67 Port Canaveral (Orlando) Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas Cruise Reviews

Embarkation was easy, smooth and without any trouble. I can not say enough good things about the food on the Freedom of the Seas. Everything well prepared, tasty, great presentation and fresh. Service by the dining room staff was the ... Read More
Embarkation was easy, smooth and without any trouble. I can not say enough good things about the food on the Freedom of the Seas. Everything well prepared, tasty, great presentation and fresh. Service by the dining room staff was the best. My husband and I ate on My Time schedule and feel this worked out the best for us. We were able to see all the shows and enjoy the party feel in the Promenade. The shows were entertaining and had a younger feel to them than some of the stuffy Broadway entertainment we have seen on other ships. Music was full of life and we were familiar with some of the tunes. Played miniature golf on the ship was fun and not crowded. What I liked best is I never felt crowded We were on deck 8 our steward was very accommodating and did all he could to make our cruise a memory we will never forget. Our room was clean, well stocked and quiet. Freedom of the Seas goes on my best trip ever list. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was our first cruise and it was awful. Was it that the ship was filled with rude, lewd, snotty college kids? That may have been the heart of the problem, but we would have rolled with the punches if Royal Caribbean would simply have ... Read More
This was our first cruise and it was awful. Was it that the ship was filled with rude, lewd, snotty college kids? That may have been the heart of the problem, but we would have rolled with the punches if Royal Caribbean would simply have fed us. We were so hungry and thirsty the entire time. The vast number of kids made dining rooms, casino, and bars pretty much inaccessible. No big deal, right... there's always room service. But the room service food was absolutely awful. I'm not being picky; the room service food was vending machine quality and quite stale. I'm confident this food was not prepared during the cruise; it had to be leftovers from previous cruises. Why buy food for this cruise?... the ship is about to go into dry dock and these drunken kids won't care what they're fed. We ate and drank everything in the mini bar though the sodas were warm. We tried to call and ask for ice, but no one answered nor returned our calls. I took time away from my business, hired someone to man my business in my absence, paid for a cruise and transportation to Florida, so that I could sit in a room and live off of M&Ms and hot Sprite. I'm surprised that I haven't heard anyone complain about Windjammer Café. We tried to eat there a couple of times but there wasn't anything appealing offered. Each time the buffet was large, but kind of sad looking (pasta dishes with barely any sauce and watery veggies), and only one meat selection (chicken tenders the first time, and what looked like "potted meat" the other time). Surely it isn't always like this; I can't believe people would put up with it. I wasn't expecting anything spectacular, but I thought cruise food quality would be on par with Ruby Tuesday or Applebys, but it was not at all. To compare this food with a high school cafeteria would insult the high school. It's highly unlikely we will take a second cruise (definitely not on Royal Caribbean!). We hated the first one, but we enjoyed the ports and we enjoyed our balcony. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I don't even know where to begin with this review. First let me say that I have travelled with Royal Caribbean three times now with my first two times being outstanding, breath taking experiences that led to my loyalty in booking ... Read More
I don't even know where to begin with this review. First let me say that I have travelled with Royal Caribbean three times now with my first two times being outstanding, breath taking experiences that led to my loyalty in booking with you for a third time. This third time comparatively, however, was horrendous. Not only did the boat seem old and out of date, it was also un-clean and the staff was not as friendly as my cruises on Liberty of the Seas. My largest complaint is that somehow it happened that 60-70% of the passengers on this particular cruise were college students on a wild spring break adventure. From two different colleges. Was Royal Caribbean having a special deal with these colleges? This should have been revealed to customers BEFORE booking as me and many other couples and families were extremely dissatisfied, and would have chosen to pay more to book another date or ship. Completely irresponsible and inexcusable on Royal Caribbean's part. No one wants to spend an evening on one of the decks hearing college students CONTINUOUSLY shouting a sports cheer ending with the words "there ain’t nothing finer in the land than a drunk, obnoxious Georgia fan!" I've never heard this cheer before but based on the number of times I heard it on the cruise, it's sad that I now almost know it by heart. The college kids consumed and destroyed everything in their path (no joke). The lines to the bars were so insane and bartenders ran out of ingredients. I bought a drink package and feel that my money was completely wasted, as I couldn't even get to the bar enough to make it worth while. You were sometimes waiting upwards of 20 minutes for a drink. I even timed it once. On the first night of the cruise our waitstaff revealed to us that the ship was about 200 passengers OVER CAPACITY. Is that even legal?? Ethical? Safe? I'm sure Royal Caribbean doesn't care because all they see are dollar signs flashing in front of their eyes and couldn't give two shits about the actual well being of their passengers. Each passenger. Because the ship was over-stuffed, it makes sense as to why the lines to each bar was so long, ingredients were running out, and the general morale of all staff was low. I should probably mention now that I am in my mid-twenties and my boyfriend is in his late-twenties, so that to any staff member, we looked like college students. As such we were treated absolutely horribly. After the first day, the staff began being ageist. Rudely talking to or ignoring us (because we looked like the rude obnoxious college students), not serving us drinks, becoming suspicious of us. There were no delightful waitstaff walking around with fun colored drinks on their trays, because no waitstaff dared to be confronted by students. Even if this had been my first cruise, I would have been confused at the lack luster treatment by the staff. But because I know what amazing things Royal Caribbean is capable of and how wonderful and happy and attentive staff have been on my previous two cruises, the treatment on this cruise was absolutely appalling. I cannot believe I wasted my money to be treated worse than I would be just staying at home. Because I have so many other complaints, I will just list the rest of them off here and try to be brief. Previous cruises I went on were very laid back and casual, staff chatting with you, and overall the entire mood was relaxed and happy. This cruise was rushed, staff did not bother to stop and chat or say hello, not many of the staff smiled, and even our own waiters were rushing around and never had time to get to know us (again comparing to other cruises were everything felt much more personal). Our room attendant spoke very little english which started to become a problem because we couldn't communicate to him things we needed. At one point he just shut our door on us because he seemed really busy and confused. We ordered room service 3 out of the 6 mornings of the cruise. It was NEVER what we ordered. It was late the first morning, and all 3 mornings we either were missing food or got the wrong food or drink. We didn't even bother to re-order because of how long the entire process took. Staff was inconsistent: in the Windjammer on day 1 and day 4 my boyfriend and I were able to get refills on our alcoholic drinks from servers walking by. This was a luxury we were never afforded again, and one server on day 2 even said "they don't refill drinks and it is against our policy" and told us to go to the bar. And wait in line. WHAT? Another issue: the security. In the stateroom next to us, there were 3 college guys and they always had more people over and smoked marijuana in their room and balcony. It stunk up the entire hallway and was very obvious. It would get so bad my boyfriend and I couldn't even enjoy our OWN BALCONY. That we paid extra money to have. The smell was too much and would waft into our room. We called security twice. They never did anything. The second time they were called it was because it was 3am and they were being extremely loud, shouting, and partying in their room and I was trying to sleep, plus they were smoking. The security told me because the people in the stateroom would not answer the door when they knocked to inquire, they couldn't do anything about the issue. The passengers were hiding on their deck smoking- of course they aren't going to answer the door! I could see them from my own balcony! The fact that security can't address an issue because the passenger "won't answer the door and they aren't allowed to go in" is just insane. What is the point of security then? Rules were not enforced consistently. Young people would walk around in t-shirts and swim trunks on formal night in the dining room, and would wear no shirt or shoes in the Windjammer. There was sometimes noise and people yelling/running around drunkenly through the hallways by the staterooms until 5am. Rest and relaxation was not in the vocabulary of this cruise. One thing that extremely bothered me was that I couldn't spend any time on the upper deck or pools. The 30 minute towel rule was not enforced so literally ALL of the chairs were occupied by college students or towels indicating there were people there. The entire time. I once counted a chair having towels on it for over 2 hours, with no people around, and staff did absolutely nothing. This left no spots for people who actually wanted to be on the deck. I felt especially bad for families with small children as the pools were so crowded with drinking college students that there was no way to access them unless you were ONE OF THEM. The college students even hung a Fraternity banner (I can't remember the chapter) over the pool area from some poles. And the staff didn't care. The banner was up all day as if they claimed this boat to be a fraternity boat. The surroundings were all around disgusting with drinks left everywhere (stairs, chairs, hallways, in the middle of the floor) and bathrooms unclean. One bathroom had a plate stuffed in the only toilet stall to cause overflow and there was poop and urine all over the plate and spilling onto the floor. Tables were sticky and overall you just didn't want to touch anything. There was a huge fight on the last night and all the passengers were gathered around and cheering like we were back in high school. It took a while for security to break it up. I'm sorry, but if I wanted a crazy cancun spring break vacation, I would have paid for one. Royal Caribbean was supposedly known for relaxation, fun, perfection, and class. Sadly, you do not mean that to me anymore. Lastly, while our excursion in Cozumel was beautiful and probably the only highlight of the trip (Playa Mia), our second excursion in the Bahamas was 30 minutes late and the staff was not courteous. If I'm paying an arm and a leg for this activity, I expect it to be on time, and if it isn't I expect an apology or some kind of warm welcome/greeting. Neither of these things occurred. Overall the common apology from staff and crew was "Sorry but we were not expecting this. We are unexpectedly busy" How were you not expecting this??? Does no one tell the crew that the ship is going to be over capacity and filled with tons of drunk spring breakers? How come neither the cruise staff nor passengers received any warning? This is unacceptable and made for a horrid cruise experience. I'm sure if this was my first cruise, that it would have been my last. That's how bad and un-special the entire experience was. Only because I know of what Royal Caribbean is capable of from my previous two cruises would I possibly ever entertain the idea to sail again. But most likely I'm going to seek out other cruise companies at this point. In conclusion, I felt this trip was a waste of money and I was very unsatisfied. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I had been planning for months to surprise my wife for our 25th anniversary with a cruise, telling her to take vacation and telling her nothing else. Plans made for a relaxing cruise to celebrate and Thursday before we departed (Saturday) ... Read More
I had been planning for months to surprise my wife for our 25th anniversary with a cruise, telling her to take vacation and telling her nothing else. Plans made for a relaxing cruise to celebrate and Thursday before we departed (Saturday) I let her know what we were doing. Being married 25 years it also meant I knew enough to give her time to properly pack and not showing up at the port and her going, "OMG, I'm not packed for a cruise." One of the secrets being married 25 years for my male friends reading this. All the planning and preparation as well as expectations could not have prepared us for the real surprise, finding out Royal Caribbean had allowed through a third party the booking for 2,200 college kids on spring break to be on the cruise. We arrive at the ship and check in went fairly smooth, even though if you were not Gold the lines appeared to be quite long. Looking at the guests in line it did appear to be a lot of younger generation people. It wasn't until we were on the ship and my wife and I in line to get drink packages that we discovered the ship was 2/3rd's college kids on spring break. There were drunk kids falling down in the Windjammer even before we departed the port. Not a good sign! The ship departs and we get our luggage and my wife decided to get a glass of wine. I said I would wait and 45 minutes later she comes back. The lines to get a drink were crazy. We went to the casino and could not even get on the Blackjack table at first, and forget trying to get a drink at the bar while waiting. Both the first and second day you could not even get close to the hot tub and pool on the top deck, littered with intoxicated kids having a good time. Sleeping the first night was a luxury with all the school chants up and down the corridors, drunk kids bouncing off the doors, and music being played. I went to Guest Relations on the second day to tell them how extremely upset I was over Royal Caribbean not telling us it was a "spring break cruise," to be told "we'll file a report. It wasn't until we pulled into Cozumel that things quieted down as all the kids went ashore to indulge in adult beverages. Cozumel was the first port I personally witnessed some of the kids with bags packed being escorted off the ship. Good for RC, but not good enough as the cruise was helpless with addressing all the problems. By the way we were told they ran out of Tequila and Vodka the first night. How does a cruise ship on a five day cruise run out of anything the first night? Every night was a sleep challenge. Every day was a challenge to use the amenities on the ship. I realize the ship was going into dry dock, and definitely showed it was in lack of repair. It was also not well maintained from a cleanliness standpoint with the crew not able to keep up with the intoxicated kids and their antics, but also wonder if they were understaffed with the upcoming dry dock. Plumbing made noises in the mens room out side of Magellan. Parts of the ship were being damaged by the kids, and no one seemed to care. We even heard reports of furniture being thrown overboard and kids attempting to go from balcony suite to balcony suite on the outside of the ship. Luckily we didn't have a man overboard. The food was not up to the usual Royal Caribbean standards as we are Crown and Anchor members and cruised with several times and were starting to become our favorite cruise line...until this. Day before we returned home the coke machines were empty. Attempted to get a cherry Coke, it was out. Went to another machine and it was out. Ok, we'll try something else and it was out as well. They run out of booze then out of soft drinks, now I'm angry. Shows were not to usual high standards, and overall very disappointed. Overall this ended up being the cruise from H***. Guest relations didn't seem to care and in fact one crew member told me, "Sorry but there is nothing we can do. This kids have the right to be on here as well." No argument about their rights, but what about the obligation of Royal Caribbean to let regular cruise members that springbreakpartycruises dot com had book through RC to do a spring break party cruise out of the trip. The image of Royal Caribbean in my opinion has been tarnished. My anniversary surprise cruise for my wife was a total disaster and waste of money and time we took off from work. Royal Caribbean hasn't responded to my cruise review response request they sent me, and they probably are basking in their checking account with filling the ship to capacity (we heard oversold), sold an inordinate amount of drink packages, and wasn't concerned about the damage we saw because of the status of the ship going into dry dock. Shame on you Royal Caribbean! You ruined the trip I planned for with my wife, and apparently do not care. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
My review sounds exactly like the previous one posted by ljpinko. We selected Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas based on the many good reviews and recommendations we received. This was the 1st cruise for 2 people in my party and we had ... Read More
My review sounds exactly like the previous one posted by ljpinko. We selected Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas based on the many good reviews and recommendations we received. This was the 1st cruise for 2 people in my party and we had planned on this vacation for over 9 months. From embarkation it was clear that our cruise was not going to be anything like the reviews we read. We felt that we were being discriminated against based on age because of the multitude of crazy spring breakers. The staff would never smile at us and always seemed aggravated when we would ask any question. The answers were always blunt and given with attitude. Basically the crew was unfriendly and the service was extremely disappointing. Not even during the formal dinners could we receive consistent or relaxed service. We gave up asking for our requests and eventually stopped going to the formal dining room all together. The smell of marijuana emulating in the hallways and over our balcony was disgusting. But not quite as disgusting as the condom box left in the hallway or the drunk college girl throwing up in the hallway. I understand that this was the last time the ship was being run before a month long dry dock for renovations but I don't feel that means they should have stopped cleaning midway through our cruise. The glass was becoming progressively dirtier throughout the boat and the drink spills were outweighing the clean carpet. Our room was a gorgeous room, even if I did dust it myself once I arrived. We got the junior suite with a balcony which I recommend as it came with a full shower, tub and a walk in closet. On our first day out to sea we received a notice saying that the maintenance crew wanted to close our balcony for 4 hours to paint and clean it. Why they would have chose to try and do this on a day when we were on the boat all day is beyond my understanding. If they were going to do maintenance pick a day when people are more likely off the boat. Regardless I felt there was no way I was giving up a balcony that I had to pay for during my cruise. Many of the amenities on the boat were inaccessible or not in working order. The beautiful fish tanks we saw pictures of in other reviews were emptied of water and looked dirty. The boat lotto did not work most nights, the "Build a Sea Friend" stuffed animal machine was out of order the entire cruise, access to the bars, pools, hot tubs and casino card tables was basically impossible. The 1 night I finally made it up to the pool deck I found all of the 24-hour pools and hot tubs were closed for maintenance with the exception of 1 pool and 1 hot tub. The hot tub was full of college kids so that left the pool for us to try and enjoy. While sitting on the edge of the pool soaking our legs two men came and started putting a net over the pool without saying a word to us. When confronted they just said "pool closed". Nothing else. It was extremely rude. The casino card tables were surrounded by spring breakers who had no respect for casino etiquette. The dealers were even frustrated with the antics from both the players (I use the term loosely) and the loiterers as they were drunk and rude to the dealers. The final straw that made me go to the customer service desk was the poker tournament. We signed up for the poker tournament and arrived in the appropriate area approximately 15 minutes prior to the game start. Approximately 15 minutes after it should have begun I went to the casino clerk to find out what was going on. I was told it was cancelled because only 1 person signed up. The fact that no one could have contacted us or even came over to the table was just 1 more slap in the face from the service. When I went to the customer service desk to try and talk with someone about all the less than satisfactory experiences mainly regarding the crew and staff of the ship I was met with again disappointment. The rude customer relations representative handed me a blank piece of copy paper and told me to put my concerns/ complaints into the "We Want Your Feedback" box. I asked what would happen when I put it in. He told me someone would contact me within 24 hours. The cruise ended without me hearing anything back from anyone. This review doesn't include all of the bad service, disrespectful college antics (like throwing furniture overboard) and overall complaints but it encompasses most of the problem. When you book any vacation or have any service provided you expect to be treated as though you are an important customer. This was not the case in any way on Royal Caribbean. After the cruise I voiced some of my complaints on the emailed survey and also put in a formal complaint on Royal Caribbean's website (which the website did not operate correctly to take my complaint on the first 10 tries). To date I have not heard anything back except for generic email auto-responses. My husband and I are already planning our next cruise for November but are not looking at any offered by Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I believe ljpinko said all that I was going to say. I also wrote RC a lengthy email about our experience. I am still waiting to hear from them. My family and I (about 7 people) booked this vacation and what happened on board was awful. I ... Read More
I believe ljpinko said all that I was going to say. I also wrote RC a lengthy email about our experience. I am still waiting to hear from them. My family and I (about 7 people) booked this vacation and what happened on board was awful. I would say about 95% of the passengers were drunk college students. These people were toasted, high, rude and just all around out of control. I wonder if the previous reviewer was also in the same "safety" drill where the Georgia State fighting song was sang during the captains announcement. I agree completely with the previous review of this "booze cruise". My family and I are pretty high crown and anchor members and din't get the previous level of service due us. The crew seemed way over worked and stressed. I can imagine dealing with a way over capacity boat and drunk college students would do that. The only saving Grace on this ship was our dinning waiter Carmine. She was positively nice and recommended great restaurants for Nassau and Cozumel. Thank god since the food served on board was below average. Those off board meals and the islands were great. However, once you got to the beach, you had to wade through the same crowd to try and get a spot on the beach. In Nassau we had to walk like a quarter mile to get a peaceful spot. But even that spot was over run like 2 hours later. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I booked Explorer of the Seas while on board Oasis during a cruise in February 2014. I'm still a rookie to Royal Caribbean as this was my second sailing however I've cruised with Carnival 4 previous times. The reason for booking ... Read More
I booked Explorer of the Seas while on board Oasis during a cruise in February 2014. I'm still a rookie to Royal Caribbean as this was my second sailing however I've cruised with Carnival 4 previous times. The reason for booking this particular cruise was the itinerary to Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, and Haiti. At the time of booking I knew very little about this ship other than what the deck plan provided and prior to the cruise I had plenty of time to read the negative reviews which I'll address later. Overall we very much enjoyed our cruise on Explorer of the Seas and found the service on board to be outstanding. Prior to my sailing on Oasis last year I was very loyal to Carnival however I got invited to join a group which sails on Royal every year and I had such a good time last year I decided to book again. I live in New England and always travel a day prior to the cruise and I also used a travel agent. I'd recommend an agent if you have a good local one as they tend to get the best offers and maximize the on board credits, etc. Prior to the sailing my fiancee and I stayed at the Radison Hotel at Port Canaveral. The hotel was reasonably priced for being located less than a mile from the ship and served it's purpose as a pre-cruise hotel. The hotel offered transportation to the peer for $6 per person however since we rented a car Hertz brought us over for free. Embarkation Day I heard a lot of noise about the long delays and rocky embarkation process at the newly opened Terminal 1. I will say the embarkation was not exactly with I call smooth as it took about 40 minutes to get on the ship after getting off the shuttle. My shuttle arrived about 11am and there were at least 5 others ahead of ours so we waited about 10 minutes to get to the porters. Last year we were able to bring a case of water onto the ship and check it with out luggage however we were informed by the porters it had to be carried on. We were also told to remove our wine from our luggage and carry it on. This was disappointing however we became further frustrated when we were told by security the water could not be brought on board and would be confiscated until the end of the cruise. We would later speak to guest services and the bar manager regarding the policy as I did not read about this online and were informed it was a policy set by the ship's management. Ship Condition I read a lot of negative reviews about the condition of the ship and how it seemed tired and old. We found that this was not the case at all. Our cabin was in good condition with minor wear and tear as were the public spaces. There were spots where worn carpet and furniture were noticeable, some small cracks in tile work, a dirty window here and there but overall the ship was very well kept and clean. There were even some areas were new carpet was installed and during the cruise some furniture had a fresh coat of varnish. All of the hot tubs, pools, coke machines, and services on the ship were in good working order. Activities Explorer of the Seas is set to be completely refurbished in March of 2015 so it has yet to receive any of the Oasis style upgrades. The ship did however have plenty of shows, nightly entertainment, comedy, music, and live bands to keep us happy. Explorer also has an ice rink, inline skating track, rock wall, and mini golf course to keep busy during the day. There were ample deck chairs and we had no problem finding a nice spot in the sun everyday. Cabins We booked a standard D1 cabin which included a balcony. The room was overall in good shape but we did have an issue with our bathroom during the cruise. Water backed up and collected on the floor which was due to a clogged drain. The cruise line offered a free soda package as compensation along with a bottle of wine. A word of caution regarding the balconies; Explorer has its balconies built into the hull of the ship so multiple rooms can't be opened up together. You would have to book a connecting stateroom. Service The service provided on this shape made our cruise. The room steward was excellent and spoke to us by name every time we saw him. We also enjoyed the bartenders in the Weekend Warrior Sports bar who would frequently run over to the Crown and Kettle to get us specialty beers. Since we had a large group, the dining room staff was able to set our mytime dining at 8pm every night with the same waiters. They were excellent in providing service and a delightful dinner service. Ports As far as the ports go all of our excursions were booked privately. We found a $20 dollar tour around Aruba which was excellent and lasted two hours. We visited the beaches in Boanire via private taxi and did a foot tour around Curacao. We spent the day on the beach in Haiti as it's Royal's own private island and the tours were a bit pricey for our taste. Food The food on this ship was excellent both in the main dining room and Windjammer. We also ate at both of the ships specialty restaurants which were Johnny Rockets and Portofino. I will say that some of the choices in the main dining room became a bit redundant and the proteins were being prepared a little different each night to give the illusion of something different. The food tasted good and I did not get any sickness of discomfort. We also from time to time snacked at the Promenade Cafe which offered pizza and sandwiches. Disembarkation was very quick and organized except for our airport transfer booked through the cruise line. The folks managing the reservations had trouble keeping order and some people were cut in line which caused frustration. Overall we very much enjoyed Explorer of the Seas. She may not have all the bells and whistles of the Oasis class but there was plenty to see and do as well as eat and drink. We booked another tour on Freedom of the Seas and I look forward to next year's trip!   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This is my 2nd cruise with Royal Caribbean, my last with them was 10 years ago on the Majesty of the Seas. I was anxious to try Royal again after so long because I wanted to try something different. This was my 5th mother/daughter (me) ... Read More
This is my 2nd cruise with Royal Caribbean, my last with them was 10 years ago on the Majesty of the Seas. I was anxious to try Royal again after so long because I wanted to try something different. This was my 5th mother/daughter (me) cruise. We tend to like the longer sailings, and this was our 3rd trip to Aruba in 4 years. Mom has been great with going on Carnival the last couple trips, but this time we did her beloved Royal Caribbean. I can say I wasn’t the only one disappointed. Embarkation Day This was probably the worst and most unorganized embarkation that I’ve ever done in my 10 plus cruises. We had to wait for the porters to get a spot for our bus to pull in, then get us un-loaded. While that wasn’t bad, once we got to the door of the terminal the line stopped. They had stopped letting people into the terminal. No reasons or explanations were given, we were just at a stand still for 30 minutes. Finally they let us in; the lines were still long even with all the waiting. It took about an hour from the time we got to the port till we got on the ship. It wasn’t the long lines that bothered me, it was the lack of communication on why we were stopped. Once we got our sea passes we realized they moved us to anytime dining. We had a confirmation of 6pm but because of the amount of older folks and diamond plus members we were moved. The card even said 6pm but they decided last minute to change us, which was NOT ok. We look forward to the 6pm dining and like to get a large table to meet people. It took until the 2nd night, but they finally got us to a good table of 8 and we enjoyed Dinner. I don’t know why the issue was with them over accepting the 6pm dining but, they really need to work on this, it was a terrible way to start our cruise. Ship Condition/Cabin Its old, but I knew this wasn’t going to stop me from having fun. You could tell it needs a desperate dry dock (and they are going in 3 weeks), but really it was clean and wasn’t a problem for us at all. The only issue I had was with the TV’s. Now I don’t usually watch a lot of TV during a cruise, but there were only 2 channels in English, and they had a tendency to go from one movie to another in the middle of the first movie. Also everything was dubbed over twice, and I had absolutely no idea what was going on in the world, CNN would have been nice to have. Service We had the best room steward, and dinning staff ever. They really made our trip the most enjoyable. The rest of the staff always had a smile, and were very friendly. Food While the service hadn’t changed in the last couple of years, the food sure has. I was REALLY disappointed in the food. The dining room food was ok, but the portions are very small compared to here in the states. They had no problem ordering us more if we needed it. However, the Windjammer food was the same basically all week. I had a hamburger for lunch every day. Breakfast wasn’t bad, but wasn’t great either. Overall I’m headed back to Carnival where I am happy with my Guy’s Burgers and the dining room food is awesome. I am not saying I won’t be doing another RCCL cruise, but for now I will be sticking with Carnival. Mom is headed back to Celebrity and we will see if her next cruise (next month) meets her expectations.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We are far from seasoned cruisers, but wanted to try a short trip out of FL this winter in an effort to know more and make the best decision about boat options when planning an Alaska trip in 2016. Our previous cruising involved a ... Read More
We are far from seasoned cruisers, but wanted to try a short trip out of FL this winter in an effort to know more and make the best decision about boat options when planning an Alaska trip in 2016. Our previous cruising involved a wonderful Viking River Cruise in 2012 and a West Indies barefoot cruise on the Polynesia in 1983. We think we were spoiled by both of those ships which had populations of under 200. We picked a "mini" cruise to Cozumel and Nassau out of Port Canaveral on RC. Our plans were set in January for a February cruise, so the room choices were limited. We did not read a lot of reviews prior to departure, so we let the whole thing unfold, with mild anticipation due to the boat size. But we were pleasantly surprised by the spaciousness and certainly can understand how travelers can quickly become devoted fans. Our cabin was located on the 2nd deck -- and while that may seem down in the bowels, I suspect we benefited from less rock and nice amount of quiet. I would not have wanted to be over the promenade or to feel the boat pitch. Overall we were pleased with our experience and now have some knowledge to apply toward our trip to Alaska. This ship, while many said was old and we'd heard it was going to be refurbished, seemed quite luxurious to us. 14 floors, glass sided elevators, spas, exercise classes (fee), nice menu choices at dinner, wine bottle saved for the next dinner, some entertaining waitresses. Except for some wear in the cabin (chipped mirror), most of the facilities were great. The movie theatre seats were the most uncomfortable seats I have ever experienced. And the projection was very distorted. I hope that will be addressed in the refurb. We enjoyed all the entertainment, although we're not big fans of Dancing with the Stars, which seem to be hot right now. The ice show was fantastic. Not sure what to have expected with regard to age range on the boat. It was early February, before school vacations. The primary crowd seemed to be consuming a lot of tropical drinks and generally looking for fun. There were 134 children (out of 3100 peeps) which seemed minimal and non-intrusive. It seemed, but we certainly do not know, that the kid's activities existed -- how stimulating, we can't say. There did seem to be a number of kids running around. We fall in the "senior" crowd and met a number of nice people, especially through the open seating dining. We enjoyed the mini-golf, walking path and lounge areas on the top deck. Traveler Be Aware: The casino was heavily smoke filled. The house takes 15%. There was an extra charge for yoga class, spa personnel expect more than the 18% gratuity that is automatically tacked on to the service and there is a lot of drink pushing at every available opportunity--bar tenders looking for tips. It was very off-putting to hear the spa personnel complain about being poorly paid and over-worked. We were at sea on Sunday -- which worked out well, since many ports might be closed to shopping on the Sabbath. Disembarkation was SLOW -- after frequently being told that the US has cut back on personnel -- there were no Global Entry (GOES) lines, which may have sped things up. Best Bargain: utilize the room service! Free -- No hidden fees, a rarity. We used it for early a.m. coffee, but might have considered more if we'd had a balcony room. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Let me preface - my husband and I are in our 50's and this was our 8th cruise (our second on RCL) and we were accompanying my mother and her 80 year old friends on a reunion cruise. They are experienced cruisers with 75+ cruises under ... Read More
Let me preface - my husband and I are in our 50's and this was our 8th cruise (our second on RCL) and we were accompanying my mother and her 80 year old friends on a reunion cruise. They are experienced cruisers with 75+ cruises under their belts, so they were not novices by any means. Arrival: The lines to board the ship were ridiculous! It took over an hour for Diamond Check in. We felt sorry for those who didn't have priority check-in......their wait had to have been much longer. Lunch on deck was not much better. Although we know that it is hectic trying to get everyone fed and moved through, this was particularly chaotic. the food was just ok, pop machines were not working, no one was helping with seating....not a great first impression. FOOD: My time Dining with any kind of group is nearly impossible. We were lucky enough to be able to switch to a "set" my time dining for our group of 10 or every dinner we would have had to line up and wait for people to vacate a 10 topper. The HIGHLIGHT of this cruise were our dining room servers.....they made our trip! Dinner in the dining room was good, not great. Only a couple of the meals were very good and there was not one excellent meal. Breakfast and lunch in the dining room were just good. Service was often lacking and we frequently had waiters who were visibly exhausted. The buffet ..... lets just say that it felt like they were cleaning out the refrigerators in preparation for dry dock. It was a variation on the same theme every day. Salad options never changed. Just sad! Pop machine was often not working. Seating was always a problem unless you ate at off times. Just disappointing compared to other cruise lines. There was no beverage station on the pool decks, like on other ships, where you could get water, tea and lemonade throughout the day. The Promenade had the one cafe which served the SAME 6 finger sandwiches and pizza slices and 3 types of cookies for 9 DAYS! Come one..... ENTERTAINMENT: or better Lack of Entertainment. Other than the theater shows, there was very little going on in the evening. On the other RCL cruise we were on there were deck parties, deck entertainment during the day (not just the same jamacian band playing from 1-4pm), dancing, parades on the promenade, wine tasting, cigar tastings, martini tasting, dance lessons, themed nights, classes .... this ship had NONE of this!!! We spent a lot of time on the pool decks .... we NEVER saw a photographer walking around taking pictures and there was only 1 waiter walking around serving drinks ... mostly to people with gold towels, Drink of the day..... was there one? Never saw anyone in 9 days selling a drink of the day. We did have lots of shopping talks, trivia and ridiculously priced bingo. There was a small salsa band that played music on a very small stage at the entrance to the casino. The dance floor comfortably had space for 4 couples. (The salsa band was very good! and we enjoyed them every night as they were the only entertainment). There was also a singer in the pub on the promenade, but after one night, it was enough. Only one dance party - a 70's party - during the entire 9 night cruise. Pathetic. When we ASKED the Cruise Director AND the Cruise Personal Shopper why there wasn't more going on they both told us that the demographic for our cruise is older and there wouldnt be any interest so they didn't do more at night "fun" activities. I WISH SOMEONE WOULD HAVE TOLD US THAT IF YOU ARE UNDER 70 AND YOU DONT WANT TO BUY JEWELRY IN PORTS then you shouldnt be on this cruise. It would have saved a lot of time and aggravation! BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF ALL: This cruise was on Valentines Day and during Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). N O T H I N G was done to make either one of these days special in any way shape or form. Valentines wasn't even a formal dinner ... it was casual! Wait, you did have the option on the Promenade Deck to BUY expensive champagne or BUY roses. Come on! How about the strawberries at dinner cut into hearts or a special dance under the stars or ballroom dancing ......something,anything .... waiters wearing red ties ....or maybe red napkins or flowers on the table .... or maybe red soup .... red themed menu .... strolling musicians in the dining room ... MARDI GRAS: We were docked in Curacao on Sunday when the island was holding their celebrations. 1) We arrived late...after 2pm, so we missed a majority of island activities. 2) If you booked a shore excursion, many of the sights were closed or you couldn't get to them because it was Mardi Gras and Sunday ... therefore closed. Just super poor planning. Then we pulled out of port at 11pm for the 40 mile "cruise" to Bonaire. An absolute waste of time and poor planning. Disappointing to say the least. Tuesday (Fat Tuesday) was a sea day so there was ample time to have something special happen. No beads, no masks, no parades, no jazz band, no sweets buffet, no masks, no NOTHING! Passengers that brought their own beads and masks from home were the only ones that added some color to the evening. RCL dropped the ball! Was it laziness or did they just not care. It was such a let down, that these two days could have been so much fun and they were completely ignored and unacknowledged. HIGHLIGHT OF THE CRUISE: Our dining room server and our cabin steward. That is pretty darn sad, when that is the best thing you can say about a cruise line. (Of course we had a good time with family and friends and enjoyed the islands, which were beautiful, but this is a review of the ship and not our vacation) We hope that when this ship comes out of dry dock it not only looks good but has a new energy about her. Our experience was that it was a tired old ship with a very tired, unenthusiastic crew who were just hanging on for 2 more weeks. This ship needs a cruise director! Erke from Turkey just isnt cutting it! Sadly, we will be shopping around for a new cruise line for future travels. This trip was expensive in both cost of the trip and precious vacation time used from our jobs. RCL, you dropped the ball on this one! Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We drove from upstate New York to Port Canaveral so we could stop and see friends along the way. We ran into snow in North Carolina and learned that folks from this part of the country don't have a lot of experience driving in the ... Read More
We drove from upstate New York to Port Canaveral so we could stop and see friends along the way. We ran into snow in North Carolina and learned that folks from this part of the country don't have a lot of experience driving in the snow. Embarkation Day - Royal Caribbean has built a very nice terminal at Port Canaveral, they also seemed to have the bugs worked out that I had read in other reviews as we had a smooth arrival and easy access to the ship. We had sailed on the Explorer back in 2007 when she sailed out of Miami and she is still a wonderful ship. The crew definitely takes great pride in keeping her clean and presentable. We had no complaints in this area. Our Room which was an aft facing balcony was ready at 1:30 and was clean and neat. Anca our room attendant took great pride in providing great service. Never had to ask for anything as the small touches were always there. We had an unusual experience in the dining room as we had the 8:30 dining and there were many empty seats. We learned from our waiter and head waiter that the age grouping on this cruise was older and the 6:00 meal was filled to overflowing. But the food was great and the service fantastic. Being Diamond cruisers we had 3 free dinks loaded on our seapass card. We quickly found out favorite watering hole to be the Aquarium Bar. Kelvin, Claudia and Carol provided the best service and made excellent cocktails. We stopped at Labadee and as we have been there several times we only went to Columbus Cove for a swim and sometime in the sun. But we love this Island. Our Second stop was in Bonaire and as we have never been there we took a snorkeling excursion sponsor by the ship. We went on a small ship called the Somar and the crew was great and they helped folks who had never snorkeled before learn how to snorkel. This made the experience so wonderful. In Curacao we went to the beach and had a great time. In Aruba we again use a ship sponsored excursion to DE Palm Island. I will have to say in all the years we have been cruising this was the best stop we have ever made. The resort was beautiful and the food and beer were included in the cost of the excursion and just about unlimited, beyond a doubt the best value for our money every on an excursion. The Cruise Director Leigh and Activities Director Tanya were great. The Quest was the best we have ever been to. All the shows were great. All in all this was one of our best cruises and we will miss the Explorer as she transitions overseas.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Prior to sailing we knew it was an 'older boat', and read the reviews that complained about decor, food, and other various things. But our overall impression after we got off the boat was very positive - almost everything was ... Read More
Prior to sailing we knew it was an 'older boat', and read the reviews that complained about decor, food, and other various things. But our overall impression after we got off the boat was very positive - almost everything was much better than we expected. These are just some random notes we made, and hopefully they'll be applicable after the boat comes back in May. Food Much better than we though. On day 1 we headed to the Windjammer with everyone else, and weren't that impressed. After that meal every one we had was surprisingly good. Dining room menu has a range of options, from simple things like pasta all the way to salmon / lobster. Windjammer seems to be very popular for breakfast in the morning and I *strongly* recommend standing in line for an omelet, my wife and I felt it was one of the best things we had all week. Food at the Cafe Promenade was good, the dessert items are better than the cold sandwiches. The pizza there is also good, not great. That was really the theme - there was nothing 'other-worldly', yet we were very happy every time we were finished eating. Dining Options RC kind of tricks you into thinking that there's a lot of dining options on-board, when there's really not. For breakfast it's either the dining room or Windjammer. Lunch is Windjammer or Johnny Rockets. Dinner is Portofino, Dining Room, or Windjammer. On other ships we felt like there were 1 or 2 other places to check-out, and if we had taken the 9-night cruise I think it would've gotten tiring going to the same places. That said - there are a ton of bars. More on this later. Lack of Staff Unlike other cruises we've been on, it felt like there just weren't a lot of RC people around. On the pool deck, an attendant would walk by maybe once every 2 hours. No cocktail waiters walking around the pool (didn't matter to us). In the casino, while playing, it was extremely difficult to get a waiter - sometimes there was 1 person, most of the time it was no one (to the point where the dealers were apologizing). Smokey Casino As soon as you enter the casino, the musty smell hits and it's apparent the casino has that saturated smell. It didn't bother me but my wife avoided it. I spent all 5 nights in the casino, and just like anywhere else sometimes I was next to a smoker, other times i'd go 2 hours and not notice it. Balcony Room We had a balcony on deck 8, almost middle of the ship. The RC booking agent recommended it and we were very happy with it. The balcony has two chairs, a small table, and made our room 'feel' larger. When facing west it was a great way to watch the sunset. The price difference was well worth it - an interior at the time of booking was $420/person for 5 nights and we paid right around $500 for a balcony, with a $200 on board credit. Decor This was the complaint we probably saw the most on Cruise Critic about this boat. There's some older art, some older carpets, and some strange color schemes. But who cares?! Seriously - isn't the food you're eating much more important that some statue that you think is not aesthetically pleasing? This seems to bother the older crowd, but we just thought it absolutely didn't matter in terms of enjoying the cruise. Feed us, throw out some decent entertainment, and add some consistently good service. That's what you're paying for. My Time Dining We thought also, before going, that it was odd when people would mention staff by name in their review. As in, shout out to so-and-so. We did MTD and on our first night we got a table for 2, with 2 servers who were absolutely fantastic. I'm not going to mention their names, but we requested that table for the remainder of the cruise and each night they were terrific. Fast, efficient, very friendly. Each dinner took no longer than 40 minutes. We told them on the last night how we had heard of dinners taking 2 hours, and they said that because they did a MTD section, the goal is to get people-in-and-out. All 4 of our meals were very good, although in hindsight I'd pay the 16 for the Filet upgrade. Entertainment Mixed bag here. The production shows are geared for the 55+ crowd, we were bored and left early a few times. But some of the late night entertainment was great; we had a terrific time at The Quest and the Love and Marriage show. Didn't go to ice skating because our slot time was 4pm on the At Sea day - didn't feel like leaving the sun for an ice show. The mini golf is nice, along with the other sports deck stuff. Be warned - the daytime entertainment schedule was really lacking, unless you like 45 minute seminars on buying Tanzanite. During the day we found almost nothing we wanted to go to. Bathrooms This was a strange issue we had - bathrooms are on each deck, but they're in a different place each time. Signage is not good, and sometimes we'd wander from corner to corner trying to find where the bathroom door was hidden. There's bathrooms in the casino I didn't know about until the last day - because there were no signs saying "oh there's a bathroom around the corner" Coffee 4 levels of coffee. 1st level - room service coffee. If you order it, you get a full pitcher of coffee and some mugs. Maybe the worst coffee i've ever had. Something you'd expect to find in a tire store. 2nd level - coffee in the dining room. They've got large machines, it was always hot, and drinkable. 3rd level - Cafe Prominade features Seattle's Best, 24/7. Very, very good. They have mugs and to-go cups. *Tip*- bring your own travel mug on board, best way to grab coffee to go. 4th level - Starbucks. Also in Cafe Prominade is a fake-Starbucks, with about half the menu. Coffee was around $4, but it was incredibly good. The beans are ground right after you place your order. RC nailed this - you have choices depending on how particular you are. Workout Facility We spent 2 mornings in the gym, getting there around 7:30. By 9am it was crowded and hard to find a machine. The room is facing foward, which in some cases means 'east', which means you are running into the sun. It's nice but would've been better to have some kind of shade to put down. They provide towels and wipes which was good. Also another good thing to bring a water bottle for. Fees for Activities Want to do yoga? That's a charge. Spin class? Charge. Johnny Rockets? $6 to get in, then $5 for any milkshake you want. Sports simulator? $40/hour. This isn't a complaint, just an observation - we saw additional fees more than expected. Getting Off the Ship Total mess. Self-assist is an all-morning disaster with confusing lines of everyone rolling their luggage through narrow spaces. 2000 people all wanting off at the same time. Very, very few RC staff around to direct which way a line is going and where it starts. Winding through the casino... through the palace.. everyone's angry and people blatantly cutting in line. Poor way to end a nice experience. We knew what to expect and it was still aggravating to watch un-managed chaos. Random Notes On the last night we bar-hopped and each bartender was very friendly (and poured very, very heavy). They want tips, and they want you to keep coming back to their bar. I ordered a vodka tonic and for $9 it was filled with Grey Goose then a splash of tonic. If you happen to have a balcony, we'd recommend being there for departure time in one of the ports - you can watch the 'Run-Of-Shame', people clearly late for the boat being cheered and booed for not having a watch. The promenade itself is good, but there needs to be more places to get food than bars to drink at. Who goes to an art auction on a cruise ship? On day 1 the elevators were very, very slow and after that we had no issue. Had a terrible experience with Royal Caribbean's 'shopping' person in Cozumel. We were trying to negotiate some jewelry, and she intervenes to tell us that if we buy somewhere else it will be 'cartel jewelry' and we should pay full price for the item - actively working against us in this situation. I ignored her and the shop came down on their price, with no help from her.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
I had heard some stories about long lines and delays boarding in Canaveral at the new terminal, but it seems that they had all the bugs worked out by this cruise. From the time we arrived until we were on board was under 20 minutes. Once ... Read More
I had heard some stories about long lines and delays boarding in Canaveral at the new terminal, but it seems that they had all the bugs worked out by this cruise. From the time we arrived until we were on board was under 20 minutes. Once on board, we did have to wait for a little while as the health inspectors finished up-Explorer scored a 99. After a quick bite in Windjammer, we went to our cabin, #7322 on the hump. It was clean with a great view. And a pleasant surprise, some complimentary snacks and a small bottle of wine were waiting for us. Maybe because I hit platinum on this cruise? The warm sunny weather was a nice change from New York, and we took advantage of it as we hit the pool waiting for the muster drill and sail away. Everything went pretty smoothly and we sailed out just about on time. We had all our dinners in the MDR. The menus were about the same as on previous cruises, all well prepared and served by an efficient, attentive wait staff. The shore excursions were OK, both beach breaks. I'd recommend saving the western Caribbean and Bahamas for warmer weather as the water was a bit chilly. But it was still great relaxing on the beach soaking up the sun. We only went to a couple of the shows this time around-the action at the poker table was too good to miss, but the daily show with Leigh and Erky was great as usual. This was their last cruise as a team and they made the most of it. Because of my work schedule I had to catch an early flight, we had to use the self departure-it was well organized and once they cleared us to get off the ship, it only took about 15 minutes to get to customs, and we were through and on our way to the airport right on time. Overall, Explorer was very clean and the crew were always smiling and ready to make my vacation special. So you have to be asking, why disappointed and sad? Explorer was the first and only ship I've cruised on, and I'm going to miss her. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Most of my cruises in the last few years have been on Princess. We had not sailed on RCCL for three or four years. We picked this cruise primarily for the price and the fact that it sailed from Port Canaveral. There were 8 seniors in our ... Read More
Most of my cruises in the last few years have been on Princess. We had not sailed on RCCL for three or four years. We picked this cruise primarily for the price and the fact that it sailed from Port Canaveral. There were 8 seniors in our group. All experienced cruisers. Embarkation: Our group arrived at two different times and had two different experiences. Four of our group arrived about 11:30 am since they need assistance in boarding and had notified RCCL that they required wheelchair assistance. Upon arrival they were told that there would be about a 2 hour wait since RCCL only had a couple of wheelchairs! Remember this ship carries over 3,000 people. After waiting over an hour they decided to board w/o the assistance, but this was to be a recurring theme. RCCL is not inclined to provide assistance to handicapped people. If you require assistance, I would suggest you try another line. They only place they were at all equipped to handle people with disabilities was in Labade . We arrived about 1:30pm and had no problems boarding. I was surprised, however to see people boarding with cases of water and soda, after RCCL had specifically told me none were allowed to be taken on board and it is clearly stated in the contract that you can bring ONLY one bottle of wine per person on board. If you are going to have a rule--enforce it! The new terminal at Canaveral is very nice, but be prepared to walk long distances. Room: our inside room was adequate. They only complaint I have about the room is that if you want to put the beds together, it is almost impossible to walk around them. We had to separate our beds to preserve our shins. You could tell the ship was due for refurbishment. The carpet in the cabin was stained and the towels had seen much better days. The bathroom was decent size and the only complaint I have is that the toilet refused to flush on a few occasions. It was promptly fixed. We were on Deck 7 toward the rear and it was a good location. Often was hard to get an elevator, but was convenient to the computer center. Our cabin steward was fine. She did what was asked, but nothing more. Service has fallen way off on RCCL. Dining-- Main dining room food was fine, nothing outstanding and our service was good. The biggest complaint I had about the dining room is that breakfast and lunch menus never changed. Windjammer Cafe-- Just a disaster. First problem is organization. Who would put salad dressing at the beginning of the line? Before you get to the salad station? Butter no where near the bread? Lukewarm food or food that had been sitting out way too long. Both Princess and MSC have shown me that buffets can be done right, but RCCL does not have a clue. There is no service at all in Windjammer. No one asks you if you would like a drink or a refill. You are on your own. Finally, they do not clean the tables. They sit with dirty dishes and when someone takes away the dishes the table is hardly wiped at all. Yet you better washie washie with Purrel when you come it. That does no do much good when floor is covered in food and the tables are not cleaned. We mentioned this on at least two occasions to the people in charge of the area and they were sooo sorry, but nothing changed. These people though the ship was already in dry dock! Service in general-- was poor. RCCL might want to divert some advertising dollars to hiring and training their people. I saw where RCCL pays not federal income tax even though it shows a profit--maybe they should devote the same amount of energy and attention to customer service as they do to tax accounting. Whether it was in the shops, the cafes or the font desk,there was very little desire to please the customer. I waited in one shop for over 10 minutes to get some information on a watch, while the staff stood around talking to each other! Entertainment-- good to excellent. The ice show was a highlight of the cruise and we had fun skating one day. Most of the singers and dancers were good and the guest entertainers were fine. Disembarkation was fine for the 4 of us that did not need assistance, but despite registering with the purser and being number 2 and 3 on the list, our friends were told that it would be 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours to get off the ship since they only had 3 wheelchairs. Unacceptably. Overall, I was quite disappointed with the Explorer of the Seas. RCCL just did not seem to give a flip about the passengers. I was not WOWed. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
I have only been on one cruise - a Carnival ship 27 years ago. My 17 year old daughter had never been on one. This was her graduation gift. We took the Explorer of the Seas from Port Canaveral to Cozumel and Nassau. What a great time! The ... Read More
I have only been on one cruise - a Carnival ship 27 years ago. My 17 year old daughter had never been on one. This was her graduation gift. We took the Explorer of the Seas from Port Canaveral to Cozumel and Nassau. What a great time! The ship is gorgeous, lots to do at all times. We did everything from play ping pong to rock climbing to karaoke to a digital scavenger hunt to enjoying all the shows onboard. The cruise director Leigh was EXCELLENT. Having not been on another cruise lately, I don't know if he's above average, but he certainly made the trip even more fun and entertaining. The cabins were nice and were clean (a must for me), we only had an interior but it was sufficient for the small amount of time we spent in there. Our cabin attendant was wonderful, he knew our names before we even met him, and he catered to our every need (which admittedly weren't many). The main dining room food was good, although the dress was a little more casual than I expected (perhaps because of it being a 5 night cruise?). The Windjammer Cafe was available for buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, if you chose not to eat in the main dining room. The Promenade Cafe was a great place to grab a snack or a light lunch or dinner - they had sandwiches, pizza and sweets available around the clock. The only problem we had was some seasickness. 30 minutes after leaving Port Canaveral my daughter and I were both nauseous. We bought some of the wrist bands in the general store on board (note: bring your own! everything's very pricey on board!). Thank goodness they worked. But the ship rocked horribly every single night. Several nights I had to get up and take the hangers down out of the closet because they were banging against the wall. And one night I sat and watched my tube of chapstick roll back and forth on the desk between my daughter's hair straightener and my hair dryer. Back and forth, back and forth. The last night was the worst, I couldn't even sleep for the rocking. My daughter had taken her bands off while in port and forgot to put them back on when we got on the ship; we missed dinner that night because she was sick. Within an hour of putting the bands on, though, we were at the going away show. Let me say, though, that our room was at the very front of the ship, so that may have made a difference. Also, someone told me that the newer ships have better stabilizers. I believe the Explorer was built in 2000. Oh, and one final thing, debarkation was not a very pleasant experience. We chose to carry our own luggage off, in which case we were told to be at the Palace Theatre between 7:45am and 8:30am. We arrived at 7:45am, thinking we'd be off the ship in no time. When we arrived via elevator, we couldn't even exit the elevator because there were so many people lined up to get in. We ended up taking the elevator down an extra floor and carrying our luggage up the stairs, only to wait in the hallway with hundreds of other people for at least 30-40 minutes. It wouldn't have been so bad if they had made an announcement or explained to us why the delay, but nothing was said. People were getting very upset. We were finally filed through the Theatre and off the ship, then had to go through customs. We actually reached our car (we parked right at the port) at about 9:20. I think perhaps the delay was caused by us arriving back at Port Canaveral a little later than anticipated, but it would have been very nice of the ship to let us know that - or to have made an announcement about it before everyone crowded into the hallways at the pre-announced time. Other than that, what a great time!!! I think the debarkation fiasco is not a normal occurrence; I would definitely recommend this 5 night cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
It is a bit odd writing a review of a ship that is about to go into dry dock for 45 days of repair and change, and then be stationed in another part of the world, so I will consider this review as much an ode to RCCL as to our particular ... Read More
It is a bit odd writing a review of a ship that is about to go into dry dock for 45 days of repair and change, and then be stationed in another part of the world, so I will consider this review as much an ode to RCCL as to our particular cruise. We sailed on February 12, 2015 for a 9 day trip to the ABCs. We arrived a day early and were able to watch a rocket launch from the Cocoa Beach Pier. This was very cool! The next morning we spent three hours at the Kennedy Space Center, with time to see both the shuttle and the Apollo rocket. Then off to board. The new terminal at Port Canaveral is nice, with three lines. One for Diamond and Suites (very long line—which we evidently qualified for as newly minted Platinum members), one for Gold (a shorter, but still long line), and one for those with no status (first timers?), which was short. We went to that line, and were on our way quickly. Before boarding, there was yet another line, with an express section that included us as Platinum or higher (the sign only said Diamond or higher, but we were directed to it). This cruise was made for relaxing—four of the eight full days were sea days, and one of the port days was Labadee, which is really like a sea day but with land. So we did, indeed relax—lots of time lounging on the balcony of poolside. So, lots of time to notice the ship—which was nice and clean and well kept, unless you wanted to inspect for the rough spots, which you could find if you looked. So yes, a 15 year old ship is not as new and shiny as a brand new ship, but it was still very nice! The crew was also excellent and enthusiastic. Our room attendant was friendly, efficient and unobtrusive. We made use of the “do not disturb” and “please make up room” signs, and so did he. We did my time dining, with a 7 pm reservation for 8 nights, and sat at the same table each night. Awesome waiters! This way we could eat at the time we like, while not losing the connection with the servers. This was particularly helpful as two of the four us were vegetarians, with special meals ordered on occasion. We also had a very nice dinner at Portofino one night. In Curacao we mainly checked out the town, took photos of the iconic waterfront, and headed for the pool on the ship as it was quite hot. No beach plans as we did not dock until 2 pm. In Bonaire we went snorkeling with Woodwind, which was perhaps the best snorkel I have ever had (including the Great Barrier Reef, so I am not kidding!). In Aruba, we went to the beach with a day pass at the local Renaissance Hotel private island. Pricey but nice ($99 per person includes boat rides out and back, beach chairs and towels, water toys (mats, snorkels, etc.) lunch and a drink). In Labadee we lay on the beach, and noticed how over the years RCCL has added many amenities ($$) to the island so that it is beginning to feel like an amusement park. Still, the beach, beach chairs and lunch are all included. On the last sea day I took the behind the scenes tour. We saw the laundry, trash and recycling, bridge, engine control room, employee lounge area, kitchen and theatre. It was pretty cool to walk around in the restricted areas after all these years. Getting off the ship at the end was quick and efficient, as was our RCCL bus ride to the airport in Orlando. Of course, there was a storm in my home city, my flight was cancelled and I got home a day late. My only thought was how I was glad it happened on the way back and not at the beginning! The service, food, and ship were excellent. The entertainment was also quite good—my wife and I like the late night music. We spent a few evenings on the 14th floor (Dizzy’s) dancing to the music (Bosco and the Storm), and a few nights in the Irish pub on the promenade listening to the singer there (Ben Trout) while having a few. Those in our group that like singers and dancers said the ones on the ship were quite good. RCCL gave a great value and a great vacation. We had a terrific and relaxing time.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Pros • The food in the dining room and buffets was good (but not outstanding) • The dining room staff was very friendly (especially our assistant waiter) • We had a family oceanview stateroom, which was spacious and nice • The ... Read More
Pros • The food in the dining room and buffets was good (but not outstanding) • The dining room staff was very friendly (especially our assistant waiter) • We had a family oceanview stateroom, which was spacious and nice • The overall decor in the ship was quite tasteful, and the artwork in the stairways, and the hallways leading to the staterooms was nice • The shows were good, but not outstanding • Each elevator has a carpet panel in the floor to remind you what day it is (e.g. “Tuesday”) Cons • Compared to other cruise lines, we found the majority of the staff not particularly friendly, e.g., many didn’t even make eye contact when passing them in hallways • The “Self-assist” disembarkation procedure was a mess – we stood in line (that stretched from one of the deck 4 staircases, through the casino) for about 45 minutes with several hundred other people, and then we all slowly shuffled off the ship. Then when we got into the port, we waited another 45 minutes in line to go through Customs and Immigration. It was tiring and frustrating. • Excursion tickets weren’t delivered to our room on the first evening (as promised) – we had to go to the Guest Relations desk the night before the excursion and ask for them • Beach towels are not provided in the rooms – you have to pick them up on the pool deck, or at a special desk when leaving the ship for a shore excursion • The design of the main promenade on Deck 5 has a flaw regarding air freshness – There is a staircase leading up from the casino right into the middle of the promenade, so you almost always have to walk through cigarette smoke when you walk along the promenade • The speakers in many of the elevators are not working well, so it’s hard to understand what’s being announced • They don’t provide some standard things in the staterooms, e.g., pen & paper, a recycling bin, and at least one free bottle of water • The buffet dessert tables had no pie or fruit tarts – pie, at least, should be standard • No giant chess board anywhere on board!   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Our trip started with a few days in Cocoa Beach at the Best Western, nice enough place overlooking the sand for about $105 per night and walking distance to the pier. We took a side trip to Kennedy space center and were blown away with the ... Read More
Our trip started with a few days in Cocoa Beach at the Best Western, nice enough place overlooking the sand for about $105 per night and walking distance to the pier. We took a side trip to Kennedy space center and were blown away with the rockets and up close look at the Atlantis space shuttle. There was aslo a rocket launch after our tour which was a once in a lifetime experience for people from Seattle. Embarkation day was exciting, the new terminal was very nice and we were onboard in less than an hour arriving at 11am and following a very long line without any waiting around. My wife, I and a friend sailed on the Explorer expecting to have an ok time at best based on the reviews but found the boat to be in great shape with excellent food in the dining room and buffet. Drinks are very expensive and they like to give you a sales pitch at every turn but this was not a big deal, just part of cruising. We had great weather on our trip to the ABC islands and Haiti. Most of the passengers on the 9 day trip were in theirs 70s and 80s but enjoyed them as we were in our 50s and didn't have to deal with the party crowd. The crew members were very friendly and greeted us with a smile and kind words at every turn. The only negatives were the shows in the Palace theater. There was a guy that did impersonations who used to be an announcer on the price is right, very old routine, maybe good for a house party but not a paying audience as not much applause. Juggler was ok but most of his comments were that nobody was clapping or making noise....like it was our fault that his routine was outdated. We skipped the singers and dancers as they generally don't appeal to people under 70 due to show content. Commedy show on last night was good but only lasted 15 minutes. Ice show was fantastic, don't miss it. Quest show is really good, everyone loved it! Cabin was the same as every other cruise, good beds & storage, pretty quiet. Aruba was great, nice beaches on the west side, clean, lots to do but very windy. Curacao was sort of dumpy and poor but was there for Carnival which was amazing to watch. Bonaire had cristal clear water and lots of fish but nothing much on land other than nature outside of the one horse town. We went to a couple of beaches, one is good for windsurfing and the other was a resort for snorkeling and tanning, the cab drivers can tell you what is best for your tastes. Labadee was beautiful but the locals working there don't like you and it's obvious so you'll just have to ignore them. Overall experience was great and can't wait to sail again. This was my 10th or so cruise and much better than Carnival as far as food, entertainment no so good but who cares, we made our own fun! Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Boarding went well, about 20 minutes from time we arrived at terminal 1 in Port Canaveral. We had lunch in the Windjammer restaurant. I had sliced roast beef; it was good. A small piece of sugar free strawberry mousse and a chocolate chip ... Read More
Boarding went well, about 20 minutes from time we arrived at terminal 1 in Port Canaveral. We had lunch in the Windjammer restaurant. I had sliced roast beef; it was good. A small piece of sugar free strawberry mousse and a chocolate chip cookie for dessert was great. We got our cabin (6536) about 1:00pm and our bags arrived about 3:00pm; better than expected or promised. The Explorer is due for renovation in March and is showing its age. It's a nice ship, but in need of help. This is our third cruise on the Explorer in about ten years. We have a balcony cabin on the port side toward the front of the ship. We left port about 4:30 heading for Labadee, Haiti as our first destination, a day and a half away. The seas were a bit rough making my wife queasy. She donned her seasick bracelets but still felt off a bit. Dinner in the restaurant that night was shrimp cocktail (excellent) and prime rib with potatoes; the prime rib was average at best. Dessert was less impressive, a cobbler that was too dry. The rough seas led to an early bedtime as that was the best way for my wife to avoid getting seasick. January 30th At Sea At sea all day; the seas are somewhat smoother and I think the Captain slowed the ship down a little to smooth out the ride. Breakfast was excellent, with fresh cooked eggs and bacon, as well as some delicious oatmeal. There was plenty of fresh fruit and breads to go with a good assortment on the buffet in the Windjammer. Several windows in the restaurant were permanently clouded; the ship is ready for rehab. Many areas throughout the ship are showing signs of rust and age. There were plenty of activities throughout the day, which was good because a light drizzle cleared the pool area in the afternoon. For dinner we all ordered the tenderloin which was fantastic; our waiter brought us seconds which was much appreciated. We started with the shrimp cocktail once again followed by lobster bisque, both very good. Cheesecake topped-off a very hood meal. The service was excellent. In the Palace theater, they had a great show of 60s and 70s songs and dancing by very talented entertainers. January 31st Labadee, Haiti We awoke to rain which continued for much of the day. After breakfast in the Windjammer, we relaxed on our balcony to do some reading; there would be little opportunity for water activities on Labadee. We did venture onto Labadee at lunchtime; it always pays to pack an umbrella. RCL provided lunch on the island; burgers, hot dogs, chicken, and ribs, as well as salads and cookies. Nothing great, but passable. Labadee has expanded its facilities over the years; it is very nice, with beautiful beaches, souvenir shopping, a roller coaster, and mile long zip line. They have pavilions where you can escape the hot sun or rain. It's a far cry from when we last visited several years ago. It was nice to spend some time on shore after two days at sea. The show in the Palace theater this evening was singer/dancer/comedian named Tony Tillman; he performs the Sammy Davis role in the Las Vegas show, the Rat Pack. He was fantastic; high energy, funny, and a very good singer. He performed songs from the 60s and 70s because that was what this audience wanted to hear. The theater was packed for both shows and he didn't disappoint. We had dinner in the Portofino restaurant, the Italian specialty restaurant; the meal and the service were excellent. I started with a bowl of minestrone soup with a clear broth, followed by an appetizer of prosciutto, mozzarella cheese balls, and apple slices; all very delicious. The main course was a perfectly prepared 16 ounce t-bone steak with a side of broccoli. Dessert was a chocolate cake, covered in rich chocolate icing and a brandy cherry filling; absolutely wonderful, but so filling that I could only eat half of it. The Portofino carries an additional charge of $25 per person, but it is well worth it. February 1st, Super Bowl Sunday – At Sea Once again, we have a day at sea heading for Bonaire. Breakfast of bacon and eggs in the Windjammer. Today, the sky has cleared, but the sea is still a little rough; a good day to do some reading on the balcony while enjoying the noise of the Caribbean splashing against the ship. I don't understand how people can cruise without a balcony cabin; it's a window to enjoy the ocean. In the afternoon, we attended an ice show that was very well done; not to be missed. For the evening entertainment, they showed the Super Bowl on a 30 foot screen in the Palace theater; great game, great audience. The only two shortcomings were viewing on ESPN International; they did not show the great commercials and they did show pathetic half-time show with Katy Perry, she was terrible and the girl can't dance a lick. Late in the evening, they had an "oldies sock hop"; great idea, and for non-football fans it allowed people to burn up some energy during the day at sea. Being Sunday, My wife was bummed that there were no church services offered; with over 4000 people on the ship, we believe that RCL dropped the ball. Also, at dinner, I had the Manhattan strip steak, one of their standard offerings; very disappointing, the taste and texture wasn't very good; so much for steak the rest of this cruise. February 2nd: Bonaire Monday morning and a beautiful day in Bonaire. After our normal breakfast in the Windjammer, we set out for a day of sightseeing and shopping. They have the typical souvenir and jewelry shops throughout the tourist area by the pier. The city is clean and quite nice. Snorkeling and scuba diving are really popular in Bonaire and folks raved about their experiences. A tip: While on Bonaire, visit the Four Seasons restaurant near the dock for free, fast wifi; the pina colodas aren't bad either. At dinner tonight, I had the cannelloni, a stuffed pasta dish, and a Caesar salad; finishing up with a crème Brule. The entire meal was very good. Tomorrow Curacao. February 3rd: Curacao We had beautiful weather in Curacao. We walked quite a bit covering both sides of town, and crossing the floating bridge several times. Free wifi is available in town; it's a bit slow, not as fast as on Bonaire. Breakfast and lunch were uneventful, but for the third time in six nights, RFL screwed up our My Time dinner reservations. So much for using their website reservation system in advance of the cruise. Dinner was pretty good; I started with New England clam chowder and for the main course, I had lamb chops with mint jelly and potatoes, all prepared very well. My wife had veal oscar without the oscar; still no sign as to where the crab went. For entertainment, they had a juggler/comedian; he was pretty good even though we only caught the second half of his show. Tomorrow Aruba. February 4th Aruba Once again beautiful weather and windy. Aruba was very nice; it was clean but lacked the charm of Bonaire and Curacao. Though small, it was a bit more metropolitan than the other islands. Plenty of jewelry and souvenir shops to occupy your time. As with the other islands, the people were very nice. There is free wifi on Aruba, but almost impossible to access. Tried pay wifi (Aruba Wifi) which was reasonably priced ($5/hour or $10/day), hut almost as difficult to access as the free wifi. Back on ship at 3:30pm for long haul back to Port Canaveral. Why wasn't I surprised when once again the reservations people in the Magellan dining room messed up our reservation; it was their fourth screw-up in six nights? After twenty minutes of aggravation, our party of four was shown to a table for eight. Dinner followed with shrimp cocktail for appetizer and a main course of chicken cordon bleu; they food tasted good and as usual, the waiters were great. We finished eating at 9:10, which meant we were late for the 9:00pm show in the Palace theater. It was the singing group, the Alley Cats, a doo wop group with songs from the 50s and 60s. Because we arrived late, all seats were taken and we had to stand in the back of the theater. The show was great, but the standing was tiring and annoying. Thank you RCL restaurant management staff for once again ruining an evening on the cruise, the term "customer service" seems to have eluded these people. I'm quickly going from a big fan of RCL to a "hater", and RCL is earning every bit of it. Two days at sea to go; still trying to make the best of it, but RCL is making it a challenge. February 5th At Sea Breakfast in the Magellan was nice. We sat at a table of ten and many shared the same concerns we had as to the quality of the ship and lack of repairs and poor maintenance. Several mentioned the smell of raw sewage on the main Promenade deck near the back elevators. The odor lingered in that area for seven days until it was corrected; no excuse. It appears that RCL has a problem with plumbing in many areas of the ship. Later in the day, my wife discovered a dark sludge-like liquid coming from the drain and covering the floor of our shower. Our room attendant quickly cleaned the shower as well as the shower in the next cabin which also had sludge. Lunch in the Windjammer was uneventful except for the normal ritual of roaming the dining room hoping that a table will come open. They repeatedly broadcast a request that people vacate tables upon completion of their meal, but many sat around in conversation or settled in to read a book. It was common to see one or two people occupying tables for 5 and 6 well after completing their meals. The Windjammer does not have the capacity to handle lunch for everyone on ship unless you “eat and get out”. This is a problem as the Magellan dining room is not open for lunch; only breakfast and dinner. My wife and I took a very nice guided tour of the kitchen in the afternoon; it was hosted by Chef Vinnie (half Italian – half Jamaican was his claim to fame). He was a great host mixing humor and information in describing what went on in the kitchen; introducing all the head chefs; and explaining how the food was prepared for such a large number of people. It was lobster night at dinner and the lobster was delicious; seconds were readily available for the asking. The show in the Palace was a dancing and singing performance by the ship’s entertainers and was very nice. The second (late) shows were heavily attended in the Palace during the entire cruise and seating was at a premium unless you arrived at least 20-30 minutes early; after that it was standing-room only, not the best situation fro a boat full of senior citizens. We were kept awake this night by banging coming from the port side of the ship not too far from our balcony; maintenance was working in the middle of the night. February 6th Our Last Day at Sea You probably guessed it; RCL decided to do something about the sludge on the 8th day (actually 7th night) of the cruise. I went for coffee before breakfast and found two workers had covered our hall in plastic and were “snaking” the drain pipes. My guess is that the backflow prevention valves have either rotted internally or were just worn out from years of service; this is a health concern and 45 days in dry-dock next month is not enough time to repair or replace the 15 year old plumbing system. At least our shower was clean (for now) and the odors were gone. Off to find a table in the Windjammer and have some bacon and fresh cooked eggs for breakfast. After a few trips around the dining room, we secured a table and proceeded to enjoy our meal. There were trivia contests, small game shows, and various other forms of entertainment around the ship during the day. Of course, there were the pools, spas, and a rock climbing wall. Lunch was a repeat of the Windjammer table search and the usual buffet offerings. No shortage of good food, just not enough tables. For dinner, we had sliced turkey, dressing or stuffing, and vegetables. What was proclaimed to be all white meat was actually white meat on top, covering dark meat underneath. It’s ironic because it kind of fit the state of the ship; the only thing with the ship is that the outside was showing signs of aging while under the surface, it was decaying (plumbing). They had a mediocre comedian in the Palace this last night. February 7th Dis-embarkment We arrived on time in Port Canaveral and I believe many were ready for this cruise to end. After breakfast, we sat in large groups around the ship waiting for our group number to be called so we could make our way to baggage claim, customs, and our shuttles to our cars. Dis-embarkment went very well. Our number was called on schedule at 9:00am and we proceeded off the ship to the area where our luggage was waiting. From there, we moved through customs rather quickly and were on our shuttle in about 35 minutes. Most of the conversations we heard during this time were about the shape of the ship and the overall disappointment in that RCL never acknowledged that all wasn’t right on the “beautiful” Explorer of the Seas. The Ship: Dated and worn-out are the best adjectives to describe the current state of the Explorer. RCL has gone a bit overboard with drink packages; they are extremely overpriced, and individual drinks including coke and water are ridiculously priced. It appears that RCL is following the lead of the airlines in maximizing add-ons. Wifi is very expensive ($29 for one hour) and available only in a few locations on the ship; it's also slow so you don't get much bang for your buck. All around the ship, you see areas desperately in need of repairs. Some windows in the Windjammer restaurant are so permanently fogged that it is hard to see out. Many of the chairs in the dining rooms showed signs of distress; they were worn through in places, some had holes in the seats and showed numerous stains. You have already read my horror stories about the plumbing and the seven day stench of raw sewage opposite the main desk on the Promenade. I now finally understand how some people cruise without a balcony cabin. They either head out early to the pool area and drop a towel and bag on the lounge chair claiming it as their own for the rest of the day or they find another location in a prime area of the ship and lay claim to that area, or they do both. This makes it difficult for non-squatters to find lounge chairs near the pool, or a seat at a table on the Promenade to enjoy a cup of coffee or an ice cream, or a card table in the undersized game room, or a seat in the library, etc. For some reason, RCL does not enforce its policies of not saving seats; this lack of enforcement limits opportunities for those who follow the rules. RCL is more interested in pushing drinks on the pool deck than picking up unattended towels left on most of the lounge chairs on the pool deck. RCL intends on refurbishing the Explorer in March. I’m assuming that they will make changes similar to those they made on the Voyager of the Seas (the older sister of the Explorer). If they increase passenger capacity by several hundred people, increase specialty restaurants, and add a water surfing area as was stated during our Captain’s introductions, they will have to reduce public areas such as lounges on and around the Promenade and other decks, the Windjammer restaurant, and possibly the Ice Rink and Solarium swimming area. The elevators can barely handle the present passenger capacity; adding several hundred passengers will add to the nightmare. After re-hab, the Explorer is off to England, the Mediterranean, then Dubai, Singapore, and finally Australia. It is more suited for three day cruises to Nassau. I think it’s time to try NCL, Princess or MSC.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Great ship: sailed with an even keel in gale force winds; Lots of onboard amenities with at least 6 hot tubs and an ice rink. Cabins were nicely appointed, clean, and well maintained. On the other side of the coin: Food was adequate, but ... Read More
Great ship: sailed with an even keel in gale force winds; Lots of onboard amenities with at least 6 hot tubs and an ice rink. Cabins were nicely appointed, clean, and well maintained. On the other side of the coin: Food was adequate, but not exceptional. Atmosphere on deck and the "Grand Promenade" was like visiting a third world town. Street vendors everywhere. Product sales should be limited to the store fronts. Everywhere, the vendors set up tables to hawk their wares of the day. They were courteous and pleasant, but always in your face. That together with the nickel & dime charges for sodas and club soda got a bit annoying. Didn't feel like a guest on a first class cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We read reviews before our vacation. We doubted a lot, but we decided to try. We returned yesterday and so happy, like we were in a paradise! The crew was phenomenal, the cabin was very comfortable, the service was excellent. Food was like ... Read More
We read reviews before our vacation. We doubted a lot, but we decided to try. We returned yesterday and so happy, like we were in a paradise! The crew was phenomenal, the cabin was very comfortable, the service was excellent. Food was like from haven. It's very hard to please to everyone, when over 3000 tourists on the ship, but if you are normal honest educated, intelligent person, you have to be reasonable and objective critics. The roomservise was fantastic, the waiters work was absolutely excellent. We would like put the waiters names Vas, Presly and Lynch Del Rosario, Franklyn. Thank you for great service! I'm laughing when I am reading the reviews: "a lot of people in elevators". Do you try to use the stairs? The entertainment was very interesting: picturesque iceskating show, library, bars, cafeteria, music bands and all shows. Thank you very mutch to all personal of the cruise. We are looking for another trip. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We are experienced cruisers, both on RCI and other companies. We have always been pleased with our RCI cruises but this one was not so satisfactory. Embarkation at Port Canaveral was efficient and we were onboard pretty quickly. The ship ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers, both on RCI and other companies. We have always been pleased with our RCI cruises but this one was not so satisfactory. Embarkation at Port Canaveral was efficient and we were onboard pretty quickly. The ship is looking pretty scruffy in places, especially the corridoors and balconies. Explorer is due for a refurb in March and is in dire need. Food in the Windjammer was repetitive and quite boring, so we mostly ate in Columbus dining room - which was good. However what was really noticeable on this cruise was the staff attitude. Normally RCI staff can't do enough to help and although our cabin steward was very good, in the bars we often gave up waiting to be served and they were not even that busy. We noticed that the crew seemed almost surly and unhappy, previously everyone we passed in the hallways greeeted us but this time we had to make the first move and were only grudgingly acknowledged. We were on the Premium drinks package, which on our cruise in September '14 included gratiuity. This time although they had lowered the daily charge VERY SLIGHTLY, this did not include gratuities AND they had reduced the value of drinks included in the package. Something to watch out for. Also something which was extremely annoying was the fact that although we had paid our gratuities upfront ( a requirement for My Time dining), one of our waiters in the dining room made VERY obvious attempts to extract an additional tip from us and it became very tiresome and annoying. The ice show was very good, but the other shows were abyssmal. Typical cruise ship fare - cheesy production shows, lacklustre headline acts and an Elton John tribute singer, who thought he was a comedian - but was seriously not! The ports were very interesting and there were some excellent excursions on offer, so no complaints there. However, the cruise market is exceptionally competitive and this did not meet our expectations. In fact we have booked our next cruise on Princess. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I am beginning to notice some defeciencies that Royal Caribbean will need to address. I still like their mission, at least I think their mission is to provide value to the adult cruiser. Terminal 1 at Port Canaveral is enormous, and there ... Read More
I am beginning to notice some defeciencies that Royal Caribbean will need to address. I still like their mission, at least I think their mission is to provide value to the adult cruiser. Terminal 1 at Port Canaveral is enormous, and there seem to be some growing pains associated with passenger drop off. Some experience there should help. However, the worst thing abou this cruise was the last thing we encountered. That is self assist disembarkation. It was a shambles. I suspect far more passengers elected this route (for a number of reasons) and the staff was simply not prepared for it. I must also say some passengers had far more gear than they could handle in resonable circumstances. This didn't help. Assembly points were changed without prior notice and there were about 1000 passengers all trying their best to get to where they were directed. It was a dire mess. Portifino's was very good. The upcharge was worth it if you long for a better dining experience. The food was of higher quality, the preparation was better and the service was ample. The main dining room seems to have more and more Sysco suplied food items like chicken cordon blue. It was poor supermarket quality and should not have been on the menu. Many appetizers arrived at room temperature when they should have been hot or cold. I know serving a couple thousand people at a time is difficult, but this needs improvement. The staff is good. They all work hard to serve the passengers. Some additional training may help. For eample, the becks are hosed down each night. But the chairs are not wiped off. Some chairs hold a substantial amount of water. Towels are plentiful, but the passengers should not need to clean off the deck chaises each morning. The shows are good and the liquor is, well, expensive. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
My hubby and I have never been on a cruise before...this was our first time, but as many have warned us, it will not be our last!!! First let me say that embarking was a breeze. We headed straight to our cabin to check it out and it was ... Read More
My hubby and I have never been on a cruise before...this was our first time, but as many have warned us, it will not be our last!!! First let me say that embarking was a breeze. We headed straight to our cabin to check it out and it was beautiful. We had a balcony on deck 7, port side. We then headed over to the Windjammer to have a bite for lunch, meeting up with our friends and fellow travelers. After lunch we explored the ship a bit. Each night we dined in the main dining room. Our waitstaff was Jevy and Rachael, and they were wonderful. Could not ask for better service! We also enjoyed wonderful service from Patrick, our cabin steward. We did eat all but one breakfast in the Windjammer and all lunches there as well. We ordered room service a few times as well. I have no complaints at all about the food or the service in any of these locations! Each night we also were sure to attend the show in the Palace theatre. These were all wonderful productions. They ranged from comedy acts to singing acts to dancing entertainment, each as good or better than the other. Just top notch. We also saw the ice show...which is a DO NOT MISS. The hula hoop girl was spectacular. The days were cool and while we did spend time up on the pool deck, I ended up purchasing a windbreaker and wrapping myself in a towel at times. This was due to a storm headed up north. While we had wonderful weather, the wind made a chillier trip than expected. We enjoyed trivia at the Schooner bar several times and did some shopping aboard the ship as well. We are not drinkers nor do we enjoy the casinos, but that did not hinder our trip at all. We loved every moment of it. Let me take this time to commend Leigh and Erky for the entertainment they provided. Best of the trip: 70s dance party on the Promenade the last night of the trip. The ports were enjoyable as well. I will say this: do your homework before booking excursions. We loved the Cozumel excursion to Chankenaab. Unfortunately, the snorkeling was canceled and we only received a minor $9 credit for that. I would suggest if you want to save a few bucks, you can take a cab to Chankanaab and pay to get into the park. I think it is only in the neighborhood of $23 a person...a bit less expensive than the excursion price, which is double that. The excursion on Freeport was requested by our friends. They wanted to do the cave tour. Now, I had read that there were no bathrooms, so I was very concerned about this one. DO NOT BELIEVE IT. There are most definitely bathrooms. When you get out of the bus, there is an outhouse right there...and it is extremely clean with no smells and well stocked. After the caves you go to the beach where there is a restaurant and there are bathrooms there as well. So do not let this concern you. However, despite the presence of the facilities and the wonderful time we had on Freeport, I would NOT recommend the excursion. The trip did not justify the cost. The caves were two little tiny holes in the ground. Basically, you can get down via a spiral staircase and stand on a platform at the bottom and look around, but there is literally nowhere to go. It is tiny. There are only two and neither is any better than the other. The beach is quite a walk, but it is lovely. We were able to lunch at the restaurant which had great food and spend some time on the beach. However, it was definitely a long wait for the food...they are on island time. This limited our beach time. Each port had some shopping right at the ship (be careful what you are buying though!). We were able to spend time in each port doing a little shopping even though we had spent most of the day on the excursions...so there is enough time! In fact, we took a taxi into Cozumel to do more shopping (had to buy some Mexican vanilla and rum cakes!) and were still back in plenty of time to shop at the port. Disembarking was not a problem. There was a good line at customs and I think we were at the end of it, so probably one of the last couples on the ship. Though it took a while to get through the customs line, it all went smoothly. The cruise line is very organized about getting people off and our bags were waiting there for us when we did. The food, entertainment, facilities, and staff were magnificent. We were treated royally by everyone and loved every moment. We will most certainly be cruising again very soon!   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This awsome Southern Caribbean itinerary included visits to Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao with a beach barbecue at Labadi, Haiti. We arranged our own transportation after going ashore on Aruba with Edmond, who owned his own vehicle which was ... Read More
This awsome Southern Caribbean itinerary included visits to Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao with a beach barbecue at Labadi, Haiti. We arranged our own transportation after going ashore on Aruba with Edmond, who owned his own vehicle which was clean and air conditioned. He provided great commentary on the sights. Curacao was great for shopping and the port of Willemstad had a European feel to it with colorful old and new buildings, outdoor cafes and many shops. Bonaire was a lovely small island with crystal clear water. No high rises, there are several beach front hotels which will rent you a chaise and snorkeling equipment, several dive shops just a short walk from the pier. Not much shopping here but a nice commercial district, there was a small market area with truly local crafts and art work. We really enjoy RCL for the design of their ships, entertainment, activities and friendliness of the crew but this ship should have been refurbished long ago. The MDR was a beautiful design and we had a great waiter. The food was ok. Entertainment was good with able singers and dancers but the ice show was the highlight. A Lecture on the polical and natural history of the islands would have been nice. We've attended those on other ships. The cruise director had a great morning show and was pretty entertaining. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Explorer of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness & Recreation 5.0 N/A
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursions 3.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 4.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.3
Value for Money 5.0 N/A

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