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: