Jump to content

(Not) Live from the Explorer of the Seas, March 2014


Recommended Posts

Don't feel too bad about missing the cool bridge shot. The one you got is lovely. I am sure Carol told you the next sailaway ( 3/29) was in a downpour. I watch from Dizzy's. We needed giant windshield wipers. Love this thread!

Denise

 

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

 

Wow, no, I didn't hear that (although since I LIVE in NYC you'd think I would've realized it, since it was pouring all day... we managed to get our bags loaded in the car and get home right before it started).

 

So many B2Bers on this cruise... sigh... I've only done one, and that was a 3-plus-4 on the Majesty (with Carol... who got us upgraded to a JS... back when you got the extra point even with an upgrade!)... so it was only 7 nights altogether... I'd love to do a lovely LONG B2B someday...

 

Glad you're enjoying the review! Feel free to chime in and share different experiences on our sailing, that's one of the things I LOVE about cruising -- how a dozen different vacations are all intersecting in the same space and time. That's why I write in such detail... I know many people never get to the gym (for instance) and they can hear all about it from my experience there... etc., etc.

 

More to come...

Link to post
Share on other sites
Not a still, but here's my video from the 21st. It actually seemed like there was a little more clearance than usual.

 

5pxyzZVm-t0

 

Nice!! I really felt like I was there on the top deck where I wanted to be... I forgot what a beautiful day it was, what a clear blue sky! When that shadow passed over, that's when I realized I was missing it and ran outside. Cool, thanks for sharing :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

So many B2Bers on this cruise... sigh... I've only done one, and that was a 3-plus-4 on the Majesty (with Carol... who got us upgraded to a JS... back when you got the extra point even with an upgrade!)... so it was only 7 nights altogether... I'd love to do a lovely LONG B2B someday...

..

 

Several people (including me and (non-TA) Carol :D) on our repo roll call are doing a b2b with the Oct 23 cruise, for 23 fun and glorious days of island hopping :D. It will be my first b2b, and I can't wait!

 

Loving the review, Denise! I'm going to feel right at home by embarkation :-)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Managed to catch a couple of the good Rev's lectures. He mentioned the computer snafu then mixed up the grandkids. Had to be corrected by the wife. Missed the talk I wanted to see about the pirates who started the government of the Bahamas.

 

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

 

Yeah, that's the one I caught, and I actually took some notes (though I didn't include them above, except for the quote about going to hell for the fun of it)... it wasn't that they started the government of the Bahamas, it's that their mode of organization pre-dated the invention of democracy: for instance, the captain was elected by the vote of the crew (something that didn't exist anywhere else at that time, where most government was monarchy, theocracy, oligarchy, etc.) -- and could be removed by vote, except during battle... the pirate captains ate and slept the same as the crew (unheard of in any other organization, including the royal navy of the period... and cruise ships today!)... the pirate captains only received 50% more pay that the crew (vs. 400 times more for captains in the navy... and let's not speculate about the comparison on a modern ship!!)... pirates received worker's compensation ("just recompense") for workplace injuries (i.e., so much for a lost finger, eye, leg, etc.)...

 

Yeah, I'm not too surprised to hear he was confused about the grandkids... as he went through the slides, he'd be in the middle of a sentence, and when a new picture appeared he'd change topics rather than finish his thought... oh, well... I still learned some interesting random facts about piracy in the Bahamas, and how pirate organization was an early form of democracy.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Moving along with the review:

 

At 3:30 I headed down to Studio B to get good seats for the ice show. Front and center!! First time from that perspective (usually we’re down to the right side). It was the same show we saw on the Explorer last time, Spirit of the Seasons.

 

The skaters are just amazing, depicting fall (a tree graphic covered with orange and brown leaves, a giant pumpkin for Halloween, characters in costumes); winter (the tree is now covered with icicles; characters in old-time pond skating dress pushing ice chairs; there was real snow on the ice rink, and an amazing skating aerialist); spring (crazy neon wigs, very 60s-70s cool dancing and fun); and summer (tree now covered with leaves, characters in old-time beach clothes... riding bicycles on the ice!). Such a fun show, and amazing artistry. Enjoy the photos...

 

20140322_160400.jpg

 

20140322_161234.jpg

 

20140322_162041.jpg

 

20140322_162522.jpg

 

20140322_163505.jpg

 

20140322_164547.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

The ice show cast waves goodbye... thanks for a great show!

 

20140322_164945.jpg

 

Gotta run to Easter dinner at our friends in NJ (or at least as much as I can enjoy since I'm still recovering from oral surgery this past Thursday, ugh)... will post more later tonight... can't believe I'm still only on day 2 of this 8-night cruise!! Hang in there, folks, there's a LOT still to come..

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the lecture summary!

I am limping on a gouty toe. But so glad to be invited to Easter dinner that I will endure the pain.

Denise

 

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

Edited by DKNYC
Link to post
Share on other sites
Enjoying your review. Can never get enough of the Explorer. Looking forward to meeting you on the Repo. as we bid her farewell.

By the way, you'll have to fight me for the Coconut Ranger cookies.

Toni

 

My ranger! Mine!:D

 

Glad you're enjoying the review Toni, I look forward to meeting you -and the repo! - too :);)

Link to post
Share on other sites
There’s also an insert introducing the officers and staff onboard, including the captain, hotel director, cruise director, food & beverage director, chief engineer and loyalty ambassador… and a note assigning Ice Show admissions based on your muster station (ours is Day 2/Saturday at 4pm).

 

Explorer+Paperwork+-+72

 

Explorer+Paperwork+-+93

 

There was also a welcome letter for me as a Diamond member, with a list of the coupons on the back that are presumably automatically applied on our seapass card (these are what used to be in the printed coupon books, now gone). Be forewarned: on my Oasis cruise in December, these were NOT automatically applied – you had to KNOW what your offer was and ASK for it. Example: As a Diamond I’m supposed to receive one free photo. When I went to the photo desk with a single photo on the Oasis, they gave me a receipt showing the full price. I had to request the free Diamond photo, they had to void the receipt and ring up one showing the discount. I don’t know whether that would have happened on this cruise, too, since I always asked for the discount up front.

 

Diamond Welcome Letter

Explorer+Paperwork+-+95

 

And "automatic" coupons

Explorer+Paperwork+-+94

 

This letter notes that the old “ultimate value booklets” will no longer be accepted… that “internet, telephone, arcade and movies” are not automatically applied but must be activated by guest services… and that all offers are for one-time use only and valid only for this cruise. Gone are the days when you could stack up booklets and use them from cruise to cruise or share them with friends!! (In fact, that had stopped by the late days of the booklets, too, when they became very strict about checking that they were from that cruise, had you write your name and stateroom on each coupon, etc.)

 

I always found that level of control odd – after all, they’re issuing these coupons, presumably whoever receives them could use them all… what does it matter if they’re used by them or another cruiser, on that cruise or a later one? Are they planning that many people will not use some of them and they’ll simply go to waste? Well, no worries about that any more, there’s no way to save them up or share them in electronic form, so they will definitely go to waste if unused by the original offerree.

 

Another letter from the Crown & Anchor Society talked about the “experimental” 3 drink coupons during happy hour (5pm-8:30pm) good at any bar onboard (except the dining room, specialty restaurants or Windjammer).

 

Explorer+Paperwork+-+98

 

One thing this letter does NOT state is that tips are not included with these drinks!!! I learned this the hard way, as you will hear later on (or as you may have read already, in other threads on this subject where I posted my experience). I STRONGLY recommend that RCI/C&A add another asterisk at the bottom of this letter stating "gratuities not included with this offer."

 

On the back of the letter was a list of the types of beverages available on this program. (It doesn’t list soda, but I understand that fountain soda is included, although canned soda is not… nor does canned soda qualify for the buy one-get one or 20% off Diamond discounts outside of happy hour. Sigh.)

 

Explorer+Paperwork+-+97

 

The 3 drink coupons...is this instead of the "cocktail" party for diamond and above?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Enjoying your review. Can never get enough of the Explorer. Looking forward to meeting you on the Repo. as we bid her farewell.

By the way, you'll have to fight me for the Coconut Ranger cookies.

Toni

 

I'll fight for oatmeal raisin. Thet didn't show up till Coco Cay on my cruise.

Denise

 

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

Link to post
Share on other sites
Several people (including me and (non-TA) Carol :D) on our repo roll call are doing a b2b with the Oct 23 cruise, for 23 fun and glorious days of island hopping :D. It will be my first b2b, and I can't wait!

 

Loving the review, Denise! I'm going to feel right at home by embarkation :-)

 

WOW! I think I remember Carol saying that she was staying on for the next cruise... both the time and the $$ would be challenging for me, for sure, but I wish you all a GREAT B2B... that is truly a long and luxurious cruise.

 

Have you been on Explorer before? It's a beautiful ship... I went on it for the first time about two years ago with DD Ariel. Carol gave use some background on it... it was her first RCI ship, and she had a special fondness for it. For me and Ariel as new runners at that time, we were particularly tickled that the ship's godmother is Jackie Joyner-Kersee (I have a great photo from that cruise with her portrait). There's amazing artwork in all the stairwells and elevator areas... and beautiful decor touches everywhere, on the pool deck, by the gym, in the dining room, even in the public restrooms!

Link to post
Share on other sites

On with the review!

 

5:15, we were back at Trivia once again – and once again we tied for first… and once again we lost the tiebreaker. (So surprised they didn’t offer Progressive Trivia on this 8-night cruise!! Missed the enhanced gifts and increasingly difficult questions… and we laughed at the most recent cutback: only 15 questions instead of the usual 20!!!) We met a lovely young couple in the Schooner Bar, Heather and Brian, and hope they will make friends with Tom and Ariel. (Spoiler Alert: they do!) We had noted how many implements (scooters, wheelchairs, walkers, canes) we had seen on this cruise, and really very few young people, so we were glad to find some age-mates for our young cruisers.

 

Heather and Brian (photo from later in the cruise posted here)

Explorer+Last+Night+-+10

 

After trivia, I headed back to the room to prep for formal night. I know many people find formal night to be “controversial” – like tipping!!! – but I love formal night (and I even love tipping for good service). My life doesn’t really provide opportunities for me to dress up, and to meet and mingle with others who are equally decked out, so cruising really offers a special atmosphere for me to enjoy. Perhaps those who wear a suit to work every day, run home to change into workout gear for a quick run or squash game, then dress formally to go to a fine restaurant or attend the opera find this boring… but alas, I don’t live like that, so for me, formal night is truly a delight! I wish people would stop complaining, and if they just want to wear jeans and t-shirts and swimsuits and cover-ups all day and all night, find a different vacation (or a different cruiseline)… or just enjoy the five out of seven days in which they can do exactly that, and PLEASE dress up nicely for formal night!! I love to see you in all your finery, it creates such a unique environment.

 

Anyway, I put my hair up (I have special “cruise hair”: I pull my hair back in a ponytail, twirl it into a bun which I hold with bobby pins, then I surround that bun with a scrunchie made of fake hair, exactly the same color as mine – except it has sparkly silver threads throughout it), put on makeup, even wore contacts instead of glasses, and dressed in a long black skirt with a slit on one leg and a sparkly sequined black butterfly top (over a black silk shell, since the top is a bit too revealing for me).

 

I met Tom and Ariel at their cabin – they were both looking lovely, Tom in a suit, Ariel in a beautiful dress (she’s always beautiful, of course). We went to the Champagne Bar for my Diamond happy hour drinks (I got them two Merlots, one at a time… and yes, shamefully, I did not tip my server since I still didn’t know they were getting NOTHING for that drink service). They also had some champagne on the Promenade from the Captain’s Welcome Aboard party which we walked through on our way back yo the cabin where they refilled their wineglasses to bring them to dinner. They stopped at the Titanic backdrop for some formal night photos before dinner (I grabbed some free photos of them there, too, pretending to be taking pictures of the ship "map" -- although the professional photos were so good that we got them at the end of the cruise, too).

 

Ship map I was pretending to photograph...

20140322_202744.jpg

 

Formal portraits of Ariel and Tom which were my real goal!

20140322_202815.jpg

 

20140322_202842.jpg

 

Then it was off to dinner in the Da Gama dining room with Barbara and Peter to enjoy the SAFFRON menu. Appys: Lobster Bisque (better than in the past, but still too strong; I had the double chicken consommé instead) and smoked chicken breast and apple salad (delicious!!). Entrées: Saffron-infused cauliflower (which I ordered since it was the name of the menu, and it was yummy) with corvine (a lovely light white fish)… plus the roast duck (double-yummy!). Dessert: chocolate soufflé (blech, alas. I always think soufflé is my favorite… but that was on Princess. Somehow, the RCI soufflés have never thrilled me… neither the soufflé nor the sauce ever grabs me, though I keep trying). I also had coffee, and during the meal a cheese roll and a pumpkin seed roll. I’m surprised to see the same breads on offer night after night; usually they change from day to day (I learn more about this later in the cruise… and complain about it on my post-cruise online survey).

 

SAFFRON menu

SAFFRON%20MENU-M.jpg

 

Desserts

SAFFRON%20Dessert-L.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

After dinner, I drop off my cheese plate in my room, then head down to the front row of the Palace Theatre -- sitting next to Lana, the woman from boot camp class on day 1 who had worn boots and jeans, looking lovely in her formal gown. She tells me that she tried to sign up for the boot camp class, but only two people showed up for it, so they didn’t offer it… but they gave them a printed guide and let them do a self-led class! In fact, the printed guide was available outside the gym every day… when I did the class on Explorer a couple years ago, we only received the guide at the very end of completing the entire program, so this was quite a deal. Lana loves ballroom dance and she plans to take the class tomorrow with the featured dancers. She is also onboard for a B2B. (Wow, I’ve met so many people doing this as a B2B, now I’m jealous!!)

 

Here's the Boot Camp guide that was available outside the gym every day... keep an eye out for it, what a great deal to get it for free instead of on the last day of the (expensive, paid) boot camp class!

 

Explorer+Paperwork+-+91

 

Explorer+Paperwork+-+90

 

Explorer+Paperwork+-+89

 

Oh yeah, the show was pretty good, too!!

 

Awesome orchestra in the pit

20140322_224805.jpg

 

Great dancers

20140322_225353.jpg

 

Many different numbers

20140322_225622.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

RC Singers & Dancers

20140322_230226.jpg

 

20140322_232629.jpg

 

The amazing featured dancers

20140322_231421.jpg

 

After dinner, I drop off my cheese plate in my room, then head down to the front row of the Palace Theatre -- sitting next to Lana, the woman from boot camp class on day 1 who had worn boots and jeans, looking lovely in her formal gown. She tells me that she tried to sign up for the boot camp class, but only two people showed up for it, so they didn’t offer it… but they gave them a printed guide and let them do a self-led class! In fact, the printed guide was available outside the gym every day… when I did the class on Explorer a couple years ago, we only received the guide at the very end of completing the entire program, so this was quite a deal. Lana loves ballroom dance and she plans to take the class tomorrow with the featured dancers. She is also onboard for a B2B. (Wow, I’ve met so many people doing this as a B2B, now I’m jealous!!)

 

I met Ariel and Jason (and Heather and Brian) at the Sports Bar after the show, and told Ariel that “Russian Joel McHale” was still in Invitation to Dance. (The show was the same as on our cruise two years ago, and we were stunned by the physical similarity between the featured male dancer and the lead actor on the TV show Community.)

 

I then returned to my stateroom, where I took the time to catch up on these notes, review tomorrow’s Cruise Compass and mark activities which interested me, watching Men in Black 3 on the bubble-tube TV and enjoying my first towel animal!! Thank you, Cornelius! It’s these little touches that make cruising so delightful and enjoyable. (Since they discontinued chocolates on the pillow… I bring my own, and put them out on the freshly turned-down bed! Yeah, they don’t have a crown and anchor on them… but it does make it feel special.)

 

20140322_221956.jpg

 

The towel animal made friends with my travel cat, too...

20140322_222018.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Day 2 Compass had highlighted the “Caribbean Port & Shopping Talk” (which most experienced cruisers who are not seeking free giveaways or are not compulsive shoppers avoid… they tell you about shops which have paid a kickback to RCI to be mentioned, and the giveaways are usually pretty cheap (although I did enjoy collecting the free charms in various ports for the free charm bracelet… and usually managed to avoid buying anything else in the shops when I picked up the giveaway… no point on this one-port cruise, though).

 

Also mentioned were the shore excursions talk, the captain's welcome aboard reception,shore excursions and beverage packages, the Ice Show, the “Invitation to Dance” show, bingo , walk-for-wishes T-shirt sales, Monsters University in the screening room, the Majority Rules Game show, Karaoke, and of course the Casino. As always, the Compass also listed restaurant, bar and activity open hours, including breakfast, lunch, dinner (formal), specialty dining and snacks, plus the schedule for live music in a number of venues. It also listed the drink of the day (Caribbean tea, 6.75) and the “shooter of the day” – er, a “buttery nipple” (!) for $7.45. Prices for both include souvenir glass which you can keep. As I’ve mentioned, I’m not a drinker, but I do keep an eye out, especially on the pool deck and promenade… people often dispose of their glasses, and if you don’t mind collecting “dirties” you can get a nice collection for free! (No, I don’t use them onboard, but I do bring them home and run them through the dishwasher – and voila, free souvenirs!! I have full sets of the drink cups from both Labadee and Cococay from wandering the empty beaches just before the last tender leaves, collecting abandoned cups…)

 

The “daily offers” half-page insert offered a twilight hot stones massage special between 5-10pm for $119, photo gallery special, jewelry store champagne reception, tuxedo rental, formal portraits, the drink of the day (again) and formal night treats. (Question: it says “buy her a Gift or Flowers” – did anyone else on this sailing see flowers for sale? I know you can order them BEFORE the cruise from Gifts and Gear, but as far as I know the flower cart is no more on RC ships.)

 

Explorer+Paperwork+-+58

 

Explorer+Paperwork+-+57

 

Explorer+Paperwork+-+59

 

Explorer+Paperwork+-+57

 

Explorer+Paperwork+-+55

 

Explorer+Paperwork+-+54

Link to post
Share on other sites
Don't feel too bad about missing the cool bridge shot. The one you got is lovely. I am sure Carol told you the next sailaway ( 3/29) was in a downpour. I watch from Dizzy's. We needed giant windshield wipers. Love this thread!

Denise

 

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

 

And COLD!

 

DSC07306_zps9682fe47.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with Barbara Muckermann, CMO Silversea Cruises
      • ICYM Our Cruise Critic Live Special Event: Explore the Remote World with Hurtigruten!
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...