Cruise Holidays - Attheta Travel

I am proud to be certified by CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) as an Elite Cruise Counselor. The Cruise Counselor Certification Program is CLIA's most comprehensive training which requires agents to successfully complete a number of compulsory training courses and exams, attend cruise conferences, and conduct ship inspections. Anita Thompson, Attheta Travel

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Customer Feedback: 4 Day sailing on the Explorer of the Sea

Customer feedback on the 4 day, round trip Seattle, sailing on the Explorer of the Sea.  Ned and Carolyn are experienced cruises, many of those on Princess. We value and share their feedback.

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We have found it fair to wait a week before we give you our thoughts on a cruise. This one was a little more controversial because there was a big difference between what we have grown accustomed to on Princess. Royal Caribbean sure did not perform as well as Princess. Experienced Royal Caribbean passengers said this trip was way below what they had seen on their previous cruises. But with that said, the cruise was still darn good. Here are some of our thoughts.


Embarkation. One hour from getting in line until we had our ship pass. The line moved along but there were a lot of foks getting on. We got on board at 1 and they had the doors to the cabins closed with a note and announcements that the cabins would be available at 130


First meal. So everyone headed up to the Windjammer Buffet. Here we ran into a huge crowd with minimum staffing and a short food supply. This was not the way to start a fun cruise. The passengers were not happy.


Cabin - Loved our cabin at the back of the ship. Had a small love seat but it was better than the traditional chair. Good bed and pillows too. Very big balcony was nice. We did feel more vibrations than normal but it really bothered us only once for about 30 minutes. Never smelled exhaust


Food - We had anytime dining and chose to eat in the buffet for 2 out of 4 ouf the dinners. We had a table at the rear of the ship and enjoyed the wonderful views. Food was OK but there was plenty of it and always room to sit where we wanted. The one dinner we had in the dining room was excellent. Service in the dining room for lunch and dinner was OK but the service was really slow and disorganized. Coffee was not good. There was a pretend Starbucks that served better coffee for a charge. The line there was always long all day.


Elevators- Two sets. One in the front and two sets of 4 in mid ship. Nothing in the rear. Another irritant. Not enough elevators and they always seemed to be out of sync. We often took any elevator that came and went the opposite direction that we wanted to go just to know we would eventually get to our destination.

RC really pushed carrying your own bag off the ship which made the crowds really long on get off day.


Entertainment- Really good. The Ice show was the best cruise show we have seen. The audience gave the performers a long standing ovation. Really nice ice arena.


Staff. A major disappointment. There were not enough throughout the ship and they looked like they needed training.


Excursions- Well planned and professionally done. Very good guides and drivers.


Shopping- Pretty good selection..Prices were very high and the lines to buy anything were long.


Photos - Another plus for RC. They take your cruise card and mark every picture taken. So instead of looking at walls of pictures of everyone on the ship, you go to a computer screen and check only your pictures. Very much improved over other cruise lines. But the prices remain very high.


Disembarkation - The best we have seen.We left our area 5 minutes before scheduled time and were through customs and in the parking lot 10 minutes later. Customs was not checking anything very closely.

Seattle Port- A major problem. The Solstice was also at Pier 91. So at 930 there is this huge crowd of folks waiting for their bus or taxis. The line into the area was grid locked. It took Andrew 90 minutes to go the last mile. A cruise mate's husband went to get their car in the Parking lot and it took him 2 hours to get the half a mile to the ship. It was awful. The Port Authority folks better do something or it is going to be a long summer.


Another complication on the cruise was the TRAVEL WITH ALAN group. They had special functions on board that took up the good bars at cocktail hour. His customers were everywhere singing the praises of his deals. This is the first time we have been on a ship with them but they are a travel force in Seattle.


Summary. We really didn't think we were happy on the cruise but now that we have had time to reflect, we really did have a good time. Don't think we'd do Royal Caribbeaan again but the reason is that Princess is so darn good and we do get perks. Looking forward to our October cruise to New England on the Regal.


Ned and Carolyn