Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review to Bermuda

Deck Hand

2-3 cruises


Helpful Votes

4 out of 5

Bermuda Cruise w/ Carnival comparisons

Sail Date: September 01, 2009

Reviewed: 7 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Suite

My husband and I traveled on the Explorer of the Seas on the 09/26/09 cruise to Bermuda leaving out of Bayonne, NJ. We had Grand Suite (GS) #1552 on the 10th floor (forward).

Travel Profile: Husband/Wife in 40s, upper middle class, 1st time traveling without children (teenagers), two other cruises on Carnival only (Most recent: 08/2007), first RC cruise, picky but reasonable traveler.

Royal: (+) Shows are WAY more professional, entertaining. (+) Guests were cordial, patient, and polite on the Explorer. Note: I read one of the reviews about lack of courtesy on Explorer with NY/NJ guests as we left out of Cape Liberty. We found our fellow guests to be courteous and friendly. Now, our previous Carnival cruises were in the summer months with a lot more (both) parents/children with conduct issues and this cruise had mostly couples or families with very young children. (+) Room size and layout were larger than expected. We arrived on board at 12:30 and took the opportunity to walk in the cabin areas and see the insides of the various rooms. I was surprised and how large the regular balcony rooms were and I think its nice to have the option on the inside cabins with the windows overlooking the promenade. We also checked out the suites up (in size) from ours. I actually was happy that we didn't pay THAT much as our GS suites were perfect for our needs (2 people). (+) the activities were diverse, fun, interesting, and well executed.

Carnival: More inclusive on price. RC found a lot more opportunities to try and charge you more. I think its ridiculous to charge me for the cruise and then want to charge me $15 at dinner for a better cut of meat when you also offer restaurants with $20 seating charges. Also, I selected the (strawberry) Lava Flow at Dizzys for $6.75. The waiter advised that it came in raspberry or mango as well. I ordered the raspberry and got a bill for $10+. It turns out the raspberry costs a couple dollars more which we weren't advised. I also think its a mistake for RCI to precharge me for tips (My Time Dining and Suite Stewart). The service was fine. On Carnival I found the service to be outstanding. That may be the difference. In summary, we have enjoyed both our Carnival and RC cruises - each one has advantages.

Pros: Ship: Suite, Entertainment Bermuda: people are wonderful

Cons: Food was fine but not great

Recommends Explorer of the Seas? Yes!

Ship Quality
While I have read critical remarks about the Explorer's wear-and-tear. I personally am MORE impressed that it looks so well maintained than disappointed at seeing a few shabby spots. They are going to dry dock in Jan 2010.
Food and Dining
Food quality in Main Dining Room (MDR) was not exceptional but fine. I felt that Carnival Dining had better selection and food quality overall.
Cabin / Stateroom
Grand Suite (GS) was wonderful, spacious, clean, airy. The GS amenities were nice. This is our 1st time booking a suite. I am surprised that RC doesn't better publish all of the amenities: The obvious... of course the room size is bigger, you have a large balcony with 2 chairs and one lounger, bathroom is very large and includes a tub, concierge lounge including free cocktails in the evening (5-8:30), pressed clothes on formal night. We didn't know until on board that we could order in room service from the main Dining Room (MDR) menu (vs Windjammer in a regular room) and that Portifinos is reserved from 8:00-2:00 for suite guests to eat in. This was a very nice option if you don't want to take the time to be waited on in the MDR for breakfast or lunch but find the Windjammer crowded, loud and hectic. You can help yourself to the food in the Windjammer and simply cross through to Portifinos (next door) to eat in a nicer, quieter setting. We read that suite guests get priority seat
Ice Show rocks, Comedy Shows great. I dragged my husband to the Day 5 Cooking Demonstration that we thought would be on cooking but was more about comedy that included a cake. Hilarious!

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