Nice cruise for relaxing.
Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean - Southern
Sail Date: December 04, 2014
Cabin Type: Balcony
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 2 years ago
With four sea days and not much planned activities aboard ship be prepared to entertain yourself. We had no issue with this fact and found our time to be a chance to unwind and relax. There was a distinct lack of younger people and children which we attribute to the time of year and the newness of this itinerary from this port. Being able to see the southern caribbean ports without dealing with travel to Miami or San Juan was a plus that many people couldn't pass up. There was a very heavy participation from Florida residents as well as high level crown and anchor society members. The weather was perfect for the entire cruise but finding seats on deck around the spas and pool was never an issue.
The on-board singers and dancers were superior on this boat. Usually there is one decent singer but here there were four very good singers. The production shows were very entertaining and different from other boats so we were seeing fresh shows. Same with the ice show. This was different and up to the usual superior standard that this show has offered on other boats.
We stayed in cabin 6338 which is a balcony room. Fairly standard balcony room with everything in good shape and good working order. We had a flat screen TV whereas we had heard other say they still had CRTs. We attribute this to the ship replacing defective CRT TVs with flat screens as time goes on. During retrofit next year they should all be changed to flat screens.
The ships service people were also very good. However the guest services still fell short of that standard as has been our experience in the past. If you have an issue that you'd like to take up with guest services, don't expect a favorable resolution. Sorry to say they seem to use deflection as a standard response instead of correcting the situation. The ships are extremely efficient at billing you but never are willing to correct an error.
The food in the main dining room was no different than any other RCI cruise which is to say barely above minimum acceptable standards. We found the "starters" (appetizers) more appealing than the entries and most nights had no more than one entree that looked appealing (some previous experiences with the menus has ruled out certain selections).
This ship currently only has Portofino available and we did not eat there this trip.
This was our first time at Aruba, Bonair and Curacao. They did not offer a lot to see. You either like their beaches (which we did) and snorkeling (which we didn't do) or you have little left to do. However on the plus side is that taxi fairs were minimal ($5 per person to beaches we went to) when you joined others in a van type taxi. We had trouble finding this out prior to the trip and were led to believe you'd be paying high taxi rates. Each island had the same rates so it was no problem heading out on your own (at least not taking a ship tour). Eagle beach on Aruba was broad and long, very soft sand making it slightly harder to walk if you already have trouble walking on sand. Bonaire we went to Sorobon beach was smaller and had very shallow calm water since it is on a bay. This was perfect for younger kids. The persistent wind made it ideal for wind surfers who were quite prevalent. They were entertaining to watch. There was a rope in the water providing separation (protection) between wader/swimmers and the wind surfers. Plenty of beach chairs assuming you get there by mid day. And there was a bar to order drinks and food at reasonable prices. On Curacao we walked 10 minutes from the pier to downtown and spent an hour looking around before heading out to Mombo beach (near the sea aquarium). This has an entry fee and chair fee but the overall cost was fair. This was also was a nice beach with many more chairs available and food / drink available.
We found the cruise to be everything we expected and did not find the ship to be run down due to age. Previous reports of high smoke content in and near the casino were true. Walking near the stairs down to the casino on the promenade deck was quite unpleasant. Too bad the air flow brought up the smoke to the promenade deck rather than sucking good air down to the casino.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Main dining room breakfasts are going to take a long time and the food will not be pleasing however lunches are good there and provide a nice alternative to the windjammer. Snacks are limited at the Cafe Promenade. We do not like the pizza at all. I suspect they don't make them on board.