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Explorer Review: July 3 VERY LONG - PART 2

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Costa Maya and Dennis.




Tuesday night we went to our new table for the first time only to find that our tablemates were no-shows. We later found out from our head-waiter, Kenan from Turkey, that they had chosen an open table on their own with some friends they’d met. While somewhat disappointed we enjoyed the rest of the week with our own large table. Our waiter, Charle from India and our assistant-waiter, Rupesh, also from India, took very good care of us.




Wednesday was Costa Maya and our first indication that Dennis would be forcing adjustments to our itinerary. We had scheduled a tour of the ruins for this day. After a late night and cave tubing the previous day the excursion was voted down. Once we had a leisurely breakfast in the Windjammer, we walked over to the port. They’ve done a nice job creating a comfortable port with shops, etc. After the ladies did a bit of shopping we hopped a bus/cab over to the fishing village. Again, if you go, expect rustic charm…a sandy road, ropes as speed bumps, very thin dogs wandering about, and some soldiers with automatic weapons slung over their shoulders. The village was basically a street with little stands, shops and a couple of restaurants on either side. The locals were friendly but slightly aggressive. They wanted you to visit, which is to be expected. They are quite open to negotiating and we found that about 30% of the asking price was what we paid for most items (jewelry, sundress for my daughter, etc.). After a couple of hours of shopping we headed back to port. The ladies wanted to shop some more so my son and I returned to the ship. I believe after dinner this evening we attended the Love and Marriage game show. This is always a favorite and is not to be missed. The long-time married couple had been married for 63 YEARS and made the show.




By the way, my wife and I gambled (blackjack) each evening after dinner and before the 9 p.m. show. It gives us a chance to have some time to ourselves and allows the children to have some too. Not to mention that we both love to gamble a bit. The good news is that in the one hour each evening we played we managed to win $400, $600, $500 and $1,000 respectively. I won’t talk about the last night when my wife did fine (I did not :o) The cards were very good to us. I can’t say the same for most of our playing partners. We did however make many friends in the Casino. The dealers, cocktail servers and cage folks were all extremely nice.




It was about now that we received confirmation that we could not sail to either Cozumel or Grand Cayman due to Hurricane Dennis. That evening at dinnertime we sailed North to get past Cuba so we could then head east, beating Dennis to get to Nassau. It worked. Even though Nassau was not what we were hoping for, we all were happy to avoid the storm. Thursday we were at sea all day and finally had the opportunity for a pool day, which we enjoy. My wife headed down early and yes, chair-hogged a couple of chairs for us. We met for breakfast and she headed back to the pool while the rest of us went back to the room. When we met her at the pool she had just finished her battle with the pool attendants. They had moved our towels and taken both of her library books from the local public library. When they couldn’t produce them, she got a bit excited….not in her nature normally. Long story short, we got new chairs and towels and were setup in a spot next to the lower bar. The weather was great and we spent the day sunning and “refreshing”. For those who are interested, Explorer did NOT conduct the horse races this week. They did do the men vs. ladies competition, the sexy legs contest and they bellyflop. Maybe because we’d seen these before (but I don’t think so) they seemed stale and were not great fun. It could have been the staff that ran the shows as well. Steve-O did some and he was just so-so.




Now may be the best time to talk about our food experience. Let me start with the positive. Johnny Rockets was great (never thought I’d say that). Both times we ate there the service was great and the food, for what it is, first rate. I wish I could say the same about the food quality in the dining room or WindJammers. We all felt that it had taken a turn for the worse.




Food – Main Dining Room: The positives include the prime rib, the Caesar salad and the lobster. Other than that, quite frankly, the food was very disappointing. The soups were bland, the appetizer selection was not great and what we did have was average. Even the shrimp cocktail was kind of small, limp and not as good as we make at home or eat at most seafood restaurants. The strip steak was some of the most flavorless beef we’ve ever eaten. The jerk chicken on Caribbean night was very average. Without getting on too much of a rant here, you get the picture. We’ve always enjoyed dinners on RCCL cruises and we did this time. We looked forward to each and every one and had great service each night. However, at one point my wife thought that the best food she’d eaten so far on the cruise had been at the island restaurant during our cave-tubing excursion (the $5 meal mentioned earlier). That says volumes regarding her opinion of the food on-board. The lobster changed her mind in this regard. They did a nice job preparing the lobster and served two to each of us.




Staying with the less-than-positive side, WindJammer is only ok. After the second day I began getting eggs over-easy so that I was actually getting eggs for breakfast. In my opinion, the eggs served on the buffet and even those used in the omelettes are about ½ eggs and ½ egg substitutes. I could be wrong. The orange juice they served each morning was, according to my wife “the worst orange juice I’ve ever tasted.” I have to say that I agreed. The rest of the food was average at best. I’m not a fruit eater but decided to try some at breakfast. The pineapple was inedible. I know we must sound like whiny, picky eaters but believe me, we’re not. My kids actually ate far less on the cruise than they do at home, something that none of us every really figured out.




Next: Nassau and Summary.

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I laughed when I saw your comment on "Steve-O", we too had the same opinion! But you lose us on the food. I would agree that its not a 5 star restaurant but I felt the food was fine and you could always find something you would like. Again, just two different opinions, nothing personal!

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I hear ya......the way I saw most people eating you'd have thought it was a 5 star restaurant. And, forgot to mention, the servers will exchange anything you don't like in the blink of an eye. In fact, if/when you leave food on your plate they assume you don't like it. They care very much that you enjoy your food and your vacation. One night when my wife indicated the food she'd ordered was so-so, our headwaiter made a special desert for her. So, our food experience was not the best. I'd drop everything to be back on board this morning ;)

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I'm surprised to hear that people were on the Explorer and didn't find Steve-O funny! My group thought he was hillarious...and we didn't care much for Clo. However, it was Clo's first sailing back from vacation when we went so she was probably stretched a little thin and we should have cut her more slack. Thanks for the review Kruzfamily..it's interesting to see what happens when the ship gets re-routed due to weather. Glad you had fun!

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