tonight. I showed her the email from the cruise line on my phone and she looked confused. No matter, my back was on fire from the mattress so we took the reservation for tonight which meant missing our formal night dinner and photos. We arrived promptly at 8:20 PM for our 8:30 appointment. We were told to wait in the waiting room and fill out the necessary paperwork. At 8:30 we were greeted by an American speaking girl and an Asian girl who did not speak but rather nodded often which made it clear that her English was poor. After an interview discussing the areas that needed extra attention, we were led into the massage room. We were told to disrobe and cover ourselves with the sheet laying face down on the table. The window in the room went right outside to the main deck and people walking by were curiously looking into the room between the curtain and frame which had a 4 inch gap. We waited nearly 10 minutes and around 8:40 PM our massage began. It was by far the worse massage I have ever received. There was no deep tissue and I could barely feel any pressure. Before I knew what happened the girls put our hands together and rung a small bell before departing the room. My wife and I looked at each other clearly bewildered and she said to me, “Is that It?” We got dressed and went to the lobby where the attendant asked us if we enjoyed our massage. I asked her if that was a 75 minute deep tissue and she replied yes it was. I asked her the current time and she replied 9:35. I asked what time we arrived as per her computer and she replied 8:23 PM. I said to her that if we arrived at 8:23 and then had to fill out paperwork and have our counseling session before being taken to the room and waiting 10 minutes for the girls to arrive which would have made the start time somewhere around 8:40, and that it was now 9:40.PM, and we still had to get dressed before coming out here. How could that possibly add up to 75 minutes of massage. After doing the math in her head she realized a mistake had been made despite both therapists telling her they gave a 75 minute massage in our presence., she refunded our 450.00 or there about fee and charged us around 350.00 for the reduced 50 minute Swedish massage. It just ruined what was to be a nice evening.
Bermuda was great and the private beach at St. Georges called Tobacco Bay was amazing. Most of the ship crowded into the not so pink sandy beach at Horseshoe Bay. I discovered later that the trick is to go to Elbow Beach Resort hotel and proceed to the beach there. For $30.00 a person they will set you up on a beautiful beach with chairs and umbrellas and have waiters take orders for drinks and food. There are showers and restrooms also available for you.
After departing Bermuda we were once again at sea. It was our anniversary and we went back to the Portofino for our anniversary dinner that was booked in advance along with the proper notification for our silver anniversary meal. (I have the paperwork to prove it) At the end of the meal there was no singing like the other anniversary table s had and no chocolate strawberry tower like the previous visit. Just, here is you check and goodnight. I left a hand written message on the bill for the waiter about our disappointment but still left a proper tip. At 10:45 the manager called our room to apologized for the inconvenience and offered to bring up a tray of strawberries and a bottle of champagne. By now we were showered and in bed. So we declined.
If I learned one thing from this cruise is that despite having documents proving reservations and special requests that were pre paid I might add. You need to re confirm once on board. The crew on board this ship had an I don’t care and it will get fixed in rehab attitude which made me feel like I was not important. Our anniversary tarnished by the people who’s job it is to make it special. I spent nearly $4500.00 dollars on this anniversary cruise and found myself trying to fix almost everything. This is most likely the last time I sail with Royal Caribbean because of the way we were treated and the sour taste it left in our mouths. I had planned to take advantage of the discounts offered by pre-booking next years cruise on board to Alaska. Unfortunately my search to find another cruise line begins this week.
My family and I went on the July 18-25, 2014 cruise to Bermuda. My parents had a balcony room and me and my 2 sisters had an inside room on deck 11. My parents had taken this cruise before but this was a first for me and my sisters. Since ... Read More
My family and I went on the July 18-25, 2014 cruise to Bermuda. My parents had a balcony room and me and my 2 sisters had an inside room on deck 11. My parents had taken this cruise before but this was a first for me and my sisters. Since we live in MA we didn't need to fly to a port. Embarkation was smooth and easy. We were able to get into our rooms by 12:30pm. The inside room is small but since we weren't there a lot, it worked great for us. Since our parents had a balcony room we were able to enjoy their view often. Our steward Gusti was great. Answered any questions we had and greeted us whenever we saw him.
The food was very good too. We had most of our meals in the Venetian. There was variety and delicious choices. We got to try food we never had before. The service was great and it is a beautiful restaurant. We had a few different servers but enjoyed our time with Miro the best. We searched him out whenever possible and he would always stop by to see us and answer any questions we had about the food, even when he wasn't our waiter. I had read some tips prior to cruising and one was go to the Venetian on embarkation day because many people go directly to the buffet. That was excellent advice, we were seating and served right away. I would recommend making reservations especially for the last couple nights because they book up early.
We also attending the Murder Mystery Lunch. There is a fee for the lunch but well worth the entertainment you get. We had lots of fun there. The coffee was strong, we enjoyed getting coffee from the "coffeeologist" look for him in the Garden Buffet. At the pool we met an awesome waitress Irene! She learned our names right away and greeting us throughout the cruise. She told us about the Pub Hop which we attended. Highly recommend that for meeting people and lots of fun! It happens twice while at sea. Big Ben made that experience great fun.
In Bermuda we went on 4 excursions. They were all fabulous. We did the Day at the Beach at Snorkel Beach, the Horseshoe Bay Beach excursion, the Gosling's Sunset Cruise and the Bermuda Triangle Snorkel cruise. We bought some Gosling's rum on the sunset cruise and it was delivered to our room the night before we disembarked. We also did some shopping. We really liked the rum cakes and glass blowing store. There were also lot of options in the clock tower mall.
Our Cruise Critics group met for a meet and greet and were also given a tour of the bridge. Definitely recommend joining a role call and attending events with people in the group. It was so nice to see people I knew throughout the cruise. At night we spent a lot of time in the Pearly Kings Pub. Look for the bartender who calls himself "Chips Ahoy" he is entertaining and quite the character. Karaoke can be found there most nights. Chips Ahoy will offer trivia too while you are sitting at the bar. He has a great laugh, check it out for sure!
Disembarkation was slow. We thought luggage tags were going to be delivered to our cabins but you actually pick them up yourself in the Grand Atrium the last day of cruising right outside of the Pearly King. Because we didn't find out until the end of the day we did not have a choice in the time we wanted to leave. Read your daily newsletters that your steward leaves in your room. That is where the directions were found. You can also plan your activities for the next day.
I would recommend bringing a clock (none in the room), a flashlight, a watch, bandaids (although you can get them from the information desk, they weren't the best quality), an underwater camera, sweater/sweatshirt (it can get cold in the air conditioned areas), a travel mug for coffee (their cups are small), and extra bags to bring home you souvenirs. I would definitely take this cruise again! Try everything! It is so much fun and you will meet lots of new friends! Read Less