I have been on 9 cruises. I was even on the 1st cruise the "explorer of the seas" took with paying passengers out of the port of Miami almost 6 years ago now. The boat and crew didn't let us down one bit, the food as excellent, service was great...
However the cruise left out of the NJ port and it took with it a majority of NJ people. Now don't misunderstand me, a lot of NJ people are very nice however a large majority of them were inconsiderate and just plain rude. Pushing us out of the way to get where they needed to go even though EVERYONE was exiting the same parts of the boat at the same time. Sitting on the beach some of them were so loud and obnoxious I couldn't even relax, we had to move. It was like they couldn't have a moment of silence, someone always had to keep shouting/yelling/talking.
At 1st I thought maybe we hit a stroke of bad luck and ran into the rude people just coincendentally, it happens. However after spending 9 days on the ship and running into various people that we met who were not from NJ they all complained they were rude/inconsiderate. And what got me is I didn't even bring the topic up, people just mentioned it randomly in passing and unfortunetly they all had the same complaints.
So if your a NJ native or enjoy brash inconsiderate people, leaving from the port in NJ might be your thing. This will however be the last cruise I will take from there. And I'm sure some NJ native is clapping saying "we don't want you anyway" since that seems to be the demeanor of the NJ folks.
This is unfortunet because flying in a few days early to tour around NY is just wonderful. NY is beautiful, especially in the late spring.
I feel bad writing this review as I did meet some great NJ people. However that being said, I think people should be aware of what the atmosphere/people will be like leaving from this port.
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
Excellent menu selections for me and my girlfriend. Food was always prepared as requested. Our main waitor always went out of his way to ensure we were satisfied. Now was the prime rib as good as Mortons or Lawry's? No, but it was close.
3 out of 5
The 1st set of dancers we had were excellent, however it was their last show. So we only got to see them on the 1st and last nights (goodbye show) of the cruise. The new dancers/performers were just OK.
The magic act was horrible, we left 1/2 way through it.
The comedy sets were OK, the second comedian (older bald guy, I forgot his name) was very funny. The 1st comedian was so bad the 2nd night we left the performance.
The ICE show was excellent, especially the couple from russia.
One thing that seriously lacked on this cruise was a band playing around the pool. Whenever we got any ammount of rain they would pack up and be done for the day. As such we only had a band out on the pool deck once or twice of any length of time.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
The cruise director was a riot, I always enjoyed seeing him. He had a lot of energy and charisma. I cannot think of any specific "going above and beyond".
5 out of 5
Ship was great, very clean , decor was nice. The only thing I could say about cruise ships of this size and larger is they are not very quaint/personable. It's more like a floating strip mall, you rarely see the same people. I'd suggest a smaller ship to couples looking for something a bit more romantic. However there seem to be less and less small ships out there.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
We had a deluxe stateroom with a balcony, it was excellent. It was nice to watch the sunset at night with my girlfriend in the privacy of our own staterooom.
The bed was just satisfactory, it was not by any means a pillow top cushy mattress. But I slept OK on it.
Our stateroom attendant as excellent, we always had clean towels and a tidy room.
We went on the "rum distillery tour" they should really rename it to rum model tour. You don't get to go into the distillery, you do get to see pictures of it, and you do drive within 100ft of it! They show you a movie in their theater and take you into a room with a model of the original distillery. And that about sums it up, besides the 2 drink tickets you get.
Cool things you can do, is buy a 12+ year bottle of bacardi rum that's only available from the distillery. And you get to visit both forts. However you could easily walk to the forts yourself and tour them without this tour from the port.
We visited the butterfly farm. My GF setup this tour, I wasn't sure what to expect. But it was an excellent tour and the butterfly farm is definetly something to be seen. I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who likes to shoot macro photos and or enjoys wildlife. The farm is a full screened in wildlife area with butterflys all over the place. Amazing.
Had a great time swimming and the beach facing the boat is beautiful. I'd suggest to get off the boat early to get a spot on the nice side of the resort area facing the ship. If you get off the boat late you'll be stuck on the side opposite of the ship and it has a very small swimming beach area cleared (the rest is all coral and rocks).
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