Just back from Explorer - review

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23 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
I benefited from all the info on the boards and want to give back to all the future cruisers. We flew to FL from Dulles on Feb. 11 and stayed at the Sheraton Bal Harbor for 2 nights. It is a great facility and the heated pool was fantastic. The beach was wonderful and the service was excellent. We left for the port at 11:00 a.m. in hopes of the early boarding I had read about. We were to be in the Royal Family Suite and from all the postings, I believed we would be on board by noon. It was not to be! They were still off loading passengers until 1:00! A cruise employee said it was because they had so many foreign passengers and therefore customs took a long time but needless to say, it was a bad beginnning! Once on-board, we were processed quickly and moved on to explore our cabin. I can't say enough wonderful things about the RFS. The layout, the balcony, the space were wonderful. We had a family of 6 and we really enjoyed the cabin. All of the staff were superb. Our cabin attendant, Sharon, the concierge, Martin, our wait staff were all excellent and made our cruise very special. Our weather was fantastic. We had one shower during the night and all the rest of the days were sunny, warm, perfect. In Belize 2 in our party did the Coral Breezes Altun Ha tour which they said was excellent. The rest of us did the Caulker Cay day which is an adventure! The swimming is limited except at "the split" but the grandchildren, ages 4 and 5 had a great time splashing and exploring. We had a golf cart and drove all around and a great lunch at The lobster house. It was the last day for catching lobster and we enjoyed a fantastic lobster lunch. The ride back to the tender port was about 40 minutes and then back to the boat. All our meals on board were excellent. We had room service for breakfast most mornings and ate on our balcony. Very relaxing! The shows were terrific....the comedians were hilarious and Planet Ice was phenomenal. Costa Maya was a "mob " scene. I was all set to go to the fishing village but the cab lines were very long. We decided to return to the boat and enjoy it while everyone else was on shore. We had lunch in Johnny Rockets and the burgers, onion rings, shakes and fries were wonderful. In Cozemel, we took a cab to the beach beside Playa Mia. There was no charge to enter and there was a pool, good restaurant, beach chairs, great beach, and the water was wonderful. In Grand Cayman, we did the Spanish Reef resort and had a terrific day. Only 8 people went plus my son, his wife and the grandchildren. As the previous review mentioned, it was like having your own private resort. The 5 year old was able to snorkle because there wasn't a crowd and he was thrilled. The water in all the pools was pretty chilly...or maybe I'm a wimp! We ate at Portofino's and the service and food were great. Debarking was a bit frustrating because of the long wait for the luggage. It took an hour to get all the pieces but then we were on our way to the Fort Lauderdale airport and now I am back to the cold gray of winter. I know all future cruisers will enjoy their trip as much as we did. Let me know if you have questions and I will be glad to share any info.
17 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
What was your favorite port? (Mine was Grand Cayman).
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We must sail, sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it -- but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor. Oliver Wendell Holmes

112 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
I'm glad you had a wonderful time. We (9 of us) are going on the "Explorer" in April(eastern). This is our first cruise and like you mentioned its been wonderful learning as much as we can before we leave. Thanks for the review. A few questions I have.- Was portofinos and Johnny Rockets that much better than the dining room? If we didn't try these would we be missing out? Also are they salt water pools? Thanks again for the info.
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23 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
The pools are salt water and I think Johnny Rockets is definitely worth it. Portofinos is just a smaller, quieter, dining experience and the food is wonderful. However, our dining room experience was good as well.....just noisy and different.
Chicago, IL
259 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
Who was the cruise director? What did you think of him/her? Any great entertainers onboard?
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Yucaipa, Ca
402 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
nancynana-Thanks for the positive review. We'll also be going on our first cruise on Explorer in May. Glad you had a great time. I have one question, did you by chance check out any spa prices, I'm actually interested in the couples Rasual, I thought maybe it would be on the compasses, not sure or maybe you have to get the prices at the spa.

Thanks Jessica
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Freedom of the Seas 05/07
Monarch of the Seas 03/06
Explorer of the Seas 05/05
Yucaipa, Ca
402 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
chilkoot- Thanks for the answer. Did you do this and if not being to personal, how exactly does this work? Also is it really private?

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Freedom of the Seas 05/07
Monarch of the Seas 03/06
Explorer of the Seas 05/05
418 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
We were on the Explorer on the 30th Jan Western sailing. We arrived at the port at noon and were whisked right on.

The Cruise director is Clodagh O'Conner (Clo, it rhymes with flow) from Ireland. Very delightful. This was our first cruise so I can't compare, but we thought she was great.

Entertainers were Rick Starr, comedian (wonderful), Mark Preston, (from the Letterman, great), Brad Cummings, ventriloquist (DH enjoyed it), and Doug Starks, comedian (Okay). I also enjoyed the music in all the the bars that I heard.

I took a tour of the spa on the first day and we were shown the couples rasul massage area. It was a wonderful small suite of two rooms. I believe the therapist stated that she would give a short explanation and then you were left alone for about an hour. It sounded very romantic. From the spa guide: "Apply different specialized razul herbal clays and muds to different parts of each others bodies to cleanse, stimulate and detoxify whilst the aromatic steam works its magic."

My favorite port was Belize. We took the Lamanai river and ruins tour and it was the highlight of the trip. Grand Cayman and stingay city was also very nice.

Great Cruise. I'm so glad we chose Explorer for our inaugural cruise

Centreville, VA, USA
6,214 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
Nancynana...you mentioned flying from Dulles to FLL. Where do you live? We're going on Explorer March 20th and will be flying out of Dulles to FLL. Glad to hear you had such a great experience. We were on Navigator last year and loved it so much that we booked Explorer this year to do the Eastern Caribbean. Even booked the same room, corner aft 9390.
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23 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
Clo was our cruise director and she was extremely funny! I can't remember the comedians names but they were very funny and Bowser from Sha na na was fine. Most other questions have been answered. I live in Charles Town, WV...about 45 minutes to Dulles and work at a community college in VA...very multi-state in our area. How about you?
Anchorage, Alaska
3,201 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Originally posted by jrlaurie
chilkoot- Thanks for the answer. Did you do this and if not being to personal, how exactly does this work? Also is it really private?

Yep, very private. I've included this excerpt from our journal of the experience.

"Rasual is an oriental ceremony for body care. The treatment starts with a cleansing seaweed soap shower then we applied a white mud to our faces, red mud to our front torso and arms and then a black mud to our backs and legs. We then went in to a little herbal steam room for about 15 minutes. Water from above came on to rinse the mud off. We then finished rinsing off and then applied two types of oil. One to relieve stress and the other for tense muscles. We then rinsed off and went back to the cabin for a nap."