We drove to Cape Liberty from Maryland and I was surprised at the ease in getting to the port. We arrived at Cape Liberty about 12:30-12:45. There was a line of traffic to the area where you will drop off your luggage and travel companions; however, the line moves relatively quickly. Although from this area to the ship is only a few hundred feet, you will be bused to the ship.
As others have stated here, from the time you drop off your bags until you are on the ship, it only takes 30-45 minutes at most. Your next stop will be Deck 11-Windjammer for lunch unless you arrive after 1:30 p.m. then you can go directly to your cabin.
We booked an interior cabin, Deck 9, on this cruise. It was a bit small, but very workable. As always the room steward was excellent. It is a nice touch they know your name as it makes it feel as if you get a bit more personal service.
I have read reviews of how mundane the food was in the Main Dining Room and the Windjammer. On this cruise leaving Bayonne on the 14th of October, we were informed by our waiter, that week was the beginning of a new menu for Royal Caribbean. The new menu was excellent and we did not have one bad meal. The only complaint I had with food on this cruise was I opted for a pre-made omelet rather than one freshly made (the line was a bit long)and it was cold and rubbery. That was my ONLY complaint all week regarding food on this cruise.
We had Our Time Dining, but once there opted to have the same waiter and assistant waiter for the entire cruise, and once again, the service was superb. I would recommend the My Time for anyone who does not want to feel rushed to get to the early dinner, but doesn't want to wait until the second seating. It fit nicely with our plans when we got to Bermuda.
Bermuda-what else can you say other than it is a beautiful, clean, welcoming destination. This was our third cruise to Bermuda and I will look forward to returning in the future. We did not opt for any excursions from this ship as we are familiar with the island. We went to Horseshoe Bay one day, toured the area around the Dockyard and the fort on another, and enjoyed Hamilton and it's history and forts on the third. If you have never cruised, I recommend going to Bermuda for your first has you have the experience of your days at sea and three complete days for exploring the island.
By the way, DEFINITLY see the ice show. I am a bit jaded toward the stage productions on a cruise as they all seem to be the same; however, the ice show is something to see. All of our group thought it was fantastic.
The Explorer of the Seas is twelve years old, but in very good repair and in a very good state. I read how some reviewers thought it looked tired, a bit frayed, and in need of an overhaul. Frankly, other than some exterior rust on a few, and I emphasise few places, there is nothing wrong with this ship. Whatever plumbing problem cruisers experienced in the past, it was not evident during my week on board.
In conclusion, if you are hesitant about traveling on this ship, put those fears aside and enjoy yourself. I believe you won't be disappointed.