I was on the Explorer in May. Although it was not my first cruise it was my first RCCL cruise and it is absolutely beautiful. It is so big. You will really love it. Some of the things they have the ship are just amazing....an ice skating rink...the show was fantastic. We were on the ship for a wedding cruise so I had some family members with me and one of the uncles loved the self serve ice cream machines on the ship. I sail on the Jewel next Sept and it is slightly smaller, I think I am already spoiled. You will have a great time just enjoy yourself.
Just got off the ship Dec, 12th. Also a first time RCL cruiser.
I must say this ship was just beautiful. Even with 3,800 passengers aboard, you never had a cramped feeling.
. Our room overlooked the 5th deck prominade. Lots of stores to shop and the prices are right. The hang out was the Cafe Prominade where you can get coffee, sandwiches, pizza, and all sorts of pies, cake and pastry 24 hours a day/ Good place to go after the show, especially if you have early dinner (6:00_). The show is 9:00 pm and ends about 10:00.
Food is not bad but if you are not picky, you will have a good time. The menue is limited to 4 main courses changing each day. Steak, salmon and pasta can be had any day if you are not interested in the dinner menue. Service is wonderful, great waiters, busboys and maitre d', everyone is friendly and smiling...They want you to have agood time. The Windjammer is pleasant and has good food. and is busy but you are served quickly. If you want to relax at night and miss served dinner in the dining room, you can have dinner in the Windjammer. Ice Cream flows constantly.
The cabins are adequate, just enough for 2 people unless you are in a suite. The rooms with a balcony are just as small or large, however you want to say it.
There are theme nights at the pool after 11:30pm with a show and more food!!! They do a nice job.
The second night out is the formal night and people dress up!! Suites, Tux and gown. This is the Captains night..
Ports are OK. We went to the western caribbean, Balize (nothing to write home about) and we had to tender in from the ship to shore, a loooong way out...Costa Maya was nice as was Cozumel (the best of all places) and Grand Cayman (also had to tender but was close to shore) was colorful.
Getting on the ship was a chore...with added security these days, there are long lines and waiting time to board is difficult. We got to the ship around 11:00am and could not board until 1:30-2:00pm. Suggest you get to the ship around 11:00 so you may be in the front of the line.
Getting off was not to bad, but even with color tags indicating what time you are to leave the ship, it takes a while to clear customs and imigration. Luggage comes off on a carousel, like at the airports. You may have to hunt them down and make sure you have bright colors around the handles so you can identify them easily.>?
No matter what, you will have a great time as long as you keep an open mind and have no great expectations.
Have a nice cruise and don't think of gaining weight, YOU WILL!! So what...
Was just on this ship in September (our first cruise). We thought the ship was absolutely beautiful. There is tons to do:
- Pools (on one part of the ship there is an adults side called the Solarium. My husband and I stayed primarily on this side because it was much quieter (no kids running around). The "regular side" had a larger pool for kids and farmilies as well.
-Skating Ring: they have an ice show or you can just go for a skate
- Climbing Wall & Mini Golf
- Food: we would either order in our breakfast, or we would go to the Windjammer Cafe which we thought was wonderful! The dining room is 3 levels high, we thought the food here was some of the best we've ever had.
- Theatre: they have dancers, singers, comedians, bingo, etc.
- Casino: lots of fun
- Dancing at the Chamber Bar (primarily younger people)
- Drinking: the ship had quite a few bars, we didn't even go to half of them!
- Promendade: there are a handful of shops with some great finds (jewellry, perfume, accessories); parade
- Captains Welcome: this was on the first formal night, everybody gets pretty dressed up for this (and for the formals nights as well)
There was so much to do that we didn't even get to do half of the things we wanted to. We opted to sit by the pool as much as possible. The crew was great, our stateroom attendent kept our room spotless, our dining room waiter was a lot of fun.
We had the best time of our lives (even though we were stuck in Frances and were avoiding Ivan). We did end up doing a different itinerary than planned, but it was still great!
You will love the ship. We're actually planning on going on it again in Dec 2005!
Thanks guys sounds good. Did you all take a cab or transfers? We hadnt bought transfers yet, was wondering how much a cab ride is to the pier from Miami Airport? We did the cab on our last Celebrity cruise and it was cheaper, plus no wait. If anyone knows about the cabs please let me know.
The cab ride to the pier is not expensive, about $20.. and you don't have to wait for others
By the way, Johnny Rockets is charging a $3.95 per person cover charge each time you enter the restaurant to eat. On top of this there are charges for drinks etc. and frankly, it is not worth it. There are so much food around .....
Just posted a note about going on Serenade. We were on Explorer last Feb with our 15 yr old son, 14 year old daughter. All had a great time, no complaints about anything on the ship. I'm not sure if Explorer is charging for J. Rockets yet; didn't charge when we went and the teens loved it.
Yes, Johnny Rockets is sure charging now. Just got off. The problem was that many youngsters were going to the restaurant and asking for 6 of this and 10 of this and 3 of this without consuming the food and drink. The Explorer could not say no to a guest .
They said that those that really want to eat at J.R. would not mind paying for the food as it is a different place to dine. I did not sewe big lines there but some people took advantage of the cost and enjoyed it.
Yes, there is pizza and ice cream 24 hours a day.
The cab ride costs about $20 (airport to port). You can also take a shuttle from the airport for $9 each person. There were 2 of us, and we took the shuttle- should have taken the cab because it would have been faster and the same price. If you do decide to take a shuttle, they are all over the place- I think its called SuperShuttle.
We ended up going to Johnny Rockets a couple of times because it was a fun place to be. The $4 doesn't really matter when you're having fun.
To Queenbee--Thanks for all the info. I was wondering while you were waiting to board for those two and half to three hours, were there chairs to sit on or did you have to remain standing all that time? We are going on the Voyager out of Miami in May and usually get to the port around eleven o'clock too, but we have cruised Carnival lately and only had to wait appx. 45 minutes. We haven't been on RCCL for some time and were wondering on their boarding procedures. Can you tell me more?
The boarding procedure was very long on Dec.5th as new customs procedures were set in place for international people who were getting off the ship. Usually, the ship can be readt to accept new passangers by 11.00am but the delay in boarding was because of those getting off took a longer time.
Unfortunately, there are no benches to sit on and many pepole were sitting on the floor or standing. If you are a diamond club status, there is a separate room to check in and you board first.
Hopefully, the procedure for disemabrking may be speeded up by the time you go, Keep checking. Nevertheless, you will have a great time once on board
Thanks, q.b. and ss. I'm hoping the embarcation in Miami is fast. We have only been waiting five months already since we booked this cruise in July with four more months to go. I guess I shouldn't be concerned with a few extra hours. lol
Hey Jamiegunter! You will have a blast on the Explorer, I'm sure. I've cruised on the Voyager, Navigator, and Mariner many times and they are all AWESOME ships! There is SO much to do and SO much fun to be had! I just booked the Explorer for the same date as you...Jan. 30, 2005. I'm glad I don't have months and months to wait until it sets sail. I'm not good at waiting for vacation time.... So where are you and your family from? I'm a Floridian, so I don't have very far to travel to get to the port...another good thing. Let me know if I can answer any questions for you about the ship. Have a great day!
Can anyone tell me which nite would be best to eat at Portofinos? We like to dress up so we don't want to miss those nights in the dinning room.
Also, I know that the 2nd night is a formal night, when is the other one?
The info. everyone is providing is great! Keep it coming (I promise to offer my review but unfortunately we don't sail until June 12th!) Thanks.