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Another Explorer OTS Review Feb 1-13/09


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This cruise was booked over a year ago when we were last on Serenade and one that DW and I were greatly looking forward to after the events of the last year. I know another review was posted and contained some great information, but I wanted to post my experiences as well. I won't be touching on the food as that is a very subjective issue.

 

Embarkation - Went smoothly for us as we were on board shortly after 12:00pm. Immediately made reservations for the Portofino Mystery Dinner Theater and then set off to tour the ship. We had sailed on her sister Mariner 2 years ago so had a pretty good idea where everything was. Attended the mandatory muster drill where the Captain explained that we would not be porting at San Juan due to the propulsion issues and that everyone would be getting an OBC as a result. As DW and I had 1694 (aft JS cabin on deck 10), we received $100 each OBC in addition to the loyalty OBC for booking on Serenada and the fuel rebate OBC. Shockingly enough..the OBC's didn't last long lol. I should also note that DW and I did not attend any of the "official" M&M gatherings. We did chat with a couple of CC folks on the cruise but that was about the extent of it.

 

Days 2, 3, and 4 - At Sea

 

Attended some of the onboard activities and I signed up at the Sea Trek Dive Shop for the PADI Dive Course. Great instructors and had a good time. Just need to complete one more dive to get my full open water certification. Attended the Mystery Dinner Theater on Day 4. Started in Dizzy's lounge and then down to Portofino for the food. Once again the Portofino experience was fantastic and the dinner theater (actors were the RC dancers) was great fun.

 

Day 5 in St Thomas - DW and I hit her favorite Jewellry store and bought another addition to her Tanzanite collection then wandered around a bit. Then back to the ship.

 

Day 6 St Maarten - Did the first 2 open water dives for the PADI course. DW went to the beach to get caught up on some reading :D

 

Day 7 Roseau Dominica - Took the ships excursion to Titou Gorge and The Sulfur Hot Springs. Sure wishing we had our water shoes with us but still had a good time. Dominica is the poorest of the islands, but one of the most beautiful for scenery in my opinion. Not a place for shopping for sure!

 

Day 8 Barbados - We booked a private Discovery Scuba Dive (mainly for DW) and the instructor did my 3rd dive certification. This was a great excursion, knowledgeable and only 5 divers including DW and I. We will go back to him again next time.

 

Day 9 Antigua - Again, we booked a private excursion doing a Segway tour. This was awesome...after getting some training and the balance thing figured out, we went zooming along the beach and roads. Loved this tour and would do Segways again! That night attended the headline show and stayed for Love and Marriage Show. Long story short...we ended up being picked to be on stage. Was a lot of fun and surprisingly DW and I won Love and Marriage. Was a lot of laughs :D

 

Days 10, 11, 12 - At Sea. Decent seas for the first two days but ghastly rough with 25ft swells on the last sea day. Windjammer was surprisingly empty for breakfast lol. Lots of bags hung around the ship and even the odd staff member looking a little green. Packed up the suitcases which is always sad and went to dinner and the show. After putting the suitcases out we went up to Dizzy's for the Jazz Jam with some of the RC orchestra and singers. Great music and ended up sitting and chatting with one of the dive instructors and a couple of the other staff which was a lot of fun!

 

Disembarkation - Fairly painless. We had Yellow 2 and we were off the ship before 9, retrieved our luggage and headed off to the airport.

 

Other Notes - Explorer is a great ship, showing the odd sign of age here and there. Our balcony railing could have used a coat or two of varnish but otherwise she looks good! We did go to Johnny Rockets for lunch one day and it is definitely worth going to and we will again :) A final note on the propeller. According to my dive instructor who had talked with the divers doing the work on the prop...pieces were cut off each of the blades to bring the prop back into balance. While Explorer won't be able to reach her top speed, whe will remain functional. She's rumored to go into drydock in 2010 and another rumor is that to replace the propeller with a new one will be around the 12 mil mark.

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Day 7 Roseau Dominica - Took the ships excursion to Titou Gorge and The Sulfur Hot Springs. Sure wishing we had our water shoes with us but still had a good time. Dominica is the poorest of the islands, but one of the most beautiful for scenery in my opinion. Not a place for shopping for sure!

 

I enjoyed your review - thanks for writing & posting it up :) Did the exact same tour in January...the roads terrified me but really liked Titou Gorge. Did you swim in all the way to where the Pirates of the Caribbean scene was shot?

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I think that the remaining itinerary's will all be ok now that the have the 3rd one working again. This time around the couldn't use it all the way down which is why San Juan was cancelled. My information is from someone I consider reputable but still is third hand information. Best thing to do is to check directly with RC to see if there would be any itinerary changes :)

 

Warren

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I enjoyed your review - thanks for writing & posting it up :) Did the exact same tour in January...the roads terrified me but really liked Titou Gorge. Did you swim in all the way to where the Pirates of the Caribbean scene was shot?

 

Thanks Southern :) Yep we swam all the way up to the waterfall. Water was damn cold and I'm still kicking myself that we forgot the underwater camera that day!

 

Warren

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I think that the remaining itinerary's will all be ok now that the have the 3rd one working again. This time around the couldn't use it all the way down which is why San Juan was cancelled. My information is from someone I consider reputable but still is third hand information. Best thing to do is to check directly with RC to see if there would be any itinerary changes :)

 

Warren

 

Hey warren...Hmm...i never saw anything about the mystery dinner at portofino....i know they didn't have it in November, but i guess they put it back on!

 

we had fun in spite of the prop! and we put the OBC to good use!

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Hey warren...Hmm...i never saw anything about the mystery dinner at portofino....i know they didn't have it in November, but i guess they put it back on!

 

we had fun in spite of the prop! and we put the OBC to good use!

 

Hi Meg

 

When we boarded and I phoned up to Portofino to book it, the person there said there weren't many spaces left. I think that people being able to pre-book online it's filling up extremely quickly! She never said exactly how many they kept for people to book on the ship but it didn't sound like there were a lot. We were definitely lucky we did it as soon as I found a phone! :D

 

Warren

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I think that the remaining itinerary's will all be ok now that the have the 3rd one working again. This time around the couldn't use it all the way down which is why San Juan was cancelled. My information is from someone I consider reputable but still is third hand information. Best thing to do is to check directly with RC to see if there would be any itinerary changes :)

 

Warren

 

thanks! i sure hope not.. missing San Juan would sooo upset me.. im booked for the rainforest canopy zip line t our.

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We had 1694 last month, was it still missing the dining table on the balcony and the second "desk" chair in the room? We asked for both during our cruise, and they never were able to replace them.

 

lol sort of! We had a little table on the balcony but not the "dining" type. We didn't have the second chair either for the desk but for us neither of those were a huge concern and we enjoyed the cabin anyways :) and the balcony too for that matter! :D

 

Warren

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lol sort of! We had a little table on the balcony but not the "dining" type. We didn't have the second chair either for the desk but for us neither of those were a huge concern and we enjoyed the cabin anyways :) and the balcony too for that matter! :D

 

Warren

 

haha I was just wondering. I agree, neither were a big deal, just would have been nice to have. I loved that balcony, though, my favorite thing to do was lay on the lounge chair with a book while at sea...

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haha I was just wondering. I agree, neither were a big deal, just would have been nice to have. I loved that balcony, though, my favorite thing to do was lay on the lounge chair with a book while at sea...

 

Hehehe I hear you. I loved the balcony and spending time having naps when the weather was decent. DW did a fair bit of reading and suduko out there (when she wasn't at the sexy legs competition :D

 

Warren

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I agree with you on Dominica. It was our favorite port last year. We've been to Titou Gorge but are doing it again this year with the Sulphur Hot springs. I'll be looking for a specific magnet to bring back (we bought them last year at Emerald Pool I think). Its a crab and all of its legs are wiggly. Do you remember seeing this anywhere?

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I agree with you on Dominica. It was our favorite port last year. We've been to Titou Gorge but are doing it again this year with the Sulphur Hot springs. I'll be looking for a specific magnet to bring back (we bought them last year at Emerald Pool I think). Its a crab and all of its legs are wiggly. Do you remember seeing this anywhere?

 

Hi Dall. I didn't remember seeing the magnet you asked about ..but then again I wasn't looking either. I asked DW and she said she saw a few magnets but didn't remember that one specifically. Sorry couldn't be of anymore help. Maybe post that question on the Dominica board if you already haven't and someone there might be able to let you know for sure :)

 

Warren

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We loved the hotsprings Dall! They are "owned" or managed by a fellow named Mr. Screw (couldn't make that up if I tried)! Make sure you take your water shoes! There are 5 pools there that are different temperatures. 4 of them are the sulfur and there is a fresh water pool as well. The only drawback to the ship excursion is we didn't feel there was enough time at the hotsprings. When we go back we will probably do the hotsprings privately so that we can enjoy more time there :D Ihave a couple of pictures of the springs and can post them on webshots in the next day or so if you're interested?

 

Warren

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Photos would be great. I debated about trying to do the springs on our own but didn't know if taxis were readily available to get you there and if they would come back for you. We had quite a few stops on our tour last year (was a private tour) and the springs was on our agenda but we ran out of time. It seems like it wasn't to far away from the ship, do you remember?

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Nice review. It is the first time I heard exactly when everyone learned of the OBC and not stopping in SJU. Must have been a few unhappy people at muster...

 

I guess if you full time in Alberta, it was nice to get away somewhere warm...:D My Dad ends up in Canada often on business and I know others who live here and there depending on the time of year...everyone loves it there especially in Summer!!!

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Nice review. It is the first time I heard exactly when everyone learned of the OBC and not stopping in SJU. Must have been a few unhappy people at muster...

 

I guess if you full time in Alberta, it was nice to get away somewhere warm...:D My Dad ends up in Canada often on business and I know others who live here and there depending on the time of year...everyone loves it there especially in Summer!!!

 

Hi Dave. We were more than ok with the OBC..considering that we probably weren't going to get off the ship in SJU anyways..lol. I'm sure that others weren't as happy tho.

 

Definitely was nice to get out of Alberta for a couple weeks in February after the cold weather. Much nicer in the summers for sure...but even then I would still rather be on a ship somewhere :p

 

Warren

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Photos would be great. I debated about trying to do the springs on our own but didn't know if taxis were readily available to get you there and if they would come back for you. We had quite a few stops on our tour last year (was a private tour) and the springs was on our agenda but we ran out of time. It seems like it wasn't to far away from the ship, do you remember?

 

Near as I remember it was about 15 minutes by cab? as for the taxi's they seemed to be everywhere just off the dock :) I'll post the link to my webshots album. The hotsprings pictures are on page 6 :D

 

Warren

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Can you tell me about the mystery diner? Can you or do you have to book on board? I have tried on line for weeks and it tells me it is sold out. One canuck to another.:D

 

Larry - we booked online about 2 months ago - I'd try booking as soon as you get on ship - they probably still have some seats available but may be saving them for those who don't go online. Good luck! Nancy

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Canadian_Commodore - just looking at your pics as that will be our room in a few weeks......

Those wicker style balcony chairs look uncomfortable! Are they new and are they standard? Also that table looked very low to eat off.

 

unless the aft cabins have a tall table, you cant actually eat a meal off the little tables unless you are 3 feet tall!

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