CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews


Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Explorer of the Seas by G. Cusamano Bermuda July 1, 2007

It all started the day we were to board the Explorer of the seas, Sunday July 1st 2007. We were a group of over 60 people as my Godson was getting married on board that day. There was such confusion and turmoil just getting on the ship. It started with the break down of the machine that takes your picture for your on board identification. The groom's parents were held there (in the heat) over 25 minutes waiting for someone to fix the machine. Not to mention all the other hundreds of other passengers that had to wait in line, in the heat as well. Our party was then allowed to board the ship earlier then the other passengers because of the wedding. When we got to our floor (7th) there was a staff member there at the elevators. She appeared shocked at our presence and didn't want to let us go to our rooms. She said, in a condescending manner, that it was "TOO EARLY" and that the "rooms werent ready yet". I had informed her that we were there for the wedding and we needed to get dressed. She then rolled her eyes at me, let out a loud sigh and replied "what do I care" She then proceeded to open the door that allows us access to the hallway that took us to our rooms. Once dressed we wandered around because now there was no one available to direct us to where we needed to go or tell us how to get there. This was even more frustrating as the groom's mother was in a wheelchair and very upset because of the lack of coordination. Because of the size of the ship, our not being familiar with the layout and no staff to guide us, the groom's mother (and several other family members) were late to the wedding. Fortunately, once all the late guests did arrive, the wedding went off without a hitch. So we celebrated to new union of two beautiful young people and enjoyed the reception. We figured that it was a crazy time for the ship's staff dealing with the passengers that were leaving and those that were arriving and let it go at that. Hoping that it was just an isolated incident, little did we know that was just the start of a very, very bad experience.

Without going into all the details of each day and the disappointment that came with it, I will merely point out the “Low" lights of our family vacation.

Food:

The food was awful. EVERY entree, EVERY night was at best, warm. Not one single entrée was hot enough to eat when it was served. My wife ordered a lamb shank that wasn't even warm! It was cold and had to be sent back. There were several seafood dishes that tasted so fishy that we ordered an entirely different entrée all together. On the 2nd day of the cruise we were informed that they "ran out of" soy milk and my stepmother, who is lactose intolerant, had no milk for her breakfast, dinner or even coffee. The buffet in the Windjammer was like cafeteria food. It was poorly displayed (serving tongs were broken and melted), poorly stocked and tasted poorly as well. There was hardly any staff to clear off the tables from prior passengers use. I had to clear off a table myself so my wife and I could sit down and have lunch. I then watched, as a couple finished their lunch and left, to see how long it would take before a staff member cleared off the table. I never found out because my wife and I left after 20 minutes and it still had not been cleared.

The "Grand Buffet" was LAUGHABLE! In fact I heard an older gentleman say "I stayed up for this?!?" What I saw was so disappointing and hardly even worth mentioning. The tables were sparsely covered with finger foods and there was nothing impressive about it. Not the food itself or the presentation. As if that wasn't enough, the Grand Buffet was supposed to be from 12:30 to 1:30 but all the food was gone by 1:05 and there was nothing left to see or eat.

Service

There was a seating problem in the dining room 4 out of the 5 nights that we were there. The maitre d' failed to correct the problem the first night which lead to a confrontation on the 4th night that almost became physical.

The common (public) bathrooms were filthy and unsanitary. The most heavily used bathrooms next to the swimming pools were the worst. In the men's room there was urine all over the floors and it smelt it a Port-a-john on a construction site. My wife informed me that there were unused sanitary napkins thrown all over the woman's bathroom. There was not 1 bathroom attendant in any public bathroom with the exception of the woman's bathroom in the gym. There they had 2 bathroom attendants for a bathroom that had only 1 stall!

The bar at the Solarium had only 1 bartender and he had only 1 speed, SLOW. There were people there lined up 3 deep just to get a drink. It personally took me over 15 minutes to get something as simple as a beer. I was afraid to order a mixed drink as it would have made my wait even longer. Not until the 3rd day did we see any wait staff at the Solarium taking drink orders and then it still took 15 minutes to get our drinks!

The key to my room had to be reprogrammed on 5 separate occasions! For some reason it continually failed to unlock my door or allow me to use it to buy items on the ship. While the staff at the customer service desk was cordial and rectified the problem quickly, it was a MAJOR hassle to keep running from the 7th floor to the 5th floor to get my key reprogrammed.

Had I paid a nominal amount of money for this cruise, I wouldn't have minded as much but to spend over $3000 to be treated insignificantly and to eat food that was inedible is laughable. Unfortunately the laugh was at mine and my family's expense.

As a veteran traveler of the seas I know full well that food and service are the life's blood of a cruise ship. In the case of Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas, I suggest a major transfusion.

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