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October cruise to Bermuda on The Explorer - Picture Review


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I had wanted to cruise to Bermuda for years, but it never fit into our budget or schedule. We typically take a family cruise to the Caribbean in January to get away from the cold and snowy winters of the mountains of Virginia. We came across a really good deal on an inside guarantee cabin for the second week of October. I was concerned about the hurricane potential, as well as the possibility of cooler weather. But with such a good deal, my husband and I decided to take this cruise sans the kids for a quiet and romantic week. We are still going to take our January cruise to the southern Caribbean with the kids (I must have said this to myself a hundred times to ease the guilt for leaving our 10 & 11 year olds with their grandparents).

 

There are numerous reviews of the Explorer, and a very few of her new itinerary to Bermuda. I do not plan to go into every detail of the trip, but plan to hit the hot spots of the ship, and more details of Bermuda. We visited numerous beaches in Bermuda and snorkeled three times. I will post pictures of the beaches, as well as underwater photos taken while snorkeling.

 

Since this was an extra cruise for us this year, I wanted to keep costs down, but I also did not want to miss the Bermuda experience. We drove up to NJ the day before the cruise and I used my last Marriott points for a free hotel stay in Newark. We visited the Liberty State Park Saturday evening, and I must say, this park far exceeded my expectations! It was well laid out, clean, and felt safe. We must have walked a couple of miles within the park. The views of NYC were amazing, especially at sunset.

 

Liberty State Park:

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The backside (unfortunately) of the Statue of Liberty:

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Empty Sky, 911 Memorial (the two walls extend visually to where the twin towers stood):

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Manhattan:

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To Be Continued...

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We arrived at Cape Liberty around 10:30 for embarkation, dropped off our luggage, parked in cruise parking lot, and were on the ship by 11:30. This was only our second Royal Caribbean cruise, but we got VIP check-in, and only had to stand in line for about 3 minutes. We were told the line was always this quick this early. We ate lunch in a not-yet-crowded Windjammer. Wow, usually the lunch on a ship during boarding is chaos. Between the early boarding and the great layout of the Windjammer, it was very pleasant. Most of our cruises are on Carnival, and the RCI Windjammer wins in numerous categories over Carnival’s Lido buffet.

 

 

Cabin: Inside, Deck 8 Aft. The cabin was small, but ample. The shower was small, and not ample. If you plan to bend over to shave your legs, think again. The bed really made my back/hips ache the first night, so we got our steward to add an egg crate pad to our bed. Our cabin steward was good, but not the best we have ever had. He seemed tired and overworked. We gave him a night off a couple of times, as we really don’t need our room cleaned twice a day. He seemed very appreciative of our offer. My hope was that it would allow him to get off work early in the evening.

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The ship was lovely, and this was our first cruise ship with the open promenade.

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To Be Continued...

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Great start! Thanks...We have a 5 night cruise to Bermuda booked on Explorer Apr 28....Worried the weather will be quite cold. We have never been to Bermuda. Deciding if I should change the cruise to Freedom 7 night Caribbean instead....But the cabin we snagged on explorer (1388) and your pics have me wanting to keep the bermuda cruise. I've never been any north than Maryland so leaving out of Jersey and getting to explore NY would be different for us!

 

Can't wait to read more.

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I've been on EOS twice to Bermuda. I love the ship, and I love Bermuda. I very much loved sailing from Cape Liberty too, as it's about 4 hours driving from where we live and we didn't have to fly. We look forward to doing this again, any maybe spending a day or two in NYC as well.

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We missed our Cruise Critic meet and greet on the fist sea day, because the crew scheduled it at 9:30 AM!!!!! This was too early for us on our first day of vacation.

 

Unfortunately, the weather was less than perfect during the cruise. The day the ship left NJ, it was cool and drizzling. The first sea day was partly cloudy and in the lower 70s – very cool if the wind was blowing on you. The second sea day was raining and very windy, just like the last sea day.

 

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The Solarium Pool: I dubbed this the Ol’ Fart Nap Zone. I never walked through here without seeing at least 5 older men napping with their mouths wide open. I joked that I was going to bring tic-tacs and drop into their mouths. While the men snoozed, the women were reading with their towels covering them to keep them warm.

 

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Pool deck during a storm (bbbrrrrr). I actually saw two chairs fly from a higher deck down to this deck.

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Most of the outside decks remained closed during the two rainy sea days.

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The Captain addressing guests during the Captain’s reception before the first formal night dinner.

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To be continued...

Edited by mpcaruth
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Dining: We chose My Time dining when we booked our cruise. We received numerous emails indicating that we should make reservations online before the cruise. I made reservations for three nights before the cruise, and we ended up only keeping one reservation, the second formal night (lobster night). The others we either changed the time or ate at the Windjammer for dinner. The food in the main dining room was mostly good. The lobster was actually the best I have ever had. It was large and very tender.

 

My Time dining is held on deck 5 in the upper dining room, Columbus.

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The Windjammer food was a hit or miss. Breakfast offered the same things everyday. I often had the french toast with strawberries and freshly made whipped creamed, and made to order omelets. I always passed on the daily offering of tatar tots and baked beans, which I thought were odd choices for breakfast. I must admit that dinner at the Windjammer was a pleasant surprise. Only the most aft section was open for dinner. There was a small buffet containing some of the items from the main dining room, a Mongolian wok station, a make-it-yourself pizza station, and dessert. The Jade station always had an Indian dish. I even had sushi one night in the Windjammer.

 

I have to add that the Cafe Promenade, which is open all the time, has the BEST GRANOLA BARS EVER!!! I had heard so much from Cruise Critic how wonderful the cookies were, but when I tried them I was very disappointed. However, the almond and chocolate granola bars were great. In fact, we took a few of them off the ship when we disembarked for the road trip home.

 

 

A few more photos:

 

The glass floor at the entrance to the casino:

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Entrance to the Palace theater:

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To be continued...

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I am finally back, after a whirlwind of a week. With Hurricane Sandy, Halloween, and work, I had not had time to continue my review.

 

 

Bermuda – Day 1

 

 

Since we were to have 3 full days in Bermuda, we decided to relax a little more and not try to be the first ones off the ship, as we have done in previous cruises. We finally got off the ship to find the line waiting for the Bus/Ferry passes next to our ship to be extremely long. So, I asked a local if there was another place to purchase tickets, and voila, continue towards the ferry dock and there is another booth with no line. We purchased the three-day unlimited pass and headed towards the line for the ferry to St. George. My plan was to snorkel at Tobacco Bay on the first day. After waiting in line for 20 minutes at the ferry dock, the ferry reached full capacity 5 passengers before us. Not, wanting to wait an hour for the next ferry, we walked across the street and immediately boarded the pink bus to Horseshoe Bay. During peak times, they have “Special” buses that just go to the South Shore beaches.

 

It turned out to be a good choice hitting Horseshoe Bay on the first day, as it was our only day with any sunshine (and probably only 2 hours at that). We lay on the beach for a few hours and swam in the Bay. There was a lot of seaweed on the beach, but it did not bother us.

 

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Picture taken from atop the rocks by the cove adjacent to Horseshoe Bay on the South.

 

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To be continued...

Edited by mpcaruth
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Bermuda Day –1 Continued

 

We packed up our gear and walked along the paths north of Horseshow Bay towards Warrick Long Bay. What an amazing journey. The coast is absolutely gorgeous, and there were numerous small coves for swimming.

 

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The walking path leading towards Jobson’s bay (center) and Warrick Long Bay Beach far left.

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Small cove along the way.

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My favorite spot along our walk was Jobson’s Cove. Small and almost hidden. The water was clear and very calm. We actually snorkeled some here near the rocks. There was no coral, but we saw a few large blue parrot fish (approximately 18 inches long).

 

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Jobson’s Cove

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To Be Continued...

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Beautiful picture! Thanks so much for taking the time to share your cruise! This is one we are considering for next Spring! :)

 

I don't want to leave tonight with images of such bad weather from our cruise, so, I will post a lovely warm image from Bermuda:

 

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Wow.. beautiful pictures! Nice work.

 

Loved all these beaches... the only think that wasn't pleasant well... downright scary was Portuguese Man of War, which bit my DH at Warrick Long Bay. People met this creature at Horseshoe too.

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Wow.. beautiful pictures! Nice work.

 

Loved all these beaches... the only think that wasn't pleasant well... downright scary was Portuguese Man of War, which bit my DH at Warrick Long Bay. People met this creature at Horseshoe too.

 

Wow, that's awful! Luckily we did not see any jellyfish. I have heard that they sometimes get washed in near the beaches after a storm, but typically only in the spring and early summer.

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Bermuda Day-1 continued

 

Warrick Long Bay Beach

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This local artist was set up on the beach painting.

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We walked up the hill from Warrick Long Bay, where there was a restroom and changed our clothes before catching the bus to Hamilton.

 

Bus stop at Warrick:

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We had the bus driver drop us off nearest to the Hamilton ferry dock. We walked around Hamilton taking in the unique architecture and lovely decorative foliage.

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To be continued...

Edited by mpcaruth
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Wow.. beautiful pictures! Nice work.

 

Loved all these beaches... the only think that wasn't pleasant well... downright scary was Portuguese Man of War, which bit my DH at Warrick Long Bay. People met this creature at Horseshoe too.

 

Stung...but Man o' War stings are actually fatal sometimes. Did he have to go to the hospital? (<jk> or did you pee on him?) I've read that works as well.

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A few more Hamilton photos:

 

Scooters, scooters, everwhere!

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We had intended on renting scooters while in Bermuda. I knew there were many challenges, but a friend of mine gave me some advice. Her in-laws live in Bermuda and they visit Bermuda 1-2 times every year (I am so jealous!). My friend suggested we take the ferry to St. George and rent a scooter in St. George for the day. She suggested we just explore the northern parishes of the island, as they were safer for tourists on scooters. We seemed to have run out of time and the weather did not cooperate with us, so we did not end up renting a scooter.

 

 

 

To be continued...

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