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Rick and Trisha Fiene

Age: Late 20's

Occupation:Education and Health Services

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Explorer of the Seas

Sailing Date: August 8th, 2004

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

This eastern Caribbean cruise was an anniversary trip for my wife and me. I had never been on a cruise before but this was my wife’s third. When my wife suggested we take a cruise I did not know what to think. My first reaction was what are we going to do on a ship for one week. Since I had only been married less than a year I thought why not. She went on a fishing trip with me the least I could do is go on a cruise with her and more importantly it was our first anniversary. Let me say, I love my wife’s ideas. We both fell in love with this ship and the experience.

Day One
We booked our flight through Royal Caribbean and the service we received was great. We arrived in Miami around 3:00 a little later than we wanted to but we were not late. We met Royal Caribbean personnel at the baggage claim and they told us to leave our luggage with them and to board the bus right outside the doors. This was a nice start to our honeymoon. We boarded the bus for a short trip to the ship. Our driver was very nice and courteous. We arrived at the ship around 4:10. I thought I was in heaven, this ship was humongous. Needless to say, the adrenaline was pumping. We were dropped off in front of the terminal and were told to walk right in. No lines since we were one of the last ones on the ship. We walked on board after an identity check and began the greatest week of our lives. After we found our room we had to attend the muster drill no big deal. After this we began our tour of the ship. We ended up on deck 12 for our leave of Miami. This is something not to be missed. Everybody honks and waves and takes pictures. After we left Miami we returned to our room to get ready for dinner. Our appetizers were salmon spread, spinach salad and tomato soup. My wife and I had ribeye with vegetables and steak fries. We both had the chocolate mousse with berries for dessert. We then proceeded to The Palace Theater for the Welcome Aboard Show. Let me just say this now. Every show we saw was great. After the show we walked around the ship for about an hour and then headed to bed.

Day Two at sea
We started off with breakfast at the windjammer cafe. This was quick and very good. When then played a round of putt-putt with 42 knot winds. This was crazy fun. The ball would not stay still. This is my excuse for not beating my wife. The next activity we did was the golf simulator. I believe this was 25 dollars for one hour. About this time I was getting hungry. I was always hungry since we already paid for all the food up front. We ate lunch in the dinning room with a family from our home state of Indiana. What a small world. For lunch I ate grilled steak with herb butter, fries and cheesecake with strawberries plus tons of bread. My wife had the turkey wrap and side salad with a mocha éclair. Yummy she says. After some more exploring and a few drinks we then proceeded to the Planet Ice Show. You have got to see this to believe. Incredible is all I will say. Since tonight was the first formal night we quickly headed to our room and prepared for our first formal dinner since our wedding night. My wife looked so beautiful in her dress. For dinner I had filet mignon with asparagus, mashed potatoes and green peppercorn sauce and for dessert I had sugar free chocolate cake. My wife had the same for dinner and for dessert she had cherries jubilee. After dinner we changed our clothes and headed for the comedy show featuring the singing impressionist Martin Dube. He was awesome. After the show we went top side and relaxed in the warm, dark ocean air. We also attended adult karaoke in the Maharaja Lounge. At 12 in the morning we then headed to the late night adult comedy show with Bernie McGrenaghan. He was very adult and humorous.

Day three San Juan, Puerto Rico
We woke up, worked out in the fitness center and had breakfast at the Windjammer. We left the ship and went on our shore excursion Bacardi Rum tour and San Cristobal Fort. There is plenty of alcohol if you want and also a very nice look at the history of San Juan. Great place to take beautiful pictures. After the tour and many drinks we boarded the ship and headed to the promenade and had pizza and éclairs for lunch. During the first dinner seating we went to the hot tub for a nice relaxing soak. Tip. If you eat the late seating this is a great time to hit the pool or hot tub since there is hardly any body there. Tonight’s dinner theme was Italian. I had oxtail soup, roasted lamb with green beans and mixed vegetables along with garlic rolls and focaccia bread. My wife had tomato pesto provolone with balsamic vinegar, minestrone soup, rigatoni with Italian sausage. She had angel food cake with strawberries and I had ice cream. For tonight’s entertainment we saw History Repeating. After the show we went to the country and western night in the Maharaja lounge. When this was over we hit the sack.

Day four St. Maarten
We started off with breakfast at the windjammer and then proceeded off the ship for our excursion. Rhino Rider Excursion/Snorkeling is a must if you like to drive/ride little boats or wave runners. Beware of this there is a nude beach right where you snorkel. They did not tell us but we still would have booked this excursion. We did see a couple in there 60’s whew. Not pretty. There was not a lot of fish but the 30 minute boat ride there and back was worth the money. After we got back to the ship we ate in the promenade and then took a little nap. We then walked around the ship, still had not seen it all and prepared ourselves for dinner. I had shee crab and shrimp bisque, blackened tilapia with vegetables and rainforest chocolate fudge cake. My wife had spinach and sweet potato dip with tortilla chips, Ocho Rios Pepperpot soup, Caribbean jerk chicken and crème brulee. After dinner we burned off some calories walking around the ship and visited more areas we had not seen yet. Then at midnight it was time to eat again. Midnight buffet tropical style. There was tons of fruit and it was done very well. One a.m. time for bed.

Day 5 St. Thomas
We had to wake up at seven for immigration. Not nice. However, this went quickly. Again, the lady checking my ID was from my hometown in Indiana. What a small world. We had not booked any excursions and decided to do some shopping. This was my beautiful wife’s idea. I was still learning this compromise thing. I got the boat excursion she gets the shopping. There are a variety of shops here. Taxis are plentiful. All in all, this is a good place to buy anything. When we boarded the ship we took a look from top deck and noticed three sea turtles, 2 barracuda and a shark right next to the ship. We ate lunch in the promenade and relaxed in the hot tub again. I do not remember what we had for dinner. We then proceeded to the evening entertainment of Ralph Harris.

Day 6 at sea
We awoke early and had breakfast in the windjammer. We then played putt-putt again, less windy coming back to U.S. I saw my first sexy legs contest at the pool. This was a group of men of course and this was very hilarious. The next item on the day was bingo. We were two numbers away from winning nine thousand dollars. We decided to eat in the dinning room for lunch. I had pot roast, carrots, potatoes and lots of bread with ice cream and chocolate sauce for dessert. My wife had a hamburger, fries and cheesecake for dessert. We finished off the afternoon with some shopping on board and more walking. Tonight was the last formal night. Again, my wife looked beautiful. We both ate prime rib, lyonnaise potatoes, vegetables and rolls. I had chocolate cake with shavings for dessert and my wife had apple pie a la mode. We did not see the show tonight, too tired.

Day 7 Nassau
We awoke to room service for breakfast. We wanted a change. We left the ship for our excursion to Rainbow Reef. On the way we saw Mick Jagger’s house, Michael Jordan and the former house of Mary Kay. This is a must for seeing fish. I would guess there were 20-30 different kinds of fish and they were everywhere. Well worth the money. After the excursion was over we visited Atlantis. This is a very beautiful place. You can see almost the entire place without the excursion. I recommend you do this on your own. For lunch we ate the buffet. For dinner I had grilled pork chops, green beans and rolls. I ate vanilla ice cream for dessert. My wife had steak, potatoes and vegetables with sun dried tomato rolls. She had angel food cake with strawberries. The dinning staff put on a little show for us while we ate. This was a very nice touch. After dinner we attended the farewell show. Very sad since it was our last.

Day 8 departure.

We awoke early for breakfast and then waited for our color to be called. Depending on when your flight is you are given a color to let you know when you can leave the ship. This is somewhat lengthy but not a major problem.

Positives for this ship.
Everything is great. Food is very good. I did not hear of one person complain about the food. The good thing is if you do not like something you can get something else. This is a great time to expand your taste buds. Staff is very friendly. Dinning staff new our drinks and that I loved bread by the third night. Cleanliness was beyond belief. Sea pass card is great. It works like a charge card on the ship so you do not have to carry money. Every show we saw was great and I am not a show person. There is something for everyone to do. Guest relations was very helpful and the cruise director Clodagh O’Connor was the best. I do not think she ever sleeps. We had an interior room, it was pitch black at night and you felt no ship motion. The last positive was there were no surprises. If you explore the web site you will find all the answers to every question possible.

Negatives for this ship.
Getting luggage after you leave the ship. It took us 50 minutes to get our luggage off the carousal. Don’t buy a coke card unless you drink a lot of coke. $102 for the two of us for the week with gratuity included. I drink a lot of coke. If not it is $2 per drink. Ship pictures are expensive and where very dark. Alcohol is expensive also but hey you are on vacation and they put plenty in it. We did have an extra $200 added to our account but a quick call to GR and they said it would be taken care of. The next day it was done. I do recommend you look at your account throughout the week to make sure your account is correct.

Overall this cruise is worth its money. The food is not 5star quality but they are cooking for 3000 people every night. If you like to spend one hundred dollars or more on dinner for two at home then you should not be eating on a cruise. As for the activities, there is no way you can do all of what we did in the eastern Caribbean for cheaper. I would recommend this cruise to anyone who loves to be active but not to the ones who like to be in one place and sit or read. I would also tell you that if you plan shore excursions eat the late seating, we did hear some people say they felt rushed to get back to the ship for the early dinner. We will be back.

Food 4 out of 5 stars (I consider myself a picky eater)
Staff 5 out of 5 stars
Appearance 5 out of 5
Activities on and off the ship 5 out of 5

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