just returned from our (15 yr. old son and 44 yr. old Mom) first cruise on the Explorer OTS. Fantastic ship with much to do, see and eat
BUT (yes, here comes the but!)Read up as much as possible on everything you wish to do. If I would ever cruise RCCL again (and I will explain why) I would not book any excursions while on the ship. You can do it ahead of time online (cheaper) or while on land (also cheaper). Valuables: make sure you handcarry them on when first embarking! While visiting ports, be very careful at the security checkpoints upon return and never leave the conveyor belts out of your sight. I did and paid a high price when returning from the St. Thomas (best place to shop!) excursion. Had several shopping bags, placed them on the belt, grabbed them on the other side, never realizing that one was missing until we returned to the cabin. Of course, this one had a set of very expensive his/hers matching watches, as well as an underwater digital camera casing and several souvenir/clothing articles in it. Upon discovering that a bag (most bags look the same, regular white, thin plastic) was missing, proceeded to the Customer Service Station. Thought that maybe another guest may have grabbed the wrong bag?
Possible, but wishfull thinking.
The bag was gone and I was told "you didn't seriously think someone would turn in such valuables". Wow! Not the kind of treatment I expected from an employee of such high profile cruise line. And to think that our trip already started out on a sour note... this was the icing on the cake!
Only this cake was baked with salt instead of sugar
Due to my being disabled, had booked a stateroom that should accomodate my special needs; however, booking was made online and not via an agent. Big mistake!
Long story, but one full of advice
My cruise is over and yours is just to begin... So, did that turn me off or away from cruising? Heck no! I just have to prepare more careful and keep my eyes open at all times. Cruising is, in my eyes, still the most luxerious way to travel (and I travel overseas quite often as I am from Germany and my family is still there) So, take into consideration my advice and I am sure you will come back with the biggest smiles and the happiest memories.
Good luck, have fun and enjoy
P.S. In case you guys wonder, yes, I did write a long letter to RCCL, explaining above circumstances but haven't had a positive feeback as of yet
Oh well, life! Live, love, and learn