trvlmil Posted September 3, 2006 #1 Share Posted September 3, 2006 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: PARENTS/KIDS: : ( 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. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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