Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean - Bahamas
Sail Date: February 10, 2013
Ship: Explorer of the Seas
Cabin Type: Balcony
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 4 years ago
Review SummaryI've become addicted to cruising, and I need my fix on a ever-increasing schedule. We did a British Isles cruise last May, and will be doing a Norwegian Fjords cruise in August, but that was too far apart, so I asked my Wife to set up a "quick and easy" cruise sometime between. She picked this one, primarily because it took just 7 days, and left from New York. That meant I didn't need to take too many vacation days and I didn't need to spend a fortune flying to get there (I live within driving distance of New York). All I wanted was to get on a ship, and go someplace warm for a couple of days, and I got everything I wanted.
The ship departed just a day after the big Eastern seaboard snowstorm, so just getting to the port looked like it might be an issue, but for us it was smooth. Sunny skies and clear roads. I had read some reviews that made is sound like the Explorer of the Seas was somehow tired and showing her age, but I found that not to be the case at all. Everything was as clean an well maintained as you could ask for.
Our cabin steward was friendly and unobtrusively efficient. I did find the bed to be too hard, but after a word on the second day he put some sort of topper on it that solved the problem nicely. Our waiter and assistant waiter were the same. No magic tricks or stand-up comedy, but they always seemed to be there when we needed them.
Sailing south, we went straight into the weather system moving the opposite direction, so the wind across the deck was up over 50 miles an hour and the outside doors were closed for safety. Still, stepping out on the balcony it was pleasing to note how much warmer it was than the below-zero temperature we left New York in. The day following we docked in Port Canaveral Florida, and it was sunny and warm. I took an excursion to the Space Centre, and found it very interesting. What I found even more interesting (and illuminating) was that the couple behind me on the coach taking us back to the ship were complaining bitterly the whole way about how disorganized the whole thing was and how they were going to try to get a refund when they got back. In fact they were so vocally negative I nearly turned around and asked them to keep it to themselves. We had been on the same tour on the same day, but you would never know it if you heard us both describe our experience. Expectations and attitudes were the difference.
That's actually why I decided to write this review. Listening to those two bitch, I realized if I said nothing, people would read their bile and it might affect their choices. The problem people like that have is that wherever they go, there they are! They bring themselves and their negativity on every trip, and if things don't go exactly to plan, they have a miserable time.
Be cautious when reading these reviews (even this one). People are not motivated to take the effort to comment about things that just met their expectations, so you get skewed results.
I'd take this cruise again without hesitation. It fulfilled my requirements perfectly. I got pampered for a week, got a few days of nice warm weather, and didn't have to spend a lot to get to the ship.
The cruise director (Richard Spacey) was a rock star, easily the best I have seen, and that is saying something. High energy, funny, approachable; and his staff were very good as well. The Captain was always in evidence as well, one evening making the rounds to every table in the dinning room to thank us for cruising with him.
I would recommend that everyone take the time to go to the Atlantis resort complex in Nassau. We did it as an after-thought, but it was very nice, particularly the aquarium and stingray exhibit. If I go again, I think I'll do the tour where you get in the pool with the stingrays. It's very shallow and calm so you can always see where you are stepping.
In Coco Cay, the company owned Island, we heard an announcement that stated that all you needed was your SeaPass card, so we didn't bring any cash. There were however many places to buy souvenirs, hats and t-shirts which did want cash. As well I wanted to tip the crew that took me para-sailing, but with no cash that was impossible, so I'd recommend bringing a little with you.
Lastly and unfortunately negatively, getting off the ship carrying your luggage is a challenge because the elevators can't handle the volume. If you can carry your bags down the stairs, then you are good. If you can't, then I think you are better off putting them outside the night before and having them taken off and put in the terminal for you.
Sill, all in all, a great little vacation!