Can't complain, I guess. But compared to Voyager of the Seas, Explorer comes in a poor second -- art work not as good, service second-rate. On the cruise we took (four adults and one two-year-old), we didn't stop at Nassau as advertised, and the golf course in St Thomas was closed for repairs. Our waiter had no clue what to do with a two-year-old. Having said all that, we probably would have said it was okay except that we'd been on the Voyager a year earlier --- a much better experience, all in all.
Had a great cruise! Service was excellent, decorations were excellent, entertainment top notch, etc.There was so much to do on this ship - no one could possibly get bored! Ice skating show was fabulous!
As far as the room - I switched rooms at the pier. I was able to upgrade to a Cat A Suite for $200 more for the cabin. Needless to say - I loved the cabin but my balcony was smaller (less deep) than the aft cabins. I did see an aft cabin on Deck 10 and it was great - it was a middle cabin. Probably three times my balcony's depth. If you want to know how I did this - go to "People" and then "Chit Chat" on this cruise board. I posted a message there.
For John Harris - if you didn't stop in Nassau, there probably was a good reason (weather, etc. . ). Cruise ships don't skip ports just because. They lose plenty in revenue by not having those shore excursions. Also, it is beyond RCCL's control if the private golf course was closed for repairs. RCCL doesn't own these items.
My TA has been on both and liked Explorer of the Seas better. Each person has their own opinions.
We did encounter rain in St. Thomas and during one of our sea days. I won't blame RCCL for that because it was beyond their control.
Will write a review in about a week. Trying to do landry, etc. .
Diana - you will love this ship. If you have specific questions - email me directly.
Dan, Dan, the Party Man, a wonderfully energetic cruise director, and his assistant, Double D Derek was great also. I think they made the pool games, horse races tons of fun. I also loved the 50s through 70s party that they hosted in the ice skating rink (flooring was changed for the party)
As someone who has had a first experience on RCI coming from Celebrity and HAL I find RCI much more fun. HAL and Celebrity are more geared towards a quieter cruise with more formal service. Our dining service was wonderful, after we changed tables, and very entertaining and this was the first time I experienced singing and dancing waiters as part of the dining experience and it was tons of fun.
As far as the Explorer goes I would say that I really more interested in cozy lounges and elegant dining rooms and I didn't find one lounge or public area very striking or stylish. I think the disco, the Chamber, in its Gothic style, was very cool and worked well as a disco. Dizzy's, the Royal Crown Viking lounge, was pretty cozy and I liked the pics of jazz musicians that move on one of the lounge's walls. My favorite areas of the ship were the deck areas, the promenade wrapped completely around the ship which is great and it was plenty wide. I like the higher areas as well especially the aft area with the rock-climbing wall, the wonderful mini-golf course, the inline skating area and the volleyball/basketball court. I also loved the peak over the bridge area. I love the ice-skating rink and thought the show on the ice was absolutely excellent, especially the acrobats that performed.
I really didn't care for the Royal Promenade that much finding it small for what it was trying to do and sometimes feeling crowded. In terms of its appearance it seemed pretty typical suburban mall and I think it would have been much more charming if it had less harsh fibre-optic/neon type of lighting and had used sort of old fashioned street lights along the way. Since it has something of the characteristic of a main street both my wife and I thought that the upper levels could have used more charming shutters rather than glass shutters and that over the shops a few areas colored areas could have resembled brownstones. However, most on the ship seemed to love the Royal Promenade. I did enjoy the Cafe Promenade which had pizza, sandwiches, cookies, and (bad) coffee available 24 hours.
For me the ship is way too big and has one major shortcoming. There are only 14 elevators in this ship in two main banks. The total elevator amount is the same as the 62,000 ton, 1440 pax Zaandam. There's one that's sort of fore and one that's midship aft. All of the smaller ships I've been on have had forward, midship, and aft elevators and I found waits for elevators excessive and just getting around this huge ship tiring. I like the variety of public areas and sort of like the many things to do but I this was not my favorite ship. I also did not care for the centrums and found that it didn't feel much like a ship in many respects and more like a scaled hotel/resort in its style and execution. However, as a scaled/resort it's pastel palette, glass elevators, huge suspended sculptures can be seen as fairly impressive for something that moves in the water and I can see why it appeals to many.
This big ship DOES move in the ocean. We were in 6-8 feet seas with a good head wind on a few days and movement was noticeable, especially in the bow areas. I think it moved just as much as the 70,606 ton Celebrity Centruy in similar types of conditions.
In all I had a great time, I was with a fun group of people, the entertainment was the best I've experienced on a ship, the dining service was prompt and entertaining, the deck spaces were wonderful, and the ship had a definite electricity about it at night and I guess a bit of something for all tastes. I think the Windjammer food, both selection and quality, was only fair at best. Dining room food was good.
I'm still more of a Celebrity type of cruiser but I like RCI as an entertaining line and think I'd like the Radiance class ship better because it is a more manageable size and lacks the Royal Promenade. I'd also pick RCI number 1 as a line for group cruises and for those that want to have fun and many different options.
It's true most purple people sailed Voyager last year. I didn't however. They were originally scheduled for the Millennium and it was delivered late cancelling the cruise. I didn't transfer to the Voyager last year.
Next year they are going on the Celebrity Constellation but I don't think they'll have as much fun on that ship due to the mellow nature of the ship and the style of Celebrity.
I think RCI is much more fun for a group cruise, and as a cruise in general, than Celebrity. Celebrity is more for spas, lounge entertainment, and dining.
After sailing Celebrity Millennium (sister of Constellation), I can honestly say that I don't think your current group would have as much fun on that ship as on RCCL. After all, your TA said that the Grand was "too quiet and dead for them". I have sailed the Grand and it is much more lively than Millennium.
Your group was fun to meet and it looked like most of you had a great time!
I thought so as well, I've sailed Celebrity twice. The group is actually going on the Galaxy in September and the Constellation in December. My wife and I love Celebrity but for a much different experience.
I think after trying Celebrity they'll probably like the food better but will crave for the fun they had with RCI and either return to RCI or perhaps try NCL.
Yes, the group was tons of fun, and I think the crew picked up on our fun and joined in.