2,119 Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas Cruise Reviews

This was my fourth cruise on the Explorer of the Seas. For many family members it was their first, Let me get the one negative out of the way right away and that was the weather. Cloudy, Cold, Windy and Wet was the forcast most everyday. ... Read More
This was my fourth cruise on the Explorer of the Seas. For many family members it was their first, Let me get the one negative out of the way right away and that was the weather. Cloudy, Cold, Windy and Wet was the forcast most everyday. But you can't fight Mother Nature. Embarkation is so easy for us as we live in Bayonne. Bayonne is a wonderful town, and hopefully the powers that be in town will improve the scenery at the port, realizing that thousands of people get their impression of Bayonne as they embark on their cruises. A 10 minute cab ride and upon arrival a quick and professional move through security and check in, and in no time we all met at the Windjammer for a relaxing lunch. It is always fun to see the faces of the new cruisers as the ship looks like it is not going to make it under the Verazzano Bridge. As we got together in the Windjammer we realized everyone had different dining rooms, tables and times for the main dining. I put together a list of everyone, met with the dining room Maitre D - and we were all seated together at one table I highly objected to Royal Caribbeans new procedure of Mandatory Tipping. I have always felt that I give a tip according the the grade of service I receive, and I was worried that the service would suffer as $12 daily was automatically deducted from my stateroom account for tips. I was pleasantly suprised by the great service that was provided by the staff. Agus Kosim, my stateroom attendant always had a smile and a greeting for me, took great care of my stateroom, and rooted for me when I told him I was on the way to the casino. I was happy to provide an addtional tip for his service. Our Waiter Dinesh, and Assistant Waiter Sherma were fantastic in the main dining room. After the first day Sherma knew i liked a cup of tea, and after that seconds after I sat down in the dining room, I had a nice cup of tea in front of me. The food was fantastic, the service was fantastic and we all chipped in tips over and above what was automatically deducted. My daughter and her husband were celebrating their 27th Wedding Anniversary and our dining team made that celebration a special one. Although the weather was horrible, Royal Caribbean does everything possible to keep everyone entertained. The shows were great. Wildfire - 3 young men singers was fantastic. John Wing -hysterical comedian. And of course for me - I enjoy the Casino. Helen Mavrozumi was a great casino host. As always the time flys by too fast, and you find yourself home dreaming of planning the next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
My wife and I decided to squeeze in one more cruise before baby #2 is born later this summer. We left baby #1 at home with our family. It was really nice to have a week just the two of us. We had an absolutely fabulous time. This was our ... Read More
My wife and I decided to squeeze in one more cruise before baby #2 is born later this summer. We left baby #1 at home with our family. It was really nice to have a week just the two of us. We had an absolutely fabulous time. This was our 20th cruise or so and had to be one of the best yet. Our last cruise was in Dec 2012 on Costa Mediterranea which was horrible (see numerous negative reviews). This cruise could not have been better. The food was not just acceptable, not just good but actually great! There was not one bad meal. The variety was simply amazing. I love Indian food and everyday in the buffet I had several dishes to choose from. The waiters were so nice, the maitre d' staff actually did something unlike many other cruises where you just see them standing at their desk. Our cabin steward Nicolas D'Souza was great. Very polite and friendly. We loved the ship. The skating show was amazing, the shows on the main stage were all great, no 2nd rate entertainers here. Now a word about Leigh, the cruise director: amazing!!!!!! I need say no more. RCCL is very lucky to have him. My wife and I hate smoking and the ship was pretty good. The only place it's an issue is in the casino. They do have 1 smoke free night. This was our 3rd cruise to Bermuda. Would do it again! My overall rating is 9.5/10. One should have absolutely no reservations about this cruise. Oh, one more thing. Don't park at the pier. There is a far less expensive option: Premier parking. It's a few blocks from the pier with a shuttle service for much less $$ Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We traveled from Virginia Beach to Bayonne to go on our first cruise with many family members. When we arrived at Cape Liberty we had to wait an hour in a traffic line to drop off our bags. Not impressed with the start. The process at ... Read More
We traveled from Virginia Beach to Bayonne to go on our first cruise with many family members. When we arrived at Cape Liberty we had to wait an hour in a traffic line to drop off our bags. Not impressed with the start. The process at Cape Liberty is disfunctional making the initial start of the cruise an unpleasant experience. Parking cost were outrageous at $19/day. After a rushed process of mass confusion and a few shuttle busess we were on the ship. Don't bring kids unless you have them tethered to you during the check in process. After getting settled onboard things calmed down, until the second day. Then the sea decided to toss us about like a plastic toy in a wave pool. Not much we can do about nature. Our Capt did an outstanding job at steering the ship through this harsh storm. Due to steaming delays, we had to miss our first port labadee, Haiti. We received the gracious reward of spending 12 hours in San Juan which I rate as close to Tijuanna Mexico. We would have traded 12 hrs in San Juan for 1 hr in Labadee. Ship was very clean and well maintained. Nightly Entertainment was good. Trivia, Bingo, Ice show, musical and comedians. (comedian was a little dry). Food Menu selection was poor. Windjammer served same food daily.. Needed some variety. Casino was too small and Casino staff was rude. Excursion in St. Marteen was dissapointing. (bus trip to Marigot and then some beach time at Oriental Beach. Trip was not worth the money and it was not very well organized. I got a tour of where the bus drivers home was, what school he went too, the firehouse, hospital, police station, local super market and a few other points of interest to the bus driver. Lunch was to be served but they ran out of food with approx 10 people not getting anything). Stateroom Attendant Service was excellent. Our stateroom attendant "HERMAN" was very professional and very attentive to our needs. He was the best and really made what started out as a bad trip a pleasurable experienc. Our toilet was broken and our shower head was broke but Herman made sure they were fixed promptly. Cruise Director Richard Spacey was very helpful and entertaining but he could have had a few backup events planned for the foul weather days. returning home: Again, not a pleasurable experince getting off the ship. It was a long wait to disembark. Bathrooms were closed, no drinks available during a 2 hour wait. Then a long walk to collect luggage and get back to the car. Overall I would give this cruise a 6 on a 1-10. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Embarkation: We were anxious to try the Bayonne port as we could drive to Port Liberty and not have to worry about flying during the winter. We were surprised that there was no connection between the port and the ship and that we had to ... Read More
Embarkation: We were anxious to try the Bayonne port as we could drive to Port Liberty and not have to worry about flying during the winter. We were surprised that there was no connection between the port and the ship and that we had to take a bus to get to the ship. This caused delays in getting passengers on board in a timely manner. RCCL now distributes only paper luggage tags. The flimsy tag must have torn off because one of our suitcases got lost. By 8:00 p.m., long after the ship had left port, we still did not have our bag. After numerous calls to Guest Services, we finally went up to the desk and located our suitcase just sitting there with about 25 other pieces of other luggage without tags. The moral: download luggage tags, reinforce them and use sturdy ties to attach them to your suitcases. The storm that affected this sailing caused a very rocky start to the trip. The crew did a stellar job of handling the Explorer during 26 foot waves. We were lucky that it didn't have much effect on us. Unfortunately, the dining room on the first formal night was pretty empty. Cabin: We were in a balcony cabin #7278; the decor was about what we expected for a ship of this age. Carpets and draperies were a little dirty, there was rust along the balcony and the mattress was soft. What we didn't expect was the number of items that broke during our voyage. The refrigerator broke, the toilet broke and the closet door broke, causing us to have to call for maintenance over and over. Worst of all, the cabin door lock broke. After returning to our cabin late one night, neither of our door keys worked. Without going into too much detail about wasted time and several trips to Guest Services, we were finally told that security would have to let us into our cabin. It appears that the battery in the lock had died. The staff wanted us to stay in our cabin the following day so that the carpenter could change the battery. There was a heated discussion when we told them that we had an excursion reserved for that day. Amenities: Some of the facilities on the ship do need updating. Some of the gym equipment was not operational. The TVs in the gym did not work. The internet did not work much of the time. One disappointment was that there is no covered solarium pool. On long sea days in the colder climates, it would have been nice to have a closed-in heated pool similar to the other ships in this class. Food: We changed to My Time Dining which we really enjoyed. Most of the nights we had the same six or eight people at our table which worked out very well. Our waiter, Steven Rodriquez, helped us with a special dietary requirement by providing the next day's menu each night so that we could select an entree to be prepared without extra sodium. The dining room food at dinner is plentiful with sufficient choices, but the quality did not seem to be as good as it used to be. We did enjoy the lunches that were served in the main dining room. On days that we spent at the pool, we took salads from the Windjammer outdoors onto the pool deck. We ate one night in Portofino and found the food and service to be really excellent. Ports: We had been to all the ports in the past. We missed Labadee due to the storm. On the stop at St. Thomas, we chose an excursion from the ship that took us by boat to St. John. There we hiked with an environmentalist through the desert terrain, seeing iguanas, birds and interesting vegetation. Afterwards, we were taken to beautiful Honeymoon Beach and then through the Caneel Bay Plantation resort and the ruins of an old sugar mill. It was a wonderful day on a beautiful island. Entertainment: One of the ice shows was spectacular. There were no problem getting seats even though the shows were cancelled on the days of rough seas. The production shows were very original and enjoyable. There's a lot of talent there. All the other shows were entertaining including the introductions by the Cruise Director, Richard ("I love you") Spacey. Richard and Chris (Activities Director) helped to make this cruise special. The trivia, majority rules game, Quest and other evening events kept us hopping and laughing. It still left us time to play bridge on the sea days and do some dancing after the shows. Disembarkation: We opted to walk off the ship and carry our own luggage. We were a little concerned that it would be hard to lift all our suitcases onto the bus, but that was not a problem. We were off the ship by 9:30 a.m. One final note: We wish there were more ships leaving from Cape Liberty (Bayonne, NJ). Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
My husband and I just returned from a Caribbean cruise March 5th to 15th on the Explorer. This was our third cruise on Royal. It was our first cruise without our children, and our first winter cruise. We had a rocky start as the ship got ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a Caribbean cruise March 5th to 15th on the Explorer. This was our third cruise on Royal. It was our first cruise without our children, and our first winter cruise. We had a rocky start as the ship got caught in a winter storm at sea. So our second day was spent mostly in our room due to the tossing about. Thank goodness for our very experienced captain who kept us safe, so we were not able to visit the port of Labadee. Also, the rest of the crew was just wonderful when we did venture out of our room. Some people complained about missing the port however, I was just glad that we were safe. The rest of the cruise was just wonderful as we had good weather. My husband had booked things to do in Labadee but of course that did not happen. Although I previously visited two of these ports a good time was still had. In San Juan we took a long walk around Old San Juan, very picturesque. We shopped in St. Thomas, great weather, fun stores, so much jewelry. In St Maartin we went to the shopping area and then to Orient Beach. The beach was pretty and the water was warm a a little rough. People had to watch their children carefully here because of the waves. There were some women selling small items and offering massages but they were not aggressive. If you have ever been to Turks and Caicos this beach does not compare. Here are other comments about our cruise. Sail away - We watched the ship go under the bridge. So fascinating as there is so little room for the ship to fit under. Concierge- Since we were in a suite we had the advantage of concierge services. Mario was the best concierge ever. He kept us in the loop and introduced us to many wonderful couples to chat with. We met with several of the other couples several times. Mario was always there to give us suggestions or make adjustments we needed. He also always chatted with us and the other people to make sure we were happy and entertained. The wait staff in concierge were very attentive. Suite Attendent- Our suite attendent Augus was just wonderful. He truly took great care of us. He made our stay a delight. Wait Staff - Marvelous in the dining room and windjammer Dining room attire - two dress up nights. No tux required. No gowns required. Just look nice as you would if going to a very nice restaurant on dress up nights. On the other nights just don't wear shorts. Other than that it seemed that everything was very relaxed. Both my husband and i are fine with the dress code policy. The Food - We enjoyed our food in Windjammer and in the regular dining room. We did not have dinner in Portofino's as the menu did not seem appealing to us. But everyone who went there said the food was delicious. We always found something delicious to eat in Windjammer. There were many fresh fruits and lots of salad to eat for lunch so I was happy. Meanwhile my husband was happy with the meat offerings and the varied other selections. Room service was great. The food was always hot and delivered on time. Coffee - Very good coffee. It was not necessary for me to have the premium coffee. Drinks - Some of the special mixed drinks are very delicious, but expensive. The shows - Fun shows. We looked forward to them every night. The ice skating shows are just fantastic. They are not to be missed. The comedian was just ok. The Ship - Clean, clean, clean. Looks extremely good for an older ship. Will I go again? Absolutely, I already have two more cruises booked for this year. The casino - Fun, many penny machines but very smokey. Fortunately there were two non-smoking evenings, hurray for that. There was a lot less smoke during the day. Promenade - A fun place to shop (many great bargains) and hang out. Activities - so much to do, mini golf was fun, fun games to participate in or not. Don't miss the Quest. Much art to look at and many auctions. We did not go to any auctions as we have done that before, but viewing the art was still enjoyable. Very active sports area. You can even ice skate. Getting a Chair - We were always able to find a chair or lounge. There are many quiet places to be if you would prefer not to be around the pool. Music - Loved the live Caribbean music played around the pool and on the Promenade. Lots of live music played all around the ship, enjoyed listening to it. The cruisers - Just so nice. There were many older cruisers. There were many wheelchairs and scooters. I was a bit surprised as the summer cruises are not like this. The crowd in the summer is definitely younger with many families and newlyweds. Of course there were children but not many, there were newlyweds on this cruise and many couples of all ages. Spa - cute, nice, clean, no extra fee to use spa, nice jacuzzi in spa area Exercise Equipment - much to chose from and up to date, no extra fee to use equipment Complaints - None, just compliments   Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Well, we survived our first cruise on Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas. We had a good time. The ship was beautiful but is starting to show it's age. The food was good, it was not as good (to us) as some people told us it was. ... Read More
Well, we survived our first cruise on Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas. We had a good time. The ship was beautiful but is starting to show it's age. The food was good, it was not as good (to us) as some people told us it was. Return cruisers said the food was not the same quality or type that they received last year on this ship. Could have been due to a lot of kids wasting food, I don't really know. We met a lot of nice people from different parts of the country and different countries. The staff was great, everyone was polite, helpful and in general happy. The most rememberable one was WASHEE WASHEE as you entered the Windjamer. We visited 3 ports, Port Canaveral Florida, Nassau Bahamas and CoCo Cay Bahamas. When you get off at all of the ports there is staff there to take pictures of you. So if you choice to get the picture package that I mention below get as many posses taken as you like. DON'T forget you Sea Pass and picture ID for adults. You don't need your passport only Sea Pass and picture ID. Port Canaveral..1pm-11pm there really wasn't much to do or see near by. I didn't feel we had enough time to go further inland to do an excursion and get our monies worth. If we ever stop at that port again, we will just stay on the ship. Nassua 2pm-midnight was beautiful. We went to Atlantis Dolphin Cay for the Dolphin excursion. We booked directly with Atlantis as the option to book through RCI was not available at that time. We paid $150/per person and $4/person one way for a taxi. The excursion was great, not sure if it was worth the money but it was a once in a life time thing for us, so in the end I guess it was. We didn't get to walk around Atlantis, but we are planning on flying down and staying at one of their resorts for a future trip. It looked amazing. The taxi ride back to the port was most rememberable. Our driver was as funny as can be. He even offered some gonji to one of my friends, I couldn't stop laughing at the look on her face. (no we did NOT take him up on his offer). The weather was absolutely beautiful. We ddin't make it to the Straw Market, but did some shopping near the ship. Our last stop was at RCI private island CoCo Cay. It was a nice relaxing day. My husband refused to use sun block and got burned. They had a BBQ type lunch set up for us. The good was good. If you go make sure you go early and get an umbrella for shade as they rent them all out quickly for $10 for the day. Don't forget to take money with you on the island as there are vendors there and they do not take your Sea Pass. As to the ship, the shows are great and you must see them. Our cruise director was Richard Spacey and it was his last week on EOS and he was fabulous!!!!! Great shows and parades. We purchased a picture package for $450.00 unlimited packages and we had our two rooms (traveled with friends) linked so what ever pictures were taken of each other we each got a complete set. So if you choice to do this find the camera as much as you can and have them take as many picture combinations as you like. Don't for get that they take pictures on deck 5 near the dinning room so you can have family portraits done and they are included in this package. Check out the Art Studio/Portrait space on Deck 4 near the dinning room for pictures taken daily. Make sure you take a walk to the front of the ship and hang on it's kind of windy. We used the patches behind the ears and everyone was good, no one got sick. All in all it was a great trip. I will cruise again, I would like to try a different ship next time just to see the different ones. I hope this helped and I hope you enjoyed reading. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We decided to sail out of Cape Liberty this year to allow my daughter's fiance and his daughter to come along. Sailing on Spring Break isn't an ideal time to go but my daughter works in a school so while this isn't new for ... Read More
We decided to sail out of Cape Liberty this year to allow my daughter's fiance and his daughter to come along. Sailing on Spring Break isn't an ideal time to go but my daughter works in a school so while this isn't new for us we found that there was a lack of parental supervision on this sailing. The cold rainy weather may have contributed to this problem. Saving money on Airfare didn't turn out to be the benefit we hoped for this year. The Explorer needs some refurbishing. The wear and tear was obvious. We did hear that that will be happening and that Port Liberty will be getting an upgrade. Having sailed on RCI lines (16 sailing in all), RCL, Celebrity and Azamara, in the past we have become accustomed to a higher level of service and this year found it to be lacking. Cost cutting measures were very apparent from quality of the food, staff size, service and entertainment. While our personal waiter and cabin steward were great my daughter had a triple on the 2nd deck (I won't even get into that experience) had an unusual issue, a deaf mute cabin steward. I think it's great that RCI would hired a deaf cabin steward but then they didn't provide the cabins a way to communicate with him effectively. Actually No pens or paper were found in any of our 3 rooms. We also had some issues with the on-board credit each room was to get. Guest Relations didn't have the credits correctly and the travel agent insisted it was done. Internet access was the worst I've experienced in a long time. 15 minutes to load a page isn't good and then you get charged for something you didn't get. Its off again to Guest Relations for a credit. I almost forgot the elevators!!! They were very slow, always full and would stop on almost every floor. The kids on board thought it was fun to press every button as they exited and it made things worse. With the amount of elevators on board you would think this won't be an issue. Luckily we take the stairs but if my elderly parents had been with us it would have been a problem. Overall, our experiences have been better and as usual we made sure all the issues were on our surveys at the end of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Cruised out of Bayonne to Port Canaveral, Nassau, Coco Cay and back. This was our first time on Royal Carribean. Departure at port Liberty was smooth. Our balcony room on deck 9 was typical. Storage was adequate and the bed firm, but ... Read More
Cruised out of Bayonne to Port Canaveral, Nassau, Coco Cay and back. This was our first time on Royal Carribean. Departure at port Liberty was smooth. Our balcony room on deck 9 was typical. Storage was adequate and the bed firm, but comfortable. All staff were pleasant and accommodating throughout. The central atrium was impressive; we had never been on a ship this size before. We were overwhelmed by the crowds and the young kids, but it was Spring Break, and as the weather was so cold, and the seas so rough, we were limited to indoor activities. I would have appreciated more adult oriented daytime activities. We took our books and tried to find a comfortable area with an outdoor view, but each indoor area was freezing. Given that this ship sails in cold weather, there should be a protected outdoor area and the ship lounges should be warmer. The ship's entertainment consisted of the typical production shows. I highly recommend the backstage tour conducted by a singer, a dancer, and technicians. The ship's band was amazing. they played everything, dance music, jazz, and accompanied the stage shows. We throughly enjoyed the cruise director, Richard Spacey, the most hyperactive adult I have ever seen. He is not beneath wearing a plastic tushie on stage. 'Nuff said? There was a Dominican band that played great Latin music. We also enjoyed the Silent Party where everyone wore headphones and danced to different music. Fun to see. The ship has an ice rink and although I detest ice shows, I was curious enough to go. It was enchanting. The skaters, music, choreography and costumes were impressive; all on a surface that was about 25' x 50'. I was also impressed by how visible and accessible, the captain was. He posed for pictures, sat in on Q and A sessions and was charming. He was very forthcoming about the rough seas and kept us on time. Fortunately, seas on the return trip were calm. The ship was scheduled to arrive at Canaveral and Nassau mid day, which didn't leave much time for touring. This was a major shortcoming of this itinerary. Too much indoor time on the ship and not enough to do. I now know the meaning of cabin fever. The food was variable. One night, top notch, the next, mediocre. The buffet had enough choices that it was possible to have a very nice breakfast or lunch. We ate at the specialty restaurant one night, but I have to say that I've had better experiences on Princess. Departure was quick and well organized. Bayonne is convenient for us, but it's the ugliest port ever. It's a minefield and for the second time, I destroyed the wheels on my luggage. With our on board credits, we didn't have sticker shock at the end, so i consider this cruise a good value. However, I would not recommend this itinerary during the cold weather months. Not sure I would do RCL again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We went on our 3rd cruise with RC on Explorer of the Seas. Happy to go out of NJ, as we had no airfare. Easy check in process and boarding. The grand suite was perfect for my husband and 2 kids ages 14 and 15. Seas were rough the first ... Read More
We went on our 3rd cruise with RC on Explorer of the Seas. Happy to go out of NJ, as we had no airfare. Easy check in process and boarding. The grand suite was perfect for my husband and 2 kids ages 14 and 15. Seas were rough the first two days, had to get patches from our friends. Definitely bring some just in case. I never get seasick, but I did this time. WE really glad to get to our first part! Our cruise director Richard and activity manager Chris were the best! Nonstop laughs and fun! Shows were amazing and comedians were hilarious. Would recommend the Behind the Scenes tour of the theater. Very interesting and got to meet the RC singers and dancers. Dominican is very poor, but beautiful. We did the Jeep 4x4 excursion. Lot of fun and learned about the fruits and coffee of the island. Very bad bathroom facilities on the tour tho and don't buy the cigars! They reel you in by letting you smoke a real one, but once my husband bought the sealed box and got it back to the ship, realized they were fake and had to throw them away. Waste of $40. This is not a great cruise for young people. I had never seen so many wheelchairs and scooters in my life! A lot of elderly folks and it was slow moving at times on the ship. My kids were a bit disappointed in that. Windjammer cafe was very crowded because of the elderly. Very hard to find seating with all the wheelchairs and scooters. Loved our room attendant and dining room staff. They catered to our every need.Definitely go with a set time to eat in the dining room. We had 8:30 pm which gave us all day to do stuff and then eat later. Love Royal and cannot wait for our next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Who: Me (Sara, 25) and my husband (Andy, 25) What: My 4th (husband's 3rd) cruise When: March 31-April 7, 2013 (with a couple days prior to the cruise spent in NJ/NYC) Where: Explorer of the Seas Itinerary: Sunday- Embarkation at ... Read More
Who: Me (Sara, 25) and my husband (Andy, 25) What: My 4th (husband's 3rd) cruise When: March 31-April 7, 2013 (with a couple days prior to the cruise spent in NJ/NYC) Where: Explorer of the Seas Itinerary: Sunday- Embarkation at Bayonne, NJ Monday-Day at Sea Tuesday-Port Canaveral Wednesday-Nassau Thursday-Coco Cay Friday-Day at Sea Saturday-Day at Sea Sunday-Disembarkation at Bayonne, NJ Why: I wanted to take a Spring Break cruise. I'm a teacher, so we get that week off! How: We drove 6 hours to NJ from our home in Upstate NY (near Canada). Embarkation: There was quite the line of cars going into the port, but it moved pretty quickly. It was a really weird set up for dropping off luggage. You pulled into a spot, the porters took your luggage (you tipped them of course), then had to pull back out. I've never seen it done this way before, but it did move quickly, so I can't really complain. Next you pull around to the parking lot, pay $19 a day, then go park. It's a short walk to the terminal from there. Because we are gold we had priority check in (which I didn't even know about until we got there). The check in was very fast, less than 5 minutes. We skipped the annoying just boarding picture, and went straight to the shuttle. It was a 1 minute ride to the ship! Food: The food was great throughout the whole cruise. There is always something good to eat at all times. Here are some of my favorites: Favorite foods: Carrot cake Eggplant artichoke tart Johnny Rocket's burger Johnny Rocket's onion rings Johnny Rocket's chocolate milkshake room service spinach artichoke dip chilled banana rum soup NY strip steak chilled pineapple mango soup stuffed shells warm chocolate cake lasagna eggplant empanada Portofino beef tenderloin caramelized banana milles-feuilles pineapple lychee soup Stateroom: Our interior stateroom, 7517, was near the theater, but quite the walk from the dining venues. It was obviously small, but it was clean and quite comfortable. I found the bed to be a little on the hard side. Our stateroom attendant, Christopher, always kept the room clean and asked if we needed anything. I was disappointed that we didn't get a towel animal every night! We ordered room service on our first night. The pizza was about the size of a Pizza Hut personal pan, and quite delicious, though I preferred the pizza at Cafe Promenade. The spinach artichoke dip is MUST TRY! It comes with sour cream and tortilla chips. Service: The service was excellent during the whole cruise. I especially thought our waiters, Pepito and Samuel, were fantastic. Entertainment: Compared to our cruise on the Carnival Pride last summer, the nightly entertainment was much better! There was a production show or headliner each night. The singers and dancers were very talented. Coco Cay: I liked this private island. I wish we had more time there! However, I hated tendering. The biggest downer of the cruise was the tender process for Coco Cay. It definitely didn't ruin the cruise, but it was annoying. We were told to get a ticket for the tender boat near the champagne bar on Deck 5. We went, got our ticket, then went back to our room to wait for our number to be called. Not long after we got our ticket, they announced that we no longer needed a ticket, and it would be open tender. I figured that meant the busiest time was over. Boy, was I ever wrong! The line was backed up from Deck to all the way up to Deck 4 (and maybe higher but I couldn't see that far). People were not happy, and there was just a lot of negative energy. It made zero sense for them to do this. The worst part was the line moved very slowly. I just don't understand why they stopped using the tickets. Fun things to try: beer tasting ice show Fast Forward production show back stage tour martini tasting belly flop contest Love and Marriage show Overall, this was a great cruise! Royal Caribbean did not disappoint. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
The Explorer of the Seas was a pretty ship and was kept very clean. We didn't have the best weather for a vacation. Bayonne was cold and everyone was bundled up for departure. The check-in/departure process went smoothly even ... Read More
The Explorer of the Seas was a pretty ship and was kept very clean. We didn't have the best weather for a vacation. Bayonne was cold and everyone was bundled up for departure. The check-in/departure process went smoothly even though the Cape Liberty port is not necessarily the nicest place to set sail. We really enjoyed the Cruise Director, Richard Spacey. He has to be the best cruise director EVER! Check out his YouTube videos. He is a riot and really should have his own TV show. He made our cruise. Unfortunately for the Explorer of the Seas, our cruise was his last and it was announced he was moving on to the Freedom of the Seas. The production shows were OK, the usual cruise ship fare. The comedian was Rondell Sheridan and he was very funny. The magician was the Amazing Puck from "America's got talent'. He had a very amazing trick at the end of his show. The ice show was good. I heard past cruisers stood in line to get tickets but they improved the process by scheduling your show by muster station. The 'Love and Marriage' show was funny...made even funnier by the cruise director. Also 'The Quest' was great. Because the "fun days at sea" were always cold, the entire ship of 3000 people were wandering around inside the ship trying to find things to do (instead of being outside in the pools, etc). I didn't enjoy their itinerary for those days. Lots of SPA activities and BINGO so that you could spend money. I can tell you my husband (or me, really) were not up for "How to have a good hair day", or "How to look 10 years younger", or "Acupuncture facts". Really lame activities. And people we spoke to were bored, too. They said just STEP ON THE GAS and get where we're going! The food was OK. Nothing great. We ate in the main dining room twice. Shout out to Anthony and his assistant waiter (Monica?). The other days we ate at the Windjammer Cafe. Pretty repetitive food there. We had a very nice cabin attendant, Duba. We were in a Promenade Room and it was fine. I expected to hear a lot of noise, but we heard nothing at all after 11PM. All employees were friendly and helpful. No complaints about them. We did the Everglades Air Boat tour in Port Canaveral and saw an eagle and many, many alligators. It was fun. Coco Cay was nice but bring your water shoes! The ocean is very rocky and it's hard to stand or walk. I heard more than a few people complain that the cruise line should have told him about the water's rocky condition so that they could bring water shoes. Since they aren't telling you, I am! Over all, we enjoyed the cruise but the "days at sea" were brutal in terms of having nothing enjoyable to do, in our opinion. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We were on the March 31 cruise (Easter) out of Bayonne NJ Cape Liberty. We could only compare to our Carnival cruise and we really enjoyed the Explorer of the Seas. The cruise director, Richard Spacey, was great, the crew was great, the ... Read More
We were on the March 31 cruise (Easter) out of Bayonne NJ Cape Liberty. We could only compare to our Carnival cruise and we really enjoyed the Explorer of the Seas. The cruise director, Richard Spacey, was great, the crew was great, the stateroom was roomier than I expected, and we loved the balcony! Wish the weather had been better however that is the risk with an early April cruise, right? We still loved the sea days and the ship. Our only complaint was the lack of staffing on the Royal Promenade, the WW bar staff was awful, and the lines at the Cafe Promenade were way too long. Our dining room staff was marvelous, we ate at 830. Our stateroom attendant was good, not great, but good. The stateroom was good, flat screen TV and a sliding door so we could leave it open and listen to the ship make way. Food was very good, keeping in mind they serve 3000+ people each day we thought the variety was good and the quality was very good. We will definitely cruise RCI again, however not to the Bahamas. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Embarkation After Baltimore, Cape Liberty is a chaotic mess for dropping off the luggage and getting to the ship. We were in line for about 20 minutes to drop off the luggage. You pull up to a loading area to drop off your luggage and ... Read More
Embarkation After Baltimore, Cape Liberty is a chaotic mess for dropping off the luggage and getting to the ship. We were in line for about 20 minutes to drop off the luggage. You pull up to a loading area to drop off your luggage and there are passengers there who are trying to load their luggage into their cars. Then someone has to go and park the car and meet you back in the terminal to check in. We were in a Suite and were separated from the people we were with since they were not in a Suite. Check in was very fast and then we were told to get on the bus to the ship. On the bus we met up with some friends who had left several hours before us. You ride this bus for a very short ride to the ship but it was very crowded and everyone had their carry-ons with them. The Porter's wouldn't take my husband's Golf Clubs so he had to carry them himself. We had lunch in the Windjammer and had no trouble finding a table for the six of us. After lunch we explored the ship until our Staterooms were available, around 1:30. We were in G.S. 1588 and the very first thing we noticed was that it was smaller than the G.S. on Enchantment. We had enough storage space but I had it all filled up, where on Enchantment there were drawers that weren't even used. We met our Stateroom Attendant, Argus, who was very friendly and was superb the whole trip. In my opinion, the ship was in very good condition with only a little bit of wear visible. The first sea day we had the Meet & Mingle and Cabin Crawl. We had quite a few people at both. Had a fun Gift Exchange at the M&M. Dining Room We were in the Magellan Dining Room on Deck 3 and both our Waiter and Assistant Waiter gave great service throughout our cruise. They both knew our wants and needs after the first dinner. I was very surprised that the Head Waiter came to our table almost nightly and had conversations with all of us. Most of us did not care for the new menu. I know this is subjective but we were disappointed in the choices. We ate once in the Windjammer and had a great meal with a Mongolian Stir Fry. It was outstanding. Had dinner in Portofino's. I must say the food was good but really prefer CHOPS. Had a fun dinner in Johnny Rockets. Everything was great. The Casino was very small and crowded. The small space made it very smokey from the cigarettes. I was surprised by how small it was for the size of the Ship. Excursions We had a rough trip down through a very bad storm and missed Labadee. We had nothing planned for San Juan and ended up being there over 12 hours. In St. Thomas we went to Sapphire Beach. The water was very rough and knocked us down a few times. Also, a "ledge" that made getting in and out of the water difficult. In St. Maarten we had a Sail and Snorkel excursion which was really bad. I know you can't control the weather but due to the storm we came through we were told you could go in the water but we wouldn't see anything because it was all murky. I would have rather been told this beforehand and not spent 4 ½ hours sitting on an uncomfortable boat. You had to sit on a "railing" which ran the whole roof of the lower deck cabin and that is where you sat. We made our complaints known back on board and were given a small credit for the excursion. Disembarkation This was a breeze. Our concierge, Mario, had us in the "Chamber" with Coffee and Pastries. When it was our time to leave he led us out to the appropriate elevator to leave the Ship. Mario, the Concierge, was fantastic. Had a voicemail from him every morning with details of the day and well wishes. We were off early so we did not encounter anyone who was coming to board the ship. We found our luggage very easy and a Porter was there to load the luggage and take us through Customs. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We (my parents, brother, son & my husband) left home at 6:30am. We had arranged for Borders limos to transport us to South Station in Boston for our Amtrak regional train to New York City. On arrival at South Station we got a Red Cap ... Read More
We (my parents, brother, son & my husband) left home at 6:30am. We had arranged for Borders limos to transport us to South Station in Boston for our Amtrak regional train to New York City. On arrival at South Station we got a Red Cap to take our luggage so we could go and get Breakfast before we boarded the train. We had arranged to meet the Red Cap at 7:45am so we could board the train before the crowd so we would have time to get settled and all our luggage stowed safely. Our train left South Station on time and we were soon on our way to New York City. Our journey passed fairly quickly and before we knew it we were pulling into Penn Station we were running about 10 minutes late but that was not a worry for us as we had no definite plans other than to get to New York and checkin to our hotel. We had booked 2 rooms at the Doubletree by Hilton on 128 W 29th Street. It is within walking distance of Penn Station. What a sight we must have looked, 6 adults all in a line with 6 large cases and 3 smaller striding down 7th Avenue on a very cold Thursday in March. Once we arrived at the hotel we discovered that the 2 double rooms we had booked were not available and we were offered one double room and one king room with a rollout bed. for our inconvenience we were offered free buffet breakfast for the whole group.. more about this later. These rooms were ready and we could dump our stuff and go exploring. We set off back towards 7th Ave in search of some lunch. We found a place called Harringtons Bar & Grill and we headed in there, it was a bit noisy as there was a large crowd watching a basketball game on the large TV's but the food was good and not too over priced. From here we continued up 7th Ave to Time Square where we took a few photos. It was very very cold so a visit to Starbucks for a hot drink was in order. We then walked along 49th Street to 6th Ave and headed back toward downtown stopping to check out a few shops along the way. We came across an incident where we saw 6 fire trucks and a few police units all with flashing lights, very exciting... we were not able to find out what it was all about. Once we were back at the hotel we chilled out for an hour before we headed back out to find somewhere to have dinner. We found a small diner called Andrew's and decided we would eat there as there was something on the menu for everyone. I enjoyed my Meatloaf dinner very much. We headed back out onto 7th Ave with the idea we would explore some more of the area but it was so cold and windy we all decided to head back to the hotel for some heat and an early night. Now more about the room situation... As I mentioned before the two double rooms we booked were not available so we had had to take one double room and one King room with a rollaway bed added.. Well anyone who has ever stayed in a mid priced hotel in NYC will know that you cant swing a cat in the rooms never mind have room for a full sized rollaway and still have floorspace to stand up in.. so my parents and my brother ended up three in the king... not the best night sleep they have ever had. to top it all they could not get there TV to work either.. so they had a very early night. For the rest of us we were able to chill out and watch some TV before getting some much needed sleep. DAY 1 - March 15th 2013 - Embarkation Day The (free) buffet breakfast was very good, not sure it was worth my parents ending up in a room no bigger than my closet back home! but the food was hot and did not look like it had been sat in a hot tray for half a day.. we were also able to order fried eggs, omelette, pancakes & french toast which were made fresh to order.. So after a good breakfast with lashings of hot coffee and fresh orange juice we were ready to check out and wait for our ride to the Cruise Port in New Jersey. We had booked a company called "Dial 7"to transport us to the ship, they were to pick us up at 10:30 am.. we were sitting in the hotel reception waiting for the driver to appear when my mother went outside to checkout the weather she came hurrying back in to tell us the van was outside.. turned out he had been out there for about 10 minutes, we had thought he would have come in to the hotel to find us... Our journey from our hotel in midtown Manhattan to Port Liberty, Bayonne NJ only took 35min. We arrived at the dock just after 11:00am and were surprised to see people still getting off the ship. There was a bit of a wait for us to get to a off loading bay so were could get out. We left the men to take care of the luggage while mum and I took care of the paperwork with the driver. The Port at Cape Liberty is not as nice as some port terminals we have been in but it was well organized, clean and warm. There is a lot of new building going on around the port, there is parking right beside the port and the terminal itself is an old warehouse with a covered loading/unloading area in front. Because we are all Crown & Anchor members were were able to join the Priority checkin line, so this cut down a lot of standing in line. Before we knew it we were checked in and waiting to board the little shuttle bus to the ship. The Explorer of the Seas was a stunning sight as we pulled up along side her, we got off the shuttle bus and headed up the walkway and onto the ship. We got a very nice welcome back from the crew as we boarded, they directed us to the elevators so we all could head to the Windjammer on deck 11 for lunch.. Now the Windjammer on embarkation day is a experience not to be missed, it is the only time you will see everyone try to fit into this one area of the ship all at the same time... you get some people who for whatever reason choose to carry all their luggage with them rather than checking it and they are trying to get themselves and all their luggage through this very large group of people some of whom are carrying plates of hot food, to find a table big enough for them and all the luggage. it make for an entertaining lunch. You also find a number of people who choose to get their food then find somewhere to sit, you can see them getting stressed when they cant find a seat and their food is getting cold.. not easy when most people find the table first then go get the food. Our staterooms were ready at 1:30pm and we were able to go and drop off our heavy coats and bags. We then spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the ship before we headed outside on deck 4 for the Muster drill. It was very cold outside so I was really glad when the Captain said we were dismissed and the drill was over. We all headed back to our staterooms to unpack and get ready for Dinner at 6:00pm. Our table was over by a window so we hoped for some good sea views every evening but sadly the window was very dirty and we never got a very good view of anything until after our first port of call. We met our waiter Pascal and the assistant waiter Carlos. We enjoyed our first dinner on Explorer. We headed off to the Theater for the Welcome show, the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers were excellent as always. After the show were headed to the Cafe Promenade for coffee. The Captain had already warned us that there would be "Motion in the Ocean" that night as there was a strong wind coming out of the NW, I was not surprised to see some people looking a bit green. DAY 2 - March 16th 2013 - At Sea I woke very early and headed down to the Cafe Promenade with my iPad to get my review started. Its is very pleasant and quite sitting with a coffee a 5:00am. One thing I did notice was because the ship was moving about a bit there was a lot of banging coming from the elevator cables, now I don't know for sure if it could be heard in the cabins right next to the elevators but I will be careful not to book a cabin right next to the elevators. I joined the rest of the family at 8:30am and headed to the Windjammer for breakfast. After breakfast we went for a walk on deck 11 but it was still very cold outside, We found a sheltered place in the Solarium to sit and read for a few hours. The sea was still very rough so there was still lots of "Motion in the Ocean" I had already taking some anti-nausea medication but there were people who where suffering. We found the soft serve ice-cream machine so enjoyed a strawberry cone, I know realize the skill needed to get the ice-cream in the come, mine looked nothing like the one you get handed by the expert behind the counter in my local ice-cream shop... We then headed down to deck 5 to explore the shops on board before lunch. The Windjammer was as busy as ever but we were able to find a table for 6 with no issues, I always enjoy the curry that you can get at lunch time my only disappointment is that there is so little choice of sugar free deserts, only two choices today were a cookie or a mouse cake. We went for a walk after lunch and fount the "peek-a-boo" bridge on deck 11 forward, you can see down into the bridge and there are some signs explaining what it is you are looking at, this was very interesting and the bridge looked nothing like I thought it would. I was a little disappointed that there was not large Ships Wheel, just some joy sticks and a small wheel no bigger than the one in my car!!! As it was still cold and windy we headed to the Viking Lounge on Deck 14 to enjoy a comfy seat and a drink. This is an excellent place to watch the waves from as you can see for miles. There was quite a swell on the sea and you could see each wave rolling across the ocean some were very high. We ended up having a lazy afternoon as the Ice Show we had been scheduled to see at 2:00pm had been cancelled because it was to rough and the skaters could hurt themselves if the boat was to move at the wrong time.. so we just chilled out and it was soon time to head back to the cabin to get ready for our first formal night. After another wonderful dinner we went and had some formal photos taken of us all in our formal attire. Then we went to the theater for the show. I am always amazed at the high standard of entertainment that RCCL provide. After coffee and a light snack it was time to go to bed.. DAY 3 - March 17th 2013 - At Sea Got up at 8:00am and headed to the Windjammer for breakfast. Mum and I had decided to go to the embroidery class that was being held in the conference center on deck 3, so after discovering that you cant get from the Aft of the ship to the from of the ship on deck 3 we then had to go up to deck 4 and walk the length of the ship to go back down to deck 3, we waited there for about 10 minutes with another group of ladies before on of the crew told us that it had been moved to deck 14, so we had to go up in the elevator but the one we go in only went as far as deck 12 and we needed to get to the back of the ship not the front.... we eventually found the class and we made some basic bookmarks that we were allowed to keep. We met up with everyone else at the Cafe Promenade where we all had coffee. It was warmer outside today and the sea was not as rough and we decided that we would give the hot tub and pool a try after lunch. We were able to find some sun chairs that were not in the direct sun so we were able to relax without worrying about getting burnt. The hot tub was wonderfully warm and relaxing but 30 mins was long enough for me.. I went for a refreshing swim in the solarium pool. The Solarium area is meant to be adult only so when a young mother arrived with her two young children and proceeded to get them in the pool the group of ladies who had been sitting on the paddle step became very vocal about how children were not meant to be in this pool and they were making way too much noise and disturbing others, the mother just ignored them all until one woman asked her is she was aware that the sign said no one under 16 was allowed in the pool.. The this the young mother turned and cussed at the group of ladies and then left with both her children..... Once again it was soon time to get ready for dinner. Tonights show was changed because it was still rough and the dancers were not able to do the routines they needed for the show so they had the comedian that was meant to be on tomorrow night do the show tonight. He was very funny. Coffee and light snack at the Cafe Promenade before we headed off to bed. DAY4 -March 18th 2013 - At Sea / San Juan PR Had a late Breakfast in the Windjammer this morning. Very happy to report that it is at last warm and calmer although still a bit windy, We were able to sit outside to read for a while this morning. we decided to have lunch in Jonny Rockets, The onion rings are very very nice as is the milk shakes.. The Ice Show that had been cancelled from our second day has been rescheduled to today at 2:00pm, we enjoyed the ice show very much. The skaters have an amazing talent, the routines they do would be hard to do on dry land but the fact they can do all these jumps and spins on a moving ship is incredible. After the ice show we all went on deck to watch our approach into San Juan, I was able to take some good photos of the castle as we sailed into the harbor. We were able to use our cell phone to get email and make calls before we had even docked. Discovered it was snowing again in Boston... I was happy to report it was 75f sunny and warm in San Juan. We went ashore as soon as the boat was cleared, we walked up to San Francisco street where there was many good shops. Edward found a leather shop and was able to get a nice stetson type hat and wallet at a very good price. We found a nice bar serving Mojito's as the special of the day, so we just had to stop and try them out. It was soon getting dark so it was time to head back on board for a late dinner in the Windjammer. After dinner we went to the Champagne bar for a few drinks then coffee and bed as we had to be up early for our round the island trip of St Thomas. DAY 5 - March 19th 2013 - St Thomas, US Virgin Island. Up Early for breakfast today, the Windjammer was busy as I think people wanted to get off as soon as they could. We exited the ship and went in search of our tour, we soon found a whole group of tour guides waiting with signs for all the trips. We boarded our open sided tour bus and set off on our round the island tour. Our driver was also our guide and gave us lots of details about the island of St Thomas covering the history, culture and geology of the island and its people. We very quickly climbed up the hillside over looking the harbor where we got amazing views of our ship. We traveled to the north side of the island were we stopped at several view points including a view over Megan's Bay. A stop was made at a view point that had a shopping outlet and a bar selling Banana Daiquiri, while we were in the shop there was a tropical downpour outside and we were so glad we were inside and not in the open sided bus. Now we know why the island is so lush and green. We headed back to the ship at the end of our tour and had a late lunch and then went back ashore to explore the shops. Edward got a good deal on a new watch and Allen got a very nice cap. We decided that as it was so hot we would have a drink at the local bar. We had to be back on board for 4:30pm so we could not stay too long at the bar. We went up to deck 12 to watch the ship sail away from St Thomas, it was so funny to watch the last few passengers have to run to get onboard before we left them behind, in fact there was one guy that we had seen staggering up and down the dockside we thought he was on one of the other ships that were in port but it turned out he was from our ship and one of the crew went and guided him onto the ship... We had coffee at the Cafe Promenade before heading back to our cabins to get ready for dinner. We did our usual after dinner entertainment, we went to the show. I am always amazed at the talent that they have on the ship. Our Cruise Director Richard is so talented and entertaining, he could do a show all by himself.. Coffee at the Cafe Promenade and then bed - Sumanna, Dominican Republic tomorrow. DAY 6 - March 20th 2013 - Sumanna, Dominican Republic I was awake early this morning so headed up to deck 12 to take some photo's of the coast line as we arrived at Sumanna . As we did not have a trip booked we did not need to have breakfast early. As the ship cannot dock in Sumanna we had to get tender tickets so we could get on the tender boat to the shore. We waited by the pool for our tender number to be called. It seams that there were some technical issues as it was almost 1:00pm before we were able to board the tender. The boat ride took about 15 minutes from the ship to shore, as we got off we met some people we had been talking to the day before, they warned us that there was little to see and they had been hassled by the locals so they were headed back on board. We headed off the docking pier and onto a pathway leading to the town. We were instantly approached by lots of local men trying to get us to do island tours with then, there were so many of them that they were beginning to fight between themselves. We saw two men right next to us punch each other, we hurried on just keeping our eyes straight ahead... We were heading in the general direction of the town on a pretty walkway with good views over the harbor and our ship.. There were lots of beggars on this walk way and also people selling water and other drinks. There were some boys trying to sell polished shells. We could see some craft stalls up ahead and we headed for them. We did buy a sealed bottle of water as it was very very warm. Mum did buy a neckless for $15 but we decided that it was too hot and we did not want to walk any further so we headed back to the ship.. back on the tender boat we heard others saying that one lady had decided to buy the polished shell from the young boys on the walkway and when she got out her wallet to pay them the $1 they were asking one of the boys snatched her wallet and ran.... The views of the ship were amazing from the tender boat and we were able to get some good photos of the island too.. Back on board Explorer we headed to the solarium to chill out and read and use the hot tub. It was soon time to go for a shower and get ready for Dinner.. We did our usual activity after dinner and went to the show and then coffee and a snack before heading to bed.. DAY 7 - March 21st 2013 - Labadee Haiti Up at our usual time this morning, heading off to the windjammer for breakfast at about 8:30am. We have a hillside cabana book for the day so we went straight down to deck 1 to get off the ship as soon as we finished breakfast. We had heard they allocate the cabana's on a first come first served basis so we did not want to leave it too late.. it is a very short walk from the ship to the information desk on the island. We asked were we had to go to get to the cabana's and we were told to head over to the long golf cart and we would be taken there. We climbed on board and soon we were been taken to Barefoot Beach where we were checked in and each given a wristband that we had to wear for the day. we were then driven to our cabana on the hilside. We were met by Leon our cabana attendant for the day, he led us up the steps to our cabana. We had an amazing view of the ship and the beach. There was two loungers and a long sofa and two chairs for us to use.. there was plenty of towels although we had brought towels with us from the ship as it said in the Cruise Compass that no towels would be available on the island that day.. There was also a cooler box full of ice and 3 large bottles of water, Leon explained about access to the beach and also that we could get as many floating mats as we needed. He was also able to get any drinks we needed from the bar. I headed off to the beach to have a swim before it got too busy and also before the sun got too hot.. The water was wonderfully cool and as clear as clear can be. I swam out the the line of floats that were just below our cabana, I would recommend you bring water shoes to wear as the sand is made up of broken coral and pebbles and there is lots of small rocks under the water. Some of the other family members joined me in the water and we all had a very enjoyable swim. I started to feel the sun getting hot on my neck so decided to head back to the cabana to get out of the sun. As soon as I arrived back at the cabana Leon our attendant was there to see if I needed anything, he was the best. Soon it was time to head to Barefoot Beach for our lunch. While we joined the food line (not very long only about 6 people) Leon found us a table and got extra seats so we could all sit together. The BBQ lunch was very enjoyable there was salad, chicken jerk, spare ribs, shrimp, hotdogs and Burgers with all the usual sides, baked potato, fries, rice, veg and corn on the cob. There was a good selection of desserts including a wonderful fresh fruit selection. Leon was happy to get us any drinks we needed to go with lunch. Once we finished lunch we asked Leon how far it was to the Artisan Village he said about 5 minutes but he would get us a ride there. We only had to walk over to the gate to get on our golf cart that would take us to the Village. We had a good walk about the village looking at all the beautiful craft items that were for sale. It was hot and a post lunch nap was needed so we headed back to the cabana, as if by magic Leon was there to meet us. He had brought fresh bottles of cold water and had replaced all our towels with clean dry ones.. Before we knew it it was time to head back to the ship as we had to be back on board by 3:30pm, Leon called for the golf cart to take us back to the ship, we said our tanks to Leon and gave him a little something to show our thanks and we headed back to our home from home.. I had not realized just how hot it was outside until we stepped onto the ship and walked into a nice cool air conditioned space... Went straight to our cabins to shower and change as I think we has sand in places we did not want it to be!!! The Cabana was wonderful and worth every cent.. Met up with everyone at the Cafe Promenade where we chilled out until dinner. The show was excellent as always and we all fell into bed exhausted after a wonderful day on Labadee.. DAY 8 - March 22nd 2013 - At Sea I woke up extra early again this morning, so I headed down to the Cafe with my iPad to do some more of this blog.. Went to breakfast with the rest of the family at 8:30am in the Windjammer.. as we were at sea today the Windjammer was not too busy and we were able to sit for a while before we went to the Crown & Anchor sales people to get an Open Cruise Booking as we would like to book a cruise on the New Quantum of the Sea's in 2014. We then headed off to the photo center to sort out the formal photos we had had taken. We then headed up to the Viking Crown to find a comfortable seat with a good view to read for a while. As we were heading north it was cooler outside and there was only a few brave people in the pools but here was a few lying on loungers. The Captain was doing a presentation in the theater called "Captains Corner"so we went along to listen to the question and answers.. All the Executive Officers were on the stage and were taking question from the people in the audience. The Captain gave us an overview of the distance we had traveled and our cruise in general, the Chief Engineer gave some very detailed replies to questions about propulsion and energy that was generated on the ship. A few people asked about the new ships that are being built and if the Quantum of the Seas will be coming to Bayonne NJ.. none of the Executive officers would confirm or deny anything. So time will tell. We had a walk along the promenade and checked out some of the sale items they had to offer before heading to the Windjammer for some lunch.. After lunch we spent some time in the Casino playing the slots and then went to chill out for a while in the cabin. Tonight is the last formal night so we needed to get ready that bit earlier. I like dressing up for dinner and it was good to see that most people were dressed in formal attire, I would hate to see this part of the cruise disappear altogether.. We had been invited to a Crown & Anchor Top Tier event that was taking place in Studio B We were planning on going but my brother was not feeling to good so we decided to give it a miss. We went to the theater as usual and then Allen, Jon and myself went to Studio B to watch the Quest... Very Funny is all I will say!! DAY 9 - March 23rd 2013 - At Sea Up early again, so off I went to the Cafe Promenade for coffee, the waiters have got to know me and now come over to see how I am and ask what day I am writing about now!! They even know how I take my coffee and will bring a fresh one over every now and again.. Went back to the cabin in time to wake Jon for Breakfast at 8:30am. Again because we were at sea the Windjammer was not to busy and we were able to enjoy our breakfast in peace. It was now very cold outside and we did not see anyone sitting in the pools or hot tubs. Went to the Viking Crown to read for a while but as you can imagine it was very busy as nobody wanted to be outside. There was a towel folding demo being done so we got to see who they create the amazing animals we find in our cabins at bedtime.. before we knew it it was lunchtime and we went to the Windjammer as usual, then back up to the Viking Crown to read and have a afternoon drink, the Mojito's were wonderful. Soon it was time to head to the cabin and get out the cases from under the bed and pack.. It is always at this point that I always think I should make a list of the clothes I have actually worn so that I could pack less next time, but like always I just wanted to get everything in the cases as quickly as possible as this is the one part of the cruise I don't enjoy. We went to dinner for the final time and as always we had wonderful service and we enjoyed the food. Our waiters for the cruise Pascal & Carlos were very attentive and made each meal they served very enjoyable. As the gratuities are not automatically added to your Seapass account on a daily basis there were no envelopes to give our waiters but we gave them some cash as they went above and beyond to make sure all our needs were met.. The Farewell show was as good as all the other and we were a bit sad to leave the theater known that would be our last show for a while.. Coffee and Bed. DISEMBARKATION DAY - March 24th 2013 Woke up at my usual early time but today I did not go for coffee, I connected my iPhone and got all the emails that were sitting on the server waiting for me. We had decided to go for breakfast at 8:00am as the Windjammer closes at 9:00am.. it was very very busy and we were glad to finish our breakfast and go back to our cabin to collect our hand luggage and go to the theater to wait for our number to be called to leave the ship. As soon as our number was called we went down to deck 1 and left the Explorer of the Seas for the last time. Our luggage was just inside the luggage hall when we got off the shuttle bus so we were able to join the line to get through customs and immigration quite quickly. We had arranged for Dial 7 to pick us up and take us back to Penn Station for our trip home to Boston .. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We traveled four hours from Annapolis, MD to Bayonne, NJ. Once we hit Cape Liberty we were reminded of how Baltimore is a much better port. The process at Cape Liberty is disjointed making the initial start of the cruise just a little ... Read More
We traveled four hours from Annapolis, MD to Bayonne, NJ. Once we hit Cape Liberty we were reminded of how Baltimore is a much better port. The process at Cape Liberty is disjointed making the initial start of the cruise just a little annoying. First you drop off the luggage, find the pot-hole filled parking lot, pay $19 per day, walk back to the luggage drop off the wait for a bus to take you to the terminal. THEN once you check in, you wait for another bus to take you to the ship. Once finally on board, most of this is forgotten...until you have to reverse the process getting off when you return. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate with our sailing for the first couple days. We encountered 100+ mile an hour winds with approx 25-30 ft waves. We were tossed around like a toy ship in a bathtub. As a result, three large windows in the Main Dining Room were blown out on the second evening. Fortunately, it was long after the last seating and no one was hurt. The windows remained boarded up for the remainder of the trip. The Captain kept us well informed of weather conditions and did extremely well keeping the Explorer and her passengers safe. KUDOS!! He was not happy, however, when he announced that we would have to miss our first port, Labadee. We had the extra sea day which was good, but a very long day in San Juan (not our favorite port). But we were safe and that was all we cared about. The Explorer is a beautiful ship. We had sailed her once before and it was a pleasure to sail on her again. Our stateroom (7620) was right around the corner from the elevator and next to the library which overlooked the Royal Promenade. We were very happy with our room and our attendant, Herman, although on the shy side, took very good care of us. One thing we were disappointed about was the lack of tables on the starbosrd side of the pool deck as other ships do. Even though I am not a smoker, those who do did not have a table to sit and enjoy a drink or meal with others. We hope they rethink this when the ship goes into dry dock in 2015. We were THRILLED to find Richard Spacey as our Cruise Director and Chris Walker as the Activities Manager. Even though this was Chris' first cruise on this particular ship, the pair were awesome together. The entire CD Staff were friendly, enthusiastic, helpful and fun. We participated in many of the activities such as Trivia, dance classes and other games. We are huge Quest fans and was not looking forward to the way it is handled on the larger ships...it is held in Studio B and the different sections make up the teams. Richard and Chris ampted things up by asking for four team captains per section...2 male/2 female. This made the "running" much easier. Our team of captains were great...a couple of which had never played the Quest but took off like old pros. We laughed so hard my cheeks hurt by the end of the 1 1/2 hours we played. The parades and 70's night in the Promenade were beyond fun...we danced and enjoyed every second. RCCL's new menu is nothing to write home about. As an example, the chicken cordon bleu was mushy on the outside, dry and tasteless on the inside with next to no cheese inside. Even the lobster was tough and tasteless. We found selections in the Windjammer to be much better...we even had make-you-own pizzas! All in all our trip was great and we are looking forward to our next cruise in November! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Well, this was our 6th time on Explorer and probably the last one. We really liked the ship the first few times, then it was just an ease to start vacation within an hour of leaving our house. Also with little ones it was the best option ... Read More
Well, this was our 6th time on Explorer and probably the last one. We really liked the ship the first few times, then it was just an ease to start vacation within an hour of leaving our house. Also with little ones it was the best option for us to combine the benefits of cruising and ease of commuting to Cape Liberty from Brooklyn. We noticed many changes on this cruise from previous ones. First of all, the mandatory $12 day tipping per person per day is automatically charged to the credit card now. With that we noticed that the service in dining rooms or cabin wasn't as great as it's used to be. Another bummer was a play time for toddlers. We used to go to the conference room on the 2nd floor where there were many different toys for little ones to play with. Now they do it on a little stage with very few toys in a bar on 14th floor. Really? Little ones to play in a bar? Who comes up with that decision? With all of the variety of rooms available on the ship. 3 days out of our 7 day cruise , this wasn't even available since 2 days there were weddings in that bar, and another day they were painting something in that room. They didn't even bother to communicate this to us, and we brought our little one to play both days and he got very upset that there was no toys . Another topic, my husband went to buy a liquor in the store on the ship, and they told him he will have to pick it up on the morning of the departure between 6:30-8 am ( the lines would be formed in front of the store on Royal Promenade). Really? What happened to the delivery as in prior cruises? Well we were told that there were too many kids on the ships and for the next several cruises, that's how they were going to handle this. Just Great! When you have to pack and rush out of the room , you will also have to wait in line. We were told that all these changes came because of the new management. Dont' know if this is true or not. Now the ports of call on this ship. There is nothing wrong with them, but the timing is just ridiculous except for Coco Cay. Port Canaveral - is 1 pm to 10 pm. In order to go visit parks in Orlando, you really need to buy the express line tickets , otherwise with the 2 hour commute from Port to Orlando and back to Port , there's not much time left in the park with all of the lines. For two people the tickets to Universal with express line option would be $460 plus the $70 transportation from the ship for two people. Nassau, Bahamas - 2:30 pm to 11:30 pm. What can you really do in this time in Nassau? Blue Lagoon beach wasn't even offered on the ship since it closes at 5pm (except for animal encounter). We went to Atlantis , but it's expensive. We got to Atlantis at around 3pm , and left at 7 pm to do some shopping in Nassau. Well, everything was already closed at that time in Nassau. Food was still good, but my husband was disappointed that there was no indian dishes he used to enjoy in previous cruises from a dining room menu. I guess it has to do with the new chef who is from Austria now. Another issue, we've encountered was particular to our rooms. The first night after we came from a dinner we found out that there was a flood in both of our bathrooms (we had 2 connecting rooms), and it looked just filthy and disgusting. The staff didn't come in to clean them up right away, only after numerous calls and trips to guest services, an hour and half later they were cleaned and useable. Apparently, it was due to a "movement from a ship", the pipe got clogged up and several rooms got affected. We like ice skating. Well, the last two days at sea, this wasn't even offered since they did 4 ice shows (the same one) in the last two days. It also seemed like they now have less activities to do while on the days at sea compared to prior years. Royal Promenade cafe no longer has paper cups. I guess it's ok with with going green and stuff, but it's hard to carry a cup of tea or coffee if you want to drink it on the go or bring it to your room. Overall, it was an ok cruise Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Our first cruise ever. Weather is not in RCL's control. Ship was comfortable in good and bad weather. Pool was fine, hot tub is fine. Windjammer food edible, repetitive. Dining room fare a step up. Portofino was enjoyable. We are not ... Read More
Our first cruise ever. Weather is not in RCL's control. Ship was comfortable in good and bad weather. Pool was fine, hot tub is fine. Windjammer food edible, repetitive. Dining room fare a step up. Portofino was enjoyable. We are not the types to heap loads of food on our plates nor make more than one go through the chow line. It was acceptable. Room was adequate although we found you can loose track of daylight in an interior room. Bar service was good and the pool bar tenders were especially fun. Casino was nice although they do allow smoking. The smoking sections on the upper deck was something we tried to navigate away from. We were on vacation and tending to want to relax more than partake in the other feature RCL offers customers. There was plenty of activities if you cared to get involved. The most notable thing about the cruise is the exceptional employees. Our room attendant was exceptional! Very positive attitude and attentive to any small request. The rest of the crew worked just as hard and all were welcoming and friendly. If you prefer a good customer experience on service and you not a professional food critic, this is the cruise line for you. I would recommend they drop Nassau from the stop. You do not want to wander far or late from the ship. You may not feel safe at that port. The reef snorkel trip there was fun and worthwhile. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
This was our first time embarking out of Bayonne. It was a breeze! Chilly due to it being February, but no issues. We booked parking through Premium Parking, slightly cheaper than at pier. They picked us up and took us back to car as well. ... Read More
This was our first time embarking out of Bayonne. It was a breeze! Chilly due to it being February, but no issues. We booked parking through Premium Parking, slightly cheaper than at pier. They picked us up and took us back to car as well. Check in was easy. We had arrived about 10:30, did not board the ship till about 12:30-1pm so we had to wait in a waiting area. The ship seems to need some slight updating, but is still well functioning. No odd smells or torn carpets etc. Staff was constantly cleaning something somewhere. Always said hello etc. Windjammer Food did not impress me much, seemed to be overcrowded in there and the food was "cafeteria" quality in my personal opinion. Royal Promenade was very nicely decorated. No complaints. The bar tenders in the Weekend Warrior bar, Andre and Vladimir, were great. Fun to talk with, made great drinks and very people friendly. Didn't seem many shows, the ones we did were the one comedian and the Broadway musicals. Both were awesome. Main Dining Room: The first 2 nights service was awful. Took quite awhile to be served but our waiter Ronald was very apologetic and he definitely impressed us the other nights, having our drinks there on table already and very informative. Our wine/bread/assistant waiter was Muhammad and he was such a sweetheart. One night i was not feeling well and he brought me over tea and bread and was very helpful. The food was great. Not much complaint there. I highly suggest the warm chocolate cake dessert! Wish they had this every night. Room Service: We did use it often. Delivered within 20 minutes usually. Food was always hot and well cooked. No complaints. We tipped the person bringing room service. The first 2 and last 2 days at sea were very cold, given the time of year. Seas were so rough the last 2 days home, they had to drain the water from the pools. Disembarkation was a breeze. Literally all of 20 minutes. It was great! Overall a very enjoyable time. Would definitely go on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
My husband, six year old son and I just returned from a 9 night cruise on board the Explorer of the Seas. Having cruised on Carnival, Norwegian and Disney we thought we knew the routine. We were wrong! I have also worked on cruise ships. I ... Read More
My husband, six year old son and I just returned from a 9 night cruise on board the Explorer of the Seas. Having cruised on Carnival, Norwegian and Disney we thought we knew the routine. We were wrong! I have also worked on cruise ships. I worked as a production singer for 5 years for Celebrity Cruises and Costa Cruises (yes Captain Schettino was my safety officer on board the Costa Atlantica.) Royal Caribbean was by far the best cruise line we have sailed. From the moment we boarded the ship to the time we disembarked the staff and crew made us feel like we were the only and most important guests on the ship. To follow are some details of our voyage. Embarkation: The whole process took about two hours. The reason it was so long was because we arrived rather early (10:30am). Next time (and believe me we will be back!) we will aim for a later arrival time but being that we have never embarked from Bayonne we thought it best to arrive early. The previous cruisers are not off the ship until about 11:30am so you must wait until about 12:00-12:30pm to embark and then you have to wait until 1:30pm to go to your cabin. Advice: bring few carry-on items and make sure they have wheels as you will be lugging them around the ship for a few hours. The waiting process is not painful by any means and they begin feeding you in the terminal as you wait. They had refreshments and cookies for all the waiting guests. It was a comfortable area to sit and really not too bad. It was difficult to hear the boarding announcements. All the guests board shuttles to the ship and you wait to hear your number called. The poor ladies calling the numbers had a horrible amplification system to work with and it was very difficult to hear them. Once we were on board there was the welcome lunch at the Windjammer Buffet on Deck 11. The food was not very good this day. This was the only meal I didn't love. I believe it was because they were preparing food for too many people at once. It was incredibly crowded and they kept making announcements to move people along. I found that part a bit strange and pushy. However, looking back I think they were just trying to make sure everyone was fed. A noble cause! Cabin: Our cabin was way up in the front on deck 8 (cabin 8214; large ocean view stateroom). We were pleasantly surprised with the size. It was much larger than our Disney Cabin with a balcony (on the Disney Magic they have a horrible split bathroom that takes up half the cabin space). The room was a bit worn; stains on the carpet, worn looking fixtures in the bathroom, broken curtain. Our Cabin attendant, Pedro was very attentive to our needs. They did fix the curtain right away without me even asking which was great. Pedro filled our water bottles every night and made sure our cabin was spotless. So, I can forgive the age of the cabin. It was very clean! That's more important in my opinion. There was quite a bit of movement in this area of the ship but being an old sea hag I came prepared with our sea bands, ginger pills and ginger gum. We were very comfortable even though we had pretty rough seas coming back. The beds are a bit hard but we did adjust within 2 days and then slept like rocks. The cabin area was very quiet with the bridge above. The window was lovely. It was big and tilted inward so it was an even better view outside than having a balcony cabin. I don't think I'll waste money on a balcony cabin again (unless it's a suite) since 3-4 of the 9 days this time of year are spent inside due to cold and wind. We loved the shower with shower doors and the water pressure was strong. Advice: bring a can of lysol as the toilets do emit an odor even when not in use. You could not smell the odor outside the bathroom. The space inside the cabin was sufficient for all our clothes and luggage. Entertainment: We LOVED the entertainment. The cruise director, Richard Spacey was unbelievable! In all my years cruising I have never worked with or seen such an amazing cruise director. He should seriously have his own TV show on land he's that good. The headliners were fantastic. Jeff Tracta was incredible. He played "Thorn" on the Bold and The Beautiful. His act was impressions and he totally brought down the house! It was a very creative show. So very talented and a very nice man. I spoke with him for a few minutes at lunch the day after his show and he was just so very humble and nice. The comedians were great and we really enjoyed the act dedicated to Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons. The Production shows were not as strong but I'm biased being an ex-production show singer. The performers were extremely talented but all the shows seemed the same in intensity and content. It felt very pushed; not the performers' fault. The ice show was excellent, excellent, excellent! I was in tears it was so good. The Cruise Director's daily "Morning Show" on channel 14 is not to be missed. I was in tears from laughing so hard! 70's night was a blast! The activities were very good and the contests by the pool were hilarious (belly flop etc.). The Kids Program was good. The facilities were not as large or extensive as Disney but my son had a good time. They also had some family activities. My husband is the new Gaga Ball champ from that cruise! I felt like a kid again playing the games with my son on family night. It was a lot of fun. Food: The food was great. We also had a tremendous wait staff. Desi our waitress and Elias her assistant were phenomenal. Not only did they do a fantastic job making dinner suggestions, but they also entertained our 6 year old every night with magic tricks and lots of attention. We felt so special under their care. The head waiter was also excellent; attending to any special requests. We miss them so much!!!!! The food always arrived hot and was delicious. The choices were varied. The desserts were to die for! My husband and I must of gained about 10 pounds on this cruise! The buffets for breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer Restaurant were also excellent; always a great variety and wonderfully prepared. The desserts in the Promenade Cafe were delicious as well. Room service always arrived on time and was a nice option when having to disembark early for an excursion in port. Can you tell we did a lot of eating?! We did not eat in any of the "pay" restaurants because the included food was so good. Ports: This cruise docked/tendered in 4 ports: San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Samana, Dominican Republic and Labadee Haiti. All 4 ports provided for a great time for us a family. We shopped and went to Senor Frogs in San Juan (my son loved that part). I spent a few hours hunting down all the free giveaways and raffles from the port shopping lectures. That was a lot of fun. I did end up buying a beautiful but affordable sterling sliver citrine ring from Effie Jewelers. They were very attentive to my shopping needs. In St. Thomas we took the Sapphire Beach and drive excursion from the ship. What a beautiful tour! The beach was not very crowded and the views were spectacular. The drive back and forth was just as breathtaking. I highly recommend this tour. We also took a ship excursion in Samana. This was a tendering port. We went to Cayo Levatado for another beach day. We spent the day lounging and eating locally caught fish and tried the local beer "Presidente". It was another winner. What a beautiful place! Labadee was amazing as well and yet another beach day. The beaches were beautiful and there were lots of great wooden crafts to buy from the locals at rock bottom prices. We had amazing weather for all of our port days. Misc: My son had a very bad sunburn under his eyelids and we took him to the medical doctor on board. The care he received was excellent and the bedside manner of the staff made him feel at ease. One of our suitcases sustained some handle damage during embarkation. I went to guest services to inquire about a claim. They were very professional and guest minded when dealing with our situation and quickly sent someone to our cabin to handle our issue. The Captain was always visible and participating in events and lectures with the guests. I have never seen this in all my years of cruising. Very impressive! In conclusion, what made this the best cruise for us so far was the service. Yes, the ship is beautiful and the food was great but the staff on board this ship is special. It's very difficult to pinpoint what it is that they are doing that makes it such a special experience but I believe they have cracked the code to customer satisfaction. We did not want to leave and we can't wait to book another cruise on board the Explorer of the Seas!   Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Well, my girlfriend and I just disembarked from Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas on 2/17/13 and I must say that this cruise was very relaxing and full of non stop entertainment. That being said I do have a few minor issues with ... Read More
Well, my girlfriend and I just disembarked from Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas on 2/17/13 and I must say that this cruise was very relaxing and full of non stop entertainment. That being said I do have a few minor issues with the ship and crew. The Explorer is beginning to show some slight signs of age for example, minor rust spots on the inside walls of my balcony stateroom as well as some rust showing on the outside of the ship. The interior of the ship looks as good as it did when I first cruised on her in 2002, absolutely beautiful ship overall. The Dining room food was amazing and cooked to perfection and our waiter was excellent and catered to our every need quickly. The Windjammer Cafe was very good as well but became boring because of the lack of different choices during the trip, same food over and over again... The only problem I encountered was with an extremely rude bartender in the casino royale bar. A quick trip to guest services and the issue was taken care of immediately, never saw that bartender again for the whole week and we were given and apology and some chocolate covered strawberries that were sent to our room. We opted for the Premium Inclusive alcohol package for $55 a day per person and it was well worth it. Our stateroom attendant was amazing as well. Overall a vacation to remember and I will definitely be cruising with Royal Caribbean International again, hopefully on either an Oasis class or the new Sunshine class. P.S. I asked some of the officers as well as the Captain about the Quantum of the Seas and they hinted that the ship would be sailing out of either New York City or Cape Liberty N.J.and that it would be a cold weather/warm weather conversion ship slightly larger then the explorer. but they also stated that they were not allowed to say anymore about it as per the Big Wigs at Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Arrived off ship around 9Am....have cruised RCCL 7 times over the last 8 years....have been on different ships, different ports, different Captains, different Cruise directors....this ship is great....although she is going in for overhaul ... Read More
Arrived off ship around 9Am....have cruised RCCL 7 times over the last 8 years....have been on different ships, different ports, different Captains, different Cruise directors....this ship is great....although she is going in for overhaul soon, you wouldn't know it....clean as a whistle.... I have only encountered one other Captain who was as visible and involved, and that was Captain Johnny on the Mariner several years back....think he is currently on one of the mega ships. That said, Captain Olaf is great....he attended many of the functions, not just the gatherings you get invited to....Richard Spacey Cruise director and his partner in crime Frankie the Activity manager were the best that I have encountered....what a treat!... There were 850 children on board, well behaved and lots of fun if you sailed with your children....this was Presidents week, and many schools are off....we traveled with our 12 year old daughter and her friend...they enjoyed Optics and the 12-14 age related activities.... Our last cruise was last year aboard the Jewel, and I don't know if the activities for adults and children have changed or it was a little different just on this ship.... The new menu was great....food good...my husband has a restaurant, so quality is important to him....while this is not the Ritz, the quality was above average. The Windjammer Buffet...for those who have said it is horrible, something is wrong....yes, there are hot dogs, fries and burgers everyday....everyday there are some additions and deletions....pasta is offered every day at lunch but with different sauces...maybe one day Alfredo and Pomodoro, one day it will be bolognese......one day potato salad and cucumber salad, one day coleslaw and macaroni salad....very large salad bar also....hand carvings every day...one day ham, one day turkey, one day roast beef, etc. Fish every day, sometimes sushi, sometimes Indian food, sometimes Asian.... Never encountered a long line, found a table easily, and the tables were always being bused. The weather was chilly the first night out, but after 20 hours at sea you could feel the change in temperature..... Port Canaveral, Nassau and CocoCay....I am 2 for 2 at CocoCay....it was a perfect sunny, warm day. The shows were very good....all new production show, new costumes....the headliners were the best I have seen on these ships....the Ice show was amazing as usual, with new costumes and numbers.... Prior to getting on the ship, I was getting worried with some of the negative comments....don't worry, those people must have spent their time with their heads stuck in the mud.... No complaints from this family at all, and the Captain, crew, Cruise director, dining staff, room stewards, all make this the "Friendliest ship in the fleet" as Captain stated in the goodbye production show.... Arriving and departing were relatively easy, the port is old, but everything was well organized..... Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Explorer of the Seas -- Feb. 1 to 10, 2013 Flew into EWR day before cruise. Stayed at Newark Airport Marriott. Very nice hotel with a great restaurant. Took car service to the Bayonne the next day. Embarkation: Arrived at port ... Read More
Explorer of the Seas -- Feb. 1 to 10, 2013 Flew into EWR day before cruise. Stayed at Newark Airport Marriott. Very nice hotel with a great restaurant. Took car service to the Bayonne the next day. Embarkation: Arrived at port around 10:45 and were onboard by 11:30. No problems boarding whatsoever. Went directly to dining room to check out our table (431- nice round table for 8). Then to spa for formal night hair appointments. After that Windjammer for a bite to eat and at 1:30 ready to go to the cabin. We were in 1244 junior suite. Great size with walk in closet and double balcony (the closet big enough to roll wheelchair in with easy access to the pull down rack for clothing.) We asked room steward for a lounge chair on the balcony and he brought us one. Entertainment: Pretty good. Have seen some of the shows before. Tribute to the Temptations was our favorite. Didn't like the guy who did impressions -- his only saving grace was Elvis impersonation. Loved the Latin dance band in Aquarium bar. Spice up on pool deck - good band but didn't have very long sets. Two or three tunes and they were outta there! For the most part, entertainment lacked IMPO. Last year's Eclipse cruise had outstanding shows. Food: New menu selections very nice. Great scallops. No escargot (market shortage). Every beef entree we ordered was tough. I complained and the head waiter gave a comp filet mignon which was delicious. No sure why they can't do beef right. Pasta dishes were always good. One night salmon great, next time dry. We ate in Portofino and it was excellent. The service stellar and the food a few steps up from the MDR. Room service breakfast was hit and miss (they kept forgetting stuff). We were on deck 10 so running over to Windjammer to grab breakfast was no problem. Overall: Nice cruise. Probably my last time on the Explorer. Too much smoke for me. Even on the formal night with no smoking in the casino it still reeked. Hanging at the bars or the Chamber at night was not for me because of that. Repeat guest party was bogus, cheap drinks and no food, pretty much a waste of time. Oh to have the good old days when those parties were fun to attend. Other than smoke issues ship nice and clean. Service very good. Capt. Olaf was great. The last night of cruise and all day Saturday we had rough seas, he kept us informed of the conditions on a regular basis. The Explorer is a beautiful ship, getting a little long in the tooth and in need of the 2014 refurb. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
We have been on several cruises previously the last time we cruised with RCL was 1989 and it had been the best one of them all! Maybe because it was our 1st cruise that we were so impressed or maybe which I believe to be more likely it ... Read More
We have been on several cruises previously the last time we cruised with RCL was 1989 and it had been the best one of them all! Maybe because it was our 1st cruise that we were so impressed or maybe which I believe to be more likely it has just gone down hill from where it was at. I'm not going to dwell on small issues as I read many reviews here on Cruise Critic before I left. I just want to point out the two that were the most disappointing to me. The food in the Dining Room we thought was good, not fabulous like it usually is on other cruise lines but okay. The Windjammer on the other hand we thought was so repetitive, they basically had the same foods day after day. The pasta dish they just changed the type of pasta, one day shells, the next ziti etc. Everything just seemed to be the same nothing different so the food became boring. It was the same for breakfast however you can understand that as there are only so many different kinds of breakfast foods. Only one omelette station created long lines and during lunch almost every day they ran out of either plates, silverware or ketchup! The most disappointing part was they did not have enough activities. I am not one that needs to be constantly entertained however finding one thing to do on their daily sheet besides Bingo was difficult. When Monday came our first day out at sea and there was nothing to do I thought that it was a fluke and was hoping that on Friday and Saturday they would redeem themselves. Every other thing on the list was either something at the gym/spa or casino. After reading the days itinerary to my sister when I got back she said wow it sounds like you were on a health and wellness cruise. We were actually bored on the sea days. If you didn't want to spend money on jewelry making, bingo or a health service you basically had nothing to do. Having two days of not being able to use the pool since we sailed out of NJ I would have thought that they would have more inside activities, but I was wrong. Things they did in the evening were things that other cruise lines did during the day. The evening entertainment was again, okay, nothing spectacular. The Ice show was very good and one of the people that they had on, but honestly nothing that I was overly impressed with. To finish off the trip, we had a porter with a family that we were traveling with and we put our luggage together they had a duffel bag that looked like mine so when we got back to the car and realized that it was theirs and not mine I had to return to the luggage area. When I did I was then told that I needed to wait for every passenger to get off the ship before they could bring me back in to get my bag. Needless to say I waited over an hour to be guided into a back door and out through customs again which took less than 5 minutes. RCL handled this horribly! It was very frustrating sitting there. I love cruising, to me there is no better vacation! I do have to say though that when we cruised Norwegian last year we had a much better experience all around. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Although this review is written by a first time cruiser be assured that I know what Great service, and a Great time is!My husband and I decided on a cruise for our honeymoon as it is such a great value for you money!We choose Royal because ... Read More
Although this review is written by a first time cruiser be assured that I know what Great service, and a Great time is!My husband and I decided on a cruise for our honeymoon as it is such a great value for you money!We choose Royal because my sister has cruised with them twice already, and absolutely loved it! She is quite picky about service, food and accommodations so I knew I was in for some first class ( royal ) treatment! Leaving from New Jersey was convenient and the whole process went quite smoothly and quick. we were on board in 25 minutes! Our rooms were ready and much bigger they we expected.Our luggage was a little late it arrived around 7:00pm,but we did attend dinner in the main dinning room anyways.The quality of the food, menu choices and the service were superb. Bravo to the dinning staff!!!! My husband, who is quite fussy found many choices every night on the menu that he loved. A special note, all the waiters, cabin staff,ect. were all so happy to help and accommodate us all with a smile. But I got a few peeks behind the scenes, when no one knew I was looking and there they were, laughing and having fun at work. That is the sign of some GREAT employees they truly were happy to be there and that's why they did their jobs so well! Thank you Jevey, our main dinning room waiter, and Adelle our cabin attendant. This ship is breathtaking! Attention to detail is outstanding.The ice skating show is a DO NOT MISS! That was fabulous. We went on 2 shore excursions, St. Thomas half day champagne cruise. This was a blast. We sailed to St Johns where we snorkeled or just lay ed around on the beach, quite relaxing. The staff were wonderful and the champagne and rum punch were flowing on the way back!!!also we took the sandbar excursion on Haiti wow that was great!I must say I was really surprised by Labadee Haiti! this is Royal's private beach area on Haiti. What a beautiful location! There were beaches for kids, beaches for adults plenty of chaises,not at all what I expected from the pictures.They made it look very commercial. But that was not the case at ALL. This was our last stop before returning home. The ship arrived rite on time, we waited 45 minutes on board and then went through customs, total process 1 hour.We will certainly cruise with Royal again! like next year!!!!We can't wait!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
I will say the ship is lovely and in great shape. The decor is more understated then Carnival which is nice. The ship is very clean and well maintained. We arrived at Cape Liberty at 11:00am, we were held in the big, cold terminal for ... Read More
I will say the ship is lovely and in great shape. The decor is more understated then Carnival which is nice. The ship is very clean and well maintained. We arrived at Cape Liberty at 11:00am, we were held in the big, cold terminal for about 45 minutes.Once we got the shuttle to the ship it was smooth sailing (or quick boarding). The terminal was a very negative experience. Cold, crowded and no real class to the process. You don't get that welcome feeling. Once on the ship we made our way to lunch. It could be the cruisers from this particular port of departure but they were pushy and rude in the Windjammer. It was like a feeding frenzy. Other then that the food was very good and the staff very courteous and helpful. Our cabin was ready at 1:30pm and our luggage already there. We had a Promenade cabin with a nice view of deck five. Our cabin Steward was Iris and she did a fine job. We let her know we were "low maintenance" and we didn't expect any extra service. She did a wonderful job and remained low key. Just the way we like it. As I said she did a fine job and we were very satisfied. The entertainment was excellent and Richard Spacey, the Cruise Director was very entertaining and fun. The MDR food was excellent. Lots of new foods to try. The menu had many vegetarian choices which we loved.The service in the MDR was excellent at dinner ( Our waiter Francisco and Assistant Letisha were very good.Other meal service at breakfast and lunch in the MDR was hit or miss. The ports of call where San Juan, St.Thomas, Samana ( D.R.) and Labadee. We recommend Terry's Tours in Samana. Very adventurous. If you have trouble walking distances don't go as there is a longish walk to the falls. I loved the whole experience. St. Thomas was a nice beach day for us. We took a taxi to Emerald Beach ( a resort there) and just rented chairs and umbrella and spent the day. A nice spot, clean calm waters. The whole day cost 48.00 for two people. San Juan was worthless. All in all a good cruise. I liked cruising without having to fly but am not sure about doing it again. The other cruisers were at times pushy, rude and loud. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Explorer of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness & Recreation 5.0 N/A
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursions 3.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 4.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.3
Value for Money 5.0 N/A

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