This was our fifth trip on Explorer and we travel to Cape Liberty rather than Baltimore strictly because of the staff on Explorer, they've been stellar. This trip the staff & crew felt off, and our travelling partners who have been on Explorer 38 times prior picked up on that as well. Still very friendly and said hello, but when you'd ask for something or ask a question, the answer would be "I don't know" or "I can't help you" or an outright "no." Some examples - and yes these may seem picky (fair warning) We couldn't get VO or Bourbon in the Concierge Lounge because there are rules about stock liquor, but we could get it up in Cloud Nine where they made accommodations. At dinner, when a plate came without the vegetables that everyone else's came with, the waiter would say they "ran out" and refused to bring another. It wasn't the normal, again very friendly, but not helpful. The dining room menu changed about three weeks ago and we all thought it was much improved, both from a variety and a taste perspective. However, it took so long for our meals to come out, we weren't sure if it was because of the new menu or if it was our waiter. We had a 6pm seating and arrived at 6pm, but we never left before 8pm because of how long it took to get our meals. Unreal. I have a few cruises booked on Royal Caribbean but we're seriously considering moving them to Celebrity.
First port was San Juan and we arrived at 4pm and left at 11pm. Since it got dark at 4:45pm, that port was quite useless.
One other major issue - when we tendered in the Dominican Republic we had an excursion planned. All excursions met in the Palace Theater to embark. Royal Caribbean had a meeting with the DR President and RC Miami officials planned on board, so the tender process was halted while the President transport was handled. That delayed our excursion by over 90 minutes, vacation time we never got back. RC should have planned around that, but it definitely felt they prioritized that meeting over the current guest's vacation time.
Also - the ship was deviod of Splenda, you could not even ask for it and get it. They didn't have it stocked at all. So if you prefer Splenda, better bring your own.