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Nicole

Age: 35

Occupation:Executive Assistant

Number of Cruises: 4

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Explorer of the Seas

Sailing Date: 2012-08-21

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

This was my first cruise with Royal Caribbean. Although fun-wise I think that Carnival is better, this was definitely a great cruise. We decided to do Royal Caribbean so we could leave from the NY/NJ area. The ship was much larger than the Carnival ships we've been on, the food was wonderful, the activities were great (although there should have been more) and the staff was absolutely PHENOMENAL!!!!!! Although the weather wasn't as warm as I wold have liked (no control over that) the itinerary was fantastic. I definitely recommend this cruise line and itinerary.

We loved the choices of food. I was travelling with my mom and my two kids (ages 16 and 12), so we didn't go the formal dining room as much as we went to Windjammer Cafe. There were always numerous options at the buffet. Everyone of us could find something we liked, whether the same old standby's of burgers and fries or new options to try like sushi. One of my favorite places was Cafe Promenade. They had pastries and tea/ coffee available all day. It was a great place to sit and relax. Being that they set it up like an outdoor cafe, you really had the feeling that you were relaxing at a cafe enjoying the scenery. The few times that we did go to the formal dining room, the meals were very nice. They have a Johnny Rockets restaurant on board which the kids absolutely loved! There was an additional surcharge, but it was a very small amount and the food is all you can eat.

Our stateroom was a standard small interior cabin : ). We expected as much so not much to complain about. However, our attendants were fantastic. They were always very polite, they kept our room spotless and tended to our every need.

The shows were great. Our cruise director Richard Spacey was great. I think everyone that saw him in action wanted to kidnap him : )!!!! He was always spot on with the comedy and he was a little nuts which was great. Can't say too much about him, don't want to spoil his skits. There were trivia games and activities, but they still came up short compared to Carnival. They had the usual, casino, arcade, shows, board games, etc,, but Carnival had way more options. I think if they added more options they would be unbeatable. The Ice Show was great. The on board talent was great. The staff exceeded all expectations.

We had four island stops and did excursions on two. We did a beach excursion on both St. Thomas and St. Maarten. Like I mentioned before, the weather wasn't as hot as I would have liked, but the beaches were beautiful. We drove around St. Thomas a bit afterward and it was truly a beautiful island. The people on both islands were so warm and friendly. We only got off the ship briefly in San Juan so we didn't do a shore excursion. The stay in San Juan was too short for me, but it was very beautiful there. We also got off briefly in Bermuda and just walked around a bit.

Overall, it was a fantastic trip. I am considering doing it again, since they have slightly different itineraries on the same ship.

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