We sailed on Explorer of the Seas 1/15-1/22. Having sailed on several of RCCL's ships before, we prefer the larger ships that are now being offered, and Explorer fits the bill.
We sailed out of Miami, and stayed at the Hyatt the night before the cruise so that we would be rested and ready to set sail the following morning. We arrived at the port at 10:30, gathered for about 30 minutes inside the terminal, and then were processed and on the ship by 11:15.
Our ship was fully booked with over 3,000 guests expected. This large amount was very evident when trying to find a chair at either the pool on sea days or on EVERY trip to the Windjammer. The table tents that are displayed urging all guests to kindly vacate their table so that others may enjoy their meal went unnoticed as it was ALWAYS a problem finding somewhere to sit and eat. On one particular morning I got so aggravated at finding a seat that I put my tray down, selected all new hot food, and walked 2 floors to eat in my own room.
Our ports included Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Grand Cayman. Three of four of these ports were scheduled tendered ports, and let me tell you this was the biggest problem of the week. First thing in the morning at these specific ports, we had to wait in line to receive a tender ticket,1-10, so that the staff had some control of the massive flow to get off the ship. The problem was that at each port there were only 3 tender boats for over 3,000 people, with each boat holding maybe 200 people at a time. Do the math...this took forever!!! On all of my previous cruises I have never experienced such a fuster cluck!! While in Cozumel, our ship was 2 hours late in leaving because there were still hundreds of people on the docks waiting to tender at departure time.
Our service on the ship was awesome, as usual. The room attendant, waiter and assistant waiter were superb. The food on the ship was excellent, especially at Formal Nights.
The shows, especially the ice show, were not to be missed.
Except for the overcrowded Windjammer and the disastrous tender system, we had a great vacation. We ate very well, watched some incredible shows and soaked up the beautiful Mexican sun. We already are looking to book our next cruise!!