Cruise on the Explorer of the Sea on 2/21/20
We cruised the Explorer of the Sea on 2/21/20 for a nine day cruise. We flew to Ft. Lauderdale and used the Royal Caribbean shuttle for Ft. Lauderdale to Miami. Our plane landed on the day of the cruise at 9 AM and after picking up our luggage we went to the RC desk down by the luggage area and was advised that the bus would be leaving at 11:30 AM which it did. We made several other stops to pick up additional passengers and then were bused to Miami and arrived at the ship at about 1:30 PM. The cost of the shuttle round trip for 2 people is $120. There 2 more cruises after our cruise and this ship goes into dry dock for 53 days. We were told that they are spending $110 million for major renovations. We had a balcony cabin on deck 6, cabin number 6284. The cabin was fine but I thought that it was a couple of feet shorter than other cabins as it had a love seat instead of a full length sofa. After supper on the first night they had a welcome aboard show with a couple of songs and then a comedian who was not very good. Most people left before the show was over. On the second day at the Cafe Promenade I purchased a coffee card for $37 which entitles you to get 15 cups of specialty coffee. Not a bad deal if you like specialty coffee. The second day we did the cruise critic get together and met some nice people. That night the had a production show in the theater call “Invitation to Dance” which was a high energy song and dance show. As part of the show they had a professional dance champion couple which were very good. The third day we were at their private island Labadee but it rained all day so we did not go ashore. That night we went to see the ice show called The Spirt of the Seasons. It was a feel good show, great music and good skating. The fourth day was a sea day and that night we went to see the headliner show with a singer named Bryan Cheatham, sang some Motown and some other song. He put on a good show. On the fifth day we were in Aruba. At the port in Aruba there appears to be two docks, our ship was in the first dock and the Norwegian Epic was at the second dock which is about 100 yard behind our ship. From either dock it is a short walk to the Main Street. If you wanted to take a public bus to the beach from our ship you walk out to the Main Street and turn right. Diagonally across the street is a Pizza Hut and just pass Pizza Hut is the public bus plaza where you can take a bus to the beach, either South beach or Eagle beach. While in Aruba we took a Royal Caribbean excursion called Sights, Scenes & Taste. It basically made a loop around the island stopping at the Natural Bridge, the California Lighthouse and Eagle Beach. It was about 3 1/2 hours long. On the fifth night they had a production show called Fast Forward, a high energy singing and dance show, very good. We left Aruba around 9 PM heading to Bonaire. We were just to Bonaire in November and took an excursion so we just walked around town. That night they had a comedian/juggler who was very good. On day 7 in the theater they had the third production show called Wild, Cool & Swingin. Another very good singing and dancing show. Day 8 and day 9 were sea days with the normal activities on sale days. On day 8 they had another headliner show in the Palace Theater which were the Barricade Boys who sang all kinds of music, Rock & Roll songs, Frankie Valli songs, Motown songs, several ballads and several songs from Le Miserables. The last sea day our TV did not work all day and night. I called guest services and they claimed that the problem was with the satellite not working. On the last night they had a farewell show in the theater, another comedian who we did not think was very good. Getting off the ship at the end of the cruise was a disaster. We put our luggage out the night before with a luggage tag with the number 30. When we got off the ship all luggage with number 30 was suppose to come out on carousel number 1. There were 3 carousels in the terminal. After waiting for 40 minutes for all the luggage on carousel to come out we still did not have our luggage. There were a number of people who had the same problem. After searching the other 2 carousels for 10 minutes I finally found our luggage on carousel 2. I don’t think I ever remember a cruise terminal using a carousel. Usually they have numbered areas identified in the terminal and you pick up your luggage based on your number, a process that only takes a few minutes.
In conclusion we thought this cruise was very good. The ports that we visited are nicer than most of the ports in the eastern or western Caribbean, the food was good but not great and the entertainment was very good on 7 out of the 9 nights. We rarely cruise out of the port of Miami because the port is so congested and in the future I will try to avoid this port if I can.
Cabin was OK, a little smaller that some of the balcony cabins we have had in the past. It only had a love seat instead of a full size couch.