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Jerry Weber

Age: 65+

Occupation:Retired

Number of Cruises: 8

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Explorer of the Seas

Sailing Date: 2012-01-16

Itinerary: Bayonne to Nassau

There are many RCCL practices that I dislike (such as charging immediately for anything done in advance, including gratuities, and very overpriced wine), but for the actual cruise the large number of problems were generally minor and the important points mostly good. The ship is very attractive, but with limited space to quietly sit and read, have a drink, talk to friends. It was also a younger crowd than we've normally experienced -- which is either good or bad, depending on your age and interests.

Breakfast was OK, and it is good to know that there are extra choices available in the serving area at the rear of the Windjammer cafe. Lunch was often disappointing, with fewer choices than we’re used to, and not as high a quality as we expected. Dinner was almost always very well done with again somewhat limited but sufficient good choices. Desserts, though, were mostly disappointing. It is also difficult to get much in the way of real food after dinner is over.

The room was very attractive, made excellent use of its space, had excellent storage space and very good soundproofing in their Promenade cabin.

Onboard activities are especially important on a cruise where half the time was at sea, and there were a large and varied selection of activities throughout the day. As examples, on our first sea day there were 3 different Trivia contests, a music lecture, several dance classes, a champagne art auction, a Pain Management seminar, Royal Poker Tour Texas Hold'em, bridge play, adult jewelry making seminar, and far too much more to list. We also felt the entertainment has improved a lot compared to our earlier cruises, and especially enjoyed the Ice Capades type show.

Kennedy Space Center was an excellent place to visit, with not nearly enough time to see even half of what's available. However, RCCL's tour price was $99 for a $68 KSC ticket and all the extra provided was a bus ride from the port to and from the Center. A taxi would have been more convenient and less expensive.

We have previously had very good luck using CruiseCompete, but this time found what appeared to be a better alternative, namely Costco Travel. Although the discounted cost of an inside cabin plus the allowed shipboard credit was pretty much the same as from a CruiseCompete agency, for the same price of the least expensive inside cabin we were able to book a cabin overlooking the Promenade, which was originally about a $150 pp upgrade. In addition, travel insurance was offered through an associated company (one we've used on our own before) that was half the cost as our usual package, and with significantly expanded benefits. We also enjoyed leaving on a cruise from our home state: no airline costs, travel hassles, and hotel stays needed!

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