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Brad Poulter

Age: 24

Occupation:Banking

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Explorer of the Seas

Sailing Date: October 25th, 2003

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

Explorer of the Seas was my second cruise, so I had some idea of what my cruise experience should be. In addition prior to choosing Explorer of the Seas I did extensive research and watched every program on the Discovery Channel and the Travel Channel on RCL’s Voyager Class ships but even after all the research I did I was not prepared for the truly delightful experience that I had onboard. After taking my first cruise (on a different cruise line) I was hooked on cruising and now after cruising on Explorer of the Seas RCL has hooked me on their cruise line, especially on the Voyager Class ships.

After collecting our luggage we checked in with the RCL desk at the airport for our ground transportation to the port, which was booked through them. Let me say one thing, next time I will take a cab, it would have been the same price and much simpler! (Cab fare for 4 is approx $22 to the port from Miami International) After Queuing several passengers up in the baggage claim area of the airport they paraded us out to the curb to wait for our bus to the port, which was suppose to be there momentarily, 45 minutes later we are still waiting for the bus! After the bus finally arrived we boarded and we were on our way to the port. After arriving at the port we waited while our luggage was unloaded, we claimed it and watched it be loaded onto pallets to arrive on the ship. After tipping the curbside porter for attending to our luggage we made our way into the terminal for embarkation. After my previous cruise (on a different cruise line) I had an idea of what to expect but was completely blown away by how efficient RCL was in getting us onto the ship. From the time we entered the terminal building, went through security, received our “sail and sign” cards (cabin key and onboard “charge card”), had our security picture taken, and our embarkation photo taken it was no more than 20 minutes. After arriving on the ship we made our way to our cabin, we were on Deck 8, a Promenade view room.

The first thing I think I should describe is our cabin. I think the class of cabin we had was fantastic, much better than an ordinary interior cabin and certainly better than a balcony cabin. The reason I say that is there was always something happening on the Royal Promenade which was viewable from our cabin window—not that we were in the cabin very long other than sleeping. One suggestion I would give to everyone, no matter what cabin class you have, would be to bring two nightlights (one for the main cabin area and one for the bathroom), and to bring a can of air freshener to spray around the cabin and bathroom, just to freshen things up.

The only thing I could complain about our cabin was it was one of the cabins that had a pass-through door which would allow our cabin to join to the cabin next door. The pass-through door IS NOT SOUND PROOF!!!! We could easily hear the TV in the next cabin as well as the cabin occupants snoring during the night. If you DO NOT NEED a cabin with a pass-through door DO NOT GET ONE!!!

While I am giving advice, another piece of advice I can give to everyone would to bring a whole punch and a lanyard with you. The reason I say this is it is a great convenience to have your “sail and sign” card around your next during the cruise than always worrying about if you lost it in the pocket of your bathing suit. There were a large number of people who did do this on the ship which makes me wonder why RCL didn’t sell this option to you when you checked in considering they will sell you just about anything else you want. (Just make sure if you do punch a whole in your “sail and sign card” that you don’t punch through the mag strip or punch through the end that must be inserted into your cabin door lock).

After we found our cabin we then found where our muster station was located so we didn’t look like idiots trying to find where we should be when the muster drill arrived. Our next step was to find our dinner table in the main dinning room, I wanted to do that first not to approve or disapprove of our seating assignment but to make sure we wouldn’t be late for dinner, as you’ll come to find out I love food and never missed an opportunity to eat while onboard!

After finding our dinner table we made our way back to the Windjammer café for our first meal onboard Explorer. You will read in other reviews that the food in the Windjammer was “adequate,” in my opinion the food was very good, the variation and quality of the menu did vary by day but overall I would rate the food at the windjammer a 4 out of 5. The windjammer did offer one service that other cruise lines do not offer, there were always servers available to bring you drinks and to clear your table.

While I am discussing service I’ll discuss the service on the rest of the ship. Let me summarize, no matter what my request was it was answered with, “My Pleasure, Sir.” Our cabin attendant Rubi was amazing, our cabin was always in perfect order, we always had fresh pool and bath towels, and the bathroom was always very clean!

Our waiter, Trevor, and his assistant Sherrianne were amazing as well. Trevor had a wonderful personality and his service was incredible he was more than happy to bring you as much as you wanted to eat. Sherrianne was hands down amazing as well, she would remember who wanted iced tea with their dinner in addition to water and automatically bring it to them, while also ensuring everyone’s water class was completely full. Thinking back, I don’t think I ever had ask for anything while at dinner during my entire week, my every wish was anticipated by the amazing dining room staff.

Food:
All I have to say is the food was wonderful, with one exception their coffee was AWFUL! The food was always was better in the dinning room, but even at the Windjammer the food was good. In addition the dining room and the Windjammer you had the option of eating at Johnny Rockets or the Café Promenade. The only time I would say the food was not very good was at the BBQ lunch served on Labadee (the private Island) don’t get me wrong it wasn’t bad, but in comparison to the food that was being served on the ship it wasn’t all that special. The only time I can say that the food was truly “bad” at the Windjammer café was for dinner the last night, and I am sure it was done for a reason. If you have cruised before or when you take a cruise you will notice that the dining room on the last night of the cruise isn’t as busy as it normally is, and the reason for that is the last night at dinner is when you give your servers their tips for the week. I am sure the poor food quality in the windjammer was done to “punish” the cheap people who have the nerve not to tip their servers for the wonderful service that they gave them all week.

It became standard procedure for us to first visit the Windjammer café for a “pre-dinner” when they opened at 6:30pm to sample what was going to be served in the main dining room (Yes we ate at both the Windjammer and in the dining room but like I said earlier I LOVE FOOD!). After the first night the lady who served the desserts learned that I have a sweet tooth and LOVE desserts. She would take notice of when I would finish my plate of hot food and walk over a plate containing one of every dessert they had on the buffet that night! This was one example of how thoughtful and attentive the staff was on the entire ship.

Entertainment:
The entertainment on the ship was wonderful. The stage shows had incredible energy and were truly Broadway caliber. In addition to their own stage productions the headliner comedians that they had were hilarious, and also well know names. The Ice show that was put on in Studio B was amazing, I never saw such a fabulous production. The stunts that they performed on the ice were truly amazing. Anyone who I spoke with on the ship was truly impressed by the ice show.

In addition to the stage shows there was a lot of other great entertainment going on at all times on the ship, from lounge singers, pool side bands, and my favorite--the Cruise Comics. The Cruise Comics were a group of Improv comics that performed mostly on the Royal Promenade. I remember countless times just walking down the Promenade and seeing a crowd totally mesmerized by the performance that the comics were putting on. My personal favorite of their performances was when there was one comic who was climbing the floor. I know this sounds ridiculous but it was hilarious, what was happening was there was one comic dressed like a rock climber, complete with ropes, climbing the floor of the Promenade like his was climbing a real cliff. What made this so amazing was that as people would walk by he would grab onto their feet and yell “Don’t move!” as if he was going to fall if they did, and when he finally reached the end of the Promenade he tumbled down the stairs two decks.

Our cruise director was also very good, this cruise was a special cruise for him, it was not only his last cruise before his scheduled time off, it was his last cruise on the ship before transferring to a new ship. The last night they ran a tribute video to him in the Palace Theatre, it was truly special for everyone in the audience!

In conclusion I would like to say that our cruise was truly wonderful and RCL’s slogan is “Like no vacation on Earth” and they are correct, this cruise was like no vacation I have ever had. As I finish writing this review I am pleased to note that just earlier today I booked another cruise on RCL, on their new ship Mariner of the Seas for next fall.

If you have any questions about anything I have mentioned, or have a question about the ship please feel free to email me and I would be glad to answer!

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