The Holidays on the Explorer: My Diary

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#1
North Carolina
12,926 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Hello!

Max's Mom and Dad (aka Jane and John) cruise again!! This time on the beautiful Explorer of the Seas for Christmas and New Year's (Dec. 19-Jan 2). This was our 40th with RCI.....and yes, we got the crystal block......and our 5th Christmas cruise in a row! Love those holiday sailings!

We drove up to Newark on Saturday Dec. 18th from North Carolina .....a 10 hour drive. There was the threat of snow, but nothing like last year when Bayonne got 2 feet of snow the night before embarkation! Unfortunately all the snow was in the UK this year and prevented a few of our cruise buddies from making the ship. There were 581 souls who missed this sailing. 52 caught up with the ship a little later. The absence of those folks was quite noticeable on the ship. Never had to wait for an elevator and the Windjammer was never crowded.

We stayed at the Wyndham Garden Hotel at Newark airport.....an OK place......we left our car there for the two weeks rather than at the port. It is a secure lot and the second time that we have done that. No problems.

We took a taxi to the port at around 11:00 on Sunday morning. $50 + tip. There is usually mass confusion at the drop off area and this day was no exception, but we finally got our luggage taken care of and proceeded inside to check in. This is the only port where we have to wait in line to check in. But things went smoothly today and before we knew it, we were on the bus riding over to the ship. No waiting after checking in.

Once on board, while waiting to get into our cabin at 1:30, I checked out our dining room table.....#345.....right next to the Captain's table....perfect. Then I went up to Deck 11 to Portofino to make our reservations there. The guy taking my revervation was VERY congested......a sign of things to come!

At 1:30 we made our way to our cabin......Junior Suite 9314....on the hump. This is a great cabin. It was in great shape....new carpet, flatscreen, the upolstry and curtains seemed to be brand new. I was happy! Here are a few pctures:







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Jane

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#2
North Carolina
12,926 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Our balcony was also very nice. Just a tad larger than most JS balconies. We had a comfy lounger, two chairs, and a small table.





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Jane

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#4
North Carolina
12,926 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
The Captain held the ship for a while to wait for passengers who were delayed because of the weather. Instead of leaving at 4....it was closer to 6 before we left.

There was no muster today. We found out that it would be held at 11:15 on the first sea day.

Our roll call had planned an informal get together at Dizzy's at around 3:30 and we had a very good showing. We had a very active roll call. Some of us had cruised together before, so it was good to renew those friendships. Some folks we had not met before and it was fun to make these new friendships! What a great bunch of folks. We did this same cruise last year and a good many of those folks booked this year as well. Sadly, a few had to cancel. But Helen and Graham of the UK.....who didn't make the ship last year.......had a huge scare this year......but they made it!!!!! Here are a few pictures of our get together in Dizzy's right before embarkation.





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Jane

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#5
North Carolina
12,926 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Our cabin stewardess was Shahaida from Nicaragua. She was the best. She really took care of us.



We are Daimond Plus C&A members and we really enjoy the Concierge Lounge. We usually head there around 7 every evening to enjoy some drinks before dinner. We always meet great folks in there and enjoy their company every night. The Concierge for this sailing was Francis. He was very nice and did a lot for us.



The first night we ran into a couple that we met last year in the CL. It was nice seeing them again. We ran into them quite often during the cruise.



OK......now it's on to dinner in the MDR and see who our tablemates will be. Always scary!!

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Jane

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#6
North Carolina
12,926 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
In over 25 years of cruising with RCI, I must say.....for the most part....we have been extremely lucky with our tablemates. This cruise was no exception. We thoroughly enjoy meeting people on cruises, so we always ask for a large table. Our table was a table for 10 right next to the Captain's table on Deck 3. It was quickly made into a table for 11 because a father/daughter duo didn't like their table, so they joined ours. The more the merrier! Once again, we were very lucky with our tablemates. They were:

Fred and Tory.....father/ daughter from New Jersey.



Brian and Russell.....Nephew/Uncle.....from New York.



Lois, Joy, and Scott......mother, daughter, son-in-law from California.



And my very favorite......Joe and Tony......from New Jersey. They are my boys!!!!



Then there was us:



These pictures were made on a formal night.

Our waiter had a bad case of laryngitis......another sign of things to come!
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Jane

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#8
North Carolina
12,926 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Monday.....12-20-10

At Sea

We woke up fairly early and went down to the private dining room for Diamond/Diamond + members. Love this amenity. We ate breakfast here most mornings and received very specialized service here. It's fun to meet up with other frequent cruisers here. This morning we met up with some other cruisers that we met last year....Lisa and Guy from Arizona. They were tablemates of our UK buddies last year. They didn't make it this year because of the snow. We missed them terribly, but glad to renew a friendship with Guy and Lisa. We also ran into them in the CL a good bit.



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Jane

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#9
North Carolina
12,926 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
The Meet and Mingle was scheduled for 9:15 AM this morning! It was in the Majarjas Lounge. We had a very nice turn out. I already knew a good many of these folks, but there were a lot of people there that I had no clue who they were! We went around and told where we were from, but no one said what their screen name was and that was a mistake. They raffled off a lot of prizes. John and I both won a bottle of champagne......and we don't even drink champagne. But we put it to good use later with some of our roll call buddies. More about that later.

Yay!! They made it from the UK!! That's Helen and Graham...who didn't make it last year. And Gary and Stef, also from the UK.....former cruise buddies of mine.



Two fisting it!





David and Nancy......more former cruise buddies.



Nan and her family. Boy....did they have a lot of fun!


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Jane

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#10
North Carolina
12,926 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Wendy and Kaighley (mother/daughter)......also former cruise buddies......organized a gift exchange for those that wanted to participate. That was a lot of fun.



The ship's photographer made a group shot of everyone down on the one of the staircases. Huge group. It was a nice picture.

Afterwards we had to rush to the Muster Drill. No lifejackets....yay! It was pretty cold and ugly out on deck today.





It didn't last too long and was rather painless.

Afterwards I thought I might enjoy some time on the balcony! That didn't last long!!



Gotta take a break for a while. Will be back later to continue. Thanks for reading.


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Jane

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#11
Toronto, Ontario
646 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
I always like your reviews. Great mix of writing and pictures, its awesome.
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Cruises:
1st Cruise: Serenade of the Seas - Alaska (7 nts.) - Sept. 2009
2nd Cruise: Monarch of the Seas - Bahamas (3 nts.) - Feb. 2010
3rd Cruise: Serenade of the Seas - Southern Caribbean (7 nts.) - July 2010
4th Cruise: Explorer of the Seas - Canada/ New England (9 nts.) - Oct. 2010
5th Cruise: Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean (7 nts.) - Jan. 2011
6th Cruise: Mariner of the Seas - Mediterranean Holy Land (13 nts.) - Sept. 2011
7th Cruise: Rhapsody of the Seas - Hawaii (11 nts.) - Sept. 2012
8th Cruise: Enchantment of the Seas - Bahamas (4 nts.) - Jan. 2015
9th Cruise: Grandeur of the Seas - Bahamas (7 nts.) - Aug. 2015

Coming up January 2017 - Oasis of the Seas back to back

Diamond Member

Love to Travel! Love Royal Caribbean
#12
St. Charles Missouri
6,877 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
great pics thanks
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Navigator of the Seas Sept 7, 2014, Independence of the Seas Mar 29, 2014, Allure of the Seas Nov 17 2013, Oasis of the Seas May 25 2013, Liberty of the Seas Nov 25 2012, Liberty of the Seas Nov 29 2012, Liberty of the Seas March 2012, Carnival Freedom Sept 2011, Majesty of the Seas Jan 2011, Mariner of the Seas May 2010, Carnival Fantasy September 2009, Majesty of the Seas March 2009, Freedom of the seas May 2008, Carnival Triumph July 2007, Majesty of the seas July 2006, Explorer of the Seas May 2005, Carnival Destiny April 2002, Sovereign of the seas July 2001, Monarch of the seas January 1999, Sovereign of the seas Feb 1998, Viking Serenade April 1997, Big Red Boat June 1996, Song of America October 1995
R
#13
Now in SE Florida from NY
7,681 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
Great pictorial review so far.

And the best thing, your picture of me made me look a lot thinner !!!!!!
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<marquee>Mr. Incredible</marquee>


PLUS.




#14
Canada
18,319 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Wonderful! You all look so happy. We loved Explorer.
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~Karen

*I have fallen ill, so sadly, no more cruises.*

Already Cruised - listed not to brag, but so you can ask me a question if you'd like:
RCI - Serenade Nov 2015 S. Caribbean
Celebrity - Solstice May 2015 Alaska
RCI - Explorer Nov 2014 Repo/S. Caribbean - 40 ft. rogue wave, lifeboat damage

Princess - Grand Princess May 2014 Pacific Coastal
RCI - Serenade March 2014 - B2B W. Caribbean

RCI - Serenade Feb 2014 - Bahamas - a celebration cruise indeed!
*RCI Scandinavia 2013 - nope - cancelled due to my illness. ~ Maybe next year, God willing.
RCI - Jewel Nov 2012 - B2B Mexico
RCI - Jewel Repo Oct/Nov 2012 Boston to Tampa - Hurricane Sandy
RCI - Brilliance June/July 2011 Mediterranean
RCI - Mariner Oct/Nov 2010 Mexico
RCI - Oasis May 2010 E. Caribbean - 4 adults in one cabin; we did it!
Princess - Emerald Princess April 2009 E. Caribbean
RCI - Explorer Sept/Oct 2008 - 25th anniversary! Canada - Hurricane Kyle
RCI - Liberty August 2007 E.Caribbean - Hurricane Dean - 4 adults in one cabin; we did it!
RCI - Explorer April 2006 E.Caribbean
RCI - Vision Aug 2003 Alaska
HAL - Rotterdam - last leg of her final world cruise ever April 1995 Pacific Northwest
RCI - Viking Serenade Aug 1993 Mexico
#15
Merion, Pennsylvania
56,908 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
Originally posted by The Big Booper
Great pictorial review so far.

And the best thing, your picture of me made me look a lot thinner !!!!!!
Now I need to know which one you are in the pics.......so that I will recognize you when we finally meet!!!!!

#16
Ontario
701 Posts
Joined Dec 2010
Great review so far! Looking forward to reading more...
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Finally booked another cruise!
RCI Jewel ~ NYE 2017
RCI Adventure ~ 03/13
RCI Jewel ~ 01/12
RCI Navigator ~ 01/11
NCL Dawn ~ 03/08
#17
Now in SE Florida from NY
7,681 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
Originally posted by Merion_Mom
Now I need to know which one you are in the pics.......so that I will recognize you when we finally meet!!!!!

David and Nancy

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We always wear matching tee-shirts
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<marquee>Mr. Incredible</marquee>


PLUS.




#18
North Carolina
12,926 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Thanks Everyone!

Back for a little bit.

This day was a formal night. Everyone looked very nice all dressed up. The table pictures posted earlier were actually from Christmas Day. This is us from the actual first formal night.



After dinner we went to the show. Tony B was the heaadliner. He is a Sinatra style singer and was very good. But I got a little bored with him. I don't think we went to any other shows. We went to the casino and made the first of many donations there.
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Jane

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#19
North Carolina
12,926 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Tuesday.....12-21-10

At Sea

After breakfast we checked out photos, then bought the wi-fi package with our 90 mins. of coupons. I e-mailed our UK friends to see if they might possibly meet the ship in St. Thomas. There was a good hot spot in the CL.

There was a nice lunch buffet set up on the Promenade. This was a huge cake that was at one end.



We didn't eat there but went to the Windjammer instead. I did go back after lunch and had a piece of this cake with some ice cream. Yummy!

I wandered around and got some pictures of the solarium while no one was there.







Afterwards it was back to the cabin for one of many naps during this cruise. Tonight we went to the CL, then dinner, then the casino again.

I lied.....we did go to another show! Tonight we saw the late night comic. He was from Canada and was very funny, but just a little too nice to be the Late night comic!

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Jane

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#20
NY
1,433 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
Jane, I always enjoy your reviews and pictures.

I seem to follow in your footsteps. This past summer I went on the Serenade shortly after you did your B2B on her and I will be cruising the Explorer this coming summer.
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