39 Port Canaveral (Orlando) Senior Cruise Reviews

Friends that have traveled on NCL invited us on this New Year's Eve.cruise Worst NYE we have ever spent. One glass of champagne and about 100 balloons drop. Cheap hats and noisemakers. From day one we knew we were gonna have ... Read More
Friends that have traveled on NCL invited us on this New Year's Eve.cruise Worst NYE we have ever spent. One glass of champagne and about 100 balloons drop. Cheap hats and noisemakers. From day one we knew we were gonna have trouble when we were boarding , very long lines and someone stopped the escalator while we were on it causing people to fall forward. Now we see our inside cabin(we always book). Shower & toilet separated by a curtain from the bed. Room was dark not enough light anywhere to put on makeup. We found the staff had attitude and were not helpful (you think it was their first day). We had dinner in 5 specialty restaurants, portions small. When I ordered a lobster tail for a $29 up charge it was tough and tasteless. When I told the person in charge he asked for my room number & said he would take it off the bill (he didn't). No quiet place to read, not enough lounges to talk, and don't know why I packed a bathing suit. Found the restrooms dirty,no soap in dispensers & no ply toilet paper. Except for a few trivia games not much to do during the day. This was my 43 cruise, my first with NCL & unfortunately my last. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Been going on royal for 20 years. This had to be the worst been on. From the back up of drainage in bathroom to bad attitudes from a few crew members. The safe didn't work, asked several times to get it fixed, never happened. Plus ... Read More
Been going on royal for 20 years. This had to be the worst been on. From the back up of drainage in bathroom to bad attitudes from a few crew members. The safe didn't work, asked several times to get it fixed, never happened. Plus getting into Nassau was a chore. You had to fight off the tour operators to get to the city to go shopping. It seems like t gets worse every time I go to Nassau. The shows were ok. But seemed like all entertainment was not well planned out. Food left a lot to be desired, bland and not good presentation. Getting off the ship was another chore. Crew did not have it together to help keep it smooth. I saw 4 guests fall and only 1 had a crew member or officer make sure they were all right. The other 3 had crew and officers walk by and didn't stop to see if the guest was alright. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Received cruise as a gift, been on RCL many times all wonderful. This boat is a disaster. From when we got on, until when we got off, was disgusting. Entered the Windjammer, sat down and chair arms came apart, saw this several times during ... Read More
Received cruise as a gift, been on RCL many times all wonderful. This boat is a disaster. From when we got on, until when we got off, was disgusting. Entered the Windjammer, sat down and chair arms came apart, saw this several times during this trip,day before we left in Windjammer, chair actually broke off and nearly fell. Food there excepting fish and chips worse than Golden Corral. Room passable except for rotten food/fruit smell we could not get rid of. Better bring lots room freshener, several floors smelled like raw sewage, our table mates had to have their rooms changed. Several people complained about odor. Carpets are filthy and hallway walls filthy.The only plus on trip was the room steward who did everything he could for us. Dining room old, dated and devoid of any flavor,not at all like other RCL cruises.servers do not understand English, very hard to converse with. Tried to order room service, no rye bread, chocolate milk, salmon, iced tea. Biggie, if you are handicapped no way to reach 12th floor, stairs only or walk length of ship all the way around. CococAy no handicap place to sit , made me walk stairs. Plenty of big wheelchairs for beach but no one to push them. While eating breakfast in Dining Room, huge commotion saying Bravo, staging area etc, emergency words, everyone thought fire until after all sirens and tell.g the crew to move everyone to Dining room said it was a drill. Should have prefaced it before.We are not complainers but this boat ( I refuse to call it a ship) needs to be put to sleep. Lots more to say , all negative,avoid this ship at all costs. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We had cruised on Oasis of the Sea before and loved it. The ship leaving Port Canaveral was the reason we booked this cruise. The ship has so amenities it is like visiting different parts of the country; ice skating, rock climbing, the ... Read More
We had cruised on Oasis of the Sea before and loved it. The ship leaving Port Canaveral was the reason we booked this cruise. The ship has so amenities it is like visiting different parts of the country; ice skating, rock climbing, the Aqua Theater, so many shops and restaurants on board. The staff is very friendly and helpful. The cabin was kept clean and the food is always wonderful. The activities are well planned and there is something for everyone. The ports are great for shopping. The transportation to the port and back to the airport is a big help when flying to the city. The valet service of getting your luggage to the airport and getting your boarding pass for you is one of the greatest things in making the disembarkation go smoothly - no hassle in walking out, going through customs and getting on bus to airport. A wonderful service!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We originately booked Norwegian Spirit for Dec. 3, 2016 and was advised the ship had been chartered and we would have to select another ship that had the same itinerary and chose the Epic. The ship was big with 4100 passengers and we ... Read More
We originately booked Norwegian Spirit for Dec. 3, 2016 and was advised the ship had been chartered and we would have to select another ship that had the same itinerary and chose the Epic. The ship was big with 4100 passengers and we thought was poorly designed for the number of passengers. We had an inside cabin which was smaller than other ships we have sailed and had poor lighting and a poor design with a small sink inside the cabin. Reservations were required for dining and shows and lines waiting to be admitted was at each venue. Service at MDR was very slow (almost always had a 3 hour dining, breakfast and lunch experience). One time even with reservations was told they were full and told us to try another restaurant. We made reservations before boarding for the twom free main shows and when we showed up we were told our reservation were not in their system. I recommend making copies of everything before boarding on this ship. Minimum activities are offered during the day if your not a pool person. Due to the Mathew storm we were directed to Nassau instead of Great Stirrup Cay. Been there many times and just walked down thru Bay Street. We had been to St. Thomas many times and this time tool the Gable Ride up to Paradice Point ($21.00 per person). In Tortola we walked to the ferry about 10 min and paid $38.00 to go to the Baths in Virgin Gorda (senior price is $28.00) well worth it. If you can I would recommend going thru the caves. Not recommended if you are very tall or a big person because you will be crawling and going thru very small crevises. Will never book this ship again. This ship is too big and too many pasengers every where. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
From other cruisers we heard that Royal Caribbean was one of the best. Not one word was true about this. This was our 6th. cruise and were previously 3 times on HAL, one on Carnival and one Princess (our very best so far). First of all RC ... Read More
From other cruisers we heard that Royal Caribbean was one of the best. Not one word was true about this. This was our 6th. cruise and were previously 3 times on HAL, one on Carnival and one Princess (our very best so far). First of all RC is the worst rip off cruise line we had. Let' some it up. Room service and overall crew: Excellent Entertainment: Below average especially their failing magician exposing a trap door. Just one night we enjoyed two comedians who were great. Food: The worst I have ever had, monotonous, taste less, low quality, greasy and more. Basically I should say: The same bad food everyday. They should fire their Chief Cook! Young children: Too many screaming, running, bad behaving kids with equal bad behaving parents. Too many carrying drinks around everywhere and drinking too much starting as early as 10:00 am. Teenagers: There were also a lot of young teenagers on the ship of which some need some severe parenting. Buffet and seating area: Poorly laid out and confusing for most. Pool music: Too loud and poorly playing and singing musicians. Freebies: Many things for free on other cruise line need to be paid for on R.C. Casino: Another rip off as after two days nobody had any big wins due to odds centrally computer controlled been reduced to almost nil. Ports: Jamaica and Haiti are the worst, most expensive, unsafe and dirtiest dumps I have ever seen. Unless you want to buy pot stay on the ship. Smoking policies: The worst laugh, people smoke all over, around the pool, on the balconies, in the non smoking casino section and other places right under the eyes of the crew who do not say a word. This cruise cost us about $3500.00Cad and was a waste of money and we will never do Royal Caribbean ever again. The above is not just our opinion but also of first time and experienced cruisers. This ship has too many expensive drinking holes, kids entertainment areas leaving little room for seniors who like to enjoy a relaxing cruise SO MY ADVICE IS: STAY AWAY FROM ROYAL CARIBBEAN AS IT IS A COMPLETE RIP OFF OVERRATED AND EXPENSIVE CRUISE LINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our first & probably last experience in sailing with NCL. This was our 6th cruise & can honestly tell you NCL is the worst operation in cruise history. The Spirit is the worst ship we have ever been on. In fact the name ... Read More
This was our first & probably last experience in sailing with NCL. This was our 6th cruise & can honestly tell you NCL is the worst operation in cruise history. The Spirit is the worst ship we have ever been on. In fact the name should be changed to The Sewage. This ship was the most unsanitary ship we have ever been on. OK here we go with facts: 1. Our stateroom #5576 was midship & all week long midship on deck 5 it smelled like a raw sewage plant. Other guests complained & I filled out sheets with of course received no answer from the hotel manager. We went to meet the Captain, Hotel Manager & some other high level officer’s presentation & when they were called out about the sewage smell on deck 5 they tried to to tell everyone they were unaware of the problem. Then another person stated incorrect because we spoke to you the other day about the sewage smell. Then the management team back pedals & said we will address your concern later which never happened. Again caught in a lie we had friends aboard that they tried to comp with a dinner in a speciality restaurant bc of this awful odor. How would you like to have to sleep in a room that smelled like raw sewage every night? 2. While on the subject the ship was grungy, dirty & sticky. We never once witnessed staff cleaning the elevator mirrors or railings on the steps. 3. Day 5 & 6 by the Blue lagoon restaurant the maintenance workers repairing a rest room caused deck 7 aft all the way to 10 to smell like pure urine. Disgusting. People were holding there noses for two days in this area. Right by a restaurant how appetizing. 4. The lunch & evening buffet was far below par. Much of the food didn’t even have a decent appearance. Worst buffet I have ever seen on a cruise ship. 5. The main dining room to be seated was totally unorganized where even with reservations you waited 30 minutes to be seated then service was unbelievably slow. Finally after 3 days of waiting in line with a 6 PM reservation a staff person told us they opened the other door for reservations. 6. We waited 35 minutes for lunch on boarding day where we received a cold burger & fries. On Wednesday we went to the Shogun restaurant & ordered 1 hour later still no food so we left along with two other couples who did not receive their ordered meals too. Nice touch!!! 7. Maintenance was doing painting in dining areas during the cruise. Maintenance closed part of the deck 7’s walking track while at sea to power wash the deck. Should of been done when we were in port. 8. Customer Service of the entire staff was real poor. It was apparent most of the workers could give a darn about their job and serving the passengers. In fact we asked two different workers what the problem was as they did not look happy & there reply was they have not been paid in two cruises so evidently NCL has a cash flow problem. This goes for the bartenders, house keeping & customer service area poor service unhappy workers. The entire time on this ship sitting mostly in the rear eating area we were only ever asked once if we would like a drink. Most of the bartenders were rude. 9. Our best excursion was cancelled power boat/snorkle in St Thomas but we were not given 48 hours notice of the cancellation. All the good tours were sold out by the time of this notification. What else could go wrong!!! 10. There is not enough seating in the main pool area. If you were not out there by 9 or 9:30 forget about it people had reserved all the tables & chairs so you sat out back or down on deck 7 away from the entertainment. Nice!!! 11. Smoking way to many places where smoking was permitted. 1/2 of deck 12 was for smokers. Can you believe they had a smoking area set up by the jogging track. Smoking should be totally limited to 1 or 2 areas. As on most ships the casino wreaked of smoke there-fore we can not patronage gambling as my health is more important than inhaling second hand smoke. ONLY ONE GOOD POINT - the shows & entertainers were awesome but this is true of just about every ship I have been on however there was no comedy club. I went on vacation to relax & have fun. This ship was no fun at all but one dirty, filthy floating sewer plant. My wife & I are not complainers & loved our cruise in Feb. on Carnival & other cruises we have been on with RC. We were sad to get off the ship in Feb 2015 the Carnival Sunshine but we could not wait to get off The Spirit the worst ship ever. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This Caribbean cruise to St-Maarten, St. Kitts, Puerto Rico and Grand Turk was my fourth cruise on Carnival. After being on other ships, I was looking forward to Carnival. This was the worst of the 8 cruises I have taken. Here is what ... Read More
This Caribbean cruise to St-Maarten, St. Kitts, Puerto Rico and Grand Turk was my fourth cruise on Carnival. After being on other ships, I was looking forward to Carnival. This was the worst of the 8 cruises I have taken. Here is what happened. 1. The internet was terrible. I purchased the top, premium package for the cruise. While the speed was good for satellite, Outlook emails were blocked. My Outlook Web Mail, Hotmail and Yahoo did not work. I had to create a Gmail account and direct all my clients to send their emails to this temporary address. The firewall also blocked most web sites. For example, BNN.ca worked but CNBC.com did not. Hyperlinks did not work. Google searches worked sporadically. I complained to Guest Services but they did not understand. They did arrange a meeting with the onboard IT person. I spent most of one sea day documenting the problems. The IT person said it was due to “security” concerns. As an IT guy, I explained that there should be no security concerns with CNBC. Note the Carnival also blocked all cruise line web sites except Disney. CruiseCritic.com was also blocked so I could not write this review onboard. Yesterday, the last sea day, the internet worked. So did Outlook. Clearly someone paid attention to my complaints. But you should not assume that the problem is fixed. If I ever cruise on Carnival again, I will create the temporary Gmail account so I can still get Gmail. I needed the internet for business. I do not know if the social media sites worked as I was too busy trying to stay in touch with the office and the stock market. 2. I was told that Carnival hired a consultant to propose ways to save money. Chocolates at night are gone. So is the ice bucket. Getting a fridge was a hassle. Housekeeping did a good job but the frequency was reduced compared to previous Carnival cruises. There was no champagne at the Captain’s reception. It was hard to get Guest Services on the phone. The luggage was late I assume, due to reduced staffing. When I called Guest Services about the luggage at 7pm, I was told that I should have packed a change of clothes for the 8:15 dinner…HUH? On a positive note, we did get towel animals each night. 3. There was no access to folios via TV like other Carnival ships. I do not know if this existed on the Sunshine before. 4. The food was excellent. Thanks to Brendan the F&B Manager and his staff. There is always good choice on Carnival. Breakfast sausages were tasty. Guy Fieri burgers were excellent. We had some curry meals as this ship did not have the Tandoor. There were clever dishes like blackened Tilapia with lime twists for lunch. The coffee and the water were fine. I mention this because on my August Holland America cruise to Iceland, the coffee was not drinkable. On my Voyages of Discovery cruise to Madagascar, I had to rely on bottled water purchased on shore. Unfortunately the pizza was not as good as the Valor. There no anchovies for toppings like the Valor. The salmon at dinner was overcooked. The sushi was in a pay restaurant unlike the amazing sushi I had on an RCL cruise to Bermuda. The rest of the meals onboard were fine. Dinner was a 2015. The shows were at 2115. I did not go to any shows as the late dinner conflicted with the shows. This was not a problem on previous Carnival cruises. 5. There was chaos at Shore Excursions. There was a lack of staff on the pier compared to other cruises. While I am 63, I am active. Two SNUBAs were cancelled due to a lack of participants. I did not get the standard green letter on one cancellation and all the other tours were booked. Had I known of my SNUBA cancellation the night before, I might have gotten on another tour. The sub ride was also cancelled and the reason given was the daylight savings time change on Sunday for a tour the following Friday…whatever. Most of the St. Kitts zip lining was cancelled so my morning SNUBA tour was cut short so I could be driven to the only zip line tour of the day. The events themselves were fine. The ship was 76% seniors. This explains why only three of 3500 people signed up for surfing lessons in Puerto Rico. I could see that many guests were not as active as me and that cancellations and rebookings (there were five changes out of seven excursions) should have been expected, the problems I encountered made the cruise experience less Fun. Shore Ex had erratic hours every day so I had to rely on Guest Services to make some of the changes. While I will miss the food and the smiling faces at housekeeping, the chaos at Shore Excursions and the problems with the Internet means that I will not return to Carnival until I am sure that the Fun has been restored. The Sunshine has the lowest rating in Cruise Critic. This review reinforces the low rating. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
SUNSHINE: MAINTENANCE PROBLEMS EVERYWHERE! I call the Sunshine the “broke, broke” ship because its distinctive feature is the high rate of things that don’t work. We had a premier 11th floor balcony cabin and dealt with a ... Read More
SUNSHINE: MAINTENANCE PROBLEMS EVERYWHERE! I call the Sunshine the “broke, broke” ship because its distinctive feature is the high rate of things that don’t work. We had a premier 11th floor balcony cabin and dealt with a broken phone and broken toilet that wouldn’t flush right the entire 6-day trip! And that was with 2 maintenance calls for each problem, nothing fixed! But the maintenance people are nice! Just incompetent! Others had problems, too. It’s all baffling because the ship was just in dry dock the other year. I felt most sorry for the kids who had their hopes sky high about going down the big, fancy water slide on the back of the ship only to see the thing work just a few hours the entire week. At dinner we sat with several kids and their parents who were crushed by the experience. If you read other reviews you see that the elevators often don’t work. They worked on our ship but frequently skipped floors. EMBARKATION/DEBARKATION Getting on the ship was easy because we arrived pretty late in the process. Getting off the ship was a different story. We’ve taken about 9 cruises out of Port Canaveral since 2005 and this was by far the latest we got home. There have been cruises – with larger number of passengers on board – where we got off the ship and were home by the time we got off the Sunshine. And after us, they still had another hour to go with passenger departures! Terrible! If you bring wine, make sure you put it in your carry on bag because if you put it in the big suitcase you may not see it again. SHIP APPEARANCE Some areas need paint and some carpeting replaced but the ship wasn’t in bad shape from an appearance standpoint. Our room looked OK except the garish yellow striped carpeting that was stained. Yuck. FOOD Overall, the food was OK. We had some good meals in the dining room, like sea bass and beef brisket. The soups were very good and the desserts OK. Decent variety for the meals and you could get shrimp cocktail every night – albeit not large pieces – but that’s still better than many ships today. No lobster tail, though, unless you coughed up an extra $20 for it. The Lido buffet areas were OK for food but the hallways leading in and out were very narrow and, unlike many other ships, they herd you into a central area for the hot food, which creates long lines. I loved the Taste Bar they set up at 5 PM every night on Deck 5, aft, where you can get a free appetizer or two. Great idea! There is a 24 pizza station which was good. The ice cream was readily available and OK. Loved the Guy Fieri Burger Joint with great hamburgers and fries. The Mexican food station was good, too, and even open for breakfast. I’d skip the Italian restaurant but some people liked the Asian food area for lunch. The steakhouse got good reviews from those who tried it. We had anytime dining and their process was the strangest we have ever seen as they make you go and register at a table on the 5th floor aft, then you go down to the third floor with your table assignment slip. STAFF I thought the dining room staff was quite competent, better than most ships I have been on. Our cabin steward at least knew my name and was visible, unlike our month long trip on Holland America last April. But it was impossible to reach Guest Services via telephone and a couple of the Guest Services staff were very hard to understand. You’d think they would put good English speakers on the customer service desk! ENTERTAINMENT The shows weren’t bad at all, with some decent singing and clever stage props. No problem getting a seat for the major shows. The Piano Bar guy didn’t impress me much. They had a guitarist who was OK and he played different places in the ship. The main bar band back in the Ocean View Plaza was pretty good, except for one male singer who was terrible. The casino is extremely tight with payoffs, which I often find on cruise ships, so I didn’t spend much there knowing I couldn’t win. BARS Some excellent bars on this ship. The Red Frog was my favorite and Tommy the bartender is a hoot. The Alchemy bar seemed to capture the ladies’ fancy with their unusual concoctions. ACTIVITIES We were looking for things to do during the day while in port and sea days and the offerings weren’t so hot. We ended up in the Library where the books and games are locked up and often no one is in there! Why not leave a note on the table which says, “Call XX extension if you need someone to unlock the cabinets for a book or game.” I didn’t see a single person take a book, which was a shame, because the books selection was good. Loved the gym, though, nice layout and equipment. PORTS Freeport isn’t much but you can take a cab to the hotel/casino and spend a few hours gambling or going to their nice beach which got good reviews from passengers. Nassau has good shopping but it gets boring after a few times there. We never made to the private island, which is very nice, due to high winds in the area. OTHER FEATURES The three-deck Serenity pool area for adults is terrific. Really nice space with comfortable seating and the waterfall that drops into the pool. The Serenity bar is the place to go – not much of a wait compared to the problems getting a drink in the main pool area. SUMMARY Some interesting features on the Sunshine and the staff and food were OK but the maintenance problems were a real pain. They need to add some meaningful things to do for people who aren’t just in to the pool and spa. Frankly, I’d skip this ship and find a higher rated one. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
First off we were to sail to Bermuda. Hurricane Jaequan came therefore the ship was to sail to San Juan St Thomas and Grand Turk.ports we had been to before and the islands were hotter than hell. Real feel temps of 102 degrees. Awful! ... Read More
First off we were to sail to Bermuda. Hurricane Jaequan came therefore the ship was to sail to San Juan St Thomas and Grand Turk.ports we had been to before and the islands were hotter than hell. Real feel temps of 102 degrees. Awful! Hardly anyone got off the ship. Even the ships deck was so hot you couldn't walk barefoot on it. The ship sailed very slowly to keep everyone aboard on for 8 miserable days. The shaded areas were always taken. Long lines and hardly any room to sit in the dining area. Food was nothing special at all. Mostly ate salads and burgers for lunch. Very little to do onboard. To top it off we paid twice as much for a cruise that should have been half the price. And Carnival lines could care less about the whole miserable situation. They would not refund any money back to their passengers. Ridiculous!! We will never sail with Carnival again that is for sure!! Read Less
Sail Date October 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
This was our very first cruise we got on board and my luggage never made it to my cabin, went to customer service they looked in lost luggage and it was there, They asked me what color it was he walked in the back and brought to me. the ... Read More
This was our very first cruise we got on board and my luggage never made it to my cabin, went to customer service they looked in lost luggage and it was there, They asked me what color it was he walked in the back and brought to me. the bag was all torn up. so they said they would by me another. so that was ok. If you are looking for a ship that serves hot food(temp not spice) this is not the ship for you. Never had at hot meal on the boat. If you want a ship that is quite at night this is not the ship for you. The kids were unsupervised by the parents they ran all our the ship at all times of the night running up and down the hall way and slamming the doors. If you want a ship were you can lay around the pool this is not the ship for you. Unsupervised kids everywhere between the ages of 5 to about 18. so many kids in the pool all you saw were heads. they have an adult pool and hot tub but that was full of kids. The kids would get in the elevator with you and push every button and then jump out and run. so you had to stop at every floor. This is not a relaxing cruise unless you have about 4 kids and you do not want them around cause that what this ship is. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
My wife and I have been Diamond Plus Members with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL) for several years. Our first cruise was with RCCL on its Nordic Prince from New York to Bermuda. For many years, we remained loyal to RCCL. We traveled ... Read More
My wife and I have been Diamond Plus Members with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL) for several years. Our first cruise was with RCCL on its Nordic Prince from New York to Bermuda. For many years, we remained loyal to RCCL. We traveled with Celebrity on a few of the earlier cruises as well as a couple on Norwegian Cruise Line. We also booked with Sitmar, but the cruise lines was acquired by Princess Cruise line before we embarked. Until 2005, we remained very loyal to RCCL. However, I am now convinced that Princess is far superior to Royal Caribbean's Lines. I share my thoughts for those who believe that it is important to remain loyal to a line (there is value in doing that), but some may find the benefits of RCCL have deteriorated over the past few years. Here are a few of my thoughts: 1. The accommodations for Diamond Plus members in the Concierge Lounge have been severely diminished. Today, there is more interest in suite revenue than passenger loyalty. When we enter the Lounge in the evening for drinks, I have to navigate over baby carriages to find a place to seat. The arrangements that were implemented encouraged suite passengers to visit the Lounge and Loyalty Passengers to visit the Diamond Lounge or forego the traditional enjoyment in the Lounge. 2. The Concierge has always been an asset in issues we encounter onboard. Diego and Kelly were exceptional. I would always trust their judgment and suggestions. They always went out of their way to help resolve issues I encountered. However, the Concierge on a recent Freedom of the Seas voyage flat ignored to assist in helping resolve a problem THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN EASY FOR HIM TO DO. Loyalty was unimportant to him. 3. RCCL recognizes that the accommodations for Diamond and Diamond Plus Loyalty Passengers has become a nuisance to them. They now award three free drinks to those passengers to encourage them to avoid the Lounges. My wife does not drink, so it became necessary to either buy a drink or go to the Lounge for a juice or soft drink. Those who have committed to RCCL for the sole purpose of access to lounge will soon discover no lounge will be available. You will be allocated drinks based on your loyalty profile. I found the drinks to be beneficial, BUT more importantly, those frequent passengers I met in the lounge. 4. On the Freedom of the Seas last month, my wife and I were invited to tour of the bridge. Since we have done this on five separate occasions, I requested that my granddaughter and a niece be allowed to attend the tour. The consultant inquired of the Manager, and I WAS ASSURED THAT MY REQUEST WOULD BE ACCOMODATED. When the tour tickets arrived, I was assigned to a different tour, AND told that I made my request too late. I emphasized that I had done this on the Mariner two years ago with another granddaughter and her fiancée, but the manager just laughed and said she couldn't help me. 5. Combining Onboard Credits (OBC) is another major problem. RCCL will not allow passengers to combine OBC. My wife and I own common stock in both RCCL and Princess (Carnival). The manner in which benefits can be combined are VERY inferior and confusing on RCCL. When we recently booked our cruise with Celebrity, CruCon included a benefit of pre-paid gratuities. However, when we inquired about the stockholder OBC, we were told that the stockholder benefit could not be awarded because the free gratuity was more than the stockholder. Now, I blame CruCon and Celebrity for this deception. Passengers cannot review a promotion to understand their benefit. There is much deception around these OBC with RCCL and its subsidiaries. On the other hand, as a military veteran, I have combined many different OBCs on voyages that - when combined - are far more valuable than any RCCL Loyalty Benefit. I would like to emphasize that my wife and I have taken six cruises this year with one more remaining for October with Celebrity. We normally take between five - six cruise each year. While, I expect to travel again with RCCL, I have NO INCENTIVE to do so. We have already experienced the unexpected problem described above, but I suspect we will also abandon Celebrity for future itineraries. I booked a granddaughter (she is a Diamond Member) on an RCCL Cruise next year for her honeymoon. I may discuss with her the benefits of considering Princess for future cruises. I am publishing my thoughts to highlight - in my opinion - RCCL and its subsidiaries do not value and more importantly are not entitled to my loyalty. I encourage others to consider other cruise lines. You will become more disappointed with RCCL as you become more exposed to their policy towards loyalty.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I think the other reviewers hit the biggest issues that plagued this cruise so I won't continue to drive those nails into the Dream coffin. And I realize that some of the issues are quite subjective such as the average patron age ... Read More
I think the other reviewers hit the biggest issues that plagued this cruise so I won't continue to drive those nails into the Dream coffin. And I realize that some of the issues are quite subjective such as the average patron age (70+) and the extreme rudeness of a significant portion of them. However, on a technical/objective front, the Dream staff really must have had their work cut out for them since there was mass confusion right from embarkation (everybody stood around the Atrium clogging the way to the elevators and no signs or staff telling people where to go/what to do) Later we found out there were a couple of young staff with 'help' shirts on but I didn't see them and if I did, would I have known why there were there? The design of the Lido buffet restaurant was atrocious. We already heard how patrons got their hot and cold drinks but what wasn't mentioned is that their placement is such that it caused huge choke points in the main aisle ways and around the dinner lines. To further add congestion and confustion were the millieu of staff with push carts trying to navigate these choke points at peak times, and being very frustrated with people in their way. The designer should get a D- minus for not only the layout of this desk but all the public areas. We're in our early 40s so the entertainment was so so. Sure the R rated sessions were a little raunchy but if you were offended, why didn't you just go to the PG rated shows? And FunDude?! You were an odd curiousity the first time with your squeakyness, but seriously, stay off the stage. The singing was fine but the dancing was hohum. Several dancers not completing their movements and most of the time were out of sync. I've seen better at our local country theatres. The food was alright, but the restaurant food was less than the stellar meals we were lead to belive they'd be. And the portions were puny! At first we were kind of shocked that people were ordering several appetizers and entrees but now we know why! And the fresh fruit? Sour oranges (from a Florida port no less) no bananas halfway through the cruise, seemed like the end of the cruise was filled with fruit puree at the buffet. The dinner rolls served on the last 3 days were definitely several days old but the cinnamon and croisant rolls at breakfast were fresh daily. Debarkation was like being a guest on a hideaway bed and the owner shook and tilted the bed, telling us to get out. It was THAT FAST! Felt the love, not. And, don't even get me started on San Juan. One would think that in today's age, those pier artifacts could've/should've been added to the port simulator for docking trials. Here's an objective situation for you. We signed up for the Kennedy Space Center debarkation tour with airport transfer on the 2nd day at sea. We looked up what it would cost to do such a tour and a shuttle separately and felt that the onboard price was very very compelling so we asked once by phone then once again at the shore excursion desk if the price was correct? Yes it is we were told both times so we signed up. 2 days later we got a call saying our tickets were being refunded because the price was wrong in their published guide and on the TV and that there's nothing anyone can do, not even give a discount for our inconvenience, nothing. 2 days later we still want to go so we sign up and the morning of the debarkation we were informed that they would honour a 50% discount to everyone who signed up. (which brings us back to the original purchased price) So several days of frustration with the same end result.... Overall, unless you were a Gators fan (pre-empted the big screen movies) or just wanted everyone to leave you alone and sun out on the deck and didn't care for the subtle pamperings that 99% of our friends told us we'd experience on a Carnival cruise, you'd rate most likely had a good time. We did not. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009

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