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Explorer of the seas - trip report

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EXPLORER OF THE SEAS - TRIP REPORT 2/17/13

This cruise departed from Cape Liberty, Bayonne NJ, on Sunday Feb. 10th and returned today Sunday Feb. 17th. It was planned at the last minute due do our January cruise being shortened due to the death of my father in law. The Enchantment was our first Royal Caribbean cruise since 2007 and we had such a positive experience that we wanted to try another Royal Caribbean cruise as soon as possible. The itinerary for this trip we refer to as the crap itinerary since the ports it stops at are Port Canaveral, Nassau and the cruise lines private island in the Bahamas which in this case is named Coco Cay.

Because of the trip insurance we had on last month's shortened cruise we were prorated for 3 days out of the 9 days scheduled for this cruise so we got back 2/3 of our money. I've described these ports in previous trip reports so I won't rehash them. The only new one was Coco Cay which for us is a beach day. The ship anchors and you get tendered to the island. They have the full range of activities from parasailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, glass bottom boat reef tour. It clouded up after the first 2 hours so we went back to the ship. The arrival and departure times weren't too good in our opinion. Port Canaveral we arrived at 1:30 PM and the ship departed at 11:30 PM. The casino didn't open that night until midnight. We arrived at Nassau at 2 PM and the ship departed at 10 PM. In Nassau the casino opened on the ship at 7 PM which I found very surprising since the ship was still in port. Coco Cay was a decent time frame with an 8 AM arrival and 4:30 PM departure. In Nassau we took a cab to Atlantis and we spent about 3 hours there gambling. There was one craps table open and when we got there it was filled with players. About an hour later the table population had dropped to 4 players and I bought in at SL1. This table was 14 feet long with felt but it was bouncy as hell. I played one hand making 18 throws with 2 points made with a left handed Underhand throw. My wife played some Ultimate Texas Hold em and broke even and then she went to blackjack switch and won around $100.

Our stateroom was an Oceanview on the port (left) side of the ship near the back of the ship. The size of this stateroom was 180 square feet versus the 154 square feet on the Enchantment of the Seas. This location was very convenient being on deck 2. Our dining room was on deck 5 directly above us and the Windjammer cafe (buffet) was directly above us on deck 11. The casino was on deck 4 midship so we never had to walk too far to get there. Dinner in the evening was excellent. We had the anytime dining and got a table for 2, same table every night at 5:30. Our waiters Nazareta and Nestor were excellent. One new thing on Royal Caribbean is that you can now bring your own bottles of wine aboard the ship. They are supposed to charge you a corkage fee for your bottle in the dining room but they didn't charge us. Because we were there so early every night we were served immediately and dinner never took us more than 1 hour and 15 minutes. Most nights it only took an hour. There were other 2 person tables right alongside ours and the same people were there every night so we had some good conversations going during dinner.

Now for some casino adventures. The casino on this ship was large but due to there being close to 300 slot machines it was very crowded. All of the table games were on a raised section, 2 or 3 steps up from the slot machines and this platform was along the port side of the ship. There were 3 roulette tables, 1 craps, 1 poker, 1 Ultimate Texas Hold em, 2 (3) card poker, 1 Caribbean stud, 1 let it ride and 6 Blackjack tables. Most of the tables had $5 minimum bets but there were 2 $10 Blackjack tables. I'm not going to include my wife's craps results in this report because she played very little. She has some issue with her left shoulder and she was in pain the whole cruise which affected her dice throwing. But there are a few positives concerning her that I can report. The last full day of the cruise, Saturday, she was playing a video poker machine and hit a Royal Flush which had a progressive payout of $1628.50. She was paid in full with cash which we found surprising. She also got into playing at a regular poker table against other players. She had previously only played the electronic poker. Basically she held her own with a few losses and a few wins. According to her she can play for hours with a $100 buy in.

Now for craps. The table was 12 feet long with microfiber which had a textured look. The table bounce was neutral but the rubber pyramids were hard which caused me some problems with my Underhand throw. The Enchantment had the same microfiber and bounce characteristic but the rubber pyramids were softer with a normal bounce back. So although the tables were similar on the 2 ships the hardness of the rubber made for some significant differences. The minimum was $5 with a $300 maximum. They had all the proposition bets but only 1X odds. Most of the dealers were competent but they had some rookies at the table occasionally which caused some problems with placing bets and payoffs, the usual stuff you see with rookie dealers. There were some wonderful women dealers at the craps table, Anka, Roxanna, Natasha, Mary and Marylou. Anka who is from Romania could not pronounce my name, Bob, properly. It came out sounding like Baub and all the dealers would start calling out Baub whenever they saw me coming to the craps table. At times I felt like the star of the casino. I did get in one fight on the last day with this fat women who came to the table for the first time the whole week. What she was doing was blowing on the dice with every throw. Well there was a noro virus outbreak on the ship. When her hand ended I asked her very nicely to stop blowing on the dice because she is blowing germs all over them and other people have to handle the same dice. Instead of just saying OK I won't do it anymore she says to me, "you're worried about germs, people have poo on their fingers and are throwing the dice". She kept this up. I replied saying something about the noro virus on the ship and she responded by saying shut up to me to which I told her to shut the **** up. That ended it. Meanwhile my wife went to the casino manager and had him wipe the dice with a disinfectant because she was next to throw. The fat lady stayed for one or two more hands and didn't blow on the dice anymore.

As usual I was the only DI on the ship but there was one guy named Herman who I would call a rhythm roller. I would make place bets on the 6 and 8 when he was throwing. In the afternoon only 1 side of the table would be open and the same in the evening. In the evening after an hour or so another dealer would come in and the table would be fully open. There were only 2 players there most of the time, me and Herman. At times particularly in the evening the table might fill up with wannabees but they would all lose their buy ins quickly and leave. One thing that I noticed was that I was the only person tipping the crew. When I had the 42 throw hand on the last evening there were 5 other players on the table and they all made hundreds and Herman was up over $1000 on that one hand, yet no body toked the crew but me. They were extremely appreciative and were thankful for you just making the bet for them whether it won or lost.

Now for my throwing results:

DAY 1 SUNDAY

Method Position # Throws # Points # Come Out Wins

UH SR 17 2 3

UH SR 6 1

UH SR 12 1

UH SR 7 2

UH SR 13 1

PARR (RT) SR 13 1

UH (LEFT) SL 14 1 2

PARR (RT) SL 9 2

UH (LEFT) SL 13 1 4

UH SR 2 PSO

UH SR 6

DAY 2 MONDAY

Method Position # Throws # Points # Come Out Wins

UH SR 7

UH SR 6 1 1

UH SR 17 2 4

UH SR 6

PARR (RT) SR 10 1

UH SR 19 3 4

UH SR 18 2 1

UH SR 8 1 3

UH SR 2 PSO

UH SR 11 2

UH SR 10 1 1

UH SR 18 3 2

DAY 3 TUESDAY

Method Position # Throws # Points # Come Out Wins

UH SR 21 3 1

UH SR 5 1

UH SR 7

UH SR 17 1 1

UH SR 28 5 2

UH SR 9 1 3

UH SR 9 1 1

UH SR 6

UH SR 8 1

UH SR 13 2 2

DAY 4 WEDNESDAY

Method Position # Throws # Points # Come Out Wins

ATLANTIS

UH (LEFT) SL 18 2

SHIP

UH SR 13

UH SR 11 1 1

UH (LEFT) SL 11 2 1

UH SR 18 1 3

UH SR 3 1

UH SR 12 1

UH SR 10 1

PARR (RT) SR 13 2 2

UH SR 6 2

PARR (LEFT) SR 36 5 2

DAY 5 THURSDAY

Method Position # Throws # Points # Come Out Wins

PARR (LEFT) SR 19 2

PARR (LEFT) SR 19 3 3

PARR (LEFT) SR 9 1

PARR (LEFT) SR 19 3

PARR (LEFT) SR 11 2

PARR (LEFT) SR 10 2

UH SR 9

UH SR 8 2 1

PARR (LEFT) SR 5 1

PARR (LEFT) SR 10 1

UH SR 7 1

UH SR 15 1 2

UH SR 22 1 2

UH SR 8 2 1

UH SR 15 1 6

PARR (LEFT) SR 27 2 6

PARR (LEFT) SR 8 1 1

PARR (LEFT) SR 12 1 1

DAY 6 FRIDAY

Method Position # Throws # Points # Come Out Wins

PARR (LEFT) SR 23 2 1

PARR (LEFT) SR 4

UH SR 6

UH SR 13 1

PARR (LEFT) SR 11 1 1

PARR (LEFT) SR 9 1 3

PARR (LEFT) SR 9

PARR (LEFT) SR 14 1 3

UH SR 8 2

UH SR 16 3

UH SR 11 1 2

UH SR 19 3 4

UH (LEFT) SL 14 2 1

UH (LEFT) SL 11 1

UH (LEFT) SL 15 2 1

DAY 7 SATURDAY

Method Position # Throws # Points # Come Out Wins

UH SR 8

UH SR 7 1

PARR (LEFT) SR 16 2 1

PARR (LEFT) SR 11 1

PARR (LEFT) SR 14 2

PARR (LEFT) SR 5 2

UH SR 18 2

UH SR 6 1

PARR (LEFT) SR 10 1

UH (LEFT) SL 7

UH (LEFT) SL 9 1 2

UH (LEFT) SL 42 4

I used the following throwing methods during the week: Underhand from SR with my right hand, Underhand from SL with my left hand, Parr from SL with my right hand, Parr from SR with my right hand and Parr from SR with my left hand. This was my first attempt at using Parr with my left hand from SR and I knew I was onto something when my first attempt on Wednesday was a 36 throw hand. I threw with this method for 23 hands out of 89 hands and very few of these were low number hands. My Underhand throw from SL using my left hand also seemed to still be working quite well and gave me a 42 throw hand which was my last hand of the cruise. I really thought that the other players would pass the dice back to me but no they didn't and I didn't want to wait for 6 other players to have their turn so I colored in and left. I was also upset at the lack of tips for the crew after all these other players had made all that money off my roll.

One very interesting thing that I noticed for the first time in my dice throwing career. What I found out is that my throwing deteriorates at the 2 hour mark of standing non stop at a craps table. There were no chairs available to pull up to the table and sit on. I think I noticed this on the 3rd night so what I would do is leave the table and go find a nice comfortable chair in one of the lounges and sit for 45 minutes or an hour. I would then go back to the table and my throwing results were dramatically improved.

My Underhand throw from SR which is my main throw and the one I prefer was somewhat out of sort for the whole week. I would have some nice throws just bouncing into the bottom or the wall and stopping within 1 or 2 inches of the wall and then out of the blue I would get a crazy bounce back. I really didn't practice on the ship other than about 10 throws in the afternoon when we first got on board to see what the table was like.

Now for the final piece of news, my winnings at craps. The total for the week was up $1075 which is the most I've ever won on a cruise. This will help fund the next 4 cruises we have booked for this year. The craps table on the Explorer wasn't as good as the Enchantment from last month but it was still very playable and it encourages me to seek future cruises on Royal Caribbean.

Dicenator

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Thanks for the report, and more importantly, thanks for taking care of the crew!

Edited by tompeter

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I just looked at the stats for all of the trip reports that I've issued on this message board. I found the results to be surprising. Here they are:

 

 

TRIP REPORT VIEWS REPLIES

 

RC Explorer of the Seas 214 1

RC Enchantment of the Seas 699 3

Celebrity Summit 1275 7

Niagara Falls 978 3

Carnival Miracle 1419 2

Carnival Pride 2211 6

Carnival Valor 1257 0

Norwegian Star 1611 2

Carnival Victory 1068 3

Norwegian Gem 1615 2

Carnival Legend 1220 4

Norwegian Jewel 1199 5

Carnival Glory 4431 50

San Juan 1354 11

 

I spend a lot of time gathering my information and then putting my reports together. I try to include some good information on the ships, the ports visited and tips on how to save money on shore excursions. Obviously 50% of each report covers the casino and craps in particular since that is my game of choice. The lack of responses really has me puzzled and really has me questioning whether I should continue issuing my trip reports on this message board.

 

Dicenator

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I am not a craps player, but really enjoy the general casino review portions that you do!

 

 

same here !

thanks,

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Nassau lets the ships open their casinos while in port now at 7 PM. I would never play a crap table at single odds.

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This is the first time I have seen your reports. Craps is my game of choice also, and do not do as well as you, but can usually pay off our Sign and Sail charges. I am as amazed as you are at how stingy people who are making exotic bets and winning can be.

On our last cruise I studied and tried a method that my husband wanted me to use. It required a bigger buy in then I am comfortable with, but at my DH's insistence I played at the lowest level allowed for that method. It did not work! So I went back to my method and ended up $300.

Where can I find info on this left handed play?

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How was the casino in general. I have heard the explorer has very old machines that still even take and drop coins. Is this true or have they updated their machines like NCL has. I just got off the Jewel and their 3-4-5 times odds table was hopping and lively all week with some nice results for all the players. Table was winning every night except for last night the last night. Same crap itinerary that I did 3x already but very convenient. Would like to try the explorer next time but am not sure on the overall casino or ship in general. How did it compare to the Jewel or Gem from NCL? Thanks for your reports and info.

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We just got off the Monarch of the Seas and it still has the coin machines. I know they are getting rid of that ship so that could be the reason for that. No machines to cash tickets at when you could get a ticket. The poor cashiers were swamped.

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Ova Da Top,

 

The Explorer had quite a few newer slot machines and I would say they make up 25% to 33% of all the machines. None of the machines accept coins, either cash of a ticket from previous play. I found a lot of the machines would not accept my Sea Pass card to give me credit for playing. About 3 days before the cruise ended I found out that you have to insert your money or ticket first and have the credits loaded into the machine before it would accept your Sea Pass card. They do have a ticket redemption machine in the middle of the casino floor near the bar.

 

A comparison between NCL and Royal Caribbean? I can only comment based on my craps play since this is where I spend 90% of my time in the casino.

 

The Gem has just about the best craps table that I've ever played on. I set my personal record with a hand of 54 throws on the Gem. In 27 total hands at the craps table 5 of them were 25 or more throws. My Underhand throwing worked great and my Over hand throwing worked great. Now the Jewel and the Star had extremely bouncy tables which I really struggled with although I did win money on both of them. I am going on the Gem again next month, 3/22 departure and I've also booked the new Breakaway for November 10th of this year. Norwegian ships are hit or miss in my opinion and unless you've been on the ship previously you don't know what you will find.

 

My experiences with Royal Caribbean have been limited to 2 ships, the Enchantment and the Explorer. Both of these ships had very good craps tables although I feel the Enchantment was better. This was due to the hardness of the rubber pyramids on the wall. If the rubber is very hard you will get more bounce back when the dice hit the wall. On the Explorer I couldn't depress the rubber when I pressed on it whereas on the Enchantment I could depress the rubber.

 

I think the Explorer is scheduled for a refurbishment sometime within the next year.

 

Dicenator

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poolreader,

 

I am right handed and have learned to throw the dice using 2 different specific methods. The first one is Underhand which I have never seen any written or video directions on how to do it. It is basically self taught and took me 3 to 4 years to get to the point I'm at now. My over hand throw I usually call a Parr throw or it is basically the same as the GTC (golden touch craps) throw. If you go to Amazon.com you can find some books on how to make this throw. One of them is by an author named Sharpshooter and the other one is by Frank Scoblete. I don't recall the titles but you will be able to find them on Amazon.

 

The left handed method you are looking for is the same throws listed above just using my left hand instead of my right hand and shifting my shooting position to the other side of the table.

 

A word of advice. To learn any of these throwing methods requires daily practice for a month to 6 weeks before you would be competent with them to take them to a casino. This is a major committment and I've been doing it on average 5 days a week for 30 minutes per day for 5 years now.

 

Dicenator

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grandpaul,

 

I agree with you that I would never play at a craps table with 1X odds but on a Royal Caribbean ship you have no choice.

 

The most important factor to me is the craps table itself. If the table is good with a neutral bounce and normal hardness on the rubber pyramids then I will be happy. My throwing will work well and when I'm on a good table with my throw tuned in my average roll length will be around 15 throws per hand with an average of 1.5 points made per hand.

 

With my throwing I make somewhere around 75% to 80% box numbers in almost every hand. My normal betting has me on the inside numbers but if my hand is going really well I will be across. When you add in pressing on the numbers you are hitting with a higher frequency the 1X odds doesn't affect my ability to win money on the cruise.

 

Dicenator

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Nassau lets the ships open their casinos while in port now at 7 PM. I would never play a crap table at single odds.

 

Nassau has been allowing Casinos to open onboard since 1994. It came about when the Bahamas wanted to hike the port charges to stupid prices. They compromised on the price hike but allowed the Casinos to open from 7pm to 3pm. Some other Caribbean islands have since followed suit.

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Drunkardoftheseas,

 

I have no idea what the bonus was at poker. But the blackjack table near the cashier still has the bonus wheel. I played a little bit of blackjack during the week and had to spin the wheel 3 times I think. The results were $10, $11 and $20?.

 

Dicenator

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