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We are Diamond (soon to be +), booked a Grand Suite. Although we live in Central Florida - we came down a day early and went to the Guitar Casino (very over-rated) and stayed in Hilton Blue Lagoon. Drove over to port in the am. On our first trip around the port, we discovered parking garage by G was "closed" (however you could see rooftop spots available from ship). Drove around again and asked where to go since no signs. Was told go to use Lot J. OK drove around again looking for signs - none. On 4th trip around asked same guy and he said right at stop then left - which we did, but went into apparent construction area. Turned around and went back for 5th time. This time we followed someone and they went way down to "J" garage. Saw a bus sitting there and he took us to over to terminal. Walked right in and check in went quick. Were directed to what was supposed to be a suite lounge - which was a complete JOKE. People walking in and out coming in to get coffee and cookies, going out and sending in their friends, walking around the barrier. Employee in charge of "directing traffic" had absolutely no control. People who were entitled to the suite privilege did not even get seats (we did - folks next to us were first time cruisers also did - several people with pinnacle badges were left standing). Finally time to board and we had to make an attempt to make our way through the crowd, and even then, folks just joined in the line. No cards were checked. Our suite 1264 was what we expected (having booked suites on prior cruises) and our attendant was fabulous. My birthday was embarkation day, which we advised, but were not offered a cupcake or anything (not a big deal). Had my hair cut on first sea day and stylist did great job. There was, of course, the push for the Elemis products they sell on board (which are fabulous, but you get a better deal on their website BTW) - price was what I expected. However, also got eyebrows waxed, and that was a whopping $30 before tip. Won't do that again. First port was Labadee. Thankfully we were aware of the suite perks at Barefoot Beach already as we were NEVER advised of them on this ship. Entry to water is quite rocky - water shoes certainly help. Can't understand why they don't make a little walking area out to the water. On the ship, apparently the maintenance people came into our room (with no notice to us) and took off our balcony handrail to paint. No idea how long they were in there. Next evening we get a notice on bed that there will be "maintenance" on the balcony and you could elect to not have them come in. Well, we just expected that they were going to replace the handrail and it was an oversight for the notice - NOT SO. We walked in from our shore excursion to take a nap and cool down to find several guys painting our balcony with the door open - paint smell overwhelming in room. Thankfully cabin steward ended up coming in behind us to witness. I said something to guest services - more so that I was a little irritated that we weren't informed the first time someone other than the steward would be in the room, and then what the maintenance would be so that we could make an informed decision whether to opt out or not. Housekeeping manager got up with us quite promptly and offered a 10% discount on next cruise - well we tried to book on board, and couldn't use the certificate - apparently have to pay up front and then TRY to negotiate the refund with RCCL corporate. Yeah, we'll see how that goes. I did teach 3 Zumba classes on board and they went over quite well. Men and women were stopping me ashore and on board telling me how much they enjoyed the class. No much else to do. Thanks to Jing for setting it up, the Cruise and Activities directors for the nice morning show shout outs and the bottle of wine (which we drank AFTER class LOL) We did go to the ice show - they schedule you by muster stations - which I think is a good idea so that everyone gets a chance to see the show. It's the same show we have seen before but it was still nice to watch again. The production show was ok. Not like shows in the past. Costumes were kinda low budget. (I am a quilt teacher and fabric designer so I pay attention to these things). Diamond lounge upstairs was VERY crowded the first day then levelled out. Servers did a fabulous job and Jorge was always circulating and visible. Shout out to Brandon, one of the servers!! Appetizers left a little to be desired - perhaps if they just went simple instead of trying to be fancy tossing peppers and weird garnish in the dish. Suite lounge was midship deck 9 and (to me) very clostrophobic. Giovanni's for b'fast was also fabulous and we enjoyed the staff! We sat at Table 531 for main dining and both our guys Abhishek and JRoss, got my onion soup (with no onions) fast and perfect every day!! To muster for shore excursions you go into the theatre, which is a good idea, but they would be better off perhaps having folks sit in designated area for THEIR excursion, rather then tell them to sit wherever. Island tour of Curacao was fabulous. We had Helenica as a guide. Extremely knowledgeable and well spoken. Driver very skilled and safe. Bus was cool and comfortable. First time ever on a Caribbean tour that they did not ASK for tips. Bonaire - another island tour. Salt flats, slave homes. Guide again well spoken and clear. Bus had good sound system - but a little squished (we are not skinny LOL). Aruba did the KunuKonuko tour and it was FABULOUS!! Absolutely fabulous. I love to make noise and party. Driver Leslie was one crazy dude (said in the most loving fashion). I'd do it again and again. Debarkation was another !@#$ show. Waited in the suite lounge and we were escorted off early and were quickly through customs with a porter's assistance. Got outside and were told to wait in an area for a bus to take us over to garage J. Waited 20 minutes...no bus. Asked several port people - no one knew where to find this bus. Finally one of the girls told us to go down between slots 5 & 6, which we did, and we waited some more - no bus. We decided to hoof it over, each of us pushing an approximate 60+lb suitcase and a carry one. I should note that I am 5 weeks out of a heart attack. We got over to RCCL HQ and we stopped and hubby went the rest of the way to grab the car. We're short on points to get to D+ for our December 2020 cruise, so we booked on board for the Harmony out of Pt Canaveral (20 miles from home) in February. Tried to use the housekeeping certificate (nope), then tried to use the $100 casino certificate (another nope). Why even give them? We will NEVER EVER drive to Miami again. We were spoiled on the Allure. The concierges Dexter and Nancy were fabulous. Internet was free. Suite lounge was huge and I could go on and on. Compared to the Allure suites, this was certainly not worth the money. If they had a vacation guarantee, I'd certainly ask for my money back we were that disappointed.

SOOOO disappointed

Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by Lawnquilt

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We are Diamond (soon to be +), booked a Grand Suite.

Although we live in Central Florida - we came down a day early and went to the Guitar Casino (very over-rated) and stayed in Hilton Blue Lagoon. Drove over to port in the am.

On our first trip around the port, we discovered parking garage by G was "closed" (however you could see rooftop spots available from ship). Drove around again and asked where to go since no signs. Was told go to use Lot J. OK drove around again looking for signs - none. On 4th trip around asked same guy and he said right at stop then left - which we did, but went into apparent construction area. Turned around and went back for 5th time. This time we followed someone and they went way down to "J" garage. Saw a bus sitting there and he took us to over to terminal.

Walked right in and check in went quick. Were directed to what was supposed to be a suite lounge - which was a complete JOKE. People walking in and out coming in to get coffee and cookies, going out and sending in their friends, walking around the barrier. Employee in charge of "directing traffic" had absolutely no control. People who were entitled to the suite privilege did not even get seats (we did - folks next to us were first time cruisers also did - several people with pinnacle badges were left standing). Finally time to board and we had to make an attempt to make our way through the crowd, and even then, folks just joined in the line. No cards were checked.

Our suite 1264 was what we expected (having booked suites on prior cruises) and our attendant was fabulous. My birthday was embarkation day, which we advised, but were not offered a cupcake or anything (not a big deal).

Had my hair cut on first sea day and stylist did great job. There was, of course, the push for the Elemis products they sell on board (which are fabulous, but you get a better deal on their website BTW) - price was what I expected. However, also got eyebrows waxed, and that was a whopping $30 before tip. Won't do that again.

First port was Labadee. Thankfully we were aware of the suite perks at Barefoot Beach already as we were NEVER advised of them on this ship. Entry to water is quite rocky - water shoes certainly help. Can't understand why they don't make a little walking area out to the water.

On the ship, apparently the maintenance people came into our room (with no notice to us) and took off our balcony handrail to paint. No idea how long they were in there. Next evening we get a notice on bed that there will be "maintenance" on the balcony and you could elect to not have them come in. Well, we just expected that they were going to replace the handrail and it was an oversight for the notice - NOT SO. We walked in from our shore excursion to take a nap and cool down to find several guys painting our balcony with the door open - paint smell overwhelming in room. Thankfully cabin steward ended up coming in behind us to witness. I said something to guest services - more so that I was a little irritated that we weren't informed the first time someone other than the steward would be in the room, and then what the maintenance would be so that we could make an informed decision whether to opt out or not.

Housekeeping manager got up with us quite promptly and offered a 10% discount on next cruise - well we tried to book on board, and couldn't use the certificate - apparently have to pay up front and then TRY to negotiate the refund with RCCL corporate. Yeah, we'll see how that goes.

I did teach 3 Zumba classes on board and they went over quite well. Men and women were stopping me ashore and on board telling me how much they enjoyed the class. No much else to do. Thanks to Jing for setting it up, the Cruise and Activities directors for the nice morning show shout outs and the bottle of wine (which we drank AFTER class LOL)

We did go to the ice show - they schedule you by muster stations - which I think is a good idea so that everyone gets a chance to see the show. It's the same show we have seen before but it was still nice to watch again. The production show was ok. Not like shows in the past. Costumes were kinda low budget. (I am a quilt teacher and fabric designer so I pay attention to these things).

Diamond lounge upstairs was VERY crowded the first day then levelled out. Servers did a fabulous job and Jorge was always circulating and visible. Shout out to Brandon, one of the servers!! Appetizers left a little to be desired - perhaps if they just went simple instead of trying to be fancy tossing peppers and weird garnish in the dish. Suite lounge was midship deck 9 and (to me) very clostrophobic.

Giovanni's for b'fast was also fabulous and we enjoyed the staff! We sat at Table 531 for main dining and both our guys Abhishek and JRoss, got my onion soup (with no onions) fast and perfect every day!!

To muster for shore excursions you go into the theatre, which is a good idea, but they would be better off perhaps having folks sit in designated area for THEIR excursion, rather then tell them to sit wherever.

Island tour of Curacao was fabulous. We had Helenica as a guide. Extremely knowledgeable and well spoken. Driver very skilled and safe. Bus was cool and comfortable. First time ever on a Caribbean tour that they did not ASK for tips.

Bonaire - another island tour. Salt flats, slave homes. Guide again well spoken and clear. Bus had good sound system - but a little squished (we are not skinny LOL).

Aruba did the KunuKonuko tour and it was FABULOUS!! Absolutely fabulous. I love to make noise and party. Driver Leslie was one crazy dude (said in the most loving fashion). I'd do it again and again.

Debarkation was another !@#$ show. Waited in the suite lounge and we were escorted off early and were quickly through customs with a porter's assistance. Got outside and were told to wait in an area for a bus to take us over to garage J. Waited 20 minutes...no bus. Asked several port people - no one knew where to find this bus. Finally one of the girls told us to go down between slots 5 & 6, which we did, and we waited some more - no bus. We decided to hoof it over, each of us pushing an approximate 60+lb suitcase and a carry one. I should note that I am 5 weeks out of a heart attack. We got over to RCCL HQ and we stopped and hubby went the rest of the way to grab the car.

We're short on points to get to D+ for our December 2020 cruise, so we booked on board for the Harmony out of Pt Canaveral (20 miles from home) in February. Tried to use the housekeeping certificate (nope), then tried to use the $100 casino certificate (another nope). Why even give them?

We will NEVER EVER drive to Miami again. We were spoiled on the Allure. The concierges Dexter and Nancy were fabulous. Internet was free. Suite lounge was huge and I could go on and on. Compared to the Allure suites, this was certainly not worth the money. If they had a vacation guarantee, I'd certainly ask for my money back we were that disappointed.
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