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Live from the Explorer - February 16, 2014


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Gaylemh, today is the 21st, Sat. is the 22nd and This Sunday is the 23rd on. The Explorer. And we will be on it. But thanks for the heads up.

 

In your list of cruises you have 3/23/14 Explorer. I thought that was the one you were talking about.

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That's correct, the captain was not in attendance. The dinner was hosted by the Food and Beverage Director Werner Zurcher. It was still the Captain's Table and a great honor to be in attendance and receive first class service and a special menu and cook book signed the officers. Jonathan

Many Captains, for whatever reason, decline to host that table. They will designate other officers to host it, if they will have it at all. It's the Captain's decision.

The F&B officer (Werner) is often chosen to do that, as well as the Hotel Director, on this cruise John Denton. There may have been two tables on this cruise, Werner at one, John the other. We've enjoyed dinner with both.

That's the way they did it when most of these officers were on Monarch of the Seas last year. Hotel Director John Denton, when Monarch left the fleet, was transferred to EX and took as many of his staff with him to EX as he could. GSM Leander was another.

Have really enjoyed your reports from EX. So happy to hear you love EX and RCCL. We do too!

Rick and Deirdra

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They have not even broken ground on the new cruise terminal at Cape Liberty so who knows if it will be ready for the Quantum. The current rumor aboard Explorer according to several of the officers I have spoken with is that our beloved Explorer is heading for the Asian market following her dry dock.

 

We have fallen in love with this ship and will be very sorry to see her go.

 

 

We love the Explorer too and have 2 more cruises booked on her before she leaves Bayonne. Beautiful ship with a great crew and service. The Explorer is the work horse of the fleet, plying the waters year-round from Bayonne.

 

Enjoying reading your live review and comments.

 

Theresa

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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!

 

We had Alex in December he was great. Very nice and friendly.

 

Sent from my SM-N900V using Forums mobile app

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At Sea - February 22

 

Hello Everyone, thank you so much for your kind comments. I posted two long Coco Cay installments yesterday but, they both disappeared. I will try and cut them in two in hopes that they post properly.

 

At Sea February 21

 

We are in a perpetual state of bliss. As we steam East the temperature is a balmy 78 degrees, the calm sea is stretched out before us like a great blue blanket.

 

Each morning our day blossoms with breakfast at Portofino's. This wonderful suite perk enables you to enjoy your first meal of the day in this intimate restaurant. We love the serene surroundings. The service is first class. Today I accepted Desti the waiter's suggestion of drizzled chocolate sauce over my French Toast, I wouldn't make a habit of it but boy, was it delicious.

 

Upon learning they had no more shredded wheat I started to get up to peer at the adjacent cart, but, no sooner had Desti motioned me to stay as he deciphered the selection from his perch at our table side. It is this constant willingness and eagerness of the staff to render the best service possible that endears you to the crew and this ship.

 

In the background carefree 1970's songs buoyed our spirits while the sea undulated in lazy rhythms while a swath of golden sunshine carved freckles into the water.

 

Yesterday we tendered into Coco Cay, our first ever visit here, and we quickly became enchanted by this magic island. As we tendered toward the shore I could see the shimmering sea reflected in the balcony cabin glass high above. I would suggest arriving here early. We hit the island at 9:30 am, friends of ours however, who left the ship at noon experienced delays of up to an hour try to depart from the ship.

 

We scoped out a a pair of loungers in a lovely spot beneath the shade of a giant palm frond. We were perfectly situated just steps from the water, the food stations and rest rooms.

 

There are numerous activities to keep you occupied here from para-sailing to glass bottomed boat rides, snorkeling, a floating rock climbing wall, inflatable slide and wave runners. It is this magnet like draw of these adventurous pursuits that helps to alleviate crowding.

 

After the icy cold wavelets grasped our feet we decided against any water activites and enjoyed a pleasant day relaxing and exploring the island.

 

To be continued...

 

Jonathan

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At Sea February 21 (Continued)

 

As of noon today we were 392 miles from Coco Cay, the seas becoming steadily choppy and would churn and break into foamy spray by nightfall as lightning bands lit up the inky night.

 

For lunch at Coco Cay we attended a delicious feast at the Wave Runner Terrace, a lovely canopied deck at the water's edge. The event was host by Hotel Director John Denton for suite passengers. If you are considering booking a suite, it is worth every penny. Beyond the spacious cabin, the marvelous concierge lounge, where Denzil will cater to your every whim, the host of ammenities, it is continuous cocktail and dinner parties that raise the level of excitement as each new invitation arrives in your stateroom.

 

We enjoyed a second round of the frosty island libation the Coco Loco. I'd purchased a pair of these tasty potions earlier in a keepsake Coco Cay glass for a mere $8 each. For lunch a scooped out cantelope was presented to us its fruity interior replaced with a sweet and succulent seafood salad the exclamation point a savory, tender lobster tail on a skewer. Those Coco Loco's relax you and lift your spirits in a special way, as Bahamian fellow I met in Nassau said, "They make you feel like you're fifteen again".

A medley of diced tropical fruits including melon, berries, pineapple and liches rounded out dessert.

 

We have realized that this Wow factor they speak of at Royal Caribbean is much more than just a marketing ploy. They have caught our attention and I can barely wait to check my favorite cruise search engines for the next sailing that works with our vacationing schedule.

 

Off to Maritime Trivia with Captain Henrick.

 

To be continued...

 

 

Jonathan

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WOW such a great review of the trip so far the DW and I just can't wait to get back on her again. Just thinking about portofinos and the egg's benedict for breakfast the 16 day's can't pass fast enough. Hope you have smooth sailing and calm seas for the rest of the trip.

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Coco Cay - Continued

 

Make sure you remember to bring your sun tan lotion with you. We forgot and the penalty resulted in us paying a hefty $20 for a bottle at the straw market ashore.

 

The cool, mist spray with the scent of creamsicle did the trick and we both escaped any discomfort from the hot sun rays. Others however weren't as lucky, several of whom were singed to dark fire engine red that would take more than a hose to douse the burn.

 

While strolling the island we noticed a series of strings suspended above in a criss-crossing cats' cradle fashion. One of the island locals, from nearby Berry Island, informed us it was done to ward off the sea gulls. The string has a blinding effect on the birds and thwarts their attack on innocent hot dog clutching guests below. RCCL really has thought of everything, Wow.

 

We didn't walk the Nature Trail but, table mates Joe & Sue had and told of their encounter with a family of local iguanas who call Coco Cay their home. The large reptiles are quite partial to fruit, the largest of the brood was happily munching on a piece of melon offered to him by an Explorer passenger. These iguanas have life I'm sure living in paradise and enjoying a selection of treats from the two othe cruise lines that RCCL rents the island to, Carnival and MSC.

 

You won't go hungry at Coco Cay either, there are numerous food stations chock full of tasty treats from barbecued ribs, hamburgers, potato and macaroni salad. We enjoyed some of the juicy, flavorful hot dogs. The spice cake is rather tasty too for those of the sweet tooth contingent.

 

What a perfect day, relaxing, strolling, snacking and staring at the endless horizon, the cotton candy cloud puffs floating overhead. The only other thing in sight was bright white NCL ship anchored several hundred yards away ferrying its passengers into Great Styrrup Cay.

 

We finished off our day with another special suite event, a dinner at the Windjammer Cafe. It's incredible how a few table cloths, crystal glasses and place settings transform this casual restaurant to an elegant dining venue.

 

A bevy of officers in their navy uniforms and gold bar embossed jacket cuffs greeted us as we arrived. The Liverpuddlian Executive Chef introduced the gourmet feast which included prime rib stuffed with lobster, Lobster Thermador, an Indian Chicken dish, Singapore Noodles, mixed vegetables, lamb chops, salmon, mashed potatoes and gravy. The service was superb, wine was poured liberally, the ornate tables consisted of a trio of bread condiments and a plate of Antipasta. Profiteroles and tiny custard cakes and a quartet of cheeses rounded out the dessert offerings.

 

We shared the evening with some new friends we had met at Portofino's one morning plus the added pleasure Marketing and Revenue Officer Simon Nevil joining us as well. This jovial British gentleman added a spark to the night and regaled us with tales of his youth in Portsmouth, England.

 

As we left Simon embraced both my wife and I as if we were family, we feel as if we are and you will too.

 

Jonathan

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WOW such a great review of the trip so far the DW and I just can't wait to get back on her again. Just thinking about portofinos and the egg's benedict for breakfast the 16 day's can't pass fast enough. Hope you have smooth sailing and calm seas for the rest of the trip.

 

Thanks Fishbonz, it's been a tremendous trip. Trivia with Captain Henrick was the best tournament yet. It's easy to see why this man is so well loved by the crew. He has such sweet, friendly demeanor, a charming fellow who makes the ladies swoon and the men admire him.

 

Smooth seas so far, the weather had dipped into the forties, a few die-hards still in their shorts including yours truly, desperately clinging to the notion that we are on a Bahamas cruise and it ain't over till we tie up in Bayonne.

 

Jonathan

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Thanks Fishbonz, it's been a tremendous trip. Trivia with Captain Henrick was the best tournament yet. It's easy to see why this man is so well loved by the crew. He has such sweet, friendly demeanor, a charming fellow who makes the ladies swoon and the men admire him.

 

Smooth seas so far, the weather had dipped into the forties, a few die-hards still in their shorts including yours truly, desperately clinging to the notion that we are on a Bahamas cruise and it ain't over till we tie up in Bayonne.

 

Jonathan

 

We have had a heat wave here in NJ the last two days... in the 50s!!!

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Well, Jonathan you should note the your pleasant weather you have today will continue till you reach port. To be greated with 45-50 degree temp during this snowy season we are experiencing is a blessing for you. All you have to do is hop into your car and home you go without having to dig out. BTW sorry you missed the beautiful pink sky the break the winter gave us last night.

I will be at the port by 10:30 AM as you depart. Nice cruising.

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Jonathan, if I may ask were these just suite event's as your in a grand suite or are you guy's diamond+ or pinnacle member's ?.

 

Hi Fishbonz,

 

We were invited to these events as suite members. Perhaps there were Diamond members there too, but, most of the people I recognized from the concierge lounge so I believe it was just for the suites.

 

The Diamond members as you know have tons of special perks too.

 

Laney219 and Maureenie Beanie,

 

Temps in the 50's beats the bone rattling cold we've experienced all winter. But, when you just returned for gorgeous weather in Florida and the Bahamas in low 80's, 50 is cold.

 

Everyone is running around in sweatshirts and long pants today, nary a soul on the pool deck, the rude awakening that we're almost home. Have a wonderful cruise Maureen.

 

Jonathan

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Thank you so much for the beautiful review. I was on the Explorer in Oct and will be on her again March 21. I fell in love with her almost immediately. I have sailed to Nassau for my honeymoon many moons ago and went to Coco Cay on the Enchantment in '97. Your colorful description makes me more excited about sailing on her again and visiting those ports.

Enjoy the last moments of your cruise and thanks again.

 

Doris

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Jonathan, a wonderful review! We will be on her March 11th. I have been counting for 365 days and now here it is! As I said before we are Celebrity & Princess cruisers and have been very nervous about RCI. Well, you have eased our fears! Thank you!

Marguerite

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Jonathan, a wonderful review! We will be on her March 11th. I have been counting for 365 days and now here it is! As I said before we are Celebrity & Princess cruisers and have been very nervous about RCI. Well, you have eased our fears! Thank you!

Marguerite

 

Hello Marguerite,

 

You have nothing to fear. Explorer is a gorgeous ship, beautifully maintained. A classic liner. The food onboard is excellent, you will have a wonderful voyage.

 

We were so taken with Royal Caribbean that we've booked the next one already, next February aboard Grandeur.

 

Jonathan

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Jonathan, a wonderful review! We will be on her March 11th. I have been counting for 365 days and now here it is! As I said before we are Celebrity & Princess cruisers and have been very nervous about RCI. Well, you have eased our fears! Thank you!

Marguerite

 

Nervous?

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Coco Cay - Continued

 

Make sure you remember to bring your sun tan lotion with you. We forgot and the penalty resulted in us paying a hefty $20 for a bottle at the straw market ashore.

 

The cool, mist spray with the scent of creamsicle did the trick and we both escaped any discomfort from the hot sun rays. Others however weren't as lucky, several of whom were singed to dark fire engine red that would take more than a hose to douse the burn.

 

While strolling the island we noticed a series of strings suspended above in a criss-crossing cats' cradle fashion. One of the island locals, from nearby Berry Island, informed us it was done to ward off the sea gulls. The string has a blinding effect on the birds and thwarts their attack on innocent hot dog clutching guests below. RCCL really has thought of everything, Wow.

 

We didn't walk the Nature Trail but, table mates Joe & Sue had and told of their encounter with a family of local iguanas who call Coco Cay their home. The large reptiles are quite partial to fruit, the largest of the brood was happily munching on a piece of melon offered to him by an Explorer passenger. These iguanas have life I'm sure living in paradise and enjoying a selection of treats from the two othe cruise lines that RCCL rents the island to, Carnival and MSC.

 

You won't go hungry at Coco Cay either, there are numerous food stations chock full of tasty treats from barbecued ribs, hamburgers, potato and macaroni salad. We enjoyed some of the juicy, flavorful hot dogs. The spice cake is rather tasty too for those of the sweet tooth contingent.

 

What a perfect day, relaxing, strolling, snacking and staring at the endless horizon, the cotton candy cloud puffs floating overhead. The only other thing in sight was bright white NCL ship anchored several hundred yards away ferrying its passengers into Great Styrrup Cay.

 

We finished off our day with another special suite event, a dinner at the Windjammer Cafe. It's incredible how a few table cloths, crystal glasses and place settings transform this casual restaurant to an elegant dining venue.

 

A bevy of officers in their navy uniforms and gold bar embossed jacket cuffs greeted us as we arrived. The Liverpuddlian Executive Chef introduced the gourmet feast which included prime rib stuffed with lobster, Lobster Thermador, an Indian Chicken dish, Singapore Noodles, mixed vegetables, lamb chops, salmon, mashed potatoes and gravy. The service was superb, wine was poured liberally, the ornate tables consisted of a trio of bread condiments and a plate of Antipasta. Profiteroles and tiny custard cakes and a quartet of cheeses rounded out the dessert offerings.

 

We shared the evening with some new friends we had met at Portofino's one morning plus the added pleasure Marketing and Revenue Officer Simon Nevil joining us as well. This jovial British gentleman added a spark to the night and regaled us with tales of his youth in Portsmouth, England.

 

As we left Simon embraced both my wife and I as if we were family, we feel as if we are and you will too.

 

Jonathan

 

WOW! It all sounds amazing and I'm a little jealous of all the wonderful suite perks and dinners you are enjoying. We only had the Captain's cocktail party and one dinner (and the usual tours) the last time we stayed in a GS.

 

Enjoy the rest of your cruise!

 

Jo

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WOW! It all sounds amazing and I'm a little jealous of all the wonderful suite perks and dinners you are enjoying. We only had the Captain's cocktail party and one dinner (and the usual tours) the last time we stayed in a GS.

 

Enjoy the rest of your cruise!

 

Jo

 

We didn't get nearly as many invites either and we stayed in GS 3X on Explorer

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First Thank you for the updates they were fantastic and informative and I just saw someone had the GS multiple times and not the perks, I think that is important to know as being in the GS may not be everyone's ability or choice, today marks somewhere in the 70 or 80 days on the Explorer and I have had inside to suites and you have to measure which do you prefer:

Grand suite one time to

Jr suite 2/3 times

Balcony 3/4 times

Outside or inside 5 times

 

Trust me the suites are nicer and have multiple perks but so does having multiple cruises and getting crown and anchor points so for newer cruisers reading the boards thankfully you get the input from a lot of people on multiple ships and rooms to be able to fit what fits you, because a day at sea is still a great day.

 

Again Thank You for taking the time to share the GS week I looked forward this past week to read your posts everyday as most of have, great job and welcome home.

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An excellent review to say the least, thank-you very much.

 

We have been on the Explorer several times and will be doing our first back 2 back on her beginning March 29th. With that in mind, I must agree with Dodgeball24, that yes, a Grand Suite is an amazing cabin and, the perks are indeed wonderful, because we have done it. However, just like anything else, its a personal preference, based on so many factors.

 

After our upcoming back 2 back cruises, we will have cruised 25 times, and, have been in every type room except a Royal Suite. We've done Owners, Grand, Junior, right down the line. On several cruises, our friends would joke how they were doing 2-4 cruises a year compared to our one cruise in the Owners or Grand Suite, and 1-2 cruises compared to our Junior Suite. So, we decided to try an inside and Promenade cabin on certain ships, and I must say, we enjoy them just as much, but, for different reasons.

 

We had to separate how much time we actually spent in our room to utilize the extra space and balcony, compared to the savings of lower category cabins in order to do additional cruises. Obviously on a cruise to Europe I would want the balcony, since the outside view would be spectacular, but, otherwise, I look at it, as once I'm in bed sleeping and, my eyes are shut, I don't know if I'm in a castle, or a 2-foot space.

 

Anyway, great review, and yes, balcony and larger suites are great, the perks are excellent, eating with the crew is wonderful, but it just boils down to what you can afford, and what your preferences are.

 

I will be posting from the Explorer too beginning March 29th for two weeks. We are so excited to do our first back 2 back. I'm waiting to see how it feels once we get back to Cape Liberty from our first cruise and don't have to get off the ship while others do, and just stay on for the second cruise. We are very fortunate and thank-ful that we are able to do this. Now, I have to hope I know how to operate the new camera system I just purchased so I can post some decent photos.

Dave

Edited by Dave4120
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Most times they take you to the champain bar to wait but they may make you jump off and seat you in the priority section for the first shuttle over with the crew, what is neat is you are the first people in the windjammer and the last back to back there was 3 other couples and us in there for awhile until the zoo of incoming passengers came on board but for those 30 minutes life was good.

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