We chose this cruise because we had some RCCL gift cards that we needed to use. We wanted to cruise from a west coast port to save time and money. We live near Sacramento and drove to Seattle. We are two retired adults, mid fifties, and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had some RCCL gift cards that we needed to use. We wanted to cruise from a west coast port to save time and money. We live near Sacramento and drove to Seattle. We are two retired adults, mid fifties, and cruised by ourselves on this trip (we often have friends/family with us). Our last RCCL cruise was in 2005ish on the Monarch, so it has been several years since we sailed RCCL.
Parking in Seattle was super easy. I prepaid the fees online, we drove right into the parking lot and parked. Took the shuttle with our luggage from the parking lot to the pier for check in. Porters were nearby to take luggage and off we went to check in.
Seattle has cruise check in down to a "T". This is the fastest we have ever checked in for a cruise and were on the ship (in over 30 cruises). It literally took less than thirty minutes from the time we handed off our luggage to the porter and the time we were onboard the Explorer.
Once onboard, we decided to have lunch at Johnny Rockets. We have them locally, but there's something about a Johnny Rockets on a cruise ship that triggered my curiosity. It was as good as the land based JR's. They do have a $6.95 (If I remember correctly) per person surcharge.
We had dinner in the dining room every night (8pm). There seemed to be a lot of empty tables throughout the week. Our table mates were fun and we all had a good time visiting each night. The service/food were excellent each night. Our server team, Kasim and Kimberly were exceptional.
Most of our breakfasts/lunches were in the Windjammer and we always found the food to be excellent there as well. The donut "holes" are out of this world yummy.
The only food related complaint we have is that there is no grill, besides Johnny Rockets. All the other cruises we've been on (again over 30) have had a grill by the pool (Princess, NCL,Disney, Celebrity,etc). Sometimes you just want to grab a burger by the pool without getting dried off, cover up, etc to go into the Windjammer. This wasn't that big of a deal, but a grill would be nice.
Entertainment was great. We watched a few shows (do not miss the Quest show-hilarious). The entertainment staff and cruise director staff were all over the ship and did a good job keeping activities running smoothly.
Our room stewart, Rolly, was amazing. The room was spotless, he provided ice when we asked for it and he was very pleasant to talk to when we saw him in the hallways.
Our ports included Astoria, Oregon, two days in San Francisco (yes, we drove to Seattle so we could cruise to San Francisco which is less than two hours from home) and Victoria. We've been to all the ports before, but we decided to do tours in each one on this cruise. In Astoria, we did the Seaside and Cannon Beach shopping tour. I probably would just rent a car in Astoria if we ever cruise there again. The shopping tour only gave us 30 minutes in Seaside and one hour in Cannon Beach. It wasnt enough time to really see the cities or spend time on the beaches.
In San Francisco, we did the hop on/hop off 48 hour pass, purchased on Groupon for half the price of the cruise line. We visit SF quite often, but never really did an official tour. It was fun. The first day, we took the bus to Sausalito and then decided to take the ferry back to SF ($12 per person for a one way ticket), then we had a nice lunch on Pier 39, which is our normal go-to place when we visit SF. On the second day, we did the hop on/off for the entire two hour tour and really enjoyed it.
We did a city tour in Victoria, via a Groupon special that I found online. It was fun and informative. It took approximately 2 hours to see the entire city. Then we did some shopping and walked back to the ship. It's an easy walk from the ship to the downtown area, approximately 15 minutes walk.
Disembarkation was among the easiest we have experienced as well. We were off the ship and driving in Seattle traffic by 10:00. Super easy.
on our first RCCL cruise several years ago, we felt nickel and dimed all week. Not so this time. The staff never bothererd us about purchasing alcohol packages, photo packages, etc like they do on some other cruise lines (especially the first day of the cruise).
We'll definitely cruise Royal Caribbean again. Read Less