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LIVE from Explorer of the Seas 12.3.12!


bradpole

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Good morning from the sunny, and windy, Explorer of the Seas.

 

According to the GPS tracking on the monitor outside the "peek a boo bridge" on deck 11 at 9am, we were near Great Abaco (sp?) island in the Bahamas. We are expecting a wonderfully sunny and warm, but windy, day onboard... no complaints from me on the weather!

 

Last night was the first formal night onboard, there was the captain's toast on the royal promenade as well as an after dinner show for second seating instead of what seems to be the norm of pre dinner shows.

 

We made our way to the overflow concierge lounge which for this cruise is being held in the Maharaja's Lounge on deck 5 forward. Last night for dinner I had the Filet of Beef, which although overcooked, was still very tender and tasty. Our table of 6 still had 4 spots empty, we'll see if they show tonight.

 

Last night was a very pleasant surprise! For the first time the waiter approached us to let us know they had received the Diamond Plus Amenity of our complimentary bottle of Ravenswood Zinfandel. The last couple of cruises we've had to have them "investigate" what happened to the wine, before receiving it. Speaking of the dining room, our team has been wonderful, very prompt, efficient, and incredibly friendly! Having a team like we do this cruise reminds us why enjoy fixed seating so much!

 

We went to the production show after dinner, although we had seen it before, it had been a number of years, it was quite enjoyable. We wanted to see the late night comedian but considering the show didn't start to midnight we knew there was no chance of us making the show. Lounging all day on the ship reading is Exhausting!!!!

 

Not very much planned today... I know shocking!

but for those who wish to partake in activites the compass is fully loaded.

 

Today's movie: Sherlock Holmes, Game of shadows 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm, and 10:30.

Morning trivia, 10am

Bingo 10:45,

Family Scavenger hunt noon,

Art Auction, noon

Destination Lecture, "San Juan as American as Apple Pie?" 1pm

Worlds Sexiest Man poolside, 1pm

majority rules game show 10:15

Blades-the ice challenge 3 and 5pm

 

Tonights entertainment

Headliner show time: Vocalist Hal Frazier 7:15 and 9pm.

 

I think I'll skip all that enjoy my Kindle in the Viking Crown Lounge today! Yesterday I started the new John Grisham book and have nearly finished half of it.

 

Today at breakfast I noticed something I haven't seen on the buffet for a while (mostly because we haven't cruise on a ship that has a section labelled "Jade"), Miso soup and all the veggies that go into it! I know some people would probably think Miso Soup for breakfast is strange, but it does make a nice alternative to the standard breakfast items found in the windjammer each morning.

 

I'm going to try to upload a couple of pictures from last night's formal night menu and a pic or two from around the ship last night (in the day 2 gallery) and this morning (in the day 3 gallery)

 

http://www.polerez.com/cruisephotos/index.php/Explorer-of-the-Seas-12-3-12

 

 

pardon the sloppy photo the town animal greeting us last night, I accidentally knocked his/her head off before I could take the picture!

 

 

 

 

 

Until later!

 

P.S. if you've asked a question and I haven't responded, I apologize. I'm trying to keep the onboard internet usage to a minimum, as soon as we are in a port that I can use my 3G or access to fast wifi I'll go through the thread in more detail.

 

 

 

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For those interested in the Belgium Chocolate shop in St. Maarten I figured I'd mention one other thing. If you buy your chocolate in the morning (or early afternoon I'll ask her the cutoff time) she will deliver it to the ship in an Air Conditioned van and it will arrive in your cabin later that evening. The first time we went to St. Maarten we didn't buy her chocolate because we figured we couldn't get it back to the ship before having it melt into one big messy glob!

 

 

 

Answers to come questions:

 

QUOTE:

bythehexDecember 4th, 2012 03:21 PM

Brad, thanks for your review so far. We'll be getting on the Explorer when you get off, counting single digits down now!

 

I don't want to rush your cruise, but I can't wait for mine! :D

END QUOTE

 

 

I don't blame you! It has to be hard reading about a cruise you're taking in 8 days!

 

 

 

QUOTE:

CandleonwaterDecember 4th, 2012 11:02 AM

Anyone know if Explorer offers "advanced skate" times, typically at 9 am... for those who bring their skates?

END QUOTE

 

That's a good question, I don't see it listed on the Compass. However I do remember seeing on boarding day two teenagers carrying their own ice skates. I had a bit of a brain freeze for a moment when I saw that, I forgot we were on a Voyager Class ship!

 

 

 

QUOTE:

December 3rd, 2012 06:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drrich2 (Post 36254453)

2.) The Windjammer can be pretty packed at times. I don't like taking food outside (e.g.: to room or on the pool deck) since I know picking up dishes adds to staff work, but if you can't get seating, you do have an option.

Definitely true on embarkation day in the wintertime. Normally, a lot of people rush to finish lunch so that they can get a prime spot on the pool deck. However, when we sailed last December from New Jersey, no one was laying by the pool and it seemed like most people were lingering and taking their time in the WJ. We ended up circling for about twenty-ish minutes before getting a table, but we had no problems after that first day.

END QUOTE:

 

The windjammer was PACKED on embarkation day! The staff did make a couple of announcements asking those who have finished their meal to give up their table. So they did try to gently push people out of they were finished eating. Personally I couldn't think of a worse place to just sit and hang out! What we had planned to do was "park" ourselves at the Champagne Bar, Aquarium Bar, or any other lounge until the cabins were ready.

 

 

To drrich2:

I COMPLETELY agree about your Bonine comment. We take one pill every morning as a precaution. Explorer of the Seas is a big ship, but she is still a ship. And no matter how big a ship there will be some motion. We've been very fortunate so far this trip, the weather has been GREAT with very little motion. But the Atlantic Ocean is VERY VERY unpredictable. Thankfully I've only been sea sick a handful of times, and all of those times were the result of me forgetting to take my Bonine that morning. Bonine is cheap, sold over the counter at most grocery stores, and non-drowsy (for most) CHEAP insurance for a good cruise!

 

Also, we haven't yet been to Samana DR, so I can't comment on that. We would however like to go there eventually, knowing that we need to take an excursion to see the port in a better light. Two of our favorite ports were Roseau Dominica, and Roatoan Honduras. Both of those ports have their piers in some depressing looking towns, but once you get out of the town the islands were beautiful, and filled with friendly residents!

 

 

 

QUOTE:

megr1125December 3rd, 2012 12:42 PM

It's not a passenger port by design...you pull up, drop off stuff, go around, park, check in...wait...take a 2 minute bus ride to the ship ( can't walk due to safety reasons..)

 

that said...in all its un-beautfulness...it actually works. I've sailed out of Crusie Maryland, and that was easy. Port Canaveral, the one time I sailed, in November, was a nightmare.....they couldn't get the sea pass machines to work, the terminal was packed.....just not easy-though I have heard that is the exception....

END QUOTE:

 

megr1125, I agree in all its "un-beautifulness" Bayonne/Cape Liberty does work! Normally things are very efficient and work without any issues. The terminal is large and offers plenty of seating for those waiting to check in if you arrive prior to them beginning the process, and plenty of seating for those who have already checked in. Cruise Maryland to us is ideal! it is right off 95, pull up, they take your luggage, park, checkin and walk onto the ship. Bayonne, sure you have to ride the bus, but it is for 2 minutes at the most, and I'd gladly ride the bus than fly to Florida (or drive into Manhattan and pay those insane parking rates!)

 

 

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Good morning from HOT and SUNNY Labadee!

 

It is just about 10:30am local time, we had a time change last night that put our clocks one hour ahead.

 

Not much to report since yesterday except yesterday afternoon the Captain announced that due to the high winds and stronger than expected currents we would be arriving an additional 30 minutes late to Labadee today. We finally pulled in just before 10am, almost a full two hours late (some due to our late departure from Cape Liberty, and the rest due to adverse winds and currents)

 

I have a funny story... This cruise we have an interior cabin on Deck 6, the past several cruises have been on smaller ships where the interior cabins we book are normally down on deck 2 or 3 (voyager class only has ocean view cabins that far down). Yesterday after leaving the Viking Crown I started to walk down the stairs back to the cabin to change for the evening. Deck 13, deck 12.... Deck 7... Deck 5... Deck 3... Dang it! Back up to 6. I've done that 3 days in a row going back to the cabin! I need a stop sign when I get to 6!

 

For those going ashore it is going to be wonderful in Labadee, we are the ONLY ship docked here today.

 

We had planned to go ashore, have lunch and come back onboard. Plans change and we've decided to stay onboard today.

 

 

Last night we had an enjoyable evening in the overflow concierge lounge and made our way to dinner. We met our table mates last night and for the first time and had a truly enjoyable evening! We were probably one of the last tables to leave! Not because service was slow (it wasn't) we just had a great time chatting away! We haven't had such an enjoyable table since Majesty of the Seas way back in 2004! Sadly though the other two couples at the table are trying to move to first seating or My Time Dining, and have been at the windjammer the past few evenings. Hopefully they'll come back, we enjoyed the conversation!

 

Since today is a port day, there isn't much planned onboard. Today's show is "headliner" Starring the magic and comedy of Peter Goassamer as seen on NBC's "World's Greatest Magic" at 7:15 and 9pm.

 

Today's movie is "The Muppets (2011)" at 10am, 1pm, and 7pm.

 

All aboard is still scheduled for 4:30, I'll be out on deck to see if there are any last minute "runners" trying to squeeze every minute out of Labadee they can.

 

Tonight we have reservations for Portofino! Other than that we have not else planned but to relax!

 

I'll upload the menus from last night into the Day 3 gallery and a pic of our arrival from earlier today.

http://www.polerez.com/cruisephotos/index.php/Explorer-of-the-Seas-12-3-12

 

 

Until later!

 

 

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In most developed countries, even countries whose passport security standards exceed those of the United States (in the European Union, apart from the chip and the machine readability, the photos are also biometric and are embedded several times into the passport, not like in the United States where the photo is just scanned in once), one goes to the neighborhood police station or special office authorized to issue passports and ID cards, pays the fee, and gets the passport the same day.

 

While the passport by mail option in the United States is very convenient (in most European countries you have to go in person -- but it is usually very close to your home or office and you get the passport the same day), I just don't understand why if someone goes in person and pays additional rush fees, it still takes a few days for the passport to be issued.

 

Hope you enjoy your cruise. We go on the Explorer quite often.

 

Kind regards,

 

Gunther and Uta

 

Our passports are now Electronic.

 

What is an Electronic Passport you ask?

 

An Electronic Passport is the same as a traditional passport with the addition of a small integrated circuit (or “chip”) embedded in the back cover. The chip stores:

 

The same data visually displayed on the data page of the passport;

A biometric identifier in the form of a digital image of the passport photograph, which will facilitate the use of face recognition technology at ports-of-entry;

The unique chip identification number; and

A digital signature to protect the stored data from alteration.

 

So we're not backwards :p

 

Regarding why is it so difficult? It's not. Pretty easy actually. You can fill out the paperwork at any Post Office.

 

I don't know about Germany, but I do know that in many Euro countries the reason it's so easy to get is because you need to register at your local police station every time you move, and your Passport acts as your proof of citizenship, ID.

Here, we don't register anywhere when we move within our own country.

So to get documents, we sometimes need to "jump through hoops". It's just the way it is.

 

But the bottom line is, we're just not Europe. :p

 

Brad- Thanks for the ongoing review. Will be interesting to read your overall thoughts once you're back.

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The chip you refer to has been standard issue in Europe, and even countries such as Colombia, Brazil and Argentina, for about the last ten years.

 

European passports are more secure than U.S. passports as regards the way the pictures are scanned in. Compare a U.S. passport with a European passport and you will see what I mean.

 

I'm just saying that the most agile country in the world (the United States is far more efficient than Europe and Latin America with regard to most bureaucratic formalities) could develop a better system for issuing passports that doesn't take many weeks standard processing, fewer weeks urgent processing, and several days emergency immediate processing.

 

Anyway, I hope the OP enjoys his cruise.

 

Kind regards,

 

Gunther and Uta

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Hello again everyone... I wanted to post a correction to my previous post... We did not arrive in Labadee at 10am, but rather 9am!!

 

It turns out the time change of one hour forward was CANCELLED. Even though it was was printed in the compass, it turns out for what ever reason they changed it to tonight. I only noticed because I was looking out at the pool deck and noticed that the clock was reading 11am, but my watch showed noon. I started to think, did I change my watch twice by mistake?

 

I then went back down to the cabin to check yesterday's compass to ensure it did say there was a time change, it was printed there! I go down to the guest relations desk to ask them what time it is. She smiles, "sir, didn't you get the notice that the time change is post phoned one day?"

 

Whoopsy! We did not... Oh well. I'm glad we didn't have a tour booked that required us to get up early, I would have hated to loose an hour of sleep for no reason :-)

 

 

 

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This is just a tidbit for Gunther's info and I don't want to hijack the thread so I'll keep it quick for him.

 

Those chips are called RFID chips here and they are a very notorious privacy issue for many people here in the States. Thus if you get stuck with one, best to have a signal shield wallet over it so your data is not open to anyone with an RFID scanner on hand. That's the primary reason they are only slowly coming into use. People don't like them, me included. But I want to travel so you can bet mine will be in a shielded wallet to prevent unauthorized scans.

 

Now back to Brad's most excellent review. Thank you for your patience. :)

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Hey Bradpole, we are in De. too, not far from exit 1 in Newark and will be on the cruise after yours!! Glad the weather and seas have been good to you. It was 70 degrees here in DE. the other day!!!!!!!!!!!:D

 

We are cruising with my BIL, a first timer, and single. Are there any single partys for him? How is the music? Any live bands? Any places to dance if you are of baby boomer age? Thanks in advance, and have a great cruise:)

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Good morning from Day 5 on Explorer of the Seas heading towards San Juan.

 

Today's weather isn't looking too great, it is mostly cloudy, very windy, and a slight pitch to the ship. As i type this I'm looking at over the pools and they are splashing back and forth with some occasional spillage over the edge.

 

Last night we enjoyed our first dinner in Portofino's in many years! It was very enjoyable! We spit the anti pasta appetizer and both had the T Bone steak. Between the heavenly breads, the appetizer, and the steak we were stuffed when we left! On the way out we inquired on additional availability and decided to come back Sunday, St. Maarten, for another enjoyable meal.

 

I have pictures from last night's dining room menu, and the wonderful food from Portofino's. Hopefully in a few hours we'll be docked in San Juan allowing a reliable 3G signal to post the photos without the frustration of the slow onboard wifi.

 

Today I'm actually planning to get off the ship! Nothing in particular planned except wandering around the streets of Old San Juan. Normally I'll walk up to the fort and take a different route back to the ship. Depending on how and humid it is I'll most likely stop by the Puerto Rico visitor bureau office for a complimentary rum drink. For those who haven't visited San Juan if your port call is an afternoon arrival like ours make sure you are on deck for the sail in. It is truly one of the most beautiful sail ins (or sail outs if you ship leaves in the afternoon) and you'll want your camera ready!

 

Since we have an afternoon and evening call in San Juan there isn't much planned onboard today, tonight's entertainment is "Love and Marriage" at 10:30, we'll be sure to attend this one!

 

Today's movie is "the vow"

 

Speaking of onboard... To the poster that asked about advanced ice skating with your own skates, it is listed on the Compass for today at 9am! So yes, if you bring your own skates they do have a session set aside for you. There are also other times today that anyone can use a set of RCL's skates to enjoy the ice rink. (Long pants and socks are required)

 

Nothing else to report for now!

 

 

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Hello from San Juan!

Been an exhausting afternoon! We docked just around 2pm, and the ship was quickly cleared. We are joined by Oceania Riveria, Seabourne legend, Norwegian Gem.

 

I have uploaded a bunch of photos including tonight's menu to the day 5 gallery

 

Old San Juan is a wonderful port if you like to explore. We have been here many times before and just enjoy walking the streets in old San Juan. I made my way to the old cemetery that you can see from el Morro, that was the first time making it there. After that I took a different route back to the ship.

 

The whether is a bit overcast today, doesn't make for great photos but sure helps keep the temp down!

 

To OCEAN DANCER:

 

Thanks, rub it in that the weather has been wonderful back at home :-) I'm very familiar with exit 1, I used to live just off Salem Church Road about 10 years ago (My how time flys!)

 

Good question about the singles functions. That's not something I pay much if any attention to in the Compass, but yes there have been singles get to gethers. I know on the first sea day they had a singles lunch

 

As for the evening entertainment around the ship...

Last night after dinner I wandered around the ship to see how alive (or asleep it was) it could have been after a long day at the beach many people weren't interested in staying up late, but there didn't seem to be much "action" Dizzy's had a live band, the schooner bar had a piano player to give the bar a "piano bar" type feel, and at the aquarium bar there was a Strings group (Rosario Strings I believe). Although I'm not typically someone who would seek out a group like that I grabbed a seat and enjoyed a few songs. They seemed to have a descent sized gathering by the time I left. Although when I walked by the Pub on the promenade it was empty I believe they had a guitar player earlier. Looking at yesterday's compass the "star light band" was scheduled in the viking crown from 10p to midnight as well as some sets earlier in the evening.

 

 

TO BYTHEHEX:

I will check on the TV stations next trip to the cabin. I can honestly say the TV hasn't been turned on once by us! Although the flat screen certainly looks nice in the cabin (the old tube TVs date the cabins so much!), we're never there to use it!

 

 

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Who is your CD, I am on that ship 2/1 and I hope Richard Spacey is CD, he is amazing :) I think hes on Vacation now though. Let me know Thanks, and enjoy your cruise and i will be following your thread too :)

 

Richard is due back from his break starting with the Feb 1st sailing, so you are in luck. However, Leigh Xuereb is an outstanding CD...we actually liked him better than Richard, so either way you'll have a good one!

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We spit the anti pasta appetizer and both had the T Bone steak. Between the heavenly breads, the appetizer, and the steak we were stuffed when we left! On the way out we inquired on additional availability and decided to come back Sunday, St. Maarten, for another enjoyable meal.

 

Exactly how far did you spit;) the anti pasta. Is it part of the between course entertainment:D

 

Sorry, it made me laugh. Sitting here at work, on a dreary,rainy Friday, I need all the humor I can get!!!!

 

Enjoying your report!!!

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Hi Brad! Glad you are enjoying your cruise. We were in San Juan last month (the cruise after Sandy). We have been to SJ several times. This time we walked below El Morro-there is a scenic walkway almost around to the sea beneath the fort. There are historic markers along the way, including the Red Gate, which was the entry point into the old city for ships anchored there. Nice walk, but boy was it hot!!:eek:

 

How are you enjoying the new menu? We found the cream soups to be delicious! We had excellent service.

 

Hope you & your Mom continue to have a great time & the weather & seas continue to cooperate on your return to NJ.

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Thanks, Brad for answering my question, it was NOT 70 today, more like 40....enjoy your last few days of warm weather.

 

DH went to school near where you lived, but I'm a Newark girl:)....just had a reunion.

 

Hey small wonder, love your screen name! Where are you in the diamond state?

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Thanks, Brad for answering my question, it was NOT 70 today, more like 40....enjoy your last few days of warm weather.

 

DH went to school near where you lived, but I'm a Newark girl:)....just had a reunion.

 

Hey small wonder, love your screen name! Where are you in the diamond state?

 

40 at St. Juan? oh my, our trip is right after you, Dec 13th. I better bring more long-sleeves than just tanks and t-shirts.

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40 at St. Juan? oh my, our trip is right after you, Dec 13th. I better bring more long-sleeves than just tanks and t-shirts.

 

Welcome to Cruise Critic, Not 40 at SJ, but maybe at Bayonne as we leave and arrive back...................if we are lucky!!:cool: No 4 letter words that begin with S!!!!:D:D Brad is in warm weather right now, I was talking about home.

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Welcome to Cruise Critic, Not 40 at SJ, but maybe at Bayonne as we leave and arrive back...................if we are lucky!!:cool: No 4 letter words that begin with S!!!!:D:D Brad is in warm weather right now, I was talking about home.

 

:p shall read the message twice before I jumped up. I 'm traveling with a toddler and an infant, so packing clothing is a huge task.....

 

//yeah, so far your return day ( and my sailing day) is a beautifully sunny day at 40:)

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