Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Explorer of the Seas
Sailing Date: April 26th, 2003
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
1) the rock climbing wall- it was my first time and my arms and shoulders were sore for days afterwards but nevertheless do try it if you get the chance.
2) The Ice skating rink- such is technology that in the middle of the ocean you can skate. It was great to practice some spin moves but be aware the rental skates are very basic and you will find yourself "ankle skating". They also had a excellent ice show on the rink called planet ice which is not to be missed, it's not accident that many of the skaters are Canadian.
3) the shows - from musical spectaculars to adult comedy the ship had it all. The only thing you have to watch for is schedule yourself for the shows as there many things going on, wine tasting, volleyball tournaments, etc.
You can after all just lying back and do nothing after all that's what vacations are about but we are there to have fun but admittly near the end I spent more just sleeping around because I needed to rest.
I only things to watch out for I would say is
1) The mattresses are awful and I was getting back aches in the morning, after I complained all they could do is put a piece of board underneath to firm it up a bit. Being in the home furnishing industry, I could see that RC spent some money on the interiors like Egyptian cotton towels, Cotswold blankets from the UK, etc. Too bad the couldn't get some better mattresses then those cot types in our cabins, I mean a bigger person who weighs 250lbs or more would sink half way to the floor.
2) The food- yes that's always subjective but I would say is was average and it sounded better then it was but that not to say they were some real surprises. For instance the shrimp cocktail was dry but I toke a chance on the lobster tail 2 days later it was great. This was surprising since most of the food is taken from the departure port of Miami and therefore is less fresh near the end of the cruise. Another disadvantage is that all cruise lines have, is that due to fire regulations there is no open flame and therefore no real grilling or BBQing. The buffets in general were again average that best, and could have used more selection. Good thing we brought our own hot sauce since, I expected a mostly bland taste which is what most people are use too.
3) the only other thing is the nickel and diming with RC. They are charge for liquor, bottled water and even soft drinks, good thing I gave drinking alcohol months ago! The tours on the Islands of Labadee, Ochos Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozemal Mexico are fine but be prepared to pay big time for activities and tours from the cruise lines.
Overall I'd rate our trip 9- RC is perfect for families and couples. I meet a few people who told me that that they would never take a Carnival cruise and judging from seeing their ships at port- I think neither would I.