(Not) Live from the Explorer of the Seas, March 2014

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#1
NYC
2,616 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Greetings Cruise Critic Friends!! Welcome to my (NOT) live posting from the beautiful Explorer of the Seas 8 day cruise to Nassau, Bahamas and exotic Port Canaveral, Florida!!

Those of you who are familiar with my style of cruise review know that it will be a blog-diary covering the minutiae of my cruising day, activities, food, exercise, excursions, entertainment – and often those of my traveling companions as well. I describe the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful in close detail… often offering some opinions along the way, but hopefully providing an accurate enough description that you can decide for yourself whether you would enjoy (or hate!) something that I dislike (or love!)

I started this journal by writing a daily email to myself on my tablet, since I didn’t lug along my (outdated, heavy and slow) laptop… however, typing on the tiny travel keyboard was definitely a challenge, especially since the spacebar is recalcitrant, so by day 2 I started making notes by hand (which of course slowed down the posting of this review, since I had to actually type everything up when I returned).

Also slowing down the preparation of this review was a BUSY month upon my return: catching up on work, buying a new (er, 2001 with 118k miles) car, running the Cherry Tree 5K in DC with my family… and doing all the laundry from that 8-day cruise!!

"New" car:


Cherry Tree 5K w/DD Ariel (she was on the cruise with me) and DS Jason


Anyway, enough introduction – on with the cruise. Welcome aboard


DAY 1 - Friday, March 21 - 4:25pm

Sitting in the cabin for a few minutes... let's recap the day so far:

8:35, check in with friend from NJ who is coming in to pick us up and drop us at the port (we will pay gas and tolls).

9:00 drive down in our car to pickup DD's boyfriend Tom and his bags, so we can leave straight from our house when our friend from NJ arrives.

10:00, having breakfast shake and coffee... when I get a call from our friend from NJ: he has broken down on the NJ Turnpike, no idea what happened! Worried about him, but no time to waste, we start calling other friends to see if anyone else can take us to the port… but in NYC, not many people have a car, or are free on a Friday morning to drive us even in our own car! Fortunately, it turns out Tom has a friend with a cab, who gives us a discount on the trip. Nice!

10:45, on the way to the port we encounter serious traffic... we see emergency vehicles, smoke... by great good fortune (to us!) the issue is on the opposite side of the highway -- a truck engine caught fire. Entire road is shut down on the other side! Miles of traffic piled up behind. We thank our lucky stars and keep heading to the port.

11:30 - arrive at port, hand off big bags to porter, use bathroom (!) and head in to checkin. Tom's corkscrew is confiscated! : ( Ariel and I go through together, and the security guard looks at our SetSail passes to confirm that we are indeed in separate cabins, since we are each carrying on two bottles of wine. (I don’t drink, so my allotment will be for Ariel and Tom to enjoy.)

Arriving at the tent, er, port with DD Ariel and her BF Tom


We check in thru priority boarding while Tom goes thru regular checkin (it's his first cruise!) – and he also carries on two bottles of wine, which are not questioned since he and Ariel are checking in separately. We meet up in the waiting area, where they take a boarding photo (and I take some of them too while they’re posing for the photographer), and we head out to the jitney to the cruise ship.

"Sneaking" some boarding photos


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-Denise

Past Cruises:1990s: 3 Big Red Boat (1 Atlantic, 2 Oceanic); 3 Carnival (Ecstasy, Destiny, Fantasy); Premier NYC cruise to nowhere; Disney Wonder 1/06; Mariner of the Seas 8/06; Sun Princess 1/07; Caribbean Princess 3/07; Crown Princess 10/07; Brilliance of the Seas 1/08; Monarch 4/08; Majesty B2B 9/08; Mariner 4/09; Radiance 11/09; Majesty 1/10; Monarch 9/10; Majesty 12/10; Monarch 12/11; Explorer 1/12; Monarch 3/12; Oasis 12/13; Explorer 3/14; Explorer Repo11/14; Majesty Solo1/15; Liberty 10/15;Coral Princess & Radiance - Alaska5/16; Rhapsody11/16; Ruby Princess 1/17. Planned Cruises: Windstar 4/17; Crown Princess 9/17; Ovation 11/17; Disney Dream 1/18; Grandeur 2/18; Cunard Queen Mary 10-11/18
(Not) Live from the Explorer, March 2014
Oasis of the Seas, December 2013, Blog & Review
Daily Log, Explorer of the Seas, January 2012
(Not) Live from the Mariner (West Coast), April 2009
(Not) Live from the Monarch (West Coast), April 2008
Live from the Brilliance, January 2008
Not Live from the Crown Princess, October 2007
#2
776 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
We saw the same garbage truck with the engine fire and that was around 12:30PM - still slow traffic at that time.

Hmmm....Interesting on the confiscation of the corkscrew. One of our traveling partners had one in her carry-on and it was not an issue.
#3
NYC
2,616 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
By 12:30 we're onboard! We walk up from 1 to 5, walk through the Promenade to the back of the ship-, and take an elevator to 11. Windjammer is packed as usual. We find separate seating (Ariel and Tom at a table for 2, me at a group table that kindly makes room for me. I enjoy meeting the 95-year-old on her birthday and her caregiver, plus talking with a lovely young lady (age 11) and her equally lovely parents from North Carolina. We continue to run into each other several times on our first day at sea, as often happens on a cruise.

Lunch: Raw baby spinach, Greek salad, chick peas, tuna salad... carved roast beef with horseradish, green beans... cold cuts (salami, olive loaf, swiss cheese) + brown bread. Drink water and mango-flavored water. Then get apple strudel and coffee... and take green apple, red apple, orange, two cookies and a coconut macaroon for the cabin. (ooh, cookie, think I'll have one right now... mmm)

(Hmmm, wonder why I have no food photos from first day in the Windjammer... oh yeah, I think my battery died...)


1:30 - head down stairs to cabin, they're open now. Unpack carryon, call Ariel & Tom in their cabin. Meet up at 2 to go on spa tour and enter raffle.





In addition to relatively-new acupuncture and medi-spa injectables (eww!!) they offered an unlimited haircare package for $189, you could get blowouts every day, updos for formal nights, etc. Very nice spa presentations from seaweed massage to facial to ionithermie to the above-mentioned acupuncture and medi-spa offerings.

Medi-spa... forgive me, you ladies (and gents) who choose to do this, however I just can't see injecting myself with toxins and plastic just to look younger... maybe to help me with seizures or something critical... but that's about it! But if you want to do it (and on a cruise?!? where you can't follow up with the provider if, G*d forbid, something goes wrong???) well, they now offer it...




Unlimited hair care... hmmm, seems to be different prices than they promoted during the tour... still, a good idea for those who enjoy this sort of thing... Myself, I just cut off the end of my ponytail when the split ends get too bad, I'm kind of low maintenance in this regard...


I met the fitness center staff too, Alen (sic -- meaning that is indeed how he spells his name) and Tom. When I asked if they offered any multi-class discounts (e.g., I’ve seen classes regularly priced at $12, if you buy three they’re only $10 each) – and they said they could offer four classes for the price of three (an even better deal: $36 for four classes = $9 per class)… and you could even mix and match yoga, pilates and cycling!!

As it turned out, I never took advantage of this offer – a first for me not to do paid classes while onboard. I did, however, make the free classes every morning except for when we had 7am passport control. I picked up a fitness center schedule and was surprised to see that this cruise offered no afternoon fitness offerings at all, paid or free… just the product promotion sessions, er, health seminars.

Fitness Center Schedule
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-Denise

Past Cruises:1990s: 3 Big Red Boat (1 Atlantic, 2 Oceanic); 3 Carnival (Ecstasy, Destiny, Fantasy); Premier NYC cruise to nowhere; Disney Wonder 1/06; Mariner of the Seas 8/06; Sun Princess 1/07; Caribbean Princess 3/07; Crown Princess 10/07; Brilliance of the Seas 1/08; Monarch 4/08; Majesty B2B 9/08; Mariner 4/09; Radiance 11/09; Majesty 1/10; Monarch 9/10; Majesty 12/10; Monarch 12/11; Explorer 1/12; Monarch 3/12; Oasis 12/13; Explorer 3/14; Explorer Repo11/14; Majesty Solo1/15; Liberty 10/15;Coral Princess & Radiance - Alaska5/16; Rhapsody11/16; Ruby Princess 1/17. Planned Cruises: Windstar 4/17; Crown Princess 9/17; Ovation 11/17; Disney Dream 1/18; Grandeur 2/18; Cunard Queen Mary 10-11/18
(Not) Live from the Explorer, March 2014
Oasis of the Seas, December 2013, Blog & Review
Daily Log, Explorer of the Seas, January 2012
(Not) Live from the Mariner (West Coast), April 2009
(Not) Live from the Monarch (West Coast), April 2008
Live from the Brilliance, January 2008
Not Live from the Crown Princess, October 2007
#5
NYC
2,616 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Originally posted by missdenise
We saw the same garbage truck with the engine fire and that was around 12:30PM - still slow traffic at that time.

Hmmm....Interesting on the confiscation of the corkscrew. One of our traveling partners had one in her carry-on and it was not an issue.
Tom had a classic folding metal corkscrew with handles... Ariel had a plastic RCI corkscrew which I had won on a previous cruise at Trivia (a tiny plastic tube with a metal screw inside; remove the outer tube, stick it through a hole in the top of the metal screw piece to create a handle to use) which made it through fine.

From reading other posts, I also understand that you can request a corkscrew when you board.
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-Denise

Past Cruises:1990s: 3 Big Red Boat (1 Atlantic, 2 Oceanic); 3 Carnival (Ecstasy, Destiny, Fantasy); Premier NYC cruise to nowhere; Disney Wonder 1/06; Mariner of the Seas 8/06; Sun Princess 1/07; Caribbean Princess 3/07; Crown Princess 10/07; Brilliance of the Seas 1/08; Monarch 4/08; Majesty B2B 9/08; Mariner 4/09; Radiance 11/09; Majesty 1/10; Monarch 9/10; Majesty 12/10; Monarch 12/11; Explorer 1/12; Monarch 3/12; Oasis 12/13; Explorer 3/14; Explorer Repo11/14; Majesty Solo1/15; Liberty 10/15;Coral Princess & Radiance - Alaska5/16; Rhapsody11/16; Ruby Princess 1/17. Planned Cruises: Windstar 4/17; Crown Princess 9/17; Ovation 11/17; Disney Dream 1/18; Grandeur 2/18; Cunard Queen Mary 10-11/18
(Not) Live from the Explorer, March 2014
Oasis of the Seas, December 2013, Blog & Review
Daily Log, Explorer of the Seas, January 2012
(Not) Live from the Mariner (West Coast), April 2009
(Not) Live from the Monarch (West Coast), April 2008
Live from the Brilliance, January 2008
Not Live from the Crown Princess, October 2007
#6
NYC
2,616 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Originally posted by happy trailer
Subscribed!
Hi Ruth, nice to see you!

Can't wait till we're on the 2-week repo in November, the ship looks BEAUTIFUL. Enjoy the review.
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-Denise

Past Cruises:1990s: 3 Big Red Boat (1 Atlantic, 2 Oceanic); 3 Carnival (Ecstasy, Destiny, Fantasy); Premier NYC cruise to nowhere; Disney Wonder 1/06; Mariner of the Seas 8/06; Sun Princess 1/07; Caribbean Princess 3/07; Crown Princess 10/07; Brilliance of the Seas 1/08; Monarch 4/08; Majesty B2B 9/08; Mariner 4/09; Radiance 11/09; Majesty 1/10; Monarch 9/10; Majesty 12/10; Monarch 12/11; Explorer 1/12; Monarch 3/12; Oasis 12/13; Explorer 3/14; Explorer Repo11/14; Majesty Solo1/15; Liberty 10/15;Coral Princess & Radiance - Alaska5/16; Rhapsody11/16; Ruby Princess 1/17. Planned Cruises: Windstar 4/17; Crown Princess 9/17; Ovation 11/17; Disney Dream 1/18; Grandeur 2/18; Cunard Queen Mary 10-11/18
(Not) Live from the Explorer, March 2014
Oasis of the Seas, December 2013, Blog & Review
Daily Log, Explorer of the Seas, January 2012
(Not) Live from the Mariner (West Coast), April 2009
(Not) Live from the Monarch (West Coast), April 2008
Live from the Brilliance, January 2008
Not Live from the Crown Princess, October 2007
#7
Charleston, SC
4,301 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Great start!
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If you really wanna know where you can find me
I'll be unwinding
Down in the islands, down in the islands
You should lose track of your timing
Grab a drink beside me
Down in the islands, down in the islands...Zac Brown


She wants a Piña Colada in a pint glass...
She wants to be where the summer won’t stop,
She wants gin clear water and milk white sand,
A sunburned nose and a drink in her hand
With a pink umbrella on top!... Gaelic Storm




RCCL Serenade of the Seas 3/16 Southern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale)
RCCL Freedom of the Seas 11/15 Eastern Caribbean (Port Canaveral)
RCCL Explorer of the Seas 01/15 Southern Caribbean (Port Canaveral)
Celebrity Silhouette 03/14 Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale)
Celebrity Summit 03/13 Southern Caribbean (San Juan)
RCCL Adventure of the Seas 03/12 Southern Caribbean (San Juan)
RCCL Serenade of the Seas 03/11 Southern Caribbean (San Juan)
RCCL Radiance of the Seas 8/09 Alaska (Vancouver)
RCCL Voyager of the Seas 02/08 Caribbean (Galveston)
RCCL Brilliance of the Seas 02/07 Panama Canal (Miami)
RCCL Mariner of the Seas 03/05 W. Caribbean (Port Canaveral)
NCL Dreamward 04/95 W. Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale)
Cunard QEII 08/92 New England/Canada (New York)
Cunard Countess 01/92 S.Caribbean (San Juan)
Cunard Princess 08/91 E.Caribbean (San Juan)
Cunard Princess 08/90 Bermuda (New York)
Cunard Princess 05/90 Bermuda (New York)
Carnival Celebration 02/88 E.Caribbean
#8
NYC
2,616 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
I met the fitness center staff too, Alen (sic -- that means he actually spells is name this way) and Tom. When I asked if they offered any multi-class discounts (e.g., I’ve seen classes regularly priced at $12, if you buy three they’re only $10) – and they said they could offer four classes for the price of three (an even better deal: $36 for four classes = $9 per class)… and you could even mix and match yoga, pilates and cycling!!

As it turned out, I never took advantage of this offer – a first for me not to do paid classes while onboard. I did, however, make the free classes every morning except for when we had 7am passport control. I picked up a fitness center schedule and was surprised to see that this cruise offered no afternoon fitness offerings at all, paid or free… just the product promotion sessions, er, health seminars.

Fitness Center Schedule


Back to the stateroom for more unpacking until muster drill (my bag is here but Ariel's is still missing). Ariel and Tom come to get me for Muster Drill at 3:15, and I’m afraid I dawdled a bit, used the, um, facility, until suddenly it’s 3:30 and we're "those people" at muster, running the length of the deck to get to our station (with everyone making snide comments as we flew by, asking why we couldn’t get there on time). Sorry, folks! (Yeah, I was embarrassed, and I felt bad for exposing Ariel and Tom to that kind of criticism, especially on his first cruise.)

Teardrop Monument... given to the US by the Russian Government in 2006 "To the Struggle Against World Terrorism" as a memorial for the lives lost in the 1993 and 2001 World Trade Center Attacks. One of my favorite things about sailing out of Bayonne; otherwise I'd never know about this.


4:15 - back to cabin. Plug in my phone to charge before we pull out of port, and contact friend merionmom (Carol) who is also on this sailing (in fact, she booked it for us on her last cruise – under the old NextCruise booking rules, so we each got $100 OBC per cabin for this cruise).

Heading into New York Harbor


Carol comes to my cabin -- we don't realize we're so far into sailaway... she heads up to see us pass under the Verrazano Narrows bridge from top deck, while I change into workout gear first.... suddenly cabin is in shadow and I realize I'm missing the bridge!! I run out onto balcony to take a picture as we're pulling past it. Sigh.

Missed the cool picture when you're right underneath and it feels like you can reach up from the top deck and touch the bottom of the bridge... oh well, I'll catch it in November!



Now sitting here to write these notes before going up to fitness center to try out complimentary boot camp class! (That's a first. I paid for the boot camp a couple cruises ago, it was fun but HARD).

Okay, my notes have now caught up to the present moment! Going to head up to gym for spa raffle and class... then I don't know, relax a little, shower, sailway show at 7:45 followed by late seating dinner at 8:30... then I may turn in! We'll see, this is going to be the "relaxing" cruise. I'll catch up on my notes again after the next burst of onboard activity!
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-Denise

Past Cruises:1990s: 3 Big Red Boat (1 Atlantic, 2 Oceanic); 3 Carnival (Ecstasy, Destiny, Fantasy); Premier NYC cruise to nowhere; Disney Wonder 1/06; Mariner of the Seas 8/06; Sun Princess 1/07; Caribbean Princess 3/07; Crown Princess 10/07; Brilliance of the Seas 1/08; Monarch 4/08; Majesty B2B 9/08; Mariner 4/09; Radiance 11/09; Majesty 1/10; Monarch 9/10; Majesty 12/10; Monarch 12/11; Explorer 1/12; Monarch 3/12; Oasis 12/13; Explorer 3/14; Explorer Repo11/14; Majesty Solo1/15; Liberty 10/15;Coral Princess & Radiance - Alaska5/16; Rhapsody11/16; Ruby Princess 1/17. Planned Cruises: Windstar 4/17; Crown Princess 9/17; Ovation 11/17; Disney Dream 1/18; Grandeur 2/18; Cunard Queen Mary 10-11/18
(Not) Live from the Explorer, March 2014
Oasis of the Seas, December 2013, Blog & Review
Daily Log, Explorer of the Seas, January 2012
(Not) Live from the Mariner (West Coast), April 2009
(Not) Live from the Monarch (West Coast), April 2008
Live from the Brilliance, January 2008
Not Live from the Crown Princess, October 2007
#9
NYC
2,616 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
The Day 1 Compass advertised the spa tour, sailaway party and parade on the Promenade (which most people miss because they’re up on deck watching sailaway from the pool deck)… Today’s screening room movie is “Grownups 2” and the evening’s activities included the Welcome Aboard Show (with comedian Dennis Blair), March Madness live in the Weekend Warrior sports par on the Promenade, Karaoke in Maharajas, and of crouse various casino events. (There was also a Music Challenge Classic TV themes trivia in Schooner bar, but that was at 8:45, so with late seating dinner I would have to miss that).

Day 1 Compass - page 1


page 2


page 3


page 4


Inserted in the Compass there’s a “daily offers” vertical half page promoting a liquor tasting event, shore excursions, spa upgrades, beverage packages, photo gallery offers, a 10% coupon at Ben 7 Jerry’s (just noticed that now while writing this up a month after the cruise!!) – and Next Cruise Sales (more on that later).

Insert front


and back


(Don't ask me why some of these images are loading tiny and some huge!!)
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-Denise

Past Cruises:1990s: 3 Big Red Boat (1 Atlantic, 2 Oceanic); 3 Carnival (Ecstasy, Destiny, Fantasy); Premier NYC cruise to nowhere; Disney Wonder 1/06; Mariner of the Seas 8/06; Sun Princess 1/07; Caribbean Princess 3/07; Crown Princess 10/07; Brilliance of the Seas 1/08; Monarch 4/08; Majesty B2B 9/08; Mariner 4/09; Radiance 11/09; Majesty 1/10; Monarch 9/10; Majesty 12/10; Monarch 12/11; Explorer 1/12; Monarch 3/12; Oasis 12/13; Explorer 3/14; Explorer Repo11/14; Majesty Solo1/15; Liberty 10/15;Coral Princess & Radiance - Alaska5/16; Rhapsody11/16; Ruby Princess 1/17. Planned Cruises: Windstar 4/17; Crown Princess 9/17; Ovation 11/17; Disney Dream 1/18; Grandeur 2/18; Cunard Queen Mary 10-11/18
(Not) Live from the Explorer, March 2014
Oasis of the Seas, December 2013, Blog & Review
Daily Log, Explorer of the Seas, January 2012
(Not) Live from the Mariner (West Coast), April 2009
(Not) Live from the Monarch (West Coast), April 2008
Live from the Brilliance, January 2008
Not Live from the Crown Princess, October 2007
#10
Shoreline, CT
2,572 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
Great review!! Can't wait for more



Liz
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oceanic~~1976 1st cruise @21 & solo &dec 82'
Atlantic ~ Aug 1984
Homeric ~ June 1986&87'
Song of Norway ~ June 1988
Horizon ~ June 1992
Song of America ~ Aug 1994
Meridian ~ July 1997
Sovereign of the Seas ~ Mar 2002,08'
Disney Wonder ~ Feb 2004
Voyager of the Seas ~ May 2005
Explorer ~ June 2006,07,09,10,May14(D+),Nov 14'
Freedom ~ Jan 2010
Monarch ~ May 2010
Oasis ~ May 2011
Jewel ~January 2012
Allure ~May 2013
Quantum~~April 12,2015
Freedom & Disney October 11,2015
Anthem~~June 30,2016
Harmony~April 22 2017~jump ship over to NCL
NCL Breakaway August 13, 2017
+ 218 nights










#11
Israel
1,747 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Originally posted by EmpressofPurple
Hi Ruth, nice to see you!

Can't wait till we're on the 2-week repo in November, the ship looks BEAUTIFUL. Enjoy the review.
Your review is going to make our looooong wait easier! Loving it already
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#12
NYC
2,616 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
There’s also an insert introducing the officers and staff onboard, including the captain, hotel director, cruise director, food & beverage director, chief engineer and loyalty ambassador… and a note assigning Ice Show admissions based on your muster station (ours is Day 2/Saturday at 4pm).





There was also a welcome letter for me as a Diamond member, with a list of the coupons on the back that are presumably automatically applied on our seapass card (these are what used to be in the printed coupon books, now gone). Be forewarned: on my Oasis cruise in December, these were NOT automatically applied – you had to KNOW what your offer was and ASK for it. Example: As a Diamond I’m supposed to receive one free photo. When I went to the photo desk with a single photo on the Oasis, they gave me a receipt showing the full price. I had to request the free Diamond photo, they had to void the receipt and ring up one showing the discount. I don’t know whether that would have happened on this cruise, too, since I always asked for the discount up front.

Diamond Welcome Letter


And "automatic" coupons


This letter notes that the old “ultimate value booklets” will no longer be accepted… that “internet, telephone, arcade and movies” are not automatically applied but must be activated by guest services… and that all offers are for one-time use only and valid only for this cruise. Gone are the days when you could stack up booklets and use them from cruise to cruise or share them with friends!! (In fact, that had stopped by the late days of the booklets, too, when they became very strict about checking that they were from that cruise, had you write your name and stateroom on each coupon, etc.)

I always found that level of control odd – after all, they’re issuing these coupons, presumably whoever receives them could use them all… what does it matter if they’re used by them or another cruiser, on that cruise or a later one? Are they planning that many people will not use some of them and they’ll simply go to waste? Well, no worries about that any more, there’s no way to save them up or share them in electronic form, so they will definitely go to waste if unused by the original offerree.

Another letter from the Crown & Anchor Society talked about the “experimental” 3 drink coupons during happy hour (5pm-8:30pm) good at any bar onboard (except the dining room, specialty restaurants or Windjammer).



One thing this letter does NOT state is that tips are not included with these drinks!!! I learned this the hard way, as you will hear later on (or as you may have read already, in other threads on this subject where I posted my experience). I STRONGLY recommend that RCI/C&A add another asterisk at the bottom of this letter stating "gratuities not included with this offer."

On the back of the letter was a list of the types of beverages available on this program. (It doesn’t list soda, but I understand that fountain soda is included, although canned soda is not… nor does canned soda qualify for the buy one-get one or 20% off Diamond discounts outside of happy hour. Sigh.)

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-Denise

Past Cruises:1990s: 3 Big Red Boat (1 Atlantic, 2 Oceanic); 3 Carnival (Ecstasy, Destiny, Fantasy); Premier NYC cruise to nowhere; Disney Wonder 1/06; Mariner of the Seas 8/06; Sun Princess 1/07; Caribbean Princess 3/07; Crown Princess 10/07; Brilliance of the Seas 1/08; Monarch 4/08; Majesty B2B 9/08; Mariner 4/09; Radiance 11/09; Majesty 1/10; Monarch 9/10; Majesty 12/10; Monarch 12/11; Explorer 1/12; Monarch 3/12; Oasis 12/13; Explorer 3/14; Explorer Repo11/14; Majesty Solo1/15; Liberty 10/15;Coral Princess & Radiance - Alaska5/16; Rhapsody11/16; Ruby Princess 1/17. Planned Cruises: Windstar 4/17; Crown Princess 9/17; Ovation 11/17; Disney Dream 1/18; Grandeur 2/18; Cunard Queen Mary 10-11/18
(Not) Live from the Explorer, March 2014
Oasis of the Seas, December 2013, Blog & Review
Daily Log, Explorer of the Seas, January 2012
(Not) Live from the Mariner (West Coast), April 2009
(Not) Live from the Monarch (West Coast), April 2008
Live from the Brilliance, January 2008
Not Live from the Crown Princess, October 2007
#13
NYC
2,616 Posts
Joined Jul 2006










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-Denise

Past Cruises:1990s: 3 Big Red Boat (1 Atlantic, 2 Oceanic); 3 Carnival (Ecstasy, Destiny, Fantasy); Premier NYC cruise to nowhere; Disney Wonder 1/06; Mariner of the Seas 8/06; Sun Princess 1/07; Caribbean Princess 3/07; Crown Princess 10/07; Brilliance of the Seas 1/08; Monarch 4/08; Majesty B2B 9/08; Mariner 4/09; Radiance 11/09; Majesty 1/10; Monarch 9/10; Majesty 12/10; Monarch 12/11; Explorer 1/12; Monarch 3/12; Oasis 12/13; Explorer 3/14; Explorer Repo11/14; Majesty Solo1/15; Liberty 10/15;Coral Princess & Radiance - Alaska5/16; Rhapsody11/16; Ruby Princess 1/17. Planned Cruises: Windstar 4/17; Crown Princess 9/17; Ovation 11/17; Disney Dream 1/18; Grandeur 2/18; Cunard Queen Mary 10-11/18
(Not) Live from the Explorer, March 2014
Oasis of the Seas, December 2013, Blog & Review
Daily Log, Explorer of the Seas, January 2012
(Not) Live from the Mariner (West Coast), April 2009
(Not) Live from the Monarch (West Coast), April 2008
Live from the Brilliance, January 2008
Not Live from the Crown Princess, October 2007
#14
NYC
2,616 Posts
Joined Jul 2006








I wonder how much longer they will be printing all this stuff up... I know most of us pre-book our excursions, whether through the ship or privately, and print out our own info... but I do love looking through these booklets to see if there's anything I missed, or even just reading about excursions I'm not taking but might want to try in the future.

I wonder if the day will come in the not-too-far future when we are each issued a tablet when we check in (or connection info for our own tablets or smartphones) and get sent all of this information electronically!

Also, although I didn't attend the "Save the Waves environmental lecture" which was offered on a later date in this cruise, I no longer ask for multiple copies of the Compass, so you will see my own highlighting, notes, etc. on these wrinkled and well-used papers (especially the Daily Compasses).
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-Denise

Past Cruises:1990s: 3 Big Red Boat (1 Atlantic, 2 Oceanic); 3 Carnival (Ecstasy, Destiny, Fantasy); Premier NYC cruise to nowhere; Disney Wonder 1/06; Mariner of the Seas 8/06; Sun Princess 1/07; Caribbean Princess 3/07; Crown Princess 10/07; Brilliance of the Seas 1/08; Monarch 4/08; Majesty B2B 9/08; Mariner 4/09; Radiance 11/09; Majesty 1/10; Monarch 9/10; Majesty 12/10; Monarch 12/11; Explorer 1/12; Monarch 3/12; Oasis 12/13; Explorer 3/14; Explorer Repo11/14; Majesty Solo1/15; Liberty 10/15;Coral Princess & Radiance - Alaska5/16; Rhapsody11/16; Ruby Princess 1/17. Planned Cruises: Windstar 4/17; Crown Princess 9/17; Ovation 11/17; Disney Dream 1/18; Grandeur 2/18; Cunard Queen Mary 10-11/18
(Not) Live from the Explorer, March 2014
Oasis of the Seas, December 2013, Blog & Review
Daily Log, Explorer of the Seas, January 2012
(Not) Live from the Mariner (West Coast), April 2009
(Not) Live from the Monarch (West Coast), April 2008
Live from the Brilliance, January 2008
Not Live from the Crown Princess, October 2007
#15
NYC
2,616 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
(Written at 10:45pm - catching up on my notes again)

So, went up to the fitness center at 5pm for the spa raffle. Alas, we did not win (although they did give out $30-off coupons to everybody, good for the first two days… a nice deal, but none of us took advantage of this offer).

Setting up for the Spa Raffle


They do create much more energy and excitement than shown in this photo, taken before the crowd arrives... as they raffle off the prizes, people cheer, applaud -- and if they win, dance! Alas, no photos...

$30 Spa Coupon given to everyone who attended raffle


I stayed on after the raffle (along with 3 other hearty -- and much younger and thinner! -- women for the free "boot camp sampler". Yep, hundreds there for the free spa raffle, 4 for the free boot camp class.

Four mats laid out for the boot camp taster


It was HARD; burpees, mountain climbers, squats, planks, and more challenging moves (lunges, pushups, stretches, etc.) I've taken the full boot camp program before (last time I was on Explorer, in fact, nearly two years earlier) -- I was expecting a 10-minute taster class, we were there for 20 minutes of a very challenging workout! How nice to have that as a free “sampler.” (One of the women was dressed in jeans, boots, a sweater and a bib necklace, which she wore during the workout! We actually became friendly and ran into each other several times throughout the cruise.)

Afterwards I did 10 mins. on the treadmill, enjoying the beautiful sea and sky views (there's nothing else like working out at sea). Interestingly, I was the ONLY ONE on the machines at this time; I guess everyone else was unpacking, enjoying sailaway, the drink of the day, early seating dinner, etc. (I’m actually sorry to have missed the parade on the Promenade at 5:45… oh well…)

Empty fitness center at sailaway (well, except for me)


About 6:15 I went back to the cabin, stopping by Ariel and Tom's on the way. Tom was napping! I showered and dressed for dinner (purple pants and top, short black jacket, purple multicolored scarf I had bought at a promenade sale on Oasis in December, purple sparkly fake Toms-type shoes, plus my silver "cruise jewelry” with a ship charm from my first-ever cruise, the big red boat Oceanic, plus sparkly earrings.

Sunset from my balcony


I picked up Ariel and Tom and we headed down around 7pm. Drawn to the Promenade by the rockin live jazz music, we stopped at the prom cafe and got pastries and mini sandwiches (ham and swiss on mini-croissant, salami on a poppyseed roll, mozzarella and tomato on olive foccacia… these were on offer nearly every day on this cruise, there seemed to be much less variety in the Prom café offerings than on other sailings). I also had half of a COCONUT RANGER COOKIE (my favorite, in case you couldn't tell). Ariel and Tom had some other pastries as well. I made us a fruit salad of banana and kiwi to share, and made myself an iced coffee (I asked for a cup of ice at the counter, then went over to the coffee machines where I filled the cup with coffee, milk and sweetener. Yum!)

We took our plates over to the Pub, where I ordered a jack and ginger for Ariel and Tom to share, using my Diamond drink coupon (3 coupons per day loaded on our seapass cards, available from 5-8:30pm at any bar).* I don't drink alcohol, so this perk is wasted on me; I'm so glad I'm traveling with someone who can use it. I don’t view this as “cheating” or “stealing” – this is a legitimate Diamond level perk, and I’m not using it for myself… I don’t ever drink in the Diamond Lounge or Diamond event (or other C&A events), either, so my drinks there just go unused. We then we walked down to the Aquarium bar, where I got them another drink to take into the welcome aboard show (I don’t think I ever used the 3 coupons on any single day onboard, and I never went to the Diamond Event on this cruise). I got an iced water in the Casino for myself.

At the Pub on the Promenade


*(I later learned that the receipt which stated “15% gratuity is included in the drink” is not true for these free drinks! I felt really bad that for the first three days I took advantage of this perk and never tipped my bar servers. Once I learned about this, of course, I always wrote in at least a 20% tip on the “additional tip” line – although in this case, it was the only tip. I never carry cash onboard unless I’m heading to the casino; this may change now that I’m entitled to free drink service at various bars as well as in the Diamond Club/Event; I’ll probably carry at least three singles, so that I can easily tip the servers in the various locales for the three free drinks, whether I get a soda for myself or an alcoholic beverage for someone else.)

(FYI, these Diamond Drink coupons are only being rolled out on a “trial” basis right now for very limited dates. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I actually much prefer having a Lounge or Club where I can meet other highly traveled individuals who love cruising – I have made many friends this way over the years, and it’s one of the reasons I love the Diamond breakfast, too. This is different from a “suite” perk (although Concierge lounge access is provided for suite guests) – that’s for people who are dropping big bucks on a particular cruise, not necessarily people who have vast cruise experience. While I’m sure suite folk are happy to hobnob with their own kind – and indeed, there is often a lot of overlap between suite guests and D/D+/P guests – my shared interests are more with those who cruise often than those who cruise at the highest $$$ levels.)
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-Denise

Past Cruises:1990s: 3 Big Red Boat (1 Atlantic, 2 Oceanic); 3 Carnival (Ecstasy, Destiny, Fantasy); Premier NYC cruise to nowhere; Disney Wonder 1/06; Mariner of the Seas 8/06; Sun Princess 1/07; Caribbean Princess 3/07; Crown Princess 10/07; Brilliance of the Seas 1/08; Monarch 4/08; Majesty B2B 9/08; Mariner 4/09; Radiance 11/09; Majesty 1/10; Monarch 9/10; Majesty 12/10; Monarch 12/11; Explorer 1/12; Monarch 3/12; Oasis 12/13; Explorer 3/14; Explorer Repo11/14; Majesty Solo1/15; Liberty 10/15;Coral Princess & Radiance - Alaska5/16; Rhapsody11/16; Ruby Princess 1/17. Planned Cruises: Windstar 4/17; Crown Princess 9/17; Ovation 11/17; Disney Dream 1/18; Grandeur 2/18; Cunard Queen Mary 10-11/18
(Not) Live from the Explorer, March 2014
Oasis of the Seas, December 2013, Blog & Review
Daily Log, Explorer of the Seas, January 2012
(Not) Live from the Mariner (West Coast), April 2009
(Not) Live from the Monarch (West Coast), April 2008
Live from the Brilliance, January 2008
Not Live from the Crown Princess, October 2007
#16
Harrisburg, PA
930 Posts
Joined Sep 2013
Originally posted by EmpressofPurple
Greetings Cruise Critic Friends!! Welcome to my (NOT) live posting from the beautiful Explorer of the Seas 8 day cruise to Nassau, Bahamas and exotic Port Canaveral, Florida!!

Those of you who are familiar with my style of cruise review know that it will be a blog-diary covering the minutiae of my cruising day, activities, food, exercise, excursions, entertainment – and often those of my traveling companions as well. I describe the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful in close detail… often offering some opinions along the way, but hopefully providing an accurate enough description that you can decide for yourself whether you would enjoy (or hate!) something that I dislike (or love!)

I started this journal by writing a daily email to myself on my tablet, since I didn’t lug along my (outdated, heavy and slow) laptop… however, typing on the tiny travel keyboard was definitely a challenge, especially since the spacebar is recalcitrant, so by day 2 I started making notes by hand (which of course slowed down the posting of this review, since I had to actually type everything up when I returned).

Also slowing down the preparation of this review was a BUSY month upon my return: catching up on work, buying a new (er, 2001 with 118k miles) car, running the Cherry Tree 5K in DC with my family… and doing all the laundry from that 8-day cruise!!

"New" car:


Cherry Tree 5K w/DD Ariel (she was on the cruise with me) and DS Jason


Anyway, enough introduction – on with the cruise. Welcome aboard


DAY 1 - Friday, March 21 - 4:25pm

Sitting in the cabin for a few minutes... let's recap the day so far:

8:35, check in with friend from NJ who is coming in to pick us up and drop us at the port (we will pay gas and tolls).

9:00 drive down in our car to pickup DD's boyfriend Tom and his bags, so we can leave straight from our house when our friend from NJ arrives.

10:00, having breakfast shake and coffee... when I get a call from our friend from NJ: he has broken down on the NJ Turnpike, no idea what happened! Worried about him, but no time to waste, we start calling other friends to see if anyone else can take us to the port… but in NYC, not many people have a car, or are free on a Friday morning to drive us even in our own car! Fortunately, it turns out Tom has a friend with a cab, who gives us a discount on the trip. Nice!

10:45, on the way to the port we encounter serious traffic... we see emergency vehicles, smoke... by great good fortune (to us!) the issue is on the opposite side of the highway -- a truck engine caught fire. Entire road is shut down on the other side! Miles of traffic piled up behind. We thank our lucky stars and keep heading to the port.

11:30 - arrive at port, hand off big bags to porter, use bathroom (!) and head in to checkin. Tom's corkscrew is confiscated! : ( Ariel and I go through together, and the security guard looks at our SetSail passes to confirm that we are indeed in separate cabins, since we are each carrying on two bottles of wine. (I don’t drink, so my allotment will be for Ariel and Tom to enjoy.)

Arriving at the tent, er, port with DD Ariel and her BF Tom


We check in thru priority boarding while Tom goes thru regular checkin (it's his first cruise!) – and he also carries on two bottles of wine, which are not questioned since he and Ariel are checking in separately. We meet up in the waiting area, where they take a boarding photo (and I take some of them too while they’re posing for the photographer), and we head out to the jitney to the cruise ship.

"Sneaking" some boarding photos


Port Canaveral is exotic?

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 using forums app
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Past Sailings:

Carnival Destiny Feb. 2008
Norwegian Breakaway 2-Nt. CTN 1/31/14
Quantum of the Seas 7-Nt. Holidays in the Bahamas 12/27/14
Norwegian Breakaway 2-Nt. CTN 1/30/15

Oasis of the Seas 7-Nt. Western Caribbean 10/24/15
Anthem of the Seas 3-Nt. Cruise to Halifax 3/4/16






#17
Pennsylvania
1,159 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
Thanks for taking us along on another cruise! I'm really enjoying it!

The "Teardrop Monument" is a hidden gem that so few people know about. Thanks for including it in your review.
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Sailing Away on... Grandeur of the Seas 2017!
#18
NYC
2,616 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Originally posted by Babyrocko1908
Port Canaveral is exotic?

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 using forums app
LOL glad you caught that, Babyrock! Nice to see you again
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-Denise

Past Cruises:1990s: 3 Big Red Boat (1 Atlantic, 2 Oceanic); 3 Carnival (Ecstasy, Destiny, Fantasy); Premier NYC cruise to nowhere; Disney Wonder 1/06; Mariner of the Seas 8/06; Sun Princess 1/07; Caribbean Princess 3/07; Crown Princess 10/07; Brilliance of the Seas 1/08; Monarch 4/08; Majesty B2B 9/08; Mariner 4/09; Radiance 11/09; Majesty 1/10; Monarch 9/10; Majesty 12/10; Monarch 12/11; Explorer 1/12; Monarch 3/12; Oasis 12/13; Explorer 3/14; Explorer Repo11/14; Majesty Solo1/15; Liberty 10/15;Coral Princess & Radiance - Alaska5/16; Rhapsody11/16; Ruby Princess 1/17. Planned Cruises: Windstar 4/17; Crown Princess 9/17; Ovation 11/17; Disney Dream 1/18; Grandeur 2/18; Cunard Queen Mary 10-11/18
(Not) Live from the Explorer, March 2014
Oasis of the Seas, December 2013, Blog & Review
Daily Log, Explorer of the Seas, January 2012
(Not) Live from the Mariner (West Coast), April 2009
(Not) Live from the Monarch (West Coast), April 2008
Live from the Brilliance, January 2008
Not Live from the Crown Princess, October 2007
#19
NYC
2,616 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Originally posted by Wildcatfish
Thanks for taking us along on another cruise! I'm really enjoying it!

The "Teardrop Monument" is a hidden gem that so few people know about. Thanks for including it in your review.
Thanks Wildcatfish, for having fairly pedestrian ports it actually was a wonderful cruise... always fun to re-experience the delight of a first-time cruiser who's having a great time.
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-Denise

Past Cruises:1990s: 3 Big Red Boat (1 Atlantic, 2 Oceanic); 3 Carnival (Ecstasy, Destiny, Fantasy); Premier NYC cruise to nowhere; Disney Wonder 1/06; Mariner of the Seas 8/06; Sun Princess 1/07; Caribbean Princess 3/07; Crown Princess 10/07; Brilliance of the Seas 1/08; Monarch 4/08; Majesty B2B 9/08; Mariner 4/09; Radiance 11/09; Majesty 1/10; Monarch 9/10; Majesty 12/10; Monarch 12/11; Explorer 1/12; Monarch 3/12; Oasis 12/13; Explorer 3/14; Explorer Repo11/14; Majesty Solo1/15; Liberty 10/15;Coral Princess & Radiance - Alaska5/16; Rhapsody11/16; Ruby Princess 1/17. Planned Cruises: Windstar 4/17; Crown Princess 9/17; Ovation 11/17; Disney Dream 1/18; Grandeur 2/18; Cunard Queen Mary 10-11/18
(Not) Live from the Explorer, March 2014
Oasis of the Seas, December 2013, Blog & Review
Daily Log, Explorer of the Seas, January 2012
(Not) Live from the Mariner (West Coast), April 2009
(Not) Live from the Monarch (West Coast), April 2008
Live from the Brilliance, January 2008
Not Live from the Crown Princess, October 2007
#20
NYC
2,616 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
I actually just added links in my sig to my earlier reviews... except for the Oasis ones, they have no pictures... though I guess I could add an addendum to them at this point!

At any rate, on with the review! I've gotta at least get day 1 posted before I take a break for the night.
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-Denise

Past Cruises:1990s: 3 Big Red Boat (1 Atlantic, 2 Oceanic); 3 Carnival (Ecstasy, Destiny, Fantasy); Premier NYC cruise to nowhere; Disney Wonder 1/06; Mariner of the Seas 8/06; Sun Princess 1/07; Caribbean Princess 3/07; Crown Princess 10/07; Brilliance of the Seas 1/08; Monarch 4/08; Majesty B2B 9/08; Mariner 4/09; Radiance 11/09; Majesty 1/10; Monarch 9/10; Majesty 12/10; Monarch 12/11; Explorer 1/12; Monarch 3/12; Oasis 12/13; Explorer 3/14; Explorer Repo11/14; Majesty Solo1/15; Liberty 10/15;Coral Princess & Radiance - Alaska5/16; Rhapsody11/16; Ruby Princess 1/17. Planned Cruises: Windstar 4/17; Crown Princess 9/17; Ovation 11/17; Disney Dream 1/18; Grandeur 2/18; Cunard Queen Mary 10-11/18
(Not) Live from the Explorer, March 2014
Oasis of the Seas, December 2013, Blog & Review
Daily Log, Explorer of the Seas, January 2012
(Not) Live from the Mariner (West Coast), April 2009
(Not) Live from the Monarch (West Coast), April 2008
Live from the Brilliance, January 2008
Not Live from the Crown Princess, October 2007