Just off the Explorer today, my thoughts

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#1
Philadelphia, PA
18 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
We were on the June 5 sailing. All in all, we had a good time. It was me, 37 and hubby 43. Itinerary was Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel and the Caymens. I don't ever have to see Belize again. It's really undeveloped and depressing. You must book a tour at this port. There is nothing else at the dock, except stores.

We did the Lamanai tour. If you like riding in a bus for 1 and a half hours, then boarding an open air boat for another hour, get to the dock, which rocks when you step on it. The gangway was very steep, there are no steps you have to pull yourself up on a very slanted incline made of wood. Next you have lunch. It's cold chicken, rice, salsa and chips, a dessert and soda. You have a good 10 to 15 min to eat. Tour the museum in another 10 min, then our guide took us through the jungle to the ruins. During the tour it started to rain really bad. Our guide showed us three sights and said we have to leave, we don't have time for anymore touring. We were in the jungle for a good hour. The ruins were very interesting, I wish we could have saw more. There were a few people venturing out on their own, and he didn't like that very much. The Mayans use limestone back in those days so when it rained it was real slippery. Walking back to the air boat was horror we had a lot of elderly people with us and there was a lot of slippery inclines. Some of us held hands and formed a chain. At one point, my foot slipped on some limestone that was underneath dirt and I slid off the path and was heading down into a bank. My husband caught me by my wrist. Now here was the scary part, to get back in the boat you had to go down that steep wooden incline. It was very slippery. You had to go down sideways, taking little steps, holding onto the wooden rail. This was difficult for some people, especially the elderly. Then back to the ship the same way you came. Between the tendering which took about 20 to 25 min, our total day was spent in traveling time.

In Costa Maya, it was sunny and warm. We took the 3 dollar shuttle and went to Majuhural. We camped out at this bar called the Cat's Meow. It's owned by a Canadian women. It was in front of the beach and she had 1.50 Coronas and 3.00 daiquiris. We had a good time just eating, enjoying the beautiful water and listening to music and talking to fellow cruisers, the Miracle and Zulderdam was docked also. Hubby was doing tequila shots all day and we were both downing Coronas. We had the fried shrimp platters for lunch and left around 4pm our total bill was only 49.00 which was shocking. Very good day for us.

Cozumel, we took the Passion Island tour. Well, here we go again, but this time the bus ride was 40 min to the river and 15 min by boat, which was scary because there were about 20 people on our boat and one life preserver. The bus ride gets bumpy. To get to the river we went on a dirt road with nohing but jungle on both sides of us. It was sunny with some overcast at times. It was real windy and the sand was whipping around in everyones face. This was open bar. But you can only take one drink at a time. We were sitting right in front of the bar. I wanted to take my hubby a Corona and he would not give it to me because I had a drink in my hand already. And, they had a nerve to have a tip box out. The drinks were made in plastic cups, so by the time you went back to your chair and laid down. It was time to get up and get another one. Not relaxing at all. The buffet was good with barbeque chicken and grilled fish, rice, fruit. It started raining and our tour guide asked us if we didn't mind leaving early. Everyone wanted to get back to the ship. On the dock of the boat, we saw a alligator just laying on the banks. Some idiots started throwing food at it. I would not do Passion Island again, it wasn't worth the money of 69.00 per person. It didn't look like the Corona commercial, thats for sure.

Due to high winds we didn't go to Grand Caymen and had an extra sea day. We had booked the Stingray tour and I was really looking forward to this island the most.

Like I said, we had a good time, but couldn't help comparing this cruise from our last cruise which was on the Carnival Spirit.

For one thing, the Spirit slayed the Explorer in the food department. Everytime I hear someone complain about the food on a ship, I think the person is a whiner and would complain about anything. Well now I see what they mean. It was good, but the Carnival Spirit was better in quality that is. For example, on the spirit for breakfast they had a choice of blueberry pancakes or banana pancakes along with plain pancakes and the worker was right there behind the grill making them. They were very fresh and the french toast was much better also. On the Explorer, I stuck with having a omellete everyday.

Then with the lunch buffet on the Spirit it was so many things to choose from you had the Nation of the day station, a deli station that made all kinds of sandwiches and grinders fresh and made to order, an oriental station, the pizza station, the rotisserie station. not to mention the grill by he pool which made burgers, cheesesteaks, grilled chicken sandwiches, hotdogs and fries.

The lunch buffet on the Explorer was fine, but for days I didnt see anything appealing I opted to have a cheeseburger that was not grilled on an open flame, but fried. Again, it's not that it was bad, it's just that the quality was not that good.

One thing the Explorer had over the Spirit was their desserts. Oh my god. The lunch desserts and dinner desserts were to die for. Dinner meals were equal to me in presentation and in quality. You just can't beat the ambience of a RCCL dining room, so beautiful. And the Explorer dining room blew us away. We were on the second level at table 461 and our wait staff was the best we ever had out of all the cruises we've been on. Never had to ask for anything, refills were made on que, courses came out perfectly. The Service was wonderful, everything was "my pleasure". The service was better on the Explorer.

There was a problem with the table next to us at dinner. It was a couple and they had to small children. One seems to be about 8 months and the other one was about 2. The 2 year old was horrible. He cried every night non stop. Sometimes we were having conversations with our tablemates and would get distracted from the child. This was late seating too. I felt sorry for the kid, he probably was tired. We nicknamed him the "baritone baby" because his voice was so deep. Well we complained one night and asked to be moved. They couldn't accomodate us. On the last night the "baritone baby" was in his high chair and started swinging water around from his cup. It got on one of our table mates and she started complaining to us about the behavior of this kid and how the parents don't do anything to control their baby. Well I guess the mother heard because she came over to our table and called my table mate a "snooty bitch". Next thing you know they get into a shouting match. Our waiter, headwaiter comes over. The mother grabs her kid and tells the headwaiter the ship is not kid friendly and leaves. My table mate calls her "low class", it was just a mess.

The ice skating show was unbelievable, I saw it twice. I had a ticket for the first one neither time did they ask for a ticket. I went to some of the regular shows also. I'm no judge at shows, I just love the costumes, singing and dancing.

I went to the desk and got white tags, we were thru customs and off the ship heading to FLL airport by 7:45am. I work for US Airways and we were able to make the 9:25am flight home to Philly.

We didn't do any of the activities, but they were in full swing. Also, the ship never felt crowded, except when a show is letting out and everyone is heading toward the elevator.

We were on the ninth deck which was perfect. A few times we walked the 2 flights to the pool. There is enough lounge chairs for everyone, why anyone would want to sit by the pool with screaming kids everywhere is beyond me, Unless they're keeping an eye on their own children. We found loungers in perfect locations all around the ship.

The ship is beautiful and exciting and we enjoyed it, but really won't be rushing back to get on one. We have the pleasure of saying we've been on a Voyager Class ship.

If anyone is booked for this cruise, you are definately in for a treat.
#2
Huntington Beach, CA
2,347 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
Thanks for the review. I'm doing Eastern in November and I appreciate your opinion on the ship.

Did you do a Meet & Mingle? How was that?
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#3
jersey
2,666 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Thanks for the review! I always love to read about the Explorer. We'll be on her western route in November!!!
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#4
Philadelphia, PA
18 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
You guys will have a ball. No I didn't do the meet and mingle. I did a lot of book reading and laying out on a lounge chair.

It was so much to do during the day, at times I felt like I should be doing something, rather than just relaxing, because of all the activities.

I love the Eastern itinerary and don't think we'll do the Western any time soon.

You guys enjoy your first cruise with the Western itinerary. You will enjoy. Just look at your shore excursions very carefully. There's a lot of info on this site, which is half the fun of going on your first cruise.

We're looking to do another cruise in August, if I can get a good last minute price on RCCL, like I got on this one, I would definately sail with them again.