As this was my first cruise there was a lot to learn. There were things that I loved and things that absolutely went wrong.
The things I loved about Explorer of the Seas:
By far the best customer service I have ever experienced. I would hear people complain about some really silly things and they handled it perfectly. (i.e one couple always wanted to sit at the window for dinner. Our meal time was 8:30pm and its pitch black!) Our stateroom attendant Dee was excellent and went above and beyond the call of duty.
The food served in the main dining room was delicious. No need to go to the specialty restaurants. The windjammer cafe was good for breakfast and a quick snack. NO WASHY NO FOODY!
The things I wish were better:
The rooms were a decent size but severely outdated. It could seriously use a face lift and a deeper cleaning.
The activities on board weren't suited for my age group. They became very repetitive and all the activities were mainly at night. I'm not a huge night owl so it left me with sitting by the pool all day or how to learn to play bridge. They could improve the options for the under 35 crowd by a lot.
Our ports were beautiful but the stay was too shore. Especially in Puerto Rico. We arrived at 7am. Nothing opened until 9am. We had to be back on the boat at 12:30pm. We barely had any time to see Old San Juan let alone anything else.
It was a good first experience and I know what to look for next time. I don't know when I will cruise again but I wouldn't rule out Royal Caribbean.
We took the water taxi to Hamilton and then public transit. You can probably do public transit a lot cheaper than we did but the day pass wasnt bad. Only $12 per person. Again a short day to see a lot of things.
Labadee was not "Haiti" in any sense of the word. It looks like a mini Disney Land that is secluded from the real Haiti. The lines for lunch are long and the food/drink options are very limited. We laid out on the beach for maybe an hour or so after some shopping and went back to the boat. The artisan market is fun but watch out they will over charge your for their "unique" items. They are so unique they are the same in every hut. There are some treasures if you go digging.
My family is from San Juan and I've been there several times. I was taking my boyfriend for the first time and felt insanely rushed. We got off the boat and were bombarded by people trying to get you to take their "tour". Nothing was open until two hours after we docked and the heat was unbearable. They can do a lot to improve the experience at this port.
BY FAR THE BEST! For $20 we got two beach chairs, a bucket of beer, and an umbrella. The only annoying thing is people come up to you trying to see their goods. Luckily there is no law against open containers so we took our beer into the water and were left in peace. CHEAP BEER!