This was my 4th cruise and it was fantastic! My previous cruise history includes Celebrity's Century, Carnival's Ecstasy and RCI's Oasis. While definitely a smaller ship than Oasis, I found Explorer to be an awesome vessel with lots of friendly staff. I'd read suggestions that the ship was not in good repair but have to say I saw nothing of the sort. I'll do my best to break down categories and be brief but thorough.
Embarkation: Arrived at Cape Liberty at around 11:30am and being booked in a suite was able to proceed right through check-in. It took about 10 minutes from entry to stepping on the boat, including the short shuttle ride. We immediately went up to the Windjammer where people were just beginning to enter, got lunch and found a seat with no problem.
Room check-in this time was at 1:30pm rather than 1pm that I've come to expect and happened right on time. Our cabin was probably too large for just two (myself and my daughter) but for a nine day cruise, never felt the least bit cramped. We had low sink water pressure in the beginning but that was fixed within 24 hours. Our jacuzzi tub worked well, though it produced a brown substance when used, which we were assured was a normal affect of the use of sea water? Had never encountered that before.
Medical facility - sadly I had reason to use the facility within the first 24 hours (gout flare) and was impressed. The staff was very friendly and helpful, making sure I knew the charges I would incur up front.
Dining - We dined in the MDR three times and enjoyed each meal. I have to say, however, there seems to be a decrease in standard of food since I first started cruising 9 years ago. I was disappointed in a crab sauce at one meal because it smelled "old" and I couldn't eat it. Otherwise, dinners were good. We had dinner in Portafino's one night and that was spectacular and worth the added charge! In my opinion, the Windjammer has improved as much as the MDR has faltered. The only thing I didn't really care for in the Windjammer was the sushi. We have far better sushi here in the middle of Oklahoma if you can believe that. Room service was as always. Good food, decent service though there always seemed to be one or two small mix-ups with our order it was never anything worth complaining about.
Entertainment - The ice show was fantastic! I only caught two shows in the theater and both were good entertainment. I only play video poker in the casino and that was typical. The attendants that roamed the casino were not huge on customer service but the cashiers were very helpful and friendly. The cruise director did a good job as well.
Pools - The pools never seemed too terribly crowded and the fun and games were awesome!
Spa - I had one spa appointment and the staff was very helpful.
Room attendant - Our room attendant, Elmer, could not have been better! He went above and beyond every day of the cruise. He is the best I've experienced and I've always been well pleased.
Concierge - Our concierge was amazing!
Ports - Labadee is still one of my favorite places. We rented a cabana and had a wonderful day floating in the calm waters on Barefoot Beach. We were too worn out to get off the ship at San Juan, though I wish we had. We visited the Butterfly Farm in St. Maarten, which was amazing and then went to Orient Beach. The beach was beautiful and we saw no nudity. However, we did encounter some locals who were taking advantage of tourists, selling various handmade articles and offering to braid hair. My daughter had her hair braided and despite my saying multiple times "I only have $18" was asked to pay $105 for just the front of my daughter's hair. The same person managed to get over $200 from a couple up the shore from our cruise, so beware! Bermuda was incredible! We spent the day at horseshoe bay beach and I have to say it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been! We also had a cruise tour booked on Labadee that was cancelled due to low participation and we were given the option to rebook at a different time or receive a refund. That was a quick and easy process as well, and guest services was excellent.
Dining service - our waiter and assistant in the MDR were awesome as was our server in Portafino's. The same can be said for the staff in the Windjammer.
Overall, I believe the staff on this ship is the best I've encountered overall.
Crowds - Most everyone on the ship (passenger wise) was polite and there were rarely large crowds to slow things down.
I highly recommend this cruise and ship!!!