Explorer review 1st cruise ~ long

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#1
Long Island, New York
726 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
We sailed on Explorer from 4/16/06 thru 4/23/06 and since we are first time cruisers we did not know what to expect. RCCL Explorer of the Seas was beyond our expectations. Since we had booked our trip rather late we could only get an OV room on the 2nd deck. It was actually fine for our family of 3. We slept great and felt very little motion while in our room. Our steward Mark was from St Vincent and he was AMAZING!!! My son wants him to be our steward on our next cruise!
I booked the cruise and air thru RCCL which worked out well for us. I had tried to get plane tickets on my own but were very expensive since it was Easter. RCCL air booked on Delta was cheaper than anything I found. The transfers went smoothly. The lines were long at the pier but they did move. This ship is HUGE.. By the end of the week, I still could not find my way around. Had lunch in Windjammer and that pepperoni pizza was great!! Being from NY I am used to good pizza and this was pretty darn good!! It became an everyday treat for me not good for my waistline!

Our first day at sea was wonderful. We had great weather the whole week. Got out to the pool early as I had read horror stories about the chairs. We actually had the same chairs every time we were out the pool. Even though the ship was full, it never felt crowded at all. There were crew members that were patroling the deck for chairs that were left unattended. My DH used the gym every day and was really happy with it. I walked the track for my ship shape bucks and did some other classes. At the end of the week, I was able to get a lanyard, keychain and a backpack. We had lunch from Johnny Rockets.. Really good onion rings. I went to the take out window and got lunch for the 3 of us and they only charged me $3.95 service charge. My DH and DS took roller blades from home and used them a couple times during the week. They loved it. There is a place where you can rent them and helmets. The belly flop contest was hysterical and the CD Allan Brooks was a lot of fun. He got thrown in the pool at the end of the contest... lots of laughs. Had formal nite, ordered a bottle of Cabernet $38.00 and had very good steak. Georgi our waiter was really nice. They work hard and deserve those tips!!

Our first port was Puerto Rico. My family was thinking of staying on the ship for the day but then decided to go to El Morro. So we grabbed a cab and asked the driver to take us to El Morro, well he dropped us off in Old San Juan and we walked the rest of the way (10-15mins). He said the traffic was too bad to get us there... Did some touring and little shopping and got back to the ship early. Wasn't too impressed with PR.

Our 2nd port was St Marten. We absolutely loved this place... We hopped in a cab to Divi Little Bay. Got some chairs and an umbrella for $15.00 total. Had a great morning at this beach. A couple of pina colada's which were tasty. Tried to snorkel, but only saw a couple of fish. My DS and DH rented waverunners, $45.00 for a half hour. They had a blast. It got really crowded at Divi. About lunch time we headed over to MAHO BEACH. This is the beach where the planes come right over your head and land in the airport. AMAZING! Had lunch at Sunset Beach Bar and Grill. Pretty good, had drinks etc. $60.00 for the 3 of us. Nice atmosphere, steel drums playing. This made my day cause I really wanted to go here. Bought a t-shirt for $25.00. Grabbed a cab back to the ship with plenty of time to spare. What a great day in St Marten. We would like to go back for a landbased vacation, that is how much we enjoyed it!

Our 3rd port was St Thomas. I had booked a tour with Godfrey, $25.00 per person. Shopping, Sightseeing and Snorkeling @ Coki Beach. The tour was well worth the money. Godfrey was great. Got souvenirs in town. Had banana daiquiris at Mountaintop. The snorkeling was amazing at Coki. Rented chairs there for $5.00 each - not a very big beach and it was crowded but a good day! Godfrey got us back to the ship with time to spare. I def. recommend him!

Our next day was a day at sea which we needed to relax. Got up early for those chairs and had a relaxing day at the pool. DS went ice skating and had lots of fun. We had tickets for the ice show before dinner. That was a good show, it is amazing that they have an ice rink on the ship!! Our 2nd formal nite and we had LOBSTER which was real good. DS and DH has 2 tails each. Then we played miniature golf after dinner. Cant say much about the late nite entertainment as we were exhausted and usually sound asleep by 10:30... heard the love and marriage show was fun!!


Our 4th port was Nassau. Since I travel to Nassau every year for my Annual Girls Trip I knew my DS and DH would not want to go into town. So i booked the Dolphin Encounter thru RCCL. It was so much fun, got great pics. Got to feed, hug and kiss the dolphins. My DS loved this!! Next time he would like to do the swim... Once back on ship we headed to the photo gallery to buy our pics that were taken during the week. $200.00 later we had some nice *expensive* pics. Got a free frame for purchasing 4 (8 x 10). During the week they had “casual portraits” which were cool cause it was a white background. One time we all wore jeans and coordinating shirts and did funky poses. They were lots of fun to do and good memories. Check your compass for the days and times of the casual portraits. Knowing our trip was coming to an end was very sad. We did not want to see the word "SATURDAY" on the elevator floor!

Highlights of our 1st cruise:
An amazing ship ~
Beautiful weather ~
Great people ~
Great food ~ especially the fruit * pineapple and watermelon *
Even better drinks ~
Wild and Haynes comedy team ~
Ice Show ~
Ice cream ~
Pepperoni Pizza & chocolate chip cookies from café promenade ~
Bloody Marys in the morn ~
Mark our steward ~

I really dont have any negatives for this cruise, perhaps because I have nothing to compare it to since it was our first cruise. There were some people on the trip who were complaining about things, but i think some people are just never happy! But i can tell you it has hooked us on cruising and we are already thinking of our next trip. We travel about 4 - 5 times a year and my DH and I both said this was one of our best family vacations.
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~~~~ Jill ~~~~

1st Cruise ~ RCCL Explorer of the Seas April 2006 We are addicted!!

DISNEY MAGIC - Feb. 2007
RCCL Mariner of the Seas -July 2007
Carnival Victory to Canada ~ Aug 2008
RCCL Explorer 9 niter - Feb. 2009
Carnival Triumph - Labor Day 2009
CARNIVAL MIRACLE - Summer 2010
CARNIVAL DESTINY - ANNUAL GIRL TRIP - Oct. 2010
DISNEY DREAM - August 2011
FREEDOM OF THE SEAS - April 2012
NORWEGIAN BREAKAWAY - Bermuda - 8/2014

NEXT UP: Anthem of the Seas - May 2016

#3
11 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
Jill,

Sounds like you had a great time. We are sailing on Explorer June 2 out of Cape Liberty. My 15 and 11 year old sons are so excited. Thanks for your review. We are traveling with 2 of my cleints, so I hope all goes well. I love this board.

Thanks,

Nancy
#4
Bucks County, USA
349 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Great review! I'm hoping to be on the Explorer for my first cruise next year. I'm glad that you and your family had such a great time! It sounds like this was the first of many cruises for you!
#5
3,862 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
welcome to the cruise addicts club!!! you will find that even though your cruise is over, you will now live vicariously on other people's cruises on these boards. we did exactly the same thing in st. martaan as you did and we're going back this december and will most likely do it again.
alan brooks was the CD on our december cruise on the serenade. we loved him. we're taking the explorer to bermuda in june so i'm really pleased to hear that he's moved to the explorer.
welcome home even though you're probably experiencing the "post cruise" depression. cheer up.. you can always book another one!!!
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majesty of the seas '03
jewel of the seas '04
serenade of the seas '05
explorer of the seas '06
became a friend of henry 10/06
mariner of the seas '06
brilliance panama 12 night '07
independence of the seas '08

#6
sarasota,fl
4,100 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
cruzobsessed is so right! I find it really helps to read about other's cruises when I am waiting for my next one. We are so hooked now that we usually book our next one onboard. Welcome to the club! Did you join Crown & Anchor onboard? The coupons are sometimes pretty good if you are lucky enough to be on 1 of the featured sailings.
#7
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
411 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
My wife and I did the same cruise and also loved it. Thank You for the review.
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MY CRUISE HISTORY:

UPCOMING 2018 HARMONY OF THE SEAS (EASTERN CARIBBEAN)
2008 CARNIVAL GLORY (EXOTIC WESTERN CARIBBEAN)
2006 FREEDOM OF THE SEAS (WESTERN CARIBBEAN- MAIDEN VOYAGE)
2005 SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS (BAHAMAS)
2001 EXPLORER OF THE SEAS (EASTERN CARIBBEAN)
1993 MAJESTY OF THE SEAS (WESTERN CARIBBEAN)
1989 STARSHIP OCEANIC (BAHAMAS)