Royal Caribbean InternationalExplorer the Seas ReviewEastern CaribbeanDevon Berry
Number of Cruises: 5
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Explorer of the Seas
Sailing Date: September 3rd, 2006
Itinerary: NOT FOUND
Royal Caribbean International
Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review
This was a great cruise
on Explorer of the seas. This was the 5th cruise I have taken, previously sailed
on Grand Princess, Carnival Paradise, NCL Star and NCL Dawn. Explorer is an
absolutely beautiful ship with an extremely affable and helpful staff. Take this
cruise! Everyone I met, or even overheard talking, on this ship loved the
cruise. I am prefacing the main part of my review with this vignette of sorts to
establish in the readers mind that I loved the trip. However, my review below
will contain the negatives because I want to help other people avoid any
possible pitfalls that I may have fallen into. I am not complaining or being
overly fussy. Whenever I write reviews, I undoubtedly get e-mails from people
saying they are sorry I did not enjoy my cruise when that was not the case. In
my reviews I am either trying to be helpful or funny by pointing out some of the
most ridiculous things I noticed on the ship.
now. I was not impressed with the size of the ship, in fact, I didn’t think it felt that much bigger than the 90,000 ton ships I have been on. Explorer is fantastic because it is beautiful!!! There is so much interesting architecture and design to this ship it truly was amazing. The layout could not be better either. Bathroom locations were easy, all women’s rooms on the starboard and men’s on the port side and always right above or below each other. This is a direct contrast to some other ships where I felt like my bladder would explode by the time I even saw a toilet. The rooms are small and crappy, but if you go on a mega-cruise ship for the room size you really need to take a pill or something. The bathrooms in the rooms were nice enough for you to do your business and get back to the fun, which is what bathrooms are for. I truly do not understand why so many people muck up their reviews with long winded explanations of bathroom design. The dining rooms were very nice, but nothing over the top. NCL’s restaurants are far superior, but again this should not be a deal breaker.
Bar service: The bartenders are Jamaican primarily. All bartenders should be Jamaican. These dudes play the best Reggae music behind the bars which you can hear when you just sit and hang out. This is important because the music at the pool area on every cruise line sucks, except the live bands. If you like sitting and sunning yourself to Uncle Cracker mixed in with a little Backstreet Boys feel free, but not for me. Consequently, the live music was excellent. I have a pet peeve with bars, I hate approaching a bar and waiting patiently until the bar staff finishes their conversation in Mandarin Chinese, which is inevitably about me and how stupid I look with my sunburn and fat gut, until I can order my drink. This is usually the case on other cruises, at least at one time or another. On this ship that never happened. Very attentive and entertaining bartenders overall!
Dining service: I overheard many people on this cruise claiming that they had the best waiter they have ever experienced on this ship. Sadly, that was not the case for my wife and I. On the first evening we approached our lovely table for two and our waiter appeared. His name tag had 700 letters, only 2 of which were vowels, and supposedly spelled out his name. When he spoke I wondered if we were placed at the English as a second language seating and looked around for the candid camera crew, but to no avail. He asked us to call him boon sac. Boon sac? How could you not laugh at this? At least we though that was what he asked us to call him, so we didn’t ever really address him by name. Our assistant waiter, Max, was terrific. What is it with the cruise lines that the assistant waiters are often better than the waiters anyway? Does anyone else share this feeling? Anyhow, Boon sac was fine and we dined with him almost every night, it was even kind of fun to watch the perplexed look on each other’s face when he attempted to describe the dishes on the menu. Portofino’s was booked by the time the ship docked from the previous cruise evidently, so we were unable to try it, typical NY/NJ crowd. Johnny Rocket’s was cool. Whenever it rains on your days at sea, I suggest running to Johnny Rocket’s when everyone else is racing to the buffets. We were seated in 2 minutes and had pretty good burgers and fries. The only downside is that they only have flat Budweiser on tap there.
Dining on deck is really not an option for you on the Explorer. Evidently RCI thinks that since they built the biggest ship in the world that people don’t want to scurry outside with their lunch and eat on deck, well they are wrong. The problem with this is that there is no deck staff to clean up after people if they chose to take their food outside. Also, there is a paucity of tables and chairs outside at which one could eat. In contrast, on NCL ships there are cocktail tables, numerous tables for two on deck and many deckhands to clear away the fallout. To RCI’s credit, their deck does stay much neater and cleaner without 3000 people eating and leaving napkins and forks all about. But it is nice to have the choice, especially on sunny sea days. This is another reason Johnny Rockets is great, outside seating is available for only about 30 people, but they turnover quickly.
Bermuda: Buy the Frommer’s guide to Bermuda! That’s the best advice I can give. Its 15 bucks and it will be the only thing even related to Bermuda that you can pick up for 15 bucks. It is somewhat expensive. The best thing to know is that the ship docks on the very end of Bermuda and you have to take a cab or the ferry to actually get anywhere of inertest on Bermuda. The cab is 50 bucks to Hamilton. The ferry is 4 bucks to Hamilton and takes 45 minutes, even shorter than the cab ride if you ask me. Just follow the guide and pick things which suit your taste. My wife and I enjoyed a fabulous beach front lunch at Mickey’s on Elbow Beach, and one of the best meals of my life at Coconuts at the Reefs hotel. The beaches are all beautiful. Get to the beaches early if you want to rent chairs or umbrellas.
The cleanliness of the ship: This deserves its own category as it is very important. This ship gets 5 stars on cleanliness. You couldn’t find a mess if the trash-heap from Fraggle Rock checked-in to the room next to yours. The carpets look new and this ship is 6 years old now! We were both truly amazed. No dust, no stains, no nothing anywhere. Very clean. As I said before, the deck is very clean and there were people out and about cleaning and fixing things everyday. This crew takes pride in their ship and it shows! I really cannot say enough about how clean we thought this mega-ship was, but I already have.
Going the extra mile: The staff really wants you to have a great cruise. I cant believe I am saying this but its true. If you are not having a great time on this cruise you should either get another drink or go to a friends of Bill W. meeting. The parade on the first night on the promenade is fantastic. The night of the captains dinner is awesome, the captain is a really cool guy who is actually funny! We had a blast. One night we sat next to a table with a special request for the Maitre’d. There was a young girl who wanted chicken parmesan and it was not on the menu. The Maitre’d immediately got on his phone to Portofino’s and ordered it for her. Then they delivered it to her and HE ACTUALLY FED HER! I couldn’t believe my eyes. Special requests on a 3500 person ship? Believe me, they aim to please you. Do not miss the cruise wrap up video at the end of the cruise. My wife and I thought we saw everything on this cruise, then we sat for the video and realized that we missed more than half of the activities. There is a bunch to do for all ages!!!
Obviously I can't include everything in this review. Please feel free to e-mail me any questions at Devonberry@comcast.net