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  1. We have the Explorer booked in Feb 2022 with flights and hotel booked (refundable). We also have the Allure booked for Sep 2022 - and have some excursions booked (also refundable). I'm certainly hoping these trips will be a go, I'm really tired of cancelling vacations because of Covid. I'm trying to enjoy the planning and having something to look forward to. 😊
  2. Nope. Still looking forward to and planning our March 2022 B2B cruise on the Explorer and our September 2022 Celebrity Summit cruise. Booked our flights and hotel last week for San Juan and waiting for airfares to open up for September and then I'll book flights and our hotel for Boston at that time. 🙂🍻
  3. I'm back after a very busy week off and lot's of activities. I will apologize in advance that I have not kept up to date with the 30 plus pages I have missed. If I have missed anything big let me know. Trying to get things ready for retirement. 84 days and counting. Hoping my retirement cruise on Explorer is a go November 7th.
  4. Carnival has a policy in print. I agree maybe they should have helped book the quarantine hotel more and it didnt go well. But carnival was clear quarantine expenses are on you. I agree it looks bad vs rcl flying people home from nassau. I'm still confused if I cruise from Galveston does rcl fly me home. Is their usa policy from usa to pay for quarantine? I'd like to compare apples to apples. If I do a 5 day explorer cruise for $1000 and am positive will they fly me home. Idk i have 10 rcl booked so I'm curious. What's rcl usa policy. Here is what someone posted carnivals policy is. If you traveled by air to join your cruise and test positive at embarkation and are not able to cruise – or test positive during the debark testing – you may be required to quarantine before traveling home. While Carnival will help make quarantine arrangements, all guests are responsible for expenses associated with quarantine.
  5. Our son is on that one. I think they will not make final. There’s just been nothing on San Juan or Explorer. It’s discouraging to keep booking and not have them happen.
  6. I did an L & S from Rhapsody March 2021 to Harmony March 2022. I will be getting double points for it. Actually quadruple points as we are in an Owners Suite. Also just booked 8 day Southern Caribbean on Explorer next October also in a suite to get us to Diamond by the end of next year.
  7. Can anyone share their experience? Where is it located on Explorer of the Seas? We have been wanting to try chefs table for a while and it's never worked out. Do we prioritize it on this sailing? Or wait for a different class of ship?
  8. I know this is very subjective, but always like to hear others' opinions! I have a group of 12 (bridal party) looking to take a cruise in February 2022 - a mix of adults (oldest in mid 40s so no mobility issues, etc) - 4 of those are young adults ages 14, 16, 20, 20 - they are not highly active / adventurous, just normal kids. This will be the first cruise for 6 of the 12 people. I'm looking at either a cruise on either of these routes: Harmony (from Port Canaveral): St Thomas, Antigua, Coco Cay Explorer (from San Juan): St Thomas, St. Croix, St. Lucia, St. Martin, St. Kitts Barbados I personally love the Southern route and have been on it 3 times - it will always be my preferred Caribbean route. On the other hand, I think the young adults will probably love the Oasis-class ship with all of its activities and amenities. Even though the Harmony only has 3 port days, I like these ports quite a bit better than other options on the Symphony (western w/ Coco Cay - we have been to Cozumel a lot!) or Oasis (eastern w/ Labadee - I don't like San Juan as a standalone port and not a big fan of Labadee over Coco Cay) for the same week. I'm really split between where to go...I do think the Southern route gives a huge amount of opportunities to see some unique places, but how does that weigh vs. all of the options and entertainment on an Oasis class ship, especially for newer and younger cruisers? They also have vanilla preferences in terms of food, so wonderland and some of the fancier specialty dining won't be a huge difference - they are "all american kids" in terms of their food preferences. I don't think they will be all over the rock wall or zip line either, but will go for the waterslides, ultimate abyss, pools, laser tag, and shows. I guess the ultimate question is - is a sea day on an Oasis class ship better than a beach day in a unique Southern port? So hard for me to decide.
  9. I know we have been going through the pandemic and the Covid-19, and hopefully before long, we ALL will be able to cruise again. I have done RC ships before, but normally I do another cruise line. My question in regard to The Explorer of the Sea ship. If you have cruised this line within the past couple of years, would you give me YOUR opinion of the pros/cons of this ship? My main reason for going on this ship, I am wanting to take my sons/d-i-l's to St. Lucia, and when checking the different cruise lines, this ship is the ONLY one that is doing it now, or next year.
  10. Agree. That does suck, Royally! Not a deal breaker for me to jump ship. We sail Celebrity as well. I always used the locker room lockers to stash my things and to use the shower(s) after walking in the morning or using the equipment in the gym in the morning while my wife used the bathroom in our cabin to get ready. Also the shower(s) in the late afternoon to get ready for the evening while my wife used the bathroom in the cabin to get ready. Like having two bathrooms. We are doing a B2B Caribbean cruise on the Explorer March 2022 and hope the Explorer isn't screwed up. I don't believe the Explorer has been amped yet. 🤞
  11. MIAMI – July 2, 2021 – In collaboration with the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM), Royal Caribbean Group docked Royal Caribbean International’s Explorer of the Seas today at PortMiami to provide free housing and support for the tireless efforts of search and rescue teams working at the Surfside condo collapse. “I want to thank Royal Caribbean for prioritizing the safety and well-being of our first responders at the Surfside Building Collapse,” said FDEM Director Kevin Guthrie. “This resource will ensure our search and rescue teams have a quiet space to recover their mental and physical well-being as they work 12-hour shifts.” Explorer will host approximately 600 emergency workers from around the world, providing a respite from their difficult shifts. Search and rescue teams — including their dogs — will arrive in groups of 80 at a time to the ship. Onboard, they will receive individual staterooms, hot meals, laundry service and WIFI. “This tragedy in our own backyard is heart-wrenching,” said Richard Fain, Royal Caribbean Group’s chairman and CEO. “Our thoughts are with the families and our whole community, and our thanks go out to the hardworking search and rescue teams. Providing them shelter is a small way to show our support.” In order to accomplish this effort, the Royal Caribbean Group team and the ship’s leadership worked hand-in-hand with the Governor’s office, Miami-Dade County, FDEM, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to receive the necessary approvals within 24 hours. “This incredible act of kindness and generosity from our friends at Royal Caribbean is deeply appreciated by our entire community. Over the past nine days, our first responders have been working under dangerous, stressful conditions to move our Search and Rescue mission forward through so many unprecedented challenges. These accommodations will provide them with a much-needed respite and opportunity to rest and recharge for their next shift and are yet another example of how our local and global community has come together in the aftermath of tragedy,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said. “It’s been truly incredible. Our people have worked very hard to get everything organized and coordinated, in just a matter of hours, to be able to house so many workers,” said Fain. “We are here for our community – all of us.” Explorer of the Seas began housing rescue teams yesterday and likely will continue for the next month. The ship will be docked at Terminal F at PortMiami. https://presscenter.rclcorporate.com/press-release/148/florida-governor-desantis-royal-caribbean-group-work-together-to-provide-shelter-to-surfside-search-rescue-teams/
  12. No one will agree about sailing from Bayonne in winter. Personally, we love it. And that’s all that matters. We’ve sailed Explorer, Anthem and NCL Gem abc just when it was in NYC. We prefer RC but any cruise is good—any season of the year.
  13. Explorer was one of my favorite RCL ships and I was on 3X back when the ice shows were fairly new so I'm sure they have changed since then as well as other things on the ship. I haven't been back on Explorer since Dec. 2007 but wouldn't hesitate to sail her again. Enjoy.
  14. Have done a number of winter sailings out of Bayonne. Love leaving from Cape Liberty as it takes the uncertainty of flying out of the equation. Few years back did a family Xmas sailing from NJ on Explorer. Ship left in a blizzard, 10" of snow on the deck. Pool deck was closed to passengers for two days. Many, many arriving by plane missed the ship including the band and priest who was to say Xmas mass. They didn't catch up to us until our first stop three days later in San Juan. Believe winter sailings from NJ are great, but only if you can drive to ship. Why take the risk of flight delays/cancellations and two days of cold weather each way. Better off flying direct to Fl and enjoy warm weather throughout.
  15. Our family is also cruising on Explorer a month after you! This is the first Royal Caribbean ship we sailed on, back in 2010, and as our kids were approaching their teens, we found Royal to be a great fit for our family (Disney was great for their younger years). It will be fairly different from Princess. Make sure to attend all the evening entertainment events (ice skating show, theatre productions etc), always fun and top quality. The whole family can enjoy the ice skating, rock climbing, mini golf, but the flow rider is a must! Movies are played on the outdoor screen at different times. Although it missed its big amplification, Explorer is still a beautiful ship and crew are constantly performing maintenance and cleaning. Try to board as earlier as you can, and take the time to just explore the ship while it’s quieter. Definitely book things that interest you (specialty dining, drink packages, excursions, internet etc) in advance with the Cruise Planner, as prices onboard will be higher. For our family, one person gets the 4 device internet package, so then we each get 1 code. It allows us to contact each other via iMessage while onboard, and the kids get their social media fix by staying connected with friends. After 9pm, your best bet for late night snacks is the Cafe Promenade for pizza, sandwiches, desserts. We always take some chocolate chip cookies back to the cabin with us. There will be 2 formal nights, commonly day 2 and day 6, but these are optional….dress as formally (or not) as you wish. The evening of Day 2 is the captain’s welcome gala (around 7-8pm) we always try to attend that, have formal photos taken, then head to supper afterwards. Day 6 is lobster night in the main dining room. Every evening, you will receive the Cruise Compass newsletter which outlines all activities and venue times for the next day, so that you can plan your day onboard. Right now, Explorer is one of the few ships that still isn’t available on the Royal App, but I’m hoping that will change. Once onboard the app will show all the activities, menus, safety info etc. The menus are pretty standard across the ships, so you can look at some of them in advance to see what you like and whether you want to enjoy the specialty dining. As for San Juan, we have cruised from there before, on Adventure of the Seas, and arrived 2 days before the cruise. We stayed at the Embassy Suites, which was a short walk to the beach. One day we took the local bus to Old San Juan, and spent the day there exploring….loved that! Excited to go back in Feb, and we will probably do the same. Of note - San Juan has 2 cruise ship piers. Royal cruises embark/disembark at the pier that is NOT at Old San Juan. Also, you are allowed to bring 2 bottles of wine and a case of 12 water/pop onboard per cabin if you wish. Overall, I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time!
  16. You bring up a interesting point that I had not thought of. Originally this sailing was to be on Freedom and then got changed to Explorer. I hope Explorer will be there for awhile. The thing that worries me is if this cruise does go, it will be one of the first ones out of the gate. If they decide to postpone or do the startup in San Juan later I could be in trouble.
  17. I would think the explorer has a better chance than vision does. Explorer is scheduled to be there for a full season. Vision is only scheduled for Sept/Oct. Not sure royal would want to go through the hoopla of getting the vision certified to sail from san Juan for such a short stint.
  18. Some Explorer threads (drop down on the main RCI page) may provide some input.
  19. Not sure if they’re still doing it but when I was on the explorer in 2017 for the ice show. they Will assign specific day and time for the Ice show. How they did it was in the cruise compass they would have specific muster stations assigned to a show. They still had a standby line In the event you’re not able to make it on the day assigned to your muster station . With the Covid protocols they may has switched to a first come first serve reservation system And schedule more opportunities to see the show . The ice show on explorer of the seas Was very good quality
  20. Previous post, I meant 4 cruises ago for the Explorer. It was our last cruise. Explorer after our cruise had an Ohio State charter cruise, followed by a Star Trek charter cruise, and one other normal cruise before Covid shut things down. Cruise staff said the two weeks of charter is like a vacation for them, as the charters manage all events, and they are more or less crowd control. Eddie
  21. Likewise not my experience at all. Certainly there may have been times when it was quiet, but it would get busy at times as well, and there were almost always others in the steam/sauna. And to respond to DaveKathy above, correct, they had to postpone the major refurb of Explorer, so she has not been ruined yet. I suppose it's inevitable, though.
  22. I'm not going to do a full review - But I thought I'd post a paragraph of our experience, answer any questions and maybe post a few pictures from the trip. This was our 4th annual 2nd cruise of the year, road trip to Port Canaveral. These road trip cruises, during hurricane season are an addition to our annual cruise around our anniversary in late April/early May. Two on Majesty, one on Enchanment, and now have done Mariner. The cruise also timed with "The Pirates reunion cruise" A bunch of people who sailed Mariner together this time of year when she was in Port Canaveral years ago. We met several of them online before and during the cruise. A lot of them were people we had cruised with before and other people. Having this many friends/acquaintances on board. Made for a fun time. Cruise this time of year means being on hurricane watch from June till sailing. This year Dorian was our big news story and of course bigger for the people of Freeport and Grand Bahama island and other nearby islands. About a week before our trip, we got an email saying we were giving up a sea day and we were going to Freeport, dropping off aid/supplies and ferrying people from Freeport to Nassau. Mariner did exactly this the cruise(s) before ours, but found it not needed for our trip, so on boarding we got the word, the itinerary was back to its original schedule. Our Road trip down from Ohio to PC was a little more adventurous than I hoped for, but nothing bad, but I thought I'd share for someone's benefit. We planned on driving from Columbus, Ohio to Valdosta, GA on day one (Saturday), about 800 miles. 30 miles into our trip, we had to divert about 40 miles because of an overturned semi under the overpass of the highway. No problem, that is what we left Saturday for a Monday cruise!. The next problem was my own doing. My 2016 Explorer is in great shape and I put some extra PM into the vehicle for this road trip. I knew the car was going to need a new battery this fall to get through another winter, but didn't think it would be a problem for this trip. Well, I was wrong. We stopped at a gas station near Perry, GA (about 150 miles from our intended stop) and the car wouldn't start. Thanks to help from a Perry Police Officer and a nearby Auto Zone, we were back on our way and at our Valdosta hotel about 90 minutes later than expected. Sunday's drive to Port Canaveral was easy and we arrived at the Radison in the port area. Love that place, love that pool! A bunch of us met for dinner at Fishlips and had a great time. Boarding Mariner at Terminal 1 is super easy, they are using the express check-in, get your seapass cards in your room. This didn't work so sell on Symphony, but no problems with Mariner. Boarding, I love the new Amp'd Mariner., love the beds in the solarium, and the extra deck chairs and cooling rinse on deck 14, I think it is near the Mariner Dunes. We stuck with traditional dining, late, and had a great team of waiters and the food was very good each night including the best ever pork chop served in the MDR. (Those are hit and miss, but great on this location! The seas were just a lttle rough on the first day, but not too bad. We arrived in Nassau on time, and I did dives with Stuart Cove's while my wife and another couple went to the Beach experience at Blue Lagoon. This was our first visit to the PERFECT DAY at Coco Cay. In previous years, we booked the Beach Beds for $150 on South Beach. They weren't available until late July or Early August and the price was now $299, double! We booked it anyway for the 4 of us in our group. At the time we booked that, the Cabanas in the waterpark were $799 for up to 6 people. I didn't think I would want to use any of the water slides because of my back condition, so we ruled this out. About a week before the trip, we heard from the people who went to Coco Cay for the first time after Dorian and heard that the conditions on South Beach were less than ideal. At the same time a fellow solo cruiser (Thanks MikeW of Tampa) that the Cabanas in the water park were selling for the same $299 we booked the beach beds for. We changed and boy are we glad we did! While on the island we walked over to South Beach and they have now crammed all the beach beds into half the space it use to have in previous years. Much of the attraction of this area is now gone for us. For this week, the shoreline was covered with a white smelly foam and we wouldn't have enjoyed the day there even without the crowding. A walk over to some new cabanas near the Jet ski area showed lots of piles of very smelly sea weed that they were still trying to clean up. I assume these conditions caused the price drops, but we are happy we switched. I turned 60 since my last cruise and I've had spinal fusion surgery years ago. I did find at least 4 water slides I could do and actually enjoy, while the others in our group enjoyed the more daring slides. I also enjoyed the wave pool and the Oasis pool area. For $299 and 6 people, this wasn't a bad value. We had great cabana service and access to plenty to eat and drink. It was close to a perfect day for us. Crowds weren't a problem for having one Voyager class ship in port. I wouldn't want to see what it looks like with an Oasis class or possibly two smaller ships in port. There were signs on some of the water slides that said, "45 minute wait from this point" We never had to wait more than 5 minutes for any slide, after the long walk up the stairs that is! Gemma was on her second cruise as acting CD filling in for the regular guy who had vacation. I thought Gemma was great! We were her first ever Love and Marriage show winners! They don't do L&M on this ship with this itinerary normally, but they had to cancel another show and she decided to add this to this cruise. I'm glad She did. It was fun! She did a good job, I would cruise with her again as CD! We skipped Quest, but I heard it was good! Disembarkation was smooth and we were on our way home by 8:am despite not arriving back into port until nearly 7am because of rough seas. (Managable by most experienced cruisers!) Any questions, feel free, I may post a few pics from home.
  23. Holding cruise for Summer 2022 and wondering if anyone has current status of refurbishment/amplification project? She was supposed to go in May 2020 for a major $110mm refurbishment as part of the cruise line’s wider fleet amplification project, which of course was cancelled. Thanks much for any info or guidance on where I can read more about what is to come with the ship.
  24. So Explorer is going to the ABC islands an itinerary I like. I also would prefer a Royal promenade versus a centrum. We aren’t looking for a lot of bells & whistles - good evening entertainment, nice bars, good service. Would Explorer fulfill these wants? Except for embarking from Miami, looks promising.
  25. Odyssey - Would be very exciting as she is a brand new ship in the new Quantum Ultra Class. Similar to Anthem, Ovation and Quantum but, revamped with some of the recent Royal Caribbean signature lounges and features. Jewel has a very old school charm, smaller Radiance Class ship, have always wanted to cruise this class. Grandeur is the oldest of the bunch. That's not a bad thing but, if you're looking for bells and whistles you won't find them here. Explorer is a lovely ship, includes the large indoor Royal Promenade with shops and restaurants. Big fan of Explorer, beautiful ship, first we ever sailed with Royal Caribbean. Vision - is another older ship from 1996 refurbed in 2013. Go to Youtube and look at some videos for these ships to get a better idea. 10 nights would be always be a good deciding factor. Odyssey is the new shiny toy. Have fun choosing and becoming Diamond. Jonathan
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