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Explorer of the Seas Review, March 5-12, 2006

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I will try to write as much as possible of our cruise last week on the Explorer. Due to surgery on my shoulder tuesday, I know I won't get it completed all at once, so please bear with me!

First let me tell you about our group. We had 30 people ranging in ages 21-60ish. Two years ago, 24 of us were on the Voyager and many decided to sail again. This trip was suppose to be a cruise to Alaska, but when we got together last winter, the thought of a warm place to go instead was more appealing. So the plans were put into motion for spring break of this year. Our group grew from family and friends to co-workers, from the Toledo Ohio area to Lake Havasu City AZ.

4 times during the year up to our cruise, we had potlucks for everyone to get to know each other. We came up with the idea of having matching t-shirts and decided that our logo would be "it's 5 o'clock somewhere" and had the shirts designed and printed for us. They were the hit of the ship and many asked us where we bought them. Plus we also did a newsletter everymonth to give updates, a "getting to know your cruisemates" section, island information, cabin listings, and much more.

Most of our group did flights down on saturday and was split between several hotels, The Holiday Inn Bayside and the Clarion, plus a few others but not sure which they were at. Wearrived in Fort Lauderdale and met by ABC Limo's. It was fantastic riding down to Miami in a limo and pulling up in front of the hotel. Everyone was checking us out!! Just like movie stars! Our family booked a suite since there were 5 of us. The view from our room was perfect!! That evening we went over to Bayside Marketplace to do a bit of shopping (getting us geared up) and to have dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. Afterwards, it was a few drinks at one of the outside cafes. Back to the hotel for a good night sleep!!! In the morning we woke up to sunshine and the Explorer sitting in port. It wasn't very long till my brother called saying make sure to put on the local news. Our ship was infected with the Norwalk virus!! Talk about your heart dropping!! We still got things ready to go since we had to check out of the hotel by 11am. Figured that we might as well sit at the port. I think we made it over there right around 11:15am. We had to wait in the holding area maybe 15 mins. They were also doing the preboarding photos taken here to help save time. We were able to get our account opened next. I highly suggest doing the set sail pass prior to boarding. It may have taken a whole 15 mins for 3 of us. We also did have passports which helped. I noticed a family next to us with several children and they all had birth certificates. Seemed like it was taking quite a bit of time for them. Once we had our cards, it was on to have our photo taken so they know its us who get off and on the ship. THEN the wait began!!! This is one place that RCCL could have improved. We waited till 1pm without anytype of information. The only food brought out was cookies and if you weren't there when they put the tray down, you weren't getting any. Finally they announced that we were able to board at 1pm and it took maybe 15 mins to walk the walk! I think our sea pass card must have been checked at leat 4 times in the short distance! Once we walked on the ship, we knew vacation had started!! One thing I can say is the crew was always cleaning down the ship. Our room steward told us that the rooms were bleached down completely. Most of our group was on deck 7. We had a balcony room with our family across the hall in a PR cabin. This was our 3rd baloncy and that is the only way I will sail for a week....got to have my balcony! Dropped off our carry ons and went to the Windjammer for lunch. There were so many people and I know why I like getting on the ship early. But there was not much we could do about since they held up boarding. It was make the best of it and we did!!! After lunch we checked to see if any of our luggage had made it to our cabin. One had so we did a quick job of unpacking. Also met our steward Ernesto (he was the greatest! always smiling and cheerful!) It was then on to Dizzy's where everyone from the roll call board decided to meet up prior to our offical meet and mingle. It was fun putting names and faces together. I know many did not make it and we never did meet them at all during the week.

Everyone in our group had early seating for dinner. We were suppose to have 3 tables of 10 and had sent in our table seating back in Nov with our TA. Of course they never do it the way we wanted. It did work out, we had 3 tables of 8 and one of 6. Just wish once it would be the way we wanted!! Our waiter was Nilesh and our assistant waiter was Bosco both from India. They were very pleasent and gave us great service. One thing that I had to laugh about is my husband loves key lime pie. Every cruise that is all he looks forward to. Well, Niles didn't disappoint him. They didn't have it on the menu that night, but he made sure to get him some and some nights he had 3 pieces sitting in front of him! Needless to say I won't have to make it for quite a long time, he had his fill. More on the food later!

I will do a section on each of the following....entertainment, food, islands, etc.


Very good!!! The best had to be The Nelson Brothers!! They had a show on friday night. Afterwards, you could get your photo taken with them. We had our traveling nomes with us-Johnson and Mick Jaggermeister of the Rolling Nomes. We had thier photo taken with the twins and they got a kick out of it. Saturday night they put on an accustical show in the Royal Promenade. It was after this show that you could get your photo's signed. They gladly signed Johnson and Mick's photo's for them. Along with that, they also signed our daughter's "twin's" if you know what I mean!! That was the joke of the night, the twins signed the twins!! Even at 30 yrs old she was in heaven!!

This is about all I can do for now, will continue more tomorrow morning....time for a percocet!!!:D

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Thanks for the review!!


Take your time and get better, we will be waiting patiently to hear more. :D




ps, I know the frustration of waiting to board without any information, last May when we went on Mariner all we knew was that there was a "breach in security" and halted all boarding. We were in the late May sun in Port Canaveral for like 1.5-2 hours :eek: ! Me being the eternal optimist, though, said "well at least we knew they take security seriously". :)

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