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narrow56

My first big cruise review from the Explorer of the Seas!

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I have wanted to write a big review from a cruise for a long time. I did one for my cruise on the Carnival Pride (see my signature), but started it months after cruising.

 

This time around, I took notes daily to help me have a lot of useful details for everyone. I hope you enjoy this review as much as I've enjoyed so many on this forum!!

 

So first, some general information:

Who: Me (Sara, 25) and my husband (Andy, 25)

What: My 4th (husband's 3rd) cruise

When: March 31-April 7, 2013 (with a couple days prior to the cruise spent in NJ/NYC)

Where: Explorer of the Seas

Itinerary:

Sunday- Embarkation at Bayonne, NJ

Monday-Day at Sea

Tuesday-Port Canaveral

Wednesday-Nassau

Thursday-Coco Cay

Friday-Day at Sea

Saturday-Day at Sea

Sunday-Disembarkation at Bayonne, NJ

Why: I wanted to take a Spring Break cruise. I’m a teacher, so we get that week off!

How: We drove 6 hours to NJ from our home in Upstate NY (near Canada).

 

I welcome any and all questions, and I'll do my best to answer them. I will also answer questions to those who asked some in my previous thread!

 

More coming soon...though it'll take me a few days to finish with work and all. :p

 

A picture to start:

625668_812502831117_841149646_n.jpg

Edited by narrow56
Added a picture!

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One of the things that's great for us is there are several ports that are within driving distance to us. The price of flights really add to the cost of a vacation, so it's much more convenient to drive.

 

We set out for New Jersey at about 9AM on Friday (March 29th) morning. It was a little over a 6 hour drive. We checked into our hotel, the East Rutherford Sheraton.

http://www.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=151

 

It was a beautiful and clean hotel, very modernized. There was a Starbucks with their usual high prices and a restaurant with a bar. There was a good sized indoor pool and a fitness center. The Metlife stadium (Giants/Jets) was very nearby. Service at the front desk was quick and friendly.

 

Our room:

 

535058_812145152907_1856223224_n.jpg

 

Please stay tuned for more of my review tomorrow after work!

Edited by narrow56

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Thanks for the review so far. Looking forward to more review and pics. Leaving on the EX in 23 days so we are really getting excited.

 

Happy Cruising

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We had prebooked tickets to the Medieval Times Dinner Theater in Lyndhurst, NJ. It was about a 5 minute drive from our hotel. I found tickets for $20 off each person on their website, and figured why not go. I had gone on my senior trip in 2005, and it was fun back then.

So we went in and decided to have beers. They were $7 each, but you go to keep the cup (which we ended up forgetting at our table). They have tons of souvenirs (junk) for sale.

 

The food was okay (although the chicken was excellent). The show was pretty good, but I’d imagine it’d be better if we had kids with us. It’s a fun night, and something to do if you stay in NJ and want something to do before your cruise!

 

37017_812145172867_1220460009_n.jpg

541850_812145472267_564719442_n.jpg

Edited by narrow56

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So, the question is.

 

Did the yellow knight win the battle?

Edited by asylum575

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So, the question is.

 

Did the yellow knight win the battle?

 

The yellow knight did not win! :-P How disappointing.

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Looking forward to reading more of your review. Funny enough I'm very familiar with the places you mention. I work in the office building next to that hotel and live on the cliff above Medieval Times.

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We had prebooked tickets to the Medieval Times Dinner Theater in Lyndhurst, NJ. It was about a 5 minute drive from our hotel. I found tickets for $20 off each person on their website, and figured why not go. I had gone on my senior trip in 2005, and it was fun back then.

So we went in and decided to have beers. They were $7 each, but you go to keep the cup (which we ended up forgetting at our table). They have tons of souvenirs (junk) for sale.

 

The food was okay (although the chicken was excellent). The show was pretty good, but I’d imagine it’d be better if we had kids with us. It’s a fun night, and something to do if you stay in NJ and want something to do before your cruise!

 

37017_812145172867_1220460009_n.jpg

541850_812145472267_564719442_n.jpg

 

im going there next sat, sounds like good fun, .......B

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Since my husband had barely ever been to New York City, I decided we should go on a tour. We had previously done a Free Tour by Foot in Washington DC.

 

http://www.freetoursbyfoot.com/

 

It was an excellent tour, that you pay by tipping the guide what you feel they deserve. So, I booked a bus tour for Manhattan. It wasn't exactly free, since we had to pay a small fee for the bus, but it was absolutely worth it. These tours are very informative, and you learn things that you would probably otherwise never know. For instance, I found out there is an enormous cathedral in NYC (St. John the Divine), that I had no idea existed!!

62856_812147647907_1858775241_n.jpg

 

 

I could spend a ton of time reviewing NYC, but that's not what this is about. But here are some important tid bits if you're staying in NJ and want to head to NYC. You can take the Secaucus Junction train to Penn Station and get on a subway just about anywhere you want to go. It was $8 round trip I believe. The subway system is pretty confusing if you're not familiar with it, but don't be afraid to ask the people in the booth which train to get on!

 

If you have any more questions about my trip to NYC, please ask.

 

1 WTC is almost done:

524841_812149489217_1678668756_n.jpg

 

Next up...embarkation!!

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Since my husband had barely ever been to New York City, I decided we should go on a tour. We had previously done a Free Tour by Foot in Washington DC.

 

http://www.freetoursbyfoot.com/

 

It was an excellent tour, that you pay by tipping the guide what you feel they deserve. So, I booked a bus tour for Manhattan. It wasn't exactly free, since we had to pay a small fee for the bus, but it was absolutely worth it. These tours are very informative, and you learn things that you would probably otherwise never know. For instance, I found out there is an enormous cathedral in NYC (St. John the Divine), that I had no idea existed!!

62856_812147647907_1858775241_n.jpg

 

 

I could spend a ton of time reviewing NYC, but that's not what this is about. But here are some important tid bits if you're staying in NJ and want to head to NYC. You can take the Secaucus Junction train to Penn Station and get on a subway just about anywhere you want to go. It was $8 round trip I believe. The subway system is pretty confusing if you're not familiar with it, but don't be afraid to ask the people in the booth which train to get on!

 

If you have any more questions about my trip to NYC, please ask.

 

1 WTC is almost done:

524841_812149489217_1678668756_n.jpg

 

Next up...embarkation!!

 

Great job Sara, I cant wait to read the rest of your review and it was nice meeting you and Andy.:D

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We set out for Cape Liberty from our hotel at around 10AM. It took around 30 minutes to get there, since our GPS was acting up, and wanted us to go down a closed road. Now that we've done it once, I think we'll have no trouble getting to the port ever again.

 

There was quite the line of cars going into the port, but it moved pretty quickly. It was a really weird set up for dropping off luggage. You pulled into a spot, the porters took your luggage (you tipped them of course), then had to pull back out. I've never seen it done this way before, but it did move quickly, so I can't really complain.

 

Next you pull around to the parking lot, pay $19 a day, then go park. It's a short walk to the terminal from there. Because we are gold we had priority check in (which I didn't even know about until we got there). The check in was very fast, less than 5 minutes. We skipped the annoying just boarding picture, and went straight to the shuttle. It was a 1 minute ride to the ship!

 

When we boarded we went to the MDR to see if we had our table for 2, but we couldn't find our table number (352). We did a little exploring until we could get into our rooms.

MDR:

575713_812173007087_45835788_n.jpg

Skyline:

5281_812173266567_246657821_n.jpg

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When we arrived in our stateroom (7517), our champagne was waiting on ice with 2 glasses. It was part of the Classic Romance I bought ahead of time for $100. There was supposed to be cupcakes and coupons for a breakfast in bed and a picture waiting for us too, but more on that later.

547669_812173980137_742747151_n.jpg

 

The tiny bathroom:

554900_812174010077_1000870814_n.jpg

 

The pool deck was pretty empty on that cold day:

541512_812174169757_759794744_n.jpg

 

Up next...our first dinner and some food porn!

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Great job Sara, I cant wait to read the rest of your review and it was nice meeting you and Andy.:D

 

Thank you!! :-D

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Before I give some pictures of our first dinner, I wanted to share that our stateroom attendant, Christopher, told us that the Quantum of the Seas will be coming to NJ when the Explorer goes to dry dock.

 

Now for food. Food is one of my favorite parts of cruising, and I probably eat too much of it over the course of the week! I also love taking pictures of my food. So here goes...

 

Our waiter was Pepito Bulgar from the Philippines and our assistant waiter was Samuel Gracias from India. They were both fantastic! I loved that Samuel always brought our coffee and tea without us having to ask, and once I asked for lemonade, he always made sure I had some on the table. Pepito had a great sense of humor. He told us that he had to run to the Walmart in the back to grab the sour cream or whatever it happened to be.

 

Artichoke Eggplant Tart-This was suprisingly really tasty, especially the crust:

524666_812174948197_1214928178_n.jpg

 

The prime rib was okay, but kind of fatty for my liking:

543921_812174988117_789457357_n.jpg

 

 

I was very happy they had carrot cake on the menu for Easter:

305932_812175028037_1189957259_n.jpg

 

Speaking of Easter, here is the Easter bunny at the Welcome Aboard show:

62808_812175187717_1278237769_n.jpg

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I'm looking forward to the rest!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Enjoying your review. I live 30min. north of East Rutherford and know the area well. Another great place to stay before cruising out of Bayonne is Secaucus. There are many hotels, loads of shopping and buses that go directly into NYC (20 min. from hotel to midtown Manhattan)....no need for a train and a subway.

 

I hope that your cabin attendant was correct in saying that Quantum will home port in Bayonne.

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Our interior stateroom, 7517, was near the theater, but quite the walk from the dining venues. It was obviously small, but it was clean and quite comfortable. I found the bed to be a little on the hard side, and I think it caused some back pain for me, since it's gone now that I'm home. Our stateroom attendant, Christopher, always kept the room clean and asked if we needed anything. I was disappointed that we didn’t get a towel animal every night!

 

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We ordered room service on our first night. The pizza was about the size of a Pizza Hut personal pan, and quite delicious, though I preferred the pizza at Cafe Promenade. The spinach artichoke dip is MUST TRY! It comes with sour cream and tortilla chips.

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One thing that I found odd/disappointing was I couldn't find the channel on the TV that told the ship's position and gave an outside view. Having an interior room, that would've been really nice! I've had that on all previous cruises...so I don't know what was going on there.

 

It was another cold day at sea, but we still wanted to be outside a little bit.

543960_812175606877_1995551935_n.jpg

 

I was REALLY looking forward to Johnny Rocket's for weeks. It did not disappoint. Here is my husband's burger:

541512_812175681727_57854631_n.jpg

 

It makes my mouth water just looking at it. Of course, they sang the YMCA for us. If you have the chance, be sure you go to Johnny Rocket's. It's well worth the $4.95 per person charge. You can pick anything from the menu, although there's a charge for beverages as usual.

 

We went back to Johnny Rocket's later in the week to get chocolate milkshakes, and they were heavenly. A word of warning: if you're wearing a dress DO NOT go outside when leaving. Go through the arcade. I'm pretty sure I flashed all of the teen club. Awkward!

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My husband and I parted ways for a little while. He wanted to go in the hot tub and I just wanted to read. I headed up to the 19th Hole, and decided to sit at the bar and watch the Yankees game instead (sadly, they lost). The bartender, Kamar, was really outstanding. I love a good conversation with a friendly bartender, and found that with Kamar. He even remembered me later, and remembered that I had told him about my husband going to the hot tub and asked Andy how that was. :p

 

After that it was time to head back to our room to get ready for our first formal night!

 

Up next...formal night!

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I wanted to make note of the dress from formal night. I don't think I saw anybody that wasn't dressed up in the MDR. That doesn't mean there wasn't anybody, I just didn't see them. Personally, I love dressing up and my husband doesn't mind either. However, I could care less if someone was wearing jeans or shorts while I'm eating. That has zero effect on my experience. So that's my two cents on that.

 

544937_812175721647_411059206_n.jpg

 

Chilled banana rum soup, try it!

537214_812176065957_1456633_n.jpg

 

Shrimp ravioli

537341_812176085917_211621799_n.jpg

 

NY Strip steak is always on the menu and was very good

156883_812176105877_2077097216_n.jpg

 

The souffle with espresso cream was okay:

544354_812176125837_1804347028_n.jpg

 

My husband has been waiting to have this lemon meringue tart again since our honeymoon in 2011:

551270_812176145797_1112793719_n.jpg

 

Be sure to attend the Captain's Welcome Aboard reception on the Promenade...there's free champagne!

Edited by narrow56

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I almost forgot to mention more about our Classic Romance package. At this point, nothing but the champagne had showed up in our room. We went to guest services to ask about it. They put a note on our account. When we got back to our room we had coupons for breakfast in bed, a free portrait, AND a bottle of Dom Perignon. I knew the Dom Perignon was a mistake, as the accidentally gave us the cards for the Ultimate Romance Package, so we didn't redeem it. :p I assumed the canapes, petit fours, and cupcakes would show up on the next formal night...

 

We attended the production show at 9:00-Wild, Cool, and Swinging. The singers and dancers were considerably more talented than those we saw on the Carnival Pride last summer. We ended up leaving before it was over because I was falling asleep. The show was good, I was just really tired.

 

Sadly, we missed the late night adult comedian: Jeff Bradley. One disappointment I had was there was not nearly as much comedy as there was on Carnival. That's one of my favorite parts of cruising, but oh well.

 

Coming up tomorrow...Day 3 at Port Canaveral. I hope you are enjoying my review!

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I have the cruise compass from all 7 days. I'm not going to scan them all, but if you have questions about venue hours or activities...let me know!

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I have the cruise compass from all 7 days. I'm not going to scan them all, but if you have questions about venue hours or activities...let me know!

 

Do you have pictures of the MDR menus?

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Do you have pictures of the MDR menus?

 

I only took one picture...and I don't even know if you can make anything out on it...

59196_812174873347_836879795_n.jpg

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Great review, we are sailing on her in september from quebec to NY, do you know if she has a diamond lounge?

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Great review, we are sailing on her in september from quebec to NY, do you know if she has a diamond lounge?

 

I don't think so. I did see that the 19th Hole was for diamonds only on a couple nights when we tried to go....that was kind of annoying because there would be 4 people there...and nobody else could go. I think they should have their own place!

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I have wanted to write a big review from a cruise for a long time. I did one for my cruise on the Carnival Pride (see my signature), but started it months after cruising.

 

This time around, I took notes daily to help me have a lot of useful details for everyone. I hope you enjoy this review as much as I've enjoyed so many on this forum!!

 

So first, some general information:

Who: Me (Sara, 25) and my husband (Andy, 25)

What: My 4th (husband's 3rd) cruise

When: March 31-April 7, 2013 (with a couple days prior to the cruise spent in NJ/NYC)

Where: Explorer of the Seas

Itinerary:

Sunday- Embarkation at Bayonne, NJ

Monday-Day at Sea

Tuesday-Port Canaveral

Wednesday-Nassau

Thursday-Coco Cay

Friday-Day at Sea

Saturday-Day at Sea

Sunday-Disembarkation at Bayonne, NJ

Why: I wanted to take a Spring Break cruise. I’m a teacher, so we get that week off!

How: We drove 6 hours to NJ from our home in Upstate NY (near Canada).

 

I welcome any and all questions, and I'll do my best to answer them. I will also answer questions to those who asked some in my previous thread!

 

More coming soon...though it'll take me a few days to finish with work and all. :p

 

A picture to start:

625668_812502831117_841149646_n.jpg

 

I took this same photo when we where anchored at Coco Cay in Feb.

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Can't wait for more of your review - we will be sailing on Explorer in October and the wait is driving me crazy!

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Great review so far! I'm really looking forward to the rest, as I am potentially booking a cruise with the same itinerary on Explorer for January '14 :)

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Loving your review as it brings back memories of when we were on it last Feb. It is such a beautiful ship with those wide promanade decks. Definitely want to get back on her again next year.:)

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