My first big cruise review from the Explorer of the Seas!

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#1
NY
738 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
I have wanted to write a big review from a cruise for a long time. I did one for my cruise on the Carnival Pride (see my signature), but started it months after cruising.

This time around, I took notes daily to help me have a lot of useful details for everyone. I hope you enjoy this review as much as I've enjoyed so many on this forum!!

So first, some general information:
Who: Me (Sara, 25) and my husband (Andy, 25)
What: My 4th (husband's 3rd) cruise
When: March 31-April 7, 2013 (with a couple days prior to the cruise spent in NJ/NYC)
Where: Explorer of the Seas
Itinerary:
Sunday- Embarkation at Bayonne, NJ
Monday-Day at Sea
Tuesday-Port Canaveral
Wednesday-Nassau
Thursday-Coco Cay
Friday-Day at Sea
Saturday-Day at Sea
Sunday-Disembarkation at Bayonne, NJ
Why: I wanted to take a Spring Break cruise. I’m a teacher, so we get that week off!
How: We drove 6 hours to NJ from our home in Upstate NY (near Canada).

I welcome any and all questions, and I'll do my best to answer them. I will also answer questions to those who asked some in my previous thread!

More coming soon...though it'll take me a few days to finish with work and all.

A picture to start:
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1/2010 Carnival Imagination
7/2011 Freedom of the Seas
7/2012 Carnival Pride Review
3/2013 Explorer of Seas Picture Review
7/2013 Carnival Glory Review
6/2016 Carnival Sunshine
7/2017 Carnival Pride
#2
NY
738 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
One of the things that's great for us is there are several ports that are within driving distance to us. The price of flights really add to the cost of a vacation, so it's much more convenient to drive.

We set out for New Jersey at about 9AM on Friday (March 29th) morning. It was a little over a 6 hour drive. We checked into our hotel, the East Rutherford Sheraton.
http://www.starwoodhotels.com/sherat...propertyID=151

It was a beautiful and clean hotel, very modernized. There was a Starbucks with their usual high prices and a restaurant with a bar. There was a good sized indoor pool and a fitness center. The Metlife stadium (Giants/Jets) was very nearby. Service at the front desk was quick and friendly.

Our room:



Please stay tuned for more of my review tomorrow after work!
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1/2010 Carnival Imagination
7/2011 Freedom of the Seas
7/2012 Carnival Pride Review
3/2013 Explorer of Seas Picture Review
7/2013 Carnival Glory Review
6/2016 Carnival Sunshine
7/2017 Carnival Pride
#3
Central PA, USA
623 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Thanks for the review so far. Looking forward to more review and pics. Leaving on the EX in 23 days so we are really getting excited.

Happy Cruising
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Future Cruise-Bahama's from Baltimore-Carnival Pride-1/27/2019
New England/Canada-Regal Princess 09/24/2016
Caribbean-Explorer of the Seas 05/2013
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Caribbean-Norwegian Spirit 04/2008
Bermuda-Norwegian Crown 05/2006
#4
NY
738 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
We had prebooked tickets to the Medieval Times Dinner Theater in Lyndhurst, NJ. It was about a 5 minute drive from our hotel. I found tickets for $20 off each person on their website, and figured why not go. I had gone on my senior trip in 2005, and it was fun back then.
So we went in and decided to have beers. They were $7 each, but you go to keep the cup (which we ended up forgetting at our table). They have tons of souvenirs (junk) for sale.

The food was okay (although the chicken was excellent). The show was pretty good, but I’d imagine it’d be better if we had kids with us. It’s a fun night, and something to do if you stay in NJ and want something to do before your cruise!


#5
Rockland cty, NY. Just north of NYC
1,107 Posts
Joined May 2007
So, the question is.

Did the yellow knight win the battle?
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#6
NY
738 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
Originally posted by asylum575
So, the question is.

Did the yellow knight win the battle?
The yellow knight did not win! :-P How disappointing.
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1/2010 Carnival Imagination
7/2011 Freedom of the Seas
7/2012 Carnival Pride Review
3/2013 Explorer of Seas Picture Review
7/2013 Carnival Glory Review
6/2016 Carnival Sunshine
7/2017 Carnival Pride
#7
New Jersey
316 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Looking forward to reading more of your review. Funny enough I'm very familiar with the places you mention. I work in the office building next to that hotel and live on the cliff above Medieval Times.
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~Danielle


Allure of the seas 7 Night Western Caribbean 8-10-14
Explorer of the Seas 9 Night Bermuda & Caribbean 8-16-12
Disney Magic 7 Night Western Caribbean 10-15-11
Oasis of the Seas 7 Night Eastern Caribbean Inaugural Season 7-17-10
Explorer of the Seas 5 Night Bermuda 8-9-08
Explorer of the Seas 5 Night Bermuda 8-12-07
#8
Pennsylvania
895 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Can't wait to read it. We leave on her next Saturday!
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Radiance of the Seas -7N Alaska -Aug 2015-Review http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2253237
Grandeur of the Seas - 6N Bermuda - Sept 2014
Explorer of the Seas - 9N Bermuda/Caribbean - April 2013 - Review http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1837446
Brilliance of the Seas -12N Mediterranean - Oct/Nov 2010
#9
LI NY
281 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Originally posted by narrow56
We had prebooked tickets to the Medieval Times Dinner Theater in Lyndhurst, NJ. It was about a 5 minute drive from our hotel. I found tickets for $20 off each person on their website, and figured why not go. I had gone on my senior trip in 2005, and it was fun back then.
So we went in and decided to have beers. They were $7 each, but you go to keep the cup (which we ended up forgetting at our table). They have tons of souvenirs (junk) for sale.

The food was okay (although the chicken was excellent). The show was pretty good, but I’d imagine it’d be better if we had kids with us. It’s a fun night, and something to do if you stay in NJ and want something to do before your cruise!


im going there next sat, sounds like good fun, .......B
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#10
Chicago
837 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
Can't wait to read more
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NEXT CRUISE: Harmony 6/30/18
Previous Cruises: Oasis 6/1/13, Independence 3/26/16, Anthem 6/2/16
#11
NY
738 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
Since my husband had barely ever been to New York City, I decided we should go on a tour. We had previously done a Free Tour by Foot in Washington DC.

http://www.freetoursbyfoot.com/

It was an excellent tour, that you pay by tipping the guide what you feel they deserve. So, I booked a bus tour for Manhattan. It wasn't exactly free, since we had to pay a small fee for the bus, but it was absolutely worth it. These tours are very informative, and you learn things that you would probably otherwise never know. For instance, I found out there is an enormous cathedral in NYC (St. John the Divine), that I had no idea existed!!



I could spend a ton of time reviewing NYC, but that's not what this is about. But here are some important tid bits if you're staying in NJ and want to head to NYC. You can take the Secaucus Junction train to Penn Station and get on a subway just about anywhere you want to go. It was $8 round trip I believe. The subway system is pretty confusing if you're not familiar with it, but don't be afraid to ask the people in the booth which train to get on!

If you have any more questions about my trip to NYC, please ask.

1 WTC is almost done:


Next up...embarkation!!
#12
up state ny
64 Posts
Joined Dec 2012
Originally posted by narrow56
Since my husband had barely ever been to New York City, I decided we should go on a tour. We had previously done a Free Tour by Foot in Washington DC.

http://www.freetoursbyfoot.com/

It was an excellent tour, that you pay by tipping the guide what you feel they deserve. So, I booked a bus tour for Manhattan. It wasn't exactly free, since we had to pay a small fee for the bus, but it was absolutely worth it. These tours are very informative, and you learn things that you would probably otherwise never know. For instance, I found out there is an enormous cathedral in NYC (St. John the Divine), that I had no idea existed!!



I could spend a ton of time reviewing NYC, but that's not what this is about. But here are some important tid bits if you're staying in NJ and want to head to NYC. You can take the Secaucus Junction train to Penn Station and get on a subway just about anywhere you want to go. It was $8 round trip I believe. The subway system is pretty confusing if you're not familiar with it, but don't be afraid to ask the people in the booth which train to get on!

If you have any more questions about my trip to NYC, please ask.

1 WTC is almost done:


Next up...embarkation!!
Great job Sara, I cant wait to read the rest of your review and it was nice meeting you and Andy.
#13
NY
738 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
We set out for Cape Liberty from our hotel at around 10AM. It took around 30 minutes to get there, since our GPS was acting up, and wanted us to go down a closed road. Now that we've done it once, I think we'll have no trouble getting to the port ever again.

There was quite the line of cars going into the port, but it moved pretty quickly. It was a really weird set up for dropping off luggage. You pulled into a spot, the porters took your luggage (you tipped them of course), then had to pull back out. I've never seen it done this way before, but it did move quickly, so I can't really complain.

Next you pull around to the parking lot, pay $19 a day, then go park. It's a short walk to the terminal from there. Because we are gold we had priority check in (which I didn't even know about until we got there). The check in was very fast, less than 5 minutes. We skipped the annoying just boarding picture, and went straight to the shuttle. It was a 1 minute ride to the ship!

When we boarded we went to the MDR to see if we had our table for 2, but we couldn't find our table number (352). We did a little exploring until we could get into our rooms.
MDR:

Skyline:
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1/2010 Carnival Imagination
7/2011 Freedom of the Seas
7/2012 Carnival Pride Review
3/2013 Explorer of Seas Picture Review
7/2013 Carnival Glory Review
6/2016 Carnival Sunshine
7/2017 Carnival Pride
#14
NY
738 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
When we arrived in our stateroom (7517), our champagne was waiting on ice with 2 glasses. It was part of the Classic Romance I bought ahead of time for $100. There was supposed to be cupcakes and coupons for a breakfast in bed and a picture waiting for us too, but more on that later.


The tiny bathroom:


The pool deck was pretty empty on that cold day:


Up next...our first dinner and some food porn!
#15
NY
738 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
Originally posted by HASHTAG
Great job Sara, I cant wait to read the rest of your review and it was nice meeting you and Andy.
Thank you!! :-D
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1/2010 Carnival Imagination
7/2011 Freedom of the Seas
7/2012 Carnival Pride Review
3/2013 Explorer of Seas Picture Review
7/2013 Carnival Glory Review
6/2016 Carnival Sunshine
7/2017 Carnival Pride
#16
NY
738 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
Before I give some pictures of our first dinner, I wanted to share that our stateroom attendant, Christopher, told us that the Quantum of the Seas will be coming to NJ when the Explorer goes to dry dock.

Now for food. Food is one of my favorite parts of cruising, and I probably eat too much of it over the course of the week! I also love taking pictures of my food. So here goes...

Our waiter was Pepito Bulgar from the Philippines and our assistant waiter was Samuel Gracias from India. They were both fantastic! I loved that Samuel always brought our coffee and tea without us having to ask, and once I asked for lemonade, he always made sure I had some on the table. Pepito had a great sense of humor. He told us that he had to run to the Walmart in the back to grab the sour cream or whatever it happened to be.

Artichoke Eggplant Tart-This was suprisingly really tasty, especially the crust:


The prime rib was okay, but kind of fatty for my liking:



I was very happy they had carrot cake on the menu for Easter:


Speaking of Easter, here is the Easter bunny at the Welcome Aboard show:
#17
Morecambe, UK
959 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
I'm looking forward to the rest!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Sailing Symphony of the Seas 13th May 2018 - new things await.



Sailing Oasis of the Seas 3rd December 2017 - first time on Oasis class.


Sailed NCL Epic 14th May 2017 - 4th cruise and got the buzz again.

Sailed Explorer of the Seas 18th April 2013 - 3rd cruise and need to look for another!!

Sailed Mariner of the Seas 9th June 2012 - 2nd cruise and couldn't wait to book my next!!

Sailed Majesty of the Seas 1st July 2011 - My first cruise and I'm hooked!!
#18
New Jersey
2,692 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Enjoying your review. I live 30min. north of East Rutherford and know the area well. Another great place to stay before cruising out of Bayonne is Secaucus. There are many hotels, loads of shopping and buses that go directly into NYC (20 min. from hotel to midtown Manhattan)....no need for a train and a subway.

I hope that your cabin attendant was correct in saying that Quantum will home port in Bayonne.
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Madeline
#19
NY
738 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
Our interior stateroom, 7517, was near the theater, but quite the walk from the dining venues. It was obviously small, but it was clean and quite comfortable. I found the bed to be a little on the hard side, and I think it caused some back pain for me, since it's gone now that I'm home. Our stateroom attendant, Christopher, always kept the room clean and asked if we needed anything. I was disappointed that we didn’t get a towel animal every night!





We ordered room service on our first night. The pizza was about the size of a Pizza Hut personal pan, and quite delicious, though I preferred the pizza at Cafe Promenade. The spinach artichoke dip is MUST TRY! It comes with sour cream and tortilla chips.
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1/2010 Carnival Imagination
7/2011 Freedom of the Seas
7/2012 Carnival Pride Review
3/2013 Explorer of Seas Picture Review
7/2013 Carnival Glory Review
6/2016 Carnival Sunshine
7/2017 Carnival Pride
#20
NY
738 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
One thing that I found odd/disappointing was I couldn't find the channel on the TV that told the ship's position and gave an outside view. Having an interior room, that would've been really nice! I've had that on all previous cruises...so I don't know what was going on there.

It was another cold day at sea, but we still wanted to be outside a little bit.


I was REALLY looking forward to Johnny Rocket's for weeks. It did not disappoint. Here is my husband's burger:


It makes my mouth water just looking at it. Of course, they sang the YMCA for us. If you have the chance, be sure you go to Johnny Rocket's. It's well worth the $4.95 per person charge. You can pick anything from the menu, although there's a charge for beverages as usual.

We went back to Johnny Rocket's later in the week to get chocolate milkshakes, and they were heavenly. A word of warning: if you're wearing a dress DO NOT go outside when leaving. Go through the arcade. I'm pretty sure I flashed all of the teen club. Awkward!