Explorer - Western 5/8-5/15 Review

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#1
Bedford, TX
1,477 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
We did the Western side May 8-15th on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas. I've read so much on these boards and got a lot of good info so I just thought I would add my review to the mix. The ship was great. We’ve only been on one other RC ship, the Navigator and it’s basically the same. Two noticeable differences were on the Promenade. On Navigator the café has an actual bar area that stretches across the front, so people ordering drinks can go there. On Explorer there was a small ‘ L’ shaped counter and it seemed everyone crowded in the corner, creating only one line for both drinks and food. The other was in the pub. Navigator’s pub seemed to be a little more open where as Explorer’s tables were kind of jammed together (in our opinion). We did eat at Johnny Rockets one day because we had the Crown & Anchor coupon. Freddy, our waiter was great and the other waiters stopped by our table to talk or show us magic tricks. They danced 3 or 4 times while we were there. We went on a port day so it really wasn’t all that crowded. On one of the sea days I did notice a line waiting to get in.



Our first port was Belize. We booked the Rendezvous Caye snorkel and beach tour through the ship. We had a good time. The boat picked us up right at the ship, so we did not have to tender to shore first. The snorkeling was “good”, but we saw more in Cozumel. I previously read that this was a follow the leader type of snorkeling, but I didn’t feel like it was. The guide did take us from the boat over to the snorkeling area, but you could pretty much swim around at your own pace and in whatever direction you wanted to. If you got to close to the coral that was near the surface, the guides did ask you to back off a bit, but that was mainly for safety. Some of the guides were in kayaks patrolling around just in case someone needed assistance. When we got tired of snorkeling we swam (the water was shallow most of the way so you didn’t really have to swim that far) to the island. There was free rum punch and soft drinks available on the island. There was also a bathroom, but you had to wade out to it as it was not connected to the island. No big deal though, the water was about waist deep and I was already wet anyways. After the tour was over, the boat took us to the pier in Belize, serving rum punch and soft drinks on the way there.



Port #2 - Costa Maya. After reading about Majahual on these boards, we decided that’s what we were going to do. We made our way to the taxi stand to buy tickets, which fortunately we knew about ahead of time. There were people out there trying to get us to take a tour with them and telling us that they could get us to Majahual. Finally we saw the ticket “booth” and bought our tickets. We boarded a mini van right away, no waiting and off we went. Once in Majahual we started looking for Tapas bar, but when we got there we did not see any umbrellas on their tables (we were there fairly early in the morning). Almost as soon as we stopped walking, Juan from the bar next to Tapas (Mexicana something or other…forgot the name) came out and convinced us to come to his bar. He had umbrellas and was very eager for us to come to his place so we did. We had a nice table right on the edge of the water and Juan was very attentive. Later we saw the umbrellas being placed on the Tapas tables, but by then we were already happy and comfortable where we were. Several venders stopped by, but I found that once I said “no thanks”, I never had the same vender come back. They were still in the area, but never bothered us a second time. My husband had a massage on the beach and said he really enjoyed it. We wanted to explore the area a little bit so we asked Juan if we could leave our stuff at the table and he said “no problem” (we did take our valuables with us). Juan offered to book snorkeling, para-sailing, or any other excursion we wanted to do, but we passed on all that.



Port # 3 – Cozumel. We originally were going to go to Chakanaab, but decided that it would cost to much for just the couple of hours we wanted to snorkel. Taxi would have been $10 each way, plus $12 pp entry fee. We decided to go to Dzul Ha instead, for a $7 taxi ride each way and no entry fee. The snorkeling was great, and I think it was better than last year’s visit to Chakanaab. We had our own snorkeling gear, but I did see a place renting equipment if you needed it, but didn’t see the price. I also saw lockers over by the gear rental place. The beach area is not very big, but it worked out good for my mom who went with us but didn’t snorkel. We got there around 9:30 ship time (8:30 Cozumel time) and were the only ones there. There are lounge chairs and tables with umbrellas. There’s a bar there as well, but I’m not sure if they serve food or not. It didn’t start to get crowded until around 11:00 (ship time). By then we were ready to leave and a couple of tour groups showed up. No problem getting a taxi, one would pass by every few minutes or so. When we got back to the dock area, we stopped at Senor Frogs for something to drink and made our way back to the ship. Unfortunately for some, they never did make it back. We were on deck 4 watching the last few passengers stager to the ship. At one time the RC security people had a list of 9 people that were still missing. They sent one officer (I think he was an officer...dressed in the white uniform) walk up and down the dock asking people if they belonged on our ship. He eventually found 7 of them, but we left 2 behind.



Port # 4 – Grand Cayman. It was to windy and the water kind of choppy so we opted not to go snorkeling. We took the tender over to the dock and walked around. We passed by the Atlantis Submarine office so we stopped in and found a tour aboard the semi-submersible that went over the reef and 2 shipwrecks. It was pretty neat to see the shipwrecks and not even have to get wet. After seeing the size of some of those fish, I was kind of glad I wasn’t snorkeling . At one point a diver went down and fed the fish, bringing them right up to the windows. She even brought up a conch shell so that we could get a good look at the creature that lives inside. After that we went over to Eden Rock and had something to drink at the restaurant there. Then it was back to the ship.



Second Day at Sea and last day of the vacation we pretty much spent sitting around the pool. They were offering backstage tours of the theater so we did do that. As far as Entertainment onboard the ship, I only found 2 entertainers/groups that I liked. One was the Sting Rays, they performed at the pool party as well. They were really good. The other was Fred Potvin who played piano in the Schooner bar. Overall we had a really good cruise.
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#2
Bedford, TX
1,477 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
oops, forgot to add that if you have any questions I'll be happy to try and answer them.
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#3
Florida
103 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Thanks for the review. We leave for the same cruise this Sunday! Hoping the weather is ok. We have first seating for dinner but are concerned we will be too rushed on our port days (we have two children 8&10). We have excursions scheduled everyday except Costa Maya. Any thoughts? Did you find formal night very formal? Did they serve lobster? I would love to hear anything else you can think of. Thanks.
#4
1,406 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
We were on the Explorer in APril you will love it.... we were in a group of 27 including many teens. We had 1st seating for dinner and never felt rushed except in Belize and I think this was do to the tendering allow plenty of time for this.... we did belizerays in Belize a first class operation for snorkeling and private beach. In Costa Maya we went to Tapas and had a great day. It was the best day... relax swim eat .... nice spot.... in Cozumel we went to Paradise Beach another great day it lives up to its name.... in GC we went snorkeling at Eden Rock
You can see my review at:http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=173243
If you have any questions let me know
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#5
Phoenix
3,566 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
mslaabs -

Great review. Thanks for taking the time to write down your thoughts.
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#6
Bedford, TX
1,477 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
ugh...sorry, double posted reply.
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#7
Bedford, TX
1,477 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Originally posted by ufmurphys
Thanks for the review. We leave for the same cruise this Sunday! Hoping the weather is ok. We have first seating for dinner but are concerned we will be too rushed on our port days (we have two children 8&10). We have excursions scheduled everyday except Costa Maya. Any thoughts? Did you find formal night very formal? Did they serve lobster? I would love to hear anything else you can think of. Thanks.
We were always back to the ship with plenty of time to spare before sailing away, which was usually 5:00-6:00. Early seating is at 6:30 and since you have to be back on board at least a 1/2hour before departure, this should give you enough time to get ready for dinner. We chose late seating because we enjoy sitting on the deck as the ship pulls out of port, which we couldn't do if we had to be in the dinning room at 6:30. They did serve lobster on the second formal night, but there was confusion over the serving of more than one lobster tail. A couple of us at the table ordered two, but our waiter said that they don't like to do that, but he would see if he could "sneak" us an extra tail. He ended up bringing us two, but I saw waiters at other tables walking around with platters full of tails, just plopping them down on peoples plates. A second tail at other tables did not seem to be a problem, maybe our guy was new. I didn't see many tuxes or "gowns". There was a variety of dress for formal night. I wore a black skirt and a sweater like top. One formal night my husband wore a black suit and no tie. I'm sure whatever you wear (as long as it's not jeans/shorts) you will be fine.
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#9
Bedford, TX
1,477 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Originally posted by ufmurphys
Do you remember which night the ice show was?
Tuesday 7:40pm, Wednesday 7:00pm & 9:00pm and Friday 7:30pm. On Monday is when they handed out the tickets. They actually had two times that you could pick up tickets, I would suggest going at the earliest time. Later in the week I heard people talking about how they couldn't get the show they wanted because all the tickets were gone. We went to the Friday 7:30 show and while it was very full, it was not sold out. There were some empty seats. If you have a large group, I would suggest getting to the show when the doors open so that you can find seats together. Sit on the end if you can, I think those seats have the best view.
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#10
Grosse Ile, MI USA
52 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Does anyone know if the Wine and dine package is still available on Explorer? Can you tell me anything about it? I've gotten conflicting info about it. Thanks for the help.
#11
Bedford, TX
1,477 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
I'm not sure what the wine & dine package is exactly, but a couple sitting at our table purchased a wine package that gave them 7 bottles of wine for the cruise. Sorry I couldn't be anymore help.
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#12
2 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
hi im going on explorer in april 2006 i just got back from the navigator and i was wondering was there any big differences between the two like something navigator has that exploer doesnt or vice-versa
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<CENTER>Explorer of The Seas[br]</CENTER>

#13
New Jersey
408 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
I just received my spiral book w/ tickets and all info. Heres what it says on wine and dine.......Rccl's diamond,platinum or gold wine & dine pkg. enables you to purchase a predetermined number of wines from our special selection and save up to 25% off normal wine list pricing.

diamond pkg perfect for sailings of 7 days or longer.

Platinum pkg. good for 5-7 days

gold pkg. limited selection of our most pepulare and well known wines .... blah blah blah...

*wine and dine pkgs are available for sale onboard each ship for a limited time during the day of departure only. Ask a staff member to direct you once onboard. For complete terms and conditions see brouchure onboard the ship OR check the website ...

Then..... In the gifts and gear section there are wines/champagnes available too (more expensive) Example.. White zinfandel, beringer, california $28.95..

This should help you.

Originally posted by englit
Does anyone know if the Wine and dine package is still available on Explorer? Can you tell me anything about it? I've gotten conflicting info about it. Thanks for the help.
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Carrie P
Grand Princess May 2003
Explorer of the seas July 2005
#14
Bedford, TX
1,477 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Flame2ss,
The only two differences that I noticed were at the Promenade Cafe and the Pub. On Navigator the cafe has a full bar along the front, but on the Explorer there really isn't a bar. You can still order drinks, but you just do it at the same counter you order food. The Navigator's cafe seemed to be a little more organized. The same with the Pub, the layout on the Navigator seemed to be a little bit more "crowd friendly". Actually, the Explorer does have the Oceanography lab which the Navigator does not. You can take a tour of the lab, just sign up in the library.
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