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More alcohol less debauchery...my new EOS review with pictures

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Since my review from last year seemed to be somewhat of a hit I’ve decided to do one for our just completed May 8th sailing aboard the Explorer of the Seas. We had a group of 17 this time with ages ranging from 27 to 53 with most being in their late 20’s to early 30’s. Our itinerary consisted of Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel, & Grand Cayman. This was my fourth sailing on a Voyager class ship.


Click on the link below each picture for pictures of that day.



Sunday, May 8th – Miami (at Sea)




Click here for misc. ship pictures




Woke up this morning at 5:45 a.m. since we had to meet up at a friend’s house at 6:30 a.m. to get the majority of the group into the two minivans we rented. When I woke up I realized the clothes that I had set out (that sounds way too feminine) were very wrinkled and I had packed away my iron (yes, I take one every year). It took a few minutes into ironing before I realized that since irons are know to get pretty hot it would be tough to shove it back into my suitcase. It was now 5:55 a.m. and with my mind in full swing and I came up with the idea of sticking the iron in the freezer. Yes, it looked as funny as it sounds but guess what? It worked!

Now my next task was getting my Girlfriend Jamie out of bed. Months ago I had made the mistake of kissing each of her closed eyes to make them open and now find myself doing this most mornings. Go ahead and laugh but you know you do dorky things in the privacy of your bedroom too. ;)


Anyway, we met up with 13 of our 17 and headed down to Miami. We arrived at the thrifty rental return around 11:00 where Jason, who just met most of us that day, presented our group with a cardboard box containing Bud Light. We all agreed that this Jason guy is OK.


We got to the terminal around 11:45 and it only took us about 20/25 minutes to make that glorious stroll up the gangway. There were a few newbies with us this year and it was fun to hear “is this the ship?” I’ll never get over how open the Promenade makes it feel as well as the overall stability of the ship. We all headed up to our rooms and decided to meet back down in the Crown and Kettle. Upon entering my stateroom I was appalled to find a Gold Crown & Anchor book… the horror! I found our attendant, Delroy, and he got me my platinum book (which has some nice coupons).

Our group headed down to what would become our second home/meeting spot…The Crown & Kettle. It’s a great place for Karaoke, people watching, pints, and just has that pub vibe. The proximity to Café Promenade for quick pizza & cookie trips doesn’t hurt either. After a few hours of Corona’s, XX, Guinness, Harp’s, Irish Car Bombs, Broken Bottles, and BBC’s (our male buddy Dakari is such a pansy) we made our way up to the 11th deck for the sail away. Honestly, this is better then below average sex. What a feeling to know you have six or so days ahead of you of doing as much or as little as you want. Spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the ship and getting ready for our late seating dinner.

Unfortunately our group was split up between 3 tables with two different sets of waiters. Luckily all 3 tables were next to each other so we everyone switched around each night. Our main waiter Erkam from Turkey was great but our assistant Adrian was poor. Oh well, it wasn’t the best service I’ve had but it was still better then being at home. That night I had the Vidalia onion tart and the stuffed chicken breast, which was different and better than the old one.

After a long day of traveling we hit the sack around 12:30.



Day 2 continued below...

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Monday, May 9th – At Sea





Woke up this morning around 8:00 and went up to the Island Grill for the first of many good breakfasts. Once again I got a bacon, jalapeno, tomato, & extra cheese omelet every morning along with some decent French toast, hash rounds or sticks, and a piece of fruit for aesthetic purposes only. An hour after that I was surprised to find plenty of deck chairs available and we were lucky enough to find 8 or so in a row along the railing. I like it better up there cause of the breeze and view. The only negative are those annoying “healthy people” trying to run on vacation. They were constantly weaving and making grunting noises in between their shouts of, “on your left,” or “on your right!” I wanted to hold out a Pina Colada like you see during Marathons to see if I could get one to stop.

It was now almost 10:00, which meant it was time for some beer. Jason, who is like 6’4” and drinks like he is 8’4”, was getting real annoyed with getting up every three minutes to walk to the pool bar. It was then when a bar service guy walked by with one of those huge tubs full of ice and Dos equis so he bought the entire thing and told him to keep them coming. Did I mention that we like this Jason guy?

We hung out until 2:00 to bear witness to the amazing physical specimens on display at the belly flop contest. It always amazes me how the MC/host calculates the scores, like 3.47, so fast! We had lunch and then watched Jon and Maureen in the Dodge ball tournament. Had a few more drinks and then took it easy until dinner. Hit the Chamber & Crown & Kettle after dinner. Still no gambling for me!


Day 3 continued below

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Tuesday, May 10th -- Belize




Click here for pictures of Belize


This year we set up a private excursion with Tsunami Tours. We secured #1 tender tickets and 14 of us got on the first boat around 9:15. I say 14 cause Jak and Michelle went diving and Jon somehow missed the boat. Luckily we found him on the third tender and didn’t have to leave him behind. We met Heather (I think that was her name) with Tsunami and she introduced us to Harry, our captain. The 15 squeezed into a very little boat and we were on our way to Caye Caulker. The ride out there was really, really rough…even for us Floridians who boat often…and was not very comfortable. Harry did his best to keep us comfortable and we were there in about 50 minutes.


We docked to pick up some gear and a cooler filled with water & fruit and were off to the first of three stops along the reef. Harry and his little son Ozzie were very hands on and guided us around the barrier reef. We immediately saw a Great Barracuda that Jamie, who has lobstered in the Keys for years, said was the biggest she had ever seen. We swam throughout the schools of fish and coral heads for a while and even found a spot that dropped to about 40 feet. After that stop we headed back in to drop off Jason & Christy who just had back surgery a month before. The ride was just too rough.

The next stop was Shark alley. Last year we only saw two and they left pretty quickly. This time there were five and we were able to swim with them for a while. I was the first one in (had to throw that in there) and got to pet a few. Henry caught one by the fin and let us kiss it. There was also a group of rays that peacefully swam with us. Our next stop was the swash where we were free to go out on our own. There were more beautiful fish here and the biggest lobster I had ever seen.

If your group is anything like ours then you always have to be on guard as everything you say or do is ready to be jumped on. Well, it was here that Van uttered the early “line of the week”. Upon coming to our third stop Van looked at Jeff with pondered face and said, “Jeff, is this where we are?” Say that out loud to get the full effect and to try to figure out what response he was looking for. Jeff answered with a simple “yes” but thought maybe Van was getting deep or philosophical. The poor guy couldn’t go 10 minutes after that without one of us asking him that. Little did we know that much later Jeff would utter arguably the “line of the week” when we were waiting to claim our luggage.


Last year we fell in love with this little dive called the Lazy Lizard Bar. It’s right at the split and has cold beer and other drinks. We hung out there for a while and Jeff and I talked my GF (Jamie) into swimming across the split. After making it across she even joined us in mooning the bar…hey, it’s a tradition.

After getting a good buzz on Belikin beer Harry came by to tell us our lunch was ready. Tsunami prepared us a spread that consisted of beans & rice, a curry like chicken, cole slaw, and plantains. They also provided a warm coconut pudding and soft drinks. After filling our guts we went back down to the Lizard for some more drinking and lounging.

We love this laid back locale. No cars. Minimal tourists. Just don’t go expecting lush sandy beaches or nice restaurants & bars. Things are very slow & laid back here and the majority of visitors seem to be younger backpackers. As I’ve also said before in other posts, there aren’t any real beaches. The island (beach entrance) is surrounded by sea grass and most of the swimming is done of concrete slabs or wooden docks. 7 Mile beach or even Majahaul it isn’t. You also have to be careful of the water taxi schedule (the only way to get there), as we are two hours ahead.


As always, we headed up to the solarium upon returning to relax with some froo froo drinks…it’s allowed during these times. I believe the menu that night had escargot and I dined primarily on those.


Day 4 continued below

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Wednesday, May 11th – Costa Maya




Click here for pictures of Costa Maya




After obviously fueling up at the Windjammer 9 of us got off the ship around 10:00. Upon entering the dock area Jeff & Nichole spotted a place to go parasailing. They worked out a price of $45 each and off they went. The rest of us took a taxi/bus to Majahaul and told them we would meet up at Pez Quadro. After a short ride we were dumped off at the northern section of town and I immediately noticed a difference in the demeanor of the locals. They were nowhere near like those in Ocho Rios but you literally have to say no to each and every person you walk by. This isn’t a big deal but I can see it’s gonna lose its laid back charm with every ship that visits.


It started to rain pretty heavily so we ducked into a thatched roof bar…seemed like a perfect time for some Sol beer to me. I’ve drunk & eaten at quite a few places in Majahaul and all have been excellent. Great guacamole, salsa, and other Mexican dishes can be found everywhere. After about 4 beers the rain passed over so we made our way to Pez Quadro.

After chilling on the swings and a few more $2 Sol’s we all set out to get a beachfront massage. Last year there were a few here and there but now you can’t go 100 yards without seeing a table. Finding a massage for $15 per half hour was one of the benefits of the capitalism that is creeping in to this sleepy, or should I say awakening fishing village. My drunken body was massaged from head to toe literally. It began with a great foot massage that included the cracking of my toes and ended with my masseuse (or local Costa Mayan woman) circling my scalp with her fingernails. I don’t speak Spanish but I think the drool running down my chin and tip let her know that she did a good job :D .


Jamie and I stumbled back to pez quadro where she joined in on the Margarita’s our group was putting away. I’m not sure that you can call them Margarita’s as they pretty much were a glass of tequila with a drop of triple sec & a splash of limejuice. Yow :eek: !

Like last year Jamie and I swam all the way out to the reef where some below average sex…I mean snorkeling can be had. It was getting a little late so we started to head back. Jamie got another glass of tequila to go but I accidentally poured half of it out when she wasn’t looking. Don’t judge me until you make that long walk down the pier in Costa Maya carrying your girlfriend. Upon stumbling through the tourist village we saw two Mexican male dancers who seemed really, how should I say…Happy…not that there’s anything wrong with that. Anyway, that’s the picture you see above this review.

Since we hadn’t made a stop there all week we decided to have a quick bite at Johnny Rockets. I don’t mind the charge as I never saw a wait all week and it’s no longer a hangout for french fry addicted teens.

That night we were supposed to go to the Ice show but when you mix drinking all day in the sun with great burgers & a pitch black room well…at least we made it to dinner that night. Those who did go said it was excellent and I’ll try not to miss for the fifth time in a row next year


Day 5 continued below

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Thursday, May 12th – Cozumel




Click here for pictures of Cozumel



This morning most of us went our separate ways with a plan of meeting up at Carlos’ N Charlie’s later on. Jamie, Jeff, Nichole, and me rented a jeep and my Dad, Step mom, and Van followed in another. We rented them from the exact same Budget guy at the pier for 60.00 plus insurance and off we went. If you have 4 people and plan on doing more than just shopping then this is really the way to go. We made our way North through town and east across the Island.


With so few roads it’s almost impossible to get lost and you’re rewarded with an unspoiled barely developed view on the windward side of the island. A few shack like bars dot the coast if you need to get a beverage but we preferred to pull off for the scenery not the buzz – Carlos N Charlie’s wasn’t going anywhere. After checking out some blowholes and treacherous rock formations we made our way around the southern tip of the island and up the west coast. This part of Cozumel is full of beach clubs and we decided on Paradise Beach. Like last year PB was very clean with all the amenities you are looking for. We ordered a bunch of Sol’s and headed down for a lounger along the beach. A few of us bought $5 wristbands that allowed you usage of the iceberg, water trampoline, floating mats, & kayaks. Some of the others in our group had some guacamole that they said was fantastic. We only spent a small amount of time here as it felt like Carlos’ N Charlie’s was going somewhere! :D


About 15 min later we parked behind CNC and decided to do a little shopping close by. Hey, no stop to Cozumel is complete without a shot glass, hot sauce, tequila, and some sort of animal made out of papier-mâché (ß not sure of that’s how you spell it but that’s what spell check gave me). One question. Anyone else out there wonder where the big warehouse is? You know, the one that supplies EVERY shop on the island with the EXACT same items. One day I’m going to find it and buy a Cozumel Mexico magnet in the shape of a dude in a sombrero for $1.25 not $3.00 and call my cruise a success!


Anyway, we met up with the rest of Team Tampa, who already had a nice shot tower working, with a few hours to kill before the ship left. If you happened to be there we were the big group on the left side of the bar with the shot glasses extending from the floor to the ceiling. I quickly downed three beers and a few shots as I wanted to temporarily shut down the section of my brain that controls acting cool. I’ll admit I’m not the best dancer so it helps when I “forget” this fact. Our group partied strong for the next few hours before driving back (we had a semi-designated driver) to the pier.


Most of the group headed up to the Solarium to say goodbye Mexico from the hot tubs. It seemed this year the jacuzzi’s only knew two temps…cold & boiling.

Another saying for the week was going back to your room to “read the compass”. Jeff started this when he & Nichole were going back to the room for some, uuhhhhhh…shall we say private time :cool: and someone blurted out ‘hey, where are you guys going?” Jeff then answered with a big grin, “were going back to read the compass.” What’s even better is that our brother Jon kept wondering all week why the hell people would leave to go check which way the ship was headed. We clued him in towards the end of the cruise. Anyway, most of the couples left the solarium to “make sure the Captain had us on a northeastern heading” as Grand Cayman was our next stop ;) .

Jamie and I set a wake up call for 8:00 that night to make our late seating but Carlos’ N Charlie’s was too much to overcome (only 6 of our 17 went to dinner). Instead we hit Johnny Rockets around 10:00 for a great burger and fries. Tonight was an early evening as all the drinking took a chunk out of our stamina.


Day 6 continued below

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Friday, May 13th – Grand Cayman




Click here for pictures of Grand Cayman


I love this island and amazingly we were the only ship visiting this day. There was a ferocious wind in the morning and all of the ship excursions were cancelled. Luckily we only use local tour operators and Nativeway water sports picked us up at the pier as expected. This is the fourth time we have used Nativeway and they have been great every time. Our captain said things were gonna be a little rough but we should have Stingray City to ourselves. He was right as I only saw two other boats the entire day. It was nice to not have all the screams and crowds of the ship tours but it was also difficult at times to stand at the sandbar. Some of the waves were big enough to body surf! I only got stung twice this year and I’m getting used to the pain.

After swimming with the rays we hit two more spots for some average snorkeling. I really wanted to hit the barrier reef but it was just too choppy.

We headed back in after a few hours and had them drop us off at an uncrowded spot along 7-mile beach. I want to be buried here one day…I love it. This side of the island had a little to no wind so it was a nice change of pace from earlier in the day. A handful of us went snorkeling at a spot about 15 yards from the shore and had a great time. We saw plenty of tangs, damsels, parrotfish, & the biggest puffer I have ever seen. On the way back in we saw my first sea turtle, which was amazing to swim with.

After lounging for a while we rented wave runners for $45 per half hour. I think this is a deal since the water is absolutely gorgeous and almost always calm at 7 mile.

We called the Captain again this year to tell him to keep the ship docked for a few more days but he babbled on about needing to be in the Eastern Caribbean next week & something about port charges. I think Royal Caribbean’s customer service just isn’t what it used to be. Oh well.

We caught a taxi back into to town and turned into typical tourist by buying our share of rum cakes.


Upon returning to the ship we continued our tradition of soaking in the Solarium Jacuzzi. It was a little depressing knowing that our next port was dreary old Miami. That night was our second formal, which also meant lobster tails. I thought they were pretty good and had three. This year our waiter brought around a huge bowl with just tails after everyone had finished their first one. This worked out nice, as you didn’t have to wait or crowd up the table with another plate. Played just a little in the casino and then spent some time in the Crown & Kettle and the Chamber.


Day 7 continued below

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Saturday, May 14th -- At Sea




Click here for my webshots album



Since there was no island to rush off to we all slept in a little. We met up with some in our group to have our last Windjammer breakfast. My bacon, jalapeno, tomato, and cheese omelet was once again very good as all the meals here were. After eating we hung out around the pool for a while people watching…A.K.A. making fun of people (like you don’t) and lounging. At noon was our Platinum and Diamond Crown & Anchor Party. Jeff & Nichole did the couples rasul massage (which they loved) and gave their invitation to Maureen & Mayuri. The party was very nice with mini midnight buffet type of selection. The real reason we went was to listen to the Hotel and Food & Beverage managers give beautiful speeches. Yeah right. This party had a complete open bar and our tables were full of shots of tequila, crown and coke, bbc’s, beer, you name it. The captain and cruise director even stopped by to say a few words. There were probably no more than 35 people or so.

After that we held our second annual putt-putt tournament. I’m a golfer and I’m appalled at the condition the grounds keeper let’s this course get in. Next thing you know they’re gonna start charging for Johnny Rockets. Really though, the course is tough especially with the wind and ship movement.

Bingo was up next so our entire group (minus Dakari) headed down to the theater for some wild and crazy action. My entire bingo life (from kindergarten to present) neither myself or anyone I know has ever won bingo. The second to last game all you had to do was get seven numbers anywhere on your card. Jeff proceeds to get the first seven numbers she calls for a nice $475 jackpot. Not too shabby. After that he bought our group a round and I asked Van if this is where we were.

Dinner was a little sad that night as you knew this was the last time someone was gonna kiss your as……I mean the last time you were gonna be waited on and not have to cook, clean, or pay a bill afterwards. This year I gave my waiter the headwaiters tip, as I didn’t speak to him once. I felt bad but then figured it’s almost like if I went around to other tables and got envelopes with $5 in them because I had been in the same room as them all week.


Tonight Jamie showed a real interest in learning craps so I took her there to get a feel for the game. After watching & listening to me for a little bit she grabbed a spot next to me as well as a few others in our group. The table was very cold and we each lost $50 in about 6 minutes. I was a little strapped for cash this cruise so I told her I would help her if she still wanted to play. Before I could even get those words out of my mouth she was already throwing another $50 down…that’s my girl! This time she lasted a lot longer but her rail withered down to nothing over time. We then did that zombie like walk around the Casino trying to find a slot machine that would eat these stupid singles that had no business being in our pockets. After ridding ourselves of those silly pieces of currency Jamie looked at me and said, “Maybe I should try $50 more.” I felt like a proud parent. She did pretty well the last time and won some of her money back. Looking back it’s probably a good thing I waited until the last night to teach her how to play. It was now 2:00 a.m. and we decided to put to rest a wonderful vacation.


Day 8 continued below.

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Sunday, May 15th -- Miami



I wouldn’t usually write anything here but something pretty funny happened. Since we all had to ride home together our group got the same tags to disembark. The compass said they would call blue & white tags first so we all got blue. As we are downstairs waiting for our luggage all that are coming out is a few bags with white tags and a few with blue. After waiting for like 45 minutes red bags start coming off and nothing else. Now there are people with white tags and blue tags waiting and red won’t be called for a while. After waiting another 30 min Jeff goes over to question/complain about the process. He finds a Port worker who is from the Caribbean (you could tell by her accent) that all of us blue tag people don’t have our luggage. He then points over our group and says, “We’ve got WHITE PEOPLE waiting over there.” He said things got quiet and she gave him a weird look. Obviously what he meant was that there are also people with white tags that haven’t got their luggage as well. He still hasn’t lived it down!


That’s what is great about cruising with a big group. Even though we sat at the baggage carousel for like an hour and a half we had a great time making fun of other people’s luggage and of each other.



The end.



Random Thoughts:


Make sure to pack your patience with you.


Don’t let some completely trivial thing upset your vacation. Whatever it is you won’t remember it when reliving your experience.


Don’t miss Sting Ray City.


Don’t diet while onboard.


Try not to say “NO” more than once every three hours.


Don’t be afraid to order more than one thing off the menu. But try not to take just one bite and then play with it for five minutes.


Some of the food items that stood out included the Escargot, Scallops w/ Rissoto, Mahi Mahi, Jerk Chicken, any cookie from café Promenade, Lobster, warm chocolate cake (with a scoop of vanilla ice cream), anything greasy from Johnny Rockets, and the triangular hash brown cakes at breakfast.


Realize how incredibly hard your room steward and wait staff work to make you feel like royalty, and be sure to compensate them accordingly even if that means giving them more than suggested. What I am trying to say is give them more than suggested.


Don’t complain more than once every three days. You’re on one of the biggest ships in the world in the middle of the Caribbean. Act like it.


Even if shows aren’t your thing don’t miss the Love and Marriage (Newlywed not so Newlywed) game.


When showing up to the pier don’t make fun of the people getting in taxis, busses, etc. That will be you before you know it!


If you have any question or comments don’t hesitate to post it or email me at cww77fla@yahoo.com.



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Chris -


Excellent! I want to go now. I can't believe I have a long hot summer to get through first.


Question. How did you get to the ruins in Costa Maya? Did you go to the ruins first or the beach first?

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Thank you. You're welcome to join us next year :) . I didn't go to the ruins but several in my group did. Some went to chachehoben (sp?) while the others went to some real far off one that took 2 hours to get there. I believe it started with an "I". Anyway they said it blew away what they had seen before (chachehoben, tulum, etc.).

They booked at the tourist village and made sure to just get a local taxi to take them.




Thanks! :)




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I'm sure we will meet up some day! Maybe Team Tampa would like to come to Alaksa next year to help us party! We have a 42ft aft wrap balcony. Can easily hold your group, us, and any other friends we meet along the way.

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Thanks...you're more than welcome to join us.




For those of you that don't know TTcruiser is Jeff, my brother. He's the one who doesn't like white people waiting :D .




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Thank you.


I see that you've been on 14 cruises...nice! Our group is thinking of doing a Radiance class ship next year...probably the Jewel.

Can you compare between the Voyager class (we've done 4 cruises) and the Radiance?




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Voyager class (Explorer) we loved the Promenade, everything about the Promenade. The parades, the Captain's cocktail party, the Krooz Komics (they picked on my husband), the pub, the champagne bar, the wine bar. The employees were the friendliest we've encountered.


The Radiance class (the Brilliance) we loved the pool tables, they are amazing to watch and play on a sea day. The piano bar was awesome, we won the trivia every night, they gave us a free round of drinks for winning, the last night they gave us RC medals. The radiance class has more wood and brass. We did find that we missed the Promenade.

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I'm so psyched now that I have seen your review. We leave in 9 days on the exact itinerary you just did, so I absolutely loved your pictures. I have been on the Radiance also and am looking forward to all the "extra" stuff on the EOS.

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