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Royal Caribbean LineExplorer the Seas ReviewEastern CaribbeanJanet K. Matthews

Age: 67 years young

Occupation:Retired IBM

Number of Cruises: 16+

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Explorer of the Seas

Sailing Date: December 11th, 2005

Itinerary: NOT FOUND

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review
Eastern Caribbean

Janet K. Matthews

I will be writing this from a different perspective than the normal cruise critique due to my physical limitations at the present. I recently had complete knee replacement surgery and have a bad back so didn’t know quite what to expect on this cruise. Our travel agent, Bill, (Above and Beyond Travel) told us RCCL was one of the best cruise lines afloat for the physically challenged. We also wanted to take our daughter, Jennifer, on a happy birthday cruise.

We decided that we would arrive in Miami the day before the cruise so we wouldn’t be tired. We also wanted to use airline points so we could fly first class since it was a special occasion. Kudos to American Airlines! There were wheelchairs waiting from start to finish. We stayed at the Marriott and requested a handicapped room in advance and we met several Carnival cruisers. This Marriot had a wonderful breakfast buffet.

Please be very wary of the cab drivers, get a quote in advance, we got one price going to a restaurant and another coming back to the Marriott

The ship itself is lovely. We arrived at 1:30 pm and the RCCL people had a large wheelchair for me (short wait) and the staff wheeled me on board as John and Jennifer were carrying luggage. Needless to say, he received a very good tip! RCCL bent over backwards to make us happy. He wheeled me all the way to the room. The room we reserved was on deck 10, #1244 Junior Suite very close to the elevators. My electric scooter was waiting for me in the room just as Care Vacations said it would. We had requested a large electric scooter and we were not disappointed. Bill (travel agent) made all the arrangements for us with the scooter.

Our room was large, with 2 chairs, a couch (hide-a-bed), desk and a huge walk-in closet. The one bed had a real soft mattress and upon request our room steward, Cesar, changed the mattress to a firmer one. Our bathroom was functional and roomy, the bathroom had handrails, and the shower had a seat to sit on. I dried my hair at the desk, as there is only an outlet for electric shavers in the bathroom. We enjoyed our balcony. If the budget will allow always go for the balcony. Someone brought bronchitis on board plus a cough and shared it with everyone. We noticed after the 2nd day on board there were “dry” hand washers everywhere. People at our table were ill as well. Our room steward, Cesar, was great and so was the room service. Room service was prompt, hot and courteous.

We enjoyed the Windjammer restaurant and the omelet station in the back of the restaurant is great! We found that it was easier to go to the back of the restaurant with the electric scooter for parking. Ace (steward) seemed to be always available for help and did a wonderful job in finding us a table. These young people always have a smile on their face.

The main dining room was decorated for the holidays. Since we have cruised on Celebrity, Princess and Carnival we were looking forward to the food on RCCL. We are from Austin, TX and when beef is served we expect a decent portion. I received the thinnest piece of prime rib of beef I’ve ever seen. The menu gave very few choices as well. We were not the only cruisers that were disappointed. The Chef definitely needs to change things in the kitchen. We did not go to the specialty restaurant but several people from our table did and said it was wonderful.

Studio B


We really enjoyed the ice skating show at Studio B. There were places for someone that had a wheelchair or an electric scooter all over the arena. This was nicely done. It was a fun show and the skaters did a beautiful job. Make sure you get your tickets early for the show you want to attend as they only have a certain number available for each show.

Bingo, and excursion information is also held in Studio B. We found the shopping talks very informative and helpful.

San Juan:

This is not an electric scooter friendly port. We docked at the Pan American terminal.
Since there was no shopping and no way to get to town I spent my time in port on the ship. That was okay as there was a lot to see and do on board.

St. Maarten:

Is very wheelchair friendly and scooter accessible at the dock. The security people will help getting on and off the ship if asked and I did. There is limited shopping at the dock but very nice shops as Jennifer and I purchased jewelry at Kay’s. Since our last cruise here the port has changed a great deal and six ships were in the day we were there. The Carnival Glory, Carnival Legend, Carnival Victory, Caribbean Princess, and a Costa ship plus Explorer of the Seas. I was very happy just to go in and out of the stores with my scooter but John and Jennie booked a tour and had a ball.

St. Thomas:

There is very good shopping off the pier BUT the best prices are in town. There is a lot to do in this port but it is not electric scooter friendly except by the pier (Havensight Mall). Since I am not able to do walking any distance I was limited in my choices.

Nassau:

Nassau is much cleaner since the last time we were here. There is no begging in the street and it is much safer. There are wheelchair friendly scooter shops you just have to find them. I was very pleased to find a Hard Rock Café shop in the area and purchased a hatpin for John as he collects these along with a shirt. I had wanted a Torguga rum cake (as they bake them there) but the shop wasn’t electric scooter accessible so one of the sales people came out to help me. I found the sales people very friendly and courteous. Reminder: If you go shopping and come back by the port authority you must have your ship pass and a recent driver’s license with picture or a credit card with a picture id to enter to get to your ship.

Fun days at sea are just that and we enjoy them as well. The Seattle coffee was good. We found a little Café that had sandwiches, coffee, tea and ice cream. We enjoyed this little Promenade Café for people watching, sharing the day and etc.

I did want to make a point that RCCL does not have any electric scooter choices on shore excursions available.

Embarkation took longer than usual due to the number of people needing wheelchair assistance. Everyone was courteous and the people helping did a great job. Kudos to them!

All I can say about the Miami airport is it needs help. It is huge.

Would I go on this cruise again? You bet! We are going on an anniversary cruise in February on Navigator of the Seas with the same itinerary.

Happy Cruising! Jan


John_n_Janet_Matthews@msn.com 
 

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