We are Diamond and + members. We are returning to the Explorer 1/13/13. Our last Explorer cruise was wonderful if you exclude some rude cruisers....... Not the cruise lines fault.
I'm scooter bound with oxygen.Port Liberty is convenient for us: we are from LI.
DH likes to drive in the night before and stay at a hotel.Less fuss for him in the AM if we're close by. Parking and baggage was fast, the porters had the bags out of the van before I got my scooter out.
The terminal was crowded but the RCC staff had it under control and boarding the shuttle to the ship was quick and easy as was check in at the ship.Of course the wait for elevators was long, but that was expected as they were moving TONS of baggage.
Lunch was a buffet and crowded but seating was available if one was patient.Our cabin was ready.Our accessible cabin was larger than our last outside cabin,
Moving about the ship was easy for me the elevator waits short and people were generally polite.
Outside pool was closed first day but the solarium pool had seating and was nice and warm. The outer pool opened the second day and remained crowded, due to some "chair hogs". The pool butlers tried to take care of the problems only to incur the wrath of "hogs" when thy returned form a 45 minute lunch and their belongings - a hat and magazine, ships towels had been moved. I stay in my scooter therefore I don't need a chair.So no problem for me. Butlers had it all under control.
MDR was easy and our table near enough to the main door so that I could walk 10 steps and be seated. Early seating fixed table was good for me. Menu choices were many and food was good.However, we all had a problem with the steaks.6 people ordered 6 went back. Next night no steak for me but 4 ordered steak and 4 went back. I had learned my lesson first night the others continued to try until the Mait'td came over and offered them a pass to the specialty restaurant since the ship had a "tough cow" on our cruise.
Common areas were clean and friendly. Entertainment was good, especially the live band and pool band.C&A hostesses were friendly and helpful. They did turn away non C&A Diamond members from the evening gatherings. The same "pool hogs" wanted entitlements that they did not earn. The "hogs" got noisy and an officer reminded them that this was an earned honor. Again, not RCC fault.
Labidee was delightful; Lovely beach Lots of room, chairs umbrella's towels. To get to the non rocky part of beach follow the road to the far side. There is also a trolley to an from the ship for those who want it. It's not a bad walk maybe 1/3 mile thou pale tree covered hard sand walkways. The buffet put out by the ship was delicious. The craft market was fine with me. Some said it was pushy, but it was by no means anything like the straw market in Nassau.I got some reasonably priced well made skirts and tops for the kids back home.Island people were no problem.
Dancing with the Stripes was fun and the officers were both friendly and approachable. As was the Captain.
We did not do any tours since we have been to all the islands many times before, but I herd no complaints from any cruisers.
On the whole I give it a 9....that steak or tough cow left a dry taste in my mouth. I'll do a re review after 1/13/13 to compare.
Happy sailing the Explorer was a good choice for us.