Sail Date: May 2013
My husband and I traveled with other family members on the Explorer out of Bayonne N.J. We drove from Massachusetts, and joined up with them in Connecticut for the rest of the trip. Driving down on Saturday morning wasn't bad we were ... Read More
My husband and I traveled with other family members on the Explorer out of Bayonne N.J. We drove from Massachusetts, and joined up with them in Connecticut for the rest of the trip. Driving down on Saturday morning wasn't bad we were there in about 5 hours total. The Port of Bayonne is difficult at best. After parking at Premier Parking, we had a 45 minute wait for a shuttle to the pier. We learned why after being picked up, leaving a long line behind us at the parking lot. We got into a long line of cars crawling to the terminal. We were dropped off at the far end of the terminal, and were able to leave our luggage. Then we walked to the other end to go through the door. What happens to the Premier shuttle next we learned when we were picked up. We were instructed to wait at the near end of the terminal when the doors are, we watched the full shuttle drive past us and wave with his full shuttle, he was dropping of those on the next cruise. He told us later he had to get back in the line to crawl around again to pick us up at the near end. None of this made any sense, the port is mostly deserted, with empty crumbling buildings, there has to be a better way to route the traffic since they have ships going out of there year round. Just by dropping people off at the near end and picking them up at the far end would eliminate going around again. Once inside the terminal we were in Royal Caribbean's hands and it could not have been easier, they are very organized and checking in is quick, we didn't even encounter a line. We were out of the terminal in minutes, but the ship is not there, it is down the pier, and we found ourselves back on a shuttle. We were having an unusual cold May day, only 45 degrees, we were exhausted and cold just getting on the ship. The cabins were ready, we dropped off our carry on luggage and headed for the Windjammer a welcome sight. The food in the Windjammer was excellent, plenty of choices. This was our first time on the Explorer and it is a beautiful ship, with the most extraordinary art work everywhere, and on a 5 day cruise we could not see all of it. The public area's are very well maintained, the cabin show some wear, (bottom of curtains show dirt, drawers all scuffed inside, rust on balcony, bathroom mirror discolored at the bottom) We all had cabins on the hump with the slightly larger balcony 7328. The hallway is a bit larger out side of the cabin too. Never heard any noise, bed is comfortable, and plenty of storage. The extra space on the balcony was great, we enjoyed sitting out there most evenings, plenty of room. The location could not have been better right near the library and stairs and elevators. Someone has mentioned that the cabin stewards are covering more cabins. On this trip our steward seemed stressed, it took several days for us to get ice. I requested that the refrigerator be emptied, it never happened. The library is large with lots of couches and chairs and it has a glass wall overlooking the promenade. Good selection of books, and lots of magazines from around the world left by passengers to borrow. We attended the production shows which were great as always, and the ice show. There were always plenty of seats at all the shows. There was a younger crowd on this cruise, and there was lots of activity in the inside Promenade. We enjoyed the fitness center, library, solarium, and walking on the decks. It never felt crowded in these areas, but the pool and promenade seemed to be busy most of the time. The ship is big enough for everyone to enjoy themselves. My husband went to a lecture of the Bermuda Triangle, he said it was not very informative. We ate one lunch and all our dinners in the MDR. The food was excellent, the service was also. We had MTD, and reserved our times for the first few nights. But there was a problem with the computers and our reservations did not come through correctly. There were four of us, and we did not want to share a table so we found ourselves by the waiters station staring at dirty dishes for lunch and two nights in a row. We asked for a better table and they did move us for the last two nights. The tables seem to be set up for 2, 6 , or 8. We had been to Bermuda before, but never docked at Kings Wharf. The area is very built up now, with lots of shops and things to see. We enjoyed the crafts fair held in the park there, and walked around the fort in the evening. We did not shop there, but went to Hamilton by ferry. The ferry's were great, and there was room for everyone. I was concerned since between the Explorer and the Dawn there were over 6000 people docked there. We bought the two day pass as soon as we could get off the ship. There are three places to buy passes and there were no lines to buy tickets. The weather was perfect both days were we there. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
First let me say this was our first cruise with kids (ages 7,2 & 1). We opted to book the family ocean view cabin based on RC recommendations. It was not the vacation we expected... Some due to RC and some because of the weather. My ... Read More
First let me say this was our first cruise with kids (ages 7,2 & 1). We opted to book the family ocean view cabin based on RC recommendations. It was not the vacation we expected... Some due to RC and some because of the weather. My three points I wish I knew before I cruised and booked the family room: 1- the family state rooms are either at the very front of the ship or the very rear. Our stateroom, 6200, was at the very front. We left out if jersey on may 11th ( my now 7 year olds birthday). We hit a pretty bad storm going out. Our first night going into the second day-till about 4pm- was horrible. We couldn't even stand up because the rocking was so bad. Two of my children were committing plus my husband. Obviously, it's a risk you take when cruising but my warning to anyone looking at booking a family room is DO NOT DO IT. Spend the extra money to have a connecting room in the middle incase you hit a storm. 2- the in room child care service for children under 3 ( since they cannot take part in the adventure ocean kids program). The in room service is not guaranteed! At no point did any representative from RC tell me this when I asked and called a million times about this. How the service works is you go to deck 5 at the customer service area or whatever you call it and give them the times and dates you want childcare. THEN-here's the good part- you are put on a list! If a crew member wants to pick up extra hours or make extra money they sign up for childcare services. So the in room childcare is not provided by "childcare" providers.. As it was explained to me when I called. Needless to say we never utilized the I room child care service because I was not comfortable leaving my two you get ones with just anyone who wanted to pick up extra hours. I can say my oldest did participate in the adventure ocean program. She went three night from about 7-10pm. She liked it but said it was boring because they played the same games every night. Their programs make it sound as if there were themes for each night and that was not the case. 3-the food in the windjammer cafe was the same crap day after day. Now we used it for breakfast and lunch daily and dinner once. We were not impressed. Last bit of info- our days at sea were rather boring. They didn't have much activities going on between 10am till dinner. Granted if we had warmer weather we could face spent our time at the pool but they should have activities going on all day! We were bored! Unless you like bingo or getting Botox. Overall it was a decent experience but I would have definitely stayed in center ship more and maybe tried a different ship like the ones with the dream works experience. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
This Review was mainly written for some cruise friends, but you might find a few helpful notes in it: DAY ONE: KILLER SAUSAGES & FUH-GEDDA-BOUT-IT From CNY we started by doing most of the 5 hour drive the day before, stayed about one ... Read More
This Review was mainly written for some cruise friends, but you might find a few helpful notes in it: DAY ONE: KILLER SAUSAGES & FUH-GEDDA-BOUT-IT From CNY we started by doing most of the 5 hour drive the day before, stayed about one hour from the port (much cheaper than a night in NYC). Our first day got off to a weird start. Eating breakfast at our hotel, I cut into a large breakfast sausage which decided to fight back. I plunged my knife into it, it sprayed back grease at me like it was a deranged octopus. I seriously had so many grease spots on my shirt and pants I couldn't cruise looking like a victim of the crazed octopus-sausage thing. Had to make a quick trip to Target (Only store open at 8AM) for new clothes -- everything was packed and apportioned per day for the cruise. Bayonne Port: We've cruised out of numerous ports. Norfolk will always be a favorite because of the people. Bayonne, to me, is the ugly stepsister to other ports -- it basically resembles an old factory with pipes up above, blacktop floors. The luggage areas are outdoor tents (must be fun in winter). Parking: you drive a distance, finally see a sign that shows short term parking one way, long term for cruises the other direction. Only problem is the long term sign takes you back out to the road you came in on! Drove back in a giant circle, asked the same guy we asked for directions, told him about the sign. His reply (in typical NY fashion): "Fuh-gedda-bout-it, Don't pay any attention to the sign." Inside the terminal you're handed a number for a shuttle bus (even though the ship is within easy walking distance). Strange, couldn't start boarding until after 11:30AM. Explorer: great shape and more to come about it. Cabin (6554, balcony), with exception of the old tv's, was in excellent shape; Allan the Room Steward was the typical overly efficient and friendly steward. Food notes: Read a lot on CC about dinners being served cold. I had a scallops gratin app that was lukewarm first night, everything else all week was hot. We did My Time Dining -- we had the same table all 4 nights in the DR with the same wait staff. Last 2 nights we sat next to a guy who was a fellow alumnus of my college (King's, Wilkes-Barre, PA). MTD worked great for us. We had dinner in Bermuda one night (more on that later). Entertainment: I believe I've stated before that a Cruise Director doesn't make much difference. WRONG!! This guy from Australia (Leigh X) and his assistant Frank the Tank were spectacular and really enhanced the cruise experience. RCI singers and dancers seem greatly improved since our last Royal cruise (Enchantment). The headliner show was what was advertised as an Elvis impersonator. The singer (Greg London) actually impersonated probably 25 or more singers and did such a great job (and was such a nice guy) that we bought his CD's & DVD's. DAY 2: WHITE CAPS & SKI CAPS The Ski Caps were actually last night -- Towel attendants wearing heavy coats and ski caps by the pool, nobody was swimming or using the hot tubs -- TOO DANG COLD!! Today we have thunderstorms and near hurricane force winds. Skating show was postponed until a later date, pools are closed, outside decks are inaccessible. Stood on my balcony and got a face full of salt water from the spray. Invigorating, but my idea of spending time on my balcony reading ain't gonna happen. I enjoyed seeing the large, white-capped waves, but a large number of cruisers were seasick, and it's the first cruise I've been on where they had to put barf bags throughout the ship for cruisers to use. One advantage of our Deck 6 cabin was being just above the Promenade. Easy access to coffee, iced tea and lemonade, not to mention the paninis and snacks available. This was the worst weather day -- you couldn't go out on the decks, everything was closed off -- 65mph winds. We spent ten minutes in the Solarium hot tub -- it was our only pool or hot tub time the entire cruise. All the entertainment had to be shifted around; Ice shows postponed until the last day. However, the CD staff did an absolutely great job of doing whatever they could to keep people busy -- can't say enough about them. One thing I enjoyed was the little morning show the CD did each day. I even wrote them a joke (they'd read comment cards each show), and the CD actually read it on his show (Okay, he said it was a lame joke when he read it, but, hey, at least he read it!!). One thing that never gets postponed is the Casino. It was very nice to us. We're big gamblers ($10 each per day). Overall we came out a few bucks ahead, which is much better than usual. Walked into the Casino one day with $2 in my pocket; played a slot and ran it up to $9; switched to poker and ran it up to $25. Of course, gave it all back a couple days later. DAY 3: BERMUDA, GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, UNREQUITED LOVE, AND, WHY WON'T ANYONE TALK TO ME?? Bermuda: Looks like Caribbean ports, big difference! DW likes to shop for jewelry. We took the Ferry ($15 for all-day use) to Hamilton, went to the one advertised jewelry store. She looked at one case for over 5 minutes before someone finally came and asked if she wanted to see something (store was almost empty, 5 or 6 salesgirls hanging around doing nothing). Showed her some rings, told her the price, that was it. No suggestions, no explanations -- nothing like Effy or Majesty or the usual Caribbean jewelry stores. Okay, maybe I'm just upset because I usually get offered a free beer or two while DW shops. Bought a Bermuda newspaper. "Does this paper have US sports? Of course, they said. Yeah, had a Golf article, line of scores, no other US articles. That's not a big deal, but that's what everything in Bermuda was like. Side note: bought the newspaper because Royal charges 75 cents per minute for Internet, 66 cents per if you spend $30, 50 cents per if you spend $200 (who the heck spends 4 hrs on the Net while cruising??). Bermuda Excursion: Very pricey, but we did a 6hr tour that included dinner at a "5 Star" restaurant. The Van touched down in the lot of this enchanted 5 Star place With the government guy, and his young wife The sales-talk man and his wife too Kicker, and his beautiful wife Barb The leader Ralph, the others who I can't recall All here at Tom Moore's Restaurant Not sure why but the Gilligan theme was stuck in my head that whole excursion. Thomas Moore (whom the restaurant was named after) was an Irish poet who spent time in Bermuda before he was famous and fell in love with a married woman. He was forced to leave because of his illicit affair (too bad he didn't live in today's world -- who would care?). The restaurant is named for him and it supposedly is the oldest continuing operating restaurant in Bermuda (although it was closed for 5 yrs but they don't bother to count that). I'm no gourmet, the food was good, but the ship's food was at least as good if not better. Dinners (I had Chicken breast, included in the price of the tour), supposedly start at $65 in that restaurant, and that's a pretty accurate read on restaurant prices. We met a couple on board who had lunch at the Frog & Onion Pub; 2 sandwiches and a drink cost them $80. I have say the Tour leader (Ralph) was so in love with his native Bermuda that he made the excursion worthwhile. He even sang and played the trumpet for us at the restaurant. Oh, as far as 5 Stars? The restaurant is owned by Ralph's b-in-law, so take that for what its worth. I wouldn't care to visit Bermuda again, unless its for a quick stop, not a two day thing. Beaches: looked nice, but 60 degrees and rained ruined any chance to find out. Souvenirs: they make glass there; Barb looked at a platter -- it was $300. No thanks. $30 for a small Rum Cake? No thanks, again. T-shirts were at least reasonable -- that's all we bought. DAY 4: BERMUDA SHORTS & BERMUDA TOO LONG, PLUS CHICKENS In 10 or so cruises it's the first time we stayed overnight in a port -- too bad it had to be Bermuda. I'm not totally knocking Bermuda -- it's a beautiful place and I've been told it's more beautiful in the summer when all the flowers bloom -- it just wasn't your typical cruise port. The one department store (Davison's?) carried the same brands we find at home, but at higher prices. Everything was priced high (homes supposedly start at $750,000). Hey, did you know Michael Douglas has a Bermuda home, and his Mom is a native Bermudian? Bermuda shorts are acceptable as formal wear. Our tour guide Ralph had the shorts, kneesocks, along with his jacket & tie. The island, as a whole, is rather conservative. We were in port the 2nd day until 4PM, but we'd already seen the whole island. We walked over to a nearby beach (Snorkel Park) -- might've been nice if it hadn't been only 60 degrees. Chickens: when we did the tour it seemed I saw chickens everywhere, so I asked about it. Apparently when they had a hurricane a few years back lots of cages got turned over and chickens have been multiplying and running amok ever since. We saw chickens near the beaches, chickens on golf courses, chicken on my dinner plate (hey -- if that was a free chicken why'd it cost $65 for dinner??). Back on the ship. Entertainment for the week was the singer I mentioned previously, one comedian, and the Royal singers & dancers, who seem to have greatly improved since our last Royal cruise 3 years ago. I can't even remember what I ate, only remember I enjoyed everything Barb would let me eat due to my recent diagnosis of Diabetes. DAY 5: 5 IS GREATER THAN 4, BUT 7 IS A MUCH NICER NUMBER A recent Disney cruise last December was 4 days. This was only one day more, but it seemed a better fit -- the 4 day seemed like we just got on and were getting off again. Of course, a 7 day or longer is preferred, but we have tight schedules these days, so this cruise fit best. Day 5 of our cruise featured the Ice Show, originally scheduled for the first sea day. The finale show at night was surprisingly short: the Explorer Band, some remarks from the CD, one dance number, one song. As mentioned before, the singer and dancers and even the themes of the shows have improved in the last 3 years from what I saw. Choreography for the dancers was done by some of Dancing With the Stars people. The Cd Leigh Xuereb and his top assistant Frank the Tank were hilarious and also very accessible. We've been on ships where CD's make themselves visible, but never as much as these guys, I loved the humor (sarcastic). Example: girl walks into the final show late. CD: Thank you for joining us! Could I get you something? Anything? Like maybe a watch so you'll be on time? They would tape their Daily Morning Show the evening before,, usually from the Promenade or another public spot, and make comments about cruisers passing by. Cruiser in a red/white striped shirt: We found Waldo! Formal night a guy walks by in a t-shirt and jeans: Nice formal outfit there buddy! Closing thought: Back home people ask how the cruise was. I reply the weather was horrible, we didn't like Bermuda, and we had a GREAT TIME! That's what cruising is about for me. I just love being on the ocean and I can't wait for the next cruise. I figured I might be done for this year but DW mentioned a San Juan cruise, and once she gets me started...... Final Note on Disembarkation: With only 2 suitcases we chose to carry our luggage off. We were assigned a 9 to 9:30 time for departure. We were called on time, no lines, through customs within ten minutes.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
My wife and I booked this cruise as our early 25th anniversary celebration. We had never been to Bermuda, and the opportunity to spend a couple of nights in New York City was a plus. This was our second cruise on the Explorer, the last ... Read More
My wife and I booked this cruise as our early 25th anniversary celebration. We had never been to Bermuda, and the opportunity to spend a couple of nights in New York City was a plus. This was our second cruise on the Explorer, the last having been way back in 2004. That was our first week long cruise and really cemented our love of cruising. Coming from Florida, you can imagine the looks we got when we told people where we were from, flying into NYC to sail the Explorer. Yes I said, I know we have cruise ships in Florida! Because of the length of the cruise, we flew into Newark after work the night before. Hotel shuttles are fun late at night, especially when you are schlepping luggage across the air train. But we arrived and got a decent night sleep in Newark. The next morning, the hotel arranged a car to take us to Bayonne. The first thing you notice are the large tents and then you notice there is no terminal on the side of the ship. Well, being always flexible, we checked in and discovered we have to take a short bus ride over to the ship. Easy enough and we were on the ship very quickly. The ship itself is still in good condition. Yes, you see the occasional rusty spot outside, or the missing lights on the elevator, or the jets on the hot tub not quite working properly. But after sailing on the Monarch last year, the Explorer is really in nice condition. We almost never do the sail away party but decided to see what the big fuss was about sailing under the Verrazano Bridge. Well it was the coolest thing we have ever done at sail away. We went to the top deck, and though it was windy and a bit chilly, was well worth it. Seeing the ship pass under the bridge is totally cool. One thing we noticed was the service was outstanding. We got excellent service in the dining room, Johnny Rockets, Windjammer and especially from the concierge. We really felt valued and well taken care of. The onboard entertainment, especially Home Free, were all top notch. Now, if we have one complaint it was the activities. I was surprised at the lack of inside activities during the afternoon hours. And for example, the night that you turn the clocks forward and lose an hour and had a port of call the next morning, that is the night they had the midnight comedy show. But on the night with a 1 pm port of call, and when we turned the clocks back, there was nothing past 10. Just seemed like strange planning. We were surprised at the low number of families and children on the ship. We are used to sailing the Caribbean from Florida, and we have been on sailings with close to 1,000 kids. You really never saw kids much at all. Since it was just my wife and I that wasn't a big deal. I did notice the demographic was definitely 60 and up. Disembarking was odd - again, when you are used to getting off the ship at 8ish, the first luggage call at 9:30 was different. And then you have the bus ride to the tent city to pick up your luggage. Assuming it's there. In our case, we had two bags not show up for a bit. But then once they did, we breezed through customs and were on our way. All in all this was a great cruise. I think this run will even be better when the Quantum arrives.   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
This was my fourth cruise on the Explorer of the Seas. For many family members it was their first, Let me get the one negative out of the way right away and that was the weather. Cloudy, Cold, Windy and Wet was the forcast most everyday. ... Read More
This was my fourth cruise on the Explorer of the Seas. For many family members it was their first, Let me get the one negative out of the way right away and that was the weather. Cloudy, Cold, Windy and Wet was the forcast most everyday. But you can't fight Mother Nature. Embarkation is so easy for us as we live in Bayonne. Bayonne is a wonderful town, and hopefully the powers that be in town will improve the scenery at the port, realizing that thousands of people get their impression of Bayonne as they embark on their cruises. A 10 minute cab ride and upon arrival a quick and professional move through security and check in, and in no time we all met at the Windjammer for a relaxing lunch. It is always fun to see the faces of the new cruisers as the ship looks like it is not going to make it under the Verazzano Bridge. As we got together in the Windjammer we realized everyone had different dining rooms, tables and times for the main dining. I put together a list of everyone, met with the dining room Maitre D - and we were all seated together at one table I highly objected to Royal Caribbeans new procedure of Mandatory Tipping. I have always felt that I give a tip according the the grade of service I receive, and I was worried that the service would suffer as $12 daily was automatically deducted from my stateroom account for tips. I was pleasantly suprised by the great service that was provided by the staff. Agus Kosim, my stateroom attendant always had a smile and a greeting for me, took great care of my stateroom, and rooted for me when I told him I was on the way to the casino. I was happy to provide an addtional tip for his service. Our Waiter Dinesh, and Assistant Waiter Sherma were fantastic in the main dining room. After the first day Sherma knew i liked a cup of tea, and after that seconds after I sat down in the dining room, I had a nice cup of tea in front of me. The food was fantastic, the service was fantastic and we all chipped in tips over and above what was automatically deducted. My daughter and her husband were celebrating their 27th Wedding Anniversary and our dining team made that celebration a special one. Although the weather was horrible, Royal Caribbean does everything possible to keep everyone entertained. The shows were great. Wildfire - 3 young men singers was fantastic. John Wing -hysterical comedian. And of course for me - I enjoy the Casino. Helen Mavrozumi was a great casino host. As always the time flys by too fast, and you find yourself home dreaming of planning the next cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2013
My wife and I decided to squeeze in one more cruise before baby #2 is born later this summer. We left baby #1 at home with our family. It was really nice to have a week just the two of us. We had an absolutely fabulous time. This was our ... Read More
My wife and I decided to squeeze in one more cruise before baby #2 is born later this summer. We left baby #1 at home with our family. It was really nice to have a week just the two of us. We had an absolutely fabulous time. This was our 20th cruise or so and had to be one of the best yet. Our last cruise was in Dec 2012 on Costa Mediterranea which was horrible (see numerous negative reviews). This cruise could not have been better. The food was not just acceptable, not just good but actually great! There was not one bad meal. The variety was simply amazing. I love Indian food and everyday in the buffet I had several dishes to choose from. The waiters were so nice, the maitre d' staff actually did something unlike many other cruises where you just see them standing at their desk. Our cabin steward Nicolas D'Souza was great. Very polite and friendly. We loved the ship. The skating show was amazing, the shows on the main stage were all great, no 2nd rate entertainers here. Now a word about Leigh, the cruise director: amazing!!!!!! I need say no more. RCCL is very lucky to have him. My wife and I hate smoking and the ship was pretty good. The only place it's an issue is in the casino. They do have 1 smoke free night. This was our 3rd cruise to Bermuda. Would do it again! My overall rating is 9.5/10. One should have absolutely no reservations about this cruise. Oh, one more thing. Don't park at the pier. There is a far less expensive option: Premier parking. It's a few blocks from the pier with a shuttle service for much less $$ Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
We drove to the parking lot at Cape Liberty which is very easy. Parking is $133 for the week. We walked to the loading area with our luggage. Because we had a junior suite, the boarding was very speedy - a private line! We carried on our ... Read More
We drove to the parking lot at Cape Liberty which is very easy. Parking is $133 for the week. We walked to the loading area with our luggage. Because we had a junior suite, the boarding was very speedy - a private line! We carried on our own luggage so it was a breeze. There was a bus waiting to take us directly to the ship and we boarded immediately and went to lunch at by noon. Our room, 9324 was ready by 1:30. This room is sooooo big with king bed, two end tables, a small sofa and two upholstered chairs plus a coffee table. The walk in closet was amazing with plenty of hangers, shelves along with a multitude of drawers and cabinets in the room. We did not use any drawers as the closet was so huge. The room is on the starboard side and is very quiet though conveniently located near the elevator. It is mid ship with a spacious balcony. Nice size bathroom too, all tiled. Just perfect. We selected the "dine at your own time" option and tipped the hostess the first night so we got the same lovely table each night by the window. What a delight to eat watching the waves. Our table was #508 and we had delightful waiters. I had heard that the food on these big cruise lines is prepared ahead of time and kept warm with lamps so I was not expecting it to be very good but it was perfect and delivered with a nice pace. Very tasty menus with season fruit soups which I loved. Always some fish, steak, pasta offered. Prime ribs one night along with lobster too. At 7:30 dining time, we just made the shows so if you want to see the shows, eat at 7 pm. We did go early some evenings and was still able to get our table. We also ate at Portofino for $20 extra each but our travel agent gave us a free coupon so it cost us nothing. It is a small dining room (maybe 60 people)with lovely service. It was worth it just for the change of pace. Food was slightly more upscale but the regular dining room is just as tasty. We also ate at Johnny Rockets which has a $4.95 cover charge each which gives you unlimited burgers/hot dogs, fries but you pay extra for beverages/malts, sundaes. The staff greet everyone loudly coming and going so it is a fun atmosphere. The staff will also dance to some of the oldie's music. It is on the top deck and you can eat outside as well as inside. Good to try once but the main dining room has a BIG buffet each day which is wonderful. Our only disappointment was breakfast one morning with waiter service. Service was slow and food cold. We stuck to the breakfast buffet after that and was very happy. We hung out mostly at Dizzy's jazz club in the evening. It is a mellow crowd with an excellent four piece band. The club overlooks the pool area and is on the top floor of the ship so it is very relaxing. Music is 60's - 80's which is just our speed. The theater shows were well done, many costume changes, singing, dancing, comedy, even an ice show, but we loved best the shows with the guest participation (karaoke, Quest, Battle of the Sexes). I laughed so hard my make up was running down my face. I found myself cheering and screaming with the best of them. Hilarious what people will do on a cruise ship, even when sober! These shows were so great. The cruise director is every bit as funny a performer as the comedian! The spa was lovely and reasonably priced for a cruise line. I had one service that included a brief massage, foot massage and scalp treatment. On the first afternoon, the spa has many raffles and gives away free services so it is worth participating. You have to be present to win. The gym is extensive and well equipped. On the next to last night the spa has another raffle but this time only discount on services so though I won, I did not want to spend even more money. There is a doctor on board that does botox and other face treatments which was the first time I had seen this on a cruise. Do not know if any one took advantage of this. I bought an Internet package for the week for $35. The trick is to download your emails (three minutes) and disconnect immediately. Then do your email responses off line and then go online to send them (another two minutes). Each session is therefore only five minutes. My computer did not disconnect though I thought it had so I went to the guest services for a refund and they promptly gave me a $20 credit. Nice. There were 6 big hot tubs, one indoors, and several pools. Water was about five feet deep and never very crowded. There are enough chairs for everyone as there are chairs on many decks. I hired my own tour guide as I thought the excursions were very expensive. David Fox was the guide: thefox@logic.bm; 441-334-7965 cell. He has a van that holds 6-8 people and charges $40/hr, not per person. He was terrific. There is also an excursion to a beach that is in walking distance. We just walked ourselves for free and saved the $56/per person charge. We left the ship carrying our own luggage which is the way to do it. You leave between 7 - 8:30 and there are no lines anywhere; not at the bus, not at customs, not at leaving the parking lot. We were off the ship and in our car in about 12 minutes. What could be better? We will definitely sail with Royal Carribean again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
Overall. This was our first Royal Caribbean cruise and it won't be our last. We liked everything about the design of Explorer of the Seas, especially the layout. With the Royal Promenade and all dining areas accessed from the center, ... Read More
Overall. This was our first Royal Caribbean cruise and it won't be our last. We liked everything about the design of Explorer of the Seas, especially the layout. With the Royal Promenade and all dining areas accessed from the center, the stairs and elevators were on the side corridors, so there was never a back-up of people getting off the elevators and stairs. In fact, we found it hard to believe there were so many people on board. No matter what we were doing we almost always seemed to have the place to ourselves - the only exception being finding a seat in the Windjammer at peak hours or a place to watch the parade. Entertainment. Top notch, this is what really sets the line apart from Princess and NCL. From the staged shows in the theater to the entertainment around the ship, the quality was superior - we especially loved "One Love" Caribbean band by the pool, "Rosario Strings", a string and piano duet that played at dinner, and the latin band at Aquarium Bar. We don't spend a lot of time in bars but during brief walk-throughs we found good entertainment there - especially the jazz singers and the Royal Caribbean Orchestra at "Dizzy's." Even the juggler was better than average. The ice show is absolutely NOT to be missed. Be sure to pay attention when they announce tickets are available. There is no extra charge but you MUST have a ticket to get in. The cruise director Richard Spacey and his assistant Lee are phenomenal. Spacey is multi-talented and both are quick witted comedians that can ad lib with the best. They have a "morning show" that is show on your stateroom tv. I also recommend the Love and Marriage Game Show. Yes, this version of the old Newlywed Game is standard fare on all ships, but Spacey's ad libs are hysterical. I never expected to enjoy a parade on a ship, but they did a great job with lights, color, costumes and floats - in a very limited space. It was especially nice when travelling to Bermuda off season because you don't get to see the street festival in Hamilton after mid-October. Food. We found the food to be very good to excellent, not outstanding, but consistent. The buffet (Windjammer) had a lot of variety with an Asian table in the back (Island Grill) and most of the menu items from the restaurants were there. At breakfast, you can get pancakes, waffles, and custom-ordered fried eggs or omellettes at the aft area. Don't forget the whipped cream for your waffles - the real deal. We are accustomed to Freestyle dining so we chose My Time Dining. Don't wait till last minute to make reservations! My only complaint was that there was no free ice cream, just a self-serve Arctic Zone with frozen yogurt that was icy and not too milky. If you want real ice cream, there is Ben & Jerry's for an extra fee. NCL and Princess had an ice cream parlor that was open limited hours but had real ice cream cones and cups with varied flavors. We ate at Portofino one night - again, very good food but nothing I can't make at home (OK so I'm Italian, what do I expect?). We totally loved Johnny Rockets and the staff are so much fun - they dance at the half hour - but if I ate like that all the time, I'd need a coronary by-pass. (FYI, it's burgers, shakes, sundaes, grilled cheese, onion rings and french fries). I had milkshakes on a regular basis - they even custom made a banana shake for me. KUDOS to the Johnny Rockets staff. Service. The service was excellent, but I've never really been disappointed with service when cruising. Our room steward "Jacob" made lovely towel animals and was always available to go the extra mile. We had a lovely waiter at Portofino named Pryesh Patel and the wait staff at the Columbus restaurant was also great. I want to mention again how great the crew is at Johnny Rockets. One thing that set this crew apart was the efficiency and training that was apparent throughout - they really knew what they were doing and made everything clear. Some ships there is chaos at debarkation or getting on/off ship at ports, but we NEVER had a problem. More on "debarkation" later... Spa/gym. We LOVED the fact that the steam room and sauna were free. There is also a hot tub in the gym area. There was plenty of equipment, the gym had beautiful and elegant design features and the gym director was wonderful and encouraging. The staff was a bit small - just the one guy! - and I was somewhat disappointed with the limited offering of free classes. Working out on a cruise, plus walking up and down steps instead of elevators, is the only way I can keep the weight gain to a minimum. I did not use any extra spa services. Public areas, sports deck, etc. My favorite thing was miniature golf on the 14th deck. How cool, to play golf on a ship. We also tried the golf simulator which had major glitches in the software, but was fun. Unfortunately, my DH wouldn't let me do any rock climbing for fear of injury (Staff assured us it was safe) - I saved it until the last day but it was too windy because Hurricane Sandy was flexing her muscles. I pity the people who sailed out after us. We don't skate but the ship offers in-line skating every day and when the ice show is not in session, you can also ice skate in the ice rink. There's also a nice basketball court and there were people playing almost all the time. We loved the design of the ship, so many pretty elements, so beautifully decorated everywhere. Even direction signs were in the shape of a ship. There was one ladies bathroom (near Portofino) that had a picture window and plants! Children's activities. We weren't traveling with young children, and there weren't many on board, but they seemed to be well entertained with an extensive video arcade and planned activities. I didn't think much of the children's pool. Embark/disembark. Embarkation at Port Liberty was a bit confusing because you drop off the luggage in one place and then go into a building and wait on line, and then take a bus to the ship - even though the ship is right there walkign distance! I guess they don't want pedestrians getting hurt with all the luggage trucks. When we arrived with our own car, there was a back up of cars to drop off luggage and we weren't exactly sure where to go but it all worked out. We arrived at port around 11:30 and were on the ship about an hour later. Rooms aren't ready till 1 but you can eat at the Windjammer. I don't recommend carrying a lot of luggage around with you, but bring the essentials because your actual luggage may not arrive until closer to dinnertime. Coming home was a breeze - unlike the horrendous lines we experienced returning to NYC on another trip - we were eating a lovely breakfast at 8:00, off the ship by 9, cleared through customs and in our car by 9:20, and home by 10:00. The Explorer staff shone with efficiency here: we were escorted into a waiting area where they actually served coffee and pastries, the staff made sure nobody blocked entrances or walkways, and they called our group on time. We chose "express walk off" because we pack light and we had our own car at port. Bermuda. This was our third trip to Bermuda in five years, so this vacation was more about the ship than the destination, but I must say that this is one of our all time favorite places. We recommend using public transportation and buying a two or three-day pass that allows you to take buses and ferries everywhere, rather than booking any shore excursions. Our favorite places are Horseshoe Bay for pink sand beach, St. George's for sheer charm and history and Hamilton, also charming but more cosmopolitan. This time we found St. John's Bay, a small pink sand beach that was nearly deserted, which we reached on foot after a beautiful nature hike at Spittal Pond. The tourist season was over so nothing was crowded, but in season we recommend the Harbour Nights festival at Hamilton, with native dancing, and the "dunking" at St. George's. Check schedules and plan carefully. Save the last day for touring the Royal Navy Dockyard area, where your ship is docked, and take a tour of the old fort. There is great shopping here too. On this trip we did a "first" and went to a golf tournament, the PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Port Royal golf course. The views are spectacular. My husband didn't bring his golf clubs but maybe next time. Conclusion. So, in conclusion, we were happily surprised by Explorer of the Seas. We had read on CC that the ship was a bit run down, and we had more than a little trepidation about some reviews that mentioned a sewer odor, but we experienced NONE OF THAT. The ship was clean, well maintained, and although some of the design elements were old, it was all in classic good taste and still looked good. We look forward to another cruise on a Voyager class ship or maybe we are ready for the BIG ones Oasis or Allure. We would highly recommend this ship to anyone looking for fun on the at-sea days as well as a beautiful destination island. And if you live in the NY/NJ area, you won't have to fly to the port, making this a very economical choice. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
After taking a Carnival cruise last year and being completely disappointed I was pleasantly surprised by Royal Caribbean's Explorer of The Seas. The cabins need a little updating...starting to have a "worn" look.The public ... Read More
After taking a Carnival cruise last year and being completely disappointed I was pleasantly surprised by Royal Caribbean's Explorer of The Seas. The cabins need a little updating...starting to have a "worn" look.The public ares must have been updated not too long ago, they seem very nice. Food very good. Service excellent. Entertainment was very good also. Smoking wasn't even a big issue( it was on Carnival). We prefer smaller ships, but if we had to cruise on a mid-sized ship I would cruise with Royal Caribbean again. My biggest complaint was where we docked in Bermuda. I understand that all cruise ships that go to Bermuda now dock at the Dockyard, and I understand why. With the cruise ships getting bigger and bigger they can no longer "fit" into St. Georges or Hamilton. Yet Bermuda just isn't the same experience when you're at The Dockyard..you're so far away from everything. Don't believe for a minute when they tell you that the buses and ferries are convenient and that with a transportation pass you can go anywhere. Not true...well not exactly. The transportation pass is wonderful during the day, but if you want to go somewhere in the evening, the buses and ferries don't run quite as frequently. We took a cab to Elbow Beach for a glass of wine one evening...and a cab back (to The Dockyard). Now Elbow Beach is a very magical place, but $108 for two glasses of wine..hmmmmmmm. That was the cost for two glasses of wine and cab fare back and forth. My complaint is not with the cruise line...but maybe it is. PLEASE MAKE SMALLER SHIPS THAT CAN VISIT PORTS THAT ARE REALLY SPECIAL!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
We traveled to Carteret, NJ and spent the night in a hotel the night prior to our cruise. We were only 30 minutes to the cruise port in Bayonne. This was our first time out of Bayonne so the drop off of luggage, then parking, then waiting ... Read More
We traveled to Carteret, NJ and spent the night in a hotel the night prior to our cruise. We were only 30 minutes to the cruise port in Bayonne. This was our first time out of Bayonne so the drop off of luggage, then parking, then waiting to take a bus was different for us, but it all went smoothly. Since we all had different numbers for the bus we just all went together on the bus that most of us had the number for, since there were 16 of us. Boarded the ship around 11:30am and went to Windjammer for lunch. Walked around the ship. Lots of photos and explored some of the ship. We were the only ones from our group with the inside cabin. The rooms is small, but we never spent much time in our room except to sleep and shower. Harry our room attendant was always on top of things. We had 3 - 6 tops tables together and enjoyed our dinners with our family & friends. We only missed one night in the MDR. Our server was Antonia and the other two tables had Rosa. They were both very attentive. We got a wine package also. The food was not as bad as all the reviews I have read. Everyone seemed to enjoy there dinners. The ship was beautiful, the staff more then attentive, and all 16 enjoyed their cruise. We only saw the ice skating show, and it is definitely worth seeing. We got tickets the second day. We enjoyed the pool deck and the belly flop contest and sexist man contest. We also spent many nights in the Schooner Bar listening to Roxy and saw him preform his last show on board. He was excellent. We also spent time in the Chambers dancing the night away. Bermuda is one of my favorite places and this was our third visit. We went to Tobacco Bay in St. George and to Horseshoe Bay. Horseshoe Bay was our favorite spot. Loved the pink sand. We also did a sunset sail with Sally Bum Bum and we all had such a wonderful time. Captain Leon sang and sailed us back to our ship as we watched the sunset. Best night ever with our dear friends and family. Disembarking was a little crazy with lot of people using the express walk off. It tied up the elevators and we were just trying to go to the dining room for breakfast. When we disembarked around 10:30 the stairways were jammed full of people waiting to get off because everyone had to wait for the bus. After being on the Allure of the Seas, which had the best disembarking that we have ever encounter, this was a little crazy but we were off and in our car by 11:30am. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
The Explorer is a great boat with plenty to do and an outstanding staff! Some of the review talk about the age of the ship. The boat is 12 years old, but you'd never know except for the dated furniture here or there. Everyting is ... Read More
The Explorer is a great boat with plenty to do and an outstanding staff! Some of the review talk about the age of the ship. The boat is 12 years old, but you'd never know except for the dated furniture here or there. Everyting is perfectly clean and in working order. The staff is terrific. From the stateroom attendant to pool attendants to serving staff everyone is incredibly sweet, very attentive and works hard to make your experience a great one. The food is better than average, yet not absolutely top-of-the-line, but then again RC isn't a top-of-the-line cruise line either. You most definitely get what you pay for an more. THE BEST PART: The cruise staff is the best I've ever encountered. Cruise Director Richard Spacey is incredible. Funny, charming, always visible and everyone loves him. He makes the cruise. His staff is outstanding. I HIGHLY reccomend this cruise. It spends half the week in Bermuda (most ports are now limited to hours), has a great staff, nice rooms and Cape Libery, while out in the middle of nowhere, is really easy to get into and out of. It was the quickest I've ever left a cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
We embarked from Cape Liberty on Sunday. I always get lost as the GPS doesn't know that a left turn was eliminated. We entered the passenger termiinal easily and were promptly taken care of buy the staff. It was a slow car approach ... Read More
We embarked from Cape Liberty on Sunday. I always get lost as the GPS doesn't know that a left turn was eliminated. We entered the passenger termiinal easily and were promptly taken care of buy the staff. It was a slow car approach as there was lots of traffic. I rejoined my wife after I parked the car. Once on board we were directed to the cafeteria for a delightful lunch. We signed up for a wine package. Lots of people but more than enough chases to go around. We elected open dining. Reservations were made on board (no one told us to preregister). Table fo two at 5:30 PM so that we could enjoy the wine as an aperitif. The food was excellent and the choices were more than adequate. Breakfast and lunch were in the dining room except for when we were docked in Bermuda when only the cafeteria was open Food was excellent there, also with more choices than available in the Dining room. Like all ships the inside room we had was small, the shower miniscule, and the tea table excess so we had it removed. We saw only one ice show, the best of the entertainment on board. The theater shows were not great. We missed dance floors with slow dancing; as we had on other cruises, but the younger crowd had plenty of modern footsteps. Our ship had 26 lifeboats with a capacity of 150 each, for about 3500 passengers and 1100 crew. Total of about 4600 people. Before you do the math let me tell you that about 50% of the people should be considered obese. Most would require 2 seats on the lifeboat. capacity = 3900 cf.: Titanic We did have another vessel ram us.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
My wife and I left Cape Liberty on the 23rd of September. This was probably the best cruise we have ever taken. Since we live about a hour away from Bayonne it was nice not to have to fly somewhere and deal with the airport experience. We ... Read More
My wife and I left Cape Liberty on the 23rd of September. This was probably the best cruise we have ever taken. Since we live about a hour away from Bayonne it was nice not to have to fly somewhere and deal with the airport experience. We left our house and within in 1 1/2 hours we were on our cabin balcony over looking the skyline of NYC. Of course being in a Grand Suite the priority check in was a plus. There was no line, just show your passport and boarding pass. The room was plenty big enough for the two of us, with two sinks, plenty of closet space, comfortable bed and a double sized balcony which included two chairs a table and a chaise lounge. We took full advantage of the concierge service that was offered. VIP seating for all shows, the concierge club along with it's no charge cocktails from 5 - 8:30 having the concierge book our massages etc. The best part was having breakfast in the Portofino restaurant every morning, excellent white table cloth service, all of your food was made to order, it was so nice not having to deal with lines in the Windjammer. I real treat was that we sat next to the captain on three occasions while having breakfast, he was extremely friendly and would answer any questions that we had plus let us in on a few other facts. The average age of this voyage was about 45 - 65 very few kids and teenagers. That was our thinking to go on a trip when kids are in school. The food was outstanding, prime rib twice to die for, plenty of seafood and the lobster was much better than on previous cruise ships I have been on. The service was excellent although the first night it took awhile to get our coffee after dinner but the remaining six night's it came out promptly. Over all I thought the staff was excellent, very friendly, accommodating and would bed over backwards for you especially Mario our concierge. We enjoyed all of the shows except for the comedians we thought they were a little weak, the ice show was done very professionally and captured your attention throughout the show. Of course we were blessed with excellent weather, both in Bermuda and the days at sea. While in Bermuda we climbed Gibbs lighthouse, hit Horseshoe bay twice and found a most interesting sea glass beach in St. George. The bus and ferry service was excellent as what usually is the case in Bermuda. One big treat is staying in port for two night's. This way your not rushed to go and see everything and get back on the ship by 4:00. We were able to relax and do things at our own pace. Bottom line we got detached from the outside world. One little tip is to take advantage of the Spa, the giant jacuzzi rarely had anyone in it as opposed to those by the pool and the steam room felt great. We plan on going again if not once year twice a year from now on. The captain told us the Explorer will be taking a voyage to Canada in September 2013 and over night in Quebec City. We will surly look into that. Happy Cruising. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
Having just completed a 7 day cruise to Bermuda on Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas I thought I would share some of my thoughts. I really didn't set the bar too high for the condition of the ship know it was 10+ years old ... Read More
Having just completed a 7 day cruise to Bermuda on Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas I thought I would share some of my thoughts. I really didn't set the bar too high for the condition of the ship know it was 10+ years old and due to refurbishment next year, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised. The ship was in very good condition overall, yes there are areas that need attention such as rust on the balconies, things chipped or nicked here and there. Overall not too bad. CABIN - We had booked a junior suite, (Cabin 9318), which is dead mid ship and the center of the "bump out" which made for a very private balcony. The room was very comfortable for 2 in terms of space/storage. The bed was another story, very uncomfortable, the mattress looked old and worn. Our cabin steward, Audriene, (who was amazing), tried his best by adding a foam insert which help marginally. I couldn't have asked for a better steward, he was unobtrusive and efficient. FOOD - It's sad to say that the quality of the food was one or two steps ahead of Perkins. It's been a while since I was on RCCL line and the overall food quality has sub-par. We actually ate our meals in the Windjammer since there was a better variety and usually less noisy atmosphere. Portofino's was good, service was excellent and the less crowded, noisy surroundings are much better for having a nice conversation with your dining mates. ENTERTAINMENT/OVERALL: Again, big disappointment. The entertainment was OK, except for the Ice Show, which was excellent. It just saddens me to see how much Royal Caribbean has slipped off it's mark. What I used to consider to be "lesser" cruise lines such as Carnival and Norwegian really surpass Royal Caribbean in many categories. Would I say RCCL again, sure I will, I'm an eternal optimist. RCCL has some beautiful ships out there they just really need to improve there overall passenger experience in my humble opinion. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
Sailed on the Explorer of the Seas for a 7day Bermuda cruise out of Cape Liberty. There was 6 of us, myself and DH, DH's parents, DH's sister and brother in law. Cape Liberty is a little confusing, not much signage, but its ... Read More
Sailed on the Explorer of the Seas for a 7day Bermuda cruise out of Cape Liberty. There was 6 of us, myself and DH, DH's parents, DH's sister and brother in law. Cape Liberty is a little confusing, not much signage, but its convienent for us because we don't have to fly. We arrived pretty early and breezed through the check in. There was coffee, tea, cookies, etc. We were on board by noon. We always wear our swimsuits on and hit the pools and pool bar. We were lounging, drinking, dancing on the Lido deck. It was also awesome to see the NYC skyline while you in the port. Then we did the muster drill. Then we got ready for dinner in the MDR and then walked around ship a little and then called it a night. We all went on a cruise last year together and all we did was lay out everyday and drink and be in bed by 9pm passed out. We swore this time we would do more that the ship had to offer and we did for sure. We always did the windjammer for breakfast and lunch, washy washy! We played mini golf and the walking track in the mornings, and played shuffleboard alot. Then we would lay out some and a drink or two. The shows were excellent. The ice show is not to be missed. There was also a dancing with the stars type show, musical review show, a juggler/gravity show, and two guys that sang and did comedy they were amazing....havent laughed like that in so long. Also loved that the newlywed show is at night....always so good and unpredictable. The last cruise we did was Carnival and no one the shows really interested us. Bermuda was beautiful. The first day we did the King's Wharf area. We went to snorkel beach....HATED IT....private beach thats $5 to get in...glass everywhere....have to pay for anything...the boys snorkeled but glass everywhere in water and beach...hard to walk around. Went to frog and onion that night, i thought it was lame. The next day we bought a one day ferry/bus pass and went and walked around Hamilton...so cute and charming! Asked locals how to get to bus station...went to horseshoe bay...really worth the hype...bus ride was cool...alot to look at and then all the sudden its beautiful natural beaches and clear water for a mile or so. The next day at Bermuda was a half day. We did a glass bottom boat tour for $20 pp...worth it. Nice guys that run it...Coral Princess. See the reefs and shipwreck and lots of fish. Just beautiful to be out in the water surrounded by blue. Then back on the ship. Last sea day was peaceful. The MDR we only ate in 3 times, our servers were rude, even ruder if you didnt get something extra $$$. THe food wasn't great either, carnival was much better. But I liked eating a quick dinner then heading to the shows, I dont know how people do it, eating dinner for so long and being able to stay up so late. Also 90% of the desserts are sugar-free...ugh!!!! Richard Spacey -Cruise Director and Leigh - Activities Director - UNBELIEVEABLY AMAZING. See them everywhere. They are a comedy show on their own. After every show stay a couple minutes to hear what Richard has to say---hilarious. Also his evolution of dance skit is amazing he does it before a show and his top 10 dumbest questions people have asked him - you cant make this stuff up!!!!! NOTES TO SELF FOR FUTURE CRUISES: BRING CONTACT SOLUTION - IT IS NOT SOLD ON BOARD. BRING SPARE PAIR OF CONTACTS - EITHER SALT WATER OR SUNSCREEN TOTALLY RUINED MY ONE CONTACT AND WAS SO PAINFUL I HAD TO WEAR GLASSES. BRING YOUR OWN HAIR DRYER. BRING YOUR OWN SHAMPOO, CONDITIONER, BODY WASH. THEIR SHAM/CONDI COMBO IS HORRIBLE. BRING EXERCISE CLOTHES TO DO THE JOGGING TRACK AND EXERCISE CLASSES. BRING SWEATERS OR SHRUGS - A/C - THEY KEEP THE SHIP COLD. BRING BATTERIES FOR CAMERA. Really love cruising, expecially since I hate flying. So now have been on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Like them both for different reasons. Biggest difference - Carnival - excellent food, lame shows. Royal Caribbean - ok MDR food, excellent shows. We got so much out of this ship. All the shows and activities would have cost so much back home. My deciding factors for booking cruises will now be the cost, itinerary, and the things you can do onboard the ship! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
We arrived around 12:30 PM used Premier Parking Lot for 11/day instead of the lot near the ship 19/day. That went smooth. Got VIP check-in thank you AAA travel for arranging that. It went downhill from there. Our cabin 6270 was apparently ... Read More
We arrived around 12:30 PM used Premier Parking Lot for 11/day instead of the lot near the ship 19/day. That went smooth. Got VIP check-in thank you AAA travel for arranging that. It went downhill from there. Our cabin 6270 was apparently flooded prior to our arrival. Now why they would put anyone in the stateroom that had been flooded is beyond comprehension. Did they think we wouldn't notice??? Come on guys, really? So my husband went up to Deck 5 to talk to Guest Relations. The Guest Relations person took our cabin # and said he would send someone from housekeeping. In the mean time we went to the Windjammer cafe (buffet) for lunch. The food was disgusting! No really! I would have gladly ate at McDonalds. I am not a lover of fast food but in this case I would have made an exception. Went back to the stateroom and met a man from housekeeping who told us that the smell was not normal. Really? I could have told you that. Went back up to Guest Relations and was told to wait until 5:00 PM at which time the manifest would be reconciled and we would get a new cabin assigned. Finally after two more visits to the Guest Relations desk we were moved to 8280. Also as we were moving our own luggage, no one was sent to move it, the stateroom attendant assigned to 6270 finally admitted that there had been a "problem" with water in that cabin. She asked if anyone from Guest Relations arranged for our luggage to be transported to the new cabin? We said no and then insisted on moving our luggage to us. Kiddos for her for doing the right thing! So we were off to a not so great start on our 5 night cruise to Bermuda. We unpacked and walked around to acclimate ourself with the ship. Dinner service what a hair better but again the food was subpar. One day at lunch there was a foreign object in my appetizer. The head of the waitstaff came over to apologize and tried to explain away the problem by saying that with thousands of people being served something like is this bound to happen! The object was a choking hazard. I completely lost my appetite at that point. We ate dinner on the formal night at Portofinos ($40.00 extra for two) and the food was no different. My crab and shrimp risotto was subpar. I needed a microscope to find the crab. The shrimp tasted fishy. Food often arrived cold and the steak was grisly and of poor quality. Come on guys really? Selection was poor and the portion size considerably scaled back compared to the Carnival cruise out of Miami five years earlier. We also kept getting charged for the mini-bar in our room. We didn't drink one drop of alcohol on the cruise so we don't know why we kept getting charged. Everyday my husband had to check the bill online and go to Guest Relations to get the bill adjusted. Manager of Guest Relations called the cabin at 11:30 PM one night. They offered to give us 20% our next cruise but we turned down that offer and settled on $100 on board credit which we used in the gift shops. We ate at Johnny Rockets ($4.95 pp extra) one day for lunch and found the fried food onion rings and fries acceptable but my husbands chicken sandwich was grisly and disgusting! Chick-Fila would have been better. My burger was cold and tastless! Horseshoe Bay was nice in Bermuda and easier to get to by bus. Hamilton the capital was boring with high end shops and low end shops selling junk. We walked around for a couple of hours to kill time before we left the port. The ice show that last day at sea was the highlight of the entertainment on board. How those skaters didn't fall more since the seas were very rough that evening. Kuddos to them. Did I waste my money on RC Explorer of the Seas? Absolutely! Would I cruise on RC, absolutely not. The reviews you are reading about this ship that are positive either had a different crew or the people were too drunk to notice. There are more bars on the ship than anything else. This is how the cruiseline is making money! On liquor baby, liquor. There were A LOT of people drunk on this ship. Bartenders and bar maids everywhere! People were drinking from 6:30 AM until 6:30 AM the next day. Believe it or not there were AA meetings on board. I am sure attendance was minimal. Save your money and take a cruise on one of the other cruise lines, I hear Celebrity is nicer. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
Overall this was a great cruise. The ship, even though it is older, was in great shape. The crew has done a great job keeping it fresh and new looking. The only problems that I had was the dining room. The food was not hot and kind of ... Read More
Overall this was a great cruise. The ship, even though it is older, was in great shape. The crew has done a great job keeping it fresh and new looking. The only problems that I had was the dining room. The food was not hot and kind of bland in taste. The service was excellent and friendly. The other thing that bothered me was that people came to the dining room for diner wearing shorts, tee shirts and sandals. I have no problem with that type of dress for breakfast, lunch or the Windjammer but not for diner in the main dining room. Boarding was a snap and Royal Caribbean deserves a lot of credit the the boarding and exiting the ship. It was so smooth and relaxed. It seemed that in no time we were in the dining room looking at our table. Would I cruise Royal Caribbean again? Yes I would, in a heart beat. The accommodations were excellent. The entertainment was top quality and the staff are the most friendliest in the industry. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
This cruise was just for my husband and I. We are both in our fifties and love to cruise but not if we have to fly to a port. Being only 3 hours away from Cape Liberty/Bayonne NJ, we decided to give the Explorer of the Seas a try. Overall, ... Read More
This cruise was just for my husband and I. We are both in our fifties and love to cruise but not if we have to fly to a port. Being only 3 hours away from Cape Liberty/Bayonne NJ, we decided to give the Explorer of the Seas a try. Overall, it was a very nice cruise and we were not disappointed! We chose the Hampton Inn in Elizabeth, NJ for our pre-cruise overnight stay. Although this hotel is close to the Newark airport and advertises that it's only 5 or so miles from the cruise terminal, the ride from the hotel to the ship was at least 20+ minutes. By taxi or car service, it is at least a $45-55 trip (one way!)and in retrospect, hubby and I decided it would have been more cost effective to have parked at the port for $19 per day. The Hampton Inn was rather nice but have no restaurant or bar lounges on the property. They do offer carry-out menus to a couple of nearby sub shops, pizza, etc. Embarkation at Cape Liberty was one of the fastest I've ever experienced. It was no more than 10-15minutes from car to ship (including the very short shuttle ride. We did use the suite line so that may have helped quite a bit. When we boarded the ship, the Windjammer wasn't even open yet! We were one of the first groups of people to get served and seated--no crowds and plenty of seating available! Food selections were the usual soups, salads, Honey-stung chicken, green veggies, roast beef carving, desserts, etc. Although a long way from 'stellar', the food was good and very inviting. We toured the ship a bit and found each and every area more beautiful than the last...the Explorer of the Seas is quite a pretty lady! We stopped at the Champagne bar and treated ourselves to a couple glasses of Moet and Chandon (sp?) and in no time at all felt very relaxed and comfortable in our new surroundings. We where enjoying ourselves so much, we did not realize that the cabins had been opened. Upon entering our cabin, I knew we had made the right choice...Center hump, deck nine, port side. The cabin is very spacious, lots of storage, walk-in closet, nice sized bathroom with tub/shower combo. The only downside was the furniture on the balcony...it was rather dirty, paint chipped off of the frames of the loungers and one chair was actually torn in a couple of places. We didn't complain because we were not out on the balcony non-stop and when we were, I just covered the chair with the bathrobes provided which made it very comfy! Our cabin attendant, Rosa, was excellent. I did not see her much but everything I needed or needed her to attend to, was done expediously. Having only one sea day before docking in Bermuda and one on the return from Bermuda, we crammed a lot into our short time on board. Here's a list of what I remember us doing: *Jewlery making class (not bad for $10) *Art Auction (free champagne) *Casino (very stingy!) *Silent Party held in The Chamber night club (too much fun with this!) *RCI Singers/Dancers production show- "Fast Forward" (very good) *Ice Show- "Spirits of the Season" Ice Spectacular (excellent!) *Visit to the Peek-A-Boo bridge *Johnny Rockets- good food and crazy atmosphere *Dinner at Portofino's for fee restaurant - excellent food and service *Special party for C/A members Platinum and up (free drinks,ships officers present and comments from the Captain) good experience for me *Parades on the Royal promenade (the costumes were fabulous!) I'm sure I've forgotten a few things and we even found quite places on the outer decks to simply- relax! In Bermuda, we booked an excursion thru RCI. I was a small group of us doing a 5-6hr tour of the entire Island. We traveled by mini-bus with a lively and expert tour guide. We visited Gibbs lighthouse, St. George, Somerset, Hamilton, we stopped at one of the beautiful public beaches, saw million dollar mansions (even saw a house owned by Diana Ross) and had a little time for lunch (on your own) and shopping. Not a bad deal for all we covered. I would recommend this tour via RCI. Because we were in port overnight, we explored a little in the Dock Yard area on the first night. The weather was perfect for the day and a half were were in Bermuda. On the second day (the half day) hubby and I shopped at the Clock Tower Mall,the GlassWorks factory and the Rum Cake store. There is a free troll that covers the Dock side area so getting around is very easy...the troll comes all the way up to the ship which is great for folks with mobility issues. We also visited the Sea Glass beach but this was not a good place for swimming...very rocky. We did not deal with the Adventure Ocean; did not hang around the pool; did not use any of the Spa services; visited the Solarium but couldn't stay due to the overcrowding. We only had dinner three of the five nights in the Main Dining room- Second seating. In my opinion, the food quality and presentation was only fair to good. We used room service each morning for a quick but hearty breakfast on our balcony. For lunch hubby preferred the Windjammer while I enjoyed the Cafe Promenade. Our hosts for this cruise were as follows: Captain Henrik Loy, Master Gary Davies, Hotel Director Leigh Xuereb, Cruise Director Damir Blazicevic, Chief Engineer Ingolf Lars Pish, Food/Beverage Director Colette Sa Joe, Loyaly/Cruise Sales Manager Overall, we had a great time. Although the Explorer is the largest ship we've yet to sail on, she did feel cramped and crowded from time to time. However, she is a beautiful vessel and her crew and managers are some of the best I've sailed with to date. I would gladly sail the Explorer again and I highly recommend her to others. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
Background: My parents, husband and I have all sailed previously. This was the first cruise for our daughters, ages 18 and 14. It will certainly not be their last! We sailed from Bayonne, which is not beautiful, but incredibly convenient ... Read More
Background: My parents, husband and I have all sailed previously. This was the first cruise for our daughters, ages 18 and 14. It will certainly not be their last! We sailed from Bayonne, which is not beautiful, but incredibly convenient and efficient, drove to port and left our car in the lot on site. Super easy! We quickly checked in and received our "bus number", waiting no more that 10 minutes to be called. We were then transported from the terminal to the ship...a 60 second ride, and on the ship by 12! Rooms were ready right on time (1:30pm). We were in 7688, a corner aft, with an AMAZING balcony. The girls were in a large ocean view across the hall. My parents were in an aft Jr. Suite on deck 10, which we have already booked for next year! All of the cabins were clean, and the beds were heavenly! 1/3 had flat screen (I know some people are interested...although we never turned ours on except to check our account, which didn't work. Oh well!) We had traditional dining at 6pm, at a table for 6. The service and the food were excellent. Lots of choices, even for my picky 14 year old who eats next to nothing! Breakfast and lunch most days in the Windjammer. I am not a big fan of buffets, but all in all, it was enjoyable. Loved ordering room service as a wake up call and having tea and danish out on the balcony. What a great way to start the day! The public areas of the ship are in beautiful shape, and the staff is constantly polishing and buffing. For a ship of her age, she looks wonderful. We did read in some other reviews that she was "looking tired". The only evidence of that we saw was in the halls of the cabin areas, where the carpet was pretty worn, and a couple of elevator light that were out. My house should look so good! My daughter did not participate in the teen club. There were not many kids on the ship, and since my oldest is 18, and not able to participate, they enjoyed each others company and found plenty to do together around the ship. In port, we ventured out on our own. The first day was total rain. Many people, including my parents, ventured out and did some touring. DH and I took advantage of the quiet ship, and the girls took this day as an opportunity to sleep in. Day 2 was overcast, but the rain held off. It is easy to get around in Bermuda, and we did a little exploring on our own. What a beautiful, clean, friendly country! On board entertainment was great, especially the Love and Marriage show and the ice show. Richard Spacey was our cruise director, and every wonderful thing that has been said about him is true! I think both of my DDs fell in love with him! Leigh was great as well. Disembarkation was fast and easy. We were in one of the later groups, and all went smoothly. I cant wait to be back on board again next year! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
This cruise to Bermuda was my 3rd one, my BF's second time to the island. We made these plans at the last minute as we were trying to find a vacation which wasn't lasting a full week for various personal reasons and which would ... Read More
This cruise to Bermuda was my 3rd one, my BF's second time to the island. We made these plans at the last minute as we were trying to find a vacation which wasn't lasting a full week for various personal reasons and which would fit our budget. When this cruise showed up with a discount for NJ residents and there was still superior balconies left 3 weeks before departure, we grabbed it. Having never sailed on RCI before, we depended on the many reviews on Cruise Critic and my travel agents advice (who happens to be my sister) as to whether or not the Explorer would suit us. Overall, it seemed to be ok although perhaps we had a few concerns based on what we'd read. We just got back this morning so everything is very fresh in my head and I'll go through each point to comment on everything one by one. EMBARKATION: Getting on the boat/through customs went rather smoothly. We arrived with plenty of time to spare, having learned a lesson the last time we sailed when we misread the documents and had to rush to the pier (my fault!). We live rather close to Cape Liberty, it only took about 1/2 an hour taxi ride over and check-in took less than 45 minutes before we were on the boat and in our cabin. Everyone involved were pleasant and professional. The lines looked long but moved quite fast. Some people have complained about the facility but honestly, who cares what the port building looks like? It's not bad at all and you're only there a short while before shuttle buses whisk you to the boat. I have no complaints about this process at all. PUBLIC ROOMS: The ship, as others have said, is quite lovely even though it's older. It's kept in good repair overall. I didn't notice anything that stood out anywhere that made it look worn or tired in the public areas - nor did it look particularly dated either. The ship is very easy to navigate; much better than the last NCL boat we were on. Loved the fact there was an outside promenade to walk around! We missed this on NCL's "Epic" incredibly. CABIN: We were in a superior ocean view balcony stateroom, #7378 starboard, very far aft but not an aft room. While not the most up-to-date in appearance by modern standards, it was well kept, had adequate storage, the bathroom was fine (other than the ring around the toilet bowl which certainly was from years of scrubbing - that toilet could use being replaced). The bed was comfortable - which was a big concern of mine. We requested extra pillows, including a specialty pillow because I have neck problems. Our room attendant; "Dewey" (Dui?) was fantastic! He went over and beyond the call of duty to the point of even returning our pool towels for us. I swear he was the only person on that boat who knew what he was doing ALL the time (we tipped him extra - as we had pre-paid our tips due to my time dining). The refrigerator was abysmal as many had mentioned. We had Dewey empty it for us, and we even at some point unplugged it because it wasn't keeping anything cold at all and was making odd noises. Anyway, we were very pleased with the room - it was close enough to the elevator but far enough not to be a problem, and we liked that we were at a part of the ship near the restaurants so we didn't have to walk all the way forward for meals. For sure, one of our favorite cabins of all the times we've cruised. FITNESS/RECREATION: We only used the mini-golf, which was actually a lot of fun. We're not sports/fitness oriented so it was a nice diversion to have on the boat. We would have used the ping pong tables but it was pretty windy to be chasing little balls around the deck lol. ENRICHMENT: I suppose them mean lectures and such? This seemed lacking to us. Towel folding, wine tastings and the same exact art auctions on every other boat aren't exactly what I have in mind for this category. I think they could do better in this regard. RATES: Typical of all other cruises I've been on for drinks, etc. However, I did feel ripped off by the money I spent on my juice package since I was unable to keep said juice cold in my refrigerator. Those juice bottles are large. I never drink an entire one in one sitting; I was using them to take my medications in the evening/morning. By not being able to keep them chilled I had to toss out half a bottle each time. What a waste of money. Next time I'll suck it up and take the walk to get the free ice tea instead. DINING: Awful. This is where RCI needs to really do some serious work. I have SO many complaints about the food and food service. Let me preface this by saying that I am a serious home cook. I know food very well. I am offended when restaurants try and pass of inferior quality product to their patrons or do "bait and switches" on you. Or when they just don't even try. Or when the service isn't checking plates before they go out to the floor. I don't like being lied to by wait staff. And I especially dislike being told I'm wrong about something when it's obvious that I'm right. I, am their worst nightmare and I am vocal about it. Two examples. Fisherman's Platter night. First, the lobster and shrimp is under cooked - practically raw in fact. On my plate, is an empty headed shrimp, and only 3 or them for that matter. There is no broccoli as mentioned on the menu, carrots instead; which I dislike. Additionally, I had ordered an order of an Indian dish as a side for my BF and I to share, a chickpea curry which came with a crisp peppery crack-like accompaniment called a "Papadam" to scoop up the curry. Instead, they give me a piece of pita bread. First I call over the head waiter, who tells me they are a) The broccoli was of poor quality, so they are substituting carrots and oh didn't my waiter tell me this? and b) sorry for the headless shrimp, he'll get me more and c) he'll get the papadam. He comes back with new shrimp, still under cooked. So, I called over the maitre d' (who, had already gotten to known us a prior evening due to a terribly cooked pasta dish that was literally like glue and an over cooked fish dish which was like shoe leather). He tells us a) there WAS broccoli, just not a lot of it and the waiter should have given me the choice of that OR carrots b) he's very sorry about the seafood being undercooked and thanked me for telling him as he needs to know these things and c) he rolled his eyes basically insinuating that many of the wait staff don't know the difference between a papadam and a pita bread. I had a long conversation with him, impressing on him that every meal we'd had in the main dining room was problematic, had to be returned and re-done. This continued for the whole trip. "Risotto" that wasn't risotto (you can not call a dish made from regular rice risotto!) for instance. Even dinner in Portofino had problems; with them not understanding that we wanted a pasta course NOT a pasta side dish (which they expected us to eat from the middle of the table with just forks and no dishes, like we're doing a rendition of "Lady and The Tramp" or something) and then taking away our main dish and promising we would get a fresh one but sending back the original lamb chop and steak that they had sitting under heat lamps for 15 minutes drying out and getting cold (the plates were hot, the food, cold). We told them such and the damn waiter kept insisting we, were wrong which utterly infuriated us. BTW, I also do not need every waiter/waitress to tell me where they are from and then proceed to read me the menu. I could spend paragraphs complaining and moaning about this and all else but I'll stop now. You get the drift. How anyone can think the food is acceptable is beyond me. One more thing. I really disliked the way they handle their My Time Dining. On NCL, you could always be assured that no matter what time you got to the dining room, you could get a table if you are a couple looking for a table for two. There are very few of those and there are NONE near windows; which you would think most couples out for a romantic dinner would like. We had a 7:45pm set time but never wanted to go that late. Every time we tried to change it, we were told there wasn't anything available and it was only under us really pressing the issue that we were ever able to get it slightly earlier. One evening I had a headache, and really couldn't wait that late and explained this to them and they just kept on saying to me "oh you can sit with a larger group and we can seat you now" and I don't know how many times I had to say to them "No, I'm not well, I can't be with people at all now" before they finally got it through their heads that I honestly wasn't in the frame of mind to be social. SPECIALTY DINING: They need more of this on board. Portofino, food is good but services spotty. Loved having Johnny Rockets as an option since the MDR was so awful. Starbucks was well appreciated but it isn't exactly a full service store; can't get iced Tazo teas for instance as an example. The new expanded beer menu was great - this was a wonderful upgrade on the part of RCI but I don't understand why they don't serve some nuts/pretzels or something when sitting at the bars. Drinking, without putting something in your stomach really isn't such a good idea. ENTERTAINMENT: We only went to the ice show which was spectacular and really should not be missed. Most types of entertainment aren't really our cup of tea and others we were either in the middle of dinners or were at other inopportune times for us. A couple we met during one of the shore tours mentioned a jazz ensemble that we wanted to see but for the life of us we could not remember where they were playing and it was not written in the Cruise Compass. We noticed that the Compass frequently had errors in it, which I brought to their attention. SERVICE: Overall, service is good. Even where I had problems it wasn't so much that the service was poor, it was that they were somehow "over-trying" to the point where it was too much and therefore came off as cheesy. I don't want waiters being overly friendly, don't want them touching me or sounding like they are reading from a script. I want them to actually listen to what I'm saying and if they don't understand me, to please let me know they don't understand so that they will not bring me the wrong thing and have to waste food for instance which just aggravates me and causes delayed service as well. I want honesty from them. If I ask if something is fresh or ripe I expect them to tell me the truth, not to smile and say "yes" so I don't have to get pissy if I receive stale bagels and under-ripe melon (which happened frequently - where on earth is the ripe fruit on this ship?). DEBARKATION: Started out fine. Went to Deck 5, the Main Dining Room and only had to wait a few minutes before they called our number to be able to leave the ship. But from there? What, a nightmare. Getting to Deck 1 you were suddenly squashed by the elevators as more packs of people were coming out of the elevators. The new people getting out tried to cut in line (line? what line?) from the people who were already waiting to move out for many minutes. Patience was wearing very thin down there. We easily were in that small space between elevators for 15 minutes with more and more people being allowed down there. It was insane. Apparently they were only moving out people in groups through the gangway in amounts that could fit into 1 shuttle bus at a time over to immigration. Once out of the ship, it moved quickly at least but they really need to find a way to get that other part working more efficiently. If there was some kind of emergency, it would be a disaster down there - or I could even see a fight breaking out with patience wearing thin between people. There are some who do not tolerate line cutters very well. Anyway, getting our luggage was very quick, and customs just as fast. Got a cab pronto and in half and hour we were home. Not too bad. SHORE EXCURSIONS: Sort of the usual found everywhere. We took a scenic tour of the island which was quite nice. I'd seen everything on it before but my BF had not but I was fine with that. The tour guide was somewhat boring unfortunately but since I already knew everything it was a moot point for me. The 2nd day we went to Horseshoe Bay for a few hours by shuttle bus. The weather was gorgeous albeit a bit cool for swimming (BF went anyway). The beach is full service and I highly recommend it. VALUE FOR MONEY: Pretty good considering what we spent. I would have felt better about it if the food had been better. We didn't eat in the MDR but 2 nights, lunch only once and walked out on it, and breakfast was just a sad affair every morning (pre-made scrambled eggs anyone?). OVERALL I might try RCI again but would do research next time. I think we need a more full service ship than The Explorer, one with a lot more dining options on it. We don't mind paying extra for meals if it assures better food.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
Embarkation was OK. Cape liberty is only 15 min. from my house so that's a real plus. The downside of the place is both you and your luggage have to be bussed to the ship which is a real pain and adds time to the whole process. Also ... Read More
Embarkation was OK. Cape liberty is only 15 min. from my house so that's a real plus. The downside of the place is both you and your luggage have to be bussed to the ship which is a real pain and adds time to the whole process. Also the 20 dollars a day to park is a rip off as this is a old shipyard with lots and lots of empty space. Ship is in good shape, very clean and easy to get around on. We had a ocean view cabin which was small and basic but worked well for this trip. It could use a little upgrading as the furniture was well used and it still had a tube TV. Storage was OK for a 5 day trip. I was surprised when I asked the front desk for a shower cap for my wife and was told my class cabin didn't get them however they did me a favor and sent one. Very Tacky!! Service was very good in most places. Cabin was great, dinning room and lido were OK but I felt dinning room was slow because of kitchen and waiters were trying too hard to make up for it, got overbearing. The bar service was slow all around. My first cruise I had a hard time getting a drink. Food, There was lots of it but I felt the quality of it was poor, especially the beef. The lido is small for a ship this size so it was a madhouse most of the time. Had the same breakfast for 5 days with some different dishes for lunch and dinner. Just average buffet food. MDR was not that good. Quality and presentation of food was poor. One dish that made me laugh was "Broiled Jumbo Tiger Shrimp" This was 6 small shrimps butterfly-ed with shell on and broiled with bread crumbs, when it came to the table it looked like a joke. Steaks were very poor. This is not a ship for foodies. Shows were very good, they still have a show band which is great as some lines have cut them and gone to canned music. Ice show is great. The stuff they do on the promenade was also great. Over all this was a good trip. If you take this trip you will have fun and I would do it again for the right price. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
WE planned this trip with 3 other couples earlier this year, could not wait to go. Port of Newark was easy to go through boarding and we had no problem getting on the ship. Then it started, the experience we will all never forget. The ... Read More
WE planned this trip with 3 other couples earlier this year, could not wait to go. Port of Newark was easy to go through boarding and we had no problem getting on the ship. Then it started, the experience we will all never forget. The lunch at the Windjammer was sub par, hot food was cold and the crowding in the area was awful. Okay off to the rooms. Smaller than we thought and in need of some work. Old furniture, room never was to get cold we found out, and the balcony need to be de rusted and painted. One of our travelers had a smell coming out of their sink, cesspool smell. Off to explore and eat dinner. Waiting outside the Columbus dining room we started to smell this foul odor, raw sewage. At least the dining room never had a smell throughout the cruise. There were nights we had to leave a lounge due to that smell. By the way that smell was to have been taken care of while we were in Bermuda, but it came back before we sailed. So we sailed down to Bermuda and back smelling raw sewage. I give my thanks to the crew for getting us to Bermuda safely. We sailed thru gale force winds and at times thought the ship would topple. The captain and bridge crew got us to Bermuda safely. Food on this ship was not outstanding. We found it to be okay and sometimes really not great. I actually felt at times that Carnival gave more choices and even better food. Spent extra for Portofino which was okay. Desserts were actually the best at some meals. The wait staff we had were great, made dinner enjoyable. Always a smiling face, a pleasant greeting for us. This ship needs an overhaul in general. Many areas the carpet was stained, furniture chipped and stained, and the balconies need an extreme overhaul. To make matters worse one of the couples, first time cruisers had a bathroom overflow. They were originally told they would be moved for the night and then placed back in the room which had the overflow. Now would you want to sleep in this room if it is not properly cleaned. After much ado and missing a show, we all stayed at the front desk with them to show support, they were moved to a jr suite which miraculously appeared on the computer after they were told no other rooms were available. So our first time cruisers were disappointed, veteran cruisers felt sorry for them and hope they will go again, but on another ship and with another company. We did get to spend five days with our friends, but it was no what we had hoped for. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
We traveled on the Explorer of the Seas on October 22, 2011 for five nights to Bermuda. It was a GREAT cruise. This is our second time on the Explorer, we sailed in 2004 also. We traveled with Rich & Michele, who were on their 25th ... Read More
We traveled on the Explorer of the Seas on October 22, 2011 for five nights to Bermuda. It was a GREAT cruise. This is our second time on the Explorer, we sailed in 2004 also. We traveled with Rich & Michele, who were on their 25th Wedding Anniversary. We had all had honeymooned in Bermuda. This was our third time, and Rich & Michele's second time in Bermuda. Our cabins were on the 10th floor and we had a great balcony view. The Explorer is 11 years old, but shows its age very little. The carpeting and rooms were clean and new feeling, however, but we did have some paint peeling on our balcony. Michael and Mo, our waiter and assistant waiter were fantastic! They greeted us warmly each evening, had recommendations for meals, spoke knowledgeably about the wine package, and entertained with tricks and stories. We had a great time each evening with them. The food was great, portions were good, and the desserts were delicious. One night, we went to Portofino for dinner. Service was excellent, and so was the food. We went to the Windjammer each morning for breakfast except the last morning. The food was very good, and the omelet bar was exceptional. There was a great selection and the fruit was very fresh. Rica, our stateroom attendant couldn't have been better! She introduced herself the first day, and greeted us each day with a sunny smile. Johnny Rockets, as always was great. Our waiter was quick, friendly, and treated us to a dance to YMCA. The Cruise Director Luke was fun. He seemed to be everywhere getting people involved and having fun. Rich and I had hoped to SCUBA dive, but the winds were too strong in the morning, so we went shopping with the girls in Hamilton. The ferry was very cool and a fast way to get around. We (of course) stopped at the Swizzle Inn (and Swaggered Out) for lunch, which was excellent. Then we walked over to the Caves for a tour of Crystal Cave, which was fun. We also went on the Glass Bottomed Cocktail Cruise excursion. The staff was great and made this an exceptional excursion; without them, it wouldn't have been as much fun. The Band by the pool played great cruising music, and seemed to play longer than bands on previous cruises. The Promenade, with parades, bars, shops, pizza and snacks was great fun. We stopped to have drinks a couple nights, and often stopped for a mid-day snack at the Cafe Promenade. The Weekend Warrior bar was great although we were surprised that they were not showing the World Series during the cruise. Parking and drop off was exceptionally easy at Port Liberty; they do a great job . We dropped our bags, parked the car, toasted our cruise with champagne, and sailed through check-in and stopped on deck 12 for the sail away. We have to thank Jerry Rafter (allaboard007@verizon.net) for booking the cruise and making everything easy. We have another cruise reserved with four other couples in April to the Eastern Caribbean on the Allure of the Seas, and will provide another update after that cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
My hubby and I celebrated our 25th on Explorer of the Seas. We were impressed! We left from Cape Liberty-embarking was easy and smooth. The ship is spotless and gorgeous. Our stateroom was perfect,comfy big bed,plenty of room,wonderful ... Read More
My hubby and I celebrated our 25th on Explorer of the Seas. We were impressed! We left from Cape Liberty-embarking was easy and smooth. The ship is spotless and gorgeous. Our stateroom was perfect,comfy big bed,plenty of room,wonderful cabin steward. We were treated like royalty, food was yummy-except so many low cal desserts-forget that, give me rich cheesecake if I'm having it (my only possible complaint)! We did what we felt like (can't do that home), met super nice people, and the topper-we won a free cruise for two in Bingo! Can't wait to do it again and take our daughters! We did the regular embarkation-easy and quick. Loved this cruise. Bravo RC! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
My family sailed with RCCL for the first time, with expectation the it was a shade better than other cruise lines (Carnival,NCL,etc.), but was quite disappointed with the service, food, onboard activities offered on the ship. The ship ... Read More
My family sailed with RCCL for the first time, with expectation the it was a shade better than other cruise lines (Carnival,NCL,etc.), but was quite disappointed with the service, food, onboard activities offered on the ship. The ship sailed in the midst of hurricane Irene and the sea was very rough, which was kind of expected. For the first 2 days, almost all on-board activities were closed (pools, Ice skating, rock climbing) due to rough weather. However, RCCL did not make any attempt to arrange any indoor activities to keep the guests entertained. The staff was rude (including some senior officers), when guests enquired about any alternate indoor activities that were planned, instead. The food was very ordinary and quality was mediocre. Some items listed on the menu were not available. We were very concerned about the food cleanliness, after finding human hair in the food - on two separate occassions. We showed the food to the waiter and filed complaint with the chef. An apology note was sent to our stateroom, but no one contacted us personally. The staterooms were clean, however there were issues with the PA system, awkward design of bunk beds, warm/cold water in the bathrooms, etc.. Some were addressed, though after multiple reminders to housekeeping. Most of the staff at the ship could hardly communicate in English and had trouble understanding/responding to guests' requests. On one occasion, the housekeeping abruptly hung up the phone in the middle of the conversation. Overall, RCCL did not show address guests' concerns adequately, who practically lost 2 days (out of 5), due to onboard activities shut down due to extreme weather. No attempt was made to make up for it. Overall, it was an extremely disappointing experience for our family. This was our first cruise with Royal ... and probably the last. Read Less
Explorer of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 5.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 0.0
Family 5.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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