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Explorer Brief Review and thoughts.....


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Just back from the 9 nite Explorer Aug 25 sailing! I really wanted to post daily live updates but it was just to difficult to accomplish. Was having too much fun to sit in front of the computer! Since I wanted the convenience of using the laptop in my cabin I chose the in room modem connection and it was extremely slow and frustrating. Next trip I will definitely use the wifi.


Embarkation was easy and relaxed. We were directed to the Diamond/Platinum lounge and boarded one of the first buses to the ship. We took a car service to the pier and arriving at 11am worked well - no traffic back up at all.


Food: After reading very mixed reviews on the quality of the food - I was concerned. Our first meal in Windjammer followed by second seating dinner relieved any concerns that I had. Everything was good. Presentation, service, quality was all good. Never had a meal that I didn't enjoy. We tried Portofinos and personally I would have prefered the dining room. The food in Portofinos and the service was good - but not the over the top experience that I was expecting from having dined in other specialty onboard restaurants on past cruises. It was worth the additional money but again next time I think I will pass on Portofinos. It was nice to break up the week -but I missed my dining room waiter! We were seated at table 302 - a table of four.

There were hand sanitizers at the entrance to every restaurant only problem is not everyone used them! I was surprised to see how many passengers just walked right passed the sanitizers! Word of advice - if you dont want to experience outbreaks of noro virus - please be considerate and sanitize your hands!


Cabins: No new bedding to be found. At our cruise critic pre-meet and mingle I asked if anyone had new bedding and the answer was no. The old bedding was just fine but after hearing so much about the new bedding I was disappointed when we first entered the cabin to the sight of the old bedding. The beds were fine, no complaints, by the time we turned in for the night - we could have slept on bricks since we were so tired out from our days! Our cabin attendent Diane kept our cabins immaculate and always stocked with ice.


Shows: Sorry, I have no information about the shows since we only attended the late night comedy show which we enjoyed very much! Can't remember the comedians name right now, when i unpack the Compasses I will look it up. Ice Show as always was amazing!!!!!!!!


Cruise Staff: Activity Director Chris was always out and about. Very friendly and fun cruise staff. Cruise Director was Ashley who I think is on for two months filling in for the vacationing C.D. She mentioned that she would be going to the Serenade next. Chris was visible at every activity and some passengers had no idea who the cruise director was! Ashley was good - but not as good as other Cruise Directors have been. Kudo's to Chris - as activities manager he did an excellent job!

Guest relations desk personnel were always helpful and friendly, no problems there!


Conceirge Lounge:

Carlos was the conceirge and he was outstanding! Always helpful, friendly, and attentive. It was a pleasure going there each day for cocktails before dinner. We met many fellow passengers and it was always nice to see them each night and exhange stories. There was also a light continetal breakfast set up each morning and this morning we had our pastries and coffee there while waiting to disembark.


Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle:

Was held on Sunday in Portofinos at 1pm. Our sailing had a record number of passengers sign up for the M&M. It was well attended, there were prizes given out and everyone received a cruise critic momento. We had a pre-meet & mingle on Saturday. Thank you to the cruise critics who arranged that meeting. It was great chatting with you!


The Ports: St Thomas, St Maarten, San Juan and Labadee


With the exception of Labadee we have been to all of these ports many times so we did not participate in any excursions. Just did some shopping and stayed onboard. Labadee was beautiful. Just remember to bring water shoes. DD had her hair braided there = price was $40. for half head and $60 for full head. Have paid the same on other islands so these prices seemed reasonable to me. Walked through the market place and did not experience and problems. Was a little hesistant to head over there after reading how aggressive it can be there but no one bothered us and we felt completely safe and comfortable there. The barbeque consisted of burgers,hotdogs, ribs, chicken, salads, vegetables, fruit punch, ice tea, and Labadoozies were everywhere!!!!!!! Tendering was well done and very organized. Can't wait to go back to Labadee.


Immigration in San Juan: We breezed right through the process. Took not even 10 minutes to complete. Was a nightmare a few years ago on the Adventure, the line was the length of the royal promendade!!!!!! This time it was quick and easy. We went through at approximately 8:30 am - the line might have been longer for those disembarking first thing in the morning for shore excusions - I can only report that when we went it was easy as could be!


Bingo: The bingo jackpot was 8 thousand dollars with one lucky winner! If you plan on playing alot, purchase the bingo dog for 10 dollars and bring him to bingo with you each time (except the final jackpot game) and you will receive an additional game pack.


Crown & Anchor: There was a Welcome Back Cocktail party early in the sailing and a Diamond / Diamond Plus brunch toward the end of the cruise. The gift left in the cabins was the photo frame and there was a small bag of Seattles Best Coffee left in the cabin last night. Crown & Anchor Diamond Coupon Books had several casino coupons, photo credits, Johnny Rockets, Gift Shop Discounts, Ben and Jerry Freebie, Specialty coffee coupons, spa discount, wine discount and several others which I can't remember right now.

The Explorer: For a ship that is 6 years old and carries 3000 passengers every week it is in very good condition. There are some signs of wear and tear but overall the ship is clean and well maintained.

By last night there were buttons missing from some elevators and at one point during the week a glass window had to be replaced on a display case in one of the hallways.

Deck 4 has a lovely outdoor promenade and if you want to find a relatively peaceful place to sit and watch and listen to the waves - visit this deck. Even though I had a balcony, I still enjoy sitting on the promenade deck.

The walking / running track is located on deck 12 and if you participate in the daily 9am walk a mile program you will have no problem with lounge chairs. The staff keeps the track clear at that time. Later in the day you will be dodging lounge chairs as deck 12 is a popular sunning spot. If you participate you will also earn ShipShape dollars that you can redeem for keychains, tshirts etc.

Rock climbing wall was awesome, everyone that I watched had a great time.


Casino: Roulette tables were hot! Crap table was never to lively. Table games are layed out in such a way that when you tried to walk to the one side where the crap table and other table games were it was difficult to manuever since the tables were practically against the wall. This left very little room to move around without disturbing someone. Casino staff on the whole was courteous and friendly.


Overall Experience: Excellent :)

If you have any questions - I will try to answer.

We had a great time and will be booking the Explorer again.




Now here it comes.........my complaints:


Okay now I knew there would be tons of kids onboard being it was the last week of summer vacation here in the NY/NJ area - but I chose to take this sailing anyway. Now flame me if you must - but keep in mind - I LIKE KIDS - I have two of my own along with many nieces and nephews and friends with kids. And parents I know you paid alot for your little ones to sail..........I totally understand and relate to that - my first born was a year and a half when we first sailed with him and that was 23 years ago - so I totally understand that you paid for your kids to have a good time. I have paid the same for my kids as for myself since I take a second room for them. BUT this doesn't mean that you have the right to allow your child to run from the elevator to the cabin disturbing everyone in the corridor by the pitter patter of them running! You have no idea how many children were running everywhere and very seldom did I hear a parent tell the child not to run!! In the Windjammer on SLIPPERY floors with people carrying hot food is no place for your child to be running! I dont want to see them fall and split their head open on the tile floor and I certainly dont want to see them burned by hot coffee. And parents, if you attend a show with the kids please have them sit next to you! As I said before I like kids, and don't mind sitting next to one during a show or activity as long as YOU the PARENT are there superivising them! During the ice show I had to sit next to someone elses 3 young children while the parents sat a row behind - cute kids - but to young to sit unattended. Why do I have to sit next to your kids? YOU SHOULD BE SITTING WITH THEM! I don't mind them being next to me - but you have a parental responsibilty to sit and take care of them even though you are on vacation.

Here are a few other incidents with kids that ocurred during the 9 nights:

Suite doorbells being rung late at night, kids playing in the elevators - some sitting on the elevator floors playing game boys! With so many activities, do you really want your child to just play in the elevator all night? When you read in the Compass that an activity is for ADULTS - why are you bringing your kids? And if you know there is a 1am curfew on teens - why arent you enforcing it and making sure your teen is safely in their cabin for the night. The 1am curfew is for their safety and security its not just because Royal Caribbean wants to spoil their fun! I actually heard a kid tell security that "my father paid alot of money for this trip, I can do whatever I want"!

Everynight after leaving the casino and stopping at Cafe Promenade there were teens everywhere and it was way past curfew. They were also congregating in the internet cafe and riding the elevators.

Believe me I understand this is their vacation too- and I know how much money you spent but for their safety and well being along with the comfort of other passengers why do parents allow their kids to do this? Kids will be kids - its the parents that need to set the boundries. How many parents of 14, 15, 16 year olds allow their kids to hang out till all hours of the night unsupervised at home? My guess would be not many.

Sorry, had to get this off my chest. Don't mean to lecture, preach or insult anyone, I just want to see your kids have a good time, enjoy their cruise, be courteous to their fellow passagers, and most importantly be safe.

Guess maybe I should post this on "cruising with kids". Didnt mean ramble on about this topic so I will end this post now.

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Thanks so much for your review! It sounds like, overall, you had a wonderful trip! Sorry you had to experience the kids. Seems like the summer/holiday cruises have this problem a whole lot worse than the off-season sailings... but that only makes sense to me ;)


I will be sailing the last 9 night sailing out of Bayonne next summer (August 17) before school starts back... so I would have to say "I;ve been warned" ;) What is amazing is that the 8/3/7 sailing appears to be completely sold out, and our 8/17/07 sailing has only inside cabins available!!! :eek: And these sailings are practically a year away! I can only venture a guess that we will have as many children as you had on your sailing.... here's hoping they are better behaved!!!


Welcome home!


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We are on the 9/22 - 9 night sailing-thanks so much for the review! I'm still hoping the new bedding will be in place by then, but I guess we'll just have to be happy with whatever is on the bed. I understand what you said about the kids - ours are grown up, that's why we like to travel in late September...less kids, no matter where we travel to. Do't get me wrong, I love kids. I work in a high school, so I am with teens ALL the time, so when I go on vacation I prefer to be with mostly grown ups!

Thanks again for the post! 19 days and counting!! :D

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We were on this sailing also and agree with most of what trvlmil wrote. We had a great time and most of the experience was positive. All staff we encountered were smiling and gracious. Most of the passengers were pretty relaxed and I didn't see a lot of the NY/NJ "attitude" this cruise. We had a great waiter and room steward and thought the food was very good. It wasn't 5 star but was better than the food at most weddings that we have been to and nicely presented. The steaks were surprisingly pretty tender. I too feel that Portofino is overrated. As was previously mentioned, it was nice to break up the week and the service and ambiance were great at Portofinos. However, the food was a disappointment to us also- it was OK and we wouldn't go a second time (but not nearly as good as Chops on the Enchantment). The flourless chocolate cake there was very good but was also served in the main dining room one night. We went to Johnny Rockets and we (along with several other people we spoke with during the cruise) felt the burgers and hot dogs were the same ones they served in the dining room! The onion rings and oreo sundae were great though and service was excellent, plus the singing waiters were fun. The cruise director was probably the least entertaining of the 11 or 12 cruises we have been on. She was nice and perky but lacked the comedic flair of some other CDs and she was not very memorable IMHO. In terms of activities, they were heavily geared toward the sports (rock wall, skating, etc.) and opportunites to make you spend your money - more so than our prior cruises. Even at the scrapbooking workshop they were hawking the $19.95 scrapbook kit and photo albums. There were a number of trivia sessions and name that tune contests but no darts, shuffleboard contests, group games (i.e. taboo) or some other activites that we have enjoyed on other cruises. We loved Labadee and are disappointed that it was dropped from next summer's itinerary. I would be happy to answer any questions.

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trvlmil, thank you for the excellent review. I am so glad to hear overall you had a terrific cruise. We are booked on the (apparently sold out!) :eek: Aug 3 sailing next year and I'm reading all reviews with much anticipation.

I am sorry you had such problems with kids. You are absolutely correct in saying it is not your responsibility to sit with anyone else's kids. And that parents need to supervise their children and set appropriate limits. It is unfortunate so many parents and children feel entitled to ruin everyone else's good time. Now, I also love kids--I have 4 from 18 down to 4!--and share your frustration with parents who refuse to take care of their children and expect everyone else to parent for them. Yes, it is their vacation too, but you are never on vacation from being a parent unless you utilize AO, bring the nanny or leave the kids at home!

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Started replacing new bedding, wonderful...

Were on deck 9 on 9/8 maybe we will get lucky with the new bedding.



They replaced 300 beds this morning on the explorer. 300 will be replaced each time the explorer returns home.
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trvlmil: Thank you for a fantastic and well-balanced account of your Explorer cruise. I love the Explorer...............she was my first...........<sigh> :)


Now, this is something that I hear and I just have to respond.


There were hand sanitizers at the entrance to every restaurant only problem is not everyone used them! I was surprised to see how many passengers just walked right passed the sanitizers! Word of advice - if you dont want to experience outbreaks of noro virus - please be considerate and sanitize your hands!


1. The sanitizer does NOT kill the norovirus. Assiduous handwashing does.

2. The last thing that I do before going into the buffet is wash my hands. Thoroughly. So you could be walking behind me into the Windjammer, and not realize that MY hands are far more appropriate than YOURS for the buffet line.




The Explorer: For a ship that is 6 years old and carries 3000 passengers every week it is in very good condition. There are some signs of wear and tear but overall the ship is clean and well maintained.

By last night there were buttons missing from some elevators and at one point during the week a glass window had to be replaced on a display case in one of the hallways.

Are you saying that there was vandalism?!?!??!

:eek: :eek:


I am with you all the way on the kids, trvlmil. And I think that it is sad (though completely realistic) that you had to beg not to be flamed for those statements and observations.


Which cabin did you have?


Welcome home, and thanks for making us your first priority! ;)



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We were on this sailing too. Saw the new mattresses being loaded on this morning, too bad. The sofa bed is terrible, it's not a bed, it's just the seat of the sofa and then the back of the sofa is also pulled down to form bed, very hard. Our cabin steward (we were in a hump on the 9th floor) was the least personable of any we've ever had, never really saw him, altough he did his job and after the first night remember to bring us extra ice. Our dining room experience was great, wonderful servers. Did go to Portofinos like last year, food is very good, love the tiramasu and flourless cake (yes we got it in the dining room, but only a sampler).

1)Thought tendering for Labadee wasn't too great. We got on line about 10:30 and had to wait 25 mins, snaking through the dining room and down stairs. Heard if you went earlier it was better. 2) Also, free skate on Fri. afternoon was VERY unorganized, people and kids cutting the line, they changed staff in the middle of signing up (waivers) and the new person had no idea who order people had come in.

KIDS: Didn't think there were as many roaming around as last year same week on the Voyager. Agree about them sitting in shows alone and parents behind them (the great comedian had a lot of fun with that issue). I did see attendants in the elevators later on at night (I believe trying to keep kids out and from pushing buttons). I have a 12 yr old who was in the program, he has specials needs, but did fine and totally enjoyed himself. I personally wouldn't give him run of the ship even if he wasn't a special needs child. There were many kids in the pool and around alone with not much parental supervison that we could see. That wasn't too great yest, when the ship started rolling and the water was going 3 ft high at the one end of the pool and kids were smashing into the cement hot tub walls. They finally closed the pools. All in all, for 1100 kids onboard I think things went ok.

Agree about cruise director, Becky last year was much better. Also, didn't really like the theme of the ice show this time, but it was still good.

Had a guy on the balcony next to us who smoked pot constantly. Very annoying.

PORTS: Getting to ST. Thomas at 1:00 wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. We took a cab to Morningstar Beach (thanks Radio). Very empty, enjoyed the beach, went to the pool at Frenchman's Reef , no one bothered us. Heard that Megan's Bay was very crowded.

St. MAARTEN we took a ship excursion to Little Divi Bay, great beach, BBQ lunch, beach chairs and umbrellas ($5). Pool, very hot again that day.

SAN JUAN: Was going to just stay on, but my husband and I got off and walked around (very hot again) and found the COACH factory outlet story, got a $358 bag for $159.

LABADEE: Hot again, but found shade under a tree. Water was great, my son went on the slide, we took the trolley over to Dragon's Breath and it was beautiful over there. It's a wonderful island.

Found enough to do if we wanted or just sat by the pool most other sea days. Had great CC tablemates (hi guys!).

Despite of anything I've said, we really loved the cruise and had a great time. Everyone was really nice, no NY/NJ attitudes. Meet a fellow co-worker and 2 people from my neighborhood. We're going to summer same week to Bermuda and I booked on board for 2/15/08 (President's week).

Sorry to have gone on so long!

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<SNIP> PORTS: Getting to ST. Thomas at 1:00 wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. We took a cab to Morningstar Beach (thanks Radio). Very empty, enjoyed the beach, went to the pool at Frenchman's Reef , no one bothered us. Heard that Megan's Bay was very crowded.


WoW ! Thanks... I loved it there too ! !



:cool: :cool:

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"xxxxx paid alot of money for this trip, I can do whatever I want"!


Great review!


But I have to add this . . . speaking from the standpoint of somewho spends a HEAP of time aboard ships . . . this is my (and plenty other crewmembers) least favorite comment to hear. I never quite understood the mentality of this, but . . . .


Merion_Mom - my first (RCCL) ship too! - good memories!

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I was on the 8/25 Explorer as well. Also had sailed the Voyager same time last year.


Meet and Mingle was fun. It was well attended.


I love kids and have children as well. I totally agree with the comments above and fault the parents for the children's - young adult behavior. Their kids and they should be responsible. I have my child check in quite often, I carry a breathalyzer with me, and I also do spot checks on and off...No I am not the perfect parent..I am extremely overprotective as I lost my 20 year old son four years ago in a car accident..and could not stand to lose another child and would not wish that pain and experience on my worse enemy.


My son also has major health issues, heart problems, kidney disease, and epilepsy. He is on a ton of meds and alcohol could be deadly for him. Unfortunately as an adolescent...he wants to be like everyone else and is not strong enough to resist peer pressure. Trust me, he was not the perfect child on the cruise...but I did my best to keep him under control. I even grounded him and made him come in 11 a few nights.


I find it unbelievable to be sitting in St Thomas and witnessing kids pour bottles of alcohol into water bottles, carry it on the ship, and party. I always wonder how one of these parents would feel if the alcohol their child provided resulted in some serious consequence to another child/adolescent or their own child. I also wonder if these parents also carry alcohol back on the ship in water bottles.


I will say that the crew was attemtping to enforce the 1 am curfew...however, bottom line is the parents should be enforcing it. My son seemed to go to the jacuzzi around 1130 each night. I strolled up to the deck and checked it out a few nights. One night sat in the hot tub with some other teens, as mine was not where he was suppose to be.(the girls took longer to get changed-imagine they put on make up to do in the jacuzzi - my sons words). The teens mentioned how they were doing absolutely nothing and yet would be sent to their room by security if it was after the 1, it all depended on how "annoying" the security person was....Good job EOS security.


All in all a great cruise...great weather. I found the food to be excellent - the lobster was delicious. There is definitely room for improvement - as I mentioned we were traveling with a person on a scooter and one in an electric wheel chair. Our table was totally unaccessible for them...we had to have our table changed and yet we were in handicapped rooms and booked the cruise over one year in advance. The ramps used to get on and off the ship need to be more handcapped friendly - elevator use for handicapped is extremely difficult...however none of this prevented us from having a great time.


I found many future cruises were already sold out...next year's sailing for the same time was sold out...we ended up booking for 12/02/07!!!

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trvlmil, great review! I am in NNJ as well and was thinking I'd take a service to the pier as well. Would you be able to give me some info on who you took, $$, and if and at what time you had them pick you up? I know it's alot of questions... just so many services up here, always a crap shoot when you pick one.


Thanks so much!


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Merion Mom.........with regards to passengers not using the hand sanitizer - I am sure that alot of people like yourself do wash their hands thoroughly before entering the dining areas but I am also sure that many people don't! Ever visit a public bathroom and witness someone use the facilities and either run right out or just run their hands under the water? oy! So a little hand sanitizer for those people can help!!!!!!


As for the broken glass - I dont know if it was vandalism or an accident.


My cabins were on deck 8 so every night (way after the curfew) I had the pleasure of walking through the internet cafe with unsupervised teens. One night there was security sitting there watching over the promenade area.......no kids were there that particular night.


THE PASTA - We live near the GWB and used a town taxi service which offers minivans and limos. Picked up at 10:15 and was on the turnpike by 10:20am


It was a great trip - we had an excellent time and will be booking the Explorer again.

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