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Explora 17 November - 6 December


uktog
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I’m starting this thread to pick up the baton from @InsGuy3 and @florisdekort 

Our focus will be comparing to Viking and Azamara entry level suites. We hated MSC Yacht Club - the pampered few within a “factory ship” wasn’t for us so will not feature much in comments. Given how poor our dining experience in YC we just hope for far better. We therefore hope this thread stays away from YC discussions ad infinitum 
This is our third chance to get onboard two previous cancellations one a week before cruising. That was handled very very badly by MSC but we’d already paid in full for this trip so have stuck with it. 
The precruise experience has been no better than our memories of mass lines 20 years ago - wrong information, agents not able to give answers, we had huge issues accessing paperwork etc. 

So we will embark for two cruises with only 2 restaurant reservations as the system will only allow that but with the positives and negatives slate wiped clean (helped by the BA lounge Whispering Angel promotion) as we are waiting for our flight to MIA having done the tricky domestic leg. 
Hoping to be posting positive news very soon 

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1 hour ago, uktog said:

I’m starting this thread to pick up the baton from @InsGuy3 and @florisdekort 

Our focus will be comparing to Viking and Azamara entry level suites. We hated MSC Yacht Club - the pampered few within a “factory ship” wasn’t for us so will not feature much in comments. Given how poor our dining experience in YC we just hope for far better. We therefore hope this thread stays away from YC discussions ad infinitum 
This is our third chance to get onboard two previous cancellations one a week before cruising. That was handled very very badly by MSC but we’d already paid in full for this trip so have stuck with it. 
The precruise experience has been no better than our memories of mass lines 20 years ago - wrong information, agents not able to give answers, we had huge issues accessing paperwork etc. 

So we will embark for two cruises with only 2 restaurant reservations as the system will only allow that but with the positives and negatives slate wiped clean (helped by the BA lounge Whispering Angel promotion) as we are waiting for our flight to MIA having done the tricky domestic leg. 
Hoping to be posting positive news very soon 

Happy and safe travels.

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A couple of days ago I checked a website that shows current stateroom/suite availability on Explora 1, and there were 206 staterooms/suites available to book for the departure on 11/17 for 10 days.

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Well our start has been an adventure arriving in a tropical storm (yes rollercoaster approach in) and then struggled to get cab to go to South Beach. As we drove in we were sticking in floodwaters 
Our hotel, like the airport, has sprung lots of leaks. No lifts as the shaft is flooded and water was even getting in our lovely original deco windows 

Somehow I think our planned sunning it on the hotel’s loungers on South Beach might just be substituted with a mall trip. 
Anyway we’ve taken the buckets of rain for the team. Just remember that IF we have a great weather cruise. 

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21 hours ago, Dr. Cocktail said:

About 500 .... same as for November 27.....

 

14 hours ago, sasejm said:

A couple of days ago I checked a website that shows current stateroom/suite availability on Explora 1, and there were 206 staterooms/suites available to book for the departure on 11/17 for 10 days.

All we’re  allowed to say!

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22 hours ago, uktog said:

Well our start has been an adventure arriving in a tropical storm (yes rollercoaster approach in) and then struggled to get cab to go to South Beach. As we drove in we were sticking in floodwaters 
Our hotel, like the airport, has sprung lots of leaks. No lifts as the shaft is flooded and water was even getting in our lovely original deco windows 

Somehow I think our planned sunning it on the hotel’s loungers on South Beach might just be substituted with a mall trip. 
Anyway we’ve taken the buckets of rain for the team. Just remember that IF we have a great weather cruise. 


Have a fabulous cruise! I hope the weather improves for you. 

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The embarkation was extremely well handled and smooth. There were lots of staff around all at stand-up podiums, which made it feel much less impersonal than the line at the counter experience that we’ve had elsewhere.  Ours took a little longer to do as the young lady was still unsure of the various menus on her tablet, and because we are non-US passport holders, there are some additional screens that she had to check through.  However, a gentleman came and assisted her very quickly and then we were escorted onto the ship.  One of our quickest and easiest embarkations ever. 
 

Of course we realise we’re not supposed to call it a ship but a floating hotel and very soon we could see lots of little differences. In some ways, it is a little challenging whilst we get our bearings because lifts aren’t in the positions, you would normally expect them on other ships and they’re actually quite hidden.  But I love that it’s not long line corridors but lots of curves. There must be some engineering reasons but there are also some gentle slopes in places. 
 

Our room is an OT4. There’s no difference size wise between any of the OTs it’s just location. Grand Terrace is a similar room size but a larger terrace. For Azamara/Viking cruisers it’s slightly longer though a little narrower than a club continental/penthouse veranda but with a much deeper balcony so there’s a good sized round table with two comfortable chairs and a day bed. Inside the suite there is a significant amount of well set up storage and lots of nice touches. 
 

I’m sure I will find more but what’s struck me already were a coffee machine and kettle with a range of teas and coffees, recessed storage (no nighttime rattles) for ice tongs, a corkscrew and a bottle stopper and a stocked fridge (yes fevertree!) that is actually cold. Of course my favourite toy is the Dyson hairdryer!  
 

Our first food experiences have been exceptional there’s no other word to describe them. The Emporium at lunch (all served the only huge issue was choosing what to have) but this sushi selection chosen for me by the server was divine. 
IMG_2385.thumb.jpeg.ec581a2a229eea5a78729f26e1fd18ec.jpeg
 

The staff so far have all struck the right balance in terms of attentiveness- very professional and all knowledgeable. I’m sure there will be some weaker links somewhere but none evident yesterday. 
 

We had dinner last night in Fil Rouge - this is one of the two walk up dining rooms. We both ate very well. Here’s a sample from what we enjoyed 

 

IMG_2391.thumb.jpeg.a0fec62183a95b2eb0fdcac1b3295769.jpeg

I’ve never had so much crab in a crab cake 

 

This is rock lobster Thermidor wow 

IMG_2392.thumb.jpeg.896cb7038261db2a5cecf77133e712e6.jpeg

and I loved how small the dessert was - of course bigger eaters could have more!  But even nicer for this rum baba they bring a pourer and you decide your “rum level”

 

IMG_2396.thumb.jpeg.39fe0582e60b79071f082f6fb54d4dea.jpeg
 

We found the included wines very pleasant- I had some Chemin Blanc DH enjoyed some Shiraz. Their French Rose I would defy the whispering angel aficionados to tell the difference on a blind taste or colour test.
 

We understand there are 372 onboard and over 600 hosts so this could get interesting!  
 

So far a most impressive start to our dalliance with a new line. 
 

And for Azamara cruisers we’ve met Heike,Alex, Carlos (ex shore ex) Konstantin who used to do the best photography and we’ve seen Tanya Robert’s who seems even more hyperactive than ever!!!

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