|# of Nights:|
This was our 15th Royal Caribbean Cruise and the first on the Explorer.
Capte Liberty still has a few kinks to work out, expecially when the ship in disembarking at the same time the new passengers are arriving. There is only one road into the terminal area and it gets very messy at times. Once inside the terminal however things were much better. We checked in immediately (at about 11:30) and waited in a comfortable waiting room til they started boarding. Leaving from Cape Liberty requires you to take a shuttle bus from the terminal out to the ship and we were on the first shuttle at about 12:15.
The Explorer is in wonderful condition and they are constantly working to keep it that way. Every day that the ship was in port, small sections were roped off while they replaced carpets and they are constantly polishing and mopping. Captain Ryan runs a tight ship and was seen all over the ship, checking things out and chatting with the passengers to get their feedback.
Our room - 9692 - would not be ready til 1PM so we went to the Windjammer for lunch where we met up with 3 other couples who we met on the Voyager last year and decided to cruise with again this year. The food in the WJ was better than some buffets we have had. Hand sanitizers were at the entrance and you had to use them before entering but you could serve yourself at the buffet. Generally if there is any illness outbreak the crew will serve you and we saw no sign of this during our trip.
At 1 we returned to our cabin and found it is very good shape. Our aft balcony had plenty of storage space but was missing the lounge chairs we have come to expect in aft balconies. One nice touch was an umbrella waiting in the closet from our Room attemdant (Florence) who thought we might need it for sail-away since it was raining. Florence kept out room clean and was happy to help in any way she could.
As Diamond members we had access to the Concierge Lounge where Ricky took excellent care of us. DH somehow managed to forget his tie for his tux on Formal night and one call to Ricky had him all set in a matter of minutes. It later turned out Ricky went to his own cabin and got an extra one he had. He also helped us arrange a party on our balcony for our traveling friends.
The 8 friends had table 506 in the DR - a beautiful table right at the window - where Darshon and Janos took wonderful care of us. We found the food to be very good but the selections a bit limited. The food was always hot, prepared beautifully and service efficient and attentive. Our Head Waiter visited our table every night and seemed to take delight in the fact that we all had met on a cruise ship and now cruise together.
We all dined in Portofino's once during the trip and the food there was exceptional and well worth the extra $20PP charge.
Allan Brooks was our CD and was fun, energetic and everywhere. He kept things moving along and was one of the better CD's we have had in a long time. The shows ranged from poor (Magic act and one comedian) to excellent (The Knudson Brothers ) and the Productions shows were average. The Ice Show was wonderful though and made up for some of the other entertainment.
We did not do much in all the ports as DH had surgery on his ankle the week before we sailed and was warned not to get any sand or water on the area but did enjoy the peace and quiet on the ship.