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Royal Caribbean InternationalExplorer the Seas ReviewEastern Caribbean"Bubbles"

Age: 38

Occupation:Admin Finance Worker

Number of Cruises: First One!

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Explorer of the Seas

Sailing Date: May 19th, 2006

Itinerary: NOT FOUND

Royal Caribbean International
Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review
Eastern Caribbean

"Bubbles"

Hi folks - hope you like this one - its very long - but it was the only way to give a true review!

Well, because this was our first time in the USA, we decided to stop over in New York for a few days prior to cruise. Was worth every penny!! Had a ball!! Loved the ‘City that never sleeps’ and wished we had longer to explore it. Would definitely not want to live there, far too big!!!!! But it was brilliant for a short stay and the prices are fabulous compared to ours in little old Northern Ireland.

Left New York on a very wet morning (actually had to buy a brolly!) and headed to the port of Bayonne. Was pretty dismal, not much happening there, and there was certainly no brass bands playing! However – who cares – we couldn’t wait to get on the ship!

First impressions – as has been said loads of times before – AWESOME!! The size of the ship is amazing, and it does pose the question – how the heck does it float??

We got to the port at about 11.30am but because of the weather situation there was a delay in boarding. Our tickets told us not to be at the port before 2pm, but we were glad we got there early as there were loads of other people doing the same thing! We were given a number when checking in, and were on board the ship by 1pm – very straight forward and easy to do.

Once on the ship we didn’t know where to go first as there was so much to see. Because of the delay the rooms weren’t ready to go to, but you could only access decks 5 and 11 – 5 is the Promenade deck and 11 was the pool deck. We had previously been chatting to folk on the cruise critic website and had arranged to meet them at the pool bar at 3pm. However – my nerves set in and we couldn’t find the courage to go!! We sat at the side lines till there was a generous amount of folks there before we said our hellos!! Oh what cowards we are!!!

When we met the cruise critic brigade our party really started. We went to deck 12 for sail off and had the pleasure of meeting George from Brooklyn (Sorry if I got that wrong George) who enlightened us with information regarding the sights we could see. Full of info he was! It was fabulous sailing past the Statue of Liberty – and if you go to New York pre sail – don’t worry if you don’t see it – you get a great view from the ship.

5 weeks before our cruise I checked the prices online and discovered that the balcony rooms were cheaper than the inside cabin we had booked. Naturally we changed to a balcony and can honestly say we will never go to an inside room. To be able to see where you are going and smell the sea air is amazing!

THE SHIP
We were in balcony room 8378 – which was the very last cabin at the back of the ship. We loved it! There was never any noise from anything! The cabin had all necessary amenities, shower, hair dryer, storage, fridge etc. (

When we went for dinner on the first evening we were quite nervous as we had chosen a large table and discovered there were 9 people in total at ours. The others all knew each other – so at first we felt out of place. This didn’t last long! They were all brilliant and made us feel like part of their group. They were all New Yorkers (not they would tell you that as they said they were from New Jersey or Brooklyn or Manhattan etc etc etc!) Anywhere but New York!

I have to say each evening was great, entertaining fun and we had a ball!

The dining hall was amazing – great chandeliers and fantastic table settings. Our waiter was called Wendell and he was superb – could sing any reggae song you named! Give him a great big hello if you meet him!

FOOD
Food was out of this world – we never had a poor meal. Two evenings we tried something different from what we would normally eat and we weren’t that keen on it – but Wendell had it changed for us immediately. If you want to try something different – order two or three selections! Honestly, this is never a problem.

DRINK
We drank mostly at the Aquarium bar or Schooners. We had the unfortunate experience of meeting like minded folk who take a few bevy’s!! Have to say – none of us ever refused a drink! Oops forgot about one – he was a complete lightweight and could only drink every other night! The price of drink was around $4.00 (£2.40) and $5.50 (£3.00) dollars for a vodka and coke – but remember! These drinks are not measured and are very strong drinks!

Bartenders appear all day long with cocktails and I have to admit they are pretty tasty! Try some of them – but beware – the Cosmos are lethal!! They should be named Physco’s!

SHOWS
We saw a number of shows and the best has to be the Ice Show – it was amazing! Can’t believe they perform that show on such a small piece of ice! DON’T miss it!

We saw a couple of comedians and they were great too – but the magician was not worth going to unless you were under 10 years old. Bearing in mind that these shows all come under the price of your ticket – its amazing the acts they can get on board!

PORTS OF CALL
St Thomas
Beautiful – wonderful – amazing!
Words can’t describe what you see at St Thomas. It is picture paradise. We went shopping first and found the prices to be brilliant. (Remember we are from Northern Ireland) We then asked a taxi driver to take us to Megan’s Bay. He Refused! BUT he said he would take us to a more beautiful beach than we would ever see. Against our better judgment we agreed – best decision we made on holiday. We were taken to Lindberg Beach. There was the total sum of 14 people there and a fantastic beach hut for a bar with a dozen palm trees along a stretch of white sand and turquoise sea! It was heaven! Our taxi driver turned out to be a real find. He called back for us 15 minutes before the arranged time and gave us an informative, guided, knowledgeable tour of the island! I got his number for those interested in meeting him – it’s definitely worth it if you are going there! (I will give it to those who want to go there)

St Marteen
Again – beautiful – but shopping was a nightmare! We found that the staff stood over our shoulder when we went into a shop. The island itself is gorgeous – but do your shopping for St Thomas.

San Juan
The stop over here was so short we didn’t bother getting off. But that might have something to do with them nutters from Liverpool who kept us drinking till the early hours!

Labadee
This part of Haiti is beautiful. It is worth getting off to see what Royal Caribbean have achieved on a small part of this island. There was a fire eating show where a man walked through fire then put it in his mouth. Then there was a barbeque with an unlimited amount of fabulous food. The beaches are beautiful – but if you do not have children – go straight from the tender to the other side of the island and you will find a sanctuary. Much as I love my own kids – they were not with me on holiday so I didn’t really want to listen to other people's.

OVERALL
Value for money – exceptional – we spent £2600 for 12 days – 2 nights in New York and 9 nights on the ship – the only other money we spent was on drink and a few pressie – this amounted to about £300

If you haven’t cruised before – you will again after your first one. We can’t wait to go back.

For all those people we met – loved your company and it was a pleasure to meet you – hope we meet again sometime!

For that mad Liverpool couple – can we see you again soon? It was brilliant – thank you – you made it fantastic!!!

 

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