Explorer of the Seas Review (3/12 to 3/19/2006)

Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!

#1
Cottage Grove, MN
4,066 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Hi, I just got off of the Explorer of the seas 7 night western Caribbean. Before I go into too much at first, just to let every one know i am a 24 year old male traveling with some family and some friends. Bottom line, we had a wonderful time!

Embarkation - WE got to the pier at about 11am, however due to norovirus on 2 previous cruises, we had to wait until 1pm to board, which was fine, except the only thing that would have been nice is if they had a way to make announcements that you could hear (I.e a loud speaker or PA System instead of an agent trying to yell over 1,000 people), we boarded at 1:15. Life boat drill was 4:30, with sailing at about 5:10.

Other Passengers: There were 3, 560 people on board this week! 850 of them were kids under 18. The ship didn't seem too crowded except for sea days in the afternoon around the pools.

The ship was in great condition for being bult in 2000, and seeing over 3000 people a week, except for the hot tubs. A lot of them wouldn't fully turn on, they were barely ever hot (Except for the solarium ones) which we spent time in because the ones by the main pool were overrun by kids on the sea days. This was the first cruise that I saw the Deck Patrol actually pulling Towels and stuff left by chair hogs! NICE WORK!

Food - It was good! Great service. The windjammer was wierd being served instead of serving our selves the first 5 days, but I am assuming that no one - or not a reportable amount got sick because starting friday we served ourselves!

We did not go to portofinos -so can't help there.

Ports - BElize is a waste of time - period. The ship (As well as every other ship there) is anchored about 45 minute tender ride from the shore, there is a very small shopping area where the tenders dock and that's it. I didn't talk to anyone who was too happy with it.

I'm not going to go into the other 3 because there are so many reports about them already!

Entertainment - Clo was the cruse director - AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME!!!!! Very Nice, Very Friendly. She puts a lot into her work and it shows!!!!!!! She said she will be on until april 9th and then off until August 4th when she will return to the Explorer.
Love and Marrage was Wednesday night, Quest Thursday. Formal nights Monday and Friday.

Debarkation - Extremely well!!! They will let you carry your own luggage off at 630 am, and they started calling general colors at 6:50! Customs and Immigration were a breeze, and then everything came to a screatching hault! We are at the Holiday inn across the bridge from the pier. No cab would take us here due to how short the fare would be (About 10 bucks) they all wanted airport fares, so we had to walk across the bridge after waiting for an hour trying to get a cab!

I do have to say one thing before I end this review! Hi to the Firefighters I met from Conneticut!

Anyway, if anyone has any specific questions about the ship, itenerary or anything, email me at [email protected] I just tried to keep this as short as I could!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature


ROYAL CARIBBEAN: PINNACLE. (Adventure, Allure, Anthem, Brilliance, Enchantment, Explorer, Freedom, Grandeur, Independence, Jewel, Legend, Liberty, Majesty, Mariner, Monarch, Navigator, Radiance, Rhapsody, Serenade, Vision)

CARNIVAL: PLATINUM (Jubilee, Conquest, Spirit, Fascination, Freedom, Imagination, Liberty, Glory, Valor)]

PRINCESS: PLATINUM (Star Princess, Grand Princess, Caribbean Princess, Emerald Princess, Ruby Princess)

NORWEGIAN (Norwegian Majesty)
#2
220 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Great review,Do you know who is taking over for the CD? we are going on her in July? It has been a few years since we were on a RC cruise it sounds like we picked a nice ship to come bcak to RCCL...
Karen
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Support Our Service Men and Women.Army Navy and Air Force!
#4
Durham NC
6,818 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
No - I've been on 10 since October.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Patrick
About 450 Days at Sea since 1998. Gave Up Cruising for Swimming, Biking and Running...
Completed Marathons: 13 Completed Half Iron Distance Races: 3
Upcoming 26.2s: Twin Cities
#6
116 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Our family was on this cruise also and I completely agree with the review. The ship is beautiful, the food was great (better than I had anticipated) you will not be disappointed. The only suggestion I have is if you want to skip a dinner in the dining room Caribbean Night is the one to skip. It was our least favorite and I believe it is the day we were in Costa Maya.

The entertainment was good and our children loved everything the ship had to offer. We didn't use the kids club but the facitlites seemed nice. I was apprehensive about going on a ship with 3500 passengers but our group agreed that it never felt crowded except for embarkation.

Hope everyone enjoys their cruise, Explorer is great!
#7
Rochester, NY
2,515 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
Great review! Thanks for posting it. We will be on the same ship in about 48 days

I am glad you had a good time, but sorry to hear the CD you had will be on vacation when we are on the EOS.

About the cab.... did you get a porter? They usually can work small miracles with the cab drivers. We once saved $15 off our cab fare because the porter worked out a deal with him!

Bobbie
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
RCCL: Adventure 2-2003 Enchantment 3-2003 Majesty 5-2003 Adventure 9-2003 Sovereign 11-2003 Sovereign 1-2004 Grandeur 3-2004 Voyager 5-2004 Jewel 1-2005 Majesty 2-2005 Voyager 10-2005 Navigator 2-2006 Explorer 5-2006 Mariner 10-2006 Serenade 4-2007 Sovereign 9-2008 Jewel 11-2011 Liberty 12-2014 Anthem 3-2016
Princess: Grand 10-2004
NCL: Dawn 10-2006
Disney: Magic 9-2009, Fantasy 9-2012
Carnival: Sensation 5-2010
Up next: Independence of the Seas 4-28-2016
#9
Sunny Florida
138 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
I was also on this cruise and I agree with the review except for Belize. We did the zip line and cave tubing excursion through extreme and it was the BEST excursion I have ever done in all of my cruises. I would highly recommend doing this excursion.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Next cruise: Enchantment of the Seas 6/21/13
Future cruise: Enchantment of the Seas 11/8/13
Monarch of the Seas 1/11/13
Freedom of the Seas 11/18/12
Monarch of the Seas 6/22/12
Monarch of the Seas 7/11
Monarch of the Seas 7/10
Monarch of the Seas 11/14/08
Liberty of the Seas 9/20/08 *presidential family suite*
Sovereign of the Seas 9/06
Explorer of the Seas 3/12/06
Majesty of the Seas 3/21/05
Navigator of the Seas 6/12/04
Majesty of the Seas 4/5/04
Adventure of the Seas 6/8/03
Sovereign of the Seas 6/02
#11
Arizona
405 Posts
Joined May 2005
To the OP,

From looking at your signature, I hope you get over your fear of cruising. It's really not all that bad. I'm glad you had a good time. Use this experience to help you book another!
You'll probably overcome this setback in your life and find that you really, really, really, really, really, like it! Really!
(Maybe I'm in the wrong business - maybe I should be a firefighter!).
#12
116 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
I don't know who is replacing Clo as cruise director, half of our family didn't even know who she was. The only time I saw her was at the love and marriage show and she is very funny. On smaller ships I believe the cruise director is more visibile, on the Explorer the ship is so big with so many activities you might miss meeting the cruise director.
#13
37 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
I was also on the EOS last week. Excellent time. It was my first cruise in 23 years (Song of Norway was the first) so I considered myself a first timer this time. My husband also was a first timer. We had an absolute blast.

I agree with the poster about Belize. You really do need an excursion. We didn't have one booked and the town area (except for the protected shopping zone which I felt was a tourist trap) was not very nice and the people were very pushy. My husband is 6'6" and he was starting to feel uncomfortable with all the people yelling at him. We spent about1.5 hours and went back to the boat.

Costa Maya was ok too (we didn't have an excursion booked). We did the cheapest snorkel trip ever that was almost a joke. The snorkels leaked and the masks were terrible and they gave everyone mismatched fins. Next time I'm bringing my own stuff (I left it at home cause I didn't feel like packing it). That afternoon we went back to the ship and had an incredible afternoon at the spa. There are so many great deals if you go on port days!

Cozumel was a blast - bar hopped the whole day with our table mates. Ended at Carlos and Charlies which was quite a site. We aren't old but not that young (28-33 in our group) - never did the Spring Break thing and after that experience over my dead body will my children ever!

Grand Cayman was by far the best. Somehow ended up at the Ritz Carlton after our cab driver told us she was dropping us at the Westin. We didn't complain nor did we get kicked out. Had nice lounge chairs, free towels at the pool and they even came around with fresh pineapple on skewers! We were enjoying the beach there we actually skipped our one booked excursion to Stingray City. We actually got our money back from RC after my husband talked to the people at the Explorations desk so I have no regrets not going there. I know I'll go back there for sure one day!

As for the ship - loved it. The dining was definitely better than I expected and I looked forward to dinner every night in the dining room. Our waiter Reynaldo was wonderful!!! And our table mates made the evenings quite fun. I don't think it would have been the same expereience if we were sat with people we didn't like. I swear the CIA has something to do with matching us up!

I really need to get back to work but if anyone has any questions you can email me at [email protected]

-Jen
#15
29 Posts
Joined May 2005
We too were on this cruise and had a great time. I was a little disappointed that we had to wait until 1:00 to board but fully understood the reason behind it. We had a balcony hump cabin on deck 7 and really loved it. On Tuesday evening there was a beautiful full moon and stars all over the place - even a couple shooting stars. IMO a balcony is well worth paying the extra money for.

We took a tour of Belize from a fellow outside of the tourist area. $20 each and worth it. He took us through the "rich" part of town and the "poor" part of town and then took us to a place on the water for drinks and food. He gave us just what we were looking for - a behind the scenes view of Belize - not the typical tourist traps.

In Costa Maya we did the Mayan ruins with David and Ivan and that was interesting. We had Ivan and our guide and, while he could get a little long winded, he was very informative. When we got back to the Cat's Meow (which is where we met the tour) we stayed right around there and went to a place on the beach for some drinks and eats and the view (as well as the crystal clear water) was spectacular.

Cozumel was Paradise Beach day and, I hate to say it, not quite what I was expecting after reading these boards (sorry PB Tom). Maybe it was because of the hurricane aftermath but the water was not clean at all. You had to walk out to the end of the pier to get in. The metal ladder they had was slimy from either suntan lotion, algae or both and people were slipping when climbing on it. The beach was crowded and the wait staff could not keep up. If you don't get there bright and early, you have quite a hike to find a chair. I hope if I ever go there again, they have a better system. They ask you to spend $10 per person if you go there which is fine with me but it's kinda hard to do that if no one will wait on you .

Grand Cayman we rented a car and drove away from the crowds and traffic. We had a great time just cruising the shoreline and looking around. Found a nice place for lunch and then headed back to the town to check out 7 mile beach - WRONG!! We got into the city and traffic was bumper to bumper. As time was getting short, we decided to say the heck with it and returned the car and headed back to the ship.

The ship was absolutely great, food was delicious, our tablemates from New Jersey were made for us (do they have a matching system when assigning tables ) and we just had a wonderful time.

I will say though that there were four of us in our group and we all picked up some kind of bug. Was wondering if anyone else did too? We got chills, sore throat, fever and coughing/wheezing - some people worse than others (no, it's not Norwalk - ha ha). Despite that setback, we still would cruise RCL again in a heartbeat and plan to as soon as we save up!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
[IMG]http://www.*****************/cd/Explorer_of_the_Seas/20060312_34.gif[/IMG]




#16
Jacksonville, FL
74 Posts
Joined Mar 2003
Who is paying for all your cruises? If it's your family, will they adopt me???!!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
David & Cheryl
Jacksonville, Florida

4). Explorer of the Seas April 16, 2006
3). Voyager of the Seas May 11, 2003 (Honeymoon cruise!)
2). Monarch of the Seas October 2002
1). Sovereign of the Seas March 2001
#17
Cottage Grove, MN
4,066 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Clo didn't say who was replacing her on April 9th - August 4th, so I can't help out there.

We didn't use a porter because there were 3 of us in our party with 3 smaller suitcases so one per person, plus a carry on style bag - so didn't really think of getting one, but good point on that though.

About my cruises, I average about 20 hrs of overtime per week, Plus, I work a second job also as a security manager at a nightclub since I get most weekends off, it gives me something to do and pays for my cruises, lol.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature


ROYAL CARIBBEAN: PINNACLE. (Adventure, Allure, Anthem, Brilliance, Enchantment, Explorer, Freedom, Grandeur, Independence, Jewel, Legend, Liberty, Majesty, Mariner, Monarch, Navigator, Radiance, Rhapsody, Serenade, Vision)

CARNIVAL: PLATINUM (Jubilee, Conquest, Spirit, Fascination, Freedom, Imagination, Liberty, Glory, Valor)]

PRINCESS: PLATINUM (Star Princess, Grand Princess, Caribbean Princess, Emerald Princess, Ruby Princess)

NORWEGIAN (Norwegian Majesty)
#18
Plattsburgh, NY
1,168 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Thanks for all the reviews in this thread. We will be sailing on Explorer in August and even though it is still 5 months away, we are begining to get excited about it. We enjoy reading the reviews leading up to our vacation, especially when they are positive and go into detail of how enjoyable everything was and how much fun everyone had. Thanks again.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Bob & Maddi
We cruise to keep the withdrawl symptoms of "Cruise-Crack" under control!





#19
Cottage Grove, MN
4,066 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
I hope you have a great time. Are you going on the 5 night or 9 night cruise?
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature


ROYAL CARIBBEAN: PINNACLE. (Adventure, Allure, Anthem, Brilliance, Enchantment, Explorer, Freedom, Grandeur, Independence, Jewel, Legend, Liberty, Majesty, Mariner, Monarch, Navigator, Radiance, Rhapsody, Serenade, Vision)

CARNIVAL: PLATINUM (Jubilee, Conquest, Spirit, Fascination, Freedom, Imagination, Liberty, Glory, Valor)]

PRINCESS: PLATINUM (Star Princess, Grand Princess, Caribbean Princess, Emerald Princess, Ruby Princess)

NORWEGIAN (Norwegian Majesty)
#20
Plattsburgh, NY
1,168 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Originally posted by Firefighterhoop
I hope you have a great time. Are you going on the 5 night or 9 night cruise?
Going on the 9 night out of NJ. Works out great, with the money we are saving on airfare we are going for our first balcony (JS). We are all looking forward to it and getting excited about it already. And, to top it off, our DS (22) has just informed us that he will be back from his 6 month cruise (US NAVY) in time to go with us. Which brings me to a question - and before I begin we 'do' follow dining room protocol, I have never witnessed anyone on formal night wearing their military dress uniform. Would my DS be out of place if he were to bring his dress whites?
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Bob & Maddi
We cruise to keep the withdrawl symptoms of "Cruise-Crack" under control!