- Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas
- September 6th - September 11th, 2014
- Bermuda Bound 30th Wedding Anniversary Cruise!
- Explorer of the Seas, Kings Wharf, Bermuda!
Explorer of the Seas was looking a bit less gorgeous as we remembered her... this was our fourth cruise on this ship. We first sailed her in 2003, and she was our first BIG ship then. She will always feel like home, but in 2014 (I'm writing this almost 3 years later), she was in great need of a facelift. I believe has since gotten one, but she's moved on to new locales no longer calling Cape Liberty her home. Her Royal Promenade should still cause a thrill for those who've never experienced any ship as large as those in the Voyager class. The purpose of this cruise was for Diane and I to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary... we wanted something just for the two of us and something inexpensive. Explorer of the Seas out of Cape Liberty fit that bill nicely! For an all around, mostly inclusive vacation, you can never go wrong with a cruise.
Embarkation Day: As we always do with any cruise out of Cape Liberty (Bayonne, NJ) we got out of the house around 9:30 for the 90 minute drive north to Bayonne. It was a cloudy ugly day, but we were going on a cruise, so who cares? Cape Liberty was all torn up with the construction of new facilities for the upcoming Quantum class ships. After check in, we did the perfunctory trip up to the Windjammer Buffet. (More on the Windjammer in the Dining section)
The Cabin Experience: This cruise, we took an inside cabin, #1583... the operative words were "cheap getaway" and you truly can't cruise cheaper than in an inside cabin. On more modern cruise ships, inside cabins do offer comfortable if somewhat cramped spaces. The first thing we noticed about this inside cabin was that there was very little space between the bed and the wall... maybe about a foot on each side of the bed. This was okay except that there was also a blue loveseat on the wall that made access to the bed on the right side impossible. Being the tried and true "make it work" cruisers that we are, we simply moved the loveseat 90 degrees do it faced the bed and opened up the space considerably (although you needed to maneuver slightly around it when headed to the bathroom. (See the cabin pictures- in the picture facing the bed, the loveseat was against the wall where you see the glass table and bottles of water and wine bucket) Our cabin steward moved the loveseat back once, but once we slid it around again, he left it in place. Otherwise, this proved to be a comfortable cabin for a short five night cruise. There was plenty of closet space, a safe, and a make up table for Diane and a TV and minibar fridge. (Note, yes... our suitcase fit nicely under the bed!)
Explorer Dining Experience: With the exception of the Windjammer, all of the restaurants we ate in aboard during this quickie cruise featured very good food.
Windjammer Buffet: This was the first time on a Royal Caribbean cruise that the buffet was lackluster to say the least! Also, the aft windows in the Windjammer were actually fogged... obviously water had forced it's way into them over time through aged seals. It was really distracting to see this unsightly appearance on a luxury cruise ship. We felt really bad about this as Explorer had become a second home to us. The food offerings had also diminished from the "heydey" of only a few years previous... and what was there was bland. (Unfortunately, this was also true of our Windjammer experience aboard Allure of the Seas in 2016... while that Windjammer was still beautiful, if a bit too small for such a large ship, it's food offerings were ranged from ok to downright awful.) I sincerely hope Royal Caribbean returns to good meals in the Windjammer!
Main Dining Room: This was very nice as Diane and I scored (via our travel agent's hard work!) a table for two on the upper deck looking over the side to the lower deck dining room! It was much more romantic not having to share a table during this special occasion cruise. I remember excellent meals here every night!
Johnny Rockets: I always love the atmosphere of JR's, but the burgers never do much for me. But I always make a point on any RC ship to stop at JR's for a delicious malted shake... and onion rings! This fee restaurant always has a lively fun atmosphere. Worth a stop!
~Cruise Review Menu~
All photography on this page done by Paul and Diane McCullough