Halloween Cruise to Bermuda: Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by leavingforvacation

Explorer of the Seas 4
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Halloween Cruise to Bermuda

Sail Date: October 2013
Destination: Bermuda
Embarkation: Bayonne (Cape Liberty)
Our cruise was what we wanted: mostly relaxation, some entertainment, visiting beaches and light sight-seeing. We were able to accomplish this easily.

Will try and present both the highs and the not so highs of the EOS experience.

Cruise Director, Leigh and Activities Director, Erky are so very delightful. They are funny and work well together to offer so many entertainment options; they are the face of EOS and were hilarious to listen to and watch. What a team----Super job by both!

The most spectacular part of our trip was how the Explorer's staff decorated the Promenade for Halloween and how wonderfully it was transformed--- fabulous job!! We applaud them and how much they did in so little time...it truly was great to see the decorations and the events they organized for this evening. The midnight party was well done with theme-inspired food and light fare---just so much fun to see the costumes and how much fun everyone was having; contagious. All that More dressed up for the holiday were immersed and the entertainment lifted the "spirits" of everyone attending and put them into the Halloween mood.

In addition to this wonderful evening, the other entertainment offered was quite good from ice skating to the Love and Marriage game!! We had never attended a "Quest" event and that was fun! Recommendation: I would change the time of the first show on embarkation day: too early at 4:30, we are just getting set.

The food, while plentiful throughout the cruise was just good, not great. Recommendation: on embarkation day everyone is going to dine and only the Windjammer is open: best to open other venues so the guests do not feel so congested and rushed. It was crowded and not welcoming because too many were trying to get a seat and seemed annoyed. A more relaxing atmosphere would truly set the mood.

We had Mytime dining which offers flexibility for the time we wished to dine and was on the 5th floor dining room. We sat at a different table each night and although we asked to be seated with other guest for many of the nights, a few times we either were by seated by ourselves at a large table or with just a few other diners; disappointing set up. Strange to sit 2 at a table of 6-8. So one evening when we just did not feel like dressing for the formal night and perhaps being seated at a table of 8 with just 2 or 4 of us seated....we decided to go to the Windjammer: not a good idea. Unfortunately there were only a few offerings available that evening: did they think most guests were dining at the Captain's night??? Well anyway--- we saw a lot of people there who were formally dressed...interesting! Do not know if they were still hungry or just looking for something different to eat. It must have been Asian night in the WJ and only a few stations were open in the entire WJ and with a limited amount of choices. So for us, it turned out to be a bad dining choice :(

The main dining rooms are only open certain hours for breakfast and lunch. We do not eat both meals, but would have liked to try both on different days. Oddly, they change the serving times daily (hard to keep track of and thus use these venues! a few times only open til 9 a.m. for breakfast, why such an early closing, we are on vacation!! {we were told so staff could have time off while in port??}...open for 1 1/2 hours for lunch---??). Certainly does not make it too convenient to sleep in, relax and not have to rush to go eat. So, we often only had the choice of the Windjammer or ---- the Windjammer --- on most days!! :) While offerings were OK in the WJ--- seating could present a problem as it was mostly jammed packed and so, often only one of us ate while waiting for the other to get food...not what we prefer. I cannot comment on room service as we did not order it.

Overall, we felt that the staff was pleasant, attentive and the service by all the employees we encountered was fine. The WJ dining receptionists are excellent about encouraging all guests to use the sanitizer when entering, which we appreciate as there are many guests who have less than proper health and social mannerisms and with so many food stations, this could be a problem. So thank you!

Yes, as others have commented, the ship looks dated and a bit tired (my understanding is that she is being refurbished soon), but she is clean and well maintained. Our room was OK, smaller than we expected--especially the bathroom--compact!!, décor is dated; no nice toiletries, no candy at turn down----scaled down amenities. It was a good cruising experience and given the choice...I would most likely choose a single destination again---but we would prefer more flexibility with dining options for breakfast and lunch; should we choose to try those meals.

Cruising out of Cape Liberty is close by and a God send for those of us living on the east coast, especially the NJ/CT/DE/PA/MD residents. This was my first trip out of Bayonne. As many have reviewed: 2 lanes make for a crowded arrival--in part due to others dropping off luggage in one of these lanes and being picked up----while the rest are in second lane to go around a building to pay and then park. Better signage for this would be helpful as would be separate areas for these services. Heard that there is expansion in the works?? We walked from the parking lot, no problem except crossing over the 2 lanes of traffic. I have read others took a shuttle; I did not see one in our parking area--so I cannot comment on that service. When the weather is inclement, it is a problem as there are no walkways, no awnings for cover and at this time, no indoor parking. In addition, the check -in buildings have an "outdoor" feel as they are warehouses and all cruisers need to go back outside be transported to the ship.

We are glad that RCCL is in Jersey and sailing out to major destinations and plan to use this port again. We are hopeful that improvements will be here in the near future as all indications are that this port has proven to be worthy. With the Quantum coming, who knows?? Better facilities may be here sooner than expected. Hope so! Less

Published 11/23/13

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