Exploring the High Seas without the Magic- 9 Nights on RCI 8/4/11 Complete! 4/24!

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by podsnel, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    Hi there! My name is Ellen, and I'm here to tell you about YET ANOTHER fabulous vacation...but this time, it was an Un-Disney vacation, 9 nights aboard Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas to Bermuda, St. Marteen, St Thomas & San Juan, PR. Four of us went on this cruise, myself, my DH, Pods, DS14, Tyler and DS12, Timmy. Previously, we have been on two Disney cruises on the Magic, both to the Western Caribbean. (Although Pods & I have also been on some other cruises without them). My boys will tell you that hands down, cruises are the way to go!! Their favorite vacation EVER!! But would this one be? Would we all have as much fun without the Disney magic?

    I hope you'll read along to find out!

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    Table of Contents

    Our Big Exhausting Travel Day http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42346555&postcount=2

    Cabin 1688 AFT http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42347087&postcount=3

    Windjammer Lunch http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42360468&postcount=21

    More Explorer Exploring http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42360717&postcount=22

    Sailaway http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42387851&postcount=39

    I'm BORED!!! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42388608&postcount=40

    The rest of our 1st night http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42393567&postcount=41

    Day 2- our 1st day at sea http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42397786&postcount=44 http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42398075&postcount=45

    1st Formal Night http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42404047&postcount=48 http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42408508&postcount=52 http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42408932&postcount=53

    Room service breakfast in Bermuda http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42411024&postcount=56

    Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42438041&postcount=66 http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42438385&postcount=68 http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42438987&postcount=69

    Swizzle Inn...Swagger Out http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42470529&postcount=84

    Back to the Dockyard http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42483844&postcount=93

    Night 3- Back out to Sea http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42532369&postcount=111 http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42532760&postcount=112

    Sea Day 2 http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42673303&postcount=131 http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42673555&postcount=132

    Italian Night http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42674887&postcount=133

    The Crypt http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42674902&postcount=134

    We're not worried...we've got a map! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42705427&postcount=151

    WHERE'S THE JOHNNY CAKES?? http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42717354&postcount=160

    SXM Cont'd http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42769460&postcount=176 http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42769735&postcount=178 http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42769947&postcount=179

    Dinner at Portofino http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42802465&postcount=192

    ST Thomas & a day with See & Ski http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42895906&postcount=204

    Jost Van Dyk http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42901499&postcount=210

    Soggy Dollar http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42904716&postcount=214 http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42904779&postcount=215

    More out with Sea & Ski http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42911279&postcount=219

    Hurry up! We're not leaving yet! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42961372&postcount=226

    Old San Juan Segway Tour of the Fortress http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43041215&postcount=243 http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43041448&postcount=245

    Videos from Old San Juan http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43052333&postcount=251

    Johnny Rockets http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43074265&postcount=258

    So I went to the spa.... http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43281390&postcount=276


    Dinner with Friends on Day 7 http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43287277&postcount=282

    Explorer Royal Suite Pics http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43287334&postcount=283

    Day 7- A Glorious day at Sea http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43356149&postcount=290

    Second formal Night- LOBSTAH! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43498403&postcount=295
    http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43498771&postcount=296

    Our last day.... http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43677841&postcount=307

    Feast of Nations- the last supper http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43678843&postcount=310

    A last night with considerable tears... http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43699431&postcount=319

    Time to go home.... http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44684150&postcount=339

     
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  3. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    In case you didn't notice, we are a NJ family- that's right, I am a REAL Real Housewife of NJ, and my DH is a REAL NJ Houseman. :thumbsup2 Anyway....for years I have wanted to try a cruise out of either NYC or, better yet, Bayonne, NJ- no flying, no weighing of suitcases, no overnights before the trip- just throw the 50 tons of luggage in the car and drive to vacation in under an hour. How great does THAT sound? Well, let me tell ya...it's really all that and a bag of chips!

    But which cruise should we pick? We have Norwegian, Carnival, Cunard, Holland America,& Princess all going out of the big apple, and RCI and Celebrity out of Cape Liberty in Bayonne, NJ. Of all of them, we decided RCI would be the most fun for our kids- the Explorer of the Seas is docked here year round, and has an excellent reputation for having the friendliest crew around. Last July my GF Marilyn (who is also my fabulous TA) brought me onto the Explorer for a TA tour and lunch- and I was SOLD!! Here we are last year on the tour, along with the WWF World Champ who was on our tour, too-

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    I came home from that lunch and called Marilyn to book us on the 9 night August 4th cruise- and bless her, Marilyn not only booked us right away, but she also was able to snag one of the coveted AFT corner cabins up on Deck 10! AWESOME!! So a year later, we were hopping in our car after saying Good-bye to our dog, Summer, Our older son, Sean (who is autistic and would not be joining us- he's much happier going to summer camp!), and my cousin, Sheree, who would be watching over them both. We hit the road at 12:40...and 1/2 an hour later...we saw-

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    And-

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    Pods dropped us and our 50 tons of luggage at the curb, went to park the car ($171 for a 9 night cruise), and we were through security, checking in for our Seapasses, passing through the terminal-

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    After the boys grabbed a couple of yummy cookies in that waiting area (I love that they had cookies & lemonade!) we hopped right on the shuttle for a 2 minute ride to the ship-

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    And had fun with this guy on the way over-

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    who was quite a character, and who made that two minutes seem like only 5 or 10, but I digress :rolleyes:.....(j/k- this guy was a buster, and we had fun!)we were out-

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    and getting on...

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    ....and it was not even 2:00!! We LOVE this travel day!!! So far this vacation ROCKS!! :rotfl: We passed by the Medical Facility .....

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    Where we reminded Tim he was on his own on this cruise if he even thought about visiting here (we had a little...ummm....episode...on our last DCL trip and spent sail-away down getting xrays- I DON'T recommend the Dr's office as a good spot for sailaway, BTW...) and then took the elevator straight up to Deck 10 to drop off our carry-ons before lunch at the Windjammer. EXCELLENT!!!:yay:

    Up next- how big IS an Aft cabin, anyway????



     
  4. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    On my tour the year before, the RCI rep had taken us into all the suites, and all the cabins....but there was one that REALLY stood out. The AFT D1 cabin(s) on Deck 10- they are configured differently, and they have a bigger balcony- and I was THRILLED to be staying in one! But....would it be noisy? Would it get sooty? Would it be extra hot back there, especially in freaking AUGUST???

    Ummm...the answers are no- no- and no. We LOVED it back there-

    Anyway, walked down the hall....

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    And this is what we saw-

    Hey!! How did he get there so fast???
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    The boys were EXHAUSTED from all that TRAVEL!! :rotfl:

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    I have to say, there was a LOT of storage space in the cabin- I found a place for nearly everything!!
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    Woohoo!! tyler likes it!!
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    Marilyn had sent us a bottle of wine and a $50 OB Credit-

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    Gee- I wonder what we're gonna do with THAT...:rolleyes: And then the balcony...oh, that heavenly balcony-

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    It was so big, I couldn't get it all to fit in the photo! Out here there were 2 chairs, 2 lounge chairs, and a really nice size table (that we LOVED using for room service breakfast most mornings! :goodvibes).

    Happy with all that we saw, we left our stripper-pole cabin and headed up one deck to lunch in the Windjammer...

     
  5. knewton64

    knewton64 - May the luck of the Irish always be with you -

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    San Juan has me curious.popcorn::


    DIJA pack da mon-kee statue in da suitcase??????:laughing:



    PICS of SAn Juan??



    T.T.F.N.
     
  6. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    Hey Chris! :cheer2:

    No- I did not pack da monkeys- I am perfectly happy molesting foreign monkeys on foreign soil, thank-you very much! ;)

    San Juan is gorgeous- and I have pics and vid from there- but you'll have to be patient- we were there on Day 7!:scared1:
     
  7. Gina

    Gina Remembers the Great DIS Board Crash of '99

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    Lovin' the report! Can't wait to look at it again when I get home from work so I can see the pics.

    And I share your adoration of the D1 afts on deck 10... We had the other corner, 1388, last year on Voyager and have the same stateroom next Feb. on Mariner. Can't WAIT. So quiet with no traffic past your door, and sooooooo blissful just watching the wake behind the ship from that ginormous balcony. Have a portable hammock to put out there this next time, looking forward to that!! :cloud9:

    And looking forward to the rest of your trip report! :goodvibes
     
  8. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    Hi Gina! :goodvibes

    What a GREAT idea with the hammock!! :worship: If I am lucky enough to score an AFT cabin again, I will DEFINITELY be copying you! ITA, the wake was sooo relaxing- and the stars at night were bliss....:cloud9: One night was a full moon- it was gorgeous out there, we had to make ourselves leave the balcony to go out!

    Where are you going on Mariner?
     
  9. karajeboo

    karajeboo DISmom by land and by sea!

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    You know I'm in, my WDW going, future DCL cruising partner!!!! :thumbsup2

    You are looking HOT by the way!!!! ;)
     
  10. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    Hi Kara!!! :hug: I hope I'm your DCL cruise partner at LEAST two times that we know of in the not too distant future.... if DCL leaves NYC for 2013, do ya think you could do RCI from NYC instead? PUH-LEEEEEEEZ??!!!! :thumbsup2
     
  11. Gina

    Gina Remembers the Great DIS Board Crash of '99

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    Oo, I need to check the calendar and see if we'll get lucky and have a full moon too!!

    We're going to Cozumel, Belize, and Roatan. Love your itinerary the best, but out of Galveston that would have to be a much longer cruise. And we're spoiled now with driving maybe 30 minutes tops to the pier, rather than spending a day each way in and out of airports! Not to mention the cost. So I'm happy with the Western Caribbean.

    I never get tired of Cozumel and a day at Paradise Beach, we did Roatan last time and *loved* it, and this time in Belize DS and I will be enjoying a nice empty day on the ship -- which is our absolute favorite destination anyway. I like the ports, but a whole week just doing donuts in the ocean would suit me just fine too. :cloud9:

    It's incredible, the size difference between the aft D1 and the regular ones, for the same exact price -- and the aft one has a stripper pole in the middle, to boot! LOL. :laughing: :thumbsup2
     
  12. Wicket's Mom

    Wicket's Mom DIS Veteran

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    This groupie has to follow her peeps, so count me in! :cool1:
     
  13. emma'smom

    emma'smom <font color=magenta>P.S. Who would serve turnips a

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    THANK YOU for this report! This is the EXACT cruise that my extended family has identified for next summer....I am so interested in all of the details. We're taking my 72 year old parents on it for their 50th Anniversary. I've only ever cruised DCL....so this will be really interesting.
     
  14. tinkmom2

    tinkmom2 DIS Veteran

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    The verandah room looks pretty big. Is it bigger or smaller than DCL? And what about cost?
     
  15. Beth D

    Beth D DIS Veteran

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    Another groupie checking in!

    So far we have one hot babe in a pink dress, three handsome fellas in tuxes, vino and stripper poles in the room, and it's not even supper time yet!:thumbsup2

    This sounds like a heck of a sail! :banana:
     
  16. karajeboo

    karajeboo DISmom by land and by sea!

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    Supper time? I don't even think they've left port yet!!!!! :rotfl2:
     
  17. dvc4life

    dvc4life Disney is my Happy Place

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    Great opening on your TR. Wow, what a room you got. It looks so huge. :thumbsup2
     
  18. kid-at-heart

    kid-at-heart DIS Veteran

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    Signing on but it is a super busy week so I will be back later to read. :goodvibes
     
  19. chisnpeke

    chisnpeke <font color=blue>Got the blues on purple tag night

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    We went on this EXACT cruise on August 17, 2007. It is a great cruise route and the Explorer is a great ship!

    Looks like you had a good time so far!
     
  20. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    Yea- it's a BIG difference- I think alot of people don't like the walk (which never bothered us), a little more motion (which I LOVE because I really enjoy "feeling" the ship, ESPECIALLY when I'm sleeping), and potential engine noise (which we did hear occasionally, but not enough to be an issue). Also on some ships there is a soot problem from the stack- but we never had any soot on our balcony.

    YAY! :yay: Thanks for continuing to keep your groupie status!! :yay:

    You're WELCOME!!!! :goodvibes I read everything I could get my eyes on in the year leading up to our vacation- some of it was accurate, some was not. So I hope that I'll be able to help you- please feel free to ask anything you want to, I will do my best to answer. :) We did really enjoy this cruise- 9 days is PERFECT, and the service was just as good as Disney, so no worries there- how old are the kids going on the ship?

    Yea- this cabin was MUCH larger than our balcony cabin on the Magic, but that was due to it being an AFT cabin. Here's the deck plan from the 10th deck, you can see how our cabin was a different shape and size-

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    The cost? Well, it was more expensive than our DCL cruise, but that's because it was in primetime August- and our DCL cruises were in Oct/Nov. Also, this was 2 extra days- so, it all kind of balances out, I guess. Next summer, comparing the 8 night NYC magic to the 9 night Explorer, Explorer is cheaper. But then the DCL includes an excursion (a day at WDW for everyone with transportation) and we could bring wine onboard the Magic (to keep in our cabin)- confused yet? I am!



    :rotfl2: What a GREAT post!! :thumbsup2 From, of course, a great Groupie!! I really like the way you've summed it all up there, Beth!!:thumbsup2
     
  21. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    We have not even had LUNCH yet!!:rotfl:

    It was- it has spoiled us terribly!!

    Glad you're here, Kate! :cutie:

    Hi there!! And I'm glad you had a blast, too! I hope I get to go again someday!
     

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