Explorer of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean: Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by 51isFun
Overall Member Rating
Explorer of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Bayonne (Cape Liberty)
Embarkation was so smooth. We arrived at 11:30 AM, a porter took our luggage and within 10 minutes we were onboard. Our jaws dropped (literally) when we got our first glimpse of the interior of the ship from a glass elevator. The beauty and elegance of the interior was stunning. Since our cabin wasnt ready yet (because we arrived early) we had lunch in the Windjammer Cafe and wandered around the ship to get our bearings.
We had an inside cabin (8511) and were completely satisfied with it. It was a perfect room for 2 people and we had plenty of space for all our belongings. The location of the cabin was in the front of the ship on the 8th floor. We had no problems with sound and only had one room next to us. I would absolutely choose this room again.
I had already talked to other More cruisers from this site and we were to identify each other by wearing beads. As the ship set sail we meet up with our fellow Cruise Critic members and had a wonderful time getting to know each other by our screen names and real names. It was a great way to begin our voyage. The first night at dinner, my daughter and I were seated at a table for four. By the next night, we were able to get a table of eight with friends we had met on board. The food was excellent and the presentation of it was beautiful. Our wait staff catered to our every need and did so with a smile. We enjoyed the times with the waiters would parade around and entertain us. Dinner was so superb that we decided not to miss a meal even when we were at port. We had breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer Cafe because it was more expedient than sitting down in the main dining room. The few times we did have breakfast and/or lunch in the main dining room it was an elegant affair and the food was excellent.
Our first port of call was St. Thomas. We decided to go shopping instead of going on an excursion. We took a taxi for four dollars and went into the heart of the shopping district. It was great fun going from store to store to look for bargains. We decided to walk back to the ship and we were glad we did. We were able to take beautiful pictures of the ship at port and of the local wildlife (wild iguanas and pelicans).
St. Maarten was a second port of call. We chose to go on an excursion (Power Snorkeling) which was off Orient Beach on the French side of the island. The bus trip from the Dutch side to the French side was very educational. You truly get an idea of how the people live on the island. The snorkeling was great fun. A mask, snorkel, fins, and vest were provided for each guest (although we brought our own gear) and then we straddled a banana boat (a big inflatable yellow raft) to a small island just off the beach. There we were given a small submersible power motor that jetted us over the coral reefs to a buoy further away where we could feed the fish that began to follow us. The water was warm and with the most aqua color that I had ever seen; the jewel of the Caribbean. After returning to the Explorer we ate lunch and met up with friends to go shopping. Like St. Thomas, St. Maarten has some great stores which were a lot of fun to investigate. St. Maarten takes 3 currencies: Dutch, French euro, and US dollars. I had some euros left over from a trip to Europe last year which I was able to spend in the shops. Our third port was San Juan, Puerto Rico. We met with friends and went on an excursion to the El Yunque Rain Forest. The bus trip was long but well worth it as we climbed over 2000 feet about sea level. We stopped at the Coco Waterfall which was once believed to be the Fountain of Youth. We walked through the forest on a trail that led to trees with enormous leaves and learned about the Weather Tree (a tree that changes color from green to white when the weather gets bad). We stopped at the Yohaku observation tower where you could have a panoramic view of the mountains and lowlands.
Labadee, Haiti was our fourth port. Imagine a deserted island that was all yours to explore, or swim, or just lounge around on. I did some snorkeling and found a sunken airplane. I dove down 20 or so feet and examined the inside of the cockpit. There I saw large, brightly colored blue fish that had made their home inside the plane. Awesome!!! We walked through the local trade market and made our purchases by bargaining with them. It was a lot of fun even though the traders could get pushy at times. A local dance troupe put on a show with specialized dancing, acrobats, and even a fire eater. Lunch was prepared for us by the ship on Labadee which consisted of a barbecue with various fixings and salads. This was the perfect way to end a perfect vacation.
There were many things to do while on the Explorer, so much so that we didnt get to do half the things we wanted. Between going to Karaoke night, the Casino, the Chamber (my daughters favorite place) and lounging in the sun, our days and nights were filled. The Explorer had enough to do for all types of travelers from off Broadway shows to just catching the local comedian, from sports activities lounging around the pool. Every day and night was filled with adventure and fun. Next year Im going with my husband and I cant wait. Less
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