Sailed on the 9 day Eastern Caribbean Explorer of the Seas from Cape Liberty in Bayonne NJ. Let me say in the beginning that my wife and I cruise to relax, so if the entertainment is off or the food is not "gourmet" we don't freak out. In fact we rarely eat in the MDR because we would rather spend more time in the pool or on deck watching a port sail away then being in the shower at 5PM to be all dressed up for dinner.
With that said, it was our first cruise from our home state of NJ. We usually travel to Florida to cruise. Traveling from NJ make it really conveinant as we leave he car at the pier and walk on and off the ship.
While Cape Liberty is close, Royal Carribean needs to update the dock area for NJ departures. The check in and waiting area is fine and up to date, but the pier/dock area is in disrepair and downright ugly. The shuttle bus from the check in area to the ship leaves something to be desired especially after returning from a nine day cruise visiting beautiful ports of call.
We stayed in an interior cabin which is very comfortable for two people. The cabin was clean and in well repair. Our steward was very attentive and we had no complaints whatsoever.
The ship is in excellent shape considering its age. There are some signs of wear and tear such as rusty areas and worn handrails, but other than that the only areas that need replacement are the hallway carpets which are stained and in need of replacing.
Our last cruise we ate all of our meals in the Windjammer. People are astonished when they hear this but it is the most relaxful way to eat. No set times, can stay outside longer oon nice days and have a complete menu of things to eat. We found the food to be fine and plentiful with different choices each night. Our only complaint about the WJ is that they clear the tables too quickly. (If you go up to the counter to get your meal after your salad you come back to find your table clear)
Found the pool area relaxing and inviting. BE WARNED: RC now removes things from chairs by the pools if no one sits there in 1/2 hour. Saw many people come back after swimming for 40 minutes to find their belongings at the towel desk which caused may irate customers to say the least. I understand people should not keep things on chairs all day--but I wish there was a happy medium.
Went to Horeshoe Bay cove beach in Bermuda---warm water and excellent swimming.
St Maartin--went to Orient Beach for Lunch and more warm water smooth bottom swimming.
San Juan--is a waste of time for everyone--if not for the CVS by the dock, we should spend an extra day at a swimming port.
Labadee--always beautiful----suggestion- walk a little and go to Nellies Cove for beautiful beach and cove. ( go early to pullyour lounge by water)
All in all a great cruise!