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Live from the Explorer - February 16, 2014


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Thanks for all the info. Explorer is beautiful. We were on her about 6 years ago & will hopefully be on her in Oct before she leaves.

 

When you post about your excursion to Universal, can you please list the bus times. We're interested in doing that in April when we are on Grandeur.

 

Thanks again

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What time are breakfast and lunch served in the dining room? Are they separate or is it a combined brunch?

No brunch, separate breakfast and lunch. MDR lunch only on sea days. Times vary day to day, and are posted in the Cruise Compass.

Edited by clarea
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I too, loved the art work...I especially enjoyed the Annie Leibovitz's photography in the foreword staircase. I was wishing I had taken more pictures of the art, but it is never the same. I also loved the suspended angel sculpture. We will be sailing again this July. I am looking forward to being amongst the art again.

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I too am enjoying your review Jonathan. We have sailed Explorer 4X - the last being this past NYE. We also love the GS! Please take advantage of breakfast in Portofino's - such a nice experience.

 

Sorry to hear Erky is on vacation. We actually had dinner next to him and his fiancé in Portofino's one night. Really nice couple. He and Leigh make quite a team!

 

May I ask, If you have dinner in Portofino's - could you seek out Alex? We have had dinner in Portofino's many many times over our 4 trips and he remembered us! When we left he gave me his e mail address however I either am not reading his handwriting well or doing something wrong as my "mail" keeps getting returned undeliverable.

 

If he remembers "Cheryl & Ron" from NYE cruise - (we ate with him 3X) Id love to get in touch with him. Should he be willing Ill forward my e mail to you. I know its asking a lot but I really would love to reach out to him.

 

In any event, if you have dinner in Portofino - ask for Alex - he will treat you very well!

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I too am enjoying your review Jonathan. We have sailed Explorer 4X - the last being this past NYE. We also love the GS! Please take advantage of breakfast in Portofino's - such a nice experience.

 

Sorry to hear Erky is on vacation. We actually had dinner next to him and his fiancé in Portofino's one night. Really nice couple. He and Leigh make quite a team!

 

May I ask, If you have dinner in Portofino's - could you seek out Alex? We have had dinner in Portofino's many many times over our 4 trips and he remembered us! When we left he gave me his e mail address however I either am not reading his handwriting well or doing something wrong as my "mail" keeps getting returned undeliverable.

 

If he remembers "Cheryl & Ron" from NYE cruise - (we ate with him 3X) Id love to get in touch with him. Should he be willing Ill forward my e mail to you. I know its asking a lot but I really would love to reach out to him.

 

In any event, if you have dinner in Portofino - ask for Alex - he will treat you very well!

 

I'll be doing the mystery dinner theatre during my cruise in Portofino's. (April) If you want to give me your email address, I can give it to him, if I see him.

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Thanks for the recommendation Tony O, I will keep on the lookout for savory bites.

 

Thank You Elaine I appreciate it.

 

I wrote a big post last night that disappeared into cyber space, so just want to type up my latest report quickly.

 

Tuesday February 17th - At Sea - Arrival in Port Canaveral in 4 hours.

 

Last night was formal night and I'd estimate that at least 85% of the passengers were resplendent in their finery. There were sequins, elegant gowns, colorful garb flowing along the Royal Promenade. Most men were clad in stylish suits and I counted six sporting tuxedoes including yours truly.

 

The ships' energy really seemed to bump up a notch or two and resounded with an extra level of pizzazz last night. There was a buzz in the air, champagne bubbles on a silver tray, sparkly outfits catch the light and twinkle happily. Photographers' bulbs flashed and everywhere there was a heightened sense that something special was around the corner.

 

High atop his catwalk perch the captain welcomed us and introduced his crew. We were informed of the demographics and how many aboard hailed from which country, the mention that New Yorkers made up the lion's share of the passenger body was met with a thunderous cheer from the proud New York faithful below.

 

Dinner was delicious as always. The chilled banana soup was thick and creamy infused with rum, the final touch a sprig of mint added a nice kick to the final spoonful.

 

The Pumpkin Seed Dinner Rolls are worthy of your attention, each roll is adorned with an array of salty seeds that offer a nice crunchy companion to the velvety soft baked bread.

 

I chose the Seafood Ravioli for my entree, each pasta pouch burst with a creamy filling of fish, the meal accented with tiny shrimp and drizzled with a flavorful sauce.

 

The Strawberry Cheesecake garnered less than ecstatic reviews from our table. Tablemate Joe and I ordered the Sky High Lemon Meringue Pie and immediately visions of enormous pie slices like you find in a New York Coffee Shop danced in our heads. You know the type with a Matterhorn like meringue so enormous you need cleats and a rope to scale it and take a bite.

 

It would prove to be a very low ceiling. The meringue was nothing more than a wisp, sulking over a very tart lemon interior. Our waiter Ronel was kind enough to replace my lemon pie with a chocolate souffle, this light and airy confection hit the spot enhanced with a topping of coffee cream, quite delicious.

 

A few weeks ago when filling out pre-boarding information online there was a section asking if you are celebrating any special events on board. My birthday is February 9th the date of the prior sailing to ours. I wrote it down and forgot about it.

 

Well, one and half dessert down and a chorus of servers and Head Waiter Patel converged at our table for a warm hearted rendition of Happy Birthday as a single glowing candle atop a satin soft, shinychocolate sponge cake was bestowed to me. I made a wish and reveled in the moment. It's only eight days out, I believe it's still acceptable to celebrate your birthday less than ten days after the fact according to the Birthday Handbook.

 

We took advantage of one of our suite perks today and enjoyed breakfast at Portofino's. What a lovely affair, table for two by the window, attentive service, delicious meal while gazing at the refreshing blue sea all within the confines of this cozy, inviting restaurant. Do take advantage of it, if you can.

 

Despite the continued chillly weather yester a gaggle of children at the pool deck frolicked and pranced in the pool oblivious to the fact that we were still a good days sail from the Sunshine State. We have been promised highs in the mid 80's today and already the pool deck is awash in golden sunshine and today the rest of the passengers are gleefully adorned in their summer gear. It's a beatiful morning and many adventures await us all as we make our way into Port Canaveral, Florida in few short hours.

 

Afternoon Trivia was very well attended yesterday. The only dull chord occured after someone loudly blurted out an answer and were instantly greeted with a round of boos and heckles. Trivia is a serious business to those of us who covet key chains and ship magnets to join the armada floating on our refrigerator doors back home.

 

It's almost time for morning trivia. I am excited to visit Universal Studio today and will report late tonight on our adventures at the park. I will give Dumbledore your best and sign off for now from the wonderful floating city that is Explorer of the Seas.

 

Jonathan

Edited by cruiserking
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I'll be doing the mystery dinner theatre during my cruise in Portofino's. (April) If you want to give me your email address, I can give it to him, if I see him.

 

Thank you Jonathan - not doing Portofino's on this cruise? Sorry....didn't mean to sound "pushy" :) We loved Portofino's

 

Alex gave me his personal e mail at yahoo but I must be spelling his last name wrong and he wrote: Alex-Portofino-Explorer so Im not sure if Portofino has their own e mail address. In any event, Id love to reach out to him. I thank you if you connect. My e mail is cherolsen@optonline.net

 

thanks again and enjoy your cruise - loving following your review

 

Cheryl Olsen

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Thanks for taking the time to post your live review! I just left Explorer on Sunday. Leigh Xuareb was the Cruise Director, and he was just delightful. He's got a great sense of humor and handles things very well. The Activities Director was Andre from Jamaica, and he was just as good.

 

We had a great cruise, and I agree with cruiserking about the food. Everything that we ordered was just fine. Naturally we enjoyed some things more than others, but that would happen anywhere.

 

Captain Henrik told us that there would only be one formal night on seven night cruises now, because most cruisers apparently don't like to dress up twice. We dressed for Valentine's Day, my husband looked wonderful in a tux.

 

My only disappointment/frustration was that there is no longer any non-smoking time in the casino. I am very sensitive to smoke, and don't go to places where smoking is allowed if I can avoid them. Royal Caribbean lost a bit of money on us this cruise. Also, the smoke permeates the bars outside the casino downstairs, and comes up the stairway into the Royal Promenade. This made things a bit unpleasant for me, but I simply avoided those areas. I did express my feelings in my "after cruise" survey.

 

Enjoy the rest of your cruise. It goes by so quickly! It seems like I just left the office, and here I am back again!

 

Beth

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Thanks for taking the time to post your live review! I just left Explorer on Sunday. Leigh Xuareb was the Cruise Director, and he was just delightful. He's got a great sense of humor and handles things very well. The Activities Director was Andre from Jamaica, and he was just as good.

 

We had a great cruise, and I agree with cruiserking about the food. Everything that we ordered was just fine. Naturally we enjoyed some things more than others, but that would happen anywhere.

 

Captain Henrik told us that there would only be one formal night on seven night cruises now, because most cruisers apparently don't like to dress up twice. We dressed for Valentine's Day, my husband looked wonderful in a tux.

 

My only disappointment/frustration was that there is no longer any non-smoking time in the casino. I am very sensitive to smoke, and don't go to places where smoking is allowed if I can avoid them. Royal Caribbean lost a bit of money on us this cruise. Also, the smoke permeates the bars outside the casino downstairs, and comes up the stairway into the Royal Promenade. This made things a bit unpleasant for me, but I simply avoided those areas. I did express my feelings in my "after cruise" survey.

 

Enjoy the rest of your cruise. It goes by so quickly! It seems like I just left the office, and here I am back again!

 

Beth

 

Wow, not happy to read this. We love to dress up and always pack for 2 formal nights as it what is listed in the cruise material.

 

I am also very sensitive to smoke, so I guess we will also not be visiting the casino on this ship when we sail her in March.

 

Might be back to Celebrity for us if the smoke permeates the area to much. Don't want to book a cruise only to have to "avoid" certain areas.

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Thanks for the recommendation Tony O, I will keep on the lookout for savory bites.

 

Thank You Elaine I appreciate it.

 

I wrote a big post last night that disappeared into cyber space, so just want to type up my latest report quickly.

 

Tuesday February 17th - At Sea - Arrival in Port Canaveral in 4 hours.

 

Last night was formal night and I'd estimate that at least 85% of the passengers were resplendent in their finery. There were sequins, elegant gowns, colorful garb flowing along the Royal Promenade. Most men were clad in stylish suits and I counted six sporting tuxedoes including yours truly.

 

The ships' energy really seemed to bump up a notch or two and resounded with an extra level of pizzazz last night. There was a buzz in the air, champagne bubbles on a silver tray, sparkly outfits catch the light and twinkle happily. Photographers' bulbs flashed and everywhere there was a heightened sense that something special was around the corner.

 

High atop his catwalk perch the captain welcomed us and introduced his crew. We were informed of the demographics and how many aboard hailed from which country, the mention that New Yorkers made up the lion's share of the passenger body was met with a thunderous cheer from the proud New York faithful below.

 

Dinner was delicious as always. The chilled banana soup was thick and creamy infused with rum, the final touch a sprig of mint added a nice kick to the final spoonful.

 

The Pumpkin Seed Dinner Rolls are worthy of your attention, each roll is adorned with an array of salty seeds that offer a nice crunchy companion to the velvety soft baked bread.

 

I chose the Seafood Ravioli for my entree, each pasta pouch burst with a creamy filling of fish, the meal accented with tiny shrimp and drizzled with a flavorful sauce.

 

The Strawberry Cheesecake garnered less than ecstatic reviews from our table. Tablemate Joe and I ordered the Sky High Lemon Meringue Pie and immediately visions of enormous pie slices like you find in a New York Coffee Shop danced in our heads. You know the type with a Matterhorn like meringue so enormous you need cleats and a rope to scale it and take a bite.

 

It would prove to be a very low ceiling. The meringue was nothing more than a wisp, sulking over a very tart lemon interior. Our waiter Ronel was kind enough to replace my lemon pie with a chocolate souffle, this light and airy confection hit the spot enhanced with a topping of coffee cream, quite delicious.

 

A few weeks ago when filling out pre-boarding information online there was a section asking if you are celebrating any special events on board. My birthday is February 9th the date of the prior sailing to ours. I wrote it down and forgot about it.

 

Well, one and half dessert down and a chorus of servers and Head Waiter Patel converged at our table for a warm hearted rendition of Happy Birthday as a single glowing candle atop a satin soft, shinychocolate sponge cake was bestowed to me. I made a wish and reveled in the moment. It's only eight days out, I believe it's still acceptable to celebrate your birthday less than ten days after the fact according to the Birthday Handbook.

 

We took advantage of one of our suite perks today and enjoyed breakfast at Portofino's. What a lovely affair, table for two by the window, attentive service, delicious meal while gazing at the refreshing blue sea all within the confines of this cozy, inviting restaurant. Do take advantage of it, if you can.

 

Despite the continued chillly weather yester a gaggle of children at the pool deck frolicked and pranced in the pool oblivious to the fact that we were still a good days sail from the Sunshine State. We have been promised highs in the mid 80's today and already the pool deck is awash in golden sunshine and today the rest of the passengers are gleefully adorned in their summer gear. It's a beatiful morning and many adventures await us all as we make our way into Port Canaveral, Florida in few short hours.

 

Afternoon Trivia was very well attended yesterday. The only dull chord occured after someone loudly blurted out an answer and were instantly greeted with a round of boos and heckles. Trivia is a serious business to those of us who covet key chains and ship magnets to join the armada floating on our refrigerator doors back home.

 

It's almost time for morning trivia. I am excited to visit Universal Studio today and will report late tonight on our adventures at the park. I will give Dumbledore your best and sign off for now from the wonderful floating city that is Explorer of the Seas.

 

Jonathan

 

Jonathan,

 

My wife and I are enjoying your posts. My wife cannot wait to enjoy the cold soups once again (our 5th trip on the Explorer on May 22). I really enjoy the formal nights Time to check on my tux.

 

Keep us posted and enjoy every minute on the Explorer.

 

Fred & Gerry

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Wow, not happy to read this. We love to dress up and always pack for 2 formal nights as it what is listed in the cruise material.

 

I am also very sensitive to smoke, so I guess we will also not be visiting the casino on this ship when we sail her in March.

 

Might be back to Celebrity for us if the smoke permeates the area to much. Don't want to book a cruise only to have to "avoid" certain areas.

 

Do you think there will be two on our 8 night?

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I'll be doing the mystery dinner theatre during my cruise in Portofino's. (April) If you want to give me your email address, I can give it to him, if I see him.

 

 

Does the Explorer have the mystery dinner? I thought it wasn't available on this ship. Does anyone have details? Cost, which day and time? When do you book it?

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...

 

Captain Henrik told us that there would only be one formal night on seven night cruises now, because most cruisers apparently don't like to dress up twice. We dressed for Valentine's Day, my husband looked wonderful in a tux.

 

My only disappointment/frustration was that there is no longer any non-smoking time in the casino. I am very sensitive to smoke, and don't go to places where smoking is allowed if I can avoid them. Royal Caribbean lost a bit of money on us this cruise. Also, the smoke permeates the bars outside the casino downstairs, and comes up the stairway into the Royal Promenade. This made things a bit unpleasant for me, but I simply avoided those areas. I did express my feelings in my "after cruise" survey.

 

 

There is another thread elsewhere talking about whether formal nights are going to one per (approximately) weeklong cruise. No conclusive answer, though. We just got tuxes for this last cruise, and really enjoyed dressing up, so no matter what, we'll continue to dress and have fun doing it.

 

As for the smoking, we've noticed this on Voyager-class ships, that the smoke from the casino comes up into the Promenade through the one staircase. Hopefully we can avoid the area. And at least for our Explorer cruise coming up, there won't be smoking right on the Promenade in any of the bars.

 

On our recent Allure cruise, the smell of smoke from the casino was revolting in the whole aft area outside the dining rooms, and drifting up the stairwells. We left the dining room one afternoon at lunch because it was so bad in the dining room itself, and each night at dinner, we had the head waiter closing the dining room doors toward our side to try to keep the smell of smoke out of the dining room.

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Does the Explorer have the mystery dinner? I thought it wasn't available on this ship. Does anyone have details? Cost, which day and time? When do you book it?

Explorer had the Mystery Dinner back in August. Cost was about $50 per person. You can book it online in the Pre-Cruise Planner.

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Does the Explorer have the mystery dinner? I thought it wasn't available on this ship. Does anyone have details? Cost, which day and time? When do you book it?

 

Explorer had the Mystery Dinner back in August. Cost was about $50 per person. You can book it online in the Pre-Cruise Planner.

 

Again, clarea is right (such a wealth of knowledge!!), but to piggyback his answer a bit, it costs $55/pp for my upcoming sailing (April 24 9nt). I found it in the pre-cruise planner (as clarea said :) ) and it is only available on one night of my sailing. It is a port day (St. Maarten), all aboard time is 8p but the MDT starts at 7p. I believe they allow for 3 hours, but I have read its more like 2.

 

Check where you can make specialty restaurant reservations on the pre-cruise planner for the details on your sailing. I did have to pay for it at the time of reservation, just like an excursion. Not sure if that is the norm for all specialty restaurants?!

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Subscribed. So excited to read the rest of your review. You are off to an awesome start. Love your vivid descriptions so far.

 

We will be on her in 6 weeks and can't wait to get away from this weather! Love RCI, but this will be our first time on Explorer. Have read so many good reviews on her and soooo looking forward to yours.

 

Enjoy every minute of your cruise. Thanks for taking the time to do this "Live Review."

 

WVUGammy,

Where did you get that bug. I thought there was one crawling in my phone! Lol.

 

Subscribing Jonathan. I will be on the Explorer in 38 days with WVUGammy. I can't wait!! I love your writing style, by the way.

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