30th Anniversary Cruise: Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by WashEngr
Overall Member Rating
30th Anniversary Cruise
We decided to sail out of Baltimore since it was within easy driving distance from our house. Embarkation took about one and a half hours (a little longer than what we had experienced in the past), which was a little surprising since the Grandeur is one of the smaller ships, only holding about 2,000 passengers. Parking at the port was a breeze. There is a stop in the port on the way to the parking lot to unload your luggage, so no need to lug any luggage from the parking lot to the ship! We normally eat lunch after boarding in the main dining room. However, the MDR was closed. We expected the Windjammer cafe to be packed and no seats available. However, much More to our surprise, the Windjammer Cafe was not overly crowded and seats/tables were available - a pleasant surprise to start our journey.
We had an ocean view room on the 3rd deck. I had heard that Royal Caribbean had lowered the height of the bed. Not sure if that is true but my DW's suitcase did not fit under the bed, where we normally store both our suitcases. As reported in other reviews, the bathroom was small and the shower was very small. Room was small but functional with plenty of storage space (even with my DW's suitcase in the closet). There was a television in the room with several channels (including CNN and Fox News). Several channels broadcast in other languages. There was also a movie channel. Strangely enough, there was a channel guide which never updated the times that the movies were showing. The television was not "interactive" so you needed to go to the guest services desk (on deck 5) to check the status of your account and your spending during the cruise).
We ate all dinners in the MDR. Breakfasts and lunches were split between the MDR and the Windjammer Cafe. We did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants. The Grandeur was implementing a new menu and the staff repeated apologized that the kitchen was working through the logistics of their new menu. However, we did not notice any slowdown in service (in our experience, the MDR is always a 1.5 - 2 hour affair) or problems with the food. We enjoyed all the meals in the MDR and have no complaints (one of the people at our table, who worked in food service, did notice that the food was on occasion warm, vice hot). We thought the desserts were better than what was available on either Norwegian or Celebrity although main courses were comparable. And yes, the MDR is still serving lobster during the second formal night. During lunch, the MDR had a much more extensive salad bar than was available in the Windjammer Cafe. For breakfast, my DW preferred the Windjammer Cafe while I preferred the MDR.
During sea days, I thought there were not as many activities aboard ship as on previous sailings with Norwegian and Celebrity. The evening shows were excellent, with two comedians, a magician and two shows with the Royal Caribbean production team. They also had a "Divas of Motown" show, which we did not attend. They had a 70's party one evening, which was fantastic and highly recommended if you can stay up that late.
The ship docked in Bermuda on Sunday at 3 p.m and departed on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., so there is plenty of time to explore the island. We did not do any of the excursions offered by the ship. We spent time in St George, which my DW found quite charming. We also spent half a day at Hamilton and a half day at Horseshoe bay/beach. The beach was wonderful although the day was a little too cool to lounge around on the beach. As a result, we went exploring and found several other small, deserted coves. We also notices several Portuguese Man of Wars washed up on the beach. Since the water was still too cool for us this early in the year, it did not worry us since we were not swimming. But it would have given us pause if we had planed on swimming/snorkeling. For those of you who are shoppers, you will find the prices on Bermuda much higher than on other Caribbean Islands.
We did the self disembarkation, which was quick and easy. Thirty minutes and we were off the ship and on our way home.
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