REVIEW Explorer of the Seas 11/6-13 PART IV (Finale)

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#1
jersey
2,666 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
DAY 4 COSTA MAYA: No Tendering!!!! Yeah!! The Disney Magic and one of the Carnival ships were in port with us.

With my beach bag packed in anticipation of a relaxing day on a beach where the kids could “frolic” in the water I stared at the rocky shoreline of Costa Maya and my HEART SANK! Where was the beach? I put on my happy face and followed chuck and the kids into “Mexican merchant heaven” If you could buy it anywhere in mexico you could buy it here!!! Wow it was hot! Africa Hot! Mexico hot, I guess. Chuck decided right there and then that HE would be returning to the ship….the pool……the bar! There goes my happy face. What the heck am I gonna do here with 3 whining hot kids. Well first I send them over to the pool in the center of “town” to cool off! Then I flag down my SIL, Donna and her family and my friend Jodi and her family. Then I rack my brain thinking about cruisecritic and what the heck I read about costa maya. And then it hits me!!! Majahual!!!!! That’s where we have to go! They all look at me like I’m crazy and turn to go back to the ship. I am not defeated. NO! I say. We have to go to Majahual! Great beach! Plenty of Beer…..(inside I’m hoping I’m remembering right because Chuck cant’ take the heat….well he can if he’s on a golf course, then it’s ok LOL) He’s already told me how miserable he’ll make me if Majahual “sucks”. I reassure everyone and we go get tix for the taxi. $3/pp . Well we get dropped off, walk about 50 yards and smiling from ear to ear I drop into a cushioned lounge chair on a gorgeous section of beach while Chuck is assaulted by the bartender who has to twist his arm to get him to buy a bucket of beer. This is no joke. He really had to twist. Chuck only brought $20 (Doh!) so subtract our $15 cab fare and you guessed it. We were poorer than the locals. Thank god Tom had the good sense to bring his wallet! We enjoyed buckets of corona and some of the best homemade salsa & chips I’ve ever had. ( Tom is the man!!) The sand was like silk, the water was wonderful! What a great day! Paradise, as Chuck called it from his lounge chair in the shade of a palm tree. I’m not sure exactly where we were in Majahual. The beach was broken into 50-foot sections; Each with its own bar, tables and chairs. There was a massage table, and a strolling guitar player. Our bar had swings instead of stools – very neat! Stayed there till 4pm took a $2 cab ride back, got on the ship and laughed on our balcony as everyone booed all the latecomers!! How embarrassing for them! Some of the other families in our group took a 30 minute cab ride to some “all inclusive beach thing” . Paid approx. $50/pp had open bar BUT the beach sucked and the water was murky. They hated it and they hated us when we told them about our day!!! LOL

Dinner, Name that tune (I think), show, Casino, Pool Buffet ( I think) Bonine, Coma


DAY 4 COZUMEL…..NO…..WAIT…..A SEA DAY: Honestly we were not really disappointed with the extra sea day. Would have liked to do Cozumel – had the Royal Dolphin Swim booked – obviously had to cancel. We decided to make the most of it and enjoy what the ship offered. Chuck enjoyed mini golf, (oh, btw he was the guy who won the “Tiger Woods” thing. Prize: 1 hour in the golf simulator!!!!) the bar, the rock wall, the bar, the shade and his “soduko” puzzles. I enjoyed many Mango Tangos, the pool, about 5 minutes of rollerblading (it was too windy…..that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!) and about 10.5 seconds on the rock wall (it was too windy?) . I am not a climber. LOL but at least I tried it, right?

Once again the pool was packed. Chair hogging was out of control! Today may have been the “sexy leg contest” It’s so funny how everything is a blur – all jumbled in my head. Chuck did a wine tasting one day. We also watched the Belly Flop contest earlier in the week. Did I mention we wasted $20……..I mean spent $20 over and over on the entertaining game of BINGO? Boy they get ya there. I know. I know. You gotta be in it to win it. – Well we sure were “in it” But we DIDN”T win it. Oh well. Now we know better for next time.

Wow, it is a blur. So much I’m forgetting. I’ll just add little tidbits here and there just to confuse you.

Dinner, show (which one? Cant remember but it was good) casino, Bonine (yep, I was still taking it – better safe than sorry) Coma
Day 5 Grand Cayman Rays Reef & Rum Tour with Nativeway, Formal Night: Tender day but not bad at all. Basically walked off the ship onto the tender and were on GC in a matter of minutes. Saw a guy holding a Nativeway sign right away. He told us we had about an hour before we started so we walked around, took some pictures, bought a Tshirt etc. When we got back to our designated meeting place we met LINDA8188, her husband Phil and their boys. They were on the tour with us! Jodi and Tom and their family, and Donna Mickey and Heather were there too. Another family from our group signed up with nativeway at the pier and they were also with us. Our whole group totaled 16. We were led to a van, dropped off at the dock and into a 39-foot boat (The “My Way”) we went. Plenty of room! Snorkel equipment, punch and water provided. Sheldon was our guide? Captain? And I wish I could remember the other guys name? Both were Excellent! We set off for Stingray City (about a 30 min. ride) and on the way Sheldon grabbed some snorkel equipment, jumped off the boat and went searching for Conch shells. We were amazed when he came back with 3 or 4 in a matter of minutes. I’ve spent my whole life walking the beach looking for those dang things and he finds them as easily as I could find a losing bingo card! The water was magnificent! I cant even describe the colors of blue! God I hope my pictures come out! We pull up to the sandbar where the stingrays are. Sheldon gives us instructions – he is great with the kids! I hand my girls their waterproof disposable cameras and into the water we go. I was a little concerned that the kids would be afraid but they weren’t!!! Cool! All I can say is: YOU HAVE TO DO THIS EXCURSION! Don’t book with the ship. We were anchored beside the ships boat. There must have been close to 100 people. There is no way they were able to have any quality time with the rays. Our little group of 16 were holding them, kissing them, I held one for at least 3-4 minutes myself, finally I let go because it was so heavy. We fed them and received back massages and plenty of picture opportunities. We spent about 40 minutes there and reluctantly got back on the boat, which then took us 5 minutes away to the coral reef. Once again Sheldon gave us all instructions. Now I had bought my kids snorkel equipment this past summer so they could practice in the pool. It worked. They had no trouble at all and really had a ball. The colors of the fish are amazing and we saw a moray eel. (eek!) Sheldon tried to coax a nurse shark out but he/she? Stayed beyond the reef. After snorkeling about 30 minutes we returned to the boat, placed our orders for lunch (Menu: Mahi Mahi Sandwich, Conch fritters, Burgers, Chicken Fingers, Fries Ice tea / Lemonade) and headed to Rum Point Island. Very pretty beach, plenty of lounge chairs, picnic tables a few hammocks, decent bathroom and a VERY EXPENSIVE cash bar. I ordered a “mudslide” $10!!!! Pretty steep and the bartender really had a stick up her @$$! Gave us a hard time when Chuck gave her a $100 bill and she tried to give us “Cayman” money for change. Thank god I brought along some smaller bills ( Learned my lesson in Costa Maya) We stayed at Rum Point for about an hour maybe an hour and a half and headed back to the ship. On the way back Sheldon showed us how to remove the conchs from the shell. Ugly little buggers. He cut off all the slimy colorful things and was left with what looked like a bar of soap. He sliced it up and we all got to try a piece. Reminded me of scallops. All in all a great day! DO IT!!!! Nativwaywatersports.com Ya Mon!!!!


Tonight is Lobster Night!!! No big deal for me – I’m not really a seafood kinda gal but some of the guys at our table put away 4-5 tails each. Unbelievable. Hope there was enough for the second seating LOL.

Once again, we hit the casino, a show, the midnight buffet (just to look) Bonine, Coma


Day 7 Sea Day – Our Last Day: Breakfast in the windjammer, caught up with the kids – they were still having a blast! Lay in the sun by the pool till noon. Damn but it was windy. Chairs were actually being blown around and the top of my drinks kept spraying my BIL lying next to me. Since it was the last day we felt pressured (for the first time all week) to do it all. And do it all we tried. I packed us all up, put the bags in the hall and met the gang downstairs by the theater. The Farewell show that evening brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t believe it was over. A year and a half of waiting and tomorrow I’d be walking off the ship. Sniff. Sigh.


Disembarkation: We had green tags and turquoise (?). Our flight was 2pm out of FLL so we were in no hurry. Had a leisurely breakfast in the windjammer. Said goodbye to our new friends, took a few pictures and sadly walked off the ship into the longest line we had to wait in all week. Customs! Actually it wasn’t too bad. Had a hard time finding the luggage! TIP: Your luggage may already be on the ground and not circling on the carousel. We wasted so much time watching luggage go by when our pieces were just sitting behind us waiting to be rolled away. At first I thought the luggage on the ground belonged to someone else. Don’t make the same mistake. Check it all. We shuffled outside, slowly climbed into our excursion (not so exciting on the way home) and headed for FLL.

Good flight. Sad but good. They lost my luggage. Got it by noon Monday morning.

No worries. Ya Mon!


Not so perfect moments:. Mid week the Maitre d’ approached our table with a complaint about unruly kids! Wasn’t my kids or my niece but they were in OUR group. He suggested that maybe they should not come to the dining room anymore! We were mortified! You see, all us adults sat at one table and the kids took up 2 more tables by themselves. My folks and another family made up the 4th table. My in-laws never ate in the Dining Room (I don’t know why?) OK so the kids were unsupervised and their parents should have paid more attention to them – not my problem though, my kids and niece were at a different table and made us very proud as they conducted themselves like ladies every night – what they did when they weren’t with us I cant vouch for but at least THEY were welcome in the DR every night!!! The parents of these “unruly kids” did nothing but complain to us about how bad their kids are and how they always act up and how they get so many complaints about them. Excuses excuses! Ugh! Just bad parenting if you ask me! Anyway Chuck took charge and spoke with the waiter & Maitre d’ offering an apology, which none of the other “parents” did, and an offer to move our group/tables around so the offended folks wouldn’t have to dine near the kids. They said they would pass the apology and offer on to the other table. Nothing ever came of it. We didn’t have to move and the kids behaved (for the most part) the rest of the trip.

The only other not so perfect moment came during the 2nd formal night. We each were given a cute little glass plate of sherbet (to cleanse the pallet, you know) Well, my friend Rich, sitting next to me spit his out into his hand – I look at him in disgust until I realize he’s holding a piece of glass!!!! Chuck thought it was an ice chip but it didn’t melt!!! The maitre d’ came over, apologized over and over again and took the cute little plate of glass away. Now Rich didn’t complain or make a fuss – he didn’t want anything– he just told the maitre d’ not to serve anymore sherbert from that container – He was thinking of the safety of other passengers. I have to commend him for not making a scene and threatening to sue which I am SURE other may have done in the same situation. He received chocolate covered strawberrys that night in his cabin. His wife enjoyed them very much!!!!



SUMMARY: We Had The Trip Of A Lifetime…..And More! Took over 400 pictures!! Already planning our next cruise!!! Thank you cruisecritic for all the valuable information that helped make our trip so memorable!

The end…..



For the record and for those of you who are interested: Our family of 5's seapass bill was around $900 and included tips ($342.50), Adventure ocean ($130), the soda package $204, Alcohol ($215) and 1 $9 christmas tree ornament. That's it. Everything else we paid cash for.
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1 tequila, 2 tequila, 3 tequila, FLOOR!



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#2
North Port, FL
357 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
Has to be the best review I've ever read. Kept me intrigued the entire read..and made me relive my cruises all over again in my head.

Ever consider writing for a living? ;o)

Thanks again!!
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#3
Lincoln, NE
3,001 Posts
Joined Oct 2002
Connie- thanks for taking the time to post a wonderful review. Sounds like your family had a blast. Now get out there and start planning the next one!

Funcruiser
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#4
Lincoln, NE
3,001 Posts
Joined Oct 2002
Connie- thanks for taking the time to post a wonderful review. Sounds like your family had a blast. Now get out there and start planning the next one!

Funcruiser
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#5
Lincoln, NE
3,001 Posts
Joined Oct 2002
Connie- thanks for taking the time to post a wonderful review. Sounds like your family had a blast. Now get out there and start planning the next one!

Funcruiser
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#6
Massachusetts
1,338 Posts
Joined Mar 2001
Excellent review, you have a flare for writing to keep the reader interested......possibly a new career???

I have to pass this along to my daughter who will be on this cruise for her honeymoon.

It sounds like you had so much fun, I hope you have another cruise planned.
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#7
jersey
2,666 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Thanks everyone for the kind words!

Glad you enjoyed sharing our trip with us. I was afraid I'd bore everyone but I know as a "former" newbie that while I was planning this cruise, I wanted to know it all and loved reading reviews with tons of information - so I tried being as informative as I could LOL!!!

It was a magnificent 1st cruise and we are already planning another one for 2007 - (Wish I could go every year!)

Happy cruising to you all!!!
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1 tequila, 2 tequila, 3 tequila, FLOOR!



RCCL Enchantment 9/26/16 "Birthday Cruise"

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#9
US
109 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
Connie- fun to read your review. Where do you think you will go in 2007?

Oh btw the Captain was Sheldon, he was really good, and the other guy he called 'Blenda' cause he likes to make mixed drinks.
#10
jersey
2,666 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by Linda8818
Connie- fun to read your review. Where do you think you will go in 2007?

Oh btw the Captain was Sheldon, he was really good, and the other guy he called 'Blenda' cause he likes to make mixed drinks.
Ahhhhh! Blenda! how could I forget!!

2007? I think we are gonna try going out of Bayonne - Eastern Carib. You guys are welcome to joiin us. I'm gonna get another group together! We got a great price this last cruise!!! Much better than what we could do with individual bookings!
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RCCL Enchantment 9/26/16 "Birthday Cruise"

The Atlantis 10/2/14
Carnival Splendor 1/4/2014 "the Cold & Gray Cruise"

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RCCL Explorer...AGAIN! 10/29/2009
RCCL Explorer 11/1/08
Norwegian DAWN 11/05/2006
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#11
Kansas City, Missouri
65 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Can you give more detail on the Adventure Ocean costs? Do you tip the Adventure Ocean staff? If so, and they rotate, how do you know what to tip each one and when? BTW - Loved the review and loved your postive attitude - VERY REFRESHING!
#12
Soledad, CA
1,923 Posts
Joined Dec 2003
I don't have any immediate plans to sail on the Explorer, but if I did, I'd feel very confident that I made a fine choice! Great review!! Big thumbs up.
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#13
jersey
2,666 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by Pierre2
Can you give more detail on the Adventure Ocean costs? Do you tip the Adventure Ocean staff? If so, and they rotate, how do you know what to tip each one and when? BTW - Loved the review and loved your postive attitude - VERY REFRESHING!
Thanks for the kind words!

There was no charge for AO until 10pm. After that it was $5/hr. to stay until 1pm. As far as tipping: I asked my kids who their favorite councelor was and gave them an envelope with $20 in it at the end of the cruise.
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RCCL Enchantment 9/26/16 "Birthday Cruise"

The Atlantis 10/2/14
Carnival Splendor 1/4/2014 "the Cold & Gray Cruise"

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#14
columbus ohio
477 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
GREAT review!!! I'm on AOS in October 2006 and I learned alot from your experiences. We are traveling w/o kids, so no Adventure Ocean (will check out for future). I'm going to try a mango tango (love froo-froo drinks). I have an AFT cabin so IF all the chair hoggers are out in full force I'll have somewhere to go. What was you favorite meal? I don't recall if you went to any of the specialty restaurants, if so let me know.

OCTOBER COME SOONER!!!
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#15
jersey
2,666 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by momofslg
GREAT review!!! I'm on AOS in October 2006 and I learned alot from your experiences. We are traveling w/o kids, so no Adventure Ocean (will check out for future). I'm going to try a mango tango (love froo-froo drinks). I have an AFT cabin so IF all the chair hoggers are out in full force I'll have somewhere to go. What was you favorite meal? I don't recall if you went to any of the specialty restaurants, if so let me know.

OCTOBER COME SOONER!!!
Thanks!

My favorite meal?? Wow, tried a little of everything but I think it has to be........................cant remember the actual name but it was fettuccini with truffles in alfredo sauce - Excellent! There was also a scallop appetizer that DH said was out of this world!!!

We didn't try Portofinos
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1 tequila, 2 tequila, 3 tequila, FLOOR!



RCCL Enchantment 9/26/16 "Birthday Cruise"

The Atlantis 10/2/14
Carnival Splendor 1/4/2014 "the Cold & Gray Cruise"

RCCL Enchantment 3/18/2013

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RCCL Explorer 11/1/08
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RCCL Explorer 11/6/2005
#16
Ebensburg, PA, USA
2,390 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
I really enjoyed your review. I kept looking for Volume IV, afraid that I had missed it. Alas, I found it! You seem to have a great attitude, which is what every traveler should possess. Thanks for providing information in such an entertaining way.
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#17
Seattle, WA
594 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
Loved your review! I was also anxiously awaiting the fourth installment yesterday and finally logged off the computer. I was happy to see this when I logged on this afternoon! Glad you all had a great time! I am REALLY looking forward to my first cruise coming up in January!! Thanks again for all the information and the entertaining review!
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#18
North Carolina
72 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Originally posted by 4merlurker
Some of the other families in our group took a 30 minute cab ride to some “all inclusive beach thing” . Paid approx. $50/pp had open bar BUT the beach sucked and the water was murky. They hated it and they hated us when we told them about our day!!! LOL

... [snip]...

Don’t book with the ship. We were anchored beside the ships boat. There must have been close to 100 people. There is no way they were able to have any quality time with the rays. Our little group of 16 were holding them, kissing them, I held one for at least 3-4 minutes myself, finally I let go because it was so heavy. We fed them and received back massages and plenty of picture opportunities.
The all-inclusive beach thing was probably Uvero Beach, where the dolphin swim was. There were lots of beach chairs and palapas, but the water right at the edge was full of seaweed and was a bit murky. Where we did the dolphin swim, which was maybe 20 yards out from the shoreline, the water was clear.

As for Grand Cayman and the sting rays, yup, we booked through the ship and were on that huge boat with 101 other cruisers from the ship. Definitely too many people trying to feed the sting rays, including one royal @sshole who literally snatched a sting ray right from under my nose as I was about to feed her my piece of squid. Lesson learned there...

-Laura
#19
Sverige
382 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
Great review,

Thank you.

// Fred
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RCCL Explorer of the Seas 2009
RCCL Brilliance of the Seas 2009
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Azamara Quest 2008
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#20
US
109 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
Oh, thanks Connie. The prices for cabins do seem to be steeper overall than what I paid for this past trip. And FOS is -booked- and -expensive- !

That scallop starter was good! I also liked the soups almost every night. (the hot ones, not the fruit blends) The beef tended to be good also. The night I would have skipped for something else would be Thursday, nothing really thrilling that night.